HC Deb 24 May 1960 vol 624 cc187-8
5. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that Her Majesty's Government is the biggest shareholder in Eastman Kodak Company Limited, which has a majority shareholding in Kodak Limited, what control the Government exercises over the policies of these companies; and if he will make representations to the board of directors in favour of the recognition of trade unions.

Mr. Amory

It would be contrary to long-established practice to disclose details of the assets of the Exchange Equalisation Account, and I am therefore not prepared to say whether the hon. Member's assumption is correct. But in any event Her Majesty's Government exercises no control over the policies of these companies. The question of the recognition of trade unions is one for Kodak Limited to decide.

Mr. Swingler

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the directors of the Eastman Kodak Company Limited recently told a gathering of workers of the firm that the Government were the biggest shareholder? Therefore, I take it that I can continue to act upon that assumption. If that assumption is correct and the Government have this important influence in the firm, in which there is a dispute about the recognition of trade unionists, will not the right hon. Gentleman use his influence, even if it is only temporary, in favour of getting trade unions recognised?

Mr. Amory

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is "No". As to the second part of the question, the hon. Gentleman is entitled to make what assumptions he likes, but I have neither confirmed them nor denied them.