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Mail Services (Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd)

Volume 918: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1976

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration; namely,

"the actions of the Post Office workers in failing to deliver mail to Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd., contrary to the provisions of the Post Office Act 1953."
The matter is important because the General Secretary of the Union of Post Office Workers has today thrown down the gauntlet in a printed statement in today's newspapers, which says,
"The Post Office Act was written many years ago and it has never been tested in relation to sympathetic industrial action. Until it is, as far as our union is concerned, we are going to support these workers."
This is the first time that any illegal action of this sort has occurred, and it should be urgently considered by this House not just because 300 people may lose their jobs the day after tomorrow but because if this action succeeds this time and a small company is put out of business within seven days of the interruption of its mail deliveries, such illegal action will have been shown to work, and it may, therefore, be extended into other fields with far-reaching and serious consequences.

The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration; namely,

"the actions of the Post Office workers in failing to deliver mail to Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd., contrary to the provisions of the Post Office Act 1953."
The hon. Member gave me notice that he would be raising this matter. When the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) made his application yesterday, he did so without warning. I take no exception to that, because his application arose out of exchanges across the Floor of the House.

This is a new application, to which I have given considerable consideration. I am satisfied that the matter raised by the hon. Member is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 9. Does the hon. Member have the leave of the House?

The leave of the House having been given—

The motion for the Adjournment of the House will now stand over until the commencement of public business tomorrow, when a debate on the matter will take place for three hours.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I draw your attention to the fact that in most of today's newspapers there is a story that the business proposed for next Monday is not to take place but that there are to be three short debates on guillotine motions relating to Lords amendments? Can you advise me how to protect the interests of hon. Members, such that statements about the business of this House are made in the House by the Leader of the House and not made to the Press, so that hon. Members may question the Leader of the House upon his intentions?

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether you would look into the situation when your predecessor dealt with the matter of the last postal strike—[Interruption.]

Order. If the hon. Gentleman is seeking in any way to challenge my ruling—

Order. I am not prepared to allow the hon. Gentleman to give me advice when I reach decisions of this sort.

The hon. Gentleman had better understand that he is not going to advise me on this matter. If he has a point of order unrelated to it, I shall listen. Otherwise, I shall ask the hon. Gentleman to resume his seat.

What I want to do, Mr. Speaker, is to draw to the attention of the House—

The hon. Gentleman cannot use this opportunity to draw matters to the attention of the House. If he has a point of order for me, he will address it to me now.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is a point of order. I wonder whether you would consider the situation regarding the last postal strike, the national strike in 1971—

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to resume his seat.

With regard to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), the hon. Member knows that that is not a matter for me.