HC Deb 31 January 1964 vol 688 cc777-8

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second time.—[Mr. Turner.]

3.58 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. William Whitelaw)

It would be appropriate if I said at this stage that the Bill has the full support of the Government and, in general terms, has the full support of the British Employers' Confederation and the Trades Union Congress.

We believe that it will help the amalgamations and mergers of trade unions where these are appropriate. The Bill, is, therefore, to be regarded as a valuable improvement and help to the trade unions in reforming, where they can, their structure. We believe that at the same time it provides—

Mr. R. J. Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

That is enough.

Mr. Whitelaw

We believe, at the same time, that it provides safeguards for individual members which are also of the very greatest possible significance.

These safeguards are all the more important in view of the provision in the Bill that mergers and amalgamations can be undertaken on a simple vote rather than on the rather complicated voting structure which we have had up to the present time. It is also appropriate that the safeguards are carried out under the auspices of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies.

Trade union mergers can be effected in two ways: first, by one union transferring its engagements to another. This is the process normally followed.

It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Friday next.