§ 11.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Burke
I beg to move, in page 44, line 6, to leave out "fifteen," and to insert "seventeen."
This Amendment and the following two Amendments cover the same point. On the Cotton Industry Board there are representatives drawn from all sections. Provision is made for the inclusion of one operative spinner, one operative weaver and one operative finisher in a Board of 15 members. Having regard to the tremendous number of operative spinners and weavers, we think they are entitled to more representation. The argument may be used that we are asking for sectional representation and that this is a Board to represent the whole industry. But of all the bodies to be set up under this Bill—and there are six or seven of them now—this is the only one on which we have any representation for the employés, and all those bodies are composed of people drawn from various sections. In the Committee upstairs we had a great fight between the rayon section and the cotton section, and the rayon section got many concessions and increased representation. If it is right to increase the representation of one section, I do not think there can be any sound argument against giving the mass of the people in the industry, the 350,000 persons who are doing 1665 the work of the industry, the representation to which they are entitled, and we ask that their representation of two should be increased by 100 per cent. It is certainly a sectional claim, but this is a very wide section. It is a human claim—the claim of the people who will be vitally affected. It may be said that they can speak now, but what will be the effective power of two votes on a board of 15 members—a board which may have to decide to close down mills in which their fellow-workers are engaged? They will have no real power to save the livelihood of their own people or to prevent, for instance, the closing down of the only mill in a village. From the wide human point of view, we ask the House to give the workpeople more adequate representation than the Bill allows them at the present time.
§ 11.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Cross
The hon. Member who moved the Amendment will be as conscious as I am that the balance of forces in the Cotton Industry Board has been arrived at after long negotiation among various interests to be represented, each of which, as I conceive it, would like a greater share of representation than it has got. I should be very reluctant, as I think we should all be, at this stage, to upset that balance of force by any change whatever, either subtracting from or adding to the representation of any of the interests on that Board. I believe that if we were to do that we should start the Cotton Industry Board with a sense of grievance against the particular interests which had had their strength augmented, and with a sense that others had been left at a disadvantage which they had been entitled to expect would not occur. One of the most important tasks that has fallen to me and others associated with this Bill during the time in which it was passing through Committee upstairs has been to try to reconcile conflicting claims to representation on bodies set up under the Bill where the conflicting claims had not been reconciled before the Bill came to the House. I thought we had completed that task, and I trust that we have. If the hon. Member gets his Amendment carried then we shall have to begin all over again on the Cotton Industry Board. A change of the kind which the hon. Member sug- 1666 gests is not one which would be accepted readily by the others.
§ Mr. Cross
Not on the Cotton Industry Board. The hon. Member is thinking of other committees where claims for representation had not been reconciled before the Bill reached this House. I would suggest to the hon. Member and the House that the present representation for the operatives should enable them to voice adequately the labour aspect of any problems which might arise. That is all that is possible on a Board of this nature, where, of necessity, every single interest is bound to be represented by a minority. I trust that the hon. Members opposite will not feel it necessary to press this Amendment.
§ 11.33 P.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
I have waited here most of the day because of my interest in this Amendment. I had hoped that something more would have been forthcoming from the spokesman of the Government than has proved to be the case. It seems to me a terrible commentary on the negotiations which have been proceeding to arrive at this, which is going to confer tremendous benefits on the capital that is invested in Lancashire cotton. The representative of the Board of Trade tells us seriously that it would upset the whole working of the thing, that the 13 master employers would wreck the whole machine if two other representatives were conceded to the hundreds of thousands of people who spend their daily lives in the industry. I think it is a shocking attitude on the part of the cotton employers of Lancashire if what the hon. Gentleman says is true, that to give adequate labour representation on this important Board in this important industry would mean that the employers would at once be up in arms against it. That gives a picture of the relationships in the cotton industry in Lancashire which does not seem to hold out much hope for a happy or prosperous industry in the future. I shall certainty vote with my hon. Friends if they press this to a Division.
§ 11.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Mainwaring
I think it was wrong of the Parliamentary Secretary to confuse the interests of the operatives with 1667 all the other interests in this industry. However the interests of the 13 representatives of the employers may be distinguished from one another they have one common interest, that of being opposed to the operatives. [Hon. Members: "No"] Of course they have. The argument just put to us was that the employers' representatives would combine to destroy the Bill if the operatives were given a larger representation. They have a common interest, that of exploiting labour, and that is why they would combine. They would destroy this or any other Bill if they thought that their interests as employers were endangered by increasing labour representation. I say that the human interests of 350,000 persons working in this industry are of more importance than the interests of capital, and it would be unjustifiable on our part to let this occasion pass without a strong protest against the basis of representation which has been embodied in the Bill.
§ 11.37 p.m.
§ Major Procter
I rise again to point out the grave dereliction of duty on the part of the trade union leaders who negotiated for the interests of the employés in this matter. The Parliamentary Labour Party are now endeavouring to correct their errors during the negotiations, when on three occasions, in order to get this Bill through, the interests of the men and women whom they represented were grossly betrayed.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Colonel Clifton Brown)
The hon. and gallant Member is going right outside the terms of the Amendment.
§ Major Procter
I was pointing out that this is the third betrayal of the workers, and I was trying within the limits of order to mention the three points. As that has been ruled out of order I must confine myself to this point, and say that it is no good the political representatives of the Labour movement endeavouring in this House to undo the mischief which the trade union leaders have done.
That is the very point on which I stopped the hon. and gallant Member before. He cannot pursue that line of argument.
§ Major Procter
The complaint is that the workers have too few representatives on this Board, and I am endeavouring to show that the political section of the Labour movement are trying to increase their representation. That being so, am I not in order in trying to show the futility of their action, in view of the fact that those who are conversant with the industry and were the direct representatives of the workers in it agreed to accept the present arrangement?
§ Major Procter
Heaven only knows. It was for the reason I have given that I mentioned it as an illustration, because we in the constituency know how this can be used against us.
The hon. Member's constituents really do not come under consideration in this Amendment.
§ Major Procter
It will be a pity, seeing that the masters and the trade union leaders have agreed to sacrifice the interests of the workers in the three instances I have mentioned, if hon. Members opposite press this Amendment. It was a grave mistake that the leaders did not insist upon having greater representation.
§ 11.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
After that brilliant oration, I would intervene only for a moment to clarity the position as it was left by the hon. Gentleman who said he was very sorry to intervene at this late hour. I do not see how he could do otherwise, because he has lot been here. We regard this proposal as of first-class importance. We are setting up an industrial Parliament for the textile industry of Lancashire. The powers contained in the Bill will literally be enormous. It is very nearly a form of industrial organisation copied in part from the Fascist conception of the management of industry. Be that as it may, this Parliament of citizens is giving to the textile industry what is virtually a parliament of its own. See what we do: we put the industry under the control of 15 persons, three of them independent gentlemen. Certainly, they will not be working-class representatives, especially if this Government appoints them. There 1669 are nine persons representing the employers' side. That will be 12. There will be three representatives from working-class organisations. An hon. Member shakes his head, but he does so more in ignorance. [An HON. MEMBER: "There is nothing in it.] If I had £10,000 as a water engineer I would not say there was nothing in my head. Let me take up the point mentioned by the Parliamentary Secretary; he is very much afraid of up-setting the balance of representation. It is because the balance is already upset that we want to change it. It is 12 men against three; we do not even ask for 50 per cent. increase. We want to increase the three to five, and still leave 12 representatives of the employers, of finance and banking. Surely the people who are employed in the textile industry can contribute something effective to the rebuilding of the industry.
§ Mr. Davies
The hon. and gallant Gentleman professes ignorance, but he knows the reason. If the trade unions in Lancashire could have got six under any agreement, they would have been pleased. It was because they could not get any more that they accepted three.
§ Major Procter
Is it clearly understood now that the price of the Bill was that the workers should be inadequately represented?
§ Mr. Davies
The hon. and gallant Gentleman must not think me quite as simple as I look. I repeat that the essence of this proposal is to increase the workers' representation on the Board—a very important body; and, in spite of what has been said about the inadequacy of this sort of representation, we are determined to show the workers of Lancashire who are their friends by pressing the proposal to a Division.
§ 11.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Silverman rose
§ Mr. Silverman
I hope I may have the indulgence of those Members of the House who have condescended to come in at a quarter to twelve, seeing that I have been here all day. I rise only to enter my 1670 emphatic protest against the attitude of the hon. and gallant Member for Accrington (Major Procter) this evening. All day the House has been making a long, difficult, complicated and desperate last effort to save the Lancashire cotton industry. We have not all been in agreement on everything. There is to be no Division on the Third Reading. A good many Amendments have been the subject of discussion, and on two or three of them Divisions have taken place when we could not agree; but all of us with any pretence of interest in or even a modicum of knowledge of this desperate problem have been trying to make the best we could of the Measure. Where has the hon. and gallant Gentleman been?
§ Mr. Silverman
I am glad to hear that he has been at the House of Commons, but certainly he has not been here. We have not had the benefit of his advice or assistance, and neither side in the Divisions has had the benefit of his vote. But at the last moment he thinks fit to come in and intervene to make a thoroughly vicious, unjustified and mean attack on the trade union representatives who have been doing what they could in the difficult circumstances to protect the interests of those whom it is their job to protect. It is not right that the hon. and gallant Gentleman's only intervention in the debate on this difficult problem, this cumbersome machinery, this complicated attempt to deal with a difficult situation, should be an intervention at midnight, after being absent throughout the day, to make an attack which he knows to be thoroughly and completely unjustified on the representatives of the workers in the industry.
§ 11.50 p.m.
§ Sir H. Fildes
Any decisions that are come to by the cotton trade organisations so far as the employers' side of the industry is concerned must be honoured by the industry as a whole, and the Bill provides drastic penalties if the employers do not do that. Labour still retains its right to negotiate wages with absolute freedom. The two cases are quite different. In the one case the employing class are bound in a very stringent way, with heavy penalties, while Labour is confined to giving the best advice it can.
§ Question put, "That the word 'fifteen' stand part of the Bill."
|Division No. 223.]||AYES:||[11.52 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col G. J.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Furness, S. N.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Gledhill, G.||Munro, P.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen, Sir W.||Goldie, N. B.||Neven-Spencs, Major B. H. H.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||Radford, E. A.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Grimston, R. V.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Rowlands, G.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P.M. R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hammersley, S. S.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hannah, I. C.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Braithwaite, J. Gurney (Holderness)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Selley, H. R.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Bull, B. B.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Helmes, J. S.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Cary, R. A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Spens, W. P.|
|Chapman, A. (Ruthergien)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M (Hack., N.)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife. E.)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hulbert, Squadron-Leader N. J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hunter, T.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hutchinson, G. C.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Jennings, R.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hon. T. M. (E'burgh, W.)||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Levy, T.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Lipson, D. L.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Cross, R. H.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J[...]||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Donner, P. W.||Loftus. P. C.||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Lyons, A. M.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Wise, A. R.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Wragg, H.|
|Emery, J. F.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||McKie, J. H.||York, C.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Marsden, Commander A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Medlicott, F.||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Major|
|Fleming, E. L.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Sir James Edmondson.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Price, M. P.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Groves, T. E.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Barr, J.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Ridley, G.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Ritson, J.|
|Benson, G.||Hayday, A.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Bevan, A.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Sexton. T. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Isaacs, G. A.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Cooks, F. S.||Jagger, J.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Collindridge, F.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sorenson, R. W.|
|Daggar, G.||John, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Dalton, H.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Lathan, G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Davies, S.O. (Merthyr)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dobble, W.||McEntee, V. La T.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGovern, J.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wilmot, John|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Marshall, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Foot, D. M.||Maxton, J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Messer, F.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Paling, W.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Adamson.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Parker, J.|
§ The House divided: Ayes, 127; Noes, 71.1673
§ 11.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Cross
I beg to move, in page 45, line 22, at the end, to insert:3. The Board of Trade shall so exercise their powers under the last preceding paragraph as to secure—In view of the Amendments which we have made on this Stage regarding the Export Development Committee it is necessary to secure that the Cotton Indus-try Board includes industrialists and merchants with a knowledge of rayon. This Amendment meets this necesssity by providing that amongst the members appointed, after consultation with bodies representing persons engaged in spinning, weaving and finishing, there are included persons having a knowledge of the rayon business, and that of the two merchants' representatives one shall have knowledge of rayon fabric.
- (a) that among the members appointed in accordance with sub-paragraphs (a), (c), (e), (f), and (g) of that paragraph there are included persons appearing to the Board of Trade to have special knowledge of the business of spinning yarn from staple rayon fibre, weaving rayon yarn or finishing fabrics woven from rayon yarn; and
- (b) that of the two members appointed in accordance with sub-paragraph (i) and (j) of that paragraph one is a person appearing to the Board of Trade to have special knowledge of the business of selling as a merchant fabrics woven from rayon yarn."
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 45, line, 37, leave out "such person," and insert:
member of the Board appointed thereto as being an independent person."—[Mr. Cross.]
§ 12 m.
§ Mr. Cross
I beg to move, in page 45, line 42, to leave out paragraph 6 and to insert:6. A person who has been a member of the Board appointed thereto as being an independent person shall not, during the period of five years beginning with the date on which he ceases on any occasion to be such a member, carry on business in the industry or as a merchant, or be a director, officer or servant of any undertaking carried on wholly or in part for the purpose of doing anything which by virtue of this Act is to be treated as part of the industry, or for the purpose of the business of a merchant; and if any person contravenes the provisions of this paragraph, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds and to a further fine not exceeding twenty pounds for every day on which the contravention continues.1674 During the Committee Stage the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) raised the point that an Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend to prevent independent members of the Board from acquiring any financial or commercial interest in the cotton trade during the five years following the date of ceasing to hold office, left the position uncertain as to what would occur or what action could be taken in the event of such persons infringing that provision. This Amendment makes that an offence punishable by a fine of £100 and a fine of£20 for every day the contravention continues. In view of that penalty, it is necessary to be more specific as to what is prohibited and we have therefore limited the new paragraph to prohibiting an independent member of the Board from taking office or employment in the cotton trade during the period of five years, as distinct from merely acquiring a financial or commercial interest which would be likely to affect him in the discharge of his duty.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Cross
I beg to move, in page 4b, line 17, at the end, to insert:(a) functions in connection with the taking of any poll.This Amendment provides that the taking of any poll is to be carried out by the three independent members. This is a further precaution against the voting in particular cases becoming known.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
§ In page 46, line 25, leave out "and."
In line 27, at the end, insert:
and (d) functions under subsection (3) of section thirteen, or under section (Amendment of price schemes in relation to persons carrying on business in certain parts of the United Kingdom) of this Act."—[Mr. Cross.]