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Restrictive Labour Practices

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any plans to look into restrictive labour practices.

As part of their general concern to see the elimination of restrictive practices in all areas the Government have today referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) certain questions as to possible restrictive labour practices in television and film production, tinder the terms of section 79 of the Fair Trading Act 1973.The reference has been made jointly by my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department and myself, in exercise of the powers conferred by the Act.The practices specified in the reference are those of

(a) restricting the extent to which work is performed by workers who are not members of a particular trade union; and (b) requiring that minimum numbers of workers (whether or not of specified descriptions) be engaged on particular productions or tasks.

The questions referred are whether each practice exists; if so, whether it is a restrictive labour practice within the meaning of the Act; and what public interest effects there may be.

This reference is the first to be made under the provisions of section 79. It forms part of the initiatives which the Government have in hand following the report of the Peacock committee to promote efficiency and competitiveness in the industry. The Government believe that it will inform the steps now being taken within the industry in relation to changes in working practices to secure the future of all who work in it.

We anticipate that the MMC will be able to make its report by the end of this year.