HC Deb 19 February 1942 vol 377 cc1872-3
2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now make a full statement on the policy of works councils and explain the machinery that is to enable them to function?

Mr. Bevin

I am constantly promoting works councils. The latest example is the scheme now approaching completion in regard to the Government Ordnance factories which was arrived at in consultation between my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply, the trade unions and my Department. As regards the subject in general, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 29th January to the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander).

Mr. Smith

Is it the intention of my right hon Friend to have these works councils instituted throughout industry, and, if so, will he ask the Government and all representative interests to use their influence in order that the machinery may be got ready to function as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible?

Mr. Bevin

It is my policy to promote them everywhere, but I would like to make it clear that I am adverse to setting up separate committees in works for separate purposes. There is a great deal of confused talk about production committees. I believe in works councils.

Sir Herbert Williams

In the case of new factories, will the Minister take care that the committee which is originally appointed is regarded as provisional, because until the workpeople get to know one another, they are not always in a position to select the most suitable representatives?

Mr. Bevin

In the scheme promoted for Royal Ordnance factories, which has not been finally settled, we have laid it down that men serving on a committee should have been in the works one year.

Sir H. Williams

Will the Minister consider the problem of Royal Ordnance factories which are just beginning, and where provisional committees will be needed in the early stages?

Mr. Bevin

We are doing that.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Will my right hon. Friend take into consideration the method of organisation in the printing trades with regard to workshop committees, where each departmental organisation is federated in one workshop and attached, through the branch secretary, to the trade union?

Mr. Bevin

When the Royal Ordnance factories scheme is complete and finally settled, perhaps the best thing for me to do would be to let hon. Members have a copy of it.