Trade Union Discussions

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1984.

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Photo of Mr Clive Soley Mr Clive Soley , Hammersmith 12:00 am, 17th December 1984

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he last met representatives of the Civil Service trade unions; and what was discussed.

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Brentford and Isleworth

I met the Civil Service unions on 4 December to discuss the Government's decisions on the 1984 report of the Top Salaries Review Body. The unions also took the opportunity to discuss with me some recent changes in travel and subsistence provisions.

Photo of Mr Clive Soley Mr Clive Soley , Hammersmith

Did the Minister take that opportunity to raise the subject of the review of VAT offices? Has he anything to say about the proposal to close 30 of them, in view of the Government's plan to increase VAT on some commodities—on newspapers, books and so on? What implication does that have for staffing? Will he make a statement on that subject to the trade unions?

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Brentford and Isleworth

VAT was not discussed at my last meeting, which was with the Council of Civil Service Unions. Nor was it discussed at an earlier meeting that I held with union representatives from Customs and Excise. At that time they were raising matters about the customs part of the general responsibility of Customs and Excise.

Photo of Dr Oonagh McDonald Dr Oonagh McDonald , Thurrock

Is the Minister aware that in the pay negotiations going on at GCHQ, of the five members of the staff side three still retain their trade union membership? Does that not show the absurdity of the Government's ban on trade union membership there?

Photo of Mr Barney Hayhoe Mr Barney Hayhoe , Brentford and Isleworth

No. What it does show is that the hon. Lady is relying upon a recent, inaccurate report in the Financial Times.