British Rail (Dispute)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 14th July 1982.

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Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness 3:32 pm, 14th July 1982

Will the Secretary of State tell the House why his statement makes no reference whatever to the ACAS initiative to resolve the dispute which has been running since last weekend? Will he belatedly join me in welcoming the intiative taken by Pat Lowry and his staff in an attempt to avert a continuation of the dispute and the shutting down of the railways that the Secretary of State has just announced? Will the Secretary of State also join me in expressing disappointment that the initiative has not succeeded? Will he tell the House whether he has studied the ASLEF proposals to ACAS and say whether there is anything in those proposals that he thinks justifies their rejection by British Rail?

Why has there been no Government initiative to date in an attempt to resolve this dispute? Is the Secretary of State aware that there are those who have spared no effort in the last few days in an attempt to bring about a resolution of the dispute and that they look to him with increasing despair for some assistance in such efforts?

Does the Secretary of State appreciate that the threat of dismissing strikers will only serve to make the settlement more difficult and heighten hostility? What is needed is an attempt to de-escalate the dispute and reduce hostility.

Finally, will the Secretary of State recognise that the present railway crisis owes much to the policy of the Government in its making and that his role in the matter is an abrogation of his responsibility to try to get the railways running again?