§ 66. Mr. Stodart
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the position at Turnhouse Airport, Edinburgh, following upon his discussions with union officials.
§ Mr. William Rodgers
Yesterday I met the national organiser of the Transport and General Workers Union, who also represented the Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers, to discuss the dispute with the Board of Trade's employees at Edinburgh (Turnhouse), Aberdeen (Dyce) and Belfast (Aldergrove) airports.
In the course of discussions I proposed that, jointly with the trade unions, a 169W working party on productivity should be set up to examine urgently the scope for measures to raise efficiency. I made clear that improved productivity would alone justify any improvement on our present offer of a 3½ per cent. increase in rates of pay. I expressed the hope that, in the meantime, the employees at the three airports would co-operate in creating conditions in which normal air services could be resumed and emphasised that the dispute was causing serious inconvenience to passengers and could have damaging consequences for the Scottish economy.
The trade union side agreed to consider the joint working party but was not prepared unfortunately to seek to end the industrial action.
The initiative now lies with it. I hope that discussions will be resumed without delay.