§ 3. Mr. Pattie
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in the light of the industrial action being taken by the staff at the Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge, in pursuit of their claim for London weighting allowance, if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Silkin
I have received a deputation of representatives of Ministry staff from the Central Veterinary Laboratory and am in communication with my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Peart.
§ Mr. Pattie
Will the Minister accept that although the staff at the Central Veterinary Laboratory do not regard themselves as being in dispute with his Ministry they are looking to him to urge their case not only with his noble Friend but with his hon. Friend the Minister of State, Civil Service Department? Will the right hon. Gentleman accept also that although, no doubt, the staff will continue to exercise their customary sense of responsibility, if this work to rule continues after the holiday season it is likely to increase its impact to the detriment of the service provided by this world-famous establishment?
§ Mr. Silkin
I also pay tribute to the staff. I think that they have behaved in a very responsible way. I regard myself, obviously, as having a strong interest whenever they feel a sense of grievance. I have put their points to my noble Friend and to my hon. Friend, but, as the hon. Gentleman rightly conceded, it is a matter that does not lie within my power except within circumscribed limits. Like the hon. Gentleman, I hope that the dispute will be settled soon.