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Industrial Court Award Proceedings (Publication)

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour if he has considered the letter from the hon. Member for West Ham, North, enclosing a letter from the General Secretary of the National Union of Vehicle Builders complaining of the failure of his Department to circulate the minutes of the proceedings of the Industrial Court to all concerned; and what action he is taking.

The hon. Member's Question relates to Award No. 550 of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. The Tribunal's practice is to send advance copies of such Awards to the parties concerned; that was correctly done in the normal way on the occasion to which he refers. If the parties want further copies, they can obtain them from H.M. Stationery Office.

I understand from the Tribunal that, as a matter of courtesy, and to enable the Stationery Office to decide how many copies of the Awards to print, the Secretariat of the Tribunal take orders from the parties for bulk supplies of Awards. That was done on this occasion, but, unfortunately, as the Union has already been told, an accidental breakdown in printing delayed delivery of these bulk supplies. There is no question of discrimination or bias as the union allege.

While thanking the Minister for that very full reply, may I ask him whether he is aware that one of his officials suggested to the general secretary of the union that if he put in a request for a certain number of copies it would be dealt with expeditiously? The difficulty in which the general secretary finds himself is that he has not yet received his ordered 250 copies, while the general public, who are not so intimately concerned, are able to buy as many copies as they like from the Stationery Office or from the public bookstalls, and—

Order. I do not know what has happened today, but supplementary questions seem to be even longer than usual.

Does the Minister not think that it would be better if this order were fulfilled first for the union or parties concerned?

I was not aware that the order had not yet been fulfilled, but I am sure that if the union had found itself embarrassed, it could, like the public, have got copies from the Stationery Office.