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Industrial Disputes(Benefits)

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 13 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current practice of paying public funds to those engaged in strike action in each of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries about which I have relevant information are Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United States of America and the nine member States of the European Community. Public assistance in cash or kind, and sometimes by way of loans, may be granted in most of these countries where the striker and his family are suffering particular hardship. The conditions for assistance vary from country to country, but it is normal for other resources available to the family, including payments out of union funds, to be taken into account.Generally, unemployment insurance benefit is not paid to strikers. As far as I am aware, of the countries mentioned, only Belgium and certain states of the United States of America make such payments, and then only in very restricted circumstances.