HC Deb 04 March 1947 vol 434 cc222-4
20. Mr. Pritt

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a trade dispute is likely to arise from the action of a large manufacturing company in the London area, whose name has been given to him, in preparing a list of men to be re-employed when work is resumed, from which list it has omitted the names of three men prominent in shop steward and trade union activities in its factory; and what steps he will take in the matter.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

Discrimination on the grounds suggested on the part of any employer is to be deprecated, and I feel confident that this view will command the support of employers generally. If, however, discrimination should be exercised against any individual worker, his appropriate action is to take the matter up with his trade union.

Mr. Austin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that such discrimination is already being exercised in the case of the firm of L. Gardner Eccles, where employees have been victimised; and in view of the danger of a widespread stoppage of many thousands in Trafford Park, will he look into this matter?

Mr. Isaacs

I have looked into this particular matter, and I am afraid that there are instances of discrimination. I raised this matter with the representative employers last week and they made use of almost the same terms as I have, that they would deprecate any such actions. I also raised the matter with the trade unions, and they said that if any member had a case of that sort, and it was reported to them, they would promptly take the matter in hand.

Mr. Beswick

Can the Minister say whether he has investigated the matters specifically referred to in the Question, and whether there is any evidence of discrimination when the time comes to re-employ these men?

Mr. Isaacs

So far as this case is concerned, I have made inquiries, but the replies which I have received are not satisfactory at the moment, and I am pursuing this matter

Sir W. Smithers

Will not employers take advantage of this opportunity to get rid of agitators?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, Sir; but it they take the opportunity of getting rid of the men they do not like, they must not object if the men do not like going back to them.

Mr. Frank Byers

Is it not the case that progressive opinion in this country strongly deprecates this type of victimisation?

Mr. Isaacs

That was the answer which the employers gave.

Mr. Sparks

In cases where workpeople are victimised, will my right hon. Friend give directions to the local labour exchange that no further labour should be directed to those firms?

Mr. Isaacs

I would urge on hon. Members on both sides of the House that, if they would allow the trade unions to do their job, this would be easily decided.

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