HC Deb 19 March 1970 vol 798 cc601-3
33. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will now introduce legislation to amend the 1906 Trades Disputes Act as recommended by the Donovan Commission.

pairing, for the United Kingdom and for the Northern Region, respectively.

Mr. Dell

All the information requested is available for June but only a small part for July in each year. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the information for June, 1964, and June, 1968. Similar information for June, 1969, will be available for the United Kingdom later this month and for the Northern Region probably in April.

Mr. Fernyhough

As the North-East has suffered more from the contraction of these basic industries than any other part of the country, may I ask my right hon. Friend to ensure that announcements such as that made yesterday by the Minister of Technology are made with regularity until we have overcome unemployment problems in the North-East and the development areas in general.

Mr. Dell

Yes. These figures show that here, too, there has been a decline in employment in traditional industries. However, that has been compensated for to a significant degree by expansion in other industries due to development area assistance.

Following is the information:

Mr. Harold Walker

My right hon. Friend intends to introduce legislation on a number of industrial relations matters, including changes in the present laws governing trade unions and trade disputes.

Mr. Brooks

Does my hon. Friend agree that the combined proposals of the Donovan Commission for extending the protection of Section 3 of the 1906 Act to breaches of commercial contract simultaneously with the withdrawal of immunity from actions instigated by those who have no responsibility was the right combination for preserving and extending commercial and industrial democracy?

Mr. Walker

No. I think that my hon. Friend has misunderstood the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It did not make these two matters contingent upon each other.

On the point about the inducement of breach of commercial contract, my right hon. Friend is now engaged in consultation with the T.U.C. and the C.B.I.

On the other point raised by my hon. Friend, the Government's view has clearly been stated in the White Paper. We do not believe that the protection of Section 3 should be narrowed in the way that the Royal Commission proposed.

Mr. R. Carr

Did not the Royal Commission make it clear that this immunity should be limited to registered unions? Is not the hon. Gentleman incorrect in saying that these matters were not linked in the Royal Commission's Report?

Mr. Walker

If the right hon. Gentleman will look at it again, I suggest that he will see that the two points raised by my hon. Friend were not linked and made to be contingent upon each other.

Concerning an extension of the immunities in Section 3, the Royal Commission was deeply divided, seven members coming down on one side and five on the other.