HC Deb 01 February 1945 vol 407 cc1661-3
Mr. Bevin

I beg to move, in page 8, line 8, after "and," to insert: shall make a report upon the matter to the Minister or, as the case may be, to that department, and a wages council. It will be seen that under the Bill, we can refer matters to the wages council, but there is no stipulation that they shall report to anybody. Quite possibly they will, but I think it will make the position clearer if there is the stipulation that wages councils should report to the Minister concerned.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Sir Geoffrey Mander (Wolverhampton, East)

The Clause says: A wages council shall consider, as occasion requires, any matter referred to it by the Minister or any government department with reference to the industrial conditions prevailing. … I ask the Minister whether "any matter" would include such a question as the setting up of joint machinery for appeals against measures of a disciplinary nature. Such machinery does exist in certain factories at the present time, but there is always the fear of victimisation, that a man may be dismissed because the employer does not like his political opinion, or because he takes too big a part in trade union matters. It is desirable to have a safeguard against that sort of thing, where possible. Some firms have done it by setting up a joint tribunal with whom the final decision rests as to whether a man shall be dismissed or not, thereby taking it out of the hands of the employer.

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Charles Williams)

This speech seems to be on lines which are certainly out of Order.

Sir G. Mander

I am asking the Minister whether the words "any matter" include a situation such as I am now describing, and I was venturing to point out that joint tribunals are already working very successfully.

The Deputy-Chairman

I have allowed the hon. Gentleman to ask his question, but I cannot allow him to build up a case with arguments, and to give a series of pictures.

Sir G. Mander

Perhaps my right hon Friend the Minister appreciates the point I am putting that the words "any matter" cover, or might cover, a very wide ground and all sorts of industrial matters. I want to ask whether the particular point I have made, would come within the meaning of these words. It would be for the Minister to decide whether to refer it or not, and I would like to know whether, if the Minister did so decide, he would put forward a matter of this kind.

Mr. Summers

Before the Minister replies, may I ask him to bear in mind that many of us take a contrary view to that which has just been expressed?

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that the question is certainly out of Order.

Mr. Naylor (Southwark, South-East)

Will the Minister give the Committee some indication of what these matters might be?

Sir G. Mander

Before the Minister replies, may I ask—

The Deputy-Chairman

I am sorry, but I cannot allow the hon. Gentleman to pursue the subject.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Kilmarnock)

May I ask the Minister a question? It seems to me that this is the Clause on which the question of training may arise. Clause 14 refers specifically to apprenticeship, but as something like two-thirds of the number of young workers in industry to-day undergo no apprenticeship at all, I wonder whether this is a Clause under which a training scheme could be worked out.

Mr. Bevin

With regard to the last question, we can certainly refer training schemes for the industry to the wages council, or inquiries into the working or health conditions of the industry, or anything of that character. Those are matters which I instanced in my Second Reading speech. I referred to the case of the cutlery trade in Sheffield; we have asked the trade board, for the sake of post-war development and better conditions in the industry, to investigate the matter. I hope that answers my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Southwark (Mr. Naylor). With regard to the question of what shall be set up under a wages council, all those things are matters for the wages council alone, and under this Clause, a Minister cannot refer such things to the council.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.