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West Thurrock Power Station Site (Dispute)

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to bring to a just end the dispute at the West Thurrock power station site.


asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to bring to an end the dispute at the West Thurrock power station between members of the Electrical Trades Union and the London Electricity Board.


asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the continuing labour dispute, despite the resumption of negotiations, concerning the closure by Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox of their West Thurrock site in December, 1961, what action he is taking to help the parties reach a settlement.

Our officers have been in close touch with representatives of the Electricity Council, the London Electricity Board and the Electrical Trades Union in an endeavour to secure a resumption of work so that this dispute may be dealt with in accordance with the established arrangements of the industry. I hope a further meeting between our industrial relations officer and officials of the union will take place soon.

With reference to the letter from the Minister which I received this afternoon, is it correct to say, as he does in that letter, that "there are difficulties between the two sides on procedural aspects"? Is that the only difficulty, or is that rather a mild way of putting some of the allegations against the L.E.B.?

I am not concerned with judging the merits or demerits of whatever may be said about allegations, but there are differences between the two sides as to the operation of the agreed arrangements, and it is these difficulties which our officers are now attempting to resolve so that normal negotiations may be resumed.

Without asking the Minister to pronounce on the merits of the case, may I ask whether he is aware that a considerable time has been lost simply because the London Electricity Board has not made full use of the negotiating procedure? Will he rebuke the Board for that loss of time?

I do not think that it is for me to rebuke anybody about this loss of time, but I think it is for my officers to get cracking on the resumption of negotiations between the two sides, and that is what they are seeking to do.

Will the officers try to persuade the Board to follow the established procedure for dealing with redundancies, because is not one of the disturbing features of this dispute that the procedure apparently was ignored by those who described certain men as redundant?

I think I must stick to what is obviously the sensible line. We shall seek to ensure that both parties in this dispute follow the agreed procedure.