HC Deb 22 June 1950 vol 476 cc1459-60
29. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of the National Association of Fire Officers with their representation on the National Joint Council set up under Section 29 of the Fire Services Act, 1947; whether he is aware of the disproportionate representation as between the officers' union and the other ranks' union; and whether he will use his powers under the Act to set up a separate National Joint Council on which the officers on the staff side can have sole representation.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

I think the hon. and learned Member is referring to the National Joint Council set up in pursuance of Section 17 of the Act and not appointed under Section 29; the composition, functions and method of appointment of the two Councils are quite distinct. The National Joint Council was established by the organisations representing the Fire Authorities and the members of Fire Brigades, including the National Association of Fire Officers, and the number of representatives of each organisation was agreed when the constitution was adopted; it is not appointed by me but it is recognised by me for the purposes of Section 17. The National Association of Fire Officers has expressed a desire for a separate Council for Officers, but I understand that at a recent meeting of the National Joint Council a motion to exclude officers from its scope was not carried.

Mr. Marlowe

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that unless he takes some action, this must always be the position, because owing to the numbers involved the officers are always hopelessly out-numbered by the other ranks? As the other ranks' union is Communist dominated, does he not understand that these difficulties must continue and that it is inappropriate to a uniformed service that the officers' conditions should be dictated toy a Communist dominated other-ranks' union?

Mr. Ede

I have closely studied the history of the work of this Joint Council, and I do not think the comments made by the hon. and learned Gentleman are justified.