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Railways (Productivity)

Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1977

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30.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with current levels of productivity on British Railways.

I always welcome improved productivity in transport, as we must all do, throughout British industry.

Has my right hon. Friend read the recent Press reports about the claim of Railway Rescue that British Railways are paying railwaymen for doing nothing? This is a load of rubbish. Let me assure my right hon. Friend that the railway trade unions are co-operating with the Board on productivity deals. I can assure the House that railwaymen are working rest days and—

I certainly saw the report to which my hon. Friend referred. I think it is important to say that there is a great deal of unfair comment about moves towards productivity on the railways. My hon. Friend is quite right to draw attention to the co-operation that has existed between the rail unions and the British Railways Board on important productivity agreements, including those related to signalling. The record is a good one. That is without prejudice to whether it could be better.