HC Deb 02 March 1939 vol 344 cc1447-8
15. Mr. Lathan

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the difficulty which has arisen owing to the action of the Zurich General Accident and Liability Insurance Company, Limited, of High Holborn, London, whose headquarters are situated in Zurich, Switzerland, making it a condition of employment that no member of the staff shall join a British trade union; and whether he will make it obligatory upon all persons of foreign nationality establishing businesses or branches of business in Great Britain to give undertakings that they will observe the labour conditions obtaining amongst similar firms of good repute in Great Britain and not seek to encroach upon the civil rights and liberties of British subjects?

Mr. E. Brown

I am in communication with the company in regard to these matters and will inform the hon. Member of the result in due course.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman suggest to the company in a case like this that they must conform to the conditions which prevail in this country?

Mr. Brown

I have no power to do that, but I am in communication with them about the facts, and perhaps we can discuss it further.

Mr. Davies

Has not the right hon. Gentleman power to compel a foreign company employing labour in this country to conform to the conditions which prevail in this country?

Mr. Brown

My answer is accurate in that respect.

Mr. Thorne

What is the Minister going to do if the answer is unsatisfactory?

Mr. Brown

We will wait and see about that.