HC Deb 08 December 1927 vol 211 cc1701-21

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

In 1924 we altered Section 8 of the principal Act in order to equalise in some measure the responsibility for creating a trade dispute. The first part of the Section said that the men who were responsible for a dispute, or the insured person who participated in a trade dis- pute, or financed it or were directly interested in it, could not receive unemployment benefit from the unemployment fund. The latter part of the Section dealt with the employers who were responsible for a stoppage because they had contravened the terms or arrangements in any district, or even in a national sense. This Bill seeks to eliminate the latter part of that Section and make it much easier for the employers to break existing agreements, but still penalise the workmen for anything that they may do in that particular connection.

We made an attempt in the Committee stage to convince the Minister that we were right in our contention, and that the present law ought to be allowed to stand. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply to the case that we put, pointed out that Clause 6 of this Bill would not alter the situation in any respect from the present state of the law. He said on Friday last that in the case of any particular dispute in the future, under this Clause the men would not be penalised, because their places could not be filled by other people. He said, as a matter of fact, it was an injustice really to the employers, and further, that if it should be that men who were unemployed and were receiving unemployment insurance benefit were offered the work of these men who were engaged in a trade dispute and they refused it, their unemployment benefit would still continue. He argued that this new Clause was bringing about an equality between the insured persons and the employers which had not previously existed. The right hon. Gentleman said the present law was giving the workmen a great advantage over the employers, and that in reality, to put the two on an equality, what really ought to happen was that although the workmen were prevented from receiving unemployment benefit when participating in a trade dispute, the employers ought to be able to offer their places to other workmen and not to keep those places vacant as happens to-day.

I want to cite an actual case to the Minister, in order to show him at least that this new Clause 6 is going to have a very much different effect on the situation in the country from what the existing law has at the moment. I have an actual case in my own division where a colliery firm owning two collieries has for the past 30 years always carried out district, county and national arrangements. It may be a coincidence—I do not know—but it is singular that after this Bill had been printed and circulated these owners placed on the pit bank a notice that from a certain day the pit could only continue to remain open provided the workmen would agree, not to the 89 per cent. on their basis, in keeping with the district and county arrangement, but provided they were prepared to agree to 50 per cent. on their basis, instead of 89 per cent. It was put in another form, and it was said that if the men wanted to continue work at these two collieries, then in future at the end of a week, when they get their pay slip, there will be one-fifth deducted from: the total, which will equal the arrangement of the reduction of 39 per cent. from the 89 per cent. to the 50 per cent. on the basis, that is to say, that the men at these two collieries had an offer of work provided that they were prepared to work five days, and draw four for themselves, and give the employers the fifth.

This is one of the effects that this particular Clause will have. The Minister, on Friday, said, as his main argument, that trade agreements and conditions of labour ought not to be brought before the umpire, and that in case of disputed benefit the umpire, under the Unemployment Insurance Act, ought not to be called upon to interpret whether the trade agreement had been broken or had not been broken and that that was really a matter for an Industrial Court. I want to say quite frankly that whether it is a matter for an Industrial Court or not, in the case of disputed unemployment benefit it is imperative that the umpire, under the Unemployment Insurance Act, should have before him the whole of the facts in order that he may come to a right decision as to whether the men are right or the employers are right. I have cited an actual case which has happened since this Bill came before the House, and if the Clause be allowed to stand, it means that a district arrangement in future under this Bill will never be secure and will not be safe under the law. What will happen will be that in a district where employers have already broken a district arrangement, other employers will find that they have to compete against a firm that is being allowed by this process to reduce wages and further to lower the workpeople's standard of life, and those other employers will say, "If we do the same, we are protected under the new Act, and we will do the same because we have to compete in this district with other employers who are doing it." It is a very dangerous weapon that the right hon. Gentleman is putting into the hands of the employers, a weapon that neither trade unionism nor anything else can stand up against, because it gives employers the power to offer men low wages and bad conditions, knowing that it will be impossible for the men to stand out, because they know they will be refused benefit and that the guardians cannot pay the same out-relief under the stringent directions of the Minister of Health as they would like to do. You will thus set up throughout the country a similar competition between individual firms to that which exists with regard to our foreign trade to-day.

Knowing that the Minister of Labour prides himself upon being a strong advocate of industrial peace, I want to say to him very frankly that the effect of this Clause will be to breed industrial unrest and, to a greater extent than ever before, to create chaos among the working classes of this country. This Clause will enable the worst type of employer to break all kinds of district arrangements, knowing that he has the protection of the Clause to prevent the men securing unemployment benefit. It will create an unhealthy and unnatural competition, it will increase the possibility of trade disputes, and it will arouse industrial enmity rather than promote industrial peace. For these reasons, I urge the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment and to prevent something which he himself probably does not see at the moment, but which we can see. If the insertion of this Clause will not, as he said last Friday, alter the present law, let Kim accept our Amendment and allow the present law to operate, in order that our people may have a fair opportunity in the event of trade disputes arising.


I beg to second the Amendment.

In doing so, I want to quote a similar case to that quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Mr. Whiteley). If, as my hon. Friend says, the Amendment makes no alteration in the existing law, there is no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not accept it. This Bill, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) said on the Second Reading, contains more than one instance where the right hon. Gentleman himself put more than a little bit of grit into the wheels of industrial negotiation, and if there is one thing more than another that the right hon. Gentleman should try to avoid, it is creating unnecessary competition and intensifying the difficulties that now exist. At the particular colliery at which I had the good fortune or the misfortune to work for so many years, we had an experience similar to that quoted by my hon. Friend. In 1914, 1915, and 1916, for two and a-half years, we persisted in trying to build up a list of prices for work done which would last for the life of that colliery, and after lengthy and costly negotiations our prices were finally arranged. The terms were carried out until a recent year, when an opportunity was seen by the owners of the colliery to take advantage of the situation which then presented itself, and they did not hesitate, realising that no unemployment pay would be available and that the guardians would not be willing to grant assistance to men who refused to accept their employers' conditions, to post a notice at the pithead intimating that on and from a certain date, unless the workmen were willing to continue work on terms and conditions which the employers themselves laid down, the colliery would be closed and the whole of the men turned on the street. In such circumstances the workmen had no alternative but to accept the inevitable and tremendous reduction in the terms originally arranged between both parties.

As my hon. Friend has truly said, if employers are going to be allowed to take undue advantage of this Clause, it will be a continuance of "Beggar my neighbour," for if one colliery company can reduce the pay rates for its employés, it must be obvious to every Member that other colliery companies will be obliged, if they are to have an equal chance of competing with their neighbours, to insist upon similar reductions. It seems to me that this is going to give a further opportunity for the sinners to be allowed to control the saints in the industrial life of the country. Other Clauses in the Bill, where, for instance, the young men are going to be pitted against older men, are mot going to help the relations between employers and employed, nor are they going to help us to reach that state of industrial peace that so many people think is desirable in this country. This Bill ought in no circumstances to make industrial relationships any worse than they are now, and I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to offer the slightest loophole for any unscrupulous employers to make it more difficult for decent employers, who would willingly do so, to abide by terms and conditions that have been arranged over a long period of time. This Clause as it stands is a further piece of grit entering our industrial machinery, and it should be amended in order, first, to allow workpeople to have a fair and equitable chance when wages and conditions are under review, and in order, secondly, to prevent any intensification of the bitterness and hatred that exist at the moment. The Government should at least allow the Bill to go through in such a form that it will in no way endanger what possibilities there may be at the moment of decent relationships existing.


I have listened with great care to the careful and moderate speeches with which this Amendment was put before the House. The hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Whiteley), who moved it, says that this Clause as it stands puts an unfair weapon into the hands of the employer. In 1920 Unemployment Insurance had a general application with the exception of three main groups of people. Prior to 1912 it applied to no one, but I have recollection of great industrial disputes before 1912 in which unions were perfectly certain that they had a just cause for a fight. They will be in precisely the same position as they were in before 1912. Surely, trade unions possess the same general body of powers as they did then, and greater than they possessed prior to 1906. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is quite clear and definite. Prior to 1906, the powers of trade unions to deal with the kind of case we are now considering were very effective. Therefore, I think that the hon. Member, who put his case with great care and moderation, was overstating it when he said it was putting an unfair weapon in the hands of the employers. The words we are proposing to leave out of the Act of 1924 are— or that the stoppage is due to an employer acting in a manner so as to contravene the terms of the provisions of any agreement existing between a group of employers," etc. Somebody has got to decide whether the dispute does arise out of breach of the agreement. Who is going to decide?


Who has done it since 1920?


I agree it might have been done in the past, but you are imposing very great difficulties. If the workmen are aggrieved because of a breach of contract, the obvious remedy is the remedy of suing the employer. [HON. MEMBEES: "Nonsense!"] Why do hon. Members say "Nonsense"? Why not sue the employer if an agreement has been broken? They are the people who have committed the offence. The offence has been committed by the employers. not by the custodians of the insurance fund


The hon. Gentleman asked a question which ought to have a reply. He asked why the workpeople do not sue the employer? He must know that there is no possible chance of suing an employer if the employer gives the workmen seven days' notice that on and from a certain day the terms and conditions previously enjoyed will be dispensed with.


Whether the workman can sue the employer does not depend on the question of seven days, but on the terms of the agreement that are broken. If they are drawn in such a way that contravention makes it possible for employers to take advantage of the protection of the Court, the men have a remedy. [An HON. MEMBER: "You do not know the industry!"] It may be the case that agreements do not contain such clauses, but perhaps the time has arrived when they should. Why not treat industrial disputes by the method of arbitration to which commercial disputes are taken, that is, arbitration by process before a Court of law? Why should a dispute existing between A and B penalise C, C being the rest of the contributors to the Insurance Fund? After all, you are asking the rest of the body of workmen and employers who have contributed to that fund to divert part of that fund to be used in support of the participants of a trade dispute.

There is, I think, one clear line to be taken with regard to the whole question. No industrial dispute ought to be subsidised, one side or the other, by the rest of the community. If you lay that down as a general principle, and it is a general principle that cannot be chal- lenged, namely, that the actual participants are not entitled to any form of subsidy, you have a clear line to work on. If you do not accept that principle, and think that in certain circumstances one of the parties to a dispute is entitled to a subsidy from the rest of the community, then if the other party happens to be wrong, if the workpeople happen to contravene an agreement, the employer has an equal claim to a subsidy. If you are going to use a fund, which is devised to deal with ordinary unemployment, in support of a dispute, both sides have an equal claim on the Fund. If you stick to the broad principle, that this Fund, which was established for certain specific purposes, shall not be used for other purposes, you are committing no offence against the general body of workmen, for whom the Minister is, for the time being, the custodian.


The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) has not quite stated the position. He has spoken of unemployment benefit being paid to a man or woman engaged in a dispute as being tantamount to subsidising one side of the dispute. Hitherto the Act has operated in such a way that there was no question of subsidy because the machinery of the Act made it possible for no benefit to be paid until it was decided whether the employer was in default or not in locking the employés out. Furthermore, it has to be proved that the employer had broken an agreement. Under the Act, the employés who were locked out were unemployed through no fault of their own. But if, on the other hand, it was proved by the umpire that the employés themselves had broken an agreement, they were not paid unemployment pay. Furthermore, their own respective unions were accustomed to deal with them and did not pay them unemployment pay. So they were penalised by their own trade union. If this Amendment be not accepted the men will be penalised through no fault of their own but through the unjust and unfair action of an employer. The hon. Member for Reading must be well aware that it is not easy to follow his advice that the unions should take these cases to the Courts, and further I suggest to the House that we ought not to pass legislation which will cause more litigation, our endeavour should be to reduce litigation. I suggest that no case has been made out for a change in the law, and all we ask in our Amendment is that the status quo should obtain. Unless we agree to this, men whose employers have deliberately broken an agreement by locking them out will say they are being robbed of benefits for which they have paid, and will be justified in saying extremely harsh things about the Minister and the Government.

The building industry like many other industries, makes national agreements on hours and wages. It often happens that employers in certain districts will "kick over the traces" and endeavour to upset a national or a district agreement by coming to another arrangement with their own employés. I should have thought the Minister of Labour would see the advantage that lies in our proposal from the point of view of minimising the number of industrial disputes, and assisting trade unions in their endeavours to see that national or district agreements are carried out. Under this Bill there will be an inducement to an employer who is outside a federation, or to one who is prepared to break away from his federation, to ignore a national or district agreement, and that will lead to more industrial unrest. Not only will our Amendment assist trade unions to guard the rights of their members, but it will assist national or local federations of employers to bring pressure to bear upon recalcitrant employers to see that agreements are kept both in the spirit and in the letter, and I hope the Minister, bearing these facts in mind, will give our Amendment further consideration.

10.0 p.m.


I only rise to speak because I regard this Clause as seriously affecting the future of good relationships in industry. In most of the basic trades, including that with which I am associated, we have national agreements covering many plants. When manufacturers refuse either to give effect to agreements come to nationally, or endeavour to get reductions of wages and altered conditions in respect of their own employés—I am happy to say it does not often occur—it can become a very serious matter. There was, however, a notorious case in Scotland, involving 300 workpeople, in which a firm, in spite of the fact that it was a member of the conciliation board, gave notice of a 10 per cent. reduction in wages. The workpeople naturally declined to accept this. I hope the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) will listen to this, because it is important to him, as the secretary of a manufacturing association, to know something of what goes on in other associations. The action of the firm was not only opposed by the trade unions, but was strongly resented by the other employers, because if that firm was to be allowed to get away with a reduction of 10 per cent. it meant it would be more favourably placed than were the more honourable employers. It was not that our men wanted to stop work; they were encouraged by many of the manufacturers in the West of Scotland to resist the attempt made by this particular firm, which, by the way, was a member of the employers' association and a party to the national agreement. However, all this did not prevent the men being kept out of employment because they declined to accept the reduction. There was an appeal. We failed before the Court of Referees. Ultimately the case went to the Umpire, and when the whole facts were placed before him he gave his decision in favour of the men. I say that if this Clause is inserted in a Bill it will prevent the Umpire treating these cases on their merits.

The hon. Member for Reading says trade unions have a remedy at law; by going to the Courts they can compel employers to conform to agreements; but in this case the employer knew the law perhaps better than the hon. Member for Reading does. He did not break the agreement in the legal sense of the term, but he broke something which was more important, namely, an honourable obligation. As one associated with an industry which is proud of the fact that it has enjoyed a greater measure of industrial peace and good relationships than most industries, I appeal to the Minister to assist us to bring an employer to book when he is not acting the part of a man in regard to his obligations. I daresay the Minister himself knows of many instances, particularly in the Midlands, and in the Birmingham area, which he knows so well, of employers having done what we complain of, and I say frankly that it will not be helpful either to employers or workpeople if this kind of Clause is put in the Bill.


I was surprised to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), because he is generally well-informed on these matters. To-night, however, he did not seem to grasp this question. When he spoke of trade unions or workmen suing employers, I felt he had not listened to the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Whiteley), who pointed out that employers gave notice to the workmen and that it was only when that notice to cease work had expired that the employers offered the new terms.


Then no agreement was broken in that case.


I want to help the hon. Member for Reading. I do not want him to make mistakes such as he made to-night. In the circumstances which I have described the workpeople cannot sue the employers. Then the hon. Member said the law ought to be made so that they could do so.


I did not say the law ought to be made; I said the agreements ought to be made.


The agreements should be made to provide for the workmen suing the employers. What side of the House has power to do that? If the hon. Member would bring his influence to bear on the Government to do that, we should be very glad, but we have not much hope that the Government will do any such thing. He asked why the rest of the community should be punished for the action of the employers. On the other hand, why should workmen be punished by a refusal of benefits for which they have paid, when they are not guilty of causing the dispute which has put them out of work? The workmen are not guilty, and why should they be punished? We believed, when the Act of 1924 was passed, that when there was a dispute the workmen would be entitled to benefit. We believe that now. We believe that where the workmen are not the guilty parties, and the guilt rests with the employers, the workmen should not be punished. The workmen have paid for the benefit under such circumstances, and they are entitled to receive it. It is no good stating that the workmen and the employers should be put on a level in regard to these matters, because that is quite an impossibility, and it only means that you would punish the workmen when you could not punish the employer under any circumstances or in any sense. To stop the workmen's unemployed benefit is a real punishment. We all know that the present Act is bad enough, but what is now proposed is going to make it a good deal worse. There have been many decisions given by the umpire in our county of Durham under the present Act which I do not like, and which I consider to be unfair. I believe that the umpire's decision should never be final, but that there should be an appeal. I want to remind the Minister of a particular case in Durham. Last year, after the dispute, the owners forced on the workmen an agreement which laid down that there should be 89 per cent. paid on the basis rates of wages, and that the subsistence wage should be 6s. 8½d. per day. In one case an employer has sought to break the agreement—an agreement imposed by the whole of the owners in the county, and has asked the men to accept 50 per cent. on the basis rate and 5s. 4d. subsistence allowance per day.


Perhaps the hon. Member will tell me if the basis rates also form part of the agreement?




I could not quite gather what he said, and I was trying to follow the argument.


No; it did not interfere with the basis rate. That was altogether different. The county agreement—although it should have been higher—forced the men to accept 89 per cent., and, instead of 7s. 6½d. day, a subsistence wage of 6s. 8½d. a day. That applied to the subsistence wage, and affected be-between 50,000 and 60,000 men. This particular employer not only put notices up at the colliery but he called. a meeting of the men and their wives and put these new terms before them. He said that instead of 89 per cent. it should be 50 per cent. and instead of 6s. 8½d. a day it should be equal to 5s. 4d. a day subsistence wage. For any employer to-day to offer to pay a man 5s. 4d. a day is a scandal, and had those men accepted it there would have been injury to the rest of the county. We are anxious that the present Act should not be strengthened in the direction of enabling unscrupulous employers to pursue such a policy as that. Bad as the present Act is, we prefer it to the amended proposal, and I hope the Government will reconsider the matter. The Government's proposal is not so much a question of avoiding friction; the real intention of the Minister of Labour in this, as in his other Amendments, is simply to prevent men from getting unemployed benefit.


I want to say only a sentence or two, because the Minister of Labour must know the full force of this suggested alteration of his. If the right hon. Gentleman will inquire in his own Department, he will find that his conciliation officers are constantly employed on cases where employers commit a breach of their national or district agreements. I am also certain that his liaison officers associated with the Whitley Councils could give him reports showing how serious have been the attempts of individual undertakings or companies to break away from the national agreement. If he will recognise the full force of all these issues, he will even now give consideration before taking away this one protection that we have, which has assisted in building up our conciliation machinery, as it exists to-day in the Whitley Councils. I could quote many instances, but will only refer to one. About two years ago, a great undertaking broke away from its agreement. Eventually, to save the Joint Industrial Council, the employers agreed with the workmen to expel that particular undertaking from their own association, and so preserve the harmony, the possibility of peaceable negotiations. and the machinery of the councils.

Surely it is much better to have a body of employers and workmen who will do their best for peace, negotiation and agreement in cases where somebody or other commits a breach. If it is the workmen, their position is clear. They are automatically cut out of their benefit, because of the penalty. If it be an unofficial lot of workmen, the organisation deals with them. When the employer breaks away, and the whole of the machinery is threatened, it is not asking too much that he should be dealt with. It is not, as the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) said, that other employers and other insured persons would be paying to keep people who are engaged in a dispute with their employers in benefit. It is simply that they are paying towards those who contribute to benefits, and who have not committed a breach, but are the victims of unscrupulous employers or undertakings which are trying to break down conciliation machinery. Therefore, these men ought to be admitted to benefit. When that position is fully appreciated, I am certain that the Minister of Labour will give further consideration to the point, because it really has very serious consequences. The hon. Member for Reading said that we used to do these things before 1920, and that we have the same facilities now. It will be remembered that when the Whitley Councils were first established—I believe they date back to 1919—it was expected that you would get great national groups representing industries who would form national agreements. All I say is that if you are going to tamper with the keystone of this business you are likely to have a collapse. The tendency during the last 12 months has been to stabilise in our large industries by 12 months' agreements, and, if you expect that those agreements are going to be faithfully carried out, I think you are mistaken, because some individual employer will probably break the agreement, and then the whole of the conditions entered into by the group of employers will tumble down. Hon. Members know that a trade union cannot sue an employer.


The hon. Member is quite wrong there.


I think I know what the law is on this question. If you are dealing with an industry covering 100,000 persons and upwards, you may only be dealing with an employers' association consisting of about 100 persons, and the agreement is entered into jointly. Supposing one of those employers withdraws and breaks away from the agreement. You cannot sue that employer on behalf of the whole of the men. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Reading claims to have had more experience than I have had in these matters, but I have been dealing with them for 30 years, and therefore I make him a present of anything that he can make out of the point which he has raised. I know very well that the only possibility of suing is where the agreement is made direct between the employer and the individual workman, and where a breach of such an individual contract takes place. It is not a question of wanting any unfair advantage, or wanting to establish a position that will protect men in all circumstances where there is a breach of agreement, but I believe that this will be a safeguard that will secure and cement the confidence that is now growing in these agreements. Otherwise, the first little break-away will weaken the whole conciliation machinery, and joint industrial councils will be in jeopardy.


I have listened with very great care indeed to all the arguments that have been brought forward on this subject, and I say at once most sincerely that I have every wish to see agreements kept on both sides in industry. Anyone looking at this case may think, as a natural first view, that it is desirable to bring an influence of this kind to bear on employers in order to try to make them keep an agreement if they are willing otherwise to depart from it. I shall be glad—I do not care on which side it is on industry—to bring any proper and legitimate influence to bear, and it is only after a good deal of consideration that I have come to the conclusion, taking the authorities that I have, that it is not really desirable to twist the use of the Insurance Fund to purposes for which it was not intended, and which are foreign to its original and proper purpose, in order to try to attain some end which might from other points of view be desirable.

The House may not generally realise, from the discussion that has taken place, that this has not been a principle on which agreements have been based and built up; this is an entirely new provision, which is only the growth of the last two or three years. It was introduced in the Act of 1924. Very grave doubts were then expressed as to its desirability, and there was certainly very grave question as to whether it would be proper and really useful. The vote was carried against it in the Committee upstairs, and it was reversed, I think—I was not myself present, but my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary was—at a late hour, when not much attention was focussed upon it, during the Report stage. That was how this principle was first introduced into the law, and, as I have said, at that time very grave doubts were expressed as to its desirability.

The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) has laid stress on the way in which these agreements, upon which so much depends, have been built up during his experience of the last 30 years. I would, therefore, put it to everyone in the House that the immediate effect of a provision of this kind in the law cannot be so great, after all. The building up of these agreements, on the hon. Member's own showing, was going on perfectly satisfactorily for years before this provision was ever made part of our legislation. Therefore, I contend that, from the point of view of keeping agreements, and industrial peace, too, it has not been an essential factor. What I feel in my own mind is this—and it is really after weighing the pros and cons of the question—that, if you take a Measure like the Unemployment Insurance Act, and, as I said at the beginning, twist it to uses which it was never intended to subserve, you may in the end do more harm than good. I know that that was the quite definite conclusion—I do not propose to read it in detail; it covers a good many lines—of the Blanesburgh Committee, and, as far as I can see, it is really better to leave these agreements, which were made before ever this provision was introduced three years ago, to the influence of employers and workmen on the two sides to impose upon their fellows.

Let me outline again what would be the necessary corollary of continuing the provision, and it is a corollary that I think would be a wrong one and one that would, without question, lead really to industrial disturbance, and yet it must necessarily follow, because one could not in justice deny it. Up till three years ago, and in its fundamental nature, the Insurance Fund was never intended to help either side in an industrial dispute. It was kept quite clear of industrial disputes. If ever there was an industrial dispute of any kind, whether it would be called a strike or a lock-out, a breach of an agreement or not a breach of an agreement, two consequences followed. In the first place, the men did not get benefit, and in the second place the masters got no advantage, because the jobs that were vacant through the dispute could not be offered to other persons by an Exchange as a test of willingness to work. From that point of view, the scales were held evenly as between the two sides, and the establishment of the industrial insurance system was not brought into an industrial dispute one way or the other. Truly, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you continue to maintain a penalty on the employer for breaking an agreement, a similar penalty for breaking an agreement must, in fairness, be imposed upon the other side.


So it is.


No, it is not.


A man does not get benefit.


A man, in any case, does not get benefit in any dispute, whether there is a breach of agreement or not. He is hurt by that. The employer loses his business, and he is hurt by that with his competitors. The analogy in this case is quite different, and I defy anyone to contradict the social truth of what I say. If you are going to use the Unemployment Insurance Act as a means of making employers keep agreements, you must use it also to make the men keep agreements. If you use it for the purpose of making the employers keep an agreement, you must use it also to make the men keep an agreement, and the inevitable corollary is that if the men break an agreement the places so open can be offered to other men by an Exchange, and the other men must know that they are liable to lose benefit unless they accept those places. I say without any hesitation that is a most undesirable thing to have happen. It is much more likely to cause trouble than anything else. You cannot possibly have one penalty without the other, and it is the fact that those two come together that, to my mind, makes it undesirable to have this Amendment as suggested, and that the system should stand as it originally stood and should not enter into the question of disputes one way or the other.

It being Half-past Ten of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKKR proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 1st December, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 235; Noes, 126.

Division No. 457.] AYES. [10.30 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Ford, Sir P. J. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Foster, Sir Harry, S. Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Fraser, Captain Ian Malone, Major P. B.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W Frece, Sir Walter de Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Galbraith, J. F. W. Margesson, Captain D.
Atholl, Duchess of Ganzoni, Sir John Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gates, Percy Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Balniel, Lord Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Moore, Sir Newton J.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gower, Sir Robert Moreing, Captain A. H.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Grant, Sir J. A. Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Bennett, A. J. Greene, W. P. Crawford Nelson, Sir Frank
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Berry, Sir George Grotrian, H. Brent Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Bethel, A. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Nuttall, Ellis
Betterton, Henry B. Gunston, Captain D. W. Oakley, T.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Blundell, F. N. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hanbury, C. Pennefather, Sir John
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Penny, Frederick George
Briggs, J. Harold Harland, A. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Brittain, Sir Harry Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Harrison, G. J. C. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J. Hartington, Marquess of Pilcher, G.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Preston, William
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Hawke, John Anthony Price, Major C. W. M.
Buckingham, Sir H. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Raine, Sir Walter
Burman, J. B. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Ramsden, E.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Butt, Sir Alfred Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Henn, Sir Sydney H. Remer, J. R.
Caine, Gordon Hall Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Remnant, Sir James
Campbell, E. T. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Rice, Sir Frederick
Carver, Major W. H. Hills, Major John Waller Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cassels, J. D. Hilton, Cecil Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Salmon, Major I.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Holt, Captain H. P. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hopkins, J. W. W. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Sandeman, N. Stewart
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Hume, Sir G. H. Sandon, Lord
Cobb, Sir Cyril Huntingfield, Lord Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Cooper, A. Duff Hurst, Gerald B. Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Shepperson, E. W.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Iveagh, Countess of Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Jephcott, A. R. Skelton, A. N.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Curzon, Captain Viscount Kindersley, Major G. M. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sprot, Sir Alexander
Davies, Dr. Vernon Knox, Sir Alfred Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Dawson, Sir Philip Lamb, J. Q. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Storry-Deans, R.
Dixey, A. C. Little, Dr. E. Graham Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Drewe, C. Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Looker, Herbert William Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Elliot, Major Walter E. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vera Tasker, R. Inigo.
Ellis, R. G. Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Lumley, L. R. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Everard, W. Lindsay MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Tinne, J. A.
Fielden, E. B. MacIntyre, Ian Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Finburgh, S. McLean, Major A. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Warner, Brigadier-General W. W. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Warrender, Sir Victor Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Watts, Dr. T. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wells, S. R Womersley, W. J. Major Cope and Major the Marquess
White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater) of Titchfield.
Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern) Wood, E.(Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Riley, Ben
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Ritson, J.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hardie, George D. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Ammon, Charles George Harris, Percy A. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Baker, Walter Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Rose, Frank H.
Barnes, A. Hayday, Arthur Salter, Dr. Alfred
Batey, Joseph Hayes, John Henry Scrymgeour, E.
Bondfield, Margaret Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Sexton, James
Broad, F. A. Hirst, G. H. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sitch, Charles H.
Buchanan, G. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Cape, Thomas John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Ronnie (Penistone)
Charleton, H. C. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Cluse, W. S. Kennedy, T. Stamford, T. W.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Stephen, Campbell
Compton, Joseph Kirkwood, D. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Connolly, M. Lansbury, George Sutton, J. E.
Cove, W. G. Lawson, John James Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Crawfurd, H E. Lindley, F. W. Thurtle, Ernest
Dalton, Hugh Lowth, T. Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Lunn, William Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Day, Colonel Harry MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Varley, Frank B.
Dennison, R. Mackinder, W. Viant, S. P.
Duncan, C. MacLaren, Andrew Wallhead, Richard C.
Dunnico, H. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Edge, Sir William MacNeill-Weir, L Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) March, s. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Wellock, Wilfred
Forrest, W. Montague, Frederick Welsh, J. C.
Gardner, J. P. Morris, R. H. Westwood, J.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gibbins, Joseph Murnin, H. Whiteley, W.
Gillett, George M. Naylor, T. E. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Gosling, Harry Oliver, George Harold Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Owen, Major G. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenall, T. Palin, John Henry Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Paling, W. Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Wright, W.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Ponsonby, Arthur Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T. Potts, John S.
Grundy, T. W. Rees, Sir Beddoe TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T. Henderson.

Bill read the Third time and passed.

Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given.