Does the Minister accept that, by banning trade unions at GCHQ, the Government are denying those workers their democratic right of freedom of association? Will he try to understand that a Government who deny democratic rights to their citizens, and who arm dictators around the world who genuinely threaten this country's security, are in no position to lecture GCHQ trade unionists about disloyalty or national security?
This is a decent democratic country. It is the Conservative Government who have given workers the right to join a trade union of their choice, and it is the Conservative Government who got rid of the wicked closed shop legislation, which prevented people from working when they did not wish to join a trade union.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, freed from trade union shackles, British workers now produce more and compete better than many of our overseas counterparts? Is not it true that, in the 1990s, as a result of Conservative trade union legislation, many American and Japanese companies, which would not have touched us with a bargepole in the 1970s, bring to the country new investment, new factories and new jobs?
I agree with my hon. Friend. It is a stark set of facts that productivity growth in the UK is higher today and was higher in the 1980s than productivity growth in Japan and that the UK strike rate is now lower than in Germany. So not only is the United Kingdom leading Europe through recovery into a sustained period of non-inflationary growth, but it is leading the way in putting harmony in place of strife and increasing the growth in productivity.
Will the Secretary of State give the House the answer which the Minister did not give to the question of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner)? Does he believe that, in a democratic society, an employee has the right to be represented at work by the union of his or her choice?
We have just answered the point by making it clear that we believe in a free democratic society. Employers should not be compelled to accept a negotiator who may not necessarily be the representative of the work force. It is very much up to trade unions to earn an increasing membership by appealing to their members and by selling their services to them. I take great pride in the fact that days lost through industrial action are now 20 times fewer than the average in the 1970s.