HC Deb 31 January 1918 vol 101 cc1745-6
67. Mr. PETO

asked the Minister of Reconstruction whether he is aware that at a national conference of representatives of over thirty central associations of employers held at Westminster on 12th December, 1917, to consider a united policy on the part of employers with respect to the proposals of the Government in relation to industrial reconstruction and the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes, a resolution was adopted welcoming the recommendation of the sub-committee on relations between employer and employed, and submitting. that to successfully give effect to the proposals referred to it is essential the agreements between organisations of employers and enployed should he legally enforced, and that the necessary legislation providing for this should be passed before the industrial councils are established; and whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation to give effect to this?


I have been asked to reply to this question. The Minister of Labour has read the report of the conference to which the hon. Member refers. The question of giving legal effect to agreements between organisations of employers and employed and to the recommendations of industrial councils is receiving his careful consideration. The subject was thoroughly examined by the Industrial Council of Employers and Trade Union representatives, who sat under the chairmanship of Sir George Askwith in 1913, and they made recommendations for giving effect to the principle. The question is one of some difficulty, and different views are likely to be taken on it in different industries and by different organisations. The Whitley Committee stated in their report that it might be desirable at some later stage for the State to give the sanction of law to agreements made by industrial councils, but that the initiative in this direction should come from the councils themselves. As at present advised, my right hon. Friend is inclined to accept the views of the Committee on this point.