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Civil Servants (Closed Shop)

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received about the imposition of a closed shop in the Civil Service from civil servants employed in his Department.

Will the Home Secretary take this opportunity of explaining in the clearest terms that he is personally strongly opposed to the imposition of a closed shop throughout the Civil Service in general and in his Department in particular? Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the case of the 43 railway-men, many of whom had served a lifetime of faithful service, who were dismissed by British Rail without compensation because of the presumed offence of being unwilling to join a union?

The answer to the first part of the question is "No". The second part does not fall within my responsibility and I do not know enough about it. The closed shop is a complicated matter. As the previous Government showed in their legislation, there is a case for it.

Since there seem to be nearly as many people waiting for passports as there are unemployed, and since there is no closed shop in the Civil Service, will the Home Secretary make contingency plans to see that in future holiday seasons the delay which is currently occasioned in passport offices is not repeated?

I shall see that the hon. Gentleman's view is passed to the Foreign Office. Passports are not a matter for the Home Office.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest moment.