Timex offers no compromise

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THE head of the strike-hit company Timex yesterday rejected an appeal by the leader of the cross-party Commons employment select committee to hold peace talks with a union, and instead called for mass picketing to be made a criminal offence.

Peter Hall, president of the Dundee-based electronics firm, told MPs that workers hired to replace 340 strikers had been subjected to intimidation and violence. The company had reported 93 incidents against staff since the dispute over jobs and conditions began 13 weeks ago, and believed that mass picketing should be made a criminal offence. Mr Hall said Timex would consider its next move in mid-May, after the dispute had lasted three months.

The committee chairman, Greville Janner, Labour MP for Leicester West, said Timex was waiting for three months to elapse only so it could lawfully select who to sack or re-employ. He urged Mr Hall to 'reconsider quietly' and negotiate with the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. Mr Hall replied: 'Not wishing to be rude, we have stated our position and that is that'.