§ 23. Mr. Fisher
asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement about the recent pay rise awarded to workers at London, Gatwick, Stansted and Prestwick airports.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
The rates of pay of the majority of the Ministry's industrial employees at these airports have, since 1957, followed the rates agreed by the National Joint Council for Civil Air Transport for comparable work. Pending the transfer of these four airports on 1st April to the British Airports Authority, increases have been agreed which, when account is taken of the fact that Government superannuation is non-contributory, give parity with the 407 rates of British European Airways which is the largest employer of comparable grades.
§ Mr. Fisher
How can this very large pay rise for Government employees—I think it was about 25 per cent.—be reconciled with the incomes policy as laid down by the First Secretary of State?
§ Mr. Jenkins
The figure quoted by the hon. Gentleman is in no way accurate but, as I indicated, there is the question of comparability here, in which people doing the same thing at the same airport could not be allowed to go along on quite different rates of pay from those to whom an award had been made. In this way we have, for the first time, got recognition of the difference created by the non-contributory nature of the Government pension scheme, and that is an important consideration.
§ Miss Harvie Anderson
What about the comparable duties of the men at Turnhouse and Renfrew airports? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will not use their position as a pawn in the game of wage negotiations at other airports?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I have no intention of using them as pawns in the game. I have already dealt with the point raised by the hon. Lady. But I seem to be under contrary pressures from Surbiton and Renfrew on this matter.