HC Deb 08 May 1941 vol 371 cc954-5
4. Mr. Mander

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will explain the arrangements now existing for Germans and Austrians working in industry to become members of appropriate British trade unions and also of the German trade union; what deductions from income are made for the latter, and to what purposes the money is applied?

Mr. Bevin

I understand that certain arrangements have been made under the auspices of the Trades Union Congress for enabling foreign workers in industry to become members of the appropriate British trade union and also of their own national trade union group if such exists and is recognised by the T.U.C. My information is that these arrangements apply generally both to Allied nationals and to Austrians and Germans and that they include agreed voluntary membership contributions to the British union concerned, usually on the lowest scale permitted by its rules, and to the foreign trade union group. I am not in a position to give more detailed information, but I understand that the whole scheme has been carefully worked out by the T.U.C. in conjunction with the International Federation of Trade Unions, which is operating from this country. The constitutions of the foreign trade union groups concerned before becoming operative are approved by the T.U.C. and the International Federation of Trade Unions.

Miss Eleanor Rathbone

Does that agreement extend also to aliens who are neither Germans nor Allied nationals, but neutrals, as, for example, Spaniards?

Mr. Bevin

The matter is governed, as I understand it, by the question whether a foreign country establishes a trade union group here through the International Federation of Trade Unions. I have not been in these discussions, and I cannot give any further details.