HC Deb 25 April 1967 vol 745 cc1314-5
20. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will issue a circular to local authorities giving guidance on the practice of imposing a closed shop on their employees, with special reference to candidates training in approved offices preparatory to taking Town and Country Planning in the final examination of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Mr. Mellish

No, Sir. Local authorities are best left to form their own judgement on such matters. Moreover, the operation of closed shop policies comes within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations.

Mr. Iremonger

Is the hon. Gentleman prepared to stand idly by? Will he not give some indication of his opinion that any closed shop is an intolerable invasion of personal liberty, and peculiarly odious in the case of students?

An Hon. Member

And lawyers.

Mr. Mellish

I am not aware of any special problem with regard to students. If the hon. Member has one in mind, we should like to know about it. We think that this is a matter best left to local authorities. One point I would make, and which has often been made before in the House, is that it is ironic that those who will not belong to unions for one reason or another are the first to take any increases in wages or salaries achieved by the efforts of the unions.