§ Mr. Speaker
I wish to announce that I have selected the Amendment to the Motion which stands in the name of the Prime Minister and the names of his right hon. Friends.
§ 4.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Carr (Mitcham)
I beg to move,That this House condemns Her Majesty's Government for breaking the promise given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Statement to implement without delay during the present Session new legislative provisions for industrial relations.Once again, I am sure that none of the critics of our parliamentary procedure could criticise us for failing in topicality. As we look around us today, it must be agreed that there could not be a more topical subject for debate. I only hope that the Prime Minister—unlike, as was only too obvious, his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport—has either gone out into the streets himself today, or has had reports from people who have done so, so that he may know a little of what the ordinary people of London are thinking today.
The Motion censures the Government, and nobody else. We welcome the commitment of the T.U.C. to a more active involvement in solving industrial relations problems. We think that that act of involvement may well do good, particularly to begin with and especially under the leadership of Mr. Victor Feather. We certainly hope that it will. However, we simply cannot believe that, on its own, it is sufficient to match the scale and urgency of the needs of the national situation.
We censure the Government for runing away from doing what they themselves declared to be necessary in the national interest and from what we believe they still know in their hearts to be necessary. We censure them also for their irresponsible and melodramatic conduct in dealing with a problem of such grave national importance.
659 One thing is certain. The commitment of the T.U.C., however valuable it may be, is not equivalent to the legislative measures which the Government said were necessary and which they promised to implement without delay during this Session. If the T.U.C. commitment was genuinely believed by the Government to be sufficient, then the Government should, and undoubtedly could, have obtained such a commitment without this cliff-hanging melodrama, without this damaging conflict and public wrangle and without creating this humiliating spectacle which has done harm to the reputation of Government, to Parliament, to the country at home and even more damage to our reputation abroad.
If the Government really believed that something like the present T.U.C. commitment was sufficient, then we can only tell them that to have wrung it out of the unions by public threats of unpalatable measures, beyond what the Government sincerely thought to be necessary, was a singularly unedifying way for any Government to behave. It was hardly surprising if, in return, the unions threatened the Government by refusing to do anything until the Government had first unconditionally withdrawn their proposals.
But, of course, the Government believed their measures were necessary. They believed that they were the minimum needed this summer in the national interest. They have not blackmailed the T.U.C. into getting all that they thought was wanted. What they have done is to run away from doing what they genuinely believed to be essential only a short while ago.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer made the proposed interim Bill a key point in his Budget statement. His commitment was absolutely unequivocal, and not qualified as the Prime Minister told the House. Answering questions after his statement on 19th June, the Chancellor included no "ifs" and "buts"—there was no small print in his promise—for he said:The Government have, therefore, decided to implement without delay, during the present Session, some of the more important provisions incorporated in the White Paper 'In Place of Strife'.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April, 1969; Vol. 781, c. 1006.]660 There were no "ifs" and "buts" in that. There was no qualification. It was a simple pledge and a promise. The Government undoubtedly believed that it was necessary then, and they must certainly still believe that it is necessary now. The current disputes in the docks, on the underground and elsewhere cannot be helping to change that fundamental belief in what is necessary.
The T.U.C.'s commitment is to be welcomed. It is an important gain. However, it cannot be enough on its own and the T.U.C.'s powers are nothing like equal to those minimum powers which the Government said were so urgently needed—so much so as to justify an emergency interim Bill this summer.
I am sure that the T.U.C. has signed its solemn and binding undertaking in full sincerity and good faith. I am sure that it was equally sincere when it signed the Declaration of Intent for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) over the voluntary incomes policy. But the truth of the matter is that in both cases the Government were seeking to put on to the T.U.C. an obligation which is contrary to its basic nature and purpose as an organisation—an obligation which it cannot uphold, however good its faith, when the crunch comes upon it.
The only sanction to which the T.U.C. is bindingly committed against a member union which fails to act on an obligation placed upon it by the T.U.C. is to report that union to Congress—a threat, I suspect, hardly likely to make a major union exactly shiver in its shoes. Yet it would be unrealistic, and, I think, also wrong, to expect the T.U.C. to bind itself to more than it has done. How can the T.U.C. effectively sit in judgment on its biggest member unions without breaking itself into pieces?
There is another question about depending on the T.U.C. as the chief instrument of policy, a question which, paradoxically, becomes more serious in direct proportion to the T.U.C.'s success in increasing its powers. The present power structure of the T.U.C. is based on and heavily weighted in favour of the industrial and occupational pattern of an age long since past. It is rapidly becoming more out-of-date each year and more unrepresentative of modern industrial conditions and employment patterns.
661 Thus, if the T.U.C.'s interventionist influence were to become more powerful, that might lead to fossilisation of the employment structure and its union representation rather than to the change which modern technology and methods urgently require. Quite a number of trade union leaders—including, particularly perhaps, leaders of newer and smaller unions—who are by no means averse in principle to the T.U.C. having more power over constituent members—nevertheless believe that before it takes this extra power the T.U.C. should itself first be reformed.
There are other and gaping weaknesses in the formula on which we are asked to depend. What about non-affiliated unions? This is no academic question. Take the case of the British Air Line Pilots Association and the airlines. Unfortunately, in the last year or two we have had and have the threat of extremely damaging and disruptive disputes in the airlines. Anybody who is at all in close touch with this industry knows that, alas, further disruption is by no means impossible, although we all hope it will not happen. Under these powers the T.U.C. does not act in this case because B.A.L.P.A. is a non-affiliated union. Here is an enormous gap in the T.U.C. formula which could be of immense trouble and loss to the economy and our way of life.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that B.A.L.P.A. was very pleased to have the services of a distinguished union affiliated to the T.U.C. to help it when it was in trouble?
§ Mr. Carr
I can assure the hon. Member that I am aware of that, and perhaps it may come in useful again, but it is completely irrelevant to the point we are discussing. The T.U.C. formula, as such, does not in any way bear on this sort of problem, whereas the interim Bill from which the Government have run away could and would have done. That is the point in relation to this debate.
Then what about the urgent need, which the Government so stressed, to apply the same pressures of the law to management as they were proposing to apply to trade unions? The First Secretary, in particular, laid great stress in debates in the House on this being one of the main 662 reasons why legislation was urgently needed. We might not have fully agreed with her, but we agreed with the principle that pressure of the law should apply on employers as much as trade unions.
The right hon. Lady certainly made it a major point in her argument when for example, she was not only defending but actively campaigning for the merits of the conciliation pause. In the proposals she put forward to establish the right of union membership and methods of solving the problems of union recognition, it was also a key point in her arguments. Was it all window-dressing? Did she believe in it, or was she trying to sell this to the other side? Is it all suddenly unnecessary? All these powers, which, a few weeks ago, we were told were so necessary, have been thrown out of the window, not just for this Summer and this Session, but for the whole lifetime of this Government.
What sort of Bill are the Government to introduce next Session, if any? Look at the proposals in "In Place of Strife". Many of the more important—indeed, I think one could say most of the more important proposals—contained in "In Place of Strife" involve sanctions in the background on unions and managements. For example, registration of unions, right to union membership, solution of union recognition problems, protection of the individual worker against unfair dismissal by his employer or perhaps unfair disciplinary action by his union and the question of ballots—every one of these major proposals which the right hon. Lady and the Prime Minister flaunted in the country as so important depend on sanctions in the background.
Now, apparently, the Government have made a solemn promise that there will be no legislation containing sanctions in the lifetime of this Parliament. So what sort of Bill can be there be next Session? Just another declaration of intent or are the Government perhaps intending to apply new legal sanctions to employers and managers only?
§ Mr. Carr
The text we are talking about is "In Place of Strife". I remind the hon. Member that it is on the basis of 663 "In Place of Strife" that the Government are promising legislation.
Whatever the hon. Member may think—and it may not be unusual if he does not agree with the Government—we must consider what the Government are proposing, and that is what they did propose. Failing that, do the Government propose to persuade the C.B.I. to discipline its members or suppose that a threat of suspension from membership of the C.B.I. is as effective against a company and somehow an equivalent sanction to that against a union of being suspended from the T.U.C.? Perhaps that is the idea of the Government's concept of effective legislation. The whole thing is nonsense. The whole thing is running away from reality and from responsibility.
May we now move from the rôle of the T.U.C. to that of individual unions. The core of our trouble is that in substantial and vital sections of our industry today many workers and local unofficial leaders have developed a deeply ingrained habit of acting without regard to and contrary to their union rules and to the advice of their union executives. What reason is there to suppose that without any additional external pressure or incentive they will suddenly give up this habit?
§ Mr. Carr
As the House knows, I normally give way, but I do not want to take too much time and Mr. Speaker has reminded us that when we give way to interventions that prolongs speeches.
Quite apart from the unions' powers to control their members, there is also the question of organisation and resources. As the Donovan Report showed, British unions are notoriously under-staffed compared with unions in other major industrial countries. The T.U.C.'s binding undertaking might have carried more conviction if it had also contained a promise for a major recruitment and training programme and for a necessary increase in union dues to finance such a programme. Look at all the strikes going on at this moment. With all the good faith and sincerity in the world, can the T.U.C. and the unions carry out their self- 664 appointed tasks adequately and quickly enough?
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
I am most interested in the right hon. Gentleman's process of thought and am really quite anxious to know what effective measure the Opposition could propose to deal with a strike such as the one on the Underground this morning. How would a 28-day conciliation period, or suing the union or suing the strikers, possibly affect the strike?
§ Mr. Carr
I am glad to resume my speech after the hon. Member has made his. If he had been a little more patient I would have come to that point. It was a typical example of how time can be wasted.
What happens when a union consciously tries to act on an obligation placed on it by the T.U.C. to take energetic steps to obtain an immediate resumption of work and its members refuse to respond? That was the question put by my right hon. Friend to the Prime Minister after his statement of 19th June. So long as the Government had power in the background to order a concilation pause, as we still have in our proposals, the Prime Minister had a credible answer to give to that question.
The concilation pause could have been actually used only in a dispute of major importance, and rarely, else it could easily have been brought into disrepute. But even short of its use, the very existence of that power in the background could have been a powerful extra incentive not only to the unions, but, even more, to potential strikers to try to settle their grievance by negotiation rather than by resorting to strike action.
For the workers themselves it would have given some extra assurance that both their own representatives and their employer would have been under pressure to deal with the grievance quickly instead of, as so often happens at the moment, letting it drag on for so long. But now, with that power cast away, the Prime Minister could only reply that the unions must use their own rule books, including fines, suspensions and expulsion which, as he said, is a very serious punishment in a closed shop industry. It is indeed. It could well mean taking away a man's source of livelihood.
665 If unions really started to use their rule books against individual members without this House first having passed legislation to institute the control of registration over a union's rules, and without having instituted a system of independent appeal against disciplinary action, we could run into a danger of intolerable victimisation against individuals; and is it really any more acceptable for a man to be fined by his union than to be fined after proper process of law?
But apart from the protection of the individual, is it really right and healthy for unions to be expected to discipline their members to the point where, in the last resort, they are effectively dismissing them from their jobs? Paragraph 96 of the Government's own White Paper emphatically declared that it was not.
Unions, of course, can and must in future be expected to lead, instruct and even discipline their members according to their rules, but not to the extent of putting the unions in the position of having to dismiss their own members from their work. If, in the last resort, an employee has to be disciplined by suspension, still more by dismissal, then the responsibility must rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the employer.
That is another powerful reason why we must have new law establishing the right of appeal against unjust dismissal. Neither an employer nor the Government ought to expect a union to discipline its members to that ultimate extent and, in any case, Parliament ought not to allow it.
In a free society there can never be watertight remedies or absolute assurances that men can be prevented from striking even if they break their rules and refuse to act on their union's instructions. What we believe is that if we have in the background the instrument of the conciliation pause and, still more, the acceptance, as in other industrial countries, that a procedural agreement is legally binding on union and employer alike, the number of such cases, instead of increasing as it has been in recent years, will, first, be brought under control and in the longer run substantially reduced.
To sum up on the Government's position, we believe the Prime Minister was 666 quite right when he told the May Day Festival of Labour on 4th May:Nothing that has happened in these past five years and more suggests that the trade union movement alone can produce, with the urgency that is required, effective means of dealing with unofficial strikes".The T.U.C. and individual unions have a vital part to play, but they cannot do the job on their own nor should we expect them to do so; nor would it be right if they ever successfully assumed to themselves sufficient power to do that job.
I want to conclude by summarising the real nature of the problem and what is needed. But, first, let me be clear that a disease which has established itself in our industrial body, as it has, over a generation and more, cannot be cured in a month or two or even a year or two. There is no single, sovereign, quick remedy and anyone who pretends that is a false and dishonest prophet. The remedial pressure will have to be applied long and continuously.
What is our objective? Surely, here there is something on which we can all agree, on all sides of the House, Surely, what we want is a system of industrial relations in which pay, working conditions and consultative and disputes procedures are all determined by independent bargaining, not imposed by the State.
That has been the ideal of our traditional system, but it has broken down in ways, and for reasons, clearly analysed and brought out in the Report of the Donovan Commission. Its responsible development in recent years has been hampered and damaged by statutory control of incomes, on the one hand, and by lack of a modern framework of industrial relations law, on the other.
For more than three years now the Opposition have been pressing for two things. First, we opposed and repeatedly called for the repeal of the law to control wages; and we have constantly urged the need for new legislation to regulate industrial relations. But the Government, on the other hand, have wrongly and perversely insisted on the exact opposite of both those things until suddenly, earlier this year, and belatedly, they saw the light of day.
Thus, on 15th April the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a key section of his 667 Budget speech, promised two inter-linked proposals: first, a retreat from statutory incomes control; secondly, a first, although tentative, advance towards a new industrial relations law. In our view, his promises did not go far enough; but they were an important recognition of a vital principle. They were a first step in the right direction. Now the promise has been broken and we are going backwards again.
It is true that we criticised the Government's legislative proposals as inadequate, but we made it absolutely clear that we would give them a fair wind in spite of their inadequacy and in spite of the fact that in some respects they were positively wrong. Let me be quite clear that we did not criticise the Government's proposals because they were insufficiently fierce in applying sanctions. We criticised them because they were insufficiently in-comprehensive in establishing a modern set of rules bearing on employers and trade unions alike, but within which they could be given much more freedom to conduct collective bargaining without State intervention.
Our chief criticism of the Government's proposals was that they put Ministerial intervention and the possibilities of penalties and sanctions, particularly against individuals, in the forefront instead of leaving them right in the background as the measures of least importance and of absolutely last resort. The Government's Bill, if it had ever been introduced, would have shared one intrinsic weakness with that of the much weaker T.U.C. formula. Both of them set out to tackle the problems of industrial relations from the wrong end, namely, trying to do it by strengthening the interventionist power of central machinery rather than creating new pressures and incentives at every level from the plant upwards.
Central intervention attacks the symptoms, but not the causes. The Royal Commission realised this clearly. It saw the need for improving the quality and status of collective agreements at company and plant level. The main instrument the Commission proposed for achieving that change was the establishment of the Commission on Industrial Relations, coupled with the requirement that collective agreements should be registered with the 668 Department of Employment and Productivity.
We support that: we believe it to be valuable; but, like Mr. Andrew Shonfield in his note of dissent to the Royal Commission's Report, we believe that on their own these means are inadequate to bring about the vital change which is necessary or at least to do so quickly enough. Somehow we must find pressures and incentives which operate simultaneously over the whole of industry, from the individual plant upwards, and which, in the short run will begin to impose some control on the present disorder and, in the long run, stimulate the changes in outlook and organisation which we require. In a free society, that is the traditional, proper rôle of a system of civil law.
What is needed is a comprehensive set of interdependent measures. Unions and employers' associations must submit their rules and procedures to registration. They must both have corporate legal status. There must be a legal duty on employers to recognise registered trade unions when this is the wish of the majority, and there must be proper machinery to discover this wish by secret ballot, both on the basic question of union recognition and where a choice must be made between one union and another.
There must be a proper definition of a "lawful trade dispute". Collective agreements must be made legally binding, except to the extent that both parties make clear that they wish them not to be. There must be adequate guarantees for the rights of individual workers, unionists and non-unionists alike, against unfair pressures, whether from employers or unions. There must be a new system of industrial courts, on which both employers and unions are represented.
We have set out all these and other additional proposals in detail. The point to be stressed is that they are all needed. No single one of them can bear the whole weight on its own. These measures constitute the basic structural framework. Beyond this there is some additional advantage in having special powers, for example, for a conciliation pause and for calling strike ballots, as long-stops to be used rarely.
The main emphasis is to create the environment in which industry can responsibly regulate its own affairs with 669 the minimum of State intervention. Sanctions, though necessary in the background to any system of law, are measures of very last resort, and to be effective as deterrents they should bear on corporate bodies, companies and unions, rather than on individual workers.
In the end, the problems of human relations in industry can and will be solved only by responsible voluntary action, by employers and unions alike. As I have often said before, the chief responsibility for the initiative must inevitably rest with the employers and with management. But in this, as in every other field, the voluntary action must take place within a proper framework of law in tune with the needs of modern conditions. The choice is not between a system with law and a system without it. There is already a great deal of law. The point is that bad law hinders, while good law can help, responsible voluntary action.
Our present body of law is narrowly directed at the trade unions and not at industrial relations as a whole. Most of it is antiquated and based on conditions of the last century. It has been added to over the years on an ad hoc basis. We have never yet had what other industrial countries have found necessary and helpful long ago, namely, a single comprehensive system of law.
Voluntary action can be powerfully supported by the conciliatory and persuasive functions of the Department of Employment and Productivity, and now the new C.I.R. It can be powerfully helped by the greater involvement of the T.U.C. But our study of the problems in this country and the experience of other countries convinces us that for voluntary action to have a fair chance of success we need a fresh, clear comprehensive framework of civil law to create a more favourable environment for change, to buttress responsible action and to provide some deterrent to the small, irresponsible minority.
§ Mr. Carr
Not as in Australia. The hon. Gentleman cannot understand the Australian system or the difference. I know that he should, but clearly he cannot if he makes a remark like that.
Many trade union leaders have a genuine fear of a new system of law. 670 I know that the fear exists and that it is genuine, but I say to them, as I have said before, "For once, look abroad". The experience of other countries is that, far from being shackled and weakened by them, the trade unions flourish under comprehensive frameworks of law which include a requirement that collective agreements should be legally binding. Under such systems of law trade unions in other countries today, as for the past few years, are powerfully using collective bargaining, free from detailed State intervention and statutory incomes control, to win for their members improvements in pay and conditions which are steadily outstripping the gains being achieved for workers in Britain.
As I have said, we hold out no magic cure. There is no complete answer to the multitude of various situations which arise in human relations in complex modern industry. In a free society there will always be strikes, even unofficial and unconstitutional strikes. We are not trying to stop strikes. What we are trying to do is to control them, to make them the means of last resort instead of, as they are too often at present, the means of first resort.
We do not claim that law, by its direct action, will achieve all that is needed. Its chief benefit will be in its indirect and cumulative effect in influencing the way in which employers and unions and individual workers think and act and do their business together.
We believe with utter conviction that when we have a system of law which lays down clearly the rights and obligations of employers and unions, which provides a proper system of protection for the individual worker in conditions in which he is becoming more and more subject to a working environment dominated from both sides by powerful institutions and pressure groups, and lays down clearly what is lawful and what is not in the conduct of a trade dispute, we shall have created an environment in which there can be more order and efficiency and, therefore, more wealth to be distributed, and more contentment in working life. Until we have such a system, we shall continue to flounder.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)
I beg to move, to leave out 671 from 'House' to the end of the Question and add instead thereof:'endorses the announcement of the Prime Minister on industrial relations on 19th June, 1969; welcomes the undertaking given by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress in respect of inter-union disputes and unconstitutional stoppages; and rejects the advice of an Opposition who both in office and in opposition failed to produce relevant or workable proposals to bring about a reform in industrial relations'.I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition has responded to our invitation to a debate on industrial relations. We are used to his speeches outside the House, mainly to Tory audiences, and I grant him that he is becoming accomplished in the use of those titillating morsels best calculated to excite the Pavlovian salivation of a typical Tory audience, be it immigration, or be it hanging, or, of course, that favourite subject of Tory demonology, the trade unions.
But the right hon. Gentleman has been hesitant about bringing his views on this question to the test of parliamentary debate. Today, on the third of these questions, industrial relations, the time has come to examine his credentials. When a political party seeks to win support on its assertion that it will deal with a problem which causes public concern, it is relevant to ask precisely what it did when it had the power to act—and the Tory Party had many years in which it could have acted.
But, even more, when the leader of a political party makes grandiose claims of what he would do in a hypothetical future situation, it is no less relevant to ask what he himself did when he had the Departmental responsibility as Minister of Labour in such a situation. It is relevant to ask not "What do they say?" but "What did they do?". To judge from the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen opposite in the country recently, after leaving office, nothing is more urgent for Britain than this question.
§ The Prime Minister
Not in 1959.
Last November, the Leader of the Opposition demanded an urgent Bill before Christmas. Why, then, was 672 nothing at all done in the Conservative Party's years of office, including the time when he was Minister of Labour? At Question Time on 17th June the right hon. Gentleman produced two lame and unconvincing excuses for not having acted during those 13 years. "Ah!" he said:… we were discussing with the trade union movement and its responsible leaders putting their own house in order …Discussions that took 13 years?
The right hon. Gentleman will, I hope, at least be prepared to admit that our negotiations with the unions have produced more in 13 weeks than the Conservative Government's in 13 years.
The right hon. Gentleman's other explanation on 17th June was:… the whole House over the last 15 years has learned the need for a fundamental review of industrial relations legislation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th June, 1969; Vol. 785, c. 254.]It is certainly true that, on this issue, as on so many others, the Opposition's road to Damascus began only when they no longer had the responsibilities of office. It is only when they no longer have had the duty of acting that they have suddenly acquired that clarity of vision, that vicarious courage which were absent from their counsels before 1964. If it is true, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that we all know more about this problem than we did in the early 1960s—and this is his lame excuse—it is because we have had the Donovan Commission's Report and we have had the public discussion which followed it. But why did we not have these before?
It is not even that no one thought of it. It was repeatedly pressed on Conservative Ministers of Labour and as repeatedly rejected by them. The right hon. Gentleman will be only too well aware of the news items in The Times of 4th January, 1960. He has, not yet at any rate, said that this was a misquotation—but, of course, these are early days. It appeared only nine and a half years ago. But I will remind him of what it said:Mr. Heath, Minister of Labour, has written to a number of Conservative M.P.s rejecting, at least for the time being, a request for the setting-up of a Royal Commission on Trade Unions.The report went on to quote from the right hon. Gentleman's letter:I think we must first give the T.U.C. the opportunity to deal with its undisciplined minority.673 The right hon. Gentleman went on to quote in his letter from a passage in the Conservative Party's General Election manifesto of the previous year—1959—in which it was said that he… intended to invite representatives of employers and trade unions to consider afresh human and industrial problems that the next five years will bring.The Times report then went on:The Minister has not as yet issued invitations for such a meeting and his letter gives no indication of when he intends to do so.If the right hon. Gentleman had acted, if he had set up the Donovan Commission in January, 1960, we should at any rate have had its report by the time the Conservatives left office.
In the exchanges of 17th June, when I reminded the right hon. Gentleman of his omission in this respect—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) is going to hear what his party did.
§ The Prime Minister
The hon. Gentleman is going to take delight in hearing—I do not think that he was here at the time—about what his party did not do in 13 years.
§ Mr. Goodhew
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Prime Minister is saying that I was not here in 1960. I was.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not use a point of order to enter debate.
§ The Prime Minister
I apologise to the hon. Member for St. Albans. He may have been here, but he was not noticed in those days. He was probably keeping a lot quieter because he was ashamed at the behaviour of his right hon. Friends.
In the exchanges in the House on 17th June, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition excused himself for not setting up an inquiry. He told us why he did not do so. The reason he gave was that there were only two signatures on the Motion by his back-bench Members. It might seem to the House that this is a strange reason for taking no action at all. If it was 674 right to set up an inquiry, it surely should not have mattered whether there were two or 200 signatures to the Motion. If he had thought it right to set up an inquiry, he would have done so.
We are now asked to believe—and this is the implication of what he said on 17th June—in the legend of a vigorous, modernising Minister of Labour, sitting in his office all those long months, scanning the Order Paper morning by morning to see if there were enough signatures on a Motion to give him the courage he was lacking. But, of course, I acquit him of that. He was not doing it, because even two or three signatures were an embarrassment to him.
One of the signatories of the Motion, which appeared year after year on the Order Paper, has, since he left the House, written a book, and for greater accuracy I have obtained a copy. It says:Year by year, when Parliament opened in the autumn, this was Motion No. 1 on the Order Paper …I will not read out the Motion and embarrass the Opposition.
The book goes on:Pretty well everyone on the Conservative side agreed with the Motion, but it never collected more than half a dozen other signatures. Presumably, the Whips made it clear that it was embarrassing to the Minister of Labour—indeed before long, it was made directly clear to us that it was embarrassing to the Minister of Labour. This was in 1959 by the newly appointed Minister of Labour, Mr. Edward Heath himself.Then follows an account of the signatories being asked… to attend an interview at which it was suggested to us that we might withdraw our Motion. The Minister, a determined man, wrestled mightily in argument with the unlikely trio whom he had assembled. But on this occasion, he wrestled in vain, the Motion continued to appear.There we have the picture, deeply moving to me, of the right hon. Gentleman, Samson Agonistes, wrestling with the three back benchers—
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)
On a point of order. In view of the very serious nature of this subject, which concerns the country, can we have a serious speech from the Prime Minister?
§ The Prime Minister
It is precisely because of the serious nature of the subject 675 that I am drawing attention to the hypocrisy of those who are now demanding action and who spent half their time wrestling with back benchers to get them to take Motions off the Order Paper.
§ The Prime Minister
I am following the example of the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr).
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, having refused to set up an inquiry, having used all the powers available to an ex-Chief Whip to get these unfortunate back benchers to take the Motion off the Order Paper, then continued, throughout his period as Minister of Labour, right through to the day when he was translated to a Foreign Office post. This new apostle of urgency retired from the Ministry of Labour after eight and a half years of Conservative government, not only having done nothing but having blocked any action, even an inquiry. But, of course—we have the right hon. Gentleman's own words, in the House a fortnight ago—the problem continued—[Interruption.] The hon. Member must be patient. I will deal with all the points which he wants answered, but I must remind him of what his own party did when they had the power to do it. The right hon. Gentleman said a fortnight ago that, in all this period, all these years, negotiations with the trade unions went on.
The next breathtaking development was on 14th February, 1963—
§ The Prime Minister
I am sorry: many hon. Members wish to speak. The right hon. Gentleman was a Minister at that time. He should have got up on 14th February, 1963, and asked for action then. That is when he could have spoken—
§ The Prime Minister
I have never been windy of that right hon. Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman is confusing 676 me with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath).
In February, 1963, when the party opposite had chalked up 11 years and four months in office, we got another development. The then Minister of Labour, now in another place, was addressing the House—[HON. MEMBERS: "What about today's strike?"]—he was addressing the House on that day's strike. I will come to today's strike in a moment. He turned to the question of unofficial strikes.
The then Minister of Labour, now Lord Blakenham, used powerful and weighty words in a quotation from a speech by Lord Williamson about the gravity of this problem, the loss of production and exports, the effect on thousands of innocent trade unionists being thrown out of work and, having diagnosed the problem, he gave his prescription. This was after 11 years of officeThe most satisfactory way of dealing with all this is for the unions to put their house in order.Lord Blakenham referred to a decision of the T.U.C. the previous year to review the structure and purpose of the trade union movement. If it failed, he said,… the situation will be serious; we must ask ourselves whether we can let things go on as at present. My view is that we cannot."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February, 1963; Vol. 671, c. 1509.]He referred to public opinion on this question and then, having looked the problem in the face, passed on to a consideration of Clause 2 of the Bill which the House was discussing, and left the matter once again in the hands of the trade union movement.
That was in 1963. Another year passed—[An HON. MEMBER: "What have you done?"] The trade union movement had not given any undertaking or taken any action at that time. Another year passed, producing close to 12½ years of Conservative government. The party opposite brought out its mammoth campaign guide for the General Election, which it was clear would have to take place later in the year. On the basis of its 12½ years' experience and study, it rejected a law making unofficial strikes illegal. That was after 12½ years.
The Tories rejected compulsory secret ballots. That was after 12½ years. They rejected a proposal that, by amending the Trade Disputes Act of 1906, unions 677 should lose their immunity from civil action if they failed to deal with unofficial strikers. The fact that they have now, in the total irresponsibility of their kind of opposition, reversed their policy, demonstrates one thing and one thing only—that their campaign on industrial relations is no more than a political contrivance.
§ Mr. Amery
I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for giving way, at length. He has had a lot of fun for a few minutes with this side of the House about what we have done in opposition. Is that any more relevant than if we were to tease him on his statements about the independent deterrent, or the unity of Europe, when he was in opposition?
§ The Prime Minister
The right hon. Gentleman shows the evidence of a very long absence from the House. If he wanted to debate TSR2, on which he wasted £700 million, I would be glad to, but not today. I always thought that the right hon. Gentleman should never have been dropped from the Front Bench. He is too good for that bench.
The Leader of the Opposition—I have heard this, also, during one or two little interventions while I have been speaking—made the charge that, as Leader of the Opposition, I rejected the proposal by the then Minister of Labour in March, 1964, for an inquiry into trade unions. By March, 1964, it is true, we had had the fifth Conservative Minister of Labour since 1951. None of the first four had done anything at all—not even set up an inquiry, not even promised one—and it is true that he was under great pressure from the trade union movement to legislate to deal with the problem created by the Rookes v. Barnard decision.
Action from a Tory Government after 12½ years was, of course, inconceivable. Reaction by their supporters was, however, predictable. So the right hon. Gentleman—I pay tribute to his courage compared with that ofhisfourpredecessors—with scant courtesy to his predecessory, with total disregard for passages which their candidates were learning by heart from the election campaign guide, published only a month earlier, on this point, proposed an inquiry, but he did so in the context of two High Court decisions—Rookes v. Barnard and Stratford v. Lindley. Fair enough. He made that 678 proposal, but if he decided in March that an inquiry was necessary, since they were in office another seven months after that, why was it not set up before he left office?
It was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman that I rejected such an inquiry. Yes, I rejected it in the context of Rookes v. Barnard. The text is on the record. I am prepared to put it in the Library—[Interruption.] I write my own speeches, unlike the hon. Gentleman's leaders, and I remember that speech. The hon. Gentleman can study what I said in the context of the Rookes v. Barnard case. I said that there was no need for an inquiry—indeed, I used some oft-quoted words to say that it would waste time. In the context of Rookes v. Barnard, where the issue was clear, it would have been a waste of time to have an inquiry, and we legislated in 1965.
By the 1966 General Election, right hon. Gentlemen opposite decided, against the background of their total policy bankruptcy which I have just outlined, to make the trade union movement the centre of their General Election campaign. For a few days they gave the emotive noose trial at Cowley the full Tory treatment. The River Isis was foaming with much blood, and a lot of good it did them.
I could go on at much greater length about what they did and did not do. I know that this is very embarrassing to hon. Gentlemen. It is very embarrassing, after all their speeches on this, to be reminded that in 13 years they produced nothing at all, unless it was the abolition of compulsory arbitration under Article 1376, and the refusal, when there were far more signatures on the Order Paper, including many of my hon. Friends, to deal with the scandal of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society.
It is not necessary to take the House further into the record of those 13 years. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that we are in agreement. I remind the House of the advice which was once given on another Tory stunt:Why look into the crystal when you can read the book?We legislated on Rookes v. Barnard, and, by doing so, ended a situation which was poisoning industrial relations. Less than six months after coming to office we 679 set up the Donovan Commission, which took more than three years to report. I do not this evening intend to go over all the ground covered by that report. In its analysis it is without doubt the most thorough and most authoritative account of the problems of industrial relations in Britain, of the achievements of trade unions and employers' associations and of the shortcomings of the system.
It dealt, in particular, with a recent development which we all have to face, and which was implied in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—the fact that over a wider and wider range of industry, not only working conditions but an increasing proportion of the pay packet are determined by bargains struck at company or plant level rather than by the formal nation-wide negotiation system. On the credit side, we have all that this means positively in terms of the ability to relate earnings to productivity. But, on the debit side, we have the problem of the creation of precedents and preemptive claims, and the dangers of local unofficial action.
Disputes, whether official or unofficial, are not, of course, confined to the engineering industry. The record of our docks, shipping and transport proves that. But by far the greatest number, particularly of unconstitutional disputes, arise in engineering, and a very high proportion of those in the motor car and components industry. This is partly because of its disorderly and uncontrolled pay structures and piecework systems; it is partly also for a structural reason.
The motor car industry is mainly an assembly industry. It relies upon the supply of thousands of separate components, many of them made in quite small firms, components of which the assembly firms cannot afford to maintain large stocks. So the industry's structure renders it highly vulnerable to short and costly stoppages, most of them unconstitutional and, indeed, renders them vulnerable to industrial blackmail.
Donovan set out a large number of positive actions that needed to be taken, most of them not requiring legislation, most of them impossible to touch by legislation, many of them requiring years of constructive action by industry itself if the basic cause of disputes and industrial malaise were to be removed. We accepted the great majority of these 680 recommendations. We established the Commission on Industrial Relations in January, and it is hard at work.
In all her consultations with trade unions and employers' associations my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State stressed the paramount need to get on with work directed to eliminating the underlying basic causes of disputes, to improving negotiating procedures, to improving machinery for the speedy settlement of disputes, to improving the quality and clarity of industrial agreements. We all agree that all this is necessary; the need for this is accepted by leaders of industry, by employers and by trade unions. It is a long and back-breaking job; there are no easy solutions, no short-cuts.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite who, a fortnight ago, sneered and jeered at what the T.U.C., by an overwhelming majority, had agreed at its emergency congress—and I was glad that the right hon. Gentleman today welcomed what it had done—
§ Mr. R. Carr
The Prime Minister really must not represent that we welcomed it for the first time today. We have welcomed it from the beginning. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition welcomed it in his broadcast, a transcript of which I have in front of me, in these words:The declaration of the T.U.C. is very welcome.That is what my right hon. Friend said on television, so will the Prime Minister please stop misleading people?
§ The Prime Minister
Since the right hon. Gentleman's Motion is about what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said on the Tuesday and does not take any account of what my right hon. Friend said on the Wednesday, I think that I am entitled to point out that the right hon. Gentleman did not say it in the House but waited to say it until he was on television.
If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to what I said, he would have heard that I praised him for welcoming it in the House. I was referring to his back benchers who, no doubt to his embarrassment, sneered and jeered a fortnight ago at what the T.U.C. had done. I am suggesting that as a suitable penance they might now take time off to study 681 what has been decided and what is being done by the T.U.C.
Let us leave on one side the new powers taken to deal with inter-union disputes. Let us leave on one side the further undertakings given as a result of the Government's pressure on the unions in the discussions which ended in the agreement of 18th June about unconstitutional disputes. I was referring just now to the key to the improvement in the background which the right hon. Gentleman stressed.
Study what is said in that document, what is being done on industrial attitudes, on industrial machinery, procedures, agreements. Study the constructive section of "Programme for Action" dealing with industrial education, a very important part of that document, dealing with the responsibilities of shop stewards and how they are to be assisted to discharge those responsibilities. This is the language of modern industry. That is why we welcome it. To judge from the noises of hon. Gentlemen opposite a fortnight ago, it might as well have been written in Swahili for all they understood or cared about it.
I could only wish that the Confederation of British Industry, in what it has said and written, had shown a similar determination to get to the bottom of these problems. Indeed, I could only wish that the Confederation would express its views in similarly adult and educated language.
I hope that in the cooler and less partisan atmosphere in which, after today, this problem can be studied, not only in this House but throughout industry, there will be more awareness and more recognition of what is being done by both the T.U.C. and the Government.
Where the Government parted company from the Donovan recommendations lay in the need for firm and specific action to deal with some of the most urgent problems of industrial relations, and particularly the problems of inter-union disputes and unconstitutional stoppages.
That was why the White Paper was brought forward in January, with our proposals for legislation; legislation to deal with some of the anomalies and anachronisms which were and are poisoning industrial relations. The right to join a trade union, the right of trade unions in collective bargaining, the out- 682 lawing of various types of anti trade-union manoeuvres such as the notorious Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society which I referred to earlier. Legislation to require a return to the status quo where a dispute is caused or threatened by an arbitrary dismissal—and I welcome what the right hon. Gentleman said on this—or by the introduction of new working practices affecting employment and earnings without adequate consultation.
On these matters our intentions were set out in the White Paper, and in the speeches of my right hon. Friend in the debates of 3rd March and 16th April.
Being deeply moved by the right hon. Gentleman's retrospective validation and support for what my right hon. Friend said, I could not quite understand why hon. Gentlemen opposite abstained when we debated it, nor could I understand why right hon. Gentlemen opposite briefed the Press to say that, while giving it a fair wind, they would not give it any support in the Parliamentary decisions required to make progress. I have no doubt that when the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition speaks this evening he will quote again, as he quoted in his utterances outside the House, for example, on television, what I said at a meeting upstairs about the need for the legislation which we proposed.
This has been frequently quoted by the right hon. Gentleman on television and in speeches elsewhere. Perhaps when he quotes it again he would like to quote from that same speech the passage he omitted to quote on television. It may well be that it is not in the brief he was given, so I will quote it for him so that he can take it down and repeat it again tonight.
I said in the same speech:If the T.U.C. is able to come forward with proposals for dealing with unofficial strikes, no less effective, no less urgent in time, than the Government's proposals, we are prepared still to consider them.My right hon. Friend had made this clear in the House on 16th April in the Budget debate, which is the subject of this Motion, when she amplified the Chancellor's announcement. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to look it up, it is to be found in HANSARD of 16th April, in c. 1186. He would do well to read it out and then withdraw his Motion.
§ The Prime Minister
I can only give the hon. and learned Gentleman the words I used. I cannot give him the intellectual apparatus to appreciate what they mean.
My right hon. Friend and I put this proposal to the T.U.C. at our meeting on 11th April, and again at our meeting on 16th April, after the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Statement the previous day. It has been repeated by me in public on at least half a dozen occasions, and in this House and on television. Therefore, I am surprised at the ignorance of the other side in not quoting that when they quote other parts of the same speech.
The question the Government had to decide was whether "Programme for Action" and its endorsement by the special Congress of the T.U.C. provided an adequate alternative to the legislation we were proposing and which we had announced. That is what this debate is about.
On inter-union disputes—
§ The Prime Minister
I said inter-union disputes, not inter-Unionist disputes.
On inter-union disputes, we decided that the Croydon decision met our requirements, but on unconstitutional strikes we decided that it did not meet our requirements. The T.U.C. was so informed before Croydon and again on the Monday after Croydon.
I will deal with inter-union stoppages. We have often heard in the House speeches about serious stoppages of work because of inter-union squabbles. The whole House will agree that the T.U.C. has taken a tremendous step forward. Every one of us can quote examples of costly and unnecessary who-does-what disputes.
The T.U.C., not only in its decisions but in its analysis of the problem, set out what most hon. Members would agree is an extremely important distinction between four types of inter-union dispute that have bedevilled industrial relations for so long. For example, disputes about recognition as in the British Steel Corporation, about union membership as at 684 Girling, about demarcation as at Vickers, Barrow, and about policy on wages and conditions as at Pressed Steel Fisher. These are four types of dispute, and it is important that the T.U.C. is prepared for them and has laid down machinery for dealing with those four different types of dispute.
The T.U.C. has now laid down clearly—and this has been accepted by the vast majority of individual unions—first, that it is its right and duty to intervene; second, the basis of its intervention; and, third, its clear determination to deal effectively under Rule 13 of the T.U.C. with any union failing to accept the General Council's binding award—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite should study the whole history of 30 years' working of the Bridlington agreements. If they did, they would not try to interrupt me.
Equally, the T.U.C. has taken powers to deal with any union which, having accepted any award, fails to take immediate and effective measures to require a return to work by any members who continue to stay out on strike in defiance of such an award.
Anyone who knows the history of the T.U.C.—and many hon. Members know it—who knows, for example, its vigour in dealing with breaches or threatened breaches of the Bridlington regulations of 1939, will not under-rate this tremendous step forward. But in the matter of constitutional stoppages, not arising from inter-union disputes, "Programme for Action", in the Government's view—and I include particularly the proposed changes to Rule 11—was nothing like so firm or so likely to be effective as what had been proposed in the same document in inter-union matters.
The negotiations which followed Croydon were directed—as I told the House during those negotiations—to inducing the T.U.C. to deal as effectively in the Rule 11 as in the Rule 12 case.
The T.U.C. was clearly warned—and never in stronger terms than on the morning of the last day of the negotiations, Wednesday, 18th June, that if it could not strengthen this part of its proposals to meet our requirements, then the Government would proceed to legislation this Session to deal with it. And as many of my hon. Friends can confirm, my right hon. Friend and I made this clear to a 685 large meeting of my hon. Friends the previous evening.
On Wednesday, the General Council agreed unanimously to a solemn and binding undertaking, set out in terms which had the effect of tightening the operation of its new machinery for dealing with unconstitutional disputes in a way which we considered likely to be as effective as any alternative, in a way in fact which met the requirement we had laid down in April and in all our discussions with them. The fact that it has exactly the same force—and indeed the same moral authority—as the Bridlington principles and regulations of 30 years ago, will not be underrated by anyone on this side of the House, or indeed by anyone else who knows what he is talking about.
That category clearly does not include the right hon. Gentlemen opposite who thought they had made their ultimate contribution to industrial relations, when they managed to keep the number of Tory signatories on a Motion to two or three. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition did not rise to the occasion by showing his understanding of this problem anywhere, to judge either by his statement on television or by his speech in the great trade union centre of Wimborne Minster the following day.
The House may accord greater authority to the views of Lord Stokes, Chairman and Managing Director of British Leyland. Few, if any, industrialists have been more uncompromising in their condemnation of unofficial disputes. Few perhaps have had cause to be. Yet he was reported in The Times last Wednesday as having praised the agreement between the Government and the trade unions for dealing with unofficial strikes asOne of the biggest industrial break-throughs in the United Kingdom in years".He said that of course time would tell whether the agreement to allow the unions to tackle the problem would be effective. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite are rubbing their hands in anticipation, having done nothing in the years when they were in office. But Lord Stokes was right to say, because he has acted in these matters, that this path must be tried.
To quote one other leader of industry, two days later The Times reported 686a plea to give the Trades Union Congress a chance to make good its pledge about unofficial strikesmade by Sir Peter Runge, Chairman of the British National Export Council. He said:Let's give the T.U.C. a chance to make good its promise. If it does, then the problem has been solved. If it does not, then objections must be withdrawn about making contracts binding under law. In the meantime, let's all stop bleating and get on with the job.That was said by Sir Peter Runge, and I have given the whole quotation, not a selective one.
As the House knows, it is because of the binding undertaking the T.U.C. have now given and the fact that they have equipped themselves with powers to take firm action, that the Government have decided not to include the so-called "penal" sanctions in the legislation to be introduced next Session or in any legislation to be introduced during the lifetime of the present Parliament.
No one pretends that what the T.U.C. has undertaken to do will end, still less avert, all unconstitutional stoppages. The right hon. Gentleman made that point clearly this afternoon. The vast majority of those stoppages, over 90 per cent., last not more than two or three days. The effect on exports, on industrial recovery and on employment of most of these is in fact relatively small. But the right hon. Gentleman was right in saying that this will not solve these problems; nor would our legislation and nor would the right hon. Gentleman's in the 90 per cent. of cases that I have mentioned. We must recognise this. In other and graver cases, there will be times when the accumulation of bitterness, the depth and strength of a grievance, real or imagined, make an early settlement difficult—perhaps, in some cases, impossible. There will be these cases. There will be these disappointments. Should this happen, I know that I can appeal to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to refrain from greeting every strike with the same partisan enthusiasm that they accord to a single month's disappointing trade figures.
For my part, I would warn the House—all hon. Members in all parts of it—against underrating the determination of the 40 members of the General Council who made that binding undertaking at 687 Downing Street a fortnight ago. Many of them are known to and respected by very many right hon. and hon. Members of this House—indeed, in all parts of it. Many of them are distinguished trade union leaders who have been dealt with day by day by successive Conservative Ministers of Labour and other Ministers. They will not underrate either their determination or their ability. Many of the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, whose interventions a fortnight ago did themselves what I thought was less than justice, when they can look at these questions free of political passion, will not underrate some of the actions taken by the T.U.C. in the past fortnight, or the vehemence and determination shown by such speeches as that of Mr. Hugh Scanlon at the Confederation conference in Scarborough last week.
It is only a fortnight since the agreement was reached, but that determination is not limited to speeches or the assertion of new powers. The House will not underrate what is going on industry by industry. Certainly no one will underrate the achievement by employers and trade unions in the shipbuilding industry to provide, in the first change in procedure since 1911, detailed machinery for dealing with demarcation problems in that industry.
I want, finally, to deal with another aspect of this. The House has before it other proposals for dealing with these problems. I have referred so far to the record of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in power and the fact that they did nothing. They did not even set up an inquiry. I have referred to the reasons why we have accepted the sincerity of the T.U.C. General Council for dealing with these questions.
Before I sit down, it would be right to refer briefly to the other proposals for dealing with the problems, namely, those of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I could argue—and I have—that their record when in power has disqualified them from any serious hearing. Nevertheless, their speeches contain proposals which have been seriously canvassed outside political party circles. Therefore, I propose to deal with them for a few minutes.
Let me say right away, in view of the right hon. Gentleman's references to the 688 strikes which are happening today—for example, the strike on the Underground system—that if it is true, as it is, that the T.U.C. could not have dealt today with that situation, since it would have been impossible for it to have done so, if it is true, as I would acknowledge, that our legislation could not have dealt with it, since the time required for a conciliation pause could not have applied today, it is equally true that nothing in the legislation of right hon. Gentlemen opposite could have dealt with the situation. If their proposal is to give powers to the London Transport Executive to sue the union for not disciplining the strikers, they know that that would not have worked today or subsequently. If their proposal is to sue the individual strikers, despite all that the right hon. Gentleman said about ministerial intervention, that would require an initiative from Ministers themselves. Let us be reasonably modest and humble about what all our proposals would achieve. Let none of us take any delight, least of all in a strike which causes great harm, and let none of us make false claims about any particular means of dealing with them.
I want to deal seriously with the right hon. Gentleman's own proposals for legislation, and I take as my starting point the question which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition put to me following my statement a fortnight ago. Very fairly, he put to me this question:… what will happen when unofficial strikers ignore the advice of their union leaders, and go on striking?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th June, 1969; Vol. 785, c. 702.]I answered the question then, though he may not have been satisfied with the answer. But the same question can be put about his own proposals.
As I understand those proposals, they would place an obligation on the unions concerned to get their recalcitrant members back to work. In "Programme for Action", as strengthened by the undertaking of 18th June, the union which fails to take action becomes subject to the penalties prescribed by the T.U.C.—penalties which no union would lightly risk facing.
The key to the Conservative proposals—I admit that there is a parallel here—is that such a union would run the risk not of disaffiliation from the T.U.C. but 689 of an action for damages if it did not observe and ensure that its members observed the terms of a collective agreement, including the procedures for resolving disputes. How, under the Conservative proposals, would a union do that? It would have to use its rule book. The right hon. Gentleman thought that it was a bit cruel that they should use their rule books not only for fines and suspensions but for withdrawal of membership in a closed shop industry. But if one is to make a reality of forcing a union to discipline its members, one has to face that situation.
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I agree that there should be a procedure of appeal to prevent individual members being harshly treated by their union. We are all agreed on that, and it was in our White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman will also be aware that, even while he has been making speeches about this, the T.U.C. has prepared a set of model rules to deal with this situation.
The real argument between us is this. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite doubt the T.U.C.'s determination to invoke its penalties against a union which fails to deal with unofficial strikes. But how far can they be confident that employers would sue under their proposed legislation? Even the C.B.I. has considerable doubts about this.
A few weeks ago, Mr. John Davies wrote:There are those who argue for the enforcement of all collective bargains making them subject to the processes of the civil courts like any other contracts. But these agreements are not like any other contracts. On the work people's side they are often negotiated by unions who hold no authority to commit their members—let alone their non-members—to contractually binding conditions of work. If they did so, the need to express those agreements in legally effective language (making due provision for all the possible exclusions and reservations) would hopelessly undermine the validity of the agreements themselves. Moreover, the unlikelihood that enforcement would ever be seriously contemplated has already been emphasised in connection with action against individuals.He referred to that earlier in his article, and it is just as pertinent as it affects unions themselves.
It is unrealistic to assume that employers would take action. Even after a long and bitter strike it is most unusual for a reasonably-minded employer to seek 690 to be vindictive. That is one reason why in so many settlements there is the agreement, "no reprisals, no victimisation". My right hon. Friend's experience in some recent major disputes has been that the employers have been, if anything, over-anxious to settle on very generous terms simply to get back into production. Would they be likely to stir up the whole issue once again by litigation, perhaps months after the settlement? I think that the same would apply whether it was a question of suing their own employees or suing the union to which those employees belong.
Certainly the managements of the Tory newspapers who are demanding legal powers to sue in fact would be the last ever to sue. I pay them this tribute. Their whole record in these matters, once printing resumed, is the Christian principle of gently turning the other cheek.
I can, of course, imagine one or two reactionary employers in other industries who might express a desire to teach their workers a lesson. But that would not be the best recipe for industrial relations.
My second point for throwing doubt on the proposals of the party opposite is expressed for me in words better than any that I could choose in the Conservative campaign guide for 1964 which I quoted earlier:It is problematical how far"—[Interruption.]The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) learned this by heart. That is how he got his majority of three.
It is problematical how far it is right to hold unions responsible for the action of individuals—often taken in defiance of the union leaders' instructions. Certainly full liability for damages resulting from a strike could easily ruin a union overnight. This would provide an excellent opportunity for the extremists to obtain the power to ruin a trade union under moderate control. It would also do incalculable harm to industrial relations generally.My third point is more fundamental. The proposals of the right hon. Gentleman suggest that all agreements will be legally enforceable, unless both parties agreed that they should not be. In our White Paper we suggested that the law should be strengthened to provide that they should be enforceable if both parties agreed that they should be. But clearly the Conservative proposal means, if I 691 understand it aright, that either side—presumably the employers—could veto any suggestion that any agreement reached should not be enforceable.
In practice this is totally unrealistic. What would happen would be that the union would refuse to make an agreement in such a case and the dispute would continue.
But this is not all. I understand that the law which the right hon. Gentleman suggests should be introduced applies in the United States. I am told that in very few cases indeed does the employer take advantage of the law to sue a union for breach of agreement. Moreover, in almost all cases where an employer could have had a ground for action, the settlement of a dispute—and this is spelt out in terms when the dispute is settled—includes a commitment signed by both sides that no action will be taken either against the union or against its members.
Take a dispute like Fords or Leylands, or the settlement of the Liverpool dock strike in October, 1967. It is not realistic to think that when a settlement is finally reached, perhaps after 12 or 18 hours negotiations—I remember that the Liverpool dock strike negotiations went on until nine o'clock in the morning—either side would wish to send for their lawyers to draw up an agreement which would stand the test of court action. One side, if not both, is usually too relieved to get the agreement. Many agreements at the end of the day—or night—as my hon. Friends will know from experience, may be little more than a few terms roughly drafted on the back of an envelope, often merely providing perhaps for an interim settlement combined with a return to work with detailed negotiations to follow. That is the most likely solution. We may all criticise such loosely drafted agreements. Of course it is unsatisfactory to have them on the back of an envelope. That is one of the reasons why we are laying so much emphasis on improving the quality of agreements.
But there is another question. I was very interested in the television programme ten days ago when my right hon. Friend the First Secretary debated these issues with the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) and the hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley). My right hon. Friend and the hon. Mem- 692 ber for Cheadle both asked the right hon. Gentleman, as I have asked, quoting the words of the Leader of the Opposition, what would happen under the Conservative proposals if the unofficial strikers ignored the trade union leaders' instructions. They took the point, which I did, of saying that it was a fair question to ask us, so we put the same question back to the Conservative Party. I hope that the House will excuse me if I read from the transcript, even if I am slightly out of order.
Castle: And what if their members don't honour the collective agreement—what happens to their individual members?Carr: The union is bound to use its best endeavours and we believe that this is the crux of the matter. If you can get a union to use its best endeavours, we believe that a large proportion of these troubles would come to an end…Castle: But Mr. Heath's Question to the Prime Minister was implying that the union was using its best endeavours. He said what if the unofficial strikers ignore the trade union leaders, ignore the union leaders who are using their best endeavours, and go on striking. What would you do then?Carr: In the last resort, in the very last resort, the same as you would have done in your proposals.Castle: Oh, you would.Winstanley: Well, there we are, you see.There we are indeed. No sign there of the great divide that we have heard so much about in the country; no sign of the great divide that we are supposed to be dividing on tonight.
§ Mr. R. Carr
There is just one great divide. The Prime Minister has given up his proposals. We have not given up ours.
§ The Prime Minister
If the right hon. Gentleman sees a great divide, I am prepared to go to the other side of it with him for this reason. We have now accepted and secured a much more effective way of dealing with something that his legislation could never touch.
But the right hon. Gentleman made one very fair point in his statement which I have just quoted. I recognise that this was all off the cuff, but he made a good point. He said:If you can get a union to use its best endeavours, we believe that a large proportion of these troubles would come to an end …This is exactly what we want—[Interruption.] Although the right hon. 693 Gentleman spoke off the cuff, he could not have worded it better. In view of the interruption I will repeat what he said:If you can get a union to use its best endeavours we believe that a large proportion of these troubles would come to an end …This is exactly what we were concerned to ensure in these discussions with the T.U.C. And I put it to the House whether a union is more likely to use its best endeavours if required to do so as a result of a T.U.C. undertaking or if made subject to the unenforceable legislation which the party opposite has in mind.
My view is clearly that what we are seeking, and what the right hon. Gentleman said that he was seeking, is far more likely to be achieved, and industrial relations improved, as a result of the T.U.C. undertaking.
There are more things in the heaven and earth of industrial relations than are dreamt of in the philosophy of the Inns of Court Conservative Association whose symmetrically tidy proposals to the Donovan Committee no doubt inspired the Conservative proposals. Legislation has its rôle to play, but not that kind of legislation.
Tonight, the House must decide. We have the Motion on the Order Paper. It does not say very much. It is an escapist and negative draft. It is like the right hon. Gentleman's reaction two weeks ago, ignoring the whole issue of industrial relations, when he went, via the Letter of Intent, which does not deal with industrial relations, to the Chancellor's Budget speech. We have that Motion which has been moved and we have the Government's Amendment. I have given my reasons why right hon. Gentlemen opposite, having failed to act when they had the power to do so, have no qualifications now to attack a Government which has acted and which, even more important, has ensured that the T.U.C. intends to act.
I have given my reasons why the House should accept the determination of the T.U.C. to make a reality of its undertaking.
I have given my reasons why the proposals of the Conservative Party break down totally when their tidy-minded lawyers run into the real facts of industrial relations in a democratic country.
694 For these reasons, I ask the House decisively to reject equally those parts of the Opposition attack which rest on advocating their own policies and those parts of their attack which seek to censure the Government for accepting the T.U.C. undertaking of 18th June, and to reject them not only for their defeatism, but for their malice.
§ Mr. Roy Roebuck (Harrow, East)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I draw your attention to a considerable difficulty in which the House finds itself with regard to the documents relating to this debate. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister referred to a book which set out the Opposition's position in 1964. This book, which is called "Cassandra at Westminster", is in extremely short supply. I have been round the bookshops trying to get a copy, but apparently all the copies have been bought by the Conservative Central Office. Is there any way in which the House can obtain a copy of this book? I managed to obtain one of the last copies from Foyle's, and I offer it to any hon. Gentleman opposite who wants to use it for the purpose of this debate.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
The Prime Minister, as usual, made an amusing speech and raised laughs on both sides of the Chamber, but I am bound to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman should treat this occasion, or this subject, as a matter for hilarity. This matter ought to be taken much more seriously than the right hon. Gentleman took it, and I believe that the main reason why the Prime Minister took the line that he did was that he was trying to get out of an extremely difficult position.
A few days ago I said in a supplementary question that the Prime Minister was to be congratulated onthe biggest confidence trick of the century."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th June, 1969; Vol. 785, c. 707.]I now have an opportunity to give a few more reasons why I made that allegation. Whatever the Prime Minister 695 may say—and he had some fun at the expense of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition—the important thing is that in addressing the T.U.C. in 1964, just before taking office, he himself put on one side the need for a Royal Commission. I need hardly repeat his comment that Royal Commissions take minutes and waste hours. The Prime Minister therefore goes down in history as another of those who decided that there was no reason at all for having a Royal Commission.
It is significant that on taking office the Prime Minister then set up a Royal Commission. It is important to remember that there are two basic reasons for a Royal Commission. One is to obtain information which is not at one's disposal, and the other is to put off doing something which one firmly believes ought to be done. I believe that that is why the right hon. Gentleman set up the Donovan Commission, but it only put off the evil day, and there came a time when something had to be done.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer then took rather an extraordinary step when he made the need for legislation on industrial relations one of the key points of his Budget speech, and we must ask ourselves why this step was taken. I believe that it was taken because so many Ministers had committed the Government to ensuring that no further Prices and Incomes Bills would be brought before the House, and it was therefore important that something should be done instead.
It is no coincidence that at the same time the Chancellor of the Exchequer was seeking to obtain another loan from the International Monetary Fund, and I believe that he had to show the Fund that he intended taking steps equivalent to, or better than, the prices and incomes policy. That being so, what better than to announce, as was done in the White Paper, that legislation would be introduced to grasp the nettle of the industrial relations problem?
Since then there have been a number of statements by various Ministers, including the statement by the Prime Minister at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting, about which a great deal has been said, when he made it clear that it was essential for this sort of 696 legislation to be enacted for the Government to remain in office.
The Prime Minister this afternoon asked us to remember particularly what he said after that statement, and it is important to pay him the compliment of considering what he said, because he went on to say:But of course if the T.U.C. can show us some method which is equivalent to, or better than, the proposals we intend to bring forward, then obviously we will consider them and take them into account in deciding what we will do in the future.The outcome was the conference at Croydon, but, as the Price Minister said this afternoon, the decisions taken at Croydon by the Congress of the T.U.C. did not satisfy either him or his right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State, and therefore further action had to be taken. What we have to realise is that any decision taken by the General Council following the Croydon conference can become binding on members of the T.U.C. only after it has been ratified by Congress in the autumn, and therefore none of these proposals has any backing except by voluntary agreement between the various members of the T.U.C.
I should be the last person to suggest that the average union affiliated to the T.U.C. wants to play ducks and drakes with agreements, and particularly with agreements which have been solemnly made at No. 10, Downing Street. Of course it does not. In the main, there will be a desire on the part of most trade union leaders and their members to fall into line with the promises which have been made, but it needs only the maverick to throw the whole thing out of gear. Once the maverick says, "To hell with you, you have no power to do anything about it", the whole thing is thrown out of gear, and other people begin to take the same line, as happened during the discussions on the Prices and Incomes Bills.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr
If the General Council of the T.U.C. has power to expel a union, it cannot be described as having no power.
§ Mr. Mawby
The hon. Gentleman is helping me, because that is the only power which the T.U.C. will have when these proposals are ratified at the autumn Congress.
697 Let us recall one of the last occasions on which the T.U.C. threatened a union with disaffiliation. It threatened to disaffiliate my union, and it really frightened it to death!
§ Mr. Mawby
When did it do that? This is important, because we are now studying history. They said that there were allegations that the general president had been elected on a false ballot and that the union would be disaffiliated if something were not done. The present secretary wrote back to the T.U.C. and said, in effect, "You go bowl your hoop, we are looking after our own affairs." Two members of the union took the case to the High Court, which finally decided, after costs of £75,000 had been rung up, that it was not a valid election. Then, the T.U.C. disaffiliated the union. In other words, the threat to disaffiliate had no effect on my union, and if those two members had not taken the case to court, it is possible that that man would still be president of the E.T.U.
We are talking about practical questions. If the T.U.C. went to an association like the Glass Stoppers Union or some small organisation, the fact that it might be disaffiliated could put the fear of God into it. But for them to threaten the Transport and General Workers' Union with disaffiliation is rather like the C.B.I. threatening I.C.I. with being thrown out of that organisation.
§ Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union is a member of the General Council and was one who prepared the document which has been agreed by the T.U.C.
§ Mr. James Hamilton
To follow this a stage further, did not the T.U.C. itself oppose the Prices and Incomes Bill?
§ Mr. Mawby
Yes, of course it did. I am only saying that this man was one of those concerned in producing the Bill. It may have been done in his absence, 698 but he was one of the group who at that time had Cabinet responsibility. He may have changed his mind. I have a great deal of respect for the man concerned, because he has a mind of his own and will not be pushed about. It is not a good suggestion that, because all these people were party to the agreement, their unions can always be guaranteed to carry it out. There are elections, and the leader of a union at that time may not be the leader when this matter is tested.
There is this great difficulty. First of all, no action can be taken against any dissentients until Congress has passed it in the autumn, so the Government are risking a lot in relying on voluntary persuasion until then. Second, the threat of disaffiliation, even after the autumn Congress. will not have the sort of effect which many people think.
I agree with the Prime Minister on this at least, that the T.U.C. General Council has gone a long way. The steps which it is taking are in the interests of everyone in the country, particularly those concerned with industrial relations. But the Prime Minister and the First Secretary have said all along that, if the T.U.C. proposes equivalent terms or terms better than the Government's, they would welcome them. But these do not come anywhere near an equivalent, because they contain no sanctions. Even if the majority of trade unionists abide voluntarily by the new T.U.C. arrangements, those who are not prepared to have any-think to do with them face no effective sanction, and we are back at the start.
But the main reason why the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced this item in his Budget was for external consumption rather than for consumption in this country. It was for export only. It was to convince the I.M.F. that we could still handle the additional 1,000 million dollars standby credit. It is no coincidence that we now have that standby credit. What is the point of running after a bus after you have caught it? The Prime Minister is in the same position as a man driving his wife and her mother when he turns around in exasperation and says, "Who is driving this car—me or your mother?" The Prime Minister has cynically presented to us another massive non-event. If this is all that he can do, I suggest that he make room for someone who can do it right.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)
All that the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) has done is pour scorn on the settlement reached with the Trades Union Congress, and doubt its effectiveness in practice. I do not think that his is very safe testimony to the sincerity and power of the T.U.C. Nevertheless, when he entered the House, he was a member of the E.T.U. and he may still be a member, so anything he says about the ballot rigging scandals of that union some years ago is obviously heard with interest.
But I was on the General Council at the time. I regretted as much as anyone its limited powers to intervene in a union's internal affairs on matters like this. I deeply deplored what happened and I would advocate giving power to the Registrar of Friendly Societies to scrutinise the method of holding ballots and other matters of administration in trade union affairs so as to check malpractices. It surprises me that hon. Gentlemen opposite should be so keen on enforcing secret ballots before strikes without considering the weakness of the whole system of holding ballots in a number of unions, the practical difficulties of administration, the time they take to complete and the great difficulties of maintaining the secrecy and the integrity of the ballot. However, I will leave the hon. Gentleman and come to the Opposition's Motion.
All that the Motion refers to is the Government's failure to fulfil their promise to introduce legislation on industrial relations this Session. This is all that the Motion is about. There is no word about the settlement reached between the Government and the T.U.C. The right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) had to be got to his feet by the Prime Minister before he would welcome that settlement. But this is an important part of the debate and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister left the Opposition with no credibility to be the movers of a Motion of censure on this matter.
§ Mr. Ian Percival (Southport)
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does 700 not want to be unfair. I recall my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) welcoming the settlement at the outset of his speech.
§ Mr. Houghton
If the hon. and learned Member for Southport (Mr. Percival) is correct, it seems strange that his right hon. Friend had to repeat it. But I do not want to make a lot of that.
It was never the Government's intention originally to introduce comprehensive legislation on industrial relations this Session. The White Paper of January was for discussion in the House, in the trade union movement and in the country generally with a view to introducing legislation next Session. The interim Bill was designed to deal with the narrower issues of ways of curbing inter-union disputes and unconstitutional strikes.
I do not believe that the matter was put in the Chancellor's Budget speech to impress our overseas creditors, the bankers or anybody else. It was a convenient method of announcing to the House the Government's intentions on industrial relations legislation as well as the future of the prices and incomes policy.
What the Government doubted at that time was whether they could get the T.U.C. to go far enough to remove the need for action by the Government. The settlement of 19th June produced assurances, to which I attach great importance, from the T.U.C. which enabled the Government to drop the interim Bill.
The Motion, by inference, condemns the settlement. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is a Motion of censure on the Government for failing to keep their promise to introduce legislation. Thus, by inference, it condemns the alternative which the Government have found possible to adopt. If the Opposition condemn the Government for not keeping their promise to introduce legislation, they must, at the same time, be condemning the settlement. The great bulk of my hon. Friends feel that the Government were fully justified in regarding this settlement as a preferable alternative to legislation on the lines proposed in the White Paper.
The right hon. Member for Mitcham said that we were going back and his 701 hon. Friend the Member for Totnes said that we were back to where we started. That shows how unable are hon. Gentlemen opposite to comprehend the significance of the advance that has been made by the T.U.C. We are going forward, to greater authority and power in the hands of the T.U.C., which is where it really belongs and where it should have been all along. All encouragement should be given to the T.U.C. to have it, and that encouragement should be supported by the House.
The Leader of the Opposition considers that the Government have run away. The right hon. Member for Mitcham thinks that we are running away from reality and responsibility. The Leader of the Opposition considers that this has been some kind of battle in which casualties and chaos are of small account in the will to win. Both the Government and the T.U.C. wanted to curb unconstitutional strikes and do away with inter-union disputes. The differences between the Government and the T.U.C., serious though they were, were about methods. The Government wanted the T.U.C. to acquire a "do-it-yourself" kit and, failing that, the Government said, "We must see what we can do to help you by legislation".
I confess that that approach went against the deeper understanding of the Donovan Commission. However, while the Government's judgment, on the merits and likely effectiveness of their proposals, was, in my view, wrong, their tactics proved to be right; and in reaching this settlement the Government did not run away or climb down. They got their way by climbing up, and they succeeded in putting the responsibility for unofficial strikes on the T.U.C.
I believe that the T.U.C. should have been trying to seize more vigorously the assumption of these responsibilities. Donovan gave it the opportunity to do so, and there are grounds for criticising the delay and reluctance of the T.U.C. in moving forward to a position of greater authority and power. My right hon. Friend, in his brilliant castigation of the Opposition, tore the credibility of hon. Gentlemen opposite to shreds as he quoted enough in approval of the settlement to make it acceptable to the House.
It has become the fashion, during the course of this long discussion about the 702 T.U.C. and the trade union movement, to disparage the T.U.C. We recall Low's cartoons which depicted the T.U.C. as an old carthorse. But we would be unwise to underrate the T.U.C. We would be wrong to claim that the courts, committal orders and bailiffs could do better. The country was glad of Ernest Bevin during and after the war. The country has been rewarded handsomely for putting its trust in the patriotism, wisdom and steadfastness of the trade union leaders during the last 30 years.
We in Britain are fortunate in having only one trade union centre. Most countries have two and even three; and when there is more than one they are usually bitter rivals. They are divisive, competing for members and overbidding in demands. We have no religious or Communist unions and we have no unions divided by political dogma. Let us, therefore, be fair to the T.U.C.
I was on the T.U.C. General Council for 10 years, the only Member at present who served on the council. I speak feelingly of my experience there and of my admiration for the responsibility and wisdom of the people with whom I worked. The T.U.C. has not been inactive for the last 40 years. The Bridlington principles, which were recently rediscovered and brought into service in the recent agreement, were introduced 30 years ago. How many strikes have arisen from inter-union rivalry, poaching and competing for membership? Can any hon. Member name one?
§ Mr. Houghton
I am sure that that is a classic example. I asked for one and I got one. Torquay is obviously somewhat different from the general run of cases.
Much more recently the Trades Union Congress amended the now well-known Rule 11 to enable the General Council to intervene in any dispute in which other bodies of workpeople might be involved or their employment imperilled. That was a very big step at that time. We have to remember that the Trade Union Congress is a federal body. Power must be 703 yielded from the unions to the centre and cannot be assumed at the centre without the consent of the unions.
This is not only a matter of getting a majority vote; the General Council must have the support and co-operation of the unions mostly concerned with serious disputes and threatened stoppages. For that purpose I suppose that the consenting vote of the Inland Revenue Staff Federation would be useful, but scarcely conclusive. If the tax men went on strike, constitutionally or otherwise, the public might encourage them to stay out as long as possible, or longer if they could.
The real significance of the vote at Croydon did not lie solely in the overwhelming numerical majority—the vote was almost unanimous. It lay in the fact that the two big unions mostly involved with this problem of unconstitutional strikes, the A.E.F. and the Transport and General Workers' Union were on the side of the General Council. The General Council could have got quite an impressive-looking vote, but, had those two unions been in the minority it would have been a meaningless vote. It is in the field of membership of those two unions that most unconstitutional strikes occur.
I offer my assessment of the causes of a large number of these strikes. I believe that one of the chief troubles in the engineering and allied industries is parity of pay. When I looked at television the other night I saw the picture of a wall outside Leyland's on which was chalked, "Parity with the Midlands". We find that the two main grievances are parity and fair comparability. In my long experience, although only in a white-collar and Civil Service union, I found that when the absolute grievance of underpayment and hardship had been remedied, the comparative grievance came even more bitterly to the fore.
The Prime Minister referred in his speech to the particular problems in parts of the engineering industry where components are manufactured over a very wide variety and area of firms, to be assembled centrally. There are considerable differences in pay and conditions between workers in one area and workers in another employed on almost identical work. This arouses deep dissatisfaction.
Fair comparability is another feature of present-day conditions giving rise to a 704 great deal of dissatisfaction, and so are relativities. These are the grievances in modern trends towards mass production, mergers and other features of large-scale enterprise It is surprising to find what deep emotions these grievances can sometimes engender.
I saw in The Times the other day, in Maurice Corina's article, a reference to what Mr. Ellis said. He is the managing director of British Leyland's bus and trucks division. He said that in the recent dispute at Leyland's the company hadnot fully appreciated the emotional tenor behind the strike".That is very important in a strike of the dimensions and gravity of that at Leyland's.
We should also bear in mind that the new General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress has been in office for only a few months and has not yet been finally confirmed in his appointment. Yet he is given this great responsibility and strain during the waiting period. There is a new General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union and the President of the A.E.F. came into office a relatively short time ago. These three men can change the scene on unofficial strikes if they are given the time and opportunity and if they use them. I venture the view that if the parity question could be given early attention that would go a long way towards reducing unconstitutional strikes in their area.
§ Mr. Peter Mahon (Preston, South)
Does my right hon. Friend concede that it was nothing but flagrant injustice that impelled men to take the action they have taken, and not emotion?
§ Mr. Houghton
I am not denying the sense of injustice which led them to take the action they took. Indeed, I say that the sense of injustice did that and they felt deeply emotional about it.
Prices and incomes policy should positively encourage a review of parities as a damper on explosive material. I say, give these men a chance. I think that the statement of 19th June enables them to take it. In industrial relations we are dealing with men and women at work where they spend most of their lives and where they want to get a great deal of personal satisfaction. New methods of production, the repetitive process, the 705 machine, the conveyor belt, the noise, all set up new forms of stress and strain. We also have entirely new problems of size and numbers. In numbers we have the emotions of the mass, of the crowd. A grievance can spread like a fire in a factory where there are thousands of workers.
I thought that the Prime Minister dealt completely with the suggestion that a legally enforceable contract would be the answer to this potentially dangerous state of affairs. I wonder whether we know yet what the highly industrialised State with heavy concentrations of workers and population is doing to us. Shall we all become neurotic, unstable and ungovernable? Will congestion at work, at home, at play, on holiday, everywhere "send us round the bend"? These are all factors which we have to take into account.
Disappointment with the Donovan Report sprang largely from a widespread expectation that human behaviour was easier to deal with and to control than it is. Management is the management of human nature and trade unions have to cope with that, too. Talk of discipline, getting men back to work and ordering men back to work—these are the problems of human nature and human behaviour. There are also one or two considerations of social and political philosophy.
The right hon. Member for Mitcham referred to other countries. "Look abroad," he said. Comparisons between this country and some others, particularly the United States and Western Germany, are based upon a mistaken assumption that there is a common attitude towards monopoly capitalism and private enterprise. That is not so.
Workers' attitudes in this country are deeply influenced by our industrial history. British trade unions have never really come to terms with private enterprise. They chafe at profits and dividends and other elements of the system which make capitalism work. We may think that they are wrong and that in a mixed economy they should drop all that and go along, but many trade unionists are not prepared to do so. They have social, economic and political aims which motivate them in their work as well as during their private time.
Britain is going through a transitional period. We know all about economic 706 growth and even more about exports. We never cease to hear about exports. But in human terms there is a price for these things which workers are not prepared to pay. They are not prepared to be pushed around by the State or ordered back to work by bureaucratic trade union leaders. We are living in a free society and we must preserve democracy at all costs.
The Tories have nothing to teach us about this. The only General Strike in this country took place under the Tories. The only punitive legislation against the trade unions was their Trades Disputes Act of 1927. This exiled me from the T.U.C. for 20 years; and they subjected my members to the discipline and threat that unless they joined a union which had a certificate of respectability they would lose their jobs. That was the Trades Disputes Act of 1927; and the greatest moment in Ernie Bevin's life, he confessed, was the day he was able to announce the repeal of that 1927 Act, lock, stock and barrel.
May I suggest in a friendly way that that might have given pause to Her Majesty's Government. I believe that legislation now will be unnecessary in that particular respect. The more comprehensive Bill that we await will be one of the great reforming measures for trade unions since the Liberal Trade Union Acts of 1906 to 1913 and what I ask, in conclusion, is: who are the Tories to complain of that?
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
We have had an interesting debate. My contribution at this stage will be a short one and will not deal necessarily with the recent history of trade union reform, but rather with the problems we have to face in this House of Commons and the problems connected with future legislation to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) has just referred.
We are today debating a Motion, which I will support, condemning the Government for breaking the promise given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech to implement without delay during the present Session new legislative provision for industrial relations. We are debating a change of mind, a climb-down. I decline to follow the Prime Minister in analysing what has happened in the past, because the 707 past, to a large extent, is dead. The nation, and particularly Londoners tonight, are concerned with today and the future. I would suggest that some reference to today and the future is more important than what has gone before.
I wish to make my position clear. In view of the work of the Select Committee on Members' interests I do not think that it is necessary for me to declare my interest as a one-time executive, a Conservative politician and subsequently as a Member of this House. I have been concerned with two aspects of industry. One is modernisation in the technological sense, the other is very much in terms of industrial relations and what goes on in the factory.
I confess I have learned much since I first spoke on this subject in 1947—the occasion of my first political speech was on the Conservative Industrial Charter. We must recognise the fact that much has changed since then. I hope that in this debate we may accept this fact, because my concern has been on industrial relations and relations affecting men working together, living in a community, as well as within the factory.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) will know—and this point has already come out in the debate today—that about 10 years ago I supported my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath), at that time Minister of Labour and other Ministers of Labour, in that I was opposed to legislation in this field. I make no excuse for that, because this was the view held by many people in industry at that time. I found that my views were conditioned not only by senior management at the time, but by personnel and on line management in industry and trade union leaders at the time whom I had occasion to meet. It was a remarkable fact that their views coincided with the views of hon. Members opposite at that time. The Prime Minister has referred to the fact that the Conservative Party had done nothing during 13 years but if the Conservative Party had attempted to introduce legislation at the time I entered this House they would have had to face the opposition of the Labour Party, the then Opposition, with- 708 out any doubt, and would have had no support at all for such action.
The failure of the T.U.C. to put its own house in order in the early 1960s caused me and many hon. Members on this side of the House to have a change of mind. It was perhaps my own M.P. at the time, the then Member for West Derbyshire, Mr. Aidan Crawley, who crystallised the change of mind that took place in my own mind and within the Conservative Party. It convinced me that my approach was not sufficiently positive and for the last five years I have fully supported the hard work, first, of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) and more recently of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham which has resulted in the preparation of the document "Fair Deal at Work".
The whole question of legislation in this field today, for a variety of reasons, has now become a highly emotional subject. I would suggest that too few hon. Members on both sides of the House, let alone people outside it, know what is involved. But just as marriage laws and, for that matter, divorce reform have led not so much to happier marriages, but to a greater knowledge of what is involved, so too, I believe, legislation will rationalise relationships in our industrial society in years to come.
But today I wish to join the criticism of my hon. Friends on this side of the House at the way in which, in the last six months, the Government have handled, or I would say mishandled, the situation—to use the words of the Minister of Transport earlier, a delicate situation.
It could well be that in the action he has taken the Prime Minister may have had no intention of introducing legislation at the present time. It could be that he has led the right hon. Lady the First Secretary of State down the garden path. History alone will tell what has happened. I suspect that his public relations advisers have told him of the results of the Gallup Poll, and that action in this field would be essential if he was to be able to have terms of reference which would justify an appeal to the electorate at some future election.
But today the misfortunes of those who work and live in London have provided testimony—and this concerns all of us in one way or another, but in this case those affected by the signalmen in 709 London Transport—of the way in which a few people can hold industry and people in the nation's factories to ransom.
I was suspicious when the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose a Budget speech to refer to this legislation. Because I wish to be brief I will not refer to the many quotations and contradictions from Government Front Bench spokesmen. But that part of the Prime Minister's speech which I heard—and I had to leave the debate to attend the Standing Committee on the Iron and Steel Bill for half-anhour—reminded me of the typical speech one would normally expect at the hustings. It was worthy of the music hall, but unworthy of a Prime Minister.
So much for my opinion. But I wonder what the country will think of the Prime Minister's speech when it is read tomorrow.
I was sickened by the attack of the Government on the Conservative Front Bench about doing nothing during those 13 years. I was sickened by the endeavours of the Prime Minister to create political strife at this time, rather than to eliminate it. I am sickened because the Prime Minister's speech was irrelevant to the issues which face the nation today. Many of my hon. Friends share this view.
The perpetual conflict that takes place within the trade union movement is not unlike the perpetual conflict that has taken place within the Labour Party. I am aware of this, not with the intention of being destructive but because many of us understand the differing motives to which the right hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) referred, the similar factors which motivate Members of the Labour Party and those in the trade union movement; but if I elaborated on this I would be on my feet for much too long.
Where do we go from here? What is now to be done to improve industrial relations? Let us look ahead. It has been my experience over many years both within the group of companies, with which I have been connected, and outside, that the man on the shop floor in the factory is concerned not so much with his relationship with his employer, as with his trade union. Anything to rationalise this situation, whether or not it is by legislation, will appeal to many in our industries today. There are those who work in the car industry, the steel industry and other industries who are tired of the 710 fact that it is possible for men in key positions to prevent them going on working. There are men whose families are sick of having to scrap holidays and who would welcome a higher degree of stability. Any action that will produce greater stability will be welcomed by many workers on the shop floor, let alone their families.
The fact is that the Government have made a solemn and binding agreement with the T.U.C. that the T.U.C. will put its house in order. I have managed to obtain a photostat copy of "Programme for Action", and I share the view that much progress has been made within the trade union movement. I have known Victor Feather for many years—not personally, but in the sense of not only having listened to him, but of having from time to time met and spoken to him—and I have great respect for his determination and judgment. I know that he will endeavour to carry out the agreement to the best of his ability, and many others who know him respect his ability to tackle the situation.
But there are reservations. He has warned us not to expect results too quickly, and there are questions whether or not the T.U.C. is in a position to bring about the order within the trade union movement that it wishes to achieve. If it succeeds, the nation and all of us in the House will be grateful. The problem is not one of disparaging the responsibility of the T.U.C. at present. The right hon. Member for Sowerby spoke about a breakthrough. Time alone will show whether the T.U.C. can succeed now that it has been given and accepted new terms of reference.
Therefore, the debate is about serious problems. I want to deal with the serious problem of improving industrial relations, irrespective of the type of legislation introduced in the next Session, and assuming that that legislation will be good. The man on the shop floor has always been regarded as primarily a member of a trade union. But it is equally true that far too many employers and industrialists in senior and middle management talk about the men in their organisation not as being part of that organisation but refer to their employees, the men on the shop floor, as trade unionists, when primarily they are members of a production team, an industrial team. We are wrong to talk about men—
§ Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)
The hon. Gentleman is wrong to talk about men being economic machines and units of production. When a man goes to work he is the husband of the wife and the father of the children, and he is a good member of a trade union because he has learned that the trade union movement has maintained the dignity of himself and his family over 50 or 60 years. That is why he is a good trade unionist.
§ Mr. Osborn
I am not arguing that any individual should not be a good trade unionist. There is nothing wrong about the man on the shop floor being in a trade union. This is right, but he is also a member of a production team. Too many men on the shop floor regard it as natural that their primary loyalty is to their trade union, and too many of their employers treat them as trade unionists when they have a loyalty as members of a production team. This is surely a new attitude to work which must be built into industry, and I would have thought that hon. Members opposite would agree with this.
Much has gone wrong over the years. Too many people in professional management have accepted the practice that they hire their labour through the trade union. This might be one of the problems in the printing trade. In too many instances the trade union determines whether or not a man should gain employment [Interruption.] If hon. Members disagree with this fact, they should say so in their speeches.
In addition, too many managers make the mistake of communicating with their shop floor through the convenor or senior shop steward. This is perhaps where management is failing. It is not the job of a convenor or shop steward to convey to the shop floor the wishes of management. It is surely the job of management to do this; practice has caused management to fall down in this responsibility over the years. In many cases the convenor is not the best qualified, because he can pass on only what he wants to pass on.
The Prime Minister referred to education as part of the "Programme for Action". I welcome this, but we must also remember that if top management communicates to the shop floor through the convenor or shop steward it cuts out the line of communication through 712 the foreman. When I ran a shop. 15 years ago. I had that direct link with the shop floor. As a unit becomes larger, the link between top management and the shop floor through the foreman and supervisors is most important. But they must have the right qualifications for this aspect of the job.
These are the issues that must be tackled. If too many in management are not articulate, then there is a need to provide training so that middle management is able to convey ideas and policy to the shop floor, to enter into arguments where necessary. Too often this task is delegated to the shop steward. Would this change be a welcome feature in industrial relations to the trade unions and hon. Members opposite? I raise this question because today's debate has been about legislation, penal clauses and attachment of earnings.
I have spoken on the need for good communications and good management, but good management and good industrial relations are complementary to good industrial legislation. Surely the trade unions would agree that the man on the shop floor—even if he is primarily a trade unionist, to concede the point made by the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon)—is part of a production team? If there is good communication, the legislation we propose will but provide the background to good industrial relations.
Much has been done to improve the situation and attitudes with the Industrial Training Act and the Contracts of Employment Act, for example. There are new moves for agreements between employer and employee.
What should go now into the productivity bargains? Pay and remuneration, yes, but also, surely, opportunities, in working time if necessary, for foremen and middle management to talk to men on the shop floor? Today, there are the problems of amalgamations and mergers, which inevitably cause turbulence on the shop floor. There are the threats of redundancy and insecurity which cause this uncertainty. Is it not the business of top management to brief middle management, and middle management to brief the shop floor? When there is a problem, does the foreman tell the man on the shop floor what is going on? Has management itself communicated to the shop floor adequately, is it 713 allowed to? Today this is of paramount importance.
Good law does not bring about good industrial relations, but it is complementary to those good relations. There is argument about what constitutes good law. I believe that resort to special courts is preferable to arbitrary powers in the hands of a Minister. That is why I support many of the proposals of "Fair Deal at Work". But ultimately, whether we are dealing with the proposals of the White Paper, "In Place of Strife", or the Conservative document "Fair Deal at Work", discipline is dependent on a code supported by legislation. Primarily, this code concerns both management and the trade unions, but ultimately, in the last resort, it concerns the individual and his relations with both.
Today, there is the question of unofficial strikes in the docks, London Transport and British Leyland. If, in the ultimate, the legislation we are proposing means that this type of conflict goes to the special industrial courts for investigation, it will be right that the management should be asked whether its communications have been adequate and good. It will be right that the shop stewards and the trade unions should be asked whether they have done their utmost. If the management has failed, it should be fined. If the union has failed, it, too, should be fined. But if both have carried out a recognised procedure, there must be the ultimate sanction on the individual if he acts unconstitutionally. That, however, must be put in the background as the last feature of any penal clauses allowed to come forward.
This is what we have to decide when discussing future legislation. It faces us in Parliament. The Prime Minister referred to the Commission on Industrial Relations. Mr. George Woodcock has been appointed its Chairman and I hope that the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity will outline in greater detail what he is now doing. There should now be talks going on between the C.B.I. and the T.U.C. on how to improve industrial relations. What progress is being made?
I have not spoken in detail about the current political conflict and I am not interested in past history. The nation wants to know what we in Parliament will do next. I hope that hon. Members 714 will address their minds to this feature, but the Government have been inconsistent and have changed their mind.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harry Gourlay)
Many hon. Members wish to speak, so I hope that we shall have some short speeches to follow.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
I shall follow your advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker—it can hardly be called an instruction, although I have proposed in the past that the Chair be in a position to instruct hon. Members to sit down if they go on too long.
The main object of my speech is to prove, if proof be needed, that penal sanctions in the kind of legislation that has been proposed will not work, will poison industrial relations, will lead to endless litigation, will serve no useful purpose and will be generally disastrous. There is no need to go into detail. I think that it is generally understood and the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) has given me my case.
I have spoken to many industrialists in Sheffield and I am sure that the hon. Member will agree that I am not a stranger to them. Whenever I have had the opportunity to do so, I have asked them what they thought, first, about the Government's proposals, and then about the Opposition's proposals to enforce, as it were, industrial peace by the use of penal sanctions, by the introduction of a criminal law. In every case, they were in favour of such proposals, provided that they applied to the dockers, the transport workers, and, in one case, to the people who build exhibitions, but never inside their own factories.
The hon. Member for Hallam is the only industrialist from Sheffield I have come across who seems to be in favour of using penal sanctions for keeping industrial peace in his own factory. He knows that, given the situation in Sheffield, where we have some very good and sensible employers and very good and responsible trade union leaders, there is little chance of getting unofficial strikes in his or any other company. But if an industrial dispute did occur—I leave his firm alone for the moment—in a certain company and penal sanctions were used against the unofficial strikers, I can tell the hon. Gentleman precisely 715 what would happen in Sheffield if the strikers were hauled into court.
If they were found guilty of breaking an agreement, and if fines were imposed on them, and those fines were attached to their wages, every industrial works in Sheffield would stop at once. There would be sympathy strikes all over the place and the situation would get completely out of hand.
I will throw my notes away about why I believe—having had considerable experience of reporting, explaining and commenting on industrial disputes; I used to get paid for it—that penal sanctions will not work. I make only two observations about it. If we are to have penal sanctions, we must provide defences. We cannot have a criminal law which, in effect, says that, if the prosecution can prove that workmen have broken an agreement, they are automatically guilty of the offence without any defence whatever. To have such a law would assume that all our industrial agreements are prefectly reasonable, that there is nothing wrong with them, that the men who have broken them have never been provoked by unreasonable agreements into breaking them. The employers will not break agreements.
It is nonsensical to suggest that a penal law such as proposed would apply equally both to workers and employers. Employers will not break agreements. The agreements will be broken when the workpeople are provoked by something into breaking them. They may be right or wrong, but what they have to have in a law of this kind is a defence. They have to be able to get up in court and say that the agreement was such that it was unreasonable in the circumstance. They have to be able to defend themselves if, in the circumstances, they have somehow been provoked into action.
As soon as that defence is written into the law, as it must be—for we cannot have a criminal law which provides no defence—not a single case will be settled. Perhaps that is an exaggerated claim, for some people will want to settle. Most employers will. Unless the employers drop the case, litigation will go on and on and on. It must be remembered that, in these circumstances, the T.U.C. and the unions would not be co-operating. They would not co-operate if penal sanc- 716 tions were in the background. If Parliament has decided not to trust the unions and the T.U.C. to carry out agreements, there will then be no co-operation from them and, therefore, the courts will have to decide in many cases of unofficial strikes. There will then be appeals and litigation will go on. It will be a lawyer's paradise and solve nothing.
§ Mr. J. H. Osborn
I emphasised the importance of good industrial relations. Penal sanctions I put as one of the last items on the list of industrial legislation, there being many other items to put in before then. But we must not run away from that issue.
§ Mr. Darling
I shall come to that, but when the hon. Gentleman talked about the "ultimate sanction", I thought that he had in mind the prospect of shooting them.
I want to follow up the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton). Many hon. Members opposite and, I think, the Leader of the Opposition, have said that the Government gave way not only to the T.U.C. and the unions, but to Left-wing pressure. I want to make it clear that the views I hold against penal sanctions I held long before the Donovan Commission was set up and that I still hold those views even after the speech of the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr). I do not believe that sanctions, the kind of law he was talking about, would work.
But the idea that my right hon. Friends were persuaded to drop the interim Bill by the pressure of my Left-wing friends is nonsense. Those of us who hold the views which I hold go right across the Labour Party. The fact that we did not speak very much in public while this controversy was going on should not lead hon. Members opposite to believe that we had no influence on the decisions.
§ Mr. Peter Crowder (Ruislip-Northwood)
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman's views on penal sanctions. In any event, no jury would convict anyone on that basis. There was, of course, a case when Lord Goddard sat and the Lord Chancellor prosecuted, and three people on the jury said that, if they were to carry out the law, they would find the men guilty, but they could not do so. Would the right hon. Gentleman give us the benefit of his knowledge and 717 experience about a breach of civil contract, on the basis of damages? I should like to hear him on that.
§ Mr. Darling
I undertook to be brief. I have views on this as well. I understand that civil damages can be claimed now if any employer wishes to sue the trade union concerned. The simple answer is that, because the law exists already, it can be invoked by employers, but I am sure that it would exacerbate industrial disputes. I certainly cannot think of any cases where it has been used in recent years.
In any case, we should bear in mind that if damages were given not against a union but against unofficial strikers, they would not pay a penny. If legislation of this kind had been used, funds to pay the damages would be set up in every works, every factory, every coal mine, every dockyard and shipyard in the country, and by such means as running football pools the money would not be difficult to find. So do not let us have any talk about civil damages. The fact that it is not used is evidence that the employers do not want it.
I want to follow up references by hon. Members opposite to the fact that the trade unions have now given undertakings which are not good enough, and that something better should be done. The hon. Member for Hallam is the only one so far who has tried to spell out the responsibilities of management. The trade union agreement could be criticised. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said yesterday that the Prime Minister had knuckled under to the unions. He and every one of us could criticise this agreement and cast judgment on it, because it was arrived at openly. The discussions have gone on ever since the publication of the White Paper, in public. There have been no secret discussions, the public have been brought into them all. The Trades Union Congress was on television. The Press have been sleeping in Downing Street, so far as I can see, throughout these discussions. Nothing has been withheld from them. I am sure that every hon. Member will agree that serious political and public issues of this kind should be discussed in public.
Now let us have some response from hon. Members opposite. What discussions have their Front Bench been having 718 with the C.B.I.? What have they been cooking up? I intended to elaborate this, but I have such a respect for the right hon. Member for Mitcham that I will not hold him responsible for what goes on among his right hon. Friends. Is it not about time that the C.B.I. called a public conference of employers' organisations who are members of the Confederation? Let us have a public discussion on the terms of a code of practice which the employers should now adopt to match what the T.U.C. has done. This is the one way of carrying out the proposals from the hon. Member for Hallam.
One of the most regrettable features of this public debate is the instant criticisms of what the Government have been doing by the director of the C.B.I. He has made utterly irresponsible statements which have done a good deal of harm to the prospects of getting industrial peace. I regret that I have to say this, because Mr. John Davies is a friend of mine. When I was at the Board of Trade I had dealings with him over a whole range of industrial legislation, in which found him constructive and helpful in every way.
The reason that he behaves irresponsibly in this business, in my opinion, is that he has not a great deal of experience of handling labour relations in industry. We must help him: he deserves to be helped. Therefore, I want to make a number of suggestions about what an open conference of employers' organisations should be called together to discuss.
It should discuss a code of practice, which should be laid down as a condition of membership of the member firms of the C.B.I. Why not? if they believe in getting management to take responsibility, let us see them take responsibility. Let them carry out the proposals of the hon. Member for Hallam. One thing which they should do is insist that, in every member firm, labour relations are in the hands of a senior director, not a personnel officer with no contact with the board of management. Such a man should have the authority to take decisions on behalf of the board.
The hon. Member said that many of these disputes arise because there is no proper communications from management to the shop floor—and the same is true the other way round. Every company, surely, should have an established 719 procedure, which will work, for the quick examination of grievances. There should be a joint committee, called a grievances committee, perhaps, of shop stewards and management, with authority to take decisions to get rid of grievances, many of which start by being small but which, if allowed to fester, create industrial disputes.
I am sure that every firm must make arrangements to inform employees and union representatives of management policies and arrange for prior consultations on projected policies which, when they are carried out, will affect the jobs and terms of employment of the men. We should ask them to adhere to these and many other undertakings as a condition of being involved in the general discussions on industrial relations. I hope that the C.B.I. will respond to my suggestions. I hope, also, that the Opposition will use their influence to help us to get open discussions about managerial responsibilities, as we have had open discussions about the part that the trade unions can play in all this work.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Captain Henry Kerby (Arundel and Shoreham)
I hope that the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail. It is not that I wish to be discourteous to him, but rather because I wish to deal with one or two remarks made earlier by his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister in the opening passages of his long speech referred to a Motion put on the Order Paper of this House in 1959. I was the Member who put down that Motion, and I did so on 27th October. Since it has been mentioned, the House might like to hear the terms of the Motion:Activities of trades unions:That this House, having regard to the original conception of trades unions as bodies with the proper purpose of providing negotiating machinery between employers and employees, but recognising that their organisation is now used by irresponsible persons to paralyse any section of industry, however vital to the national economy, urges Her Majesty's Government to set up a Royal Commission forthwith to inquire into the law relating to the activities of trades unions, with a view to preventing these being abused by unofficial strikes, demarcation disputes, picketing and 720 other customs leading to intimidation and to victimisation of workers, and the holding of the community as a whole to ransom.On that first occasion my Motion attracted a mere five signatures besides my own. I put down that same Motion in four subsequent years and it never collected more than a fist full of signatures from what were then the back benchers of a Conservative Government.
I put down that Motion because it seemed to me that a Royal Commission appointed to look into the affairs of trade unions was an essential prerequisite to any reform in the intractable field of trade union relations. Nevertheless, I can claim, with some pride, that my Motion was not altogether ignored, in that, ironically enough, it was the present Prime Minister who set up the Donovan Royal Commission.
The Donovan Report was followed by the White Paper "In Place of Strife" of the right hon. Lady the First Secretary. She got her strife all right, leading to her total surrender to the trades unions!
Everyone knows that trade union reform and trade union legislation are needed now. The overwhelming mass of the British people know this. The majority of honest trade unionists and their wives know it, although perhaps they dare not say so openly. The international moneylenders know it, and they have said so quite openly. The bosses of the Common Market, the Herr Professors and the political bosses in Europe know it. Yet the T.U.C., which took 50 years to produce "Programme for Action", say "Leave it all to us."
What faith can the ordinary man in the street have in these promises? Apart from being a Member of this honourable House I am an ordinary man in the street; I am neither a trade unionist nor an industrialist. How can anybody believe these promises? I am not saying that the trade union leaders will not try. Of course they will try. I am sure that they will try their best, but I am afraid that they will fail, because the T.U.C. has not and never has had the strength to reform the trade union movement from within.
Mr. Feather is reported as saying this on 17th May:Laws don't make cars and Acts of Parliament don't build ships. Laws make work for lawyers …721 He has a point there!…"They don't contribute much to exports.There, in my judgment, we have it. Within the philosophy of the trade unions Parliament is irrelevant. The laws which we pass here are equally irrelevant. The unions regard themselves as above the law of the land. They intend to remain above the law of the land, and would have been quite prepared to remove any Government that tried to interfere with their personal privileges. That seems to be the view of the trade unions.
There is another view which I am convinced is shared by millions of people throughout Britain, ordinary, hard-working, honest, patriotic people, many of whom will be walking home tonight. These people very properly ask: What of these vicious, never-ending, interminable, wildcat strikes, these go-slows, the childish demarcation disputes, working to rule, the closed shop; what of the intimidation of honest workers and what, above all else, of the holding of the community to ransom by the militants of the trade union movement? What do all these actions do to help British exports? The House and the country know the answer as well as I do. The unending pattern of post-war industrial-economic disruption has led more than any other single factor to devaluation and to the present grim mess that the nation is in today.
The Prime Minister has pointed out, not today but on another occasion, that 95 per cent. of our strikes are unofficial and that the vast majority of these are also unconstitutional. I have no doubt that he had his figures right. One should note in this connection the words of Professor Ben Roberts, Professor of Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics. Writing in the Sunday Times of 1st June, he said this:In practice very few unofficial strikes are called in defiance of the union. A great many, certainly most of the important ones, are either instigated, connived at or acquiesced in by the union officials concerned. The unions have in fact tacitly institutionalised unofficial strikes.To me that passage has the ring of truth because, unlike some, but not all, trade union leaders, Professor Roberts has no axe to grind.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, over many 722 years, more than 50 per cent. of official strikes have started life as unofficial strikes?
§ Captain Kerby
No, I was not aware of that and it does not alter my argument, because what I am coming to now occurred almost exactly 10 years ago. Ten years ago my right hon. Friend the present Leader of the Opposition, who was at that time Minister of Labour, did not perhaps altogether approve of my humble Motion. That is putting it with my usual tact. Today, however, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition—like Atalanta, the swift-footed huntress—has outpaced us all with his new and far-reaching proposals for reforming and policing the jungle of British industrial relations, from shop floor to board room, by making industrial contracts legally binding, and by bringing unions at long last under the rule of law.
I believe that when my right hon. Friend's proposals find their way on to the Statute Book they will be a foundation upon which future governments, and not least the next Conservative Government, will be able to build and above all to strengthen.
Accordingly, tonight I shall vote for the Opposition's censure Motion.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)
It is most unfortunate that the House should have listened to a speech such as that just made by the hon. and gallant Member for Arundel and Shoreham (Captain Kerby). At a time when industrial disputes are reaching the headlines in the national Press, it is unbecoming of the Opposition to add fuel to the fire and to give the Press a very false impression of industrial disputes.
It is a well known fact that I and many of my hon. Friends voted against the White Paper, "In Place of Strife". We did so because we were firmly convinced that it was unnecessary to operate penal sanctions, or even a conciliation pause or the balloting of members. As one who carried out many of the negotiations with the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, I can assure the House that I found them to be very tough negotiators indeed.
723 It is also a well-known fact that the Prime Minister, on every occasion, without exception, made it abundantly clear that even if at the eleventh hour the trade union movement was prepared to measure up to its responsibilities then, and only then, would the Government depart from the penal sanctions. It is quite true that all our discussions were in public. The trade union group in the House always issues a Press report after every meeting, and the meetings of the Parliamentary Labour Party receive a great deal of attention in the Press and are widely reported.
The T.U.C., for the very first time, held a special conference, only the second of its kind in 100 years. The conference was convened simply because the Government had made it perfectly clear that they were dissatisfied with the absence of T.U.C. authority at central level. If the Government have done anything, they have certainly made the trade unions move in the right direction, and now for the first time the trade union movement has that power at central level.
I was talking only this morning to Victor Feather. He should be attending a meeting of the World Federation of Free Trade Unions in Brussels, but because of the industrial disputes that are now taking place in this country he is not attending the conference, but is staying here to play an important rôle in attempting to achieve the solutions that we all desire.
Before the agreement was reached, the T.U.C. had no power at all to intervene in a dispute. What used to happen was that the trade union involved could, if it so desired, seek the guidance or advice of the T.U.C. But, once that advice was given the representatives from the T.U.C. had to step out of the arena. The situation has now dramatically changed. The T.U.C. now has the power to move in at a moment's notice.
Having been on trade union business on Monday and Tuesday of this week, I know that a circular letter has been sent out by Congress House telling trade unions, not asking them, to get their rule books to conform to the agreement reached between the T.U.C. and the Government. In accordance with that circular, many trade unions are operating that particular rule. Those trade unions 724 which do not have it laid down in their rule books will be required to include it.
The Opposition have made a great deal of play about this matter. When they were in power the trade unions, of their own volition, within their constitutions, could expel, fine, or suspend members. All this went on when the Conservatives were in power. There is nothing new in it.
Another important aspect is the fact that there is a departure away from national agreements. Whenever do we hear of a dispute about the violation of a national agreement? We have not had any serious stoppage for a very long time because of any difference of opinion between the trade unions and employers at national level. Where differences do arise is at plant or factory level. As the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) has said, the lines of communication, in many cases, are not what they should be. It is not good enough for an employer to put up on a notice board that such and such a thing will happen tomorrow at 0.800 hours and expect human beings to react without putting forward a contrary point of view.
In the matter of exports, which are of great concern to us all, four of the very good employers in my constituency have been given the Queen's Award for exports. In every case I know that they have very good communications with their workers. They have weekly meetings without an agenda, and then every month they have a meeting with an agenda. Before anything new is put into operation, it is discussed in a reasonable fashion. Once the shop stewards and officials are convinced, there is no difficulty in convincing the rest of the workers. From long experience in industry over many years I firmly believe that, if negotiations carried out by shop stewards and management are channelled through to the full-time officials who are accredited officials of their unions and registered with the national executive of the union, there will be no difficulty at all. Some agreements are actually signed by trade union stewards quite outside the constitution of their own union. This cannot be tolerated.
Reference has been made to the Girling dispute, which nobody with any sense of responsibility would condone. At the same time, there is one important aspect 725 about which we have not heard. Because of the part played by the manager in the Girling dispute or because of his inefficiency or incompetence, he was demoted to deputy manager. He would not accept the demotion and he was "fired". That means, in essence, that there were weaknesses on the side of Girling's management.
In his circular letter to the affiliated bodies within the Confederation of British Industry, John Davies added fuel to the fire and did a disservice to the country. He has made it crystal clear that before he subscribes to any legislation, and before there is any possible chance of peace in industry, we must have the return of a Conservative Government. Thai is totally irresponsible.
We had a terrible job getting our Government to move from the penal clauses and the conciliation pause period. After listening to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister today, I am convinced that for the first time since I came to this House he has paid some attention to my right hon. and hon. Friends. We feel that we can put forward a tangible point of view about industry.
The problem is this. Every paper without exception carries the banner, "Irresponsible Trade Unions". However, Vic Feather told me this morning that since the T.U.C. took its decision at Croydon, six disputes have been settled before getting off the ground. He is also optimistic about the dispute in the docks because of the attitude of Jack Jones and the union at national level. It is hoped that, for once, we will get some semblance of discipline in the docks.
I do not purport to be able to put forward a point of view about the docks. However, my information is that the conditions of work in the docks are unbelievable in this year, 1969. No human being with any semblance of respectability could tolerate them and, until such time as we get the necessary ingredients in the industry, there will not be the peace to which we all look forward.
I do not want to hammer the Opposition. In this sort of debate we have to try to go some way towards solving our industrial problems. The Donovan Commission was set up by the present Government. Its report was discussed in the House because the Opposition 726 were so intent on getting the Government to introduce legislation that they used one of their Supply days so that it could be debated. Following that, we had put before us "In Place of Strife". When we debated that, the Opposition abdicated responsibility in not voting. They sat on the fence and, having done that, they stated at different periods that many aspects of the short-term measure proposed by my right hon. Friend the First Secretary were incapable of solving the problem. Nevertheless, because it was good political material, they attempted to push the Government along the road of introducing legislation. We had all our discussions in public, and they knew full well that there was a distinct possibility of a rupture in this movement of ours.
I am happy to say that, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling), I have met many employers and discussed the situation with them. Only two weeks before the Government announced that they had reached agreement with the T.U.C., a number of employers told me that the proposed legislation of the Prime Minister and the Government was, to say the least, a nonsense.
The hon. and gallant Member for Arundel and Shoreham spoke about the article by Professor Roberts, of the London School of Economics. I would refer the hon. and gallant Gentleman to a book published by Professor Turner, of Cambridge University. It is clear from the book that, of all the countries enumerated, we are third on the list of those with the best records in terms of unofficial stoppages. We are inclined to lose sight of that when the Opposition are so intent in getting after us and attempt to make political capital out of strike statistics.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The hon. Gentleman cannot say that it is the Opposition who are doing that. The Donovan Report analyses the strike position and makes it clear. It is not really an Opposition line.
§ Mr. Hamilton
That is true but, at the same time, the Donovan Report came out against penal sanctions, against any conciliation pause period and against the balloting of members.
I would agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the Donovan Report is one of the finest reports yet produced. 727 From it has emerged the C.I.R. Many unions and employers are strengthening their procedural agreements as a result of it. Where there are bad procedural agreements, obviously the industries concerned are heading for trouble. One which comes readily to mind is the York memorandum, which is undergoing a long overdue, drastic overhaul. Failing that overhaul, there will never be peace in the engineering industry.
Under the memorandum, it is possible to arrange within seven days what is known as a local conference. At present, such a local conference cannot be convened at any shorter notice than three or four weeks, simply because employers do not have the trained personnel to deal with a given situation. The position arises frequently that men who have negotiated are then prepared to go to the next stage of the procedure. Suddenly, they discover that the next stage is held up for a period of three or four weeks. In such a situation, some improvement must be made, and this is where the C.I.R. can play a very important part.
I am surprised at the Opposition's Motion. If the Press is fair in reporting this debate, particularly if it reports in full the speech of the Prime Minister, people who are fair minded will quickly come to the conclusion that the Opposition have not made any progress at all since we came into office in 1964. It will also prove that they are not fit to govern, far less to tell the T.U.C. how to run its affairs.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ Dr. M. P. Winstanley (Cheadle)
The hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) has made an interesting speech and given effective expression to one of the many schools of thought on this subject, if the word "thought" can be applied to all the different schools in the House.
The hon. Member will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail, since there are so many different policies to comment upon. There is the policy of the Conservative Party which has been advanced in a clear, cogent, temperate and civilised speech by the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr). There is then what I call the "unpolicy" of the Government, who are in a transitional 728 stage, having shed some of their clothes, but not having quite got used to the new ones.
Beyond that there is the more orthodox Labour Party point of view expressed by the hon. Member for Bothwell. There are other more extreme points of view, one of which we heard from the hon. and gallant Member for Arundel and Shoreham (Captain Kerby). There is then our point of view, and there may be others.
We must try to reconcile these opinions and decide how to express our view on the issue as a whole. This is a situation which can cause a minority party certain difficulties. We make no complaint. Sometimes there are advantages in being a member of a minority party, but also there are difficulties—for example, when one has to choose between two courses of action whereas one would perhaps prefer a third or even a fourth choice.
My right hon. and hon. Friends and I have a choice virtually between two Motions. There is not a third Lobby into which we can go. We cannot say that we do not agree with either and we cannot say that we agree with both or that we reject both and want some other course. We must take the one or the other. We are not offered an easy choice.
First, the Prime Minister's Amendment. It amounts almost, as I say, to an "unpolicy". It asks us to applaud something which is wholly negative. It endorses the Prime Minister's announcement on industrial relations on 19th June, 1969. That announcement, in effect, was a decision not to do something which we never thought that they should do in the first place.
The hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck) shakes his head. Does he say that that was not the announcement and that the Government did intend to continue with the abandoned clauses?
After much thought and many consultations the Government decided to abandon the penal clauses in the Industrial Relations Bill. We are asked to endorse that decision. I think that they were right. I took the view, and so did my hon. Friends, that if the penal clauses had been adopted and any attempt had been made to enforce them, we would not have improved industrial relations, 729 but might have worsened them considerably and brought industry to a grinding halt.
We even took the view that any vigorous attempt to enforce the penal clauses might have precipitated us into a degree of social and industrial unrest which this country has not seen for many years. So we applaud the abandonment of those two proposals which we regarded as unhelpful.
But we want something constructive. The fact that the Prime Minister has decided not to do something does not mean that he is doing something positive and constructive in its place. Before we can say, "Jolly good, we support it", we want to know what we are supporting.
We welcome the agreement made with the T.U.C. We do not deceive ourselves that this agreement will do more than it is possible for it to do. But we welcome the sign that the trade union movement is willing to take on this responsibility and to make this attempt. We applaud and support that, but we do not accept it in place of a Government policy. We do not accept that the abandonment of a policy is a policy in itself. We want to look, therefore, for something more positive before we can give support to it.
The Conservative Opposition asks us to support a Motion of censure which talks about the needto implement without delay during the present Session new legislative provisions for industrial relations.I do not quarrel with the Conservative Opposition on that. I think that we do need new legislative provisions. But the new legislative provisions which I and my hon. Friends would like to see are very different from what the Conservatives would like to see. Therefore, we are in a dilemma, because it is difficult for us to support them on that Motion—[Interruption.]
I see that hon. Members opposite realise that in the end we shall arrive at the logical conclusion that we cannot support either, nor can we vote against them—[Interruption.] Therefore, on this occasion, in as positive a way as we can, we shall abstain. Having decided to abstain, I hope that the House will accept that on this occasion—
§ Mr. Edward Milne (Blyth)
The hon. Gentleman is obviously in a dilemma. 730 Could he not consult his absent colleagues, who might be able to help if they were here?
§ Dr. Winstanley
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, which I am sure was intended to be helpful. I assure him that I have consulted my colleagues. Our consultations are not always conducted in the blaze of limelight in which the consultations that he and his hon. Friends had with their Front Bench took place not long ago.
We cannot support either of the propositions, nor are we wholly against them, for the reasons which I have made clear. Therefore, we must do something rather different. We must explain what we would do instead, and, since we cannot give formal recognition to it in the Lobby, we will abstain and hope that our action will be understood.
Earlier, the Prime Minister referred to the television discussion in which I took part with the right hon. Member for Mitcham and the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity. He quoted my remark at the end of an exchange,Well, there we are, you see.Indeed, there we are. But he did not relate my remark to what it applied to, namely, an observation I had made earlier in which I said that this was not a three-party discussion. All the parties were not represented. The Conservative Party was represented, the Liberal Party was represented, the Government were represented, but the Labour Party, in a sense, was not. I realise that the Government were in a transitional stage, having just made a change to which they had not become used. But there was a point of view which was not effectively represented at that time.
As it has become fashionable to quote from the transcribed recording of that programme, I should like to quote something else. Following on remarks which I made about the dropping of the penal clauses—and I welcome that—the right hon. Lady said:But, of course, sanctions are only a minor part of the whole job of improving our industrial relations.I agree with that.
They were a minor part in the Government's White Paper. They were a minor part in its legislation.731 I cannot say that this was an accurate representation of what I understood had been going on during previous weeks. The arguments earlier suggested that these penal clauses were a major part. I accept that they are a minor part now, because they have been dropped. But, had they been introduced and a vigorous attempt made to apply them, they would not have been a minor part they would have been a crucial part, and the argument now is about what kind of steps can we take instead.
Coming back to the observations that the Prime Minister made with regard to this television discussion, reference was made to the Question put to the Prime Minister by the Leader of the Opposition. That question, again repeated by the Prime Minister, wasWhat will now happen if unofficial strikers refuse to accept the advice of their trade union leaders and remain on strike?When this question was put to the Prime Minister by the Leader of the Opposition, he could not answer it. The right hon. Gentleman took a long time saying what might happen and this, that and the other. He evaded the question, he could not answer it, and the Leader of the Opposition put it again and again.
In due course, I put the same quesiton to the right hon. Member for Mitcham. He, again, could not answer it. The right hon. Lady entered the discussion and accused the right hon. Gentleman of dodging the question. Then, in the end, we had the exchange quoted by the Prime Minister where the right hon. Gentleman said:In the last resort, in the very last resort, the same as you would have done in your proposals.CASTLE: Oh, you would.WINSTANLEY: Well, there we arc, you see.But I know the answer to the question: what will happen if unofficial strikers refuse to accept the advice of their trade union leaders and remain on strike? There will be a strike. The sooner we recognise this and stop trying to delude people into thinking we have a policy which will stop unofficial strikes, the better.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman acknowledged that. He said quite clearly that it was not possible to prevent strikes in those circumstances. Indeed, he im- 732 plied that it was not always desirable to prevent strikes in a highly rigid way, and I am sure that he is right about that. But at least he acknowledges now that we have to accept that we cannot devise legislation which of itself can stop strikes, and the sooner we stop discussing the matter on this basis the better. This is what we have been doing for weeks. We have been arguing about who has the answer when no one has the answer.
Originally, we had from the Government a method for stopping strikes. They thought that by introducing penal clauses against the individual they would stop strikes. They thought that they would stop strikes by the accumulation of a civil debt which was to be recovered either by the attachment of wages, or by the normal process of recovering a civil debt. During the debate on the White Paper doubt was cast, quite rightly, on the possibility of the attachment of wages, and at the end of his speech the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) said that he took the view that both sides would have to reconsider the advisability of the attachment of wages. I think that they have reconsidered it, and that both sides now realise that it is not feasible. But for a time the Government went on with their idea of recovery by the process of the accumulation of a civil debt.
The Conservative Party's idea is rather different. It is not recovery by any kind of penal action against the individual striker, but recovery by action against the trade union. But this, too, cannot work. The one result of making a collective agreement with a trade union legally enforcible in that kind of way is that the trade union does not enter into the agreement, for the simple reason that it does not have that kind of authority over its members. It does not particularly want to have that kind of authority, and indeed it would be undesirable for it to have it.
If, in the fullness of time, a union can acquire that kind of authority in the ordinary democratic way, that will be a good thing. I should like to see a situation in which union members respond to the advice of their union leaders. I should like to see a situation in which union leaders really represent the views of their trade unions in every way, but to suggest that a trade union itself can 733 have powers of that kind over individual members is really to belie the realities of the situation.
§ Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a marked difference between the situation he is envisaging, and the situation in which a union undertakes to use its best endeavours to secure compliance with an agreement which has been entered into?
§ Dr. Winstanley
It is not totally different, but I accept the hon. Gentleman's point. If, however, a union uses its best endeavours, and does not succeed, what do we do then? I shall come to that in a moment. Let us stick to the question whether a union can be made to deliver the goods.
If we had in this country the situation which exists in the United States, where money is deposited and the union responsible for the negotiation can be made to forfeit that money, there would be a tendency to avoid making a formal agreement which could be regarded as contractual, and to proceed with an ad hoc arrangement. An arrangement cannot be made legally enforceable, although an agreement can.
One cannot automatically bring to bear in Britain the American system of industrial relations. This was one of the lessons learned close to my constituency by Roberts Arundel, who failed to realise that it was impossible to apply the American management system to British wage packets. It is different if one is dealing with American wage packets. It is not always possible to apply the system in one country to the situation in another. I welcome any prospect of making properly negotiated agreements enforceable, but one can make them enforceable only to the extent that they are enforceable. If a union cannot do it, it is no good saying that it must, because it cannot.
Let us consider some of the damaging strikes which have occurred. Let us consider the Liverpool dock strike, not the present one, but the past one which was so damaging to the economy. This was, in a sense, a strike against the T.G.W.U. At least in part the feeling among the strikers was one of acute resentment against that union. I am not discussing whether they were right or wrong, but 734 there was a feeling that their point of view was not being expressed adequately, and that their action was the only way in which they could draw attention to their grievances.
There are many strikes of this kind against unions, and the kind of arrangement envisaged by the right hon. Member for Mitcham cannot in any way provide for this. This is where there has been a division. There has been fierce prolonged argument between the Government who want penal sanctions against the individual workers, which could not possibly work, and the Conservative Opposition who want penal sanctions against the trade union, which also could not work.
Let us now get down to the reality of the situation.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The hon. Gentleman must not keep on saying that my party's policy is to apply penal sanctions to anybody. It is not. If everything is so impossible, why is it impossible only in Britain, when it is possible and it works elsewhere?
§ Dr. Winstanley
The right hon. Gentleman knows that it does not work elsewhere. It is a delusion that industrial relations in this country are a veritable Jungle, whereas everything works smoothly elsewhere.
We have the evidence of the book by Professor Turner, "Is Britain Really Strike-Prone?", which makes very good reading for us all. We also have the evidence of a very wise and interesting speech by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who dealt with this matter in percentage terms, and said that the impact of strikes on our economy and production is quantitatively extremely small.
The right hon. Gentleman is right about that, and he is equally right in drawing attention to the fact that other countries have not obliterated strikes by penal sanctions of one kind and another.
Many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate. There are many things that I should like to say, but I hope that the House will accept that the Liberal Party has positive proposals to put forward. Others have positive proposals which they would like to put forward. Let us concentrate on things which can really work. We are faced 735 with another strike at the moment, the container dispute at Liverpool. This arises fundamentally from a sense of insecurity amongst the people there.
This is what we have to attack, and this is where one finds the great divide on the whole question of industrial relations. There are those on this side of the House who believe that it is possible to make people do things they do not want to do, by threats, by sanctions, or by some kind of pressure. There are also those who believe that it is possible to make people do things by brandishing the big stick of insecurity. It is this fear of insecurity which at present bedevils industrial relations. It is this feeling of insecurity which has tended to make the trade union movement rather slow in moving forward.
I do not side with those who think that if there is more insecurity, more unemployment, and more threats, we shall do away with strikes. I side with those—and I am conscious that they are on both sides of the House, and I believe that the right hon. Member for Mitcham shares my view—who want to take constructive steps to improve industrial relations and to get rid of the causes of industrial strife.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
After so many comments from both sides of the House on this subject I will have to cut my speech. Some of the questions raised in the debate will not be answered until we have the opportunity to implement the Government's proposals. It is unfortunate that there has been so much debate about what is obviously, on the part of the Opposition, a political gimmick. They are blandly ignoring the fact that significant changes have taken place since the Chancellor made his announcement.
Both the Motion and the speeches from the Opposition today show their obsessive concern with trade unions and the law. Their propaganda has created the myth that trade unions are somehow in an extraordinarily strong position and above the law. This is quite untrue, because the common law ensures that trade unions are at a disadvantage, because collective action by individual workers in restraint of trade has always been illegal, and we needed the special pro- 736 visions of 1871 and 1906 to redress this gross imbalance.
These provisions were attacked by anti-trade union people many years ago, as they are now being attacked by hon. Members opposite. The Opposition ought now to be looking more at the attitude of people in industry rather than trying to shackle the trade union movement. The proposal that collective bargaining agreements should be legally enforced simply cannot be taken seriously. The Opposition ought to ask themselves two questions, which are constantly put from this side of the House. The first is: if employers already have the powers to take legal action against trade union members and do not do so, why should further powers be necessary? The second question is: how is it possible to enforce legally any agreement? These questions are posed by Donovan and by hon. Members and they have not been answered.
The Motion has a political rather than an industrial motive. Hon. Members opposite say that the agreements shall be binding by law unless the parties decide otherwise. We all know that according to the record the parties will decide otherwise. Their case for legal enforcement is as watertight as a colander. As a form of corporal punishment on the trade unions it may commend itself, as it has an emotional appeal to the Conservative Party, but as a curative measure it simply creates suspicion among the trade unions, which is damaging the voluntary character of our collective bargaining machinery. This Motion, and this idea of legal sanctions on collective agreements, is a prescription for widespread industrial conflict.
I suggest that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite should try to understand the attitudes of the trade unionists instead of trying to impose the law upon them. If they did so they would find that strikes are not simply the result of the actions of a selfish and tiny majority. There is such a tiny minority in both sections of industry, but strikes are usually caused by the action or inaction of management. The myth created that wildcat strikes are the result of this irresponsibility is wide of the mark.
Many years ago, when I was 22 years old, I was a shop steward convenor and 737 participated in wildcat strikes. I was the chairman of strike committees in two industrial disputes. It was interesting to compare the way in which I and my trade union colleagues saw the disputes with the way in which the public saw the disputes. It was very different. What the public saw were hundreds of men being thrown out of work and it was very indignant. What we saw was an arrogant management which refused to recognise our union and negotiate with us. They imposed changes on our wages structure which we greatly resented.
They refused to listen to the reasonable and rational representations of our full-time trade union officials. So we went on unconstitutional strike. We worked in the non-ferrous metal industry, in a smelting factory, and the result was that the molten metal in the furnaces was allowed to run on the floor, and solidify in some of the furnaces. We then found that the employer became amenable. Those two strikes taught me my first major lesson in industrial relations which was that if there are rough tough bosses then inevitably there are rough tough trade unionists. It is an inevitable concomitant.
There is no point in the Opposition saying that the way to deal with the problem is legally to shackle the trade unions. I do not believe it. We have to change our attitude to shop stewards, because it is they who have a vital rôle to play in industry. It has always been a vital rôle, becoming even more important now, with the development of new techniques and with the growth of productivity bargaining. There is no point in national trade union officials in London or York solemnly discussing a productivity agreement because they really do not understand what goes on on the shop floor, and they cannot. It is the shop stewards who need the understanding and it is upon them that the Opposition should be focussing a degree of understanding which they have so far failed to show.
That is why I believe that the panaceas produced by the Opposition are quite unworkable. Individual trade unionists, in addition to shop stewards, have a responsibility now that the T.U.C. has made its move to surrendering some of their autonomy, so that the T.U.C. can become a really effective executive instrument, which it is not at present. In that way there is an opportunity for these 738 measures undertaken by the T.U.C. to work.
The danger of this debate is that we are tending to concentrate too much on the unions. The employers have a responsibility and it is regrettable that it is neglected. A recent survey carried out by my union, the General and Municipal Workers', disclosed these staggering figures. Less than 40 per cent. of employers were prepared to co-operate with the unions, 20 per cent. were indifferent and nearly 40 per cent. were actually hostile.
This is a sad comment upon the employers. I know that some firms have splendid relations, but unfortunately this attitude of hostility and indifference is far too prevalent, and the recent statements of the C.B.I. are encouraging rather than discouraging this attitude.
The statements made by Mr. Davies on behalf of the C.B.I. may win applause in a few board rooms, may win some congratulatory notes from those who will "stand for no nonsense from these agitators" and may win the accolade of a few letters in The Times, but I wonder how responsible management has reacted to his pugnacious remarks? I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not follow the irresponsible example which has been set by the leader of the C.B.I.
The Opposition have caricatured the T.U.C.'s promise of change as a surrender by the Government. However, there is a real danger that in the debate that will occur in the coming 12 months some of our industrial relations could be damaged by the Opposition in the same way that racial relations have been damaged by one of our number in this House. Parliament has a responsibility to the trade unions and employers to offer a constructive contribution rather than simply demand legal sanctions.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
Order. I thank the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) for being brief. I know that he had prepared a longer speech. I hope that other hon. Members will be equally helpful. Mr. Mitchell.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)
This has been an informed and constructive debate, apart from the contribution 739 of the Prime Minister who, for sheer gall, takes the biscuit. He reminded me of the barrister who was handed a brief which merely said, "No case; abuse opponent." For the greater part of his speech, that is what the right hon. Gentleman did.
The Prime Minister made two interesting points, however, which need considering. The first was when he said that the Government wanted the unions to use their rule books to discipline their members, that the Conservatives also wanted the unions to secure the adherence to agreements and that, therefore, the Government should not be criticised for arriving at a position in which the unions will be exercising pressure on their members.
There is a straight answer to that statement. It is that the Conservative proposals envisage a complete package. Part of it is the registration of the rules of individual trade unions, with a right of appeal for members who are brought before disciplinary committees.
The second interesting point which the right hon. Gentleman made occurred when he drew attention to the fact that in the United States strikes are ended with, as he put it, an agreement not to sue. The right hon. Gentleman must be misinformed, for that was an extraordinary statement for him to make. He appears ignorant of the fact that 88 per cent. of the time lost through strikes in the U.S. occurs at the end of the contract, so that there cannot be any breach of contract or anything on which to sue. The remaining 12 per cent. of time lost occurs during the term of contract, though often it is not in breach of any contract, which again means that there are no grounds on which to sue. The result is that in the U.S. a minute number of strikes occur in breach of contract, largely because of the liability for an action for damages. This is precisely what my hon. Friends are recommending for this country.
Because little time remains for the debate, I will be brief. There are constitutional implications which this House should not overlook in that the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget statement legislation on this issue. The Prime Minister pointed out how essential it was for there to be legislation in this 740 sphere during this Session of Parliament. The Government then publicly and humiliatingly had to withdraw from that position.
The implication is that the Government have given way to pressure from the T.U.C., a body formed of honourable men, but men who are not answerable to either the electorate generally or to this House. Perhaps next year, when making up his Budget, the Chancellor will feel it more circumspect to accept the advice of the T.U.C. rather than make a statement in his Budget and then, humiliatingly, have to climb down a couple of months later.
There are two points I wish to consider. The first is the agreement made with the T.U.C., and the second concerns future legislation. On the first—the T.U.C.'s binding agreement with the Government—one wonders why, if the T.U.C. will be able to deliver the goods in this way, as we hope it will, it has not done so before. In the first five months of 1967, 870,000 working days were lost through strikes and in the first five months of 1969, over 2 million days were lost.
If the T.U.C.—a patriotic institution; that is my view of it—has had these powers all along, why has it not used them? What about the ban on the container terminal at Tilbury, where £3½ million worth of assets have been lying idle for 18 months, as a result of which valuable shipments have been using Holland instead of our ports? Throughout this time, it appears, the T.U.C. has had the ability to do something effective, but has not done so.
The second point concerns the talk about sanctions. As an ex-trade unionist, I have understood the feeling that has existed among the unions about penal sanctions—a phrase that has grown up—and the suggestion is abroad that no sanctions now exist. The Prime Minister has made it clear, however, that there will be fines, expulsions and even dismissals. This, in respect of a closed shop dismissal, means a man losing his right to exercise his skill and craft; in other words, his ability to earn a living. This is, therefore, a capital offence, as it were, involving the employment of workers.
These powerful disciplines of fines, expulsions and dismissals are to be exercised in private and not in the public courts where justice can be seen to be 741 done. I urge the T.U.C. to consider carefully the crying need that exists for an appeals procedure which is seen by all to be fair.
There are more than 50 trade unions in this country whose rule books provide appeal against suspension or expulsion to the same body that imposed the penalty. Not many hon. Members would support that position. Many trade unions have more enlightened rules in this respect, but there are fears that the present set-up will lead to private disciplinary courts and even kangaroo courts.
The second matter with which I wish to deal is the possibility of legislation being introduced in the coming years, whichever party is in power. I wish to approach the subject in a constructive way, because it is in the national interest to do so and because there should be co-operation between both sides of industry, whatever Government introduce that legislation.
We must raise the standard of employer and trade union activities to the level of the best today. That is not to seek change for change's sake but to bring in the also-rans and raise their standards. The best employers already have speedy grievance procedures. For the best trade unions their word is their bond. Ernie Bevin was general secretary of the trade union of which I was a member for six years. He was the toughest negotiator in the country, but once he had made an agreement he stuck to it and his union stuck to it. He was immensely respected for that reason and he was able to get much higher awards for the members of his union because the employers knew that once he had made a deal it would be stuck to. Good employers today recognise unions. The best trade unions try to stop unconstitutional strikes. On these things we should try to get the also-rans to do likewise.
It is important that we should provide a civilised alternative to strikes as a means of settling disputes. So many times the only way in which men on the shop floor feel that they can get their grievances settled is by having a strike. On the question of unfair dismissal, why should we not, like most countries, have an appeal to an industrial court where the question can be settled? Why should 742 we not have cases of dispute over union recognition referred to the ballot? Why should we not go further than the Government have suggested and have cases of dispute between two unions as to which should be recognised solved by the ballot?
Why not go even further to say that when there are demarcation disputes there shall be a ballot taken of the men of the factory floor? They should say which union they want to represent them. Why should an employer decide which union should represent his men? Why should a Minister do that? The basis of industrial democracy is the ballot box and people on the factory floor. In one country where this is done 89 per cent. of those entitled to use their votes do so in taking a decision. That is a degree of participation which we do not often find in this country.
On the question of grievances I take a dim view of the present engineering employers' procedure. It is too slow and rather slanted. I am glad that in 1967 proposals for a revision were submitted and others were again submitted in April this year. I hope that the trade union will pick up those proposals and bring forward more speedy procedures than there are at present.
I am certain that if we have binding agreements we shall have a catalyst to bring about the changes we want, because then we shall have a situation in which both sides, before they put their signatures to an agreement, will know that the procedures are swift and agreeable to them. We shall have communications on both sides of industry speeded up and improved enormously. In every other major industrial country they have binding agreements and they do not have massive numbers of unconstitutional strikes. It is the trade unions in those countries that insist that an agreement shall be binding so that they shall have the right to go to the court and secure justice on behalf of their members.
The White Paper indicated the Government's attitude and their thinking. I hope that there will be a change in that attitude and that thinking before next year. If we have a situation in which a Minister has arbitrary power without going to a court to decide which strike shall be subject to a conciliation pause and which 743 shall not be so subject, then all the backstairs pressures exerted in prices and incomes policy will be repeated; if the Minister is to decide which union should represent men on a workshop floor, we shall be denying the essentials of industrial democracy.
Worst of all, we shall have a situation in which the Minister can say to a union, "You shall withdraw your demand for negotiating rights." Never in the history of this country has any Minister sought to arrogate to himself or herself the power to say that. I hope that there will be a total change in the Government's attitude towards Ministerial Dower. This was summed up better than I could do it by Hugh Scanlon, who said:We are faced with the prospect of further legislation which has as its object the subservience of the trade unions to the dictates of Government authority".This is not only unacceptable to Mr. Scanlon's union, but to the majority of the people in the country.
§ 8.17 p.m.
§ Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)
The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) closed on a very strong note of criticism of the First Secretary, but he spent little time criticising the proposals which his right hon. Friend put forward this afternoon, which are designed to create a legal framework and a straitjacket around the British trade union movement.
For a considerable time the Opposition have urged the Government to introduce penal legislation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] There is no question about that. But this is not the time, at this late hour, to quibble about words. Legal enforcement has no meaning unless it includes penal sanctions. Hon. Members opposite cannot ride off this, for it is clearly on record. No hon. Member opposite is in any position whatever to offer any criticism of the kind of provisions the First Secretary thought of including in the proposed interim industrial relations Bill. Those who can criticise those proposals sit on this side of the House, and they have a right to criticise them.
For some time the Opposition has harassed the Government with these demands. Hon. Members opposite have argued that the prices and incomes legislation is not doing the job, but what 744 job did they have in mind? The purpose of the Opposition is to emasculate the trade union movement so that on the shop floor and in national bargaining the working people should be weakened so that wage levels can be kept down. That is the meaning of the link which the Opposition has sought to establish between prices and incomes legislation and legislation which they now demand. The link is quite clear. If they cannot effectively keep down wage levels by prices and incomes legislation they wish to attempt another method, a legal straitjacket around the trade union movement. All the fine words about establishing fair justice, the law and the rest will not do away with that strategic aim of the Conservative Party.
§ Mr. R. Carr
If our proposals are, as the hon. Member says, principally designed to hold down wages, can he explain why unions in other countries under these sort of systems of law are winning bigger increases in wages for their members than the British trade unions win for theirs?
§ Mr. Mendelson
For the moment I am describing a strategic aim of the Opposition and I will not be interrupted in doing so because I have another point to make now; but later I will return to the right hon. Gentleman's intervention.
The second purpose of the Opposition's policy is a major transfer of the burden of direct taxation to indirect taxation. This is a second way by which the Opposition wish to see that the standard of life of the working people is not allowed to rise as it otherwise would. This was summed up by David Watt in the Financial Times at the height of the controversy over the interim Industrial Relations Bill in a classic phrase which I hope my hon. Friends and I will be repeating from now on, right up to the General Election to drive the message home. Mr. David Watt argued that when you examine the taxation proposals of the Conservative Party and their industrial relations proposals you will find that these are the proposals of a class party. That is exactly what they are.
I turn from there to the recent controversy because there an interesting change has occurred as far as the Opposition is concerned. The Opposition are now split on their original urging of the 745 Government to go ahead with the interim Industrial Relations Bill. Many intelligent Tories in the country, for example, the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Telegraph and its deputy editor, Mr. Peregrine Worsthorne, who, along with the rest of Conservative journalists, had started off, some time ago, urging the Government to go straight ahead regardless, changed their tune five weeks ago.
I want to quote to the House what they said. Suddenly one morning, at the height of the debate, with the argument going on in the trade union movement and in the Labour movement in the country, some readers were startled by a headline over the signature of Mr. Worsthorne: "Both hands to grasp this nettle." He demanded a national Government, a coalition. He said that a coalition should be formed there and then, containing my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and, if possible, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party; but certainly the two leaders of the main parties because, he argued, the penal sanctions in the interim Industrial Relations Bill had met with so much opposition from the trade union movement in the country and in Parliament that they could not possibly be carried through successfully by a Government formed by one party and that, therefore, we needed a national Government.
Side by side with that article was a leading article, written by the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Telegraph, making the same demand. One of the most interesting points which Mr. Worsthorne put to drive home the message as to why we needed a national Government was that in spite of the fact that he did not think that either my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition were inclined to accept such a proposal, nevertheless, it was important to have a national Government for this job because if there were to be a change of Government at the next election, and the Conservative Party were to be in office, it could not possibly carry any really harsh, or, as he put it, strong trade union legislation. I believe that he as absolutely right. Mr. Worsthorne added that a Conservative Government could not carry it because they would be faced with the united opposition of a united Labour movement 746 in the country and in Parliament; and so they would.
There is, therefore, now an interesting split in the view of the Opposition on this subject and it is at this point that I wish to examine the proposals put forward by my right hon. Friend, the First Secretary, some time ago. The greatest difficulty in all the negotiations that have taken place was the difficulty trade union leaders faced when they looked at the penal sanctions in the Bill proposed by my right hon. Friend, because they knew that those proposals would be wholly ineffective. In fact, there has not been a single industrial dispute in the country recently, including current difficult ones, that would have been in the least affected by the proposals in the Industrial Relations Bill which has now been abandoned. The difficulty from the point of view of the trade union leaders was that they knew they were negotiating against something which would not be in any way effective.
The real conclusion and lesson to be drawn from this important national debate, in the country and in Parliament, is that the only way in which we can have improved industrial relations is by creating a climate of opinion in which the trade unions can reform themselves and can do the job. That is the decisive lesson which was driven home neither by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister nor by the Leader of the Opposition. That must be put on record; otherwise, the debate would be very incomplete and misleading. This is the final lesson to be drawn from these weeks of debate.
The Leader of the Opposition in the country, and many hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, have repeated that the Government have surrendered to an outside body. They have said that again and again. People as intelligent as the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) know full well that this is a load of nonsense. They are putting it up as a political charade.
What has happened over the many months of debate is that proposals were put forward by members of the Government and then the great debate started. In a democracy that is right and proper. The Government can tell the trade union movement, "We as a Government are going to have a certain point of view on foreign policy. You, as 747 the T.U.C., can pass resolutions expressing a different view, but we are going to say that we are at least as good judges as you are of what Britain's foreign policy ought to be and we will carry on with our policy.
But where the day-to-day relations between workpeople and employers are concerned, the Government cannot say that and succeed. There can only be a successful policy of industrial relations which is implemented day by day by members of trade unions themselves; and clearly, when trade unions started saying these penal clauses were unacceptable they were doomed to failure. At the same time, it is equally important to put on record a clear refutation of the charge made by the Leader of the Opposition and others in this House and outside.
Of course, debate was also going on in Parliament and, of course, there were cross-currents of opinion between people, between hon. Members in Parliament and workpeople whom they represent in their constituencies. This is a natural process of democracy. Gradually, there was building up a majority opinion among hon. Members on this side against the penal proposals contained in the original draft of the Industrial Relations Bill. Therefore, it is quite untrue to say that there has been anything like a surrender to an outside body. That is a load of nonsense.
There are many hon. Members who keep deploring the fact that Members of Parliament have no independence, that they have become ciphers and that the House of Commons is meaningless; that all that happens is that somebody suddenly cracks a whip and every M.P. jumps. Some people have been saying that hon. Members are too concerned with their own seats. The unworthy charge has been made that they will not make up their own mind if that might involve political risks. Recent weeks have given the lie to those accusations. M.P.s have stood up for their own opinions and have told the Government what their opinion is. They made it clear that they were not prepared to accept the penal clauses in the proposed legislation.
In the normal constitutional process—and this, again, is something which has 748 not been put on record in this debate and must be—because the Cabinet and Government have antennae which make them very sensitive to what goes on in the minds of those on the back benches, that opinion has trickled into the heads of the Government and the Cabinet. These matters were seriously discussed and they must be in a constitutional Parliamentary democracy. The Opposition make a great mistake if they think that they will get away with this false and shoddy accusation. They will be given the lie direct.
What has happened during the past five months has been a profound process of debate which has been a good example of democracy at work. When the people in Czechoslovakia last year made their reform proposals which ended tragically for the time being, among their three principal demands were a free independent trade union movement, not controlled by the Government, and a real Parliament instead of the sham National Assembly which they are forced by the Russian occupation army to continue today.
In the debate over the past five months both those purposes have been demonstrated and both institutions have been shown in action—a free trade union movement has expressed its own views and has not been an appendix of the Government, and here in the House the democratic process was at work, and we have been and are a real Parliament.
§ Mr, Michael McGuire (Ince)
Surely my hon. Friend is not trying to make out that if the Government's proposals in the White Paper had been carried out we would have changed from having a free trade union movement to a controlled trade union movement?
§ Mr. Mendelson
I would make no such charge. I was only speaking in shorthand, because I want to sit down in two minutes.
The attitude of a free trade union movement expresses itself in being able to make up its own mind as to what should happen in industrial relations and effectively to present its point of view to the Government, instead of receiving opinions from the Government and saying "Yes", to them. That has nothing to do with any wild accusations that people might make that the right to strike was in danger, or any such thing.
749 I have argued from the beginning that there were good things in the White Paper, and I hope that they will be implemented in legislation in the coming Session. The freedom of trade unions can be demonstrated by their not only receiving opinions from the Government but offering their own opinions and suggestions and fighting for them.
The Opposition are kidding themselves if they think that they will sail to victory on a programme of putting a legal straitjacket on the trade union movement. They are kidding themselves if they believe that by putting up the right hon. Member for Mitcham to make a particularly careful speech they will camouflage their real intentions. Every time one scratches a Tory who wants to see my right hon. Friend's original proposals implemented, and discusses the matter with him, he turns out not to be just against unofficial strikes but to be an enemy of the trade union movement. We had a good example in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Arundel and Shoreham (Captain Kerby), who does not very often grace our proceedings. I am grateful that he came out of retirement and spoke this afternoon, because he gave the game away.
It is because their real hostility is against trade unionists and trade unions, in spite of all the camouflage, that we as a united movement—the trade union movement and the Labour Party in Parliament and the country—will be able to expose the Opposition's real policies and show them up to the inspection of the working people, to reject them and defeat them at the next General Election, as they have been defeated many times before.
§ 8.34 p.m.
§ Sir Edward Brown (Bath)
If I do not follow the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) down the left lane, it is because I shall be travelling in the opposite direction, down the right one. I cannot conceive that any hon. Member on this side of the House, or any among the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends, could ever be kidded by such a speech as his, in which he said that the party opposite is responsible and united, that there was no division, and that we had seen Parliamentary democracy at work.
750 Those of us who have had a lifelong experience of industrial relations, as have hon. Gentlemen opposite, know full well that the law relating to the trade unions is out-moded and out-dated, and full of Victorian cobwebs. That is why we said that we would not oppose the Government when they said that they would do a little dusting where we would have done some spring cleaning.
"In Place of Strife" has now been shelved by the Prime Minister and his friends in exchange for a scrap of paper described as "a solemn and binding undertaking". Today's news shows how solemn and how binding it was. The workers on the tubes, the dockers and others now involved in unofficial action prove beyond shadow of doubt that the Government's White Paper, albeit weak, was vitally necessary.
The operational words of the solemn and binding undertaking were:…to do all in our power ….and power is something which the T.U.C. does not at present possess. Since its inception in 1867 it has been only advisory in function, and, therefore, its signatures on that "solemn and binding undertaking" still need the ratification of Congress, which does not meet until September. Even if it receives ratification and is empowered to act, what will happen to a union that is disaffiliated for an offence? It will still be a union; it will still operate, despite the T.U.C.
Every hon. Member knows that industrial relations is a complex matter, dealing with the hopes and aspirations of millions of people, with the relationships not only of employer to employee but of employee with employee, the employee and his union, union with union, union with Government, union with employer, and employer with the Government. It is also here that ordinary men and women seek to obtain a fair reward for their services, and they are concerned to use that reward in the greatest of pursuits—happiness. That is what industrial relations is all about. They do not want to be puppets in the political arena. However much hon. Members opposite may protest, they are not all blindly Socialist either.
We on this side of the House have been accused of being the enemies of the workers, yet it is the legislation put on 751 the Statute Book by Tories and Liberals that the party opposite is still trying desperately to cling on to, and do not want to see reformed. All that we have been trying to say to them for many weeks is that what was good for grandfather needs modernising for his grandson. "In Place of Strife", though a dreadfully weak document, at least gave us the impression that the party opposite had at long last recognised the need for reform.
We could be forgiven if we thought that our own document, "Fair Deal at Work" had perhaps sired some of the ideas in the White Paper. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has spoken both in the House and the country about the urgent need for reform of the unions, and he is not unmindful that the task that will face us has been too difficult for the party opposite. "Fair Deal at Work" will be at the forefront of the Tory manifesto at the coming General Election Given the mandate by the nation, we shall not shirk our duty to enact it.
The Prime Minister gave a dreadful exhibition today about the years of Tory Government. I am not ashamed of those 13 years—not one scrap. I am proud that, taking over from a bankrupt Socialist Government in 1951, we built the affluent society, that we relieved people of taxation, that we brought motor cars and good schools and good hospitals to the country. We were so busy doing that that industrial relations were growing better.
The Motion condemns the Government for abject surrender to pressures not only from the T.U.C. and affiliated unions but from the Left-wing in this House, and to that condemnation I add my own. My charge against the Government is that in nearly five years of rule, they have reduced industrial relations to a very low ebb, with resultant effects upon the economy. The allies of the unions who sit smugly on the benches opposite have inflicted more punishment on the workers than was ever complained of by the Tolpuddle Martyrs. I will read the indictment.
There was the Prices and Incomes Act, with its actions against workers in industrial relations; there is selective employment tax, throwing thousands of men out of work; there was devaluation, which cut the wages in the workers' poc- 752 kets, despite the Prime Minister's claim that "the £ in your pocket is still worth a £"; income tax is up; unemployment is up; postal charges are up; house prices and the cost of mortgages are up—despite the 3 per cent. mortgages of the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown); purchase tax is up; bus and rail fares are up; local rates are up; petrol tax is up; laundry and hairdressing charges are up; the insurance stamp costs more; the brain drain is up; our overseas debts are up by £3,000 million.
That is the charge against the Government. Those are the crimes they have committed against the working masses. The Government have much to answer for. They have surrendered to the T.U.C. their responsibilities in industrial relations, and they will not be forgiven by the nation. The words of the 1966 Labour manifesto have come home to roost. The victory was a real one but so was the price that the nation paid.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
The speech of the hon. Member for Bath (Sir E. Brown) typified what I feared might happen in the debate—that we should get some speeches purely of a propaganda nature which would not deal with the issue of industrial relations at all. He suggested that, under the Government, the number of strikes has risen to a higher level than ever before. He said that this was the fault of the trade union movement. I want to give the House some very important figures about industrial disputes because we have argued ourselves into a situation in which we are giving the impression abroad that Britain is involved in industrial anarchy. I believe that this has had a bad effect on our exports and on our industrial relations and—worst crime of all—that it is a slur on the British working man, who is as hard-working and as industrious and has as good a record of fine work as any other working man throughout the world.
The number of strikes in 1968 was 2,350, an average of nine every working day. There are approximately 213,000 work places under the Factories Acts. There are 376 coal mines, 3,725 railway stations and railway yards, and 100,000 farms employing labour. That makes a total of 317,000 establishments employing labour. So, on the basis of nine strikes per working day, looking at the 753 figures the other way round, it means that there were 316,991 establishments where they do not take place. That fact should be borne in mind when we talk about strikes.
There are 500,000 lost-time accidents in a year. These are individual accidents, and imagine how that piles up the amount of lost time in industry.
Have strikes increased over the years? The answer is clearly, "No". On television, the Leader of the Opposition, in a speech which was a typical example of half-fact and untruth, gave the impression that the strike situation had grown far worse under the Labour Government than under the Conservative Government. He said that in the last 10 years the position had been terrible, but under the Conservatives, well, it was not so bad. The right hon. Member did not give the facts on television, he just made a statement and left it at that, for the whole world to hear. The facts are these. The average number of days lost in the last five years were lower than the average number during the previous five years.
From 1959 to 1963 the average was 2,426 strikes with 3,779,000 days lost. From 1964 to 1968, under the Labour Government, there were 2,256 strikes with 3,016,000 days lost. This shows that there has been a lower level—not very much—than under the Conservatives. A very important point is that in 1944, when the war was on and strikes were illegal, the number of days lost was 3,710,000—higher than the average during the last 10 years. This was when strikes were illegal. If that is not a lesson for this House, I do not know what is.
We have all been through a traumatic experience in the last few months. I feel as if I have been through the wringer about 10 times. I am now very pleased that sanity has descended upon us and we now have the T.U.C. document, which is a first-class one, which I am sure the T.U.C. will do its best to operate in the most sensible way. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to be affected with an even greater madness than one or two of my hon. Friends, because they want to pursue this matter all over again, on an even greater scale.
I want to warn them right now that, if they believe that the trade union movement will stand by and allow legislation 754 of the type they have in mind to be brought in without a struggle, then they are living in an entirely different world from me. The opposition of the trade union movement to the penal clauses proposed by the Labour Government has been clearly demonstrated. They will be much harsher towards the proposals which hon. Gentlemen have placed before the House. I know that the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) clothed the proposals in a very mild speech. He played the whole thing down and tried to give the impression of sweet reasonableness, and personally he is sweetly reasonable.
There are 10,000 workers on strike in Liverpool. The hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley) put his finger on the trouble when he spoke of insecurity. We know that with docks modernisation and mechanisation there will be redudancy. The people who are now leaving will not be replaced. When a containerisation depot develops near to the docks the dock workers say that they want the work and they want the conditions of employment that go with the dock labour scheme. It is fear of redundancy and unemployment, and insecurity, that lead the dockers to take that line.
The Transport and General Workers' Union honestly and openly signed an agreement through the commercial section for containerisation depots throughout the country, but two depots are close to the docks and the others are not; they are in Leeds and Birmingham, and in other parts of the country where there are no docks. If that agreement were legally binding no move in this situation could be made. The dockers, by taking the action which they have taken, would be going outside the procedure unconstitutionally and would be subject to action under the legally binding agreement which hon. Gentlemen wish to operate.
After the first docker was fined, no docker in this country would go back to work until the matter was settled once and for all. It has happened before. Do not forget Defence Regulation 1305 and what happened to the miners at the Betteshanger pit; do not forget the history of the movement. The working-class people will not have it, and the Conservative Party had better understand that, as my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench understand it. We will not have it either now or in the future.
755 Mention has been made of the workers on the London tube trains. Hon. Members seem to rush into the House without knowing the full facts. On the very day that the Trades Union Congress met at Croydon, the workers in London had decided to begin weekly one-day strikes, and to have a 28-day cooling off period to get the matter settled. Unfortunately it was not settled in the way in which the workers wanted it settled.
The trade union movement has its problems. We need to do more to democratise our organisation, but it cannot be done by legislation. It cannot be done from outside the movement; it can be done only from inside. I believe that before any agreement is signed it should be referred back to the membership for its views. We want more democracy, not less, in the trade union movement.
The phrase "responsible trade unions" runs through the pamphlet issued by the party opposite. What they have in mind is a responsible trade unionist who is a tame kitten. Responsible trade unionism means that the workers must be involved in the decision-making of their organisation.
I endorse the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) in a brilliant, first-class speech. It summed up the mood, the feelings and the desires of the Labour Party and the trade union movement.
I see the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in his place, and I say to him that we will not have the proposals put forward by the other side.
§ Mr. Heffer
"We" are the trade union movement and the British working class. The quicker that is understood the better and the sooner we shall arrive at real, genuine, industrial relations in this country. Let us keep out the law. Let us keep in conciliation. That is what we need, not legislation with penal clauses of the type suggested by the other side.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)
I will leave it to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition to follow some of the observations of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). All I want to do is to touch upon some 756 of the comments made by many hon. Members on this debate, all of which really come down to the same point. It relates to our responsibility for improving management and our attitude to the human factors in industry. Following the debates which have occurred in the country, as well as those which have taken place in this House, we must now develop in industry a new attitude.
There is much to be done, much ground to be made up, and much to be achieved in the way of education and informed understanding and better interpretation of management. The right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) rightly touched upon this matter, and it was echoed by the hon. Member for Sheffield. Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn).
If we are to avoid the problems which are taken so seriously by the trade union members in this House, a manager must be a real man. A real manager must be a man who is close to the people over whom he is boss. He must be on close terms, and I am not joking when I talk about his being on Christian name terms with his workers. They must have respect one for the other and have an identity of purpose.
These are the issues which are at the bedrock in achieving a new society and a new rôle in that society. The be all and end all is not the legislation produced by one or other party. I believe that legislation when it comes will not be a straitjacket. That is the wrong word to use. It must be a scaffolding around which we can build the new society. There must be a new responsibility, with a new sense of pride in collective achievement, in keeping agreements and in making progress.
I see this House as having a responsibility of leadership. Surely we in this Chamber cannot go on being mere observers of what is happening outside. We must be much more. We must again become leaders.
I welcome the fact that the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity took her place on the Government Front Bench on the second day of the Budget debate. I said that she would be entering difficult waters as she approached the task. Some of us see those waters as very rough. I do not see them as unnavigable.
757 I see this House demanding the right leadership. I see the country sensing the need again for a victory in peace, and seeking a new general to find that victory.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Heath (Bexley)
This debate on industrial relations, taken on an Opposition Supply day, has turned out very much to be a debate on Opposition policies on industrial relations, together with a searching examination by the Prime Minister of the Opposition's record. I must say that I find it rather complimentary that the Prime Minister and, no doubt, the right hon. Lady who is to follow me and their right hon. and hon. Friends, should spend a whole day discussing the policies which have been put forward by Her Majesty's Opposition. It is perhaps valuable as well, and not only a compliment. Never before has my all-too-short 10 months at the Ministry of Labour attracted quite so much attention as it has this afternoon. That, too, I find far from uncomplimentary.
Our proposals, after all, are four years old, so the Prime Minister was certainly taking in most of the span of this Government, and it is now 10 years since I was at the Ministry of Labour. To listen to the Prime Minister today, one would have thought that history had stood still throughout the whole of those 10 years, let alone the four years. Indeed, one felt rather like tempting him by saying, "Why not go back to Mr. Attlee's Government and chastise them for apparently doing nothing about industrial relations during their period of office?".
Some might have deduced that the Prime Minister had become rather obsessive about these matters, and that he was exchanging his recently obsession with the Press for one with Opposition policies. But we do not mind that—
§ Mr. Heath
The Press might even be pleased.
I know that the House will agree that, for years, we have not seen the Prime Minister enjoy himself as much as he did this afternoon, freed of all responsibility, having handed over the task of government to others outside this House, going back to the good old days in 758 opposition, attacking us as the Government for our record, and attacking us as an ex-Government for our policies. There is nothing that he enjoys as much as that. No one is better than he is on an occasion like this at stringing together a lot of half-truths, quarter-truths and no-truths, and no one can take longer to do it than he does.
The gist of the Prime Minister's remarks was that, when I was Minister of Labour, I should have set up a Royal Commission. He constantly tried to make out that I was under great pressure to do so. That is why I drew his attention a few days ago to the facts about the Motion on the Order Paper. It started with two signatures and was on the Order Paper throughout the whole Session. By the end of the Session, it had accumulated seven signatures.
So the Prime Minister, having been dished of his argument, then had to quote Dr. Johnson—the recent Dr. Johnson—saying that the Whips had stopped it. I can assure the Prime Minister from my own experience that, when right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House want to support a Motion, they do so despite the Whips. Perhaps it happens even on the other side of the House. In any case, it is better than the Prime Minister sending his Chief Whip round to get the signatures of his party against selling arms to South Africa in order to "do in" his own Foreign Secretary and Minister of Defence, especially when both were serving their country abroad.
If there was real pressure for a Royal Commission while I was Minister of Labour, where would we look for it? Surely to the Labour Opposition of the day—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because it is supposed to have been a dynamic Opposition in which the right hon. Gentleman was the Shadow Chancellor. He was deeply concerned with the economic situation at the time. He was in modernising mood. Even then he was just beginning to glow with the white heat of the technological revolution.
But was he worried about unconstitutional or unofficial strikes? Surely we would have found him pressing the Minister of Labour of the day for a Royal Commission to inquire into all this. We would have found him questioning the Minister of Labour at Question Time week after week. We would have found 759 the Opposition putting down, on Supply day after Supply day, a demand for a Royal Commission to deal with this situation. We would have found Motions of censure.
What did we find? Not a squeak. Just that magnificent document "Signpost for the Sixties", of which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues were so proud, which was reprinted ten times between 1961 and 1963. Was there a mention in that of unconstitutional or unofficial strikes or a demand for a Royal Commission? There was not a mention in the whole document.
But let me be fair to the right hon. Gentleman. Having pursued his speeches thoughout this time I find one mention of the trade unions. With his infallible memory, the right hon. Gentleman will no doubt recall that it was on 28th October, 1959, during his speech on the Address. What did he say about the trade unions? He praised them for pushing up wages far faster than prices. There is not much sign there of being worried about unofficial or unconstitutional strikes.
The real pressure came from elsewhere, and it was a quite different pressure. There was an Amendment to this famous Motion on the Order Paper. That Amendment strongly opposed the setting up of a Royal Commission. It called on Her Majesty's Government to allow these voluntary associations of working people to arrange their own affairs in conformity with their rights within the law. That Amendment was signed by a then very prominent member of the Labour Party—none other than the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown). That was from where the pressure came. Of course, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite agreed. They did not think that it was right to have a Royal Commission. Neither did the right hon. Gentleman, nor his colleagues. Therefore, who is he to criticise us at that time for not having set up a Royal Commission? Today, in the same way, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite think it right that their Government should not have legislated. We all know that. So let the right hon. Gentleman be honest and sincere about it.
760 Some of us were worried at that time about unofficial or unconstitutional strikes. In fact, we got some action through the T.U.C. The Prime Minister would not acknowledge that this afternoon. But we got action and we have learned the lessons from it. That is the important thing. However, that is what the Government have not learned. We have found from experience that, however hard the T.U.C. tries, it has not been able successively to deal with these problems.
In November, 1959, Mr. Trevor Evans, as he then was, a much-respected industrial correspondent whom the Prime Minister has often praised, wrote:Sir Thomas Williamson, pale-faced and tense, declared passionately last night, 'We are really going to deal with this question'. He was talking about the wildcat strikes and all sorts of unofficial actions which are giving the trade unions a bad name.He went on to say that it was the result of my going to the Ministry of Labour and discussing it with the T.U.C. that it took that action. To my regret, although it got information and tried to be effective, it did not succeed.
But the other interesting point is that it had the power to deal with unconstitutional strikes under Rule 11, as it then was. The power was there. It did not require the Croydon amendment to enable it to deal in this way with unofficial strikes.
In July, we had the employers and the T.U.C. jointly agreeing to do a complete review of industrial relations. They undertook that after discussions with me at the Ministry of Labour, and it was a comprehensive review in the same way as a Royal Commission would have been. Were we wrong to get this action out of the T.U.C.? Ought we to have refused to do that, and just have set up a Royal Commission? Nobody on that side of the House will say that we were wrong.
My successor, in the autumn of 1962, arranged with the T.U.C. for it to carry out its review on the structure and purpose of the trade union movement. The T.U.C. was given another chance, and welcomed and encouraged it. There have been minor improvements, but nobody can say that there has been a radical transformation of the T.U.C. as a result of that review of its structure, and it would be the first to agree with that. It 761 was another step forward. Were we wrong to do that? Was my successor wrong to do that? Nobody on that side of the House can challenge that.
When my right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) announced that the Government would set up an inquiry, preferably by joint agreement between the two sides, we got no agreement from the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends to do that. Indeed, he said to his party conference, "We will do it by direct consultation, and without an inquiry". When he came to office he did not do it by direct consultation. He changed back the law as far as Rookes v. Barnard was concerned, and then, six to nine months later, he set up a Royal Commission. "Blocked action" was what the Prime Minister said this afternoon. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What we did was to give the T.U.C. a number of opportunities to make changes in its own organisation, which is what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) has been asking for. It made progressive steps, and it made some improvements, but it was not able to deal with the problem as it was, and since then the problem has become worse.
It is undeniable that there are three times as many unconstitutional strikes now as there were in 1958, excluding the coal industry, which is rapidly declining, and in which the number of unofficial strikes has greatly reduced. We have learned the lesson, and it is that giving opportunities and allowing the T.U.C. to take new steps and to make progress is not enough compared with the scale and requirements of today's needs.
§ Mr. Heath
I shall not give way. I listened in silence to the hon. Gentleman, and I shall refer later to another of his remarks.
I should like to put forward three broad propositions, on some of which I hope we can secure agreement. First, the impact of bad industrial relations in this country and on its markets abroad today is very considerable indeed. This cannot be denied. As a former Minister of Labour, I know the number of hours lost through sickness, and so on. An employer organises his plant, or his factory, or his firm, to take this into 762 account regularly, and he follows his graphs of sickness. What he cannot compete with, and what wears down management and gives this country a name for unreliability in delivery dates, is the unofficial strike to such a large degree.
Going abroad, one knows full well that there is no complaint today about British prices. There is very little complaint about British design. There is complaint about unreliability of delivery dates; and the industries which are so much affected are, of course, the motor industry and the dock industry.—[Interruption.] There is no point in accusing me of giving things away. This is known outside the country by the people who are waiting for deliveries.
The second broad proposition on which I hope we can have agreement is the importance of trade unions in the modern industrial State.—[An HON. MEMBER: "Is the right hon. Gentleman sure?"] I am sure. I do not think that anybody can deny that. They are important to industry, to the individual, and to the nation itself. They are, therefore, a great source of power, sometimes regulated, and sometimes unregulated, and I believe that they are in the same position as other sources of power. They cannot be outside the law of the country. This is in no way a condemnation of trade unionism. This is a recognition of its achievements over the past century and a half, and the importance of its position today in a modern State.
I cannot understand how anyone, least of all a party which prides itself upon its democracy, or upon the need for democracy in the modern State, can object to any source of power being within the general content of the law. This means that it is subject to Parliament, that it observes the rules laid down by Parliament, in the interests of its members and of the community, as all other great corporations must, and have been brought to do throughout history.
The third broad proposition is that this means that there has to be an up-to-date legal framework for trade unionism in exactly the same way as there is for any other corporate body, whether it is a nationalised industry subject to Parliament, a company or corporation, subject to the Board of Trade and to 763 10-yearly reviews of its legislation. It was fashionable to say, certainly when I was in the Ministry of Labour, that industrial relations are human relations, and, with that, to dismiss legislation, as the hon. Member for Walton has just done. Industrial relations are indeed human relations, but they are not only human relations.
Moreover, human relations have to be considered in the context of the law. If the law is changed, human behaviour changes as well. The last person to deny this is the right hon. Lady the First Secretary. In another context, that of reform of traffic law, she, by one very simple measure, changed the whole of social behaviour in this country. Whether or not one agreed with it, and personally I did, the fact that she introduced the regulations which brought in the breathalyser meant that people have consistently behaved differently ever since, and will go on doing so.
This is the point about changing the legal context of trade unionism. There are some hon. Gentlemen who argue as if trade unions lived in a vacuum. This is not the case. They exist on the basis of the law and there is nothing sacrosanct about the law. It has existed almost in its entirety for 60 years and the time has come when, like every other great corporation and every other branch of law, it needs to be brought up to date. The question is about the way in which this should be done.
Again, I put forward three broad propositions. The areas in which this should be done are in the registration of unions and in matters concerning their rules, members' rights, rights of appeal against unfair dismissal, and so on. This is a broad area affecting the organisation of the unions and their members, to be done, we suggest, through a new registrar, under Parliament. I also believe that if there were to be completely fresh registration many of the measures at present urged by leading trade unionists would automatically come about, including the reduction in the number of unions. Real registration would mean that the unions would consider that their interests were best served in a modern state by coming together in different and larger units. There is not the momentum there at the moment for it to come about otherwise.
764 The second broad area of legislation is in the enforcement of agreements. like all other contracts. The point was made by the Prime Minister this afternoon that our proposal is that they should be enforceable unless both sides agree to contract out, and he said that it was unworkable. The fact is that it works in the other industrial countries of the Western world. On television the other night the right hon. Lady said that this means that an employer will be imposing it on a union.
It means nothing of the sort; it means that it is part of the negotiation. The importance of it is surely that what an employer wants from a contract is security for the period of the contract, and this is something for which, it is shown in other Western countries, he is prepared to pay. That is why it is part of the negotiations. If it is enforceable then he knows that in the great majority of cases it will be adhered to by the trade unions and their members. That is why there is very tough bargaining when contracts are formed and why, afterwards, it is adhered to in the majority of cases for its period of tenure, usually up to three years.
Why should not this be so? There are advantages to the member in higher wages, to the employer in security and to the nation in reliability of production and deliveries. This cannot be argued against by hon. Gentlemen opposite. What I sometimes suspect is that inherently they want to have it both ways; to be able to hold an employer to his bond and at the same time be free themselves to break it whenever they like. This cannot be a satisfactory basis for healthy industrial relations.
The third aspect with which we must deal in considering legislation regarding strikes is the cooling-off period put forward by the Government and the strike ballot. I do not understand why this method cannot be used in a modern industrial society. If there is a dispute, what is wrong with having an order that work should be resumed while, in the full spotlight of publicity and a court order, the dispute is resolved? This would be of advantage to the trade unions, employers and the nation.
We then come to the question of enforcement and, first, the question of honouring agreements which have been 765 negotiated and to which both sides say they will adhere. I believe, again, what Western industrial experience proves that the great majority of trade unions will honour those agreements once they are made.
It is said that they will need legal advice in making them. I am strongly in favour of this. I believe that, when made, an agreement should be clearly understood without any possible measure of doubt. I know that when a trade union asks its legal advisers whether or not it will be breaking an agreement, it gets clear advice and may be told that it will be breaking it. This, again, is another strong pressure for orderly industrial life and this, I believe, is advantagous to freely negotiated enforcible agreements.
If a union breaks an agreement, it knows that its funds will be at stake. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah".] I do not know why hon. Gentlemen opposite exclaim "Ah" at that. In the rest of society one knows that if one breaks an agreement, an opportunity for redress will be given to those with whom one has made the contract. Why should industrial relations be the one sphere in society which is exempt from this provision?
But, of course, the Prime Minister and the right hon. Lady have been asking: what is to happen when individuals break agreements? The right hon. Lady was proposing that the courts should be able to intervene and enforce a penalty. The Government went wrong in allowing all this argument to come down to fines for individuals, whereas the pressure should be on the unions themselves [Interruption.] Do I gather that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) is saying that a trade union should sign a solemn agreement and then be allowed to break it with impunity?
§ Mr. Mendelson
On a point of order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down."] Is it not the established custom that when a right hon. Gentleman asks an hon. Mem- 766 ber a question, he should be allowed to answer it?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I hope that the House will allow me to hear the point of order. Mr. Mendelson.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. It is for the right hon. Gentleman to decide whether he is giving way. Mr. Heath.
§ Mr. Heath
The Prime Minister spoke for an hour and two minutes this afternoon. If the hon. Member for Penistone continues his interruption he will be taking time off the speech of his right hon. Friend.
If there is to be any sort of order in industrial relations the trade unions themselves must be prepared to back up contracts freely made. That is the basis for any healthy industrial life. I disagree with the Prime Minister and the C.B.I. about employers enforcing contracts. I say so quite bluntly. I believe that the difference between the Government and ourselves and the C.B.I. is not a question of having enforceability of contracts but how they should be enforced. If a union wants to see a contract enforced it should allow the employer to dismiss a man who breaks it and back up the employer in doing so. [Interruption.] Is the Prime Minister saying that when an individual breaks a contract the union should not support the employer? If he is saying that it completely undermines his present position.
The cooling-off period, we believe, should be done through a court. There was a great deal of objection, again from below the Gangway, because of the question of penalties. I draw the attention of the House to something which I think has been greatly overlooked. That is the representation which the T.U.C. made to the right hon. Lady last Sunday. This is on the question of unfair dismissal, which our proposals also cover. It says that the employer could be taken to court, and we agree, if there is suspected unfair dismissal. It says that there ought to be compensation for a man if he is unfairly dismissed, or the court should order the employer to take him back. It says that rather than have the board which the Government are proposing a 767 preferable arrangement would be for an appropriate existing court to impose a continuing financial penalty on an employer for each day for which an order for reinstatement is defied. This means that though an employer is ordered by a court to take a man back and he should be fined, and fined so much a day if he defies the order, if a court orders a man to return to work the T.U.C. says that in no circumstances will it stand for it. How can there be a basis of healthy industrial relationships with a one-sided arrangement like that?
I return to my question to the Prime Minister. I asked what happens if the unions fail in that their people do not take any notice of them? He said that some unions can expel them. Are we to accept that in a closed shop for one offence a man should lose his livelihood? Some unions have out-of-date rules. The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the rules of the A.E.F., and understandably so. Is he to insist that men should be treated like this rather than by a court of law, which he himself proposed, or a board? Of course not. Many unions have no power in their rule books. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] "Hear, hear", says the Prime Minister.
The right hon. Gentleman is left with nothing. Originally, he had a proposal. It was that the court would then intervene and the court would make an order which would apply the penalties, or, in his case, the board would make an order and apply the penalties. This is why I asked the question when the Prime Minister made his statement, because it reveals what he had in his original proposals and has not got from the T.U.C.
This is the difference between what he was able to get in his solemn declaration and what he wanted in his original proposals which, apart from the means of implementing them, I believe was absolutely right. So he has abandoned this with nothing to replace it and that is why all his posturing since he made that retreat and the whole of his speech today is nothing but a disgraceful sham.
The right hon. Gentleman himself said the announcement at Croydon, what they gave him in a change of rules, was not enough. At the famous last meeting he told them that they must tighten and strengthen them, but they did neither. 768 They repeated that they would amend the rules they had at Croydon which they undertook to use then. What changed the Prime Minister's position was the insistence of the T.U.C., and it was the message from his right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton). That was what changed him; that was what brought about the retreat of the Government, in spite of their fair and fine words.
Today, there has been a debate on industrial relations, but underneath this question, which in itself is big enough, there has been an even bigger one, and it is this: who, in fact, is to govern this country? The final words of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton to this side of the House were, "We will not have your proposals put into effect." Now let me ask the Prime Minister this question: when a party goes to the country with proposals in its electoral mandate, and the country returns that party to power, has the right hon. Gentleman's movement got the right to frustrate the democratic will?
That is the question that the Prime Minister has got to face. That is the question to which I want an answer from the right hon. Gentleman and from the right hon. Lady, because in my view it is clear that what we have to return to is democratic rule in this country by the elected Government. The Prime Minister has abandoned it. He has retreated. He himself ended his speech by saying tonight that the House must decide. This is true. But shortly the country will decide and it will decide that the democratic will in Parliament will prevail.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ The First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mrs. Barbara Castle)
I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition for his tribute to me for my legislation as Minister of Transport, even though he took five minutes from my time in giving it. But to hear him talk about the value of legislation in changing attitudes one would never have thought that the Conservative Party fought the Leicester, South-West by-election against the breathalyser.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not persist. The right hon. Lady is not giving way.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The debate is much too important to be marred by noisy interruptions. I hope that the House will allow me to hear the right hon. Lady.
§ Mr. Boardman
On a point of order. The right hon. Lady has made a quite incorrect remark. Is it in order for her—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not enter into a debate by using a point of order.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The House has given a fair hearing to all the speakers so far. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I hope that hon. Members will also afford that treatment to the right hon. Lady.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I hope that the House will allow me to hear what the right hon. Lady has to say.
§ Mrs. Castle
The right hon. Gentleman spoiled his speech by distorting the truth about the Government. He was given a democratic hearing, and I should have thought that, having ended his speech on a great high note about the rights of democracy, he would at least have given the person winding up the debate a democratic hearing. As always, we have to test hon. Members opposite not by their words but by their deeds. They have 770 only one interest in the argument tonight, and that is to suppress the other side.
The right hon. Gentleman again reiterated tonight one of his favourite themes that he has been producing throughout the country on this matter—that there has been an abdication of government. There is only one of his purple passages that he forgot to include, the one with which he regaled the Tory faithful at their rally in Dorset a few days ago, when he declared that we had surrendered—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The tradition of the House is that it gives a hearing to a speech, even when it does not like it.
§ Mrs. Castle
The right hon. Gentleman told the Tory faithful at their rally in Dorset that we had surrendered to the Labour Party's paymasters in the trade unions. It is a little dangerous these days for the Tory Party to use that argument, because this Government have passed the Companies Act and at last directors have to disclose what they were quietly slipping into the pockets of the Conservative Party, and if we are talking about paymasters let us get the picture accurate
Since the Companies Act was passed in 1967, a total of 198 firms have given over £750,000 to Tory Party and allied organisation funds. In 1967, the last year for which published figures are available, the Labour Party received £250.000 from the trade unions in affiliation fees. So let us not have this talk about paymasters and when we are discussing the industrial relations policy of the Conservative Party never let us forget who are their paymasters.
We are delighted that we have at last managed to entice the Leader of the Opposition out of his corner to debate industrial relations on the Floor of the House. In doing so, we have put the Opposition in a considerable dilemma as to the grounds on which they should conduct the debate. Of course it had to be a Motion of censure, because they think that they are hot on the scent of a political dividend from which they intend to wring every scrap of party profit before they let it go. So the Motion had to be purely an attack on the Government. But attack us for what?
One must sympathise with the Opposition in their dilemma here. On the one hand, their whole case against the Government falls to the ground if they have 771 to admit that the T.U.C. and its constituent unions were in earnest in giving us that solemn and binding undertaking. On the other hand, they are just beginning to wake up to the fact that, by denouncing the agreement as worthless, as they rushed to do when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced it on 19th June, they have, in one Freudian lapse, undone the patient work of years building up their disguise as the trade unionists' friends, and they have demonstrated to every trade unionist in the country the contempt in which the Tory Party holds the trade union movement—a contempt voiced by none other than the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) their tame Tory trade unionist who, on 19th June, denounced the agreement with the T.U.C. as the greatest confidence trick of the century.
I know that, in today's debate, the hon. Gentleman has been trying to backtrack on that, to correct his Freudian slip, by explaining that he meant a confidence trick by the Government on the I.M.F. That will not wash either. The Leader of the Opposition tried that one out on 19th June, when he solemnly warned the Prime Minister that the House would have an ample opportunity to discuss the Government's conduct in this matter in the debate on the Letter of Intent—and in the event, the Opposition Front Bench spokesmen barely alluded to it because the Letter of Intent makes no reference to legislation on industrial relations.
Many hon. Members opposite must have been regretting that orgy of spite against the trade unions which they let loose in their fanatical hatred of the Prime Minister. Wiser counsels have prevailed since then, and so they have taken very great care this time in drafting their Motion. As the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) said in his opening speech, "this Motion censures the Government and no one else". But to concoct such a Motion they had to rely on a technicality, the promise they say the Chancellor made in his Budget speech that we would legislate this Session. Well, let us get the technicality out of the way so that we can get down to the realities that lie behind their spurious Motion.
772 Of course they have tried to build this up into a great issue. The right hon. Member for Mitcham said that the Chancellor had made his announcement a key part of his Budget speech. Did he? I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman turns up HANSARD of 15th April and he will find the Chancellor's reference to an Industrial Relations Bill tucked away in a very small corner of a very long speech. Out of the 2,844 lines of the Chancellor's speech, 24 were devoted to industrial relations.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Hon. Members do the reputation of this House no good by refusing to hear the right hon. Lady's speech.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)
On a point of order. Owing to the braying on the other side of the House we cannot hear what is said on this side.
§ Mrs. Castle
The Chancellor added that I would be dealing fully with it the following day. And so I did. Having outlined my proposals I told the House that the Prime Minister and I were meeting representatives of the T.U.C. to describe these proposals to them, and I added these words:We shall repeat what my right hon. Friend told them last Friday, that in the weeks that lie ahead, before the Bill is presented, and while it is being discussed in Parliament, the Government will still be prepared to consider any alternative proposals from the T.U.C. for achieving its purposes equally effectively and equally urgently."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1969; Vol. 781, c. 1186–7.]So much for the promise we are supposed to have broken. On the contrary, we kept our promise to the House and the T.U.C. The fact is that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) said in his most telling speech, in censuring the Government for dropping the legislation, the Opposition are censuring our agreement with the 773 T.U.C., censuring us for taking the T.U.C. at its word. Recognising this fact and its implications for their attitude towards the trade union movement, hon. Gentlemen opposite have been back-tracking furiously, joining belatedly in the tributes that have been paid to the historic importance of this change in trade union attitudes—tributes paid by Lord Stokes, Sir Peter Runge, even by the C.B.I., which has been back-tracking too, I am glad to say, since Mr. John Davies' unfortunate Freudian slip about lavatories. Even the C.B.I., in its letter of 25th June to its own membership said:There can be little doubt that in undertaking a totally new rôle the T.U.C. has taken a major step forward in seeking to establish its authority."Ah but" say the right hon. Member for Mitcham and the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath), "the T.U.C. undertaking, welcome as it is, is not enough". This is what we have been told during the debate today. Enough for what? The right hon. Member for Mitcham said, "This debate is topical, look at today's strikes, the signalmen's one-day strike and the Merseyside dock strike". Let us look at them. What characterises them? Of course they are in breach of procedure; of course we deplore them for that; of course they cause inconvenience to the general public and damage to the economy, and are a threat to the livelihood of the strikers themselves. That is what we have been driving home and must go on driving home if we are to deal with the problem of strikes.
But the important thing about the strikes for the purpose of this argument on the censure Motion is that they are being prosecuted against the advice of the union, yet not only are the local officials in there batting hard to bring them to an end, but the national officials are in there batting, too. I have no doubt that it will be a disappointment to hon. Gentlemen opposite when I tell them of the news that has just come through. I will read what has come from the tape:Agreement reached at a meeting in London today between employers and unions on the employment of registered dock workers at the container base at Aintree, near Liverpool.What could have been a protracted and damaging strike has, I am glad to say, now been brought to this conclusion. The unions have been in there as officials, using their best endeavours. What more does the right hon. Gentleman ask?
774 If these agreements had been in the form of legally binding contracts, how would it have helped? The union has not been breaking the contracts. As for the individual strikers, how would the right hon. Gentleman deal with them? The question he asked of my right hon. Friend was spelt out in "Fair Deal at Work". The Tories know that this question lies at their door far more than it ever did at ours. They ask in "Fair Deal at Work" what will be the position if large numbers of employees strike in breach of agreement and reject the most vigorous efforts of their union to get a return to work. They point out—and the right hon. Gentleman has repeated it tonight—that it is the employer who should take action, not the Government. He said that it should lie with the employer to sue, but "Fair Deal at Work" points out that employers can already sue their employees for breach of contract and do not do so. This is how "Fair Deal at Work" answers this great questionOur main answer to the question, however, is not that our proposals provide a watertight remedy, but that, for the reasons given above, their total effect would be to make the occurrence of such situations much less likely than at present.Imagine the jeers of the right hon. Gentleman if the Prime Minister had given that answer to the Leader of the Opposition on 19th June!
I agree with the right hon. Member for Mitcham. We need to change attitudes of mind and, as he said, create the environment. That was the purpose of our White Paper and of the proposals in the interim Bill—not merely a change of attitude on the part of trade unions, but first and foremost a change of attitude by management.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) is right. In this controversy there has been far too much concentration on the responsibilities of trade unions and not enough on the responsibilities of management. In all their lofty rhetoric about strikes, hon. Gentlemen opposite never talk about the responsibilities of management. "Fair Deal at Work" uses the old Victorian language about the "fundamental prerogatives of management ". But it is an arid, legalistic, negative document spawned by lawyers to make a lawyers paradise. It is such a masterpiece of 775 double talk, that nobody has yet got clear just exactly how the Tory policy will operate. One minute it is "both", the next it is "either", which ever word they think of using. Nobody knows what is in their minds.
But we, for our part, have already produced a change of attitude. It was our willigness to face up to this problem, to throw down a challenge to the trade union movement—[Interruption.]—that has concentrated the trade union mind wonderfully. What has changed the attitude of the trade union movement has been our constant reiteration—reiteration by the Prime Minister and myself—in all these talks that, "We must legislate if you do not legislate". Even my right hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby admits it. He said, "I might not agree with your objective, but your tactics have worked."
We have been witnessing a revolution in attitudes. I remember the Press reports after the Croydon Trades Union Conference, the Press coverage of which has been rivalled only by a certain recent investiture. There was The Guardian saying that the Government would be made to miss this opportunity:If the penal clauses are dropped the Conservatives will probably raise the cry that the Government are putting the party before country. The Prime Minister should ignore this danger. The Conservatives' own industrial proposals will do the country and its industry more harm than good.The Financial Times put the matter slightly more moderately. After having paid tribute to the great progress made by the T.U.C., and having said that this was not merely done to ward off legislation—[Interruption.]—it concluded as follows:
§ "What the Government must have, before it allows the T.U.C. a last chance to put its own house in order, is an assurance that the new powers it has taken will be used, and used effectively".
§ That is the assurance which the Prime Minister and I spent days in getting. My hon. Friend the Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) was quite right—we were tough negotiators. Everything that has happened since has shown how seriously the T.U.C. or the trade union leaders have been taking that solemn undertaking.
§ We have seen the leadership given by Vic Feather, the activity of Jack Jones in the recent strikes, the courageous feat of Hughie Scanlon at the Confederation annual conference, the letters which have been pouring out from the General Council to the membership calling for the setting up of firefighting organisations for the strengthening of resources and the overhauling of rules [Interruption.] Of course hon Gentlemen opposite sneer. We now face a situation in which hon. Members opposite will have a vested interest in an increase in the number of strikes. Day after day they will raise in this House every unofficial strike—[Interruption.]—strikes about which they did nothing. They will hope and pray the T.U.C. will pay—
§ Mr. William Whitelaw (Penrith and The Borders)
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put:—
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 242.777
|Division No. 306.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Binns, John||Buchan, Norman|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bishop, E. S.||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Blackburn, F.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Anderson, Donald||Blenkinsop, Arthur||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Archer, Peter||Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James|
|Ashley, Jack||Booth, Albert||Cant, R. B.|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Boston, Terence||Carmichael, Neil|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Boyd en, James||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Bradley, Tom||Chapman, Donald|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Coe, Denis|
|Barnes, Michael||Brooks, Edwin||Concannon, J. D.|
|Barnett, Joel||Broughton, Sir Alfred||Conlan, Bernard|
|Baxter, William||Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Beaney, Alan||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Bence, Cyril||Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Crawshaw, Richard|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Cronin, John|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Orme, Stanley|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Oswald, Thomas|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jeger, George (Goole)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Padley, Walter|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Park, Trevor|
|Dell, Edmund||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Dempsey, James||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Dewar, Donald||Judd, Frank||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Kelley, Richard||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Dickens, James||Kenyon, Clifford||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Dobson, Ray||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Pentland, Norman|
|Doig, Peter||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Dunn, James A.||Lawson, George||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R, E.|
|Dunnett, Jack||Leadbitter, Ted||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Ledger, Ron||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lee, John (Reading)||Rankin, John|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rees, Merlyn|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Ellis, John||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Richard, Ivor|
|English, Michael||Lipton, Marcus||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Ennals, David||Lomas, Kenneth||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy|
|Ensor, David||Loughlin, Charles||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Luard, Evan||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth(St. P 'c' as)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Roebuck, Roy|
|Fernyhough, E.||McCann, John||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Finch, Harold||MacColl, James||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||MacDermot, Niall||Rowlands, E,|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Macdonald, A. H.||Ryan, John|
|Foley, Maurice||McGuire, Michael||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Ford, Ben||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Forrester, John||Mackie, John||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Fowler, Gerry||Mackintosh, John P.||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Maclennan, Robert||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Freeson, Reginald||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Gardner, Tony||McM[...]llan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Silverman, Julius|
|Garrett, W. E.||McNamara, J. Kevin||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Ginsburg, David||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Slater, Joseph|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Small, William|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Snow, Julian|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Grey, Charles (Durham)||Manuel, Archie||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mapp, Charles||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Marks, Kenneth||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Marquand, David||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Swain, Thomas|
|Hamling, William||Mayhew, Christopher||Taverne, Dick|
|Hannan, William||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Harper, Joseph||Mendelson, John||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mikardo, Ian||Thornton, Ernest|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Millan, Bruce||Tinn, James|
|Haseldine, Norman||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Tomney, Frank|
|Hattersley, Roy||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Hazell, Bert||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Molloy, William||Varley, Eric G.|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Moonman, Eric||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Henig, Stanley||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Hilton, W. S.||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Wallace, George|
|Hooley, Frank||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Moyle, Roland||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Weitzman, David|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Murray, Albert||Wellbeloved, James|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Neal, Harold||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Howie, W.||Newens, Stan||Whitaker, Ben|
|Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Norwood, Christopher||Whitlock, William|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oakes, Gordon||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Ogden, Eric||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hunter, Adam||O'Malley, Brian||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Oram, Albert E.||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Orbach, Maurice||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Willis, Rt. Hn. George||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)||Woof, Robert||Mr. Alan Fitch and|
|Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)||Wyatt, Woodrow||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Glover, Sir Douglas||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Astor, John||Goodhart, Philip||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Goodhew, Victor||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Grant, Anthony||Monro, Hector|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Balniel, Lord||Gresham Cooke, R.||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Grieve, Percy||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Batsford, Brian||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gurden, Harold||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bell, Ronald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Murton, Oscar|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Neave, Airey|
|Biffen, John||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Nott, John|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Blaker, Peter||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Braine, Bernard||Heseltine, Michael||Peel, John|
|Brewis, John||Higgins, Terence L.||Percival, Ian|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hiley, Joseph||Peyton, John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hill, J. E. B.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Pounder, Rafton|
|Bryan, Paul||Holland, Philip||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hordern, Peter||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hornby, Richard||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Burden, F. A.||Howell, David (Guildford)||Pym, Francis|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Hunt, John||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Carlisle, Mark||Iremonger, T. L.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn, Sir Peter|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Chataway, Christopher||Johnson Smith, C. (E. Grinstead)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Clark, Henry||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Clegg, Walter||Jopling, Michael||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cooke, Robert||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Costain, A. P.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kershaw, Anthony||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Crouch, David||Kimball, Marcus||Royle, Anthony|
|Crowder, F. P.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kirk, Peter||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kitson, Timothy||Scott, Nicholas|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Dance, James||Lambton, Viscount||Sharples, Richard|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Dean, Paul||Lane, David||Silvester, Frederick|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Doughty, Charles||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut' nC' dfield)||Speed, Keith|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Stainton, Keith|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Stodart, Anthony|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Longden, Gilbert||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Eden, Sir John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Mac Arthur, Ian||Tapsell, Peter|
|Emery, Peter||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Eyre, Reginald||McMaster, Stanley||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Farr, John||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Fisher, Nigel||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Tilney, John|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maddan, Martin||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Foster, Sir John||Maginnis, John E.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Marten, Neil||Waddington, David|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maude, Angus||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Mawby, Ray|
|Walters, Dennis||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Ward, Dame Irene||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Younger, Hn. George|
|Weatherill, Bernard||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Wells, John (Maidstone)||Woodnutt, Mark||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William||Worsley, Marcus||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Wiggin, A. W.||Wright, Esmond||Mr. Jasper More.|
|William, Donald (Dudley)|
§ Main question, as amended, put:—782
§ The House divided: Ayes 297, Noes 242.783
|Division No. 307.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Eadie, Alex||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Anderson, Donald||Edelman, Maurice||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)|
|Archer, Peter||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Ashley, Jack||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Judd, Frank|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Ellis, John||Kelley, Richard|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||English, Michael||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Ennals, David||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Ensor, David||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Barnes, Michael||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Lawson, George|
|Barnett, Joel||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Baxter, William||Faulds, Andrew||Ledger, Ron|
|Beaney, Alan||Fernyhough, E.||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Bence, Cyril||Finch, Harold||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Binns, John||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Bishop, E. S.||Foley, Maurice||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Ford, Ben||Lipton, Marcus|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Forrester, John||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Booth, Albort||Fowler, Gerry||Loughlin, Charles|
|Boston, Terence||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Luard, Evan|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Freeson, Reginald||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Boyden, James||Gardner, Tony||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Bradley, Tom||Garrett, W. E.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Ginsburg, David||McCann, John|
|Brooks, Edwin||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||MacColl, James|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||MacDermot, Niall|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Grey, Charles (Durham)||McGuire, Michael|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tlc-upon-Tyne, W.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Buchan, Norman||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mackie, John|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamling, William||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hannan, William||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Harper, Joseph||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Carmichael, Neil||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn Barbara||Haseldine, Norman||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hattersley, Roy||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)|
|Coe, Denis||Hazell, Bert||Manuel, Archie|
|Concannon, J. D.||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Mapp, Charles|
|Conlan, Bernard||Heffer, Eric S.||Marks, Kenneth|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Henig, Stanley||Marquand, David|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hilton, W. S.||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Cronin, John||Hooley, Frank||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mendelson, John|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Howie, W.||Millan, Bruce|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Dell, Edmund||Molloy, William|
|Dempsey, James||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Moonman, Eric|
|Dewar, Donald||Hunter, Adam||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hid)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Dickens, James||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Dobson, Ray||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Doig, Peter||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Moyle, Roland|
|Driberg, Tom||Jeger, George (Goole)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Dunn, James A.||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Murray, Albert|
|Dunnett, Jack||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Neal, Harold|
|Newens, Stan||Richard, Ivor||Tomney, Frank|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Norwood, Christopher||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy||Urwin, T. W.|
|Oakes, Gordon||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Ogden, Eric||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|O'Malley, Brian||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Oram, Albert E.||Roebuck, Roy||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Orbach, Maurice||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wallace, George|
|Orme, Stanley||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Oswald, Thomas||Rowlands, E.||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Ryan, John||Weitzman, David|
|Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Padley, Walter||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Paget, R. T.||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Park, Trevor||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Whitlock, William|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Silverman, Julius||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Skeffington, Arthur||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Slater, Joseph||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Small, William||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Snow, Julian||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Pentland, Norman||Spriggs, Leslie||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Winnick, David|
|Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Woof, Robert|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Taverne, Dick||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Rankin, John||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Rees, Merlyn||Thornton, Ernest||Mr. Alan Fitch and|
|Rhodes, Geoffrey||Tinn, James||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Currie, G. B. H.||Hawkins, Paul|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hay, John|
|Astor, John||Dance, James||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||d'Avigrior-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Awdry, Daniel||Dean, Paul||Heseltine, Michael|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Balniel, Lord||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hiley, Joseph|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Hill, J. E. B.|
|Batsford, Brian||Doughty, Charles||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin|
|Bell, Ronald||Drayson, G. B.||Holland, Philip|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Hordern, Peter|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Eden, Sir John||Hornby, Richard|
|Biffen, John||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Emery, Peter||Hunt, John|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Errington, Sir Eric||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Eyre, Reginald||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Blaker, Peter||Farr, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Fisher, Nigel||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Body, Richard||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Johnson Smith, G, (E. Grinstead)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fortescue, Tim||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Foster, Sir John||Jopling, Michael|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn Sir Edward||Fraser,Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Braine, Bernard||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Kaberry, Sir Dona'd|
|Brewis, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col, Sir Walter|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Kimball, Marcus|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Glover, Sir Douglas||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Bryan, Paul||Glyn, Sir Richard||Kirk, Peter|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Kitson, Timothy|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Goodhart, Philip||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Burden, F. A.||Goodhew, Victor||Lambton, Viscount|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Grant, Anthony||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert||Lane, David|
|Carlisle, Mark||Gresham Cooke, R.||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Grieve, Percy||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Gurden, Harold||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut' nC' dfield)|
|Clark, Henry||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Clegg, Walter||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Costain, A. P.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Crouch, David||Harrison, Brian (Malden)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Crowder, F, P.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||McMaster, Stanley|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Percival, Ian||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Peyton, John||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Tapsell, Peter|
|Maddan, Martin||Pink, R. Bonner||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Maginnis, John E.||Pounder, Rafton||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Marten, Neil||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Maude, Angus||Prior, J. M. L.||Tilney, John|
|Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Pym, Francis||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Mawby, Ray||Quennall, Miss J. M.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Maxwell-Hystop, R. J.||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Vaughan-Morgan. Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Vickers, Damo Joan|
|Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Waddington, David|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Monro, Hector||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Walters, Dennis|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Ridsdale, Julian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Robson Brown, Sir William||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Rodgers. Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Murton, Oscar||Royle, Anthony||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Russell, Sir Ronald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Neave, Airey||St. John-Stevas. Norman||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Scott, Nicholas||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Nott, John||Scott-Hopkins, James||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Onslow, Cranley||Sharples, Richard||Worsley, Marcus|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Shaw. Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Wright, Esmond|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Silvester, Frederick||Wylie, N. R.|
|Osborn, John (Hallam)||Sinclair, Sir George||Younger, Hn. George|
|Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Smith, John (London & W'minster)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||speed, Keith||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Stainton, Keith||Mr. Jasper Moore.|
|Peel, John||Stodart, Anthony|
§ Resolved, That this House endorses the announcement of the Prime Minister on industrial relations on 19th June 1969; welcomes the undertaking given by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress in respect of