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Industrial Relations (Nuclear Power Industry)

Volume 929: debated on Monday 28 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied that the recommendations of the Bullock Report on Industrial Democracy will provide the best available method of improving industrial relations in the nuclear power industry; and if he will make a statement.

I have no doubt that the extension of industrial democracy will make a major contributon to improved industrial relations in all industries, including the nuclear industry. The Government are at present considering how to effect this extension in the various industrial and other sectors following publication of the Bullock Report.

Will the Secretary of State consider in the meantime having an urgent meeting with the Chairman of British Nuclear Fuels Limited to consider the lengthy dispute which took place recently at Windscale, bearing in mind the excellent joint council arrangements existing there and, in particular, special arrangements in connection with safety? An embarrassing situation has developed which I should have thought required urgent action.

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised the matter. I took the opportunity of having discussions with the chairman, the managing director and others, and there is no doubt whatever that here are some deep-seated problems which are on the agenda to correct. More generally, I am anxious to encourage discussions leading to greater industrial democracy, and I have told all the fuel industries of that intention.

Will my right hon. Friend tell his right hon. Friends in the Cabinet, when the Bullock Report and industrial democracy are discussed, that it is much better to discuss bullocks with "Heffers" than to discuss them with the Liberal Party?