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Hong Kong

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report the criteria for consultation between the Hong Kong Government and trades unions concerning official disputes.

For settling disputes in the private sector, the Labour Department of the Hong Kong Government provides a voluntary conciliation service under the provisions of the Labour Relations Ordinance. Should this be unsuccessful, the Commissioner for Labour may appoint a special conciliation officer to continue conciliation. Should this fail, the Governor in Council may refer the dispute to arbitration or a board of inquiry.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if the Governor of Hong Kong has received representations from the Social Workers General Union concerning rates of pay, regrading and career advancement of Social Welfare Department staff in the voluntary sector; and what reply he has sent.

Between October 1979 and February 1980 four petitions from the union on this subject were received by the Governor and Chief Secretary. The replies, which were sent in January and March, made clear that the Government have no responsibility for fixing the salaries of social workers employed by the voluntary agencies. A review of the voluntary sector's organisational structure and salary scales is being carried out. The union has been told it is free to make representations to the review's steering committee and working group, membership of which has been drawn largely from the voluntary sector.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the dispute-between the Hong Kong Social Workers Union and the Hong Kong Government, regarding salary scales and career advancement, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange.

I have written to the hon. Member explaining that I shall consider these details further and write to him again in due course.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will agree to the Hong Kong Social Workers General Union being represented on the steering committee considering salaries and career advancement in the public and voluntary sectors.

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) if he will publish in the Official Report the latest recommendation of the Turner committee dealing with trade union organisation in Hong Kong;(2) if he will publish the final and interim reports of the Turner committee.

Professor Turner has just completed his study. His conclusions will naturally repay careful study, superseding any interim findings. A summary report of his study has been placed in the Library of the House.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how long the Turner committee has been sitting in Hong Kong dealing with trade union organisation; and when it is due to give its final report.

Professor Turner has been engaged in a long-term academic study of labour relations in Hong Kong since 1976. Its progress was interrupted for most of 1978 by his other commitments. Professor Turner carried out his study at the request of the previous administration: he advised my right hon. and noble Friend of its broad conclusions on 3rd March in advance of its publication.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the procedure for settling industrial disputes in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the qualifications of Professor Turner and the members of the committee investigating trade union organisation in Hong Kong.

Professor Turner has been Burton Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Cambridge since 1964. An eminent academic in the field of labour relations, he has also carried out a number of studies overseas, chiefly for the International Labour Organisation. His recent long-term study of Hong Kong is of a primarily academic nature.As is usual in such studies, Professor Turner collaborated with a number of individuals and organisations. There was no "Turner Committee" as such.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report the terms of reference of the Turner inquiry regarding trade union organisation in Hong Kong.

These are set out in the summary report which has been placed in the Library of the House.