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National Union Of Mineworkers

Volume 884: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1975

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8.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will arrange to meet the Executive of the National Union of Mineworkers to discuss industrial relations.

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what meetings he has had with the executive of the National Union of Mineworkers or the National Coal Board on industrial relations; and whether he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has had no such meetings, nor has he any plans for them.

Will the Minister tell the House what his right hon. Friend's attitude would be and what action he might take were the NUM to press for wage increases which, by common consent, were totally outside the terms of the social contract and which, because of that, the NCB refused, with the result that industrial action was threatened?

I can think of few areas in which it is less appropriate to answer hypothetical questions than in industrial relations. If any difficulty were to arise in negotiations, including that to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, I would indicate that the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service is available to employers, managements and union negotiators.