HC Deb 02 July 1958 vol 590 cc1330-1
51. Colonel Beamish

asked the Minister of Labour what consideration is being given to the establishment of a code of conduct controlling the relations between trade unions and individual wage earners, whether union members or not, with particular reference to legislation which would protect the individual against discrimination or victimisation.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am aware that there is public concern, which of course I share, both within and outside the trade union movement, at the instances of victimisation and discrimination which occur from time to time. But I doubt whether new legislation or a code of conduct would achieve the object, which no doubt my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind, of ensuring harmony in industry and between individuals.

Colonel Beamish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in spite of the fact that a number of responsible and respected trade union leaders have recently spoken up strongly against these malpractices, they do unhappily still exist? Has not the time come when we should ask ourselves whether moral condemnation is enough or whether it ought to be backed up by some legal sanction?

Hon. Members

Meaning what?

Mr. Macleod

I do not see how we can make men wiser or behave better towards their fellow men by law. Of course, this is a very serious problem indeed. I am merely saying that I do not think that legislation is the answer to it. We can impose such a code, but I do not see how we can enforce such a code, especially against unofficial action.