HC Deb 09 November 1949 vol 469 cc1221-2
66. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Postmaster-General when he abrogated the rule of his Department entitling associations of workers numbering 40 per cent. of the organised workers in a grade to recognition; and in what form and to whom this abrogation was communicated.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

I have not abrogated any rule. As I recently informed the hon. Member, I am reviewing the whole situation.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not a fact that this rule has existed for some time in his Department, and that notwithstanding that, he has refused to apply it, though he accepts the figures in the case of the Engineering Officers Telecommunications Association? Can the right hon. Gentleman therefore distinguish between abrogating a rule and not applying it when it is politically inconvenient?

Mr. Paling

It is true that the rule has been in operation a long time and also that circumstances have cropped up which make it possible to review it.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Is not it a fact that the only circumstance which cropped up was the desire of the right hon. Gentleman to suppress a union which is not to his own liking?

Mr. Henry Strauss

Whatever may be the inconvenience of dealing with several unions, will it not cause far more inconvenience if the right hon. Gentleman refuses recognition to a trade union which represents 40 per cent. of the workers concerned?

Mr. Paling

That remains to be seen.

Mr. W. J. Brown

May I ask in what respect conditions have changed as between the date when this scheme of recognition of 40 per cent. was adopted by agreement within the Post Office and the conditions today? In what respect has there been any change whatever?

Mr. Paling

A lot of conditions have changed in the last 20 years.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I beg to give notice, in view of the fact that the non-application of this long-standing rule in one particular case really requires further investigation, that I shall endeavour to raise the matter on the Adjournment.