Skip to main content

Employment Legislation

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what benefits he estimates have accrued from the changes in employment legislation over the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

By ending abuses of trade union power, such as secondary action and flying pickets, which disfigured British industrial relations for so long, our legislation has helped to attract massive overseas investment to this country, create record numbers of new jobs and reduce the number of strikes to the lowest level for more than 50 years.

Will my hon. Friend remind the public of the dangers of repealing that legislation and returning to the anarchy of trade union bosses and their flying pickets? Will he go on reminding the public that those are the policies that the Opposition want?

My hon. Friend is entirely right to draw attention to the fact that any conversion by the Labour party to the virtues of responsible trade unionism is extremely short lived and skin deep. My hon. Friend should bear in mind the comment that the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) made in his letter to The Times yesterday. He glibly said that it would be wholly unfair to ban lawful secondary action.

Have the Government finally stopped abolishing wages councils? If they have, is it because they are ashamed of their actions? Might they restore the wages councils that previously existed?

I can well understand that, on a question that highlights the Labour party's deficiencies, the hon. Lady would want to talk about the wages councils, but perhaps we can talk about them on another occasion. The point that arises out of this question is that trade union reforms that the Government have introduced have been overwhelmingly popular with the public and are seriously under threat, as anybody who takes the trouble to look at Labour party policy in detail will see.