HC Deb 03 December 1947 vol 445 cc359-61
8. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why the request to the Civil Lord of the Admiralty to receive a deputation from the Dockyard Chargemen's Association has been refused.

10. Commander Noble

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why consent was refused to the request to receive a deputation from the Amalgamated Association of, Royal Dockyard Ex-Apprentices and Apprentices.

Mr. W. Edwards

The only bodies with which the Admiralty negotiate on behalf of Admiralty industrial employees are the Shipbuilding Trade Joint Council and the Admiralty Industrial Council. Neither the Amalgamated Association of Royal Dockyard Ex-Apprentices and Apprentices nor the Chargemen's Association is recognised by the trade union side of these councils, and their requests to send deputations were, therefore, refused.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the Civil Lord aware that recent Admiralty decisions have menaced the very existence of the trade union specifically mentioned in my Question, and, in these circumstances, is it not somewhat arbitrary and oppressive to refuse to receive these people and discuss the matter with them?

Mr. Edwards

I do not see that it is arbitrary and oppressive. I think the proper way to carry on negotiations with regard to the wages and conditions of workpeople is to recognise the existing trade union machinery. We have these councils set up for this purpose, and it may interest the hon. Gentleman to know that the Dockyard Chargemen's Association has not been recognised by the trade union side of the Joint Industrial Council. It is only recently that they were permitted to go along to that Council.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the matter which the deputation desired to raise was not a question of wages and hours, but a far broader question, and, if his refusal to see them was founded on a previously false belief, will he now agree to see a deputation from this substantial body representative of a good many of the men employed?

Mr. Edwards

If the representatives of this body want to make representations outside the functions of the Admiralty Joint Industrial Council and they will write to me, I will consider them, but I am not prepared to receive a deputation upon industrial matters affecting wages and conditions from any organisation outside the Joint Industrial Council.

Commander Noble

Would the Civil Lord say if the real reason is that this union is not affiliated to the T.U.C.?

Mr. Edwards

I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that that is not the real reason. Actually, this Association was only set up as a result of the Trade Disputes Act, 1927, and, as that Act has since been repealed, we are now reverting to the former position.

Sir J. Lucas

Is it not usual for dockyard Members of Parliament to be allowed to bring a deputation? Why was I refused this privilege?

Mr. Edwards

I do not think it is at all usual. I am always ready to see as many people as I possibly can, but if the deputation is to serve no useful purpose I cannot see any reason for receiving it.

Mr. Medland

Will my hon. Friend say whether it is not the practice that all matters affecting both chargemen and apprentices are covered on the Admiralty Joint Industrial Council at the present time, and would it not be adding extra work to what is already covered by having Members of Parliament dealing with industrial matters?

Hon. Members


Sir J. Lucas

In view of the fact that the Minister first told me that he could not receive a deputation without a Member of Parliament, and that, when I said I was coming with a deputation, he further refused, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment.