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Staff (Working Conditions)

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission will arrange to meet trade union representatives of the House of Commons employees to discuss their working conditions and related matters.

These matters are normally the subject of consultation between management and trade union representatives, without the direct involvement of the Commission.

Why is the Commission trying to impose on House of Commons employees a "no-strike" clause, which would shackle the trade unions even more than the Government's obnoxious Employment Bill, which is to be discussed later this week? In view of the understandable opposition of the trade unions concerned and the resultant deadlock in negotiations, will the Commission consider referring the matter to a form of independent arbitration, such as ACAS?

It is not the intention of the Commission to impose a "no-strike" clause on anyone, but it takes the view that Parliament's work ought not to be hampered in any way. Consequently, management is meeting the trade unions and I am told that some movement has been made. I hope that a satisfactory settlement will be reached in due course.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the vast majority of hon. Members fully support him and his colleagues in what they are seeking to do for us all?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, just as it is an immense privilege for us to serve as hon. Members, so it is a privilege to serve on the staff and to serve the country? Is he further aware that no bolshie attitudes on these matters are wanted round here?