HC Deb 11 April 1957 vol 568 cc1285-6
24. Mr. W. Yates

asked the Minister of Labour, in order to protect families and homes from the consequences of victimisation either by employers or the trade unions during industrial disputes, if he will introduce legislation with the effect of declaring illegal a lockout or official strike in which the employees involved have not had the opportunity of giving their personal decision, free from duress, by secret ballot conducted by his officials, and providing that no illegal action shall carry the right of benefit by way of tax or State assistance to employer or employee, thus saving taxpayers' money.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Arundel and Shoreham (Captain Kerby) on 2nd April.

Mr. Yates

Does my right hon. Friend realise that there are many people in this country who are seriously perturbed about the matter both as regards the export trade and their own wages? Would he not consider that the time has come when a Royal Commission should be appointed to investigate and inquire into trade union law in this country?

Mr. Macleod

On the question of a Royal Commission. I have nothing to add to the Answer to which I have referred, which, so far as strikes and ballots are concerned, is that I am personally quite convinced that legislation in this matter would not help to reduce the number of strikes. My hon. Friend's other question deals only with official strikes and, of course, most strikes in this country are unofficial, and such legislation would be quite ineffective.

Mr. Isaacs

Has the Minister contemplated how he can arrange for the institution among employees of a secret ballot on a lockout?

Mr. Macleod

I am bound to say that I found that element in the Question puzzling.