HC Deb 03 December 1958 vol 596 cc1171-2
21. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now initiate further discussions with bank employers and representatives of bank employees in England and Wales with a view to setting up national negotiating machinery for the banking industry.

Mr. Wood

No, Sir. As my right hon. Friend said in answer to a similar Question on 12th November, there is in existing circumstances no scope for further action on his part.

Mr. Swingler

For how long is the patience of the members of the National Union of Bank Employees to be exploited? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the attitude of the bank employers to this matter is wholly unreasonable and has created a deadlock in the situation for a considerable time? Is not it the responsibility now of the Ministry of Labour to do something to break the deadlock before the patience of the bank employees is strained beyond endurance?

Mr. Wood

I do not know what the hon. Member has heard about the patience of the N.U.B.E., but my right hon. Friend has had no request from any source for further assistance. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is quite true. Beyond that, my right hon. Friend is not aware of any movement to try to secure a greater unity of purpose as between internal staff associations and the Union.

Mr. Robens

Is not it the case that the question of the bank employees and the attitude of bank chairmen has been raised on this side of the House many times in the last two years? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the bank chairmen, who are nominally responsible for sending out monthly reviews containing articles on industrial relations, might at least consider their own position and recognise the N.U.B.E. as an integral part of the negotiating machinery?

Mr. Wood

I would answer that if my right hon. Friend received an approach from any of the interested parties he would certainly consider making an approach himself, but he is very anxious that this matter should proceed smoothly, and the decision on how to obtain the best result must be left to him.

Mr. Shinwell

After more than 100 years of trade unionism, with trade unions now officially recognised by the great body of employers in the country, what earthly reason is there for withholding recognition from this organisation?

Mr. Wood

It is not a question for my right hon. Friend as to which unions are recognised in these discussions.