asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the recent discussions with the Transport and General Workers Union regarding registered dockers.
I met the national secretary of the union's docks and waterways group and other members of the union's working party on the dock labour scheme on 4 May. The meeting was held at the union's request in the light of the threat of a national dock strike from 10 May in support of the extension of the 1967 dock labour scheme to all non-scheme ports and wharves.I told the union representatives that there could be no question of a blanket extension of the scheme and that the Government would need to be persuaded that the extension of the scheme to any particular port was justified. An important consideration would be the views of all the interests concerned. Nevertheless, the Government would be willing to discuss and consider carefully any specific and detailed proposals for the extension of the scheme to particular ports or wharves which the union might put forward.I reminded the representatives that the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act 1946, under which the 1967 scheme was made, required the establishment of a public inquiry to consider any objections to a draft order extending the scheme, and that any such order would be subject to Parliamentary approval.