HC Deb 02 December 1927 vol 211 cc863-95

I beg to move, in page 5, to leave out from the word "whom," in line 40, to the end of the clause.

The title of this Clause is "Amendment as to disqualifications for receipt of benefit." In our opinion, it would be better entitled "Increase of disqualifications for receipt of benefit." The position, as it now stands, is that, under the principal Act, certain disqualifications were laid down as to the receipt of benefits and, under the Act of 1924, modifications were made in relation to those disqualifications. These modifications safeguarded a man from losing his benefit, if he could prove that he was not participating in or financing or directly interested in the trade dispute. There was another provision to the effect that the worker should not be disqualified if the stoppage of work was due to an employer of labour acting in such a manner as to contravene the terms of any agreement existing among a group of employers in the district where the stoppage took place or of a national agreement, to either of which employers or employés were contracting parties. The Government now propose to eliminate that provision. It is disconcerting to us that the Government should take this action of encouraging employers to break their agreements.

Under the existing law if an employer or employers are engaged in an industrial dispute, the workers concerned are not entitled to unemployment benefit, but if the employer or employers break an agreement with each other, or with their workers, and if the workers are not parties to the breaking of the agreement, and are not directly concerned with or have not contributed to the breaking of the agreement, then, if unemployment results, the workers are entitled to bene- fit. In other words, if the employer or employers are solely responsible for the breaking of the agreement, and unemployment ensues, the workers are entitled to benefit. I think I have fairly and, I trust, clearly stated the present position. The Government now propose to penalise the workers if they lose their employment through the action of an employer breaking his agreement. The reason given is that, if the employer breaks his agreement, the worker, at the present time, can get unemployment benefit, but if the worker breaks his agreement the employer may not be able to fill the position of the worker. It seems, then, that the Government, in approving of the deletion of this provision, think they are creating equity as between employer and employed. That is very far from being the case. Not only am I concerned with the industrial and economic matters that will arise out of this proposal, but I am very disturbed about the questionable morality underlying the elimination of this provision.

Take the position as it stands. If a worker breaks his agreement he loses his wages and his unemployment benefit. If an employer breaks his agreement, the worker loses his wages but gets unemployment benefit and the employer is not entitled to have the places of the workers filled by the Exchanges. But under the new arrangement, not only will the worker lose wages and benefit if he breaks his own agreement, but he will also lose his wages and benefit if the agreement is broken by the employer. Furthermore, the Government will endorse and justify the breaking of the agreement by the employer by enabling him to fill from the Exchanges such vacancies as may arise. That, in our estimation, is wrong. I have heard the Minister and other hon. Members opposite on more than one occasion utter the old axiom, that two blacks will not make a white. That is what the right hon. Gentleman is trying to do in this case, but with all his ability he will not be able to accomplish that remarkable and miraculous feat. Why should the employers have it made easy for them to fill the places of men who are resisting the breaking of an agreement and who are out of work because of an agreement having been broken by the employer? Surely if the employer breaks his agreement the worker is justified in withhold- ing his labour and, if so, is he not also justified in claiming and receiving unemployment benefit? Why should the Minister—though I do not think it is true of him—why should the Government, always show themselves ready and willing to help bad employers against the workers? Why should the Government, as they seem to be doing in this instance, make the profound mistake of helping the bad employer against the good and fair employer?

What does this mean? Broken agreements under this condition will probably extend disputes. At present, if the worker breaks his agreement, he receives no benefit, and 99 trade unions out of 100 will not encourage him by paying him trade union benefits. As a result of that, the dispute is kept within narrow limits. If the employer breaks his agreement and the worker gets unemployment benefit, again the dispute is kept within narrow limits, because it will be recognised that this is merely a matter between the employer and the workers concerned; but if now the worker is to be out of work through the broken agreement of his employer and he is not to receive unemployment benefit, the result will be that other people must interest themselves in the man's position. His trade union must take cognisance of the fact that the man is out of work through a broken agreement by the employer, and consequently there is a great possibility that the dispute will be widened considerably and that other employers will be brought into the field of conflict. When an employer breaks an agreement binding on other employers of labour or binding not only on national and local employers but on national and local organisations of employers and employed, it is not really a dispute between workers and employers; it is in reality a dispute between employers on the one hand and employers on the other hand, and, therefore, the workers should not suffer by the filling of their places or by the withdrawing of their benefits for an infraction of an agreement for which they are in no wise responsible.

I notice that in the Blanesburgh Report we are told that such breaches of agreement by employers are of such a character that discrimination—I suppose, between the rightness and the wrongness of the case—must be based on the merits of the dispute. I would like to ask, Why not? It is far better that right should be done than that wrong by a broken agreement should go unchallenged. We are also told that it is not the duty of the court of referees or the umpire to interpret such industrial agreements of this nature. Again I ask, Why not? Who should interpret them? who does interpret them at the moment? If it is not the court of referees' job or the umpire's job, it should be the job of some person or persons to determine where a worker is out of employment through the wrong action of his employer, and, if so, whether he is in those circumstances entitled to unemployment benefit. If employers of labour are to be allowed to break agreements, thereby penalising their workers, and if they are also to be allowed to fill the places of those workers from the employment exchanges, what is going to happen? That is going to be an encouragement to other employers to follow suit. Bad and untrustworthy employers of labour are a danger to good and trustworthy employers of labour. If agreements are to be terminated, there should be only one way of terminating them, and if they are to be altered, or the provisions of an agreement are to be altered, there should be only one way of doing it, and that is by giving the requisite notice in the properly constituted form to the parties concerned before any agreement is broken or altered.

The right hon. Gentleman comes down to the House in relation to this matter as in relation to others and, under the guise of the Blanesburgh Report, puts forward this recommendation, but the Blanesburgh Committee were not very strenuous in their recommendation insofar as this matter is concerned. They merely said that the balance of advantages lay in the alteration. I have not the least hesitation in saying that every opinion expressed in favour of that view could be easily refuted. I do not believe that the omission of this provision will encourage employers to make long-term agreements. Why should it? Why should the workers be prepared to make long-term agreements after the encouragement given by the Government to the employers to break their agreements? Neither do I believe that the retention of this provision will disturb industrial stability. Rather does it make for industrial stability. It is in the direction of creating confidence between employers and employed to know that, if an employer has done wrong, the Government are not behind him, and I do not believe that the discrimination that now exists is unjust and on the side of the worker, but even if it be, that is no justification for the right hon. Gentleman to come down and more heavily weight the dice against the worker by creating a greater discrimination on the other side. I do not believe that the balance of advantages lies in the omission of the provision. On the contrary, I believe that the balance of advantages will be more on the employers' side when this alteration is made than the balance, if there be any, is on the side of the workers at the present moment.

As I have said, it is rather disconcerting at the present time, when we hear a great deal about the necessity of peace in industry, that the Government by this proposition should come down and let the workers know that they are prepared, in the days that are to come, at least to exonerate, if not to justify, employers of labour in breaking their agreements. The workers suffer if they break their agreements; they lose their wages and the unemployment benefit. The employers merely lose the services of the workers, but withhold their wages if they themselves have broken the agreement. We can only assume that this provision, like so many others in this Bill, is an attempt, not to improve the position of the unemployed, but still further to take advantage of the recommendations of the Blanesburgh Committee to secure that larger and larger numbers of people will be removed from the unemployed list. It is the more hard in this case when we recollect that those who are going to be removed from receiving unemployment benefit are those who are going to be thrown out of work for resisting an agreement being broken by their employer. It should be the duty of the Government to see that, if there is going to be any sacrifice, it shall be in the direction of securing that there shall not be more discontent in connection with this great question of unemployment. I, therefore, have much pleasure in moving the omission of these words.


I happened to be a Member of the Committee of this House in 1924 which considered the Unemployment Insurance Bill of the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw), and it is because I was a member and because my information is reinforced by personal recollection that I interpose at this moment. Really, the view expressed by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. R. Young), who has just sat down, was one which was very freely debated three years ago, and it was a view with regard to which various Members of the Committee held different opinions. The view of the right hon. Gentleman then in charge of the Bill was frankly one of scepticism. He was doubtful whether this Amendment which was ultimately moved by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Spencer), would in practice work, and whether it would give advantage to those whom it was designed to help. If I might recall to the Committee what happened in 1924, the hon. Member for Broxtowe moved an Amendment upstairs inserting this provision. The right hon. Member for Preston upstairs announced his intention of voting against the Amendment, and on a Division, five voted for its insertion and 18, including the right hon. Gentleman himself, voted against it.

On the Report stage, on the Floor of the House, this matter was raised again, and the hon. Member for Broxtowe moved an Amendment to re-insert these words which had been defeated upstairs. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill expressed his doubt whether the proposal would be workable. He first of all announced that he would not put on the Government Whips at all, the Government Whips at that time being of course the Labour Whips. At the same time, he said that he would personally vote in favour of the Clause. I think it only fair to state that the right hon. Gentleman in the discussion upstairs did say that he thought the insertion of the Amendment might prejudice the whole Bill, and it is only fair to him to say that he opposed the Amendment upstairs. However, in the last stage of the proceedings, on Report, the right hon. Gentleman again changed his mind, the Government Whips were put on, and the Amendment was passed without a division. That shows, I think, quite clearly that there was a very grave doubt in the mind of hon. Members in the Committee and those who took part in the discussion on the Report stage as to whether this proposal would or would not be an advantage. The Blanesburgh Committee considered this matter, and received evidence upon it with great care, and they made the recommendation to which the hon. Member who has moved this Amendment has referred.

Really, what it comes down to is—I can put it quite shortly—whether it is a good thing, and to the advantage of all concerned, that the court of referees and the umpire should be put in the position of arbitrator in industrial disputes. Now the view of the Blanesburgh Committee and of the Government is that, in the interests of all concerned, it is most desirable that the umpire and the court of referees should not be put in that position at all, but that industrial agreements should, in the words of the Blanesburgh report, "carry their own sanction," and, in their view, as the result of the experience which has been gained between 1924 and the present day, the provision has been, on the whole, detrimental to the interests of the keeping of agreements, because they find that "the tendency of the Clause is to discourage employers from making long-term agreements, an unfortunate result, inasmuch as such agreements are frequently of great value",

which is of common knowledge. They go on to say— Again, from the point of view of the State, it is urged that anything which tends to disturb industrial stability, is to be avoided. Moreover, Courts of Referees and the Umpire are not set up to interpret industrial agreements of this kind. I can assure the hon. Member who moved this Amendment that it really is not to the advantage of anybody that an authority like the Umpire and the Court of Referees, which is set up for one purpose only, namely, to consider claims to benefit, should be put in the position of arbitrators in disputes that may arise. Therefore, the Blanesburgh Committee came to this very deliberate conclusion in their unanimous Report: After careful consideration of the whole matter we are of opinion that the balance of advantage lies in the omission of the provision altogether. Although at first sight it may appear to be a hardship that benefit should be refused in such a case, we are convinced that, on a larger view, collective bargaining and the authority and usefulness of associations both of employers and workers will be strengthened thereby. In the light of the experience of the last three years, the Government think that the conclusion to which the Committee came was right, and it is in the interest, therefore, of agreements entered into between employers and employed that they have inserted this Clause in the Bill.


I am sorry I have to rise, and that the clock will not allow me to refer to personal matters regarding the Clause in the 1924 Bill. I could show, if I had the time, that the hon. Gentleman omitted to mention certain details of importance, but I am going to devote the few words I have to say to his contention that the provision puts the Umpire and the Court of Referees in the position of an arbitrator. It is not so. Let me put a typical case, which actually occurred. There is an agreement in Lancashire as to the hours of labour between the employers and the employed. Obviously, any employer who breaks that agreement is a traitor to his own body. If an employer breaks that agreement, and the workers refuse to work, they are penalised for refusing to work under the agreement. Could madness go further than that? That is the proposition.


It is a pity that the value which the Parliamentary Secretary places upon the recommendation of the Blanesburgh Report has not been applied to certain other provisions of this Bill. It may be very convenient for him to quote the Report against this Amendment, but, nevertheless, it may be just possible that, even as he has been obliged to admit that the Blanesburgh Committee has not been wise in making certain other recommendations, we may claim that the Committee is certainly wrong in recommending that this particular part of the Section should be omitted. The Mover of the Amendment has already pointed out the effect that this omission will have upon those who are personally interested in the Peace-in-Industry movement. If we are to be told that agreements between employers' associations and trade unions are not to be regarded as sacred—and certainly the deliberate omission of this provision implicates that—then, I am afraid, you are making it much more difficult for those of us who are trying to secure the sanctity of those agreements to succeed in our efforts.

One could understand that if this particular provision were proposed to-day for the first time, it might receive the opposition of the Minister of Labour, but, having once been incorporated in an Act of Parliament, I submit that the approach should be altogether different from that adopted by the Parliamentary Secretary on this occasion. He has not given us any actual instances of this particular part of the Clause acting detrimentally either to the employers, to the men, or to the Courts of Referees and the Umpire. The point that the Umpire is not a fit and proper person—for that is, really, the accusation made by the Parliamentary Secretary—does not seem to me to hold good. Who are the men appointed as umpires? Are they so ignorant of every other aspect of industry that they are not capable of determining whether or not an employer has committed a breach of an existing agreement? These umpires have been trained in a school that enables them to distinguish with the utmost nicety the difference between one position and another in its relation to trade agreements, and I should be prepared to say that that class of umpire is the best possible kind that you could choose to decide whether or not an agreement has been broken, and whether the men are displaced in consequence of a contravention by a particular employer. Where the men are so displaced, it seems to me it is nothing short of a crime to impose a penalty upon them, and to say that those who are affected by that breaking of the agreement by the employer shall not have benefit conferred upon them.

Reference has been made to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) took the privilege of changing his mind on evidence submitted, and it is quite possible for the Parliamentary Secretary himself, during this Debate, to alter his mind for the same reason. I think he will hear, during the discussion, good reason why this part of the original Clause should be preserved. After all, what are we considering? It is as to whether or not benefit shall be paid to men who are thrown out of work in certain circumstances, and those circumstances are covered by a condition of affairs which provides for the observance of trade agreements. It is quite true that in the first part of the Clause the Minister has been good enough to eliminate a certain disqualification, but the slight benefit conferred by that particular Amendment is more than wiped out by the limitations of the qualification provided in the original Section of the 1924 Act. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will think twice before he refuses to accept this Amendment, which is designed just as much in the interest of industrial agreements, as it is in the interest of the men whose position is affected by the omission of this part of the Clause. I hope, before he commits himself, that he will review the reasons given for the passing of this Amendment and accept it.

Commander WILLIAMS

I think probably all of us who heard the very able and excellent speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment, would agree that, from the point of view of the Committee as a whole, the speech was extraordinarily moderate in tone and showed a depth of knowledge of the whole subject which was a welcome change from the average speech which has been produced from the front Opposition bench. I feel that there is a very great deal in the point of view which he put forward. He is well known as one of those men who exercise a very sane and very moderating influence, not only in the country at large, but also in the councils of his own party. I think the Minister would be well advised, if I may be allowed to say so, to give the most careful consideration to, and to weigh very carefully the whole of the details of that speech. I do not wish in any way to criticise the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary, but I think there are one or two points which might fairly be considered at this time. Probably the whole Committee, particularly on this side, would not wish to do anything at the present time which might seem to create a balance either one way or the other in the event of industrial disputes. It is quite obvious, from this point of view, that in the event of an industrial dispute, many of us would, fundamentally, think that, if the employers had deliberately broken an agreement in such a way that it was obvious that they were in the wrong, that in itself should not, primarily, disqualify men who had contributed towards the unemployment fund. I say that primarily it should not disqualify them from obtaining benefit; but there is another point of view.

After all has been said and done, this is a contributory system, and, from the quotations which we have heard to-day, it is clear that in 1924 other people, not so well qualified as the present Minister in charge of the Bill, admitted that there was a doubt as to whether in these cases it was not better on the whole that benefit should not be paid. They had a doubt in their own minds then. May we not fairly assume that this Amendment, in spite of the way in which it is put forward, is really an Amendment which is very nice for an Opposition to put up, but would not be very practicable when you were a Government and had to work it. It has been claimed that if you have an industrial dispute of this kind, the persons who decide whether benefit is to be paid or not are the umpires. These men, if I understand their position, should be kept clearly out of all industrial disputes. They are civil servants whose duty is to decide in individual cases whether a man is out of work and is qualified for drawing benefit. If you have a whole group of men out of work one after the other claiming benefit, and one after the other claiming quite clearly that they are out of work through no fault of their own, it is a most invidious position that that civil servant should have to give a ruling that must have some direct effect on the dispute itself, that these men are actually out of work through the fault of the employer in the industrial dispute. That is the position that would arise. I am not prepared to see in this Bill, or in any other Bill, a man who is dealing with the unemployed put in a position where he may have to deal with industrial disputes in this way.

I think many of us realise there are two sides to this case. I think the Minister is right in his new Clause, and that as matters stand it is inevitable to rule out this provision, but I would like him to say in his reply whether it might not be possible, in a case where there is clear evidence that an industrial dispute has arisen because of the employers having broken their agreement, for some responsible person to have the power to say that the men shall draw benefit—that is, where it is absolutely obvious that the men are in the right and the employers are in the wrong. I think he might be able to alleviate the position of men in circumstances like that, and if he could help in that respect he would be doing something of value. I do not wish to intervene in this Debate for any length of time and I have not, so far, taken any part in this Bill, but I believe this to be a thoroughly sound Bill in the main. If there is the slightest doubt in this matter I hope the Minister will endeavour to meet it, because then he will be removing the only minute doubt which has arisen in my mind as to the inevitable benefits of the Bill to the community as a whole and the industrial workers in particular.


It is not my intention to attempt to follow the speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams). It would be practically impossible for me to do so even if I had the desire, as I think I am safe in saying that he changed his mind about six times in the course of that short speech. I can understand his being in a very difficult position, and not knowing exactly how to vote on this Bill, but I think I am right in saying that every time he has voted so far it has been in support of the Government.

Commander WILLIAMS

I fully know how to vote on the Bill, and I am fully convinced that the Government are right. I was simply saying that as far as this Amendment is concerned I had a slight doubt.


I know that the hon. and gallant Member knows exactly how to vote, though probably his own mind does not lead him in the direction he votes. He told us he had no practical or direct experience in regard to the issue raised in this Clause. I am probably in a unique position. There have been five specific cases where I have had the privilege of applying the latter part of Subsection (1) of Section 4 of the Act of 1924. In other words, employers have on five occasions made attempts to break agreements which have been entered into with them. On all five occasions that these men have been thrown out of work because the employers broke the agreement I have been successful in inducing the umpire to come to a decision in favour of the workmen concerned. I have in my hand a decision affecting 1,500 men given by the umpire this week. The decision was not given hurriedly. The dispute took place so far back as August, and the men were out of work from the 12th August to the 25th September, The employers gave notice of a reduction in wages which, as we allege, was a breach of an agreement which was to last for three years. We immediately put into operation the latter part of Subsection (1) of Section 4 of the Act of 1924. The question has gone through various courts, and every investigation has been made by the departmental officers in order to assist the umpire to come to a decision. I am not complaining that the period has been long, because I feel the umpire was justified in getting all the information he could before attempting to come to a decision. I suggest to the hon. Member opposite that the umpire is not put in the position of an arbitrator. He is asked to decide whether certain agreements have been broken by the employers or by the workmen, and if he is satisfied that an agreement has been broken by the employers he is entitled, according to the present Act, to award the workmen unemployed benefit. In this instance the umpire says: Any other interpretation of the agreement would enable the parties to destroy the foundations upon which it was based, and to render illusory the security obtained by the Clause which made the agreement operate over a definite period of three years. The stoppage of work by which the applicants lost their employment was due to the employers giving notice to reduce the base rates by 12 ½ per cent., which, in my view, is a contravention of the terms of the agreement to which both applicants and employers were parties, and the applicants are therefore entitled, to benefit by the terms of Sub-Section (1) of Section 4 of the No. 2 Act of 1924. The Parliamentary Secretary said that according to the Blanesburgh Report there was no encouragement for employers to enter into long-term agreements. I suggest to him that workmen as well as employers ought to have some safeguard in entering into agreements. If the security is taken away, what is the position when a trade union leader tells a body of his men "We can get a certain agreement, with certain conditions, for a given number of years"? The men say at once "What is the use of that? The employers can break it at any time they like. It is only on paper that it will last two, three, four or five years. If at any time the employer thinks he can gain an advantage by giving notice to break the agreement, he will do so." With Subsection (1) of Section 4 of the Act of 1924 in operation we can say to the men "No, if the employer does break this agreement you will be entitled to claim unemployment benefit, because the stoppage will not be of your seeking; it will have been the fault of the employer." That will give the men an idea that they have some security in making agreements. It seems to me that all through this Bill the Government have put everything in the way of the workers, making it impossible for men to be able to qualify for unemployment benefit, and now they are giving the employers a further weapon with which to make attacks on the workmen if they wish to reduce wages. I may be wrong in this, but it is my frank opinion that this is a supplementary Act to the Trade Disputes Act.

Under these conditions, we find the Prime Minister advocating peace in industry, and asking trade union leaders to help him to secure peace in industry with a view to putting the nation into a better position from a commercial point of view. Hon. Members opposite who support the Government cry out "Let us have peace in industry," but how can we have peace when the Government do nothing but create war. How can you have peace when you find that men who enter into an agreement for three or four years do not get a shadow of security, and at the same time you are providing more security for employers, giving them the right to bludgeon the workers into any position they like, notwithstanding agreements to the contrary? I ask the Minister of Labour and the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider their position in regard to this Clause.

I have had personal experience of a number of these cases as an agent for the miners, and a good many of these disputes have passed through my hands. In the case of the first dispute, immediately it was known that the men were going to receive unemployment benefit the employers opened the pits on the same day. The owners did this because they knew that they would have to stand to their agreement. The other case I gave is practically the same.

I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that if he takes away from the Act that particular security he will be saying to the men, or at any rate he will be putting into their minds the idea that they must avoid making long term agreements. By adopting the course laid down in this Clause you are simply telling these men that they have no security in any agreements into which they may enter. For these reasons I ask the Minister of Labour to reconsider his position, and I am sure if he makes further inquiries he will not only be able to find cases like those to which I have referred, but dozens of other similar cases which have been an advantage to industry and to the country generally. If the Government are sincere in their desire for peace in industry they should make an honest attempt to achieve that object by taking out Clause 6 and allowing the old Clause to remain as it is in the present Act. By doing that the Government would be giving some assurance to the workmen in the industry.


The hon. Member means the latter part of the Clause:




I only desire to intervene on a technical point. It has been said that those on my side of the House have little practical knowledge of unemployment; but as one of the first Chairmen of Courts of Referees I think I may claim to speak on this matter. The point has been raised as to whether an agreement which has been made and broken by an employer could be taken for interpretation before the Court of Referees. I ask the Committee carefully to consider this point. The Court of Referees consists of an impartial Chairman with assessors who frankly take sides. Surely it is asking a good deal too much to put upon such a Court the onus to decide what is in fact a question for arbitration between two sides to a dispute rather than for it to discuss facts which may later on have to be interpreted by the Umpire. What the Court of Referees is required to do is not to interpret the law or decide whether the employer or the men have broken an agreement, but to find out all the facts and apply these in accordance with the Act. In those circumstances, if there is any difficulty in regard to the interpretation on which they make a decision they know that that decision will probably be taken to the Umpire. Whatever the Minister does, I hope he will not place upon the Court of Referees a duty which belongs entirely to some other body.

12 n.


Whilst the Minister of Labour was making his case against this Amendment and whilst one of the right hon. Gentleman's supporters was taking up practically the same attitude, I noticed the Solicitor-General standing at the Bar and he was smiling and he smiled again. I think he had good reasons to smile because the very arguments which were being put from the Treasury Bench were exactly the opposite from those used by the Solicitor-General when he was dealing with the Trade Disputes Act. What is the argument which has been put forward by the Government against the Amendment? It is that the Court of Referees will be prejudiced, or rather the arbitration award will be prejudiced, by anything that the Court of Referees may do, as far as allowing benefits to the men who are unemployed through a breach of an agreement. What did the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General say in this House when they were dealing with the same question in the discussions on the Trade Disputes Act. I remember an application for an interlocutory judgment to restrain trade unions from expending their funds for certain purposes. Under the Law an injunction may be obtained to hold up the Funds, and in asking this House to give the Government the power it was argued that if it were granted it would not prejudice the merits of a particular case.

I do not deny that when a Court of Referees is deciding a claim of this sort they must have regard to the fact that what they do will be considered as a relevant factor in the case when the particular merits come to be tried before an arbitration court. But although that may be so, it does not follow from the fact that a Court of Referees has given benefits to the men on the merits of the case that the Court of Arbitration will follow suit and say the men are bound to be right because the Court of Referees said they were entitled to benefit. That no more follows than it would follow to say that in a case sent from the County Court to the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords for final arbitration those tribunals would follow suit one after another. We know that the decisions of a county court are sometimes reversed in the Court of Appeal or when the case comes to another place here, although we cannot deny that when the case thus goes to appeal it will be considered.

With regard to arbitration itself, arbitration does not necessarily follow on a decision by the court of referees. The society of my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment, my own society, and about 45 other societies, are in this position to-day, that we have an appeal for an advance of wages, but the employers are refusing to go to arbitration. It does not necessarily follow that, after the Court of Referees have given their decision, there will be an arbitration at all It is a most serious matter for a Minister of the Crown in the House of Commons to put before us, who have spent our lives in industrial negotiations, a proposal of this kind. As my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Cape) has said, it is one of the inducements that we hold out to our men, when entering into an agreement, that the law of the country will protect them, and that at least they will get unemployment benefit if they are clearly in the right. Up and down the country we have schedules of prices which are solemnly entered into, with a signed covenant that they shall not be broken without due notice, and, if an employer of labour defies his own association or federation and breaks through such an agreement, throwing his men automatically out on to the street, are those men to be deprived of benefit? If that be out on to the street, are those men to be deprived of benefit? If that be the intention of the Minister, it is a most serious proposition.

I want to emphasise what has been said by two or three hon. Members regarding the endeavours that have been made for peace in industry. Every sane man wants peace in industry, but we do not want peace at any price, and we are not going to have peace under these conditions. The position is most serious, and I note that even Members on the opposite side have said that the rejection of this Amendment will make things infinitely worse in the country. We are working to a time schedule, and I understand that we have to divide in a few minutes, but much more could be said on this Amendment. I would earnestly impress upon the Minister that what he is doing is not going to be conducive to good relationships between employers and labour in this country.

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland)

I do not want to take up time unduly, and I will answer the points that have been raised as, briefly as I can. I have very great sympathy with what was said by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Torquay (Commander Williams). This is a case of the balance of advantage one way or the other. It is perfectly right and justifiable for hon. Members to give the reasons on both sides, and that is what I have endeavoured to think of myself. I am not going to shelter my self behind the Blanesburgh Report. It seems to be thought by some that we are willing to pick and choose from that Report, taking those points which suit us and ignoring those which do not—


That is what you have been doing all through this Bill.


I have been following the Report with one main exception. I am not going to argue again how far this is a proper set of subjects to bring before either a Court of Referees or an Umpire. This type of subject, namely, the keeping of agreements, would be perfectly appropriate for the Chairman of the Industrial Court to consider, but I am not at all sure that it is the kind of subject which an umpire—who under this system is in an entirely different position—ought necessarily to be called upon to consider, or which it is of advantage to call upon him to consider. I am not certain whether hon. Members opposite will believe me, but I am saying exactly what I think myself. I am very anxious to have agreements kept, and I am not in the least degree moved by trying to give an advantage to one side or the other in industry. I think that on the whole this is a right Clause and a right provision, and I will give my reasons.

The hon. Member who moved this Amendment did so, I think, under a misunderstanding of the actual results of the Clause. Let me try to explain it. If I am not quite as clear as I would hope to be, it is the result, perhaps, of my having a good deal of explanation to make and a good deal of worry during the past week. With regard to trade disputes, the existing state of the law, as apart from this question of agreement is this: Workers engaged in a trade dispute do not get benefit; that is a point against them. On the other hand, the places that are vacant by reason of a trade dispute cannot be offered to other workers, or at any rate the refusal of places vacant by reason of a trade dispute is no cause of disqualifying other workers from themselves getting benefit. That is a proviso of Section 7 of the Act of 1920. The hon. Member will see that one of these conditions acts against the workmen who are unemployed, and the other acts as a protection for the workmen who are unemployed by reason of a trade dispute.

Practically it amounts to this, that it prevents the insurance system from being brought in to try and bias the scales on one side or the other so far as a trade dispute is concerned. That is the object of both of the conditions together. From what the hon. Member said, he appears to think that the result of this Clause would be to take away the second part, which is a protection to the workers, and that it would allow their places to be offered to other workmen who, if they did not accept them, would be disqualified for benefit. That would not follow from this Clause at all. Whether an employer be guilty of a breach of a national agreement or not, if a trade dispute occurs it will be perfectly open, if this Clause be passed, for other workers who are not employed to refuse to take the vacant places, without that refusal acting to disqualify them for receiving benefit. I think the hon. Member who moved this Amendment was afraid that it would act as a disqualification, and that that was one of his reasons—


I want to be assured that, in the event of men being thrown out of work through the employer breaking an agreement, the vacant places will not be taken by people sent from the employment exchange.


That is certainly the case; the Clause does not remove the second of these conditions, which, as I have said, acts to the advantage of the workmen. They will be able to take full advantage of it if this Clause be passed just as they were before, and I would not wish to take it away in those circumstances.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question? What redress has a workman if an employer breaks an agreement and the workman loses his benefit? What legal redress has the workman then under this Section of British law?


I wish the Attorney-General were here. [Interruption.] I can answer most of the legal questions with regard to my own Bill, but that is quite a general question. I think that any lawyer would give the hon. Member the answer for which he wishes, which is that in case of a breach of agreement the person who is damaged by the breach of agreement has ground for an action at law against the other. That interruption was not in point as regards this matter, and the apprehension of the hon. Member is perfectly ground less. As was the case before this Clause was introduced, a workman who is thrown out of work by reason of a trade dispute can be satisfied that he has this right, that his place cannot be offered to some other person who is induced to take it because otherwise he would be disqualified. The workman will be safe if this Clause is passed, precisely to the same extent as before. That takes away the first great apprehension that he expressed. My first reason for supporting this Clause is not that it creates inequality between the two parties to a dispute, but that it really puts them on an equality, and I would ask hon. Members opposite to note what otherwise would be the result if the present state of the law were continued. At present, that provision that slipped through in the previous Bill at a fairly late stage, with a good many misgivings—


We had a capacity for slipping things through.


Certainly, we did not obstruct. That which was slipped through was accepted with misgivings. It gives an advantage to one side only. There would be a perfectly necessary logical corollary, and it would be this, that, if on the other side, work- men were guilty and went out in a dispute in breach of an agreement themselves, they ought to suffer some sort of penalty of the same kind.


They do not only suffer from the legal standpoint, but from the standpoint of the trade unions as well. We have had some 30 years' experience of this matter.


I am talking now of the same kind of penalty. A disqualification which would balance this if it were continued, and which ought logically and necessarily to be introduced, would be that if workmen broke an agreement and went out their places should be offered to others. What is sauce for the goose is really sauce for the gander. If a workman is to get benefit when an employer breaks a general agreement, the necessary and perfectly logical counterpart, which could not in justice be refused, is that if the workmen broke their agreement their places should be offered, which they cannot be now, to other people and a refusal would be a disqualification for benefit. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is a stretch of the imagination!"] It is not a stretch of the imagination at all. It is a perfectly natural counterpart,

Division No. 424.] AYES. [12.23 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Christie, J. A. Grace, John
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Alnsworth, Major Charles Clayton, G. C. Grant, Sir J. A.
Albery, Irving James Cobb, Sir Cyril Grotrian, H. Brent
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Colman, N. C. D. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Cooper, A. Duff Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cope, Major William Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Couper, J. B. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Haslam, Henry C.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Hilton, Cecil
Betterton, Henry B. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Boothby, R. J. G. Davies, Dr. Vernon Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Dean, Arthur Wellesley Holt, Capt. H. P.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Drewe, C. Hopkins, J. W. W.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Eden, Captain Anthony Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Edmondson, Major A. J. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Brittain, Sir Harry Elliot, Major Walter E. Hume, Sir G. H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Ellis, R. G. Huntingfield, Lord
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Iliffe, Sir Edward M.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd, Hexham) Everard, W. Lindsay Iveagh, Countess of
Burman, J. B. Fairfax, Captain J. G. James Lieut.-Colonel Hon Cuthbert
Burton, Colonel H. W. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Ford, Sir P. J. King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Campbell, E. T. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Fraser, Captain Ian Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Loder, J. de V.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Ganzonl, Sir John Looker, Herbert William
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Lumley, L. R.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Gower, Sir Robert Lynn, Sir R. J.

and no one really can claim that what is sauce for the goose should not be sauce for the gander. Id o not want that to happen either. It is a necessary and logical counterpart, but, of course, it is not one that hon. Members opposite would accept, and that is why I say, perfectly genuinely and honestly, that to try to twist an Insurance Act into an instrument which it was not intended to be, is to make a misuse of it. If you do it for one side, you have to do it for the other. I do not believe the present provision is a great protection. You do not really promote the cause of industrial peace in this way at all, and every one knows I have tried to do so to the best of my ability. What I am urging is that a provision of this kind is put forward under an utterly mistaken idea of the consequences to which it will lead. The Clause does not have the effect the hon. Member apprehended, and to proceed on other lines would be to lead to developments which, if not disastrous, would be very regrettable, and I think regretted by hon. Members opposite as much as by anyone on this side of the House.

Question put, "That the words 'and as if' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 174; Noes, 86.

McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Tasker, R. Inigo.
Maclntyre, Ian Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Templeton, W. P.
McLean, Major A. Rye, F. G. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Salmon, Major I. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Macquisten, F. A. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
MacRobert, Alexander M. Sandeman, N. Stewart Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Sandon, Lord Wallace, Captain D. E.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Malone, Major P. B. Savery, S. S. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Margesson, Captain D. Shepperson, E. W. Wells, S. R.
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Meyer, Sir Frank Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Moore, Sir Newton J. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Moreing, Captain A. H. Smithers, Waldron Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Nelson, Sir Frank Sprot, Sir Alexander Withers, John James
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Wolmer, Viscount
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Steel, Major Samuel Strang Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Perring, Sir William George Streatfeild, Captain S. R. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Power, Sir John Cecil Sugden, Sir Wilfrid TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Mr. Penny and Major the Marquess
of Titchfield
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hayday, Arthur Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Sexton, James
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hirst, G. H. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Sitch, Charles H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bondfield, Margaret Kennedy, T. Snell, Harry
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Buchanan, G. Kirkwood, D. Stamford, T. W.
Cape, Thomas Lansbury, George Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Lawrence, Susan Sutton, J. E.
Clowes, S. Lawson, John James Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Compton, Joseph Lunn, William Thurtle, Ernest
Connolly, M. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon) Tinker, John Joseph
Cove, W. G. Mackinder, W. Townend, A. E.
Dalton, Hugh Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) March, S. Varley, Frank B.
Day, Colonel Harry Montague, Frederick Vlant, S. P.
Dennison, R. Morris, R. H Wallhead, Richard C.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Webb, Rt. hon. Sidney
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Naylor, T. E. Wellock, Wilfred
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Palin, John Henry Westwood, J
Glbblns, Joseph Paling, W. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Gosling, Harry Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wright, W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Ponsonby, Arthur Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Potts, John S.
Grundy, T. W. Ritson, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Rose, Frank H. A Barnes

I beg to move, in page 5, line 40, to leave out the word "all," and to insert instead thereof the words "there were substituted for."

The effect of this Amendment and the following Amendment, if carried, will be that the Act will read: or that the stoppage is due to an employer acting in a manner so as to contravene the terms or provisions of any agreement existing between him and a trade union. Our desire is, that the present conditions of things, dealing, as it does, with a group of employers and with national agreements, should give place to the individual employer and his agreement with a trade union. If I wanted to call evidence in support of the Amendment, I should need only to quote the remarks made earlier this morning by the Parliamentary Secretary, and by the Minister in his last statement. Indeed, both those statements went to prove that if there are any difficulties under the present wording they would absolutely disappear if you narrow the Clause down to the definite agreement entered into between the employer and the trade union, although I am not convinced that the present condition in the existing Act has done other than prove very useful. No difficulties have arisen. its application has worked fairly smoothly. There has been no question of taking sides. There has been no question of an employer being unfairly dealt with, but the employé has had some degree of safeguard, except in the case where a national group of employers have had a local breakaway from their own association. There, difficulties have accrued in consequence. I was somewhat taken aback by the Minister's sudden acceptance of an Amendment of mine yesterday, but I shall be ready on this occasion if he will now get up and say, "I accept the Amendment that you are now proposing."

I feel that the Amendment will make one of the greatest contributions towards stability and understanding in industry generally. If he does not accept it, this is the position he will create. If Clause 6 of the Bill goes through as at present worded, he will get a position in which employers will break from their own associations, and will break the agreement that they have made with the trade union. They will know full well that the penalty will fall on the members of the trade union in being refused benefit at the Employment Exchange, although they paid for that benefit and have committed no crime or error that would justify their exclusion from a right to it. All the balance of advantage will go to the employer who is desirous of breaking the agreement, and of upsetting the terms and conditions within a section of his industry. He will use the disqualification of the men as an extra pressure to compel acceptance of a breach of contract that the employers and the trade union have entered into.

If you consider the balance of advantage to the nation and the Fund and you hold the balance evenly between the various contributors, you will find that the balance will fall positively on the side of peace in industry, on the side of the honouring and the continued honouring of agreements; but, if on the other hand, you allow agreements to be broken, you at once begin to give opportunities for those who are antagonistic to the Whitley Councils and the Joint Industrial Councils, the machinery of which we desire to be made more effective, more useful and more salutary. We are always urging the national body of employers to keep a tight check upon some of the worst types in their organisations who are constantly attempting to break the area agreements entered into between the employers' associations and the trade unions.

If you allow this Clause to go without the proviso which I seek to insert, you will leave the field open for action of the kind I have indicated. I know of five or six principal industries where you will have sections of employers in certain parts of the country, where the distress is keen and where unemployment is rampant, seizing the opportunity to commit a breach of agreement by endeavouring to impose conditions worse than those covered in the agreement. They will break up the possibility of the stabilisation of agreements such as are now going on for one or two years as an earnest of continued peace. They will take advantage of the men isolated from the Exchange. They will go to the Exchange and the Exchange manager will only be able to say that there is a dispute at a certain place by reason of the employer committing a breach of agreement, and that same agent of the employer—what I am about to say is absolutely true—if he cannot get his labour supplied properly through the machinery of the Employment Exchange he will be outside the Employment Exchange amongst the groups of men outside, and will offer to take them direct from the street into his works, under circumstances of the new imposition which represents a breach of his agreement. If that be so, surely we are justified in asking that as there have been no adverse consequences, no outcry or at any rate no cry of any magnitude against the present provisions, then if there be any doubt of the effect in the future let us alter slightly the wording of the Bill and make it clear that any employer who breaks his national agreement or breaks an agreement with a trade union will not be in a position to add to those acts a penalising act with respect to men securing unemployment benefit.


A great part of the remarks of the hon. Member in moving the Amendment would have been as relevant to the Amendment which we have just decided as the present one, and I do not want to repeat the arguments used by my right hon. Friend in saying that we cannot accept the Amendment. In one respect this Amendment goes further than the other. If I understand it rightly, it will limit the relief claimed to cases where there is an agreement between the employers and the trade union. The hon. Member will see at once that that would be limiting the relief, on which we set such great store, to those who are members of a trade union. That is a sample of class legislation to which I am sure none of us would like to give countenance. We cannot legislate against groups of persons who do not happen to belong to trade associations.


The only thing I desired to emphasise was that the agreements properly established indicated and understandable, are only those agreements which exist as between groups of employers and respective trade unions. There are no other agreements that I know of.


I am not sure that I can accept that as a complete statement of the situation. In any case, to accept an Amendment which would give relief to those who may belong to a trade union and to deny it to others would, I think, be accepting a principle which would be unacceptable to the House in general.


The point of view taken by the average trade unionist in connection with a Bill of this kind would be that they are contributing for the day of adversity when they may become unemployed, and unless the Government accept the Amendment those people will natur-

Division No. 425.] AYES. [12.47 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Dawson, Sir Philip
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Campbell, E. T. Dean, Artnur Wellesley
Ainsworth, Major Charles Cautley, Sir Henry S. Drewe, C.
Albery, Irving James Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Eden, Captain Anthony
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Edmondson, Major A. J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Elliot, Major Walter E.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Ellis, R. G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)
Balniel, Lord Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Chilcott, Sir Warden Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Christie, J. A. Everard, W. Lindsay
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Fairfax, Captain J. G.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Clayton, G. C. Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Cobb, Sir Cyril Ford, Sir P. J.
Bennett, A. J. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Forestier-Walker, Sir L.
Betterton, Henry B. Colman, N. C. D. Foxcroft, Captain C. T.
Boothby, R. J. G. Cooper, A. Duff Fraser, Captain Ian
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Cope, Major William Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Couper, J. B. Ganzonl, Sir John
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Brittain, Sir Harry Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Gower, Sir Robert
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Grace, John
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Grant, Sir J. A.
Burman, J. B. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Grotrlan, H. Brent
Burton, Colonel H. W. Davies, Dr. Vernon Gunston, Captain D. W.

ally say that as the result of an injustice on the part of the employer who has broken from the association they are being penalised. They will go further and in ordinary parlance say that they are being twisted out of something to which they are legitimately entitled, seeing that they will not be in any way responsible for the breaking of the agreement. They will say that they are being penalised for the bad conduct of the employer or a body of employers. It is not a question of class legislation and it is not a matter of putting the bias one way or another. We are simply asking that the men or women concerned should be given that to which they are legitimately entitled, seeing that they have contributed towards it, when a dispute arises as a result of the conduct of an employer or a body of employers. On strictly moral grounds they are entitled to benefit. That is the point of view taken by the average member of a trade union.


I do not think hon. Members opposite desire to prolong this discussion, but the short answer to the point that has been raised is that it illustrates the danger of Amendments which bring in the umpire and court of referees, involving them in the construction of agreements and, therefore, in trade disputes.

Question put, "That the word 'all' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 184; Noes, 91.

Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) McLean, Major A. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Macquisten, F. A. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) MacRobert, Alexander M. Smithers, Waldron
Haslam, Henry C. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Malone, Major P. B. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Margesson, Captain D. Storry-Deans, R.
Hilton, Cecil Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Meller, R. J. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Meyer, Sir Frank Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Holt, Capt. H. P. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hopkins, J. W. W. Moore, Sir Newton J. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Moreing, Captain A. H. Templeton, W. P.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Hume, Sir G. H. Nelson, Sir Frank Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Huntingfield, Lord Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Illffe, Sir Edward M. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Penny, Frederick George Wallace, Captain D. E.
Iveagh, Countess of Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Perkins, Colonel E. K. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Perring, Sir William George Wells, S. R.
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrympla-
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Power, Sir John Cecil Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Remnant, Sir James Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Loder, J. de V. Salmon, Major l. Withers, John James
Long, Major Eric Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Wolmer, Viscount
Looker, Herbert William Sandeman, N. Stewart Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Sandon, Lord Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Lumley, L. R. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Lynn, Sir R. J. Savery, S. S.
McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W R., Sowerby) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Macintyre, Ian Shepperson, E. W. Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr.
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) F. C. Thomson.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hardie, George D. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro) Hayday, Arthur Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Ammon, Charles George Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Sitch, Charles H.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hirst, G. H. Snell, Harry
Batey, Joseph Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bondfield, Margaret Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Stamford, T. W.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Kennedy, T. Stephen, Campbell
Buchanan, G. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Sutton, J. E.
Cape, Thomas Kirkwood, D. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Charleton, H. C. Lawrence, Susan Thurtle, Ernest
Clowes, S. Lawson, John James Tinker, John Joseph
Compton, Joseph Lunn, William Townend, A. E.
Connolly, M. Mackinder, W. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Cove, W. G. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Varley, Frank B.
Dalton, Hugh March, S. Vlant, S. P.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Montague, Frederick Wallhead, Richard C.
Day, Colonel Harry Morris, R. H. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Dennison, R. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Dunnico, H. Naylor, T. E. Wellock, Wilfred
Edge, Sir William Palln, John Henry Westwood, J.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Paling, W. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Ponsonby, Arthur Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Gibbins, Joseph Potts, John S. Wright, W.
Gosling, Harry Ritson, J. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Rose, Frank H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Scurr, John Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Grundy, T. W. Sexton, James A. Barnes.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


If we allow this Clause to go to a Division without discussion it must not be understood that we have not profound objection to it and that we do not think the law is not in need of strengthening instead of weakening.


I want to say one word. I want it to be on record so that the employers in the steel and tin plate industries will know that I have expressed in the House of Commons what I have said outside for the last 30 years. In the steel trade we have had a conciliation board and have developed it into a Whitley Council during the last 40 years, and we have never had a single general strike during that period. But we have had guerilla warfare with some unscrupulous employers. The employers have tried to impress upon the trade union leaders in these trades the advisability of bringing the unscrupulous into the conciliation board so that influence might be brought to bear on them. This Clause is the most reactionary thing that has been done in relation to a conciliation board or a Whitley Council during the past 30 or 40 years, because it is giving an opening for unscrupulous employers to break away from agreements, and, first, to deprive the men of their benefit and then to force down wages and conditions.

Division No. 426.] AYES. [12.58 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Hume, Sir G. H.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Huntingfield, Lord
Ainsworth, Major Charles Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Galnsbro) Iliffe, Sir Edward M.
Albery, Irving James Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Iveagh, Countess of
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Davies, Dr. Vernon Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Dawson, Sir Philip Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Balniel, Lord Dean, Arthur Wellesley King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Drewe, C. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Eden, Captain Anthony Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Edmondson, Major A. J. Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Elliot, Major Walter E. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Ellis, R. G. Loder, J. de V.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Long, Major Eric
Bennett, A. J. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Looker, Herbert William
Betterton, Henry B. Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Blades, Sir George Rowland Everard, W. Lindsay Lumley, L. R.
Boothby, R. J. G. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Lynn, Sir R. J.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Falle, Sir Bertram G McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Ford, Sir P. J. Macintyre, I.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Forestier-Walker, Sir L. McLean, Major A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Foxcrott, Captain C. T. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Brittain, Sir Harry Fraser, Captain Ian Macquisten, F. A.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Ganzoni, Sir John Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Burman, J. B. Gower, Sir Robert Malone, Major P. B.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Grace, John Margesson, Captain D.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Campbell, E. T. Grant, Sir J. A. Meller, R. J.
Carver, Major W. H. Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E) Meyer, Sir Frank
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Grotrian, H. Brent Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Gunston, Captain D. W. Moore, Sir Newton J.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Moreing, Captain A. H.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Nelson, Sir Frank
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Chilcott, Sir Warden Haslam, Henry C. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Christie, J. A. Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Clayton, G. C. Hilton, Cecil Perring, Sir William George
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Power, Sir John Cecil
Colman, N. C. D. Holt, Captain H. P. Pownall, Sir Assheton
Cooper, A. Duff Hopkins, J. W. W. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Cope, Major William Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Couper, J. B. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Russell, Alexander West(Tynemouth)

Secondly, the Clause is the biggest swindle possible. If a workman breaks an agreement he is not entitled to benefit, and we are agreeable. The trade union will back any employer where a man breaks an agreement. Under this Clause the employers can break agreements, and the men are then to be deprived of their benefit. I protest against the Clause, and I always will protest against it, not only in this House, but on every platform in the country.


After listening to the speech of the Minister of Labour I am quite satisfied that any applicant for the position of secretary of an employers' federation will have only to make that speech to secure the job.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 189; Noes, 93.

Salmon, Major I. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G.F. Wells, S. R.
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Storry-Deans, R. White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
Sandeman, N. Stewart Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Sandon, Lord Streatfeild, Captain S. R. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Savery, S. S. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby) Tasker, R. Inigo. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Shepperson, E. W. Templeton, W. P. Withers, John James
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell- Wolmer, Viscount
Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Smithers Waldron Wallace, Captain D. E.
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Sprot, Sir Alexander Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle) Mr. p. C. Thomson and Mr. Penny.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West) Groves, T. Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Grundy, T. W. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles George Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hardie, George D. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hayday, Arthur Sitch, Charles H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Snell, Harry
Barnes, A. Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Batey, Joseph Hirst, G. H. Stamford, T. W.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South/ Stephen, Campbell
Bondfield, Margaret Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sutton, J. E.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Kennedy, T. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Buchanan, G. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Thurtle, Ernest
Cape, Thomas Kirkwood, D Tinker, John Joseph
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury, George Townend, A. E.
Clowes, S. Lawrence, Susan Varley, Frank B.
Compton, Joseph Lawson, John James Viant, S. P.
Connolly, M. Lunn, William Wallhead, Richard C.
Cove, W. G. Mackinder, W. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Dalton, Hugh Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) March, S. Wellock, Wilfred
Day, Colonel Harry Montague, Frederick Westwood, J.
Dennison, R. Morris, R. H. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Dunnico, H. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edge, Sir William Naylor, T. E. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Edwards. C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Palin, John Henry Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Paling, W. Wright, W.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Gibbins, Joseph Ponsonby, Arthur
Gosling, Harry Potts, John S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine) Ritson, J. Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. B.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Smith
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Rose, Frank H.