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Royal Ordnance Plc

Volume 84: debated on Tuesday 22 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects that shares in Royal Ordnance PLC will be offered to the public.

Subject to the usual caveats of trading performance and stock market conditions, we would hope that the company could move to the private sector in mid-1986.

When does the Minister intend to meet the trade unions to discuss the implications for their members of privatisation? In particular, why has he refused their offer to submit the outstanding problem of pensions to arbitration?

I am perfectly prepared to meet the trade unions. It is important that I should do so at an early date. As regards pensions, the Government have made their position on no detriment clear. There have been a series of meetings between my predecessor and the trade unions. I do not believe that there is much to be added on that subject.