Sunday observance

Part of Petitions – in the House of Commons at 12:27 pm on 17th February 1989.

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Photo of Alan Meale Alan Meale , Mansfield 12:27 pm, 17th February 1989

I thank my hon. Friend for those remarks. She is quite right. If one wishes to examine the attitude of senior betting organisations towards people employed in the industry and represented by the unions, all one needs to do is to read a letter sent to Brian Cox, the national official of the Transport and General Workers Union, by a Mr. Burroughs, who is group director of personnel at Ladbroke Group plc. It says: Dear Mr. Cox,We refer to your two letters dated 9th and 14th November 1987 addressed to Sir Cyril Stein, and would point out that, as yet, he has not had a knighthood conferred upon him."— He wrote the letter to Sir Cyril Stein. It continues: You have stated nothing which is materially different to that mentioned in earlier correspondence, and our reason for rejecting your proposal for a meeting in the past remains the same as of now. That was a great opportunity lost to the betting industry to meet the representatives of those working in' the industry to establish some common sense in the conditions of the people employed in that industry.

The hon. Member for Crawley said that he did not believe that such a Bill could proceed if proper arrangements were not made for the stabling industry. I appreciate his concern to try to extract guarantees for the people who work in the industry. It would be nonsense if the House approved the Bill to allow Sunday racing before the terms and conditions of the workers had been agreed. I have been informed in the past few hours that negotiations on those terms and conditions have failed to reach any agreement.

I share the concern of the hon. Member for Crawley and I draw his attention to a letter sent to me on 16 November 1987 by the Jockey Club. In paragraph 3 on page 2 it states: However, at our Sunday Racing Industry Conference at Sandown Park"— my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe referred to this earlier—

General Blacker, Chairman of the Jockey Club Sunday Racing Campaign made clear that before Sunday racing can be successfully introduced financial and working arrangements must be negotiated for all who work within the industry. Agreement has not been reached and little leeway has been shown about such proposals.