HC Deb 18 December 1952 vol 509 cc1616-8
36. Viscount Cranborne

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will re-examine the Industrial Disputes Order, No. 1376, with a view to ensuring that a worker's freedom to choose his trade union is effectively protected where a dispute arises.

Sir W. Monckton

The Industrial Disputes Order, 1951, does not interfere in any way with the worker's freedom to choose a trade union.

Viscount Cranborne

Would the Minister agree that, as a result, workers are forced to join a union as provided by agreement with the industry concerned? Further, is he not aware that certain sections among the bus workers in this country are denied the facilities of obtaining a peaceful settlement of their grievances and, as a result, of exercising their freedom of choice in selecting their own trade union?

Sir W. Monckton

I think my noble Friend is wrong in saying that anyone is forced to join a trade union. As far as the Question concerns this Order in general, it must be the policy that we should not try to dictate to industry with whom their negotiations should be conducted. We should do what we can to support the negotiating machinery which exists, believing that the principle is voluntary negotiation and agreement.

Mr. Pannell

On a point of order. Should not the noble Lord declare his own interest in the trade union to which he belongs?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.

37. Viscount Cranborne

asked the Minister of Labour whether Her Majesty's Government will introduce a measure to preserve effectively the right of the individual to choose freely his, or her, trade union.

Sir W. Monckton

In this country, workers are already free to join trade unions of their choice. It would be contrary to long standing practice of successive Governments in this country to deal with questions of this kind by legislation.

Viscount Cranborne

Is the Minister not aware that if he pursues his policy it will enable the Trades Union Congress to establish a closed shop throughout industry in this country?

Sir W. Monckton

No, Sir. If I were of that opinion I should want to reconsider the matter.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that if there is an industry or profession to which the principle of the closed shop applies it is the profession which he himself adorned before he became a Minister?