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Bakery Industry (Dispute)

Volume 721: debated on Monday 22 November 1965

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(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take regarding the dispute in the bakery industry.

My right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State and I will be seeing representatives of the union later today.

We hope that the meeting goes well. Will the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is no comfort to the housewife in the queue if the Government persuade employers to hold down prices unless they also persuade the unions concerned to restrain wage demands to a level which can be met by higher productivity and to pursue their demands without penalising the public?

I have already told the right hon. Gentleman that we shall be meeting the union very shortly, and I would prefer not to say anything more now.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, and ask the First Secretary of State to bear in mind, the undesirability of trying to convert the National Board for Prices and Incomes into an abitration body, and will he and his right hon. Friend bear in mind also that, if compulsory arbitration machinery is required, it would be far better if they came to the House and asked for powers?

I can only repeat that we shall be meeting them very shortly, and I prefer to say nothing more now.