Lords Amendment No. 1: In page 1, line 5, at beginning insert:
( ) This Act shall not apply if it is shown that a threat of the character specified in the next following subsection was made to secure the termination of the employment of any person.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. R. J. Gunter)
I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
If it is convenient, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that we might discuss, at the same time, the remaining two Lords Amendments: in page 1, line 5, after the preceding Amendment, insert "Save as aforesaid", and in line 15, at beginning, insert "Where this Act applies".
§ Mr. Gunter
Hon. Members will remember that our purpose in introducing the Bill was to clear up the confusion concerning trade union law which had arisen from the Rookes v. Barnard case. The Bill does this by providing that it shall no longer be actionable to threaten to break a contract of employment or to threaten to induce another person to do so in the circumstances of a trade dispute.
Like the rest of trade union legislation, the Bill does not distinguish between threats with different kinds of purpose. It applies to all threats where there is a trade dispute. This is not because we wish to settle in the Bill once and for all the question of whether all such threats should be protected. It is because we wish simply to restore the position which for 60 years before Rookes v. Barnard was generally believed to exist and to leave the policy decisions in this matter until the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations has reported.
The Bill was amended in another place to remove from its protection threats to 245 secure the termination of the employment of any person. The Amendment is mainly directed against strikes to enforce a closed shop, although, as I shall argue presently, it does not stop there.
Our position has been made clear in the debates on Second Reading and in Committee. Although Rookes v. Barnard was itself a closed-shop case, its effects are not limited to cases of that kind. They extend to other kinds of strikes as well. Equally, the Bill extends over the whole field of trade disputes. It is, therefore, wrong to think that this is a Bill to legalise the closed shop. We recognise that the closed shop issue is an important one in this context, and we do not by any means have a closed mind on this subject.
There are, however, arguments on both sides. It may well be that change is needed in the law in this matter, and we shall all await the outcome of the Royal Commission's deliberations with great interest. It may well be that further protection of the individual is necessary.
Having said that, however, this House cannot escape the arguments on the other side. It is all very well for people to talk about the rights of the individual—every hon. Member is entitled to lay the greatest emphasis upon the rights of the individual—but we have to remember that there are rights of the majority as well. We do not hear so much about the rights of the majority. There is, for instance, the right of workers to say that for a reason which they regard as important they do not wish to work with a certain individual. There is also the question whether it is reasonable that a man should be allowed to take all the benefits that a union obtains through negotiation without paying his dues and accepting the responsibilities of membership.
It does not seem right to us to come down on one side or the other of this very important matter in the Bill. I again urge the House to agree that the sensible thing is to wait until the Royal Commission has reported. The best course is simply to restore the previous position, which was well understood, until we have the report of that Commission, so that all the issues arising in the sphere of industrial relations can be dealt with together with due regard to their relationship to 246 one another. A piecemeal approach would only raise more problems than it solved.
The difference between the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) and myself in this matter is that the right hon. Gentleman believes that these major problems within industrial relations can be dealt with one by one and separately. I cannot accept that view. There is a relationship between the closed shop and the unofficial strike and restrictive practices. It is my firm conviction that we must see this as a whole and then introduce the necessary legislation if that is required.
However strong the reasons for full protection for the individual may be, the Amendment to the Bill that is proposed does not achieve that. All that it does is to remove from the scope of the Bill threats of a breach of contract aimed against an individual. It would not affect threats of something which is not a breach of contract.
One of the major problems of industry today is that men take industrial action without breaking their contract. One of the problems of the present unofficial action is that men are not in breach of contract; they are working according to the rule book. Therefore, the protection which the Lords Amendment would give to the individual would only be partial and inadequate.
That is one reason for criticising the Lords Amendment, but a more important reason is that it would detract seriously from the main purpose of the Bill. The Bill is intended to clear up confusion about the legal position which may hamper trade unionists in their work, but the Lords Amendment introduces fresh uncertainties. As I have said, it removes the protection of the Bill in closed shop cases; but it goes wider than that. It might apply, for instance, in the circumstances of a dispute over discipline—for example, if workers objected to working for some particular reason for some particular supervisor or manager. I am not defending such conduct any more than I am defending the closed shop, but it may reasonably be asked if it is right for the law to be brought into these matters.
We must remember that this would be a complete departure from our traditional methods of dealing with industrial disputes, and it might be argued that it would 247 have the effect of making industrial relations worse instead of better, but whether it is right or wrong to bring the law in, it will certainly be confusing to bring it in for some trade disputes and not for others. Where precisely will the boundary rest? Trade union officials are not lawyers; they cannot deal in the fine distinctions between different strikes which lawyers draw—very different distinctions from those which are used in the actual field of industry. It is unreasonable to expect them to carry in their heads a number of complicated provisos about the rights which the Bill confers.
The practical result of retaining the Lords Amendment would be that trade unionists would be unable to mention the possibility of a strike to an employer in many cases without the fear that they were exposing themselves to action for intimidation. As amended, therefore, the Bill will not prevent the worsening in industrial relations which is always likely to take place if this legal problem is not cleared up.
I suggest to the House that it would be particularly unfortunate for trade unions to be affected by uncertainty of this kind at present. The Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations is just getting into the main part of its work. It has recently sent out to interested organisations a survey of the questions on which it would like to have evidence. One glance at that will show how dependent the Royal Commission will be on information and any evidence from the trade union movement. I hope that the House will agree with me in this matter, that we should do all we can to help towards better industrial relations by passing the Bill in the form in which it will do most good, and that we should, therefore, await the findings of the Royal Commission, the guiding lights which I hope will be given to this House as to future relationships and terms of contract and of employment relations between employer and workman, and, indeed, between workman and the State.
I therefore suggest that we send the Bill back to another place, expressing disagreement with the Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. J. B. Godber (Grantham)
I never get any particular pleasure out of 248 attacking the Minister, for he and I think in the same way on a number of issues. I remember that when I was Minister he helped me on various issues, and I have tried to do the same thing for him; but I am bound to tell him that in this case, as he knows, our approach is fundamentally different. I must say to him things which he may think somewhat harsh in this context, but I should be failing in my duty if I did not, because we on this side of the House feel very strongly about this matter.
The Minister said that the main difference between him and me is that I want to deal with the matter piecemeal and he wants to deal with it comprehensively. I suggest to him that that is not correct. Really, the difference is that he has brought in a piece of piecemeal legislation. Perhaps "a piece of piecemeal legislation" is an unfortunate phrase, but he gets what I mean. He has brought in this element of piecemeal legislation. He has done so, as he may say, in response to undertakings he had given, but he has brought it in and we have sought to show him that, even accepting the liabilities he may feel he had undertaken in regard to this he need not have stuck on this particular point. This is the real issue between us on this.
This is the issue we argued in this House before. This is the issue which has come back to us from another place. We believed that there had never been shown that degree of urgency which the Government claimed in regard to any need for action arising out of the Rookes v. Barnard case. We accepted that undoubtedly a degree of confusion had arisen in regard to this. I have never denied that. I have always said that there was something to be said for having this looked at and, if it was shown to be necessary, to do so, to take some action, but we have not accepted that it need cover a case similar to Rookes v. Barnard.
In the Rookes v. Barnard case the actual issue was resolved, and the anxieties of trade unionists arose not because of that, but because, as the right hon. Gentleman has said himself this afternoon, genuine fears, whether right or not, arose in the minds of many trade unionists as to whether there were wider implications of the judgment which 249 would seriously affect trade union officials in carrying out their normal duties.
This was the issue which was always put to me when I was Minister. On this matter, this was the issued posed, and this was the issue which, I understood, was the issue the Government wanted to deal with.
When the Bill first came before us, and we discussed it in the House on 16th February, I genuinely thought, in my Second Reading speech that there was a case which I put to the Minister for an Amendment in line with the one now before us, although not in exactly the same words. Indeed, we moved a similar one which we debated when we were in Committee on the Bill. I was then quite expecting that I would have a soft answer from the Minister in reply. I thought that the Minister might have responded saying he would agree to such an Amendment.
This is what I said on Second Reading, and I should like to remind the House of my words:I should like to ask a specific question of the Minister. If the Bill secures its Second Reading, will he be willing in Committee to accept an Amendment designed to exclude from the Bill's protection intimidation intended to injure individual workers?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 16th February, 1965; Vol. 706, c. 1039.]That was a specific question which I put then, and I was hopeful—it shows how wrong I was, and how I misjudged the Minister's character—that he would accept such an Amendment, because it seemed to me it in no way impeded trade unionists in what they were seeking to achieve, and there was no need for the Minister to have stuck on this particular point.
Others, of course, have said that the party opposite had a mandate for doing this and that it should not be impeded from carrying out its legislation. Well, in seeking to see whether this point is established I studied with the very greatest care a booklet which, as the right hon. Gentleman probably knows, was produced at the last election. The only reference to anything of this kind is on page 10, being a reference to a charter of rights. It says:The right of trade union representation and proper safeguards against arbitrary dismissal would be included"—in the charter. That is the only reference I found, and as I read that it would seem 250 to me to be supporting our line of argument in regard to this, because this is arbitrary dismissal at the behest of a trade union, and I should have thought that that ought to be covered as much as any other sort of arbitrary dismissal. So I say to the Minister that if his party has a mandate for anything it has a mandate for accepting our Amendment. I therefore hope that this will encourage the Minister, even at this very late hour, to go back on this rather unfortunate attitude which he has taken to it.
To go on from that point, it is true that in the Queen's Speech at the beginning of this Session it was said that a Bill would be introducedto give workers and their representatives the protection necessary for freedom of industrial negotiation.That is exactly the point that is covered by the Bill with the Amendment. If they demand, in addition, that in their industrial negotiations they should always be in a position to insist on a man being dismissed, I do not think that that is a reasonable requirement, and I do not believe that the Minister thinks that it is, either. The Government have given effect to this pledge in the Queen's Speech, even with the Amendment, and, while we shall be discussing their failure on certain other items in this House later this week, the right hon Gentleman can hold his head high even if he accepts the Amendment and say that he has honoured this pledge.
There is also the point in the Queen's Speech about which I reminded the right hon. Gentleman on an earlier occasion. In the last paragraph it said:In all their policies My Government will be concerned to safeguard the liberties of My subjects.The point of the Amendment is to safeguard the liberties of individual subjects. This is the point which I put to the Minister, and with which he did not deal. He has never dealt with it, nor has his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. This is a point of some substance, and the liberty of the subject matters in regard to their policies as stated in the Queen's Speech. It matters to Members on this side of the House who feel strongly about it, and it arose in regard to questions asked of the Prime Minister in respect of the Declaration of Human Rights.
251 Article 20 of the Declaration of Human Rights says, in its second paragraph, that no one may be compelled to belong to an association. The Prime Minister was asked about this earlier this year in the House, and he stood by the answer that was given by Lord Lindgren in another place. He said that the Government stood by the Declaration of Human Rights, and, when he was pressed on this matter, he added, in regard to this legislation which had not then been produced, so we did not know what would be in it,… we did not intend to raise any fundamental question of human rights in dealing with it."—[OFFICIAL RFPORT, 17th November, 1964; Vol. 702, c. 192.]Before the election, at the T.U.C. Conference in September, he said:… we will legislate to put the matter of legal interpretation beyond all doubt. I am advised that this can be done clearly, briefly and crisply without raising the issues of human rights or public policy.That seems to be the basis on which the Prime Minister gave his answer in the House. In fact the Bill, without this Amendment infringes on this principle of the Declaration of Human Rights.
§ Mr. Gunter
I am puzzled about this. Of course, I would not defend intimidation, and I believe that the whole law on this matter ought to be reviewed. During the last few weeks my attention has been drawn to a letter sent out by a firm near Grantham to its workers. The letter said that the National Union of General and Municipal Workers had recruited workers to the union from the firm. It went on to say that if any worker joined this union he would either have to resign or, if not, he would be given his cards and dismissed. Only if a worker refused to join the union would he be retained. The employer added that he hoped that this would be taken in the spirit in which it was intended. A very strange remark indeed! I think that that was a deplorable letter to issue to the workers in that firm.
If we are to review the law of the closed shop, I want to look at the law with regard to the inalienable right of a person in a free society to earn his living as a member of a trade union.
§ Mr. Godber
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention, because it helps me to make my point 252 clear. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is deplorable that a firm should take that action, and I agree, too, that the Royal Commission should look at all these issues, but it is the right hon. Gentleman who has brought in this legislation. We have not brought it in, and the point that I am making concerns this Bill.
The Minister cannot avoid that issue. That is the difficulty. Had legislation been brought in with regard to employers which would be affected in this way I would support the point that the Minister has just made, but he has brought in this legislation in this form and I am trying to get the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment which leaves the position clear until the Royal Commission has reported on these issues.
What we seek to do by the Amendment is to leave it so that the position in regard to an individual case, as in Rookes v. Barnard, is left as it is according to the law now, before the Bill is passed, but that the wider issues which really worry trade unionists are dealt with by the Bill. This is the difference between the Minister and myself, so it is right to remind him and the House about the conflict between Article 20 of the Declaration of Human Rights and the legislation which the Minister is bringing forward. I do not think that it is invalidated by what he said, but I am glad that he brought this out so that we can clarify the position between us on this matter.
The Bill raises an issue on fundamental human rights, and we have tried to eliminate this point. We tried to do it in this House, but we failed. Their Lordships, by another form of words, have put the matter right. The Government are seeking to enforce what I believe to be an unnecessary and damaging factor in the Bill, and that is why we must resist what the Minister is urging upon us.
As everybody knows, the Bill was brought forward specifically with the idea of preventing a recurrence of anything similar to the Rookes v. Barnard judgment going forward. I have never conceded the need for urgent action, but I have always accepted that this was a feeling in the minds of many trade unionists. They came to see me about it on many occasions, but nobody ever 253 put this issue to me. It was never said to me, "We must have this right to enforce the closed shop". Those who came to see me were concerned about the wider issues, and I am saying that as this was never put forward as a major issue I do not see why the Minister cannot accept this Amendment.
This is the feeling that I have had all along in regard to it. This is the point with which the House has to concern itself now, and I cannot see why the Bill as amended in the other place, should not go forward, because it gives unions all the protection for which they ever asked me. I do not know whether they have asked the Minister for additional protection, but it certainly gives security to trade union officials in its amended form.
§ Mr. Gunter
Do I understand that at no point in his conversations with the trade unions was the right hon. Gentleman asked to restore the law to what it was thought to be before the Rookes v. Barnard case?
§ Mr. Godber
They asked me to restore the law, but they never specified this particular reason for so doing. Their reason for wanting the law restored was that ordinary trade union officials carrying out their everyday duties would be impeded by that decision. I am speaking about their reasons, rather than about what they asked for. We never discussed the form of words. We always discussed the reasons, and that was always the wider reason that was given for their request. That was the position when I was Minister, but, of course, I do not know what reasons they have given the right hon. Gentleman.
That was the position when I was Minister, and that is the position in which we are now that this Amendment, or a similar one, has been discussed at length in this House and accepted in another place, and we must, therefore, press for its retention.
I do not understand why people in responsible trade union positions reacted as they did when this Amendment was passed by another place. According to The Guardian of 26th June, Mr. Woodcock said:If this Amendment simply makes illegal the threat to strike without making illegal the strike itself, then we might be driven to 254 advise unions not to get in contact with the employers at all and simply to advise their people to walk out without informing anyone of their intention to do so, and without giving any opportunity for negotiations. This is why I call it distorting industrial relations. But if we are driven to it by the vindictiveness and stupidity of the legislators—in this case the House of Lords—we will have to do it.Shortly afterwards another trade union spokesman, Mr. Jack Jones, the Acting Assistant General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, at his union's annual conference, complained that the Lords' Amendment had stopped the Government from carrying out their election pledge about Rookes v. Barnard. He went on to say that the Lords were saying that the workers should not have the right to strike and should not threaten to strike.
The Minister knows as I do that those statements are wildly inaccurate, but, as far as I know, he has not corrected them. Perhaps he would like to do so before this debate ends. I have already dealt with the reference to the election pledge and I need not say more about that, but I do not understand why the comments of trade union leaders have so distorted this matter. The Amendment has effect only if there is an attempt to force the dismissal of another worker.
I grant that that can happen for various reasons. I have heard it argued that workers might refuse to work with another man because his method of working was dangerous. The Minister gave other examples today. But if that were so, there must be plenty of other ways in which to put the matter right without resorting to this form. It must be an extraordinary situation in which one has to rely on the provisions of the Bill to protect people who are trying to have some alteration made on this basis, and I cannot believe that it is necessary.
The most obvious case—there are not many of them and I do not want to overstate my argument—arises when a man refuses to join or, like Rookes, rejoin a union. This is the issue of the closed shop, or the union shop, as some hon. Members like us to say when they want us to be precise. On this the Minister has always been frank with the House and has repeatedly stated that he is opposed to the closed shop—and he repeated it this afternoon—that it should be considered by the Royal Commission.
255 When the Bill was on Report in this House, the Minister said:… I am convinced that the closed shop, with all the complications which surround it, is precisely the sort of problem which needs to be studied by the Royal Commission. To try to legislate about it without the benefit of such a study is, in my view, like trying to read without learning the alphabet … all that we have tried to do is to bring some measure of order out of the chaos created by the House of Lords decision in Rookes v. Barnard. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th May, 1965, Vol. 712, c. 1262.]I have tried to show that although I accept that that is the general intention of the Bill, there is no possible justification for the Minister's stand on this Amendment. That is where we differ. The right hon. Gentleman has all he wants and I do not know why he is trying to bring in this other little bit. He would get a ready response from the House if even now he said, "I accept that I have been wrong and blind in all this and will now accept the wise advice of another place and the other side of the House". He has the chance to be big hearted and big minded and I invite him at some stage to be so.
The right hon. Gentleman is not facing up to the issue and did not face up to it when the Bill was before us earlier. The Bill gives the unions what they have asked for and I repeat that no trade union ever asked me for this assurance and I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman has been pressed for it. Why is the trade union movement insisting on this issue now? Why is the Minister insisting on it?
I suggest that the answer is probably to be found in the emotional reaction of many trade union leaders to this whole question, and I realise that this is something which one has to bear in mind. I believe that the speech of Lord Citrine, in another place, repays study in this context. I have always regarded him as a pillar of the trade union movement and as one who did not normally take an extreme view. But I must admit that I was very much taken aback by his line on this Amendment in another place. He referred to it as a "blacklegs' charter". This is a very highly emotive phrase, but it does not help calm analysis of the problem. However, it typifies the intolerant attitude in many areas to 256 anybody who attempts to defy union militancy.
If a dispute arises and a man—or men—refuse to go on strike with his fellows, we all know the way in which such a man is sometimes treated. He is abused, or sent to Coventry, and sometimes there are demands for his dismissal. We all know that this happens, and yet in most cases the fact that he does not strike has little effect on the effectiveness of the strike. Usually, only one or two men are involved in not striking.
I appreciate as well as hon. Members opposite the violent emotions which are aroused when any dispute breaks out, but we ought not from this House to appear to condone or encourage those who take hostile action against their fellows. Although we accept that it happens in fact, we should not be seen to encourage it and I hope that at least in this House we can continue to attempt to safeguard the minority, or the individual, even if we do not agree with the minority's actions.
The House has always cared passionately about the individual and I can remember cases when there have been scenes about an individual who was in danger, for instance, from some arbitrary authority in some foreign land and for whom asylum in this country was sought. I have always thought that the House was at its best on such occasions.
But have we not an equal responsibility about those who seek to exercise an arbitrary authority against an individual in our own country and about action which can cost him his livelihood in this country? I do not suppose that we have all agreed with the views of some of those others whom I have mentioned, but we have nevertheless given them protection. The House has an equal duty to protect any man or woman in this country who has not contravened the law and who wishes to continue in his chosen employment.
Hon. Members opposite say, and the Minister said this afternoon, that majorities have rights, too. The right hon. Gentleman said that further protection of the individual might be necessary, but that the majority had rights. He was 257 then speaking about the Royal Commission. My answer is that of course the majority has rights, but it is in a position to protect itself and to take advantage of its rights. But the rights of a majority carry clear and inescapable responsibilities with them. One of those responsibilities is to see that the power of its position is not abused. That is what we have to face with trade unions, as with others in this country.
It is the basis on which discussion takes place in this House. If we base our political system on the rights of minorities and majorities, at least we should see that it applies in other sections of our national life, including the unions.
§ Mr. Godber
The hon. Gentleman will have a later opportunity and I am now coming to the end of my remarks.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Dr. Horace King)
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) must resume his seat.
§ Mr. Godber
The hon. Gentleman will have plenty of opportunity to intervene. I was drawing my remarks to a close. I have tried to state the case fairly and that is why I do not propose to give way.
In this House we base ourselves on minorities having absolute rights which we are proud to defend and it is right that we should apply that same principle to minorities in industry. That is why we on this side of the House attach such tremendous importance to this issue.
I am not suggesting that a great many people will be saved and protected by the Amendment. The Minister rightly said that the issue was narrow. However, the principle is very important. It is a principle in which we believe. We believe that the Minister is failing in his duty by resisting the Amendment. I say that to do so can do great harm and give the wrong impression, and for that reason I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends, when the time comes, to show their feelings on this matter in the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
I am surprised that an ex-Minister of Labour 258 can deliver a speech of that type. I am not complaining about the tone or the manner of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but I am amazed that one who has had experience of the Ministry of Labour should treat the matter so academically. One would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman, as the Opposition spokesman, would have dealt with the right of the other place to amend a principle which has already been decided by the House of Commons. After all, there were long debates about this question here. The House of Commons took its decision. One can understand the other place altering details, but it exceeds its functions when it interferes with a principle which has been decided here.
I should declare my interest. I started my adult life as a miners' lodge secretary. I became a miners' agent. I had five years in the Ministry of Labour dealing with these problems at a time when they were ten times more difficult than they are now. I refer to the period of resettlement after the war, when we had to deal with tremendous problems. In addition, I am a miners' Member and sit on the N.U.M. Executive. In that sense I shall present what I consider to be the opposite side of the case from that presented by the right hon. Gentleman.
Before taking part in this debate I have read carefully and in detail the OFFICIAL REPORT of the proceedings in the other place. I thought that the debate there took place in a very rarefied atmosphere. It is true that Lord Citrine brought an element of reality into the debate. I commend the noble Lord's speech to my hon. Friends. I ask hon. Members opposite to read what Lord Citrine said paying due weight to his tremendous experience and the tremendous contribution he has made to the welfare of the people.
The consequences of what their Lordships have done should be considered. It came out more than once in the right hon. Gentleman's speech that the concern of the Opposition, as of the House of Lords, is to protect the rights of the non-unionist. Is their purpose served by the Amendment? In their desire to protect the non-unionist, they confer protection upon the thief, upon the persistent absentee, upon the irresponsible, and upon 259 those whose behaviour threatens the safety of their fellow workers.
The right hon. Gentleman should listen to the voice of practical experience. I represented 3,000 men in a pit. We had a case of a man who persistently, in the pithead baths, robbed his fellow workers' clothes and got away with it. He was prosecuted once when he was caught. We knew who the man was. He was prosecuted the second time. Under the Amendment I should commit an illegal act if I said to the colliery manager, "Our chaps will not work with that fellow any longer. He must be got rid of". [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, this was argued in their Lordships' House. It was the threat to strike against another man in breach of contract.
If I said to the colliery manager, "We shall strike. We will not work with him", it would mean that we would be handing in our notices, not doing anything unofficial. It would not be the men who would be liable under the Amendment. It would be myself.
§ Mr. Godber
I am trying to follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument. If the case is as strong as that, why does not the colliery manager take action? Why is it necessary for the men to force the issue in this way?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
The right hon. Gentleman may not understand it. In those days such things happened in a colliery. If a man happened to be a particular friend of the pit manager, no matter what his defalcations everything was done to cover up for him.
I give as another example that of the man who was stealing the other fellow's trams of coal, altering the markings on the trams after they had been filled by somebody else. He was very difficult to catch. All the workers came under suspicion. Eventually a trap was set and the man was found. In such circumstances the rest of the chaps in the pit would say, "We will not work with him". The lodge secretary would have to tell the manager, "There will be trouble. The boys will not work with that fellow who has been guilty of marking trams".
Perhaps when the right hon. Gentleman replies he will remove these doubts from our minds. That view was supported 260 by the Lord Chancellor in another place. I assume that he knew what he was talking about, especially as Lord Citrine also expressed this point of view about the effect of the Amendment. There is the case of the man who is always stealing other men's tools. What are we to do with him? These are ordinary human relations in a pit or in a factory where a group of men are working together.
In most pits and in most large factories today the success of the production depends upon the team function. It depends upon the production line. If everybody pulls his weight, results are good. If one man is absent every Monday or every Friday and thus upsets the production rhythm, he is responsible for reducing the earnings of the rest of the group. We have seen this on conveyors; men have had to suffer as a consequence of persistent absenteeism by an irresponsible workman. The other men have said "It is time that this man was turfed out of our team".
§ Sir Edward Brown (Bath)
I am curious about this. The right hon. Gentleman is talking from the point of view of union organisation. As all these men are members of the union, why does not the union discipline the worker who is at fault?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I am speaking mainly from my experience in the mining industry. Men's earnings are materially affected by the irresponsible action of one man, but that one man is protected against any collective action against him by the Amendment their Lordships have carried. That is my complaint.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
It would seem that in some of the examples given by the right hon. Gentleman the man at fault could have been convicted by the magistrates. Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that in such circumstances, if the body of men after such 261 a conviction told the manager that they did not want to work with the dishonest man, the manager would not be likely to retain him?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Whatever the manager would like or would not like to do, the fact is that their Lordships' Amendment protects such a man from any collective action on the part of his fellow workers. The hon. Gentleman has certainly put a point. The manager has the right to sack the man for that conduct, but the body of workers who suffer from that conduct have no right to make collective representations. This blows the Amendment to pieces.
May I mention one other case? When I was a miners' agent at a colliery next to the Senghenydd Colliery where an explosion occurred, killing over 400 men, there were rumours of smoking in the pit. Nothing alarms men more than the smell of tobacco smoke underground. They know that everything is at stake and there may be 1,000 men in the pit. The smell of tobacco smoke is the one thing that sets them all on edge. Very often, because of the way the ventilation runs, it is extremely difficult to find out who has been having a smoke.
Sometimes the offenders are found out and, thank goodness, smoking underground is a rare occurrence. Are miners to be told in future that they will have to continue to work with a man who has been caught smoking underground? Are not they entitled to say to the management, "This man must not be allowed to work here again"? Are not they entitled to protect themselves?
The right hon. Member for Grantham is concerned about protecting one individual. This matter goes far wider than the question of a closed shop. It is not a question of membership of the union. The Amendment has been framed so widely in the desire to protect the non-unionist that it gives protection to men of great irresponsibility.
§ Mr. Charles Curran (Uxbridge)
I am following the right hon. Gentleman's argument closely, and I am puzzled. This is a Bill concerned with acts done "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute" I fail to see how the sort of conduct to which the right hon. Gentleman 262 has referred can be described as coming anywhere near within those words.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Any difference between management and workmen is a trade dispute. Let us get down to what happens in real life and not in the rarified atmosphere of the courts. Any difference between management and workmen is a dispute about the conditions and circumstances of employment.
§ Mr. Curran
Surely in the case of those whom the right hon. Gentleman is describing it is not a dispute between management and workers, but a dispute between the men collectively and a fellow employee.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Yes, but when the other workmen concerned make their representations to the management it becomes a matter in dispute.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
All right, but that is the view taken by the Lord Chancellor in another place. If the hon. Member will read the Lord Chancellor's final speech he will find that he took this view. I am prepared to accept the Lord Chancellor's judgment on the point.
As for the non-unionist, the darling of the Conservative Party, it is astonishing that in my experience I have not met this type of individual who wears a halo because he will not play in the team. This man who is a non-unionist, who will not join a trade union or, having joined, cannot get his own way and becomes a non-unionist is apparently a man of the highest principles, actuated by the highest motives. This is an astonishing indication that the right hon. Member for Grantham has no understanding of what goes on either at pit level or shop floor level.
In my experience the non-unionist was a chap who either spent too much time in the pub or put too much money on the horses. He was usually the chap who had not paid his rent. These are people who are nurtured in the Conservative club. He is usually the stool-pigeon of the colliery manager. He is usually used to carry tales and he receives preferences and privileges in his job in order to betray his fellow-workers.
263 Hon. Members opposite may say that this is not so, but that is my experience and I am sure that trade union officials who have had the same experience as I have had in the mining industry would say that the non-unionist of high principle is perhaps one in 100,000. I never met a trade union official who took the view taken by the right hon. Member for Grantham and some others.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
No, I will not give way again. I have already given way six times.
In the desire to protect the non-unionist the Amendment sacrifices the well-being and the interests of the vast majority. It gives to the irresponsible person a protection which the right hon. Member for Grantham wanted to give only to one person, that is the non-unionist. In that sense the Amendment fails to do what the right hon. Member wants it to do in a limited way. At the same time, it provides cover for those who believe that non-unionism is a sacred cause and it denies the right to thousands of workers in small factories to become unionists. One would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have shown the same concern for the minority who cling to the right to be unionists and are denied it that he is showing for the non-unionist.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will stand by his guns. We do not want to create a non-unionists' charter. Lord Citrine was absolutely right. The Amendment is nothing but a potential blacklegs' charter and I hope that we shall reject what their Lordships have done.
§ Sir Tatton Brinton (Kidderminster)
The right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) has made some remarkable points in such exaggerated terms that he has done considerable damage to whatever case he may have been trying to make. I am sure that this is not the view of the ordinary average trade unionist, but the right hon. Gentleman apparently believes that anyone who does not belong to a union is bound to be a crook, a thug, a stooge or a spy and may even dare not to agree with the right hon. Gentleman's party.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
The hon. Gentleman should not misrepresent me. I said that the non-unionist was irresponsible. I did not say that he was a thug or anything like that. I said that he was a man who often forgot his social responsibilities.
§ Sir T. Brinton
If I misquoted the right hon. Gentleman in including almost the only epithet which he did not use I withdraw that one, but the substance of my argument remains that he spoke of non-unionists in a most wild and exaggerated way which I do not believe represents the true feeling about them even among loyal members of trade unions. We must not, because we happen to belong to a body of people, believe that those who disagree with us are in some way morally inferior, which was the tenor of the right hon. Gentleman's speech.
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that the Amendment was designed only to protect the non-unionist. I do not know where he gets that idea. We are talking, as we have done throughout the lengthy stages of the Bill, about individuals, and whether they are unionists or non-unionists makes no difference whatsoever. They have the same rights.
It should be said in this debate that neither unions nor trade unionists—or management, for that matter—ought ever to make the point that the other place or this House talks in a ratified way about matters which it does not understand because many Members of both Houses do not happen to be employers, managers or trade unionists. What we are discussing now does not only matter at that level. We are discussing a question of vital principle, a question on which every Member of this House and of the other place is perfectly entitled to hold firm convictions. Indeed, he ought to hold them and be prepared to assert them to over-ride the individual opinions of both management and labour on issues such as this.
§ Mr. Gunter
I am sure that I take the hon. Gentleman with me, nevertheless, when I say that purely academic statements here without any knowledge whatever of the temper and influences in industry and the events which take place in steel works, in pits and the rest ought to be very deeply considered before they are uttered.
§ Sir T. Brinton
Again, I feel that the Minister himself is suggesting, as has been frequently argued, that in matters like this everything should be left for decision at union or management level. I cannot agree. I have some claim at least to speak on the management side of this question. I "say some claim" because I do not pretend to have intimate knowledge on all these points or to understand—and I do not believe that any one person can understand—the detailed problems of every industry as they may be affected by this Measure. But we must talk here in broad principle, and if the rights of the individual are not broad principle, I do not know what is.
The right hon. Member for Caerphilly said that the fact that the Amendment would, potentially, include some protection for undesirable people, thieves, shirkers or those who produced hazardous or dangerous situations, was an argument against the Amendment. I do not follow him there. Very often, the law protects people whom we might regard as morally undesirable, but that is no reason for saying that the law is had. We must not argue that because a crook may benefit from a safety regulation on the roads, we should not have safety regulations on the roads. That would be absurd.
Many of the cases cited by the right hon. Gentleman would come within the purview of management. Several of my hon. Friends who intervened during his speech made this point. Does the right hon. Gentleman seriously intend the logical consequence of his argument in the last case which he gave, the case of smoking in a pit, an act which would almost qualify as the offence of attempted murder, in view of the appalling consequences which it might bring? Does he really mean that, if it were established that a miner down a pit had committed that offence, any colliery management now, or in the past, would not sack him instantly, or, incidentally, that there is not such a penalty written into every regulation which the collieries have?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
The hon. Gentleman asks me a question. I should say that 999 colliery managers out of 1,000 would take instant action themselves. What concerned me was the state of affairs if the men made representations. Under the Amendment, they would immediately be caught.
§ Sir T. Brinton
We ought not to take too long on these points, but I must answer that. Even if the Amendment were adopted, there would be nothing to prevent the men going to the management and saying, "In such circumstances, we shall strike, not to secure dismissal of this man but because you are not carrying out your own safety regulations". That is precisely what I should do in similar circumstances. I cannot treat that point with any seriousness as a point against the Amendment. There may be other points, but that cannot be one.
The Minister made the point that the Rookes v. Barnard judgment extended far beyond the actual case itself. Of course, this is precisely why the Bill was brought in in the first instance. We accept that that is so. We may not like the Bill—I do not like it myself, and I think that nothing should have been done but the matter should have been left to the Royal Commission—but that is water under the bridge now, and we have to consider the specific Amendment before us. Of course, the implications of the judgment went far beyond the Rookes v. Barnard case, but had they not done so, I wonder whether the Government would have brought in this Measure at all to deal only with the Rookes v. Barnard type of case, that is, the case in which a man was to lose his employment as a result of union action. If the issue had been confined to that, I do not believe that the Government would have brought in the Bill, but, if they had done so nevertheless, they would have faced a barrage of criticism from everyone in this country who knows of not very many but, none the less, too many cases of men being pressured out of their jobs by union action, and sometimes on not very firm ground. The nation as a whole does not like that sort of thing.
The Amendment is designed precisely to remove from the Bill this particular aspect but no others, and in so doing it would give the protection which the unions say they need in their ordinary operations, provided that they are not directed against an individual. My right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) dealt at some length with the question of the rights of majorities. The rights of majorities, of course, are usually built into their own strength and their ability to defend their rights. A great deal of the legislation passed by 267 this House over the centuries has been directed, on the other hand, to ensuring that the minority does not suffer under the will of majority. This is the issue again here.
It has been frequently argued that the Amendment affects the closed shop issue. It does to some extent, though not necessarily, and I do not think it necessary to argue against the rather extraneous points which have been brought in about people not wanting to work with a certain man or about people resenting the fact that a non-unionist may get the benefit of union negotiations without contributing to the funds. This is not the central point. The central point is the protection of people against the possibility of oppression.
The Minister pointed out that the Amendment, if carried, would in any case give only partial protection to the individual and it did not go as far as the Opposition sought to go. I accept that. I even add to the limitations which he cited. He said that the Amendment would not operate where a threat was made but there was no breach of contract. This is true. It would not operate also if no threat were made but a strike were called off the cuff, without preliminary warning. But all this is no argument for saying that what protection the Amendment would give should not be given to the individual. Why should it not be given merely because the protection would be only partial? The whole Bill is only partial. It operates in very limited circumstances. It is no argument to say that the Amendment would not afford full protection. We sincerely hope that the full protection will be afforded—a difficult thing to do—in the Report of the Royal Commission and any subsequent legislation, but, in the meantime, we ask for the best protection for the individual now.
It has been argued that there would be great confusion in the mind of trade union officials because the Bill might apply in one case and not in another and they would not know in what circumstances they might contravene the law. We heard this argument countless times in Committee, and I can only repeat the same reply to it. The law is an immensely complicated mass which the ordinary 268 citizen frequently does not understand. Could every hon. Member put his hand on his heart and swear, confident that he was telling the truth, that he had never contravened any law, however well intentioned he may have been?
§ Sir T. Brinton
I was not proposing to give vent to any oaths myself, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The point has been made that such confusion can arise, and obviously it can, but it is up to trade union officials, as it is to all of us, to know what the law is. They would at least know one thing, and that is that they had better be circumspect if their actions are aimed at the termination of the employment of any individual. I feel, therefore, that we must press this Amendment. I hope that my hon. Friends are going to stick to their guns on it, because I am sure that if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides have considered it, they will agree that the last thing the House should attempt to do is infringe the rights of individuals. However much they may wish to protect the operations of trade unions, that is the one thing they must be careful not to do.
§ Mr. Norman Atkinson (Tottenham)
I should like to discuss three of the opinions that were advanced by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir T. Brinton) and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber), in dealing with the whole question of shop organisation and unofficial strikes and their origin. Before doing so, perhaps I might mention that, contrary to what has been said already in the debate, the overwhelming majority of trade unionists throughout the country will rejoice at and welcome the statement by the Minister this afternoon in rejecting the Lords Amendments.
Hon. Members opposite have raised three very important issues which affect the basic purpose of trade union organisation. I want to make quite clear the very important distinction between the closed shop and 100 per cent. trade union membership. It is an extremely important question, and we must be clear about the definition of the two expressions. The trade union movement supports a great deal of what has been said in its opposition to the very crude type of closed 269 shop, where it means that when a man seeks employment at a particular factory, corporation or municipality, he is told that, of necessity, he must be a member of a certain trade union. In other words, in the case of the closed shop the employer names the trade union. That is the important point about it and its definition—the fact that if a man seeks employment and agrees to accept work, he is told that he must belong to a particular trade union.
The trade unions are believers and advocates of 100 per cent. trade union membership in the shop, meaning that an individual commencing work has the right of choice and some degree of freedom to say which trade union he is about to join, so long as it conforms to the general negotiating machinery which applies to that particular shop. In engineering, for example, a man going to work in a factory will be asked to become a member of a trade union belonging to the confederation which negotiates on behalf of workers throughout the engineering industry. In other words, there is a degree of flexibility.
It is absolutely essential that we should understand the difference between the closed shop principle, to which many of us are opposed in its crudest sense, and a shop which is attempting to achieve 100 per cent. trade union organisation. I mention that because it is an important contributory factor to many shop floor disputes which have been seen to take place in recent times.
The second point was raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grantham—the origin of unofficial strikes. I can quite understand why many hon. Members oposite have raised the question of "wage drift" recently and are asking the House to place sanctions on trade unionists who take unofficial action. If one makes an analysis of present wage agreements and wage levels throughout industry, it soon becomes pretty obvious that the major gains that have been made in industry in terms of wage levels have arisen from "wage drift" and not from national negotiations. To take the example of engineering again, our nationally negotiated wages have been very slow to rise over the years. If we were totally dependent upon national negotiations as an industry, we would be far 270 behind what is now required to keep up with the rising cost of living.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. I am not contradicting anything that the hon. Gentleman has said, but he must relate what he is saying to the Amendment that we are discussing.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I apologise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I was attempting to follow up the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grantham, who was talking about the origin of unofficial strikes.
One can understand the reasons why they occur, because they are directly related to floor level negotiations—the thing that we now describe as "wage drift". It is from that source that the major wage increases have been achieved. As a result, we get conflict between managements, and it is a conflict of interests. The weapon used by the person in the factory in attempting to increase his negotiating strength is the threat to withdraw labour, and it is in that context that most unofficial strikes occur.
We must recognise that 99 per cent. of strikes are unofficial before they become official, and one of the reasons—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. I would again ask the hon. Gentleman to come to the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman who referred to the point did eventually get to the Amendment. The hon. Gentleman must get to the Amendment, which deals with the threat to an individual
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am trying to follow up the point made by the right hon. Gentleman that it is a contributory factor. I am trying to follow his rather tenuous path and come to the question of the individual. What we are talking about is a balance of rights—on the one hand, protecting individual rights and, on the other hand, protecting majority rights. It is in that context that I am talking about the origin of unofficial strikes.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. Before the hon. Member for Bath (Sir E. Brown) intervenes, may I express the hope that he will not intervene on the argument which is, I hope, leading up to the hon. Gentleman dealing with the Amendment itself.
§ Sir E. Brown
I am not going to talk about wages. I merely want to understand the hon. Gentleman's point when he says that the closed shop begins at shop floor level and that we must understand that these organisations are affiliated to a confederation. Surely the hon. Member will agree with me that it is the confederation which negotiaties and not the local people.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I have listened very carefully to the hon. Member's point, but I have failed to grasp it. The relationship between the individual's rights and the confederation which would be negotiating on his behalf is precisely what I am talking about.
Let me come to the third point that was raised, because perhaps it is more directly involved in the question of the rights of individuals. It is the right to strike as an individual. I make these observations and relate them to what I have said before and what the hon. Member for Kidderminster mentioned when he talked about the plight of the individual, because I hope that both sides of the House will reject any attempt that is made at any time to impose sanctions upon trade unionists when they avail themselves of their right to withdraw their labour. I hope that we will do everything we possible can to defend that right at all times, and that we will not listen to what I call the extremists demanding that sanctions be taken against trade unionists for exercising their individual right to withdraw their labour.
I make the point because it is very important that we should recognise that we are living in a class society. In a class society, we say that it is right for speculators and investors to withdraw their investments if the return is not great enough; in other words when they make an investment they do so on the understanding that they will get the greatest return. Therefore, if we accept that that is an individual right for a speculator or investor, surely we must at all times say that a man who has only his labour or brain, or a combination of both, to offer has exactly the same right to withdraw his labour because that is his equivalent to investment.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Sir T. Brinton
I would not argue about the individual's right to withdraw 272 his labour any time he wished to. But we are talking about the right being exercised collectively. There are many things that one may do legitimately as an individual which one may not do in agreement with other people. One has only to look at the Restrictive Trade Practices Act.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Precisely. In this sense we must always speak collectively. During my trade union experience I have never known a man say that he proposed to establish a strike on his own. It must be done collectively. Strength in the workshop results from collective action. I accept that.
The point about maintaining the right to strike at all times is a very important one, particularly because we await the publication of the Royal Commission's Report in order to tidy up some of our ideas about it. But we ought to say clearly where we stand about the rights of individuals in this sense, and must at all times be vigilant to maintain those rights and permit no interference with them.
I finish on a point which has already been made concerning the right of the individual in the workshop not to belong to a trade union. In my trade union experience I have known only three people refuse to become members of a trade union, and they refused because they did not want to pay the trade union dues. They were concerned about the weekly contribution and not the principle involved. Apart from the Rookes v. Barnard case, which is the classic one, I have never really known anyone in a factory say that he objected to the principle of collective security and collective bargaining, but I have known those three people who objected to being forced to pay trade union dues, and I think that that is the basis of many of the criticisms that we hear when men attempt to establish the principle of following their individual wishes.
I join my fellow trade unionists throughout the country in telling the Minister that we totally endorse and support what he has said, and we emphasise with all our vigour the need to reject the Lords Amendments.
§ Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)
I sat speechless through the Minister's 273 reading of his speech, which I can only think was prepared for him by Transport House and was not really his own case. He must have been acutely unhappy in presenting it to the House. He is a Minister whom many of us admire—kindly, genial, tolerant. He must have been acutely unhappy about bringing forward proposals which are intolerably vindictive in their nature. He cannot have had very much joy in telling the House about them.
I was fascinated to hear the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), who is not at the moment in the Chamber, talking about the academic atmosphere in which trade union matters are discussed in this House and another place. He would have us believe from the example which he gave that where there was a persistent absentee damaging production and the earnings of men on a production line and the men wanted the individual sacked, the management would not do it. But we know that in real life not only would the men's earnings be damaged but so would the factory's production and profits, and the first people who would want the individual sacked would be the management, but the management would not dare to sack him for fear of strike action and unsettled labour relations. In real life the boot is very much on the other foot.
We were told of a man who was found smoking in a mine and who might be taken on at another mine after a major disaster in which men lost their lives. The last time I went down a pit I noticed a very large warning at the pithead that anyone found with cigarettes in his possession or smoking below would be subject to instant dismissal. I can hardly think that it was an example from real life which was quoted to us.
The Government's case for the original Bill was that there was uncertainty in the minds of trade unionists which must be clarified without delay, uncertainty which arose from the Rookes v. Barnard case. It was also said that that uncertainty would interfere with the day-to-day activities of trade union officials. I can well accept, and most hon. Members can, that that is a very fair case for the Minister to make. He made it on a number of occasions in Committee and in the House.
§ Mr. Gunter
The hon. Gentleman missed the point all the time we were in Committee. It is true that we wanted to clear up the confusion. I said that. But the main purpose of the Bill was to put us back as far as was possible where we had been for 60 years, so that we could review the whole matter by means of a Royal Commission.
§ Mr. Mitchell
On Second Reading the right hon. Gentleman said that he would hesitate to bring in any further action before the Royal Commission had reported other than that required to put the law back where it was. The Lords Amendment does not affect the day-to-day working of trade union officials. We are constantly asked to debate Clauses which are in a negative form, and that makes it very difficult for us to understand them. However, if we put them into the positive we are able to see exactly what is meant by the proposed legislation. When we turn this proposal from the negative to the positive, it says, "This Act shall apply if it is shown that a threat is made to secure the termination of the employment of any person." This clearly, as I see it, introduces the principle of victimisation. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly referred to the right of the other House to interfere with a principle passed by the House of Commons. The principle of victimisation is surely hardly one that the Minister would have any pride in having forced on to the Statute Book.
I have three very simple, straightforward questions to ask, and I hope that I may have answers to them. First, if there is one example which the Minister can quote to show that failure to accept the Lords Amendment would have interfered with the normal day-to-day working of trade union officials since the Rookes v. Barnard case, will he quote it to the House? I do not want an airy-fairy "It might happen at so-and-so." Surely the Minister must have been seeking concrete examples to give the House to show the damage which would be done if we failed to accept the Lords Amendments. May we have just one example quoted to us so that we can see where since the Rookes v. Barnard case non-acceptance of the Lords Amendment would have a serious effect?
275 Secondly, does the right hon. Gentleman consider that victimisation, which would be legalised by leaving the Bill unamended, is part of the normal day-to-day activity of trade union officials?
§ Mr. Mitchell
I will be happy to do so. I mean the precise, phraseology which the Bill, if this Amendment is not accepted, will put into operation. The Bill would thereby legalise… a threat … to secure the termination of the employment of any person.The Rookes v. Barnard case was one of victimisation. I have a case in my constituency, which I quoted in Committee.
The case is one of arrant, outright victimisation of a man because he failed to renew his subscription to a trade union which he quarrelled with, did not want to belong to and refused to belong to. It was a matter not of money but of principle. That man was not allowed to continue to work in that shop and as a result he has employment other than the highly-skilled position that he might have been in had the union allowed him to continue work.
§ Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that in that case there was a strike or threat to strike?
§ Mr. Mitchell
There were both a threat to strike and the beginnings of a strike but the management reacted in the way the union asked. The action taken was very much on the same lines as that in the Rookes v. Barnard case except that this man did not take the matter to the High Court and suffered as a result. I have sent the papers to the Royal Commission and I hope that it will give careful consideration to the example.
§ Mr. Gunter
Time and again I have tried to explain to the hon. Gentleman that Mr. Rookes was a profound supporter of the closed shop. He started off as a supporter and quarrelled with the branch secretary and other officers of the union because they would not take militant action. He fertilised the bog in which he was eventually caught.
§ Mr. Mitchell
I cannot see what Mr. Rookes's beliefs have to do with it. He may have believed that the earth is flat but his beliefs had nothing to do with the case and the question of whether he had the right to refuse to join an association that he did not wish to join.
Thirdly, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is against Article 20 of the United Nations Charter, reaffirmed by a spokesman of the Government in another place. On 23rd February last, Lord Conesford asked Her Majesty's Government:… whether they accept the principle laid down in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the General Assembly … in 1948 … viz., that 'No one may be compelled to belong to an Association' …against his will. The reply began:My Lords, the Government accept the principle laid down in Article 20."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 23rd February, 1965, Vol, 263, c. 684.]What could be simpler than that? But now we have legislation in defiance of Article 20. We are to legalise victimisation to compel a man to join an organisation against his wishes. That is no more than paying lip-service to the U.N. and is particularly disconcerting to the many thousands who support the United Nations Association.
The Minister should take courage, go back to his Transport House masters and tell them that he is not prepared to continue to press this legislation, which is vindictive and intolerant and so much at variance with the commonsense, international agreements and sense of justice of which this House should be so proud.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
I want to take up a point about the problem that arises as between the majority and the minority viewpoints. Everyone will agree that it is essential in a democracy to maintain a balance so that there is fairness between the position of the majority and that of the minority. Everyone accepts this within the context of our democratic society. But it would seem that hon. Members opposite have a very strange view on the question of human rights and what precisely is fair.
I have been in the trade union movement all my adult life. I have been a shop steward, a federation steward 277 and a branch official and have held many other offices within the movement. I want hon. Members opposite to look at this from the other point of view. I know of many cases where men have said that they are not prepared to work alongside individuals who were not members of their unions, but I have also known cases where action has been taken against trade unionists in various ways, sometimes by dismissal, only because they were active and militant trade unionists.
Thus, when the working people in a factory or mine or on a building site see comrades who are speaking on their behalf—in many cases, elected shop stewards—being subjected to victimisation and possible dismissal, it is understandable that they should say that they are not prepared to work alongside people who will not join the union.
It seems to me that we are getting bogged down about the issues in this case. We are not really discussing the principle. Despite the attempts of hon. Members to raise the principle, what we are discussing is why the Government feel that the Amendment ought to be rejected. That leads us to the question of why the Bill was brought in in the first place.
It is understandable that the Opposition should regard this as a matter of principle because the interests of both sides of the House come out clearly in the situation. I have heard the arguments which are now used by the Opposition made many times and in very different circumstances. I draw attention to a speech by Mr. Victor Feather, Assistant General Secretary of the T.U.C. Speaking at the Trades Councils' Conference in 1964, and talking in terms of the Rookes v. Barnard judgment, he was reported as saying:This judgment involved the trade union movement but it could not involve the trade union movement in isolation from the work trade unions did; therefore, it involved collective bargaining, and that, in turn, involved employers and management as well as trade unions. It presented a threat not to the trade union movement solely but to the orderly processes of collective bargaining of Britain which were a model for the rest of the world. Our collective bargaining system was flexible and brought about changes in an orderly way. Rookes v. Barnard could replace the orderly procedures that existed in British industry for the settlement of industrial disputes, with the prospect, if it were carried to its logical conclusion, of industrial chaos.278 This view was not merely the view of Mr. Victor Feather. The General Council of the Trades Union Congress consulted its legal advisers on the matter. Legal opinion was very clear. It was precisely the same as that of Mr. Victor Feather; in fact, it was probable that Mr. Feather was basing his argument upon information and advice that he had received from legal sources.
The essence of the matter was that there was a need for a revision of the law so that the position could be restored to what it had previously been understood to be. Everyone had thought that in carrying out his duty a trade union official could take his stand in relation to trade union matters without the threat of intimidation, but the decision in Rookes v. Barnard altered this situation completely. And it was not only the position of a trade union official that was involved; this could be brought about by a third person. This was a very serious situation for the trade unions.
The General Council approached the Government of the day and asked them whether they would be prepared to write 16 words into the Act as it stood. The Government were not prepared to consider this. If we read the correspondence that passed between the T.U.C. General Council and the Government of the day we see that the Government were adamant that under no circumstances was this to be brought about. Their whole argument was based upon the need for the establishment of a Royal Commission.
§ Sir John Hobson (Warwick and Leamington)
I am sure that the hon. Member heard my right hon. Friend say that from the very beginning he asked for particulars of any real difficulties to be brought to him. He said that he was always willing and anxious to deal with them if they were drawn to his attention.
§ Mr. Heffer
I was coming to that point. It is true that because of the furore that developed as a result of Rookes v. Barnard no other action was taken at the time. It is also true that since then there has been a General Election, and that at the moment no employer would be prepared to take action, because we now have a Labour Government. But the facts are that while the law remains as it stands, without being amended by the Bill, it can be 279 invoked at any time. This is a very serious threat to the trade union movement. It is one that must be removed, and one that the Bill seeks to remove.
I want to take up the question of the freedom of the individual. Freedom does not mean licence. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Precisely. "Hear, hear", say hon. Members opposite. When workers who are engaged in proper trade union negotiations feel that it is important that all the workers in their establishment should belong to trade unions—not to one, but a number, within the trade union movement—surely they have the right to put it forward as a serious argument, and if an individual does not wish to belong to a trade union he can do what many bosses have told me to do. They have said. "If you do not like it here, Heffer, you can leave." I have said. "No—the answer is to try to change this situation through trade union negotiations. "If a worker does not like working with people who are 99 per cent. trade unionists he can leave and work somewhere else. He has that right. He can work with people who operate an open shop and do not believe in trade unionism.
In many parts of the United States the so-called "right to work" laws operate. In these States there has been an abandonment of proper negotiated trade union agreements, and there is chaos in industry precisely of the type that trade unions do not want to see introduced into this country. We have built up a vast, organised trade union movement which conducts its business properly with organised employers. We believe in organised agreements. If the Amendment is accepted it will be the thin end of the wedge for the complete and utter destruction of proper negotiating machinery in the long run. That is what we are arguing about. That is the essence of the problem.
It is clear that these arguments about the freedom of the individual do not really matter, because if the Opposition were really serious about this they would have added something else to the Amendment. They would have put in a few words providing that no action should be taken against individual workers by management. I do not see those words being added to the Amendment. I do not 280 see hon. Members opposite rushing forward to propose a form of words of that kind. Why not? It is because they are not really concerned with that sort of thing. What they are concerned about is the workers who organise themselves into trade unions for their own protection. That is why the Opposition are fighting in such an organised way.
The whole attitude of the Opposition to the question of trade unions has been clearly revealed in this Chamber. The other day, at Question Time, an hon. Member asked why legislation should not be introduced to prevent unofficial strikes. Unofficial strikes are brought about because workers reach a certain stage at which they cannot accept the situation any longer. There are even unofficial strikes in Franco Spain and in Soviet Russia. Wherever workers feel that they cannot tolerate the situation any further they take unofficial action.
We live in a democracy. We believe in persuasion. We believe in not bringing about certain situations by force. But that is what hon. Members opposite are trying to do. They are trying to fetter the trade union movement. I hope that the House will reject the Lords Amendments.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) followed the normal line. He may not have meant to emphasise it to such an extent, but nevertheless he took the line that everybody on this side of the House is basically against trade unions and that we have no experience of them. He proceeded to list his experiences, and suggested that we were not interested in the question.
§ Mr. Mawby
If the hon. Member did not mean that, I apologise to him immediately. But if he reads the report of his speech in tomorrow's HANSARD he will see that that was the suggestion that he made.
I want to try to deal with what I regard as the major points that we are discussing within the very narrow terms of this Lords Amendment. The main thing is that the Minister said again, this afternoon, that this Bill was designed to put back the law to what everyone thought it was before the Rookes v. Barnard case. I do not 281 want to go into a long argument about this. All I can say is that there are some very reliable authorities who, even in 1906, and since, have expressed the view that this was not so, and that the 1906 Act did not give the protection from actions for tort to trade unionists in all actions that they may take. Certainly the Lord Chancellor of the day when the 1906 Act was brought in, and Lord Citrine, in his book, are both on record as pointing out that this was not so.
Even if it were so, what one has to remember is that one is now 60 years on from 1906. It seems funny to me that we should have to put the law back to what it was felt to be in 1906, particularly when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), in telling us of some of his interesting experiences, said that when he was a lodge steward he had problems ten times more difficult than they are today. In other words, even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caerphilly was pointing out that we have moved a long way in the whole question of industrial relations since 1906.
The Bill deals, purely and simply, with threats, and threats by a person. It does not even need to be a trade union official. The arguments that have been put forward have been that trade union officials ought to have the right to work and to do their job without the danger of becoming involved in legal actions. Even if the Amendment was accepted, officials would have to be a little more careful in issuing threats to managers and that would only be where the rights of a person to continue in employment were involved—
§ Mr. Hamling
Is the hon. Gentleman trying to tell the House that a threat to intimidate is worse than intimidation itself?
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Mawby
Yes, certainly I am. This is an important point. We know full well that a person, not an official, not a shop steward, the leader of a group of dissidents inside a union, can threaten the management that if certain action is not taken, labour will be withdrawn.
The employer could then try to work out a balance of what he would lose if a strike took place, against what it would cost him to placate those who were 282 threatening strike action, when there may not be the possibility of a strike if the crunch came. In other words, it may very well be a bluff.
As far as the Rookes v. Barnard decision is concerned, no one can be certain that if B.O.A.C. had refused to sack Rookes, the union would have withdrawn its labour from London Airport. This is a matter of conjecture, and this is the reason why I say that a threat could be more dangerous and more damaging, particularly where an individual is concerned, where an individual is causing difficulties, and where the employer knows that, if he dispenses with his services, then his problems are over and there is no possibility of a strike taking place. In those circumstances, I think that a threat could be more damaging to the person on the receiving end than the actual strike.
The hon. Member for Walton referred to the fact that we were dealing with balance and that the balance must be kept right. This is true. It involves rights and responsibilities of those who have joined together collectively into a trade union, and those who for one reason or another have decided that they do not wish to join that particular corporate body. It also involves those-I agree they are few—who may have been disciplined by their trade union, and as a result it is impossible for them to belong to that particular union.
There we have the balance which we must try to maintain. I think everyone in this House would accept that it is important that trade union officials, in their day-to-day activities, should not have to take a training in law to make certain that they are not getting themselves into difficulties. It is right and proper that the principle of the 1906 Act should have been brought in, and it is right and proper that we should make certain that in their normal, legitimate activities, they should be reasonably protected.
There is also another point which we have to consider. An individual can lose his employment and there is nothing that this House, or the Minister or anyone else can do to prevent a group of men from physically withdrawing their labour or refusing to work with him. There is nothing we can do about it and let us not attempt the task.
283 What the House can do is at least to make certain that the person concerned can have a forum to which he can go to prove that he has suffered damages as a result of this, and to claim some sort of compensation for that damage. This is where we have to keep the balance right. I think that when this Bill gives a sweeping right, not only to trade union officials, but to other persons who threaten action, which would cause great damage to the person concerned, we should be wrong to take away that person's right to be able to go to the courts and, if he can prove he has suffered damage, and that that damage was caused by people acting contrary to law, in the form of a conspiracy not already covered by an Act of Parliament to claim compensation.
The Declaration of Human Rights has been mentioned. I do not propose to dwell upon it except to point out that it is important that we should not become hypocritical. If we accept what the Declaration of Human Rights says about "solemnly entering into", then I do not think we can run away and say that neither we, as the Houses of Parliament, or as Minister of Labour, or as the Government, are forcing anyone to join an association. Technically we may get away with that argument, but if we do not accept these Lords Amendments we shall be giving licence to other people to do just that. We should seriously consider whether we are right in taking this action. If we are not prepared to retain this right for the ordinary individual, then at least we ought to be truthful and to say that we must now ask that this section of the Declaration of Human Rights should be cut out so far as we are concerned, because we cannot abide by it. This is a matter to which I do not think we ought just to pay lip-service.
It is true, as the Minister has said, that this Bill will obviously sweeten the whole atmosphere and allow the Royal Commission to be able to work in a better atmosphere than it may have been able to do if this action were not taken. I believe that the Minister ought to be happy, in regard to that part of the Bill which gives everything except this narrow point, to wait until the Royal Commission reports before he decides whether the 284 Royal Commission is of the same opinion as we are about the right of the individual. Hon. Members have tended to refer to anyone who is dealt with in these circumstances as a "non-unionist", this description being applied to those who fail to join a union and those who refuse to join a union. The suggestion was that the only men who refused to join a union were those who were influenced by the question of the "subs". In my experience, this is not so. I have known few people who have refused to join a trade union when they have been approached and shown the benefits which could derive from their joining that union.
In my experience as a shop steward over a long period, I have found that the voluntary approach—by which men were shown what may be obtained and what they were already obtaining from the services of a union, as well as the other services they could enjoy, particularly the legal support if they were involved in an action concerning an employer's liability—results in few people refusing to join. There are certain religious orders, for instance, who say that someone should not join a trade union. I believe that they are wrong, that this is a closed shop in reverse, but this is, nevertheless, an important point. Those people should be entitled to wide employment, unless their fellows feel so strongly that they force the employer to get rid of that man. In those circumstances, that man should not be denied the right which is denied to no one else in this country—to go to the courts and seek his legal remedy.
This problem goes even further than that. As I said earlier, there have been cases of an ordinary member of a trade union being faced with this terrible dilemma, that his own department, the men in his own shop, decide that they will take unofficial action. The executive committee of the union says, "There is no need for this. We are telling you that negotiations are going on and the last thing we want is for you to withdraw your labour." They probably even send someone from London to tell the men, "This is not on." Yet the men still insist on coming out on strike. What does the ordinary man do? Does he follow his executive or does he say, "Against my wishes—I believe that this is wrong—I will go out with my fellows on unofficial strike."?
285 In some cases, he follows the stream and goes out with his fellows. That is the end of it. But what of the man who says, "No. I went to the last policy conference and we decided on a number of resolutions, which the executive is carrying out. If I go out on strike now, I shall be taking action with my foot against motions put forward with my mouth."? He does not take part in that unofficial strike. As a result, he is treated as a blackleg by his fellows—there are few cases of this, but it can happen—and he may be disciplined and lose his trade union card.
How do we deal with that person? Is he to travel the country finding the odd open shop where there is still no need for him to join a union, getting himself established and then having to move on again as soon as the closed shop is established there? Not only that, but he will be unable at any time to go to any court in the land and sue for any compensation for the damages he has sustained.
This is what we are discussing. I suggest that we—whether we are trade unionists, employers or experts in this and that—are here as Members of Parliament not to look after the interests of one section of the community, but to make certain that the balance is right. If we do not accept this Amendment, the balance will be wrong and it will legitimise victimisation. In most cases, trade union leaders will not use this wrongly, but we should remember that the reference in the Bill is to "a person" and this gives too much power.
I would remind the House that the hon. Member for Walton said that freedom should never be licence. I believe that, if we accept the Lords Amendment, we shall be maintaining about the right balance in which trade union officials can go about their daily job without let or hindrance, and that the ordinary individual, whether a member of a trade union or not, will still have his legal remedy if, in some action over which he has no control, he is damaged and faced with the prospect of being able to find no remedy in any court in the land.
§ 6.15 p.m
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
It was a pleasure, in some ways, to listen to the speech of 286 the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), because, although I disagreed with a great deal of what he said, he was at least talking on the right wavelength. It was clear that he was talking from personal knowledge of the background. Although he said things with which I disagree, he made points which were objective, intelligent and intelligible. He made the correct point, that what we are talking about is the question of an individual. My complaint is that the individual, to whom most of the Opposition speakers have directed their attention, is not the individual referred to in the Amendment. The Bill refers to:An Act done after the passing of this Act by a person in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.This is the person with whom we are concerned.
What the Lords are seeking to do is to remove the protection from that person. They are, in other words, seeking to expose that person to the possibility of being sued. If we were to spend a little more time being concerned about the person referred to in the Bill—the person exposed to the possibility of being sued at law by the Lords Amendment—and concerned ourselves a little less with the various hypothetical persons who have been mentioned by the Opposition as being people who may suffer intimidation and victimisation, we should do right. We should do right not only because we should be addressing ourselves to the actuality but because we should be talking about the Amendment, which we ought to be talking about, and not about the Bill as a whole.
For this reason, I should like to talk about this chap. He is not always the stereotype in the minds of hon. Members opposite. He is not always the big trade union boss who says, "You shall do this." Much more often than not, he is a chap who happens to have undertaken a certain responsibility as a shop steward or something of that kind. He is not another stereotype, the militant Communist who exists sometimes in the minds of hon. Members opposite. More often than not, the chap in this position is virtually drafted there by his fellow workers and asked to stick his neck out. What hon. Members are seeking to do is make it more difficult for him to stick his neck out, to make it more difficult for 287 him to undertake this responsibility, because he would know that by undertaking that responsibility he would expose himself to the danger of being sued in law.
Hon. Members opposite ask whether this has happened. We in the trade union movement can tell them that since the Act has been passed it has been more difficult in trade unions to get the ordinary rank and file trade unionist to undertake the ordinary responsibilities within the movement, because they are scared that they will place themselves in a difficult position in taking the actions which have to be taken almost every day. Scarcely a day passes without a trade unionist going to the boss and saying, "If we cannot get this settled the chaps will come out". Under the Amendment that is a threat.
§ Sir Stephen McAdden (Southend, East)
When the hon. Member refers to the unwillingness of trade unionists under the Act, he means since the Rookes v. Barnard decision, does he not?
§ Mr. Jenkins
Yes. I mean until the Bill becomes effective and recreates the position as we thought it was before Rookes v. Barnard. That is the position which we are seeking to re-establish. We cannot accent the Amendment because it removes an essential protection.
I will be brief. Indeed, I might not have intervened at all had the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) done me the courtesy of allowing me an intervention in his speech. My right hon. Friend who followed him gave hon. Members opposite the opportunity to intervene on six occasions. Perhaps next time the right hon. Member for Grantham will not fail to see me when I stand up.
The point which I would have made in that intervention relates to the Declaration of Human Rights. That must be seen in its context. If we were to say that this United Nations statement is to be effective in relation to employment and workers, civilised society would be impossible. All guilds have accepted the proposition that obligatory membership of associations is right and proper, and in the old days they used to enforce it. Certain establishments in the City possess 288 this theoretical power to enforce membership of an organisation. Not only the workers but also employers have done this. The idea of obligatory membership in relation to work is well established, and it is operated in relation to doctors and the law. Membership of an organisation in work is part of our society.
The United Nations statement means that it is improper to extend that necessary obligation, which is part of the economic framework of society, into a political obligation, and this is why in the trade unions we rightly have the ability to opt out of political obligations. The analogy which has been drawn in rather exaggerated terms by some hon. Members opposite, but in more reasonable terms by the hon. Member for Totnes, is not a valid analogy for that reason and for many other reasons with which I will not weary the House. I support my right hon. Friend in opposing the Amendment and in standing for the Bill unamended.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) would agree, if he considered his remarks carefully, that they are not valid in relation to a threat which might be made to withdraw labour. He said that if the Amendment were accepted then a shop steward or a person representing a body of workers could not go to the employer and say, "Unless you do so and so my colleagues will withdraw their labour." He can still do that in any circumstances except if the action which he is taking is to persuade the employer to dismiss one of his colleagues.
If the employer has not carried out all his obligations, for example if there is a dangerous machine, he can go to the employer and say, "Unless you put the machine right and instal safety guards, I shall have to persuade my colleagues to withdraw their labour". It is only in the one case covered by the Amendment that he cannot do it without laying himself open to the sort of action which we saw in Rookes v. Barnard.
I am a trade unionist, and, like the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), I start with a prejudice in favour of the trade unions. But we cannot accept the pronouncement that people, however eminent, such as Lord Citrine, necessarily represent accurately the views of the 289 whole body of trade unionists in this country. It is wrong for anyone to claim that they are doing that unless they have carried out a thorough survey in their own trade union or the movement generally. I agree very much that we should pay serious attention to the views expressed by leaders of the trade unions, but we should not say that they necessarily represent the views of the rank and file members.
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
Is the hon. Member suggesting that a man who has been General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress for many years and who is regarded as the greatest British authority on trade unions has little more right to claim that he knows what is in the minds of British trade unionists than perhaps other people?
§ Mr. Lubbock
Not necessarily. If he has been General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress for a number of years he may be out of touch with the workers on the shop floor. It would be out of order to say too much about this, but I could quote many examples to show where the leadership of the trade unions is out of touch with the rank and file. The recent go-slow on the railways is probably an outstanding example.
§ Mr. Heffer
The fact that for a period they have been slightly out of touch with the rank and file does not mean that they do not know what the rank and file are thinking. That was the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson).
§ Mr. Lubbock
The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) suggested that the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress was more likely to know what were the views of the rank and file than were some other people. It depends on who the other people are. I am saying that he is not more likely to know what are the views of the rank and file than is a shop steward who is engaged in day-to-day negotiations or even somebody at district level or even the hon. Member for Totnes, who has been a shop steward in his time. I am not trying to make too much of it. All I am saying is that one should not accept the pronouncements of people, however eminent they are in the trade union movement, as necessarily being indicative of the 290 views of the general majority either in their own union or in the movement as a whole.
I am not entirely happy with the wording of the Amendment, because there is something in the contention that it goes too wide. I listened carefully to the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), and I thought that his examples were a little far-fetched. It would have been better if in another place they had accepted the Liberal Amendment, which was concerned only with acts done with the sole intention of forcing another person to remain or to seek to become a member of a trade union. This Amendment from another place could cover a much wider area than those people who will not join a trade union. The examples given by the right hon. Member for Caerphilly did not strike me as being very plausible. But I agree that if a person smoked in a mine he would be dismissed instantly—not in 999 cases out of 1,000 but in 1,000 cases out of 1,000. I should like the right hon. Gentleman with his long experience in these matters, to quote me one example of a miner who has been found to have smoked down in the pit and who has not been instantly dismissed.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Swain (Derbyshire, North-East)
The hon. Gentleman might care to know that I began in the coal mines in 1925. In the first mine in which I worked, with 450 other men, smoking was allowed underground.
§ Mr. Lubbock
That may have been true in 1925, but I do not think that it is true today. From the discussions I have had with people who are experienced in the coalmining industry I understand that smoking is one of the gravest fears of men working underground and that there are severe penalties, including that of instant dismissal, for men found smoking. Perhaps if such stringent regulations were in force in 1925 the number of accidents in the mining industry at that time would have been reduced.
The right hon. Member for Caerphilly then spoke of persistent absenteeism, mentioned the case of men in a bonus team and pointed out that by one member of the team being persistently absent on the Monday or Friday the earnings of the rest of the team were reduced. I should 291 have thought that absenteeism was sufficiently serious a matter to be dealt with without threats being made to the management for securing the dismissal of the persistent absentee in such circumstances.
I go this far with the right hon. Member for Caerphilly, that there might be cases, which we cannot at the moment envisage, which could be covered by the Tory Amendment of another place and which might not be covered had the Liberal Amendment been accepted. I will give one example, although in doing so I do not want to suggest that this is likely to happen often, although its happening is conceivable. There may be a group of workers who are colour prejudiced and who do not like working alongside someone from, say, the West Indies. They might decide that to procure his dismissal they will threaten the employer to withdraw their labour unless he accedes to their request. This is an unpleasant situation to have to discuss and I am mentioning it merely to point out that there are circumstances other than those mentioned by the right hon. Member for Caerphilly which must receive our attention and which could occur in this context.
§ Sir J. Hobson
Our Amendment would make it illegal to make such a threat in order to get rid of a man on colour grounds whereas the Liberal Amendment would not.
§ Mr. Lubbock
That is correct. Although this is an unpleasant situation to envisage, it could happen, and the fact that a few examples have been given today does not mean that we know how far the Amendment we are discussing might extend. I agree that in the case I have cited the Conservative Amendment is an improvement on ours, but there might be other instances in which the Tory Amendment, extensive though it is, might have undesirable consequences.
There are only two factors in favour of leaving the Bill exactly as it stands. One is that the trade unions believe that the Amendment would greatly restrict their operations. They consider it right and fair that no restriction should be placed on their activities, pending the Royal Commission's Report. Many trade unionists are under a misapprehension 292 about the effect of the Amendment and, as the hon. Member for Putney said, this is a question of explaining exactly what are the implications.
The second factor is one to which the Minister drew attention when he said that the main thing was to put the situation back to where it was for 60 years following the passage of the Trade Disputes Act 1906. However, with respect to the right hon. Gentleman, lawyers differ as to what the position was prior to the Rookes v. Barnard decision. Even the Lord Chancellor has said about that decision that the difficulty of the Rookes v. Barnard situation was that nobody knew what it was that it had decided. For this reason I hope the Government will not make too much of the argument that by accepting the Amendment we are destroying something which was in existence for 60 years, for different legal authorities have different views on the subject. For that reason it would, on balance, be better to accept the Amendment and go forward to the result of the Royal Commission on that basis.
§ Mr. Hamling
I have a few observations to make on the speech of the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock). It might be wise, at the outset, to consider the position of a shop steward, to which the hon. Gentleman referred following the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins).
It has been suggested that under the Amendment a shop steward might be in jeopardy if he threatened an employer that the men would withdraw their labour if a certain person was employed. However, might he not be in this difficult position? A shop steward or permanent officer of a union might seek, in a friendly way, to warn an employer, but this might be interpreted as a threat. For example, it might be interpreted that, by going to tell the employer that by employing a certain person there might be trouble in the shop, this could be construed at law as a threat.
This brings us back to the point made by the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), when I pointed out that an action—such as the withdrawal of labour—would not be covered by the Amendment but that a threat of such an action would be. This seems to be a strange 293 anomaly in the law; that when one does a thing one is not punished or sued and the action is not actionable, while a threat is.
§ Sir J. Hobson
Is not the position that if a person strikes in breach of contract he is liable—that he may not be sued, although he is liable to be sued?
§ Mr. Hamling
I am referring to the Amendment, which says nothing about an action. It refers to a threat. I am under the impression that we are speaking to the Amendment and not about a hypothetical situation.
We might ask which could cause more damage. Does a threat cause more damage than an action? For example, a strike may cause considerable damage. I should have thought that the argument in this case was quite clear; that a threat in itself might cause no damage whatever—such as a friendly warning that might be given by a shop steward to an employer or the passing on of information—whereas a strike could certainly cause damage. It comes as a strange surprise that the Opposition lightly con-template strikes, but take more seriously the threatening of shop stewards who warn employers in an effort to prevent strikes. This is a strange "turn up for the book".
I mention, in passing, that our discussion of the Bill has been extremely friendly. I understand that some hon. Members were rather afraid that there might be, as a result of this discussion, some kind of verbal assault on another place. That has not eventuated. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] The answer is because my right hon. Friend is such a reasonable and kindly man and that any prospect or talk of an assault would be quite out of character. Indeed, my right hon. Friend set the tone of the debate. I have heard nothing of a sufficiently violent or controversial nature in this debate to cause anyone in the other place a particular spasm.
The Declaration of Human Rights has been mentioned several times, and it was also mentioned in the Standing Committee. One is entitled to ask why, if the Opposition place so much store on that Declaration, they do not live up to it—because they do not. Very many of them belong to associations of one sort or another 294 where compulsion is used and where the Declaration of Human Rights is frequently transgressed. Never once have they protested about it here, and it comes as passing strange that they should talk about it now.
One has only to refer to an association within the precincts of this Palace—the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. An hon. Member cannot take a trip abroad in certain directions—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member was good enough to remind us earlier that this debate was confined to this Amendment.
§ Mr. Hamling
With respect, Sir, I am speaking to a specific point, which is that the right of employment might be terminated if a man refused to join a union.
Right hon. and hon. Members opposite talked about compulsory trade unionism, so I suggest that what I say is within the terms of the Amendment. They prayed in aid the Declaration of Human Rights, and I suggest that if the Declaration is to be prayed in aid in one context it is quite reasonable to pray it in aid in another. I hope that in talking about the Declaration of Human Rights and the consistency or inconsistency of hon. and right hon. Members opposite, Mr. Speaker, I shall not be ruled out of order, but I am, as always, speaking subject your guidance.
We on this side have always said in connection with trade unionism that the subject matter of the Amendment should be left to the good sense of people. That was precisely what my right hon. Friend was after when he said that we want to restore the law to the position we thought existed before a recent legal decision. We in the trade union movement have always said, and it has been widely accepted on both sides of the House over many years, that the law ought to interfere in trade union affairs as little as possible. It has been widely accepted that the lawyers should restrain themselves very much in relation to industrial matters, and particularly in relation to trade union matters because we have felt—and this is not a party matter at all—that in seeking to define these things in law too closely we run into great difficulties.
I have been a trade unionist ever since I started work, and those of us who are 295 concerned with trade unions recognise that we cannot talk to ordinary working men about the niceties and exactitudes of the law. They will dismiss it in a very picturesque turn of phrase which would be quite out of order to repeat this afternoon, though I am sure that hon. Members, with their equally wide experience of the world, will not only know the words but will have heard them used on occasion by trade unionists and working men.
We live in a very real and very practical world, but I suggest that by accepting this Amendment we would very quickly get into the impractical world, the artificial world, of exact definition by lawyers, and we would run into very serious trouble. One of the dangers of the Amendment is that it would expose trade unionists and trade union officials to some very severe uncertainties. For example, one hon. Member opposite has suggested that the real state of trade union law at the moment could be exemplified by leaving the word "not" from the Amendment, so as to make it read:( ) This Act shall apply if it is shown that a threat of the character specified in the next following subsection was made to secure the termination of the employment of any person.He read that version to mean that at present this is how trade unionists operate, but he is completely wide of the mark, and any trade unionist, any employer or anyone with experience of industry would tell him so.
We believe that the lawyers should abstain here, but, in any case, I suggest that if members of the party opposite really want to make trade union law exact, really want to import the law into the trade union world in a much more widespread way than has hitherto been the case, this Amendment is obviously quite insufficient for that purpose. We would require a complete transformation of the legal position of trade unionists and trade unions, and the Amendment does not go half far enough in that direction. We should either do the whole thing properly or we should leave it alone, and my right hon. Friend's case is that until we have had this review by the Royal Commission we should leave it alone. These are very 296 sound and logical reasons for resisting the Amendment.
Partial amendment is quite unsatisfactory. In this respect we can draw on the experience of previous Governments. It is most remarkable that the eloquent speeches we have heard from the benches opposite today were not made in the last Parliament, nor have they been made during the last 13 years, when they had the opportunity—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman's speech must be directed, if I might remind him, to this Amendment.
§ Mr. Hamling
I am most grateful, Mr. Speaker. I was trying to show that this partial Amendment is really insufficient, and that if right hon. and hon. Members opposite were really serious they would have taken action in this respect. If I was out of order, I apologise most sincerely.
If the Amendment were accepted, who would be sued? Would it be the working men, who issued threats? Or would it be the shop representative or the permanent trade union official? The Amendment would make the law much more uncertain than it is. Hon. Members opposite are already complaining that the law is uncertain; this Amendment would make uncertainty twice uncertain. For the reasons I have given, in addition to those others that have been advanced from these benches, I recommend the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. Gower
I was rather sorry that the Minister of Labour closed his mind to the posibility of accepting the principle of this Amendment. He will be aware that on this side of the House there is a tremendous amount of good will for his attitude towards matters affecting labour relations and good relations in industry. For many of the things he has said and done he has maximum support from this side of the House. I was particularly surprised that he should have invoked in support of his argument an example of an employer who had given notice to employees because of their membership of trade unions. He must be aware that that kind of situation has long been condemned by public opinion including, of course, trade unionists.
§ Mr. Gunter
I am not arguing with the hon. Member about that. We all condemn it, but it goes on and on. The only argument I was adducing was that we had better look at the whole picture before we legislate.
§ Mr. Gower
The point I was making was that the right hon. Gentleman is aware that it has long been condemned. For many years it has been accepted by both sides of the House and by the country that freedom of association is one of the constitutional rights of the people. This Amendment is directed to something quite different.
§ Mr. Gower
The right hon. Gentleman says "No", but I should have thought that he should take some account of the state of public opinion on this matter. While public opinion is solidly behind the idea of freedom of asociation, today a large degree of public opinion is deeply concerned about some aspects of the exercise of the power in whom that freedom is reposed. That concern extends far beyond the ranks of Conservatives. It is very deeply felt by Liberals. It is significant to those who read the proceedings on this Amendment in another place that the Liberal seers were among those who spoke most strongly about these matters. The concern extends through all sections of the community. Examples have been given tonight of the kind of situation we could envisage.
Recently, I read about such an association. Of course, there is always a background, but we do not know all the facts. That is why one is guarded in one's assessment of a situation, but it seems that in that situation there was a long history of dislike of a particular man. That led to a threatened strike. The reports of that situation refer to the man's assertion and claim that he was being victimised because he was working too hard. I do not know how accurate that statement may have been, but to refer to such a situation shows the danger which might exist.
My hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) referred to those minority religious bodies which, for reasons of conscience which we might think quite misguided, are placed in a difficult position. Is this House to enshrine in an Act of Parliament a provision 298 whereby such people can be driven out of their industry? Is this to be the sort of law we are to pass? I cannot understand those who are the successors of persons who fought for freedom of association now being party to any kind of legislation which would lessen the freedom of an individual. It seems a wrong ending to what has been a splendid history.
§ Mr. Hamling
The hon. Member completely misunderstands our situation. I am opposed to the closed shop, and always have been. I am opposed to compulsory trade unionism. All that we are saying is that this Amendment is the wrong way of setting about it.
§ Mr. Gower
Yes, voluntary methods—and the knowledge that the union gives to its members. Nine willing members are worth 10 who are compelled.
We have to weigh in the balance whether it is worse for 99 to be aggrieved because of one person in their industry or for one apparently helpless man, not backed up by a great organisation, to be drummed out of an industry in which he has any possible skill. [An HON. MEMBER: "The same as doctors and lawyers?"] It is not the same as doctors and lawyers. That is where hon. Members are completely wrong. Doctors and lawyers are under the necessity of having a certain amount of knowledge demonstrated by their success in examinations. That is completely different. It is to ensure that the community has doctors and lawyers reaching a certain academic standard. We cannot compare that with the situation we are discussing on this Amendment.
§ Sir E. Brown
Will my hon. Friend agree that that one person has the right to leave his organisation and also the right to stay in it?
§ Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)
I wonder whether the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) would make further observations on the question raised about the British Medical Association and the Law Society, which, of course, are compulsory trade unions? Is he attempting to suggest that some trade unions do not exist in which the members have, for instance, to pass an apprenticeship? Is there not an analogy between insistence on compulsory trade union membership for professional workers and for manual workers?
§ Mr. Curran
The analogy also breaks down because a lawyer or a doctor cannot be kicked out of his organisation without a judicial inquiry, or an inquiry on judicial lines.
§ Mr. Gower
That is the case, but it is outside the terms of this Amendment.
It is no answer to the problem for the Minister to say that the sensible thing would be to wait for the report of the Royal Commission. It is desirable that these matters should be considered by such an august body, but we all know that such bodies take a considerable time to publish their findings and recommendations and there is an even longer time before their recommendations are implemented.
What I have said about the interests of many people, including Liberals, makes me hopeful that the Solicitor-General, with his long Liberal antecedents, will find himself constitutionally incapable of resisting the Amendment. I cannot believe that a man who has spent most of his political career asserting the rights of the individual could advocate support for a proposal which would have the most damaging effect on those rights. I hope that the Government will have second thoughts about this matter. We on this side of the House are just as much attached as they are to freedom of association 300 and membership of trade unions, but we are desperately opposed to compulsion. We are desperately opposed to the principle of compulsion and the idea of force of any kind. We hope that in that setting the hon. and learned Gentleman will now announce that there has been a change of mind.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Scotstoun)
The question before the House is whether it is right to accept the Amendment now or whether it would be better to await the Report of the Royal Commission. I claim some experience in trade union matters, because I have been a shop steward, district president, and other things connected with a trade union. The motivation and the background to this matter must not be overlooked. Some years ago there was the Crichel Down case, and I remind hon. Members of the atmosphere which prevailed at the time.
I draw attention to the provisions under the Defence of the Realm Act in relation to conscientious objectors. I yield to no one in my defence of the rights of the individual. I agree, however, that this matter is being viewed at the moment side by side with the present round of unofficial or wildcat strikes and also in the light of the judgment in Rookes v. Barnard.
In my union experience I had to deal with many people. Most of them had religious and moral reasons as to why they should not join a trade union. I met many such people. If the Amendment were written into the Bill and a certain interpretation followed, the sense of injustice felt by these people would be magnified and they would be prepared to test their case in the courts. When such cases go to the courts, there is always plenty of money from peculiar sources to support the rights of the individual. I do not object to this if it is done above board, but it is not always done above board.
In my view, it would be better to await the report of the Royal Commission. Under the existing structure I agree that the courts are the proper place to deal with the matter, but courts of inquiry with specific reference to certain industries and specific cases should be set up, rather than that case law should be built 301 up in the courts. In my view if such a case were to be taken to court it would be magnified out of all reality.
§ Mr. Aidan Crawley (Derbyshire, West)
The hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) said that this had been a very friendly debate. I agree with him. One of the reasons he adduced for saying that was that no assault had been made on another place. Perhaps he did not hear the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), who at the beginning of his speech said that the Amendment should never have been sent down from another place because it dealt with a question of principle and not with a question of detail.
I want to argue the exact opposite. It is of immense importance that on questions of principle another place should have the right to revise and review and send Measures back to us for reconsideration. After all, this House is absolute. It can do anything it likes in the end. To take a historical example, one of the things it has often done has been to vary the length of Parliament. There is no reason why the House should not pass a Measure extending the life of any Parliament to seven years, or 10 years, or indefinitely. That would raise a vitally important question of principle. [Interruption.] It has done so. We have had seven-year Parliaments. It the other place had no right to make us think again, our Constitution would be very much weaker than it is.
The essence of the Amendment, the retention of which I support, has been very clearly stated. As the Minister has said today, in Committee and on Second Reading, the difference between us is that, whereas he and his hon. Friends think that the Bill without the Amendment puts the law back where many people thought it was, we on this side say that the law is never what people think it is and that what, in effect, is happening is that, without the Amendment, the Bill would extend the immunities of trade unions, and extend them in a particular way, in that the Bill without the Amendment would give a positive licence to members of trade unions to use the threat of a strike to intimidate an individual.
I was interested to hear the Minister say, rather more clearly than he has said on previous occasions, that the reason why 302 he opposes the Amendment is that he wants to hold the balance between an individual's right not to join a trade union and the right of the majority of trade unionists to refuse to work with a non-trade unionist.
The Amendment restores or adjusts a balance that is pretty heavily tilted the other way. In any society, particularly in industrial societies, individuals suffer at the hands of a majority. They may be sent to Coventry. We had the case only the other day of the man who caught a thief in his factory at night and then gave evidence against the thief in court. When it was discovered that the thief was a member of his union and worked in the same works, this man was sent to Coventry and he found life so unbearable that he left his job.
There are cases as hon. Members opposite know very well, of men who are sometimes much against their will obliged to pay funds to unofficial strike leaders, even though it may be against the rules of their union. There have been cases in which men who have refused to do this have not been supported by their union. There are all sorts of instances of this kind. [Interruption.] These cases are common. I can give chapter and verse of a case where this has occurred.
§ Mr. Crawley
I have detailed facts of cases where this has happened. I will give the hon. Gentleman details later. These cases are very well known. [An HON. MEMBER: "Give the details now."] On the next occasion when I speak on this matter I will give two detailed cases.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The confines of this debate must be borne in mind. It is legitimate to argue, no doubt, that, were this Amendment to be rejected, there would be increasing pressures by the union on the individual, but I think that to go through a detailed discussion of possible methods of bringing such pressures to bear goes beyond the bounds permitted.
§ Mr. Crawley
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is why I was not going into any detail. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite are being foolish. They know full well that these things have happened. 303 can give them the details later. Therefore, all that we are saying is that, although these pressures exist, and everybody knows that they exist, these are inevitable and individuals have their legal remedy against them. Where it is a question of a man's livelihood, where intimidation can take the form of his losing his job and perhaps his livelihood, then at least he can have no remedy.
There is no suggestion that anybody can stop trade unionists or the majority of people in a factory or an industry from using the threat of a strike to get a man sacked. That can still take place. All that the Amendment does is to say that, if an individual loses his job and his livelihood, he should have the right to take action in court.
I am surprised that hon. Members opposite take such objection to this. I do not believe that any of them in practice would either wish to use such intimidation or indeed have ever done so. I find it difficult to understand why they feel so strongly about it. This is a very limited Amendment. It is a very limited thing we are trying to stop. It is essentially reasonable.
The only two arguments against it which I want to deal with are these. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly said that a halo is being put round a man who does not want to join a team. Almost all of the great reform movements in history have been started by men who did not want to join a team. The founder of the Christian religion did not want to join the Pharisaical team of his day. The founder of the Labour movement, Mr. Keir Hardie, did not want to join the political teams of his day. Such individuals seem to me to be admirable. They seem to me to need protection. If they can get a halo, some of them deserve it. I do not think that it is a strong argument to say that the team should be provided with the right to intimidate those who do not want to join it.
The second main argument against the Amendment has been that men should not enjoy the benefits a trade union has negotiated without becoming members of the union. Fundamentally, this is an argument for compulsory trade unionism. If wherever trade unions negotiate everybody has to apply to join a trade union, there will be compulsory trade unionism. 304 I do not believe that hon. Members opposite want this. If all the 12 million wage and salary earners joined trade unions, the whole character of trade unions would change fundamentally. I do not believe that this is what they are after.
§ Mr. Heffer
Would the hon. Gentleman be prepared to take this to its logical conclusion and put it in the form of an Amendment that those who do not belong to their trade unions should not receive the benefits of the trade union movement?
§ Mr. Crawley
Let me put it in another way. I wonder whether that is a worthy argument. All great associations do not only work for their members. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children does not only take an interest in the children of those who support the Society. Throughout their history trade unions have not only worked for the benefit of trade unionists. They have worked broadly for the benefit of all workers. I do not believe that there are many trade unionists who want to make trade unionism compulsory, and it would be contrary to the Declaration of Human Rights.
It is not only a question of people benefiting from the work which the trade unions have done. Throughout their history trade unions have enormously improved the standard of living of working people generally. Under full employment today the boot is very often on the other foot and it is a statistical fact, which I have mentioned before in Committee, that occupations where trade unionism is very weak have gained as high or even higher increases in wages since the war as those occupations where trade unionism is very strong. In the trade union movement in these days of full employment it is often true also that agreements negotiated by trade unionists have deprived trade unionists and non-trade unionists of advantages which they might otherwise have gained.
This is often true of piecework and of the pricing of new jobs. The pricing of new jobs is done at the pace if not of the slowest then of the slow, and once the price has been fixed the next thing that happens is that the trade unionists agree among themselves what percentage above the basic rate a man should be allowed to work. It may be 100 per cent., 150 per cent. or even 200 per cent., 305 and they will not allow him to earn any more than that.
I was discussing this matter recently with the Amalgamated Engineering Union. Members of the union find that they can earn 400 per cent. or 500 per cent. more, but because for various reasons they want to keep their members in their jobs they have decided not to do that and no one is allowed to earn more than the agreed percentage. This pricing system is probably a more dangerous and more important restrictive practice even than over-manning. It is this sort of practice which prevents tens of thousands of people in industry from earning nearly as much as they could earn.
§ Mr. Gunter
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Does the wage structure have anything to do with the Amendment?
§ Mr. Speaker
It is a legitimate argument to say—and I was listening with attention to it—that one reason why one might force a man out of his employment or threaten to do so was that he was doing more than was agreed as the appropriate maximum for him to do. To that extent the hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Crawley) is in order.
§ Mr. Crawley
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The argument, therefore, that those who are not members have benefited from what the trade unions have done is not always true. It loses a great deal of its validity in modern conditions. To use the power of the majority as a steamroller against the individual is contrary to the whole spirit of our way of life. We have the absolute power of the majority in many spheres of our society, but the whole basis of our life is that we use restraint and we do not use the majority, particularly against individuals, to force people out of their jobs or to compel them to do what they do not want to do. I think that this is true of the trade union movement as a whole and is the view taken of the sort of action which gave rise to the Rookes v. Barnard case.
I am surprised, therefore, at the Minister not accepting this very limited Amendment to protect the individual in an extreme case. Trade unions normally do not use their power in this way. They 306 are extremely tolerant and I do not understand why they do not want the Amendment to become law. I hope that the Amendment will be allowed to stand.
§ Mr. Mendelson
The right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) made the limited case which he usually makes on this point, but this legislation is important because under the general umbrella of this limited case which the right hon. Gentleman always argues reasonably there is room for the kind of smears and accusations which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Crawley) about the trade union movement. It is for this reason that many of our constituents have taken a great deal of interest in the debates on the Bill.
The right hon. Member for Grantham expressed surprise again today that Mr. George Woodcock and Mr. Jack Jones, two responsible trade union leaders, have reacted in a certain way to the passing of this Amendment in another place. In expressing his incomprehension the right hon. Gentleman made clear, once again, what has bedevilled this whole business. When he was Minister of Labour—and this must be put on the record again and again—it would have been a comparatively simple matter to proceed in a reasonable, agreed manner to have co-operation between the Government of the day and the trade union movement in putting this matter right, without any prejudice to a more long-term inquiry into the general place of the trade union movement and similar associations in our national life.
This is why the right hon. Gentleman returns repeatedly to the subject and comments upon the reactions of Mr. Woodcock and other trade union leaders to this legislation. It is important that the House and the trade union movement should not forget that the right hon. Gentleman had two aims in mind. He did not want to put the matter right in the simple straightforward way suggested to him by the T.U.C., though he could have done that. Equally, he did not want to enter into conflict with the trade union movement. He therefore chose a way in between which would allow the Government to suggest to people that this was an opportunity to at tack the trade unions and, at the same time, reserve 307 to the Government of the day a position in which they could not be accused of anti-trade-union activity.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Will the hon. Gentleman address himself more closely to the Amendment? Our debate is confined to that.
§ Mr. Mendelson
With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether you were in the Chair when the right hon. Member for Grantham spent some part of his time in declaring his amazement at the speeches made by Mr. George Woodcock, General Secretary of the T.U.C., and Mr. Jack Jones, Assistant Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union.
§ Mr. Speaker
I was not, but I understand that the right hon. Gentleman was dealing with passages of speeches relevant to the Amendment. That is the point.
§ Mr. Mendelson
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that if I am allowed to continue my remarks in commenting on what the right hon. Gentleman said will be equally in order and related to the Amendment.
As a result of the right hon. Gentleman's attitude, the matter was not put right and the grave uncertainty created by the Rookes v. Barnard case was allowed to continue. Many hon. Members have argued that there is no real evidence that this uncertainty exists. If they had attended the last Trades Union Congress, and had talked to responsible trade union officers at every level, they would have been convinced that the decision in Rookes v. Barnard created the most widespread uncertainty.
§ Mr. Godber
To put the record straight, and in the light of what you yourself have just said, Mr. Speaker, I must remind the hon. Gentleman that the quotations I gave today related solely to the reactions of those people to the Lords Amendment when it was passed. I was dealing with their reaction after the Amendment was passed. I referred today to no other quotations from trade unionists.
§ Mr. Mendelson
But, in referring to the attitude of the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and expressing his amazement at what had been 308 said, the right hon. Gentleman did less than justice to Mr. Woodcock's point of view, not even hinting at the long history of this matter. Obviously, the reaction of the trade union leaders whom he quoted was not the reaction of men who, after the passing of the Amendment in another place, suddenly came upon a new subject for the first time. It was the reaction of men who had been involved in the matter ever since the negotiations started between Mr. Woodcock and the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Godber
I am sorry to interrupt again, and I do so only because this is extremely important. The point which arises here is the narrow one raised by this particular Amendment, and I was making clear that this was not a point which any of those trade union leaders had been concerned with when we were having our discussions earlier. This was a point which arose subsequent to the passing of the Amendment in another place, and my amazement was caused by their having raised it now and not before.
§ Mr. Mendelson
I agree that this is extremely important. That is the only reason why I am taking the time of the House in what I hope will be the final debate on this matter. Although the reaction of the two trade union leaders whom the right hon. Gentleman quoted was directed to the passing of the Amendment in these terms, behind it, nevertheless, was the uncertainty created by the Rookes v. Barnard case.
The right hon. Gentleman quoted from the speech of one of the two trade union leaders, referring to his reaction—of course, it was only rhetorically because he is far too responsible a man, and the General Council of the T.U.C. is far too responsible a body of men, to issue such a recommendation—"It seems that, unless this is put right, and the Amendment is removed, we shall reach the nonsensical situation under the Bill when it will be perfectly in order to say to trade unions affiliated to Congress, 'Do not ever have talks with your employers; just go on strike straight away and you will not be covered by the Amendment'". That is the relevance of what the right hon. Gentleman said, and I agree that this is of the utmost importance.
What happened at the time was that, in spite of the uncertainty created by 309 the Rookes v. Barnard decision, the Trades Union Congress issued two suggestions or recommendations to its members. First, it told them, as it was in duty bound to tell them, that the decision in Rookes v. Barnard created great uncertainty all round, and it had good legal opinion to back up that point of view. But the General Council of the T.U.C., being a body of practical trade union leaders, knew that normal day-to-day industrial life had to go on and trade unionists still had their contribution to make. It therefore issued a second letter to affiliated trade unions saying, "But, of course, you must not now assume that you cannot, or should not, carry on your normal work as trade union officers and functionaries".
This brings me, in passing, to another important point. It is nonsensical to paint a picture to give the impression—some hon. Members who do not usually show themselves to be expert in trade unionism have taken part in the attempt—that throughout our industrial life there are many employers who share the Opposition's view on these matters. Any hon. Member who has discussed these matters with employers in his own area, as I and many of my hon. Friends have done, will know that a large majority are convinced that the whole attitude of the previous Government, when the Rookes v. Barnard case came up, has been harmful and has bedevilled industrial relations ever since.
Far from making a contribution to good industrial relations—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We cannot cover the whole field of industrial relations. We must confine the debate to the Amendment.
§ Mr. Mendelson
Enough has been said to show that, insistence on putting this Amendment into the Bill, far from improving the situation or removing the uncertainty which is felt by so many trade union officers, will prolong the uncertainty and damage industrial relations. It is in this limited context that we must consider the issue before us now.
Many issues are raised by this narrow Amendment which are of the greatest importance to people who are active as trade unionists. There is the greatest concern in sections of the trade union 310 movement in my own area, for instance, that matters must be put right. Mr. Jack Jones, in his speech, was doing no more than give expression to this widespread concern.
The Government have agreed that there shall be a wider inquiry into the place and function of trade unionism in society. By this Amendment, the other place is trying to make a decision meanwhile on a matter of vital importance to the trade union movement and to individual trade unionists.
The limited question which we have to consider today resolves itself into these propositions. First, to ensure reasonable harmony in our industrial life and in relations between employer and employee, the Government had a duty to agree to a simple change in the law to put the matter where it had been held to be for 60 years. This they did by introducing the Bill. Hon. Members opposite expressed their view on the matter and moved Amendments, but those Amendments were defeated. When the other place starts to interfere in more and more cases with some of the established principles embodied in legislation passed by this House, it ought to consider its own position very carefully.
I do not accept the novel constitutional doctrine enunciated by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, West that it is an important function of the other place to revise the principles embodied in legislation approved by this House. The hon. Gentleman is going back a long time if he believes that, and he will not find many supporters for that view among constitutional lawyers on his own side. However, I say no more about that now. I merely comment that it is a novel view to express for which he will find little support.
The Government having done their duty and having introduced this limited change, the other place decided to undo the essential part of what the Bill, already approved by the House of Commons, provided. Therefore, on this limited issue, it is the duty of the majority of the House of Commons to put the matter right, throw out the Amendment and restore the position as it was.
If there is to be a successful outcome from the general discussions now being pursued by the Royal Commission, if the 311 best results are to be achieved, if our industrial life is not to be bedevilled as it has been recently, if the interests of good employers and good trade unionists are to be secured and if we are to retain the great amount of good will which already exists, silly complaints of the kind we have heard during the past 12 months from hon. and right hon. Members opposite must cease. They can do nothing but disservice.
On the other hand, in fulfilling the pledge they have given and in putting the position back to what it was held to have been for the previous 60 years, the Government are right in taking action, are right in advising the House to reject the Amendment and restore the previous position in the Bill, and are equally right in suggesting that we should only prejudice the work of the Royal Commission if we were to be rushed into action at the present time, appearing to undertake to tell the country that some of the conclusions being discussed there have already been reached.
That is the wider point. The more important one is that my right hon. Friend and the Government must know that the trade union movement expects them to stand fast on the original version of their legislation, and, therefore, that they must insist tonight that the Amendment should be rejected and the original position restored.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
I think that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) was guilty of gross exageration when he suggested that the other place had undone the essential part of this legislation. No one can regard the Amendment as in any way undermining the purpose for which the Bill was introduced into the House. I think that the hon. Member is right when he says that many employers would accept the reversal of Rookes v. Barnard, because that was the point that the Minister of Labour made, in what I thought was a very fine speech, when he pointed out that in future the danger will be that employers and trade unions will agree about the case, and the Amendment is surely calculated to protect the individual and not the employer.
I support the retention of the Amendment in the Bill, and I want to say very 312 shortly why. There is only one justification for the introduction of the Bill at the present stage. The Minister of Labour has said that we are setting up a Royal Commission and that everything should be left to that Commission. If that argument is carried to its logical conclusion, the Bill itself should be left to the Commission. On the other hand, I understand his point, and that is why I say that the sole justification for the Bill was that he had to enlist the good will of the trade unions for a thorough investigation.
As a result of the speeches in Rookes v. Barnard, and not the decision, there was a great deal of panic in trade union circles. When I say panic, many lawyers disagreed in the weeks following the Rookes v. Barnard decision, which is a fascinating decision from the lawyer's point of view, as to its interpretation. It is right to say that very few people in the country disagreed with the decision. Most people were worried about the implications of certain of the speeches in Rookes v. Barnard.
Nevertheless, I accept that the Minister should have wanted to set at ease the fears of trade unionists on the point, whether well founded or not. Therefore, he introduced the Bill. I have written to him and I have spoken on many occasions during the passage of the Bill. I have said all along that I was surprised that he did not accept the Amendment, particularly as I had pared down two Amendments to the final form of the Liberal Amendment which was so narrow that he could have accepted it.
I ask myself: was it right to put the fears of the trade unionists at rest? I think, yes. On the other hand, if the Amendment is accepted, does it in any way undermine the force of the Bill? I do not think that it does. The Amendment is perhaps a little wider than I would have drafted it myself, but, nevertheless, I am not very much worried about that. It is calculated to protect individuals against victimisation, which is what the ordinary people of this country want to avoid. In any society, it should not be possible for a body of men, whether employers or a trade union, to victimise an individual.
The Amendment would protect and reassure the individual, and I refer to the man who does not raise his voice, not the large employer who is prepared 313 to play along with the trade unions. Why is it thought that the acceptance of the Amendment will in any way undermine the Bill?
May I deal with one matter that has been raised several times in the course of the debate, which is that the purpose of the Bill was to restore the law to what people thought it was? The right way to put it is that it was to restore the law to what some people thought it was.
A very distinguished leader in my profession, an hon. and learned Member who sits on the benches opposite, appeared for Rookes in that case, and brilliantly, if I may say so. He and his lawyer colleagues must have advised Rookes that they thought he would eventually succeed, or the case would never have been taken to the House of Lords. With their legal knowledge and experience they gave him certain advice which he must have followed and, in the end, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords declared the law to be what Rookes's counsel had always argued that it was. It is not right to say that the Bill itself was restoring the law to what people thought it was. Some people thought it was: it was always an arguable matter.
What I cannot understand about the Minister of Labour, for whom I have a very warm regard, is why he has not accepted the Amendment or an Amendment of this kind. If it was right to reassure the trade unionists by introducing the Bill, whether their fears were justified or not—and it was right—it is equally right to reassure those who want to avoid the possibility of the victimisation of an individual. That is why I could not but support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ted Fletcher
As the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) has said, the intention of the Bill is to restore trade union law to what it was thought to be prior to the Rookes v. Barnard case. If the Amendment is carried it will, in effect, change the whole trade union climate that has existed since 1906. As a consequence, the trade union movement believes that it is restrictive and will shackle its future recruitment and organisation.
It is essential for us to get the matter into perspective, because no doubt my right hon. Friend the Minister has in 314 the Ministry of Labour statistics of the number of industrial disputes that have started as a result of strikes in support of a closed shop. I would venture to suggest that they would prove to be a very small proportion of the industrial disputes that take place in this country every year.
I must declare my interest in the matter because, before coming to the House in October, I was for 15 years a full-time trade union official and for many years before that an active shop steward. It has been my experience to endeavour to solve many problems resulting from the desire of members to get a 100 per cent. trade union membership in a particular workshop.
We must understand the mentality of the average trade unionist. He does not apply a closed shop to people who have principled objections to the trade union movement. I could quote many instances of trade unionists who have resigned from the organisation because they have joined a religious sect which forbids them, according to biblical teaching, to join a trade union or any other association. The trade unionists in the shop respect the beliefs of such people.
I have never known an industrial dispute against non-unionists who, for religious reasons, do not wish to join a trade union. But I have known of strikes caused by feckless individuals who wittingly get into arrears with their contributions and finally drop out of the union. They are prepared to accept all the advantages of trade union negotiations—better working conditions and higher wages—without making any contribution to keep the trade union organisation in being. The ordinary trade unionist regards this as immoral. This is similar to a man who takes a bus ride without paying his fare. He is getting services provided by the community but is making no payment for them and is, in fact, getting a free ride. I have no doubt that the man who takes a free ride on a bus can be prosecuted, but a trade union cannot prosecute a trade unionist who gets a "free ride" in trade union services.
The man who takes a free ride on a bus can no doubt say in court "I sincerely believe as a principle that people taking rides on buses should not pay 315 fares. I believe that we should have a free bus service. Because I want to stand by my principles I took a free ride on a bus." I do not think the court would listen very attentively if such a plea was made. Yet the man would be demonstrating, as hon. Members opposite want all non-unionists to demonstrate, the right of an individual to say "I sincerely believe in having free rides on buses, and as a consequence you must respect my belief."
That is the attitude that hon. Members opposite adopt towards a non-unionist who takes "a free ride" at the expense of a trade union and accepts all the wage increases and other benefits obtained by the trade union without making any contribution. Quite rightly, men working in the shops take the attitude that if one receives services, one must pay for them. But hon. Members opposite seem to think that the Lords Amendment is directed exclusively against trade disputes designed to end a closed shop against non-unionists. That is not so. I could give from my own experience many instances of trade disputes designed, in the words of the Amendment, to secure the termination of the employment of some person, but not a non-unionist.
Some years ago my union had a complaint from members that a woman supervisor was a very strict disciplinarian. She was known as a sergeant-major. She was causing concern to the girls she supervised. For instance, the girls were allowed to go to the toilet twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. They could not remain there for more than three minutes or else the supervisor hauled them back to the desk. This became so intolerable that they told the management that the behaviour would have to stop or they would take action. But it did not stop. In fact, it became worse. So the girls told the union that they wanted the firm to dismiss the supervisor.
One of the complications was that the supervisor happened to be a relative of the manager. Therefore, it was a little difficult for the trade union to induce the firm to dismiss her. The consequence was that the girls came out on a token strike for 24 hours. Fortunately, the matter was concluded to the satisfaction of the girls because a few weeks 316 later the woman supervisor was taken away to a mental institution.
There was a case of a group of workers organised in a trade union who wanted to secure the termination of the employment of a person, not a non-unionist but a person who made their working lives intolerable. Surely it is the obligation of a trade union to look after the conditions under which its members work, not only the ventilation, lighting and space, but the physical conditions of supervision.
Had the Lords Amendment become law, presumably the woman supervisor could have sued the trade union for heavy damages because she could have made the case that there had been strong pressure brought to bear on the management to dismiss her. I could give other illustrations of similar industrial action taken against intolerable conditions affecting personnel employed in factories. I suggest that it would be an unwarrantable restriction of trade union activity if a union could not take action to safeguard the working conditions of its members.
Hon. Members opposite have been climbing on the band wagon, saying what a fine movement the trade union movement is. But this matter should have been rectified by the previous Administration. This is a belated piece of legislation, an interim piece of legislation pendinig the outcome of the Royal Commission's report, and I hope that the House will accept it.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)
I want to say a few words primarily on the points raised by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) and the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Ted Fletcher) It is ludicrous to talk about the Amendment as though, as the hon. Member for Penistone said, it will affect fundamental principles and the operations of trade unions in general and threaten the freedom of action of trade unionists in their normal functions.
Let us consider how circumstances could arise which could be covered by the Amendment. First, there must be a threat which is expressed by a trade union, which can mean just a group of individuals. Secondly, it must result in someone being dismissed and, therefore, suffering injury. Thirdly, that person 317 must go to the courts and sue for damages. This is concerned primarily with the question of the closed shop. It would be intolerable to reject the Lords Amendment wren we have a situation whereby a trade union can through a district committee or its national executive expel someone and then instruct its members to strike because the person is a non-unionist. Unless persons have a right to join a trade union, it is intolerable to threaten a strike because they are not members.
The hon. Members for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) suggested that we were talking hypothetically here and had no individual cases to quote. I hope that both of them will read the Committee proceedings in which details were given of individual cases. If they will walk five minutes from this spot, I will give them full details of a case. There was a skilled engineer, a member of a sheet metal workers union, who refused on three occasions to pay a so-called voluntary levy to finance a strike elsewhere. He refused on the ground that it was against the rules of his union. He was deprived of his membership, and the men on the shop floor then threatened to go on strike and finally had him dismissed. That is the kind of situation about which we are concerned, and it is the kind of situation with which the Amendment deals.
I feel that the trade union movement is not such that it must have two or three martyrs affected by circumstances such as these in order to obtain its co-operation in a fundamental review of the trade union law. This is only one of the circumstances in which individuals are suffering such damage. The Government will be taking a great deal of responsibility on themselves if they turn down the Amendment.
§ Sir J. Hobson
We have had a very wide-ranging debate on a very narrow Amendment, but I am bound to concede that this Amendment, as has been said throughout the debate, is a very important one, which raises matters of considerable importance to trade unionists and individuals.
The most remarkable feature of the debate has been the extraordinary assertions which have been made by hon. Members opposite, repeating what has 318 been said outside, about the impact of this Amendment. I thought that we were living in a world of fantasy when I heard some of the suggestions put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite supporting the Government who were trying to describe the consequences of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) seemed not to have apprehended the purpose of the Bill or its impact.
Of course, I understand the prejudices of many trade unionists throughout the country against the Amendment if they think that the consequences are the some as those described by many hon. Members opposite. But if they analyse both Amendment and Bill they will see that this is a wholly reasonable Amendment and that there has been the grossest possible exaggeration of the consequences of accepting it.
The highlight came when the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said that if the Amendment were accepted it would be the thin end of the wedge in the negotiating machinery. I do not think that the Minister would be able to confirm that as a consequence of the Amendment. The truth is that the Amendment attempts to limit in a small and narrow degree the operation of the Bill. We support the Amendment because there is here a great conflict of interests which we think can be and ought to be resolved and because the Amendment will resolve it.
First, there are the legitimate functionings and rights of trade unions and officials. I do not think that any hon. Member on this side of the House would wish ordinary trade union officials, in the ordinary course of their normal duties, not to be able properly to perform those duties without risk of incurring legal action. But there is, as well, the desire that we should limit the power of people to victimise by illegal action individual citizens—and we are interested to see, in the light of the Queen's Speech, that the Bill is not performing the job of safeguarding the liberties of Her Majesty's subjects in this respect.
I cannot understand why any trade unionist or official should think it necessary for the unions or their members to have a licence from this House to permit a civil wrong of intimidation in order to get a man sacked by his boss. This is all 319 we are discussing: is it right that an official should be able to commit what, in any other citizen, would be the civil wrong of intimidation in order to get a man sacked?
For trade unions and their officials to claim that they cannot function properly or that the negotiating machinery in industry will break down if they are not to have the right to exercise illegal pressure—or pressures that would be illegal in anyone else—in order to get a man sacked is an astonishing attitude. I am sure that it is based upon a misapprehension of the nature of the Amendment and the effect it would have.
The truth is that the Bill, as amended, would still provide ample protection to trade union officials against the risks that they foresaw—I think probably wrongly—as the result of the decision of the House of Lords in the Rookes v. Barnard case. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) that the ordinary trade union official would still be amply protected even if this Amendment were accepted. The bill would continue to provide protection for an official, acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, to threaten with complete impunity that any contracts of employment—either his own or any of his members—will be broken, broken without proper notice and broken illegally, for the purpose of bringing pressure to bear on any employer—in other words, committing the tort of intimidation—if his purpose is, in what I would imagine would be the normal course of negotiations, to bring pressure to bear on the employer.
If an official wants to deal with the wages and conditions of his members he can, even under the Bill as amended, commit what would have been the tort of intimidation in bringing pressure to bear, by threat of illegal breach of contract by his members, in relation to safety or to benefits or side benefits or to holidays or redundancy or to any of the 1,001 other items which arise in industrial negotiations. In all this, the official would still be entitled, under the Bill as amended, to proceed in a way in which he thought, after Rookes v. Barnard, he might not be able to proceed. The Bill will still protect him.
320 The only thing that the Amendment does is to remove from that situation in which the Bill will place a trade union official the single purpose where such a threat of intimidation and unlawful action has the objective of getting a man sacked by his boss. Is it such a terrible resignation of power by trade unionists not to be able illegally to threaten an employer with illegal action unless he sacks one of their fellow workers? They would still be at full liberty to bring all the lawful pressures that they have always been able to bring against the employers. Their ordinary right to withdraw their labour on due notice, their ordinary rights whereby they can exercise pressure so powerfully on employers, would remain to them except for the purpose of getting a colleague sacked.
What the unions are asking by insisting on rejecting the Amendment is nothing other than the right to do what no other citizen or organisation in this country is entitled to do—to intimidate an employer to sack a colleague. What justifications are put forward for this remarkable attitude? First, it is said that we must restore the law to what it has always been. That is a good Conservative attitude but one hon. Member opposite said that, if the Amendment were allowed, the image of the trade unions as they were in 1906 would be altered. I was a little surprised. I thought that the country as a whole, and the trade unions in particular, had made considerable progress since 1906 and I did not think that everything should be as it was then. That attitude is something which I had not expected to hear argued from hon. Members opposite.
Be that as it may, it has been pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Crawley) and the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), that the law was in fact considerably doubtful before the Rookes v. Barnard case, and that it is not right to say that it is being restored to the position which everybody thought it had been in since 1906.
The author of the principal work on trade union law, Mr. Citrine, on page 476 expressly said, long before the Rookes v. Barnard case:If there is some ground of action other than the mere fact of interfering with contractual relations, the section does not afford protection.321 What has changed is that the tort of intimidation has been given new emphasis and not that the law protecting trade union officials has been altered in any degree by the Rookes v. Barnard decision. I agree with the Minister that the decision in that case caused anxiety not by the actual decision itself but by the side effects and I hope I have made it clear that, in our view, the Bill has removed all anxieties from trade union officials in that respect. We are only suggesting that they should not be able to exercise illegal powers in order to get a man sacked.
Some hon. Members have mentioned that the question of personality arises—that Mr. Rookes has changed his opinions. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman himself said that we should not change the law in this way because Mr. Rookes at one stage was a convinced trade unionist.
All these matters must be irrelevant. The great principles of law that protect the liberties of the subject are not dependent on who is to benefit from them. We know that habeas corpus has been exercised in favour of many unmeritorious people. The protection of the liberty of the subject is available for all, good and bad. If there is a good principle of law and the citizens should have the protection of that law, it should apply to them whether they be good or bad, or whatever their political views may be, and whoever they may be.
Another point was made about the position of the other place, although very little was said about it. It is not right to say that this Amendment attacks the main principles of the Bill. It makes a small exclusion from the wide protection which the Bill will provide for all trade union officials. However much people may think that the House of Lords ought to be abolished, the fact is that it still exists, and it matters not, while we have a constitution with two Chambers, how wide or how small is the ambit of an Amendment. If Members of either of the Chambers in the Legislature are to be expected to perform their functions they are entitled to perform them fully.
When political power rested in the other place Members of this House would have thought themselves craven if, on a matter of principle, they had not voted against the view of the other place, in 322 which the major legislative and political power then rested. When the positions are reversed I should have thought that no Member would take the view that while we have two Chambers, two Chambers ought not fully to exercise their rights in these matters. The other Chamber has done so, and all that we have to do is to consider whether or not we agree with it. I hope that on this occasion the House will agree with the Lords Amendment, but if the two Houses find themselves in disagreement, our constitution has provided what will happen.
Another question is that of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. The proposition that Article 20 in that Declaration provides is simple in the extreme, namely, that no one may be compelled to belong to an association. There is no qualification as to whether he should be a trade unionist or not, or whether he objects on religious grounds, or because he does not want to pay. It is an essential freedom of citizens that they should not be compelled to belong to an association, and this is something that I should have thought we all know in our hearts to be correct—something upon which we stand. It therefore surprised me that the hon. Member for Walton should have said that he thought that the Opposition had a strange view on this point. If it be a strange view it is at any rate the view of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
§ Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is stating an abstract proposition very fairly, and I am listening to him most carefully. When that proposition is applied in practice all kinds of exceptional circumstances arise. The right hon. and learned Gentleman himself could not practise his own profession if he did not belong to an association—which I need not name.
§ Sir J. Hobson
I thought that we should have that intervention sooner or later. I know not whether the Solicitor-General or the Minister of Labour is to reply, but I will deal with the point now. That is the only argument that has been produced from anybody in the course of this debate why the principle of Article 323 20 should not apply in these circumstances. It is a wholly false argument, because we know that what we are talking about in the case of doctors and lawyers are professional qualifications which people have to obtain for the protection of the public before they are allowed to practise in professions which affect the public.
Not only do they have to acquire the qualifications; they can be expelled if they fall below the necessary protection that the public ought to have from professional qualifications. It is wrong to say that a person who wishes to join a profession has been compelled to join an association because he has been made to acquire the necessary professional qualifications to practise that profession.
In the end we come back to the principle which is simply stated, namely, that no one may be compelled to belong to an association. What the Amendment seeks to do is to prevent individual citizens in this country from being forced, by what would in any other person be an illegal act—by threats of victimisation and intimidation—to join an association when they do not want to do so, for good, bad or indifferent reasons, it matters not.
Another argument that has been put forward against the Amendment is: why should non-trade unionists reap the benefits and advantages of negotiations undertaken by trade union officials? I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West. I should not have thought that the trade union movement would want to put forward a claim that it came into existence to help only its own members. I should have thought that it would have stood upon a much wider basis, namely, that it came into existence to help not only its own members but fellow workers generally, and that it intended that not only its members should benefit from its efforts to improve wages and working conditions but all those employed in industry, irrespective of whether they were members of the union or not.
To take the very narrow view that trade unions have to force people into their organisations so that they can count up the pence paid in and compare the sum with what is going out seems to me to diminish their stature. That argument does not do them much credit.
324 What about the rights of the majority to decide with whom they should work? This argument was put forward by the right hon. Member for Caerphilly. He said that it was essential that employees should be able to say who should be the companions with whom they should work. The Amendment would not prevent any employee complaining about the thieving or dangerous activities of another employee. What it would prevent is the threat of illegal strike in order to get him sacked.
If a shop steward, a man on the shop floor, or mineworker, went to the management and said, "This man is stealing, and ought to be sacked", or "This man is smoking down the mine, and ought to be instantly dismissed", he could not possibly have committed a civil wrong of intimidation, and this Amendment would have no effect at all upon his position.
I was glad that, in the end, the right hon. Gentleman acknowledged that in 999 cases out of 1,000, or perhaps in an even greater proportion of cases, if such a complaint were made by an individual to the management the erring fellow workman would be sacked out of hand. I should have thought that was the ordinary and normal result. If it were not—and I should be surprised if it were not—the full and lawful pressures of the union would still be available to achieve the object it desired, namely, getting an undesirable fellow employee out of the place.
§ Mr. E. S. Bishop (Newark)
Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman will recall that in Rookes v. Barnard there was an agreement between the union and the management that the union would have 100 per cent. membership, and that Rookes was a party to this agreement; indeed, he went to the management and this agreement was arrived at. If B.O.A.C. had continued to employ Rookes after he had left the union the Corporation would surely have violated the agreement to which it was a party.
§ Sir J. Hobson
I do not think it was a non-strike agreement which was part of the trouble. I do not think there was any agreement at all that B.O.A.C. would employ only 100 per cent. union employees.
I made a point on Second Reading which I think is important, but it has 325 never arisen again. I am sure that hon. Gentlemen who are interested in this will realise that all employers' associations are trade unions, and that the Bill puts in their hands a weapon about which we have not heard very much, and the implications of which have been very little discussed. This Amendment would prevent an employers' association embarking upon a course of victimisation to get a man sacked from his job. This is something that I should have thought went in favour of the Amendment being accepted. It has not been pointed out that the position, not only for trade unions and their officials, but for the officials of employers' associations, will be radically altered by this Bill.
The other way of looking at it is to consider lock-outs in breach of contracts. They may not be now, for practical purposes, a very immediate threat, but changes in economic conditions might well make them much more realistic. If the district employers' association wanted to ensure that no union labour was employed on the shop floor of any of its members it could injure and damage trade unions and their members in the district by intimidating them and their workmen by the threat of an unlawful lock-out, even if they and their members were bound by an agreement that there should be no lock-outs.
This would be one of the consequences that would flow from the passing of this Bill, without this Amendment. The Amendment would prevent employers victimising anyone for the purpose of getting them out of their job. I use that not so much as an argument but as an illustration of what might happen, because I think that from the practical point of view it may not be very likely. I ask hon. Gentlemen to test it in their own minds and to ask themselves what they think is fair. If one is going to look at what are the fair rules one has to look at it from both ends, to see who enjoys the benefits of the Bill and whether they ought to have the Bill in its full extent, or limited, as we say it should be. If it is looked at from the point of view of unions and employers' associations quite plainly there is no employers' association which ought to be able to victimise a man in order to get him sacked from his job. If that is not right for an employers' assoication why on 326 earth should trade unions be able to do it?
I ask the Minister why it is necessary and how can it be justified that trade unions should have a right which no other citizen or organisation in this country enjoys, namely the right to intimidate employers and management in order to secure the dismissal of an employee. It is wholly unnecessary to trade unionists to have this right while they and their officials can perform all the other functions and their normal duties, fully protected by the law, even with this Amendment included. I agree entirely with what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) said, that all decent people were glad that Mr. Rookes got damages and thought that it was right and that justice had been done and that the victimisation committed against him should have given him a right to compensation.
If the Royal Commission should eventually decide that all other Mr. Rookes's should be deprived of that right to compensation, so be it, let us accent that decision. But unless and until the Royal Commission has decided that, on a full investigation of the matter, I ask hon. Members to consider whether it is right that we should do anything to make it easier for our citizens to be victimised by being sacked as a result of an illegal threat. I do not know whether we did not see the truth popping out just a minute ago when one hon. Gentleman opposite said that trade unions expected the Government to do their duty and stand by the Bill as introduced. There is their master's voice. Cannot they, on this occasion, consider that a small Amendment for the benefit of the individual citizen is wholly acceptable and ought to be accepted.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Samuel Storey)
Order. The right hon. Gentleman must ask the leave of the House to speak again.
§ Mr. Gunter
I ask leave of the House to speak again, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
One of the interesting parts of this debate has been the attempt by the Front Bench opposite to make it appear that 327 we on this side were in favour of the closed shop. I want to say very plainly that I am opposed to the closed shop. The hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Crawley) put his finger on why I have always opposed it. The closed shop may very well eradicate or eliminate the rebellious man, the man who, as he rightly said, first started many causes and has found himself in conflict with the majority and with associations. Therefore, it has always appeared to me to be wrong that employers and trade unions might agree between themselves to prevent even a very awkward and rebellious person from exercising the right to be heard. Let it be very clearly understood by hon. Members opposite that during this debate no one has defended the closed shop as such.
There has been defence of 100 per cent. trade union membership, which is a legitimate ambition. In asking the House to reject this Amendment it cannot be interpreted that I am defending the closed shop. All I want to do—and I would agree to a large extent with some of the speeches that have been made—is to ensure that we approach this problem in the right and proper way. I do not propose to make a lengthy speech now because we have heard all the arguments before. I feel that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) and I could change places and deliver each other's speeches, because we have memorised them so often on this issue. We on this side of the House are confident that by restoring the Bill to its original form we shall be serving the best interests of industrial relations. Nothing I have heard from the opposite side alters me in my opinion.
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) led me up the garden path for a couple of minutes. He said at one stage that confusion existed on the Rookes v. Barnard case among lawyers and trade unions. I thought that he would go on to the truly Liberal approach and say, "Let us sit down coolly and sort this out". Instead, he turned round and said, "Let us deal with it by this type of Amendment." The Rookes v. Barnard case, for good or ill—and great good may grow from that decision—left us in a state of confusion.
328 I thought that I understood what the matter was all about until the lawyers started explaining it to me. I still do not know what it is about. If I may deviate for a moment, two very eminent lawyers came to explain this to me when I was in opposition. In five minutes I was almost dismissed from the room because they had forgotten all about me; they were quarrelling between themselves as to what it was all about. These confusions have arisen and all we are suggesting is that the Royal Commission should sit down, with the legal background to this, and have a look at it.
The 1906 Act—which, I know, is not cherished too much by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery, because it is 60 years old and he is a forward-looking young man—recognised explicitly that trade disputes could be about the employment of an individual. Let me read the definition of a trade dispute of that Act in Section 5(3):In this Act … the expression 'trade dispute' means any dispute between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment … of any person.…We believe, on this side of the House, that such was that confusion that it would be far better to try to restore—if I may take the point of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery—what was generally assumed in industry to be the correct interpretation. The hon. and learned Member said that "some people" thought this, but, from my own trade union background, I can say that it was generally assumed that the 1906 Act meant certain things.
Therefore, the point which we wish to make is that, with the confusion which has been created, it would be far better to let the Royal Commission investigate the matter. The right hon. Member for Grantham said that he had some hard things to say about me. They were not hard at all, but what I want to say to him may be a bit hard. During the whole of his speech he never looked at the other side of the coin. I tried to intervene and to get him to face the high principle that, if a man has a right not to associate, surely, also, there ought to be the right to associate.
When Members opposite invoke the Declaration of Human Rights, there are two sides to the question. I have always 329 believed, and still believe, that a man has a right to associate and a right not to associate. That is clear and simple. Whether it be on religious, political, or on any other ground, he has that right. That is what makes us men, I suppose, this eternal right to determine our course of action in these matters.
Hon. Members opposite—this may be hard to the right hon. Gentleman—spoke about principles without a deep knowledge of the forces and the tempers and the nuances of heavy industry today. To a man in a pit, the high principle is that every man should belong to the union. He regards the man who will not join in this collective machine which defends and looks after him as an outsider. It is no good saying that this man is an angel; the men who work with him regard him as a sinner. Therefore, they feel intensely that this man is an outsider, that he does not belong to the community.
We should, therefore, be very careful when we judge the attitudes of men. It is easy for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to stand on their high horses and declare the massive power of the right of this Parliament to say that the individual should be protected. Of course it is the duty of this House to defend individual freedom. It is one of the great purposes of the House, to defend the individual. I hope that it will always remain so, but we cannot discuss this sort of thing in a vacuum. We have to understand the tempers of men and the strains under which they live and work in industry. When we talk about the Declaration of Human Rights we must realise that these general declarations are difficult to interpret in natural law.
That is why I wanted the Royal Commission. I wanted to know how we should interpret those matters in the circumstances of a modern industrial society. Not only on the question of the closed shop, but upon the right of men to associate has the Declaration of Human Rights been invoked. However, in the case which I drew to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman, there was
§ a direct contravention of the I.L.O. Convention of 1948, where it is laid down that a man has the right to associate and to join a trade union.
§ If we are to look at this problem—there are problems in the closed shop—it would be better if we looked at the whole legal background, had an objective review of the whole situation, and let the Royal Commission give us the guiding lights. Then, there may well be—I believe will have to be—fundamental changes in the law as it affects employers and workmen. This debate—
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
Would the right hon. Gentleman please answer one question, because I am a little disturbed by the tenor of the philosophy which he has just stated? Surely it is not his view that it is right that minorities should be protected from victimisation, but that that right should go when a majority may feel sufficiently strongly that they should not have it. Surely he is not putting forward that view for the commendation of the House.
§ Mr. Gunter
I thought that I was saying exactly the opposite, but I am not a lawyer and I do not know.
I hope that what I have said shows how we on this side feel about the confusion which exists at present in the real state of the law. It has been demonstrated that it is difficult to distinguish these questions, even for those with experience in such matters. How much more difficult it must be for trade unionists with little or no knowledge of these things. I think that it is clear that this confusion must be removed and that this is incompatible with the Amendment. I invite the House to reject it.
§ Question put, That this House cloth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 294, Noes 291.335
|Division No. 263.]||AYES||[8.26 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Atkinson, Norman||Beaney, Alan|
|Albu, Austen||Bacon, Miss Alice||Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Bence, Cyril|
|Alldritt, Walter||Barnett, Joel||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Baxter, William||Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Binns, John||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Murray, Albert|
|Bishop, E. S.||Hamling, William (Woolwich, W.)||Neal, Harold|
|Blackburn, F.||Hannan, William||Newens, Stan|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Boardman, H.||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Boston, Terence||Hattersley, Roy||Norwood, Christopher|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hazell, Bert||Oakes, Gordon|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Ogden, Eric|
|Boyden, James||Heffer, Eric S.||O'Malley, Brian|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham, S.)|
|Bradley, Tom||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Orme, Stanley|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Holman, Percy||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Owen, Will|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Padley, Walter|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)||Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Buchan, Norman (Renfrewshire, W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Paget, R. T.|
|Buchanan, Richard||Howie, W.||Palmer, Arthur|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hoy, James||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S. E.)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)||Parker, John|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Coleman, Donald||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Conlan, Bernard||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pentland, Norman|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Cousins, Rt. Hn. Frank||Jackson, Colin||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Prentice, R. E.|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Cronin, John||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Randall, Harry|
|Dalyell, Tam||Johnson, James (K' ston-on-Hull. W.)||Rankin, John|
|Darling, George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Redhead, Edward|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Reynolds, G. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Richard, Ivor|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kelley, Richard||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey||Kenyon, Clifford||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Dell, Edmund||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. K. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dempsey, James||Lawson, George||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Leadbitter, Ted||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dodds, Norman||Ledger, Ron||Rose, Paul B.|
|Doig, Peter||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Rowland, Christopher|
|Driberg, Tom||Lever, Harold (Cheatham)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Duffy, Dr. A. E. P.||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Dunn, James A.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lipton, Marcus||Short, Rt. Hn. E. (N'c'tle-on-Tyne, C.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lomas, Kenneth||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Loughlin, Charles||Silkin, John (Deptford)|
|English, Michael||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Silkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)|
|Ennals, David||McBride, Neil||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Ensor, David||McCann, J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||MacColl, James||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Evans, Ioan (Birmingham, Yardley)||MacDermot, Niall||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||McGuire, Michael||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)||McInnes, James||Small, William|
|Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Snow, Julian|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Solomons, Henry|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackie, John (Enfield, E.)||Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank|
|Floud, Bernard||McLeavy, Frank||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Foley, Maurice||MacMillan, Malcolm||Steele, Thomas (Dunhartonshire, W.)|
|Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Stonehouse, John|
|Ford, Ben||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stones, William|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mapp, Charles||Stross, Sir Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Marsh, Richard||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mason, Roy||Swain, Thomas|
|Garrow, A.||Maxwell, Robert||Swingler, Stephen|
|Ginsburg, David||Mayhew, Christopher||Symonds, J. B.|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mendelson, J. J.||Taverne, Dick|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Millan, Bruce||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Gregory, Arnold||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Grey, Charles||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Molloy, William||Thomson, George (Dundee, B.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Monslow, Walter||Thornton, Ernest|
|Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Tinn, James|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)||Tomney, Frank|
|Hale, Leslie||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Sheffield Pk)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Varley, Eric G.||Whitlock, William||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Wainwright, Edwin||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Wilkins, W. A.||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Woof, Robert|
|Wallace, George||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Watkins, Tudor||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Weitzman, David||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|White, Mrs. Eirene||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Harper and Mr. Fitch.|
|Agnew, Commander Sir Peter||Dean, Paul||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Doughty, Charles||Jennings, J. C.|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Johnson Smith, G. (East Grinstead)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Drayson, G. B.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Astor, John||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Jopling, Michael|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Eden, Sir John||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Awdry, Daniel||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Balniel, Lord||Emery, Peter||Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Errington, Sir Eric||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Batsford, Brian||Eyre, Reginald||Kimball, Marcus|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Farr, John||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Bell, Ronald||Fell, Anthony||Kirk, Peter|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Fisher, Nigel||Kitson, Timothy|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)||Lagden, Godfrey|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)||Lambton, Viscount|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Foster, Sir John||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Bessell, Peter||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Biffen, John||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gammans, Lady||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Gardner, Edward||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'n C'dfield)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Gibson-Watt, David||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Blaker, Peter||Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bossom, Hn. Clive||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Longbottom, Charles|
|Box, Donald||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Clover, Sir Douglas||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Glyn, Sir Richard||Lubbock, Eric|
|Braine, Bernard||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn|
|Brewis, John||Goodhart, Philip||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Goodhew, Victor||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Gower, Raymond||Mackie, George Y. (C'ness & S'land)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hn. Henry||Grant, Anthony||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Maddan, Martin (Hove)|
|Bryan, Paul||Grieve, Percy||McMaster, Stanley|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick|
|Buck, Antony||Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Maitland, Sir John|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Gurden, Harold||Marten, Neil|
|Buxton, Ronald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mathew, Robert|
|Campbell, Gordon||Hall-Davis, A. C. F.||Maude, Angus|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hamilton, M. (Salisbury)||Mawby, Ray|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Chataway, Christopher||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Harvey, John (Walthametow, E.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hastings, Stephen||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hawkins, Paul||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Cole, Norman||Hay, John||Mitchell, David|
|Cooke, Robert||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Monro, Hector|
|Cooper, A. E.||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||More, Jasper|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hendry, Forbes||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Cordle, John||Higgins, Terence L.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hiley, Joseph||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Costain, A. P.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Murton, Oscar|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hirst, Geoffrey||Neave, Airey|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Crawley, Aidan||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Hooson, H. E.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hopkins, Alan||Nugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Hordern, Peter||Onslow, Cranley|
|Curran, Charles||Hornby, Richard||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Howard, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Dance, James||Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)||Hunt, John (Bromley)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Shepherd, William||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Peel, John||Sinclair, Sir George||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Percival, Ian||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Peyton, John||Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John||Walder, David (High Peak)|
|Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth||Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Pitt, Dame Edith||Speir, Sir Rupert||Wall, Patrick|
|Pounder, Rafton||Stainton, Keith||Walters, Dennis|
|Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Stanley, Hn. Richard||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Stodart, Anthony||Webster, David|
|Pym, Francis||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Studholme, Sir Henry||Whitelaw, William|
|Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Summers, Sir Spencer||Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Talbot, John E.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Wise, A. R.|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Teeling, Sir William||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Temple, John M.||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Roots, William||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Royle, Anthony||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Thompson, Sir Richard (croydon, s.)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Sandy, Rt. Hn. D.||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Sharples, Richard||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Mr. McLaren and Mr. MacArthur.|
§ Remaining Lords Amendments disagreed to.
§ Committee appointed to draw up Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their Amendments to the Bill: The Solicitor-General, Mr. Godber, Mr. Gunter, Sir John Hobson, and Mr. Ernest Thornton; three to be the Quorum.—[Mr. Gunter.]
§ To withdraw immediately.
§ Reason for disagreeing to the Lords Amendments reported and agreed to; to be communicated to the Lords.