§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Eyre
I beg to ask leave, Mr. Speaker, 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 strike action today of public service employees in the West Midlands which is seriously affecting hospitals, schools, motorways and council services.932 This day of chaos in the West Midlands has been brought about by the strike action of members of the National Union of Public Employees. Mr. Barry Shuttle-worth, the West Midlands divisional officer for that union, has stated publicly that the strike is in protest at public spending cuts.
As a result of the strike, a number of hospitals in Birmingham have been dealing with emergency cases only, the normal process of admissions of in-patients and the treatment of out-patients has been halted, because 80 per cent. of the ambulance staff have refused to deal with cases other than emergencies, and porters have restricted their performance of duties. Hospital catering arrangements have also been affected.
As for the motorways, some of the road gritting gangs did not report for work this morning, and a number of accidents have occurred in which road surface conditions are thought to have been a factor.
Schools also have been affected seriously by the strike of caretakers, although all caretakers have not taken part. As a result, 230 schools in Birmingham have been closed, as well as a number of schools in other parts of the West Midlands.
As the divisional officer of the union concerned has made clear, this strike is part of a direct confrontation with the Government. As a consequence, thousands of patients, schoolchildren and their parents, and other citizens have been gravely inconvenienced. In these circumstances, I submit that the conditions specified in Standing Order No. 9 apply.
§ Mr. Speaker
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 strike action today of public service employees in the West Midlands which is seriously affecting hospitals, schools, motorways and council services.As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the Order but to give no reasons for my decision. The hon. Member gave me notice this morning that he would raise 933 this matter, and I have given careful consideration to his representations. However, I have to rule that the hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.