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Klein Brothers, Salford

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

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I beg to ask leave, Mr. Speaker, 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,

"a dispute at a Salford clothing factory where the overwhelming majority of women are on strike to secure trade union representation, and the refusal so far of the employers to accept the services of ACAS."
I shall be brief and stick strictly to the rules.

The firm involved is Klein Brothers, of Liverpool Road, East Salford. The matter is specific, because the workers are on strike. It is urgent, because unless ACAS is brought in tempers will rise and attitudes will harden on both sides. The matter is important, because a small factory employing 75 women workers is involved, and those workers have joined the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers. They are now standing outside the gates of the House of Commons. The firm employs about 110 workers, including supervisors and clerical staff.

To refuse to meet the officials of the union when the majority of workers ask for that is surely feudal in 1980. My right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) asks to be associated with the application.

The matter is important, because most of the employees of the hundreds of small factories in the Greater Manchester area would like to have union representation. Their eyes are closely fixed on the dispute. There is strong support for the women, who have acted with courage and determination. The issue deserves debate in the House.

The hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) gave me notice before 12 o'clock today that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,

"a dispute at a Salford clothing factory where the overwhelming majority of women are on strike to secure trade union representation, and the refusal so far of the employers to accept the services of ACAS."
The hon. Gentleman has raised a matter of considerable significance. As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the order but to give no reasons for my decision. I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman's request for an emergency debate but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.