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Iron And Steel Trades Confederation

Volume 975: debated on Monday 10 December 1979

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely:

"the decision by the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation to call a national strike of its membership in the public sector from 2 January 1980."
I seek a debate because the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation has within its membership a far greater number of workers employed in the steel industry than any other trade union, and there is no doubt that the whole of the British Steel Corporation plants will close production the moment such a strike becomes effective.

The British Steel Corporation supplies 54 per cent. of the home market steel demand and a closure of its works would have an immediate and catastrophic effect on all steel-using industries, particularly shipbuilding, car manufacture and engineering. There is little doubt that the steel workers will get the sympathy of those unions concerned in the movement of imported steel in this country.

Many people believe that the BSC is already heading down the road of destroying the steel industry in this country. With less than two weeks to go before the industry shuts down for the Christmas and New Year break I believe that the House should debate the matter immediately.

The hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Homewood) gave me notice this morning before 12 o'clock that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believed should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the decision by the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation to call a national strike of its membership in the public sector from 2 January 1980."
As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the Standing Order but to give no reasons for my decision. I listened with care to the hon. Member, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order. Therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.