HC Deb 01 August 1978 vol 955 cc240-2
6. Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he last met the TUC.

Mr. Booth

On 18th July.

Mr. Rooker

When my right hon. Friend next meets the TUC, will he press the importance of getting its affiliated organisations to make sure that the maximum number of workers' safety representatives are appointed and in situ by 1st October this year so that we shall see the greatest advance in industrial safety under this Labour Government since the first Factories Acts? No amount of lying and cheating by the Tory Party and its outside representatives will then alter that, and the point should be put across to the British people and to the millions of workers in industry and in the offices and shops who will benefit from this legislation.

Mr. Booth

I had hoped that most employers in this country would have been able to arrange that safety representatives were appointed in advance of the statutory obligation to do so, to which my hon. Friend referred. But, as they have not, I shall gladly act upon his suggestion and raise the matter with the TUC and the CBI when I see them.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

In view of the earlier reply that unemployment will he drastically affected by the Government's anti-inflation policy, could the Secretary of State tell the House what the TUC's response has been to the 5 per cent. pay limit?

Mr. Booth

The TUC has been considering its response to the 5 per cent. pay limit in the light of considerations put forward by a whole number of sectional interests very properly represented there. We shall see how the TUC deals with this when claims come to be presented during the next round.

Mr. Litterick

When the Secretary of State next meets the TUC, will he undertake to discuss the amendments the TUC and perhaps he himself might think are now necessary to the Employment Protection Act, so that the practice of blacklisting is outlawed and men such as Victor Matthews, the owner and boss man of the Daily Express, who is so vociferous about the rights of individuals and who also participates in this as a member of the governing council of the Economic League, will not be allowed to carry on doing that?

Mr. Booth

The problem of blacklisting by employers has been with us for a very long time. So far no Government have devised an effective way within employment legislation to deal with this entirely. I think that we should continue to search for a solution and that those who organise workers should also seek to use their industrial strength where necessary to ensure that people are not blacklisted up and down this country because they pursue proper trade union rights.

Mr. Hayhoe

Will the Secretary of State condemn the blacking and blockading activities of the union SLADE which is putting people out of work? Is he aware that many of those affected are independent photographers, designers, and so on, who are being put out of work by one of the affiliated TUC unions et a time of high unemployment? Cannot he use his influence with the general council of the TUC to get the activities of SLADE modified in a major way?

Mr. Booth

When this matter was debated in the House my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment made perfectly clear his view—and mine—on the activities of SLADE.