HC Deb 30 April 1958 vol 587 cc349-50
5. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the terms of the petitions he has received from the members of the staffs of the Royal Bank of Scotland and of the British Linen Bank in regard to their negotiating machinery; and what action he proposes to take in relation to their demands.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I will circulate the terms of the petitions in the OFFICIAL REPORT. My industrial relations officer for Scotland met the general managers of the Banks on 28th April, and further discussions with representatives of the union are being arranged.

Mr. Rankin

May we take it that the Minister regards it as a very serious thing that there should be employers who deny to their employees the right of proper trade union representation and have been refusing to meet their union to discuss mutual interests between both sides? Do I take it also that the Minister will continue his efforts to bring the two bodies together and to get the bank men properly represented?

Mr. Macleod

The hon. Gentleman can certainly take it that I will do what I can. My answer has shown that we are meeting on the basis of the petition. I do not want to be a bore about the other point, but I must return to the point that the Ministry of Labour cannot, and should not, lay down who are to be recognised by the employers. As long as that reservation is accepted, I understand the necessity and I am prepared to see whether in discussion we can reach some settlement.

Following is the petition: We, the undersigned, being members of the staff of the Royal Bank of Scotland, hereby repudiate the Joint Conciliation Council of the Scottish Banking Industry which has proved unsuitable as machinery for the voluntary settlement of terms and conditions of employment in that industry and appeal to you, as Minister of Labour in Her Majesty's Government, by every means in your power, to persuade the management of the Royal Bank of Scotland to meet the representatives of The National Union of Bank Employees in order to discuss the setting up of mutually acceptable negotiating machinery.

A petition signed by members of the staff of the British Linen Bank in similar terms was also received.