To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what statutory protection exists for constables of the Royal Botanic Gardens constabulary, at Kew and Edinburgh, from unfair dismissal; what statutory restrictions exist on their taking industrial action; what statutory police federation exists to represent them; and what statutory restrictions exist on their entitlement to join a trade union.
In common with all other non-industrial staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the constables are free to take strike action like other Government servants, and are free to join a trade union. At Kew they are not represented by a statutory police federation, but by the National Union of Civil and Public Servants. However, by virtue of section 146(2) and (3) of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 the right to claim unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal does not apply to constables of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, though they may use normal disciplinary procedures operated there.Responsibility for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, but I understand that in these respects the position of the constables employed at the Edinburgh gardens is essentially the same.