HC Deb 03 August 1971 vol 822 cc1405-55

Lords Amendment: No. 63, in page 25, line 19, leave out subsections (3) and (4).

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

I think that it would be for the convenience of the House to take Lords Amendments No. 63 to 66 inclusive, together with No. 132, 182, 241, 267, 268, 269, 271 and 277.

Mrs. Castle

I think that there may be a slight misunderstanding, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I thought that the Government's grouping was No. 63 plus 66. You said, "No. 63 to 66", and we would not wish that.

The Solicitor-General

Perhaps I might be allowed to say what I think is the convenient grouping, which is as follows: No. 63, No. 66, in Clause 34, page 27, line 10, leave out subsection (3).

No. 181, in Clause 92, page 70, line 40, leave out from "agreement" to "but" in line 42.

No. 182, in page 71, line 4, leave out from "agreement" to end of line 6.

No. 241, in Clause 143, page 105, line 10, leave out from "agreement" to "excluding" in line 12.

No. 267, after Clause 157, in page 114, line 42, at end insert new Clause L.

No. 268, in Clause 158, page 115, leave out lines 13 and 14.

No. 269, in page 115, line 19, leave out "this section" and insert section (Meaning of "collective agreement" and "procedure agreement") of this Act".

No. 275, in page 116, line 28, leave out "this section" and insert section (Meaning of "collective agreement" and "procedure agreement") of this Act". and No. 277, in page 117, leave out lines 27 to 44. If the House is agreeable, that is the set of Amendments which I propose to discuss.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I think it would be for the convenience of the House to take that sequence of Amendments.

The Solicitor-General

The Amendments are grouped because they deal with the same subject. Basically they arise from the point made in Committee in this House that having the definition of a collective agreement in Clause 32 was misleading or confusing, and that it should be located in a different part of the Bill with the other general definition provisions. The opportunity has been taken to draw together a number of other definition provisions in one convenient place, substantially in new Clause L, which is the subject of Lords Amendment No. 267.

Lords Amendment No. 63 removes from Clause 32 subsections (3) and (4), which define a collective agreement and a party. Lords Amendment No. 66 removes subsection (3) of Clause 34, which says that a collective agreement for definition purposes includes an agreement rendered enforceable as a result of an order made under Clause 39. Lords Amendments Nos. 181 and 182 remove from Clause 92 similar references to a collective agreement made enforceable as a result of an order under Clause 39, Lords Amendment No. 241 does the same in Clause 143.

Lords Amendment No. 267 is the substantive new Clause which draws together all these provisions in one convenient place. I will return to it shortly.

Lords Amendment No. 268 removes the reference to a definition of a collective agreement from Clause 158, because it will now be separately set out in new Clause L. Lords Amendments Nos. 269 and 275 make further consequential changes to the definition Clause, and Lords Amendment No. 277 removes from Clause 158 the definition of a procedure agreement, which also goes into the new Clause L.

Therefore, in substance we are discussing Amendment 267, new Clause L, where there now appear the provisions which take the place of the various provisions I have identified as being within the other Amendments in the group. I hope that that explanation of what is happening will be helpful to the House so that we know exactly what we are talking about.

Subsection (1) of new Clause L—Lords Amendment No. 267—relocates the definition of a collective agreement from its earlier position in Clause 32(3). It is placed near to the main definition Clause—Clause 158—so that any misunderstanding about its general application or its intention in the context of the whole Bill is removed. It is no longer stitched alongside Clause 32(1) and (2).

The new Clause also includes a definition of a procedure agreement, which was previously in the main definition Clause. One of the reasons for separating this definition of a collective agreement from Clause 32 is to remove any room for misunderstanding about the proposition that Clause 32, which is the Clause containing the presumption of legal enforceability, unless that is disclaimed by the parties, applies only to a written agreement entered into after the commencement of the Act. The effect of Clause 32—the presumption—is plainly operative only in relation to a written agreement entered into after the commencement of the Act. My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) was another of those who suggested that having the two definitions together led to confusion. This is the main object of the exercise.

I shall now explain a little more fully what each subsection of new Clause L contains. Subsection (1) repeats the definition of "collective agreement". It is done in such a way as to extend the definition of people who may be parties to it to include employers' associations as well as simply employers and also to include a mixture of employers and employers' associations. There is no great substance in that except that it is more convenient. Subsection (1)(b) defines the nature of a collective agreement. The kind of thing that it has to deal with is the same as what was formerly Clause 32(3)(b).

Subsection (2) of the new Clause clarifies a possible doubt——

Mr. Orme

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman. Can he tell the House whether the definition "one or more employers" in subsection (1)(a) is the result of representations from the Engineering Employers' Federation?

The Solicitor-General

I would not like, although not because of any evasiveness, to give an affirmative answer to that. I cannot recollect any such representation. It is, I think, prompted more by general convenience that a collective agreement can come into existence as the result of agreements between groups of employers and groups of unions or an employers' federation and a group of unions or, sometimes, an employers' federation and separate employers working alongside it. This is merely to make it plain for definition purposes that any such coming together of people gives rise to a collective agreement. I emphasise, however, that such a coming together resulting in a collective agreement does not itself give rise to any presumption of legal enforceability. It is only in the context of Clause 32—a written agreement entered into after the commencement of the Act—that that presumption arises.

Subsection (2) of new Clause L makes it plain that a decision of a joint body to which Clause 33 applies—we will be discussing that on a subsequent Amendment—is to be regarded, provided that it is made in writing and in the manner there set out, as a collective agreement, which might not have been clear on the previous formulation.

Subsection (3) replaces the old Clause 34(3) to make it plain throughout the Bill that the phrase "collective agreement" also includes an agreement rendered enforceable by a Clause 39 order. That enables one to simplify the repetition of a reference to that in Clauses 92 and 143.

Subsection (4) makes clear who are the parties to a collective agreement when the collective agreement is made by representative organisations. This was a point on which the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) made observations during the Committee stage of the Bill, when he suggested that the previous formulation said that the parties should include certain people. The new formulation is designed with that point amongst other points in mind.

Subsection (5) repeats with only one small change the definition of "procedure agreement" previously contained in Clause 158. The small change, which I should mention in case it has escaped attention, is that paragraphs (e) and (f) separate a procedure agreement relating to dismissal from a procedure agreement relating to matters of discipline other than dismissal. The point is that some agreements relate only to dismissals and others relate to matters of discipline apart from dismissal. Each of those would normally be regarded as a procedure agreement, and they should not be joined under one heading as they were under the previous formulation.

As a result of all these restructurings of the Bill—as I say, they are drawn together in one place—the essential provisions remain in line with the points of view expressed during the debates in this House, and certainly they have been drawn in line with those points of view. However, the presumption of legal enforceability established by Clause 32 applies only to collective agreements in writing entered into after the commencement of the Act.

The implication of a best endeavours obligation relating to Clause 34(2) again applies only to a collective agreement made after the commencement of the Act. There are similar provisions in Clause 33, which we shall discuss on the next Amendment, which make it plain that the presumption there applies only to a decision given after the commencement of the Act and when it has been recorded in writing.

Mr. Harold Walker

The Solicitor-General will, I think, agree that this may be an appropriate point for me to raise with him the question, which I have raised both in Committee and on Report and about which he was good enough to write to me, of the effect of the repeal of the 1871 Act on agreements entered into before the Bill becomes law and which may, in consequence be exposed to action in the courts.

The hon. and learned Gentleman said in his letter to me that it was not the Government's intention that any agreement which was not already directly enforceable should become directly enforceable merely as a consequence of repeal of the 1871 Act. I can find nothing in the Bill, however, that would translate that position into law. Can the Solicitor-General tell me of anything in the Bill that could reassure my anxieties on this point?

7.0 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising that point now because it certainly arises here. I know his anxiety about it. We have exchanged correspondence about it. The relevant Amendment is Amendment No. 197 and the point is this. Both sides of the House were concerned that the status of an agreement which was not directly enforceable because of the provisions of the 1871 Act before the coming into operation of the Bill should not be altered by the repeal of Section 4 of the 1871 Act and in particular that remedies beyond those available under the 1871 Act should not be available under this Bill. The 1871 Act—I have not the text of it in front of me—basically provided that such an agreement should not be directly enforceable. We are concerned not to change that.

By Amendment No. 197 to Clause 101 we are making it plain that if proceedings are brought about such a collective agreement under Clause 97 then the only remedy which would be available in respect of it would be a declaration of rights. That is the same position as would have existed in relation to such an agreement had Section 4 of the 1871 Act not been repealed. I know the hon. Member has been concerned about this and we are grateful to him for having reminded us of it. I hope the House will feel that that discharges the agreement we made in respect of that.

I do not think I should say more than that at this stage about what these Lords Amendments are about, but I commend them to the House as a simplification and clarification of the substance of the previous provisions.

Mr. Rose

This group of Lords Amendments revolves around the central new Clause L to come after Clause 157. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to this as a restructuring. It is a restructuring, but I see no improvement save for the fact that a number of strands have been brought together. It seems to me a curious commentary on the original drafting of the Bill that these pieces have had to be collected not in Committee or on Report in this House, when we might have expected this to have happened, but the guillotine was in operation, but in another place where there was no Guillotine. That illustrates the point which we on this side of the House have made of the necessity for full debate on these matters of importance.

We now have a new and extensive and, indeed, comprehensive definition of collective agreement, although I remember at an earlier stage expressing the view very forcefully that basically a collective agreement is a changing and continuing relationship entirely ill-suited to precise legal interpretation and enforceability. Even in the United States the arbitrator rather than the judge is the important third-party decision maker under collective bargaining agreements.

There is also here a distinction drawn between the procedure agreement and the collective agreement and it becomes necessary in our law now because of the importation into the law of the fictitious procedure agreement. It would not be necessary if we did not have imposed on us the concept of the fictitious procedure agreement.

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman would acknowledge that if ever there were an area which is delicate and where the law is ill-suited to enter it is this field of procedure agreements as such; and legal enforceability in regard to procedure agreements is perhaps the most difficult of all, let alone enforceability where there has been no agreement, where "agreement" is forced upon an unwilling party. It is because of this that I strongly resent the inclusion once again in subsection (3) of the new Clause of the reference to the collective agreement, taking Clause 39 of the Bill which deals with fictitious procedure agreements.

I should like to go back for a moment to subsection (2) of the new Clause because the Solicitor-General referred to joint bodies. There is here a problem which I know is exercising the minds of many trade unionists. The problem was raised with me at a trade union conference which I addressed very recently. It is the problem of the minute book recording the negotiations between the two sides in an industry where agreement is recorded in writing in the minute book but neither side has appended a signature to a contract, neither side has concluded a bargain in the sense of signing, sealing and delivering any document, but the proceedings are recorded in writing. Because they are recorded in writing in the minute book it would seem that under Clause 32 they are enforceable, although there is no signature to them. I know that this is a problem which has been raised on a number of occasions, not in this House but at trade union conferences.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)

Somebody, clearly, has to sign the records, the minutes, and these minutes are accepted because of signature?

Mr. Rose

The minutes are accepted as a true and proper account of what occurred; they are not necessarily accepted as a legally binding agreement. In other words, if the hon. Member entered into an agreement with me to vacate a seat for a by-election, he would have to sign. This is very different.

Mr. Orme

My hon. Friend has probably been informed on this matter, but what happens on many occasions in industry is that at a meeting between management and workers somebody takes a record of the meeting and certain decisions are arrived at and then at a later date, because the management have the facilities, those minutes are circulated by the management to the trade unions, in addition to the employer keeping a copy. They are not asked for a signature. Unless any serious objection is taken the minutes are taken as a form of agreement, but if they were to have legal backing the trade unions would have to approach the matter from an entirely different point of view. That is the important issue.

Mr. Rose

Indeed, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. I advised, and certain legal friends of mine have advised, a conference of A.S.T.M.S., my own union, that on every occasion it would be necessary to enter a caveat immediately in writing that these minutes would not be enforceable. That would be a procedure on the taking down of the minutes.

I want to get back to the point of the procedure agreement for a moment. There is an artificial distinction between the substantive side and the procedure side. One could be a quid pro quo for the other. One could be part of an agreement. For example, for certain improvements in wages and conditions—additional holidays, for instance—a union might agree to certain procedures. There seems to me that there could be a highly artificial distinction in many cases—not in all—in trying to disentangle the procedure from the substantive side, as this new Clause seeks to do by this definition of the procedure side of an agreement.

In part, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, the new Clause only reproduces an assortment of subsections sprinkled through the Bill, and in that sense one might welcome it as a tidying up operation. Indeed, it is the only sense in which I would welcome it. As Lord Drumalbyn admitted in another place—and I take his word for it—the words "collective agreement" appear 25 times in the Bill. I would add, 25 times too often.

Lord Drumalbyn said: … the definition is so central to the whole purpose of the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 10th June, 1971; Vol 320, c. 448.] In other words, according to the noble Lord, the central purpose of the Bill is to stand Donovan on its head.

We debated in full in Committee the question of the enforceability of collective agreements, and pointed out some of the dangers. We pointed out the problem, not necessarily of the minute book of the type I referred to earlier, but the ordinary minute book which could render an agreement into writing. We referred to the lack of a requirement for a proper form of agreement. All one needs is something in writing, and there is no form laid down in the Clause. There may well come about a great deal of litigation in the courts, although I believe every trade union in the land will now be telling its members that the first item in any set of negotiations will be over a proviso to prevent legal enforceability, because this amendment must be looked at in the light of Clause 32.

In particular I am concerned—and this concern was expressed in another place—about the words "or arrangement" in line 3 of new Clause L. Does this mean that an arrangement becomes a legally binding agreement where it is part of an understanding which is ancillary to a written agreement that is made enforceable by Clause 32? If it does—and this is the danger—it means that pre-existing arrangements that were not intended to be legally enforceable could become so by reason of a subsequent agreement in writing which makes on specific reference to the custom but may lead to an implication—and the court may draw this inference—that that pre-existing custom is part of the collective agreement.

It is bad enough to import legal enforceability into the complex and shifting pattern within a modern and constantly changing relationship in industry when these customs are set down in writing, but to enforce customs which are not tangible and not susceptible to precise description would only add confusion and ill feeling. I hope that the learned Solicitor-General will apply his mind to that point.

There is a new form of wording to which the hon. and learned Gentleman made no reference, and that is (in whatever way and in whatever form) This differs from the original Bill. That again may well be interpreted by the courts to allow for enforceability other than the enforceability intended by the Clause; in other words, it is intended only to cover agreements rendered in writing after the coming into force of the Bill.

First, we must deal with arrangements separately and, secondly, we must deal with (in whatever way and in whatever form) in such a manner as to show that anything that is not actually set down in writing by the parties and signed by them cannot form part of an agreement. It is interesting to note, looking at the Clause, that agreements of organisations of workers come within the definition. We have double standards here. Where the Government want to get the organisations of workers by their lapels and force them into a collective agreement, they hold them close, but when the Government want to tear off the workers' protective clothing they do so at their whim. The unregistered trade unions, under the Bill, seem to have become the new whipping boy for the Government, who are the real culprits for the industrial decline and stagnation we have seen recently at Rolls-Royce and U.C.S.

How will the courts enforce a decision against a loose conglomeration of people who form an organisation of workers who are not within the definition of a trade union because they are not registered? The Government are likely to be laying up a great store of trouble for themselves by dealing with organisations of workers in that way.

7.15 p.m.

Much of the difficulty here could be cleared up merely by defining the form in which any collective agreement must be made to render it enforceable. There is no difficulty about doing that. There seems to be an intention in the Clause to bring surreptitiously within the ambit of enforceability as much as possible. As a result of the Clause we now have a six-fold system of arrangements. We have, first, arrangements not in writing and not enforceable; secondly, agreements not in writing and not enforceable; thirdly, agreements in writing and expressly stated not to be enforceable; fourthly, agreements in writing presumed to be enforceable; fifthly, agreements in writing stated to be enforceable; sixthly, arrangements not in writing but linked to either my fourth or fifth point and therefore possibly enforceable, and that is the difficult one.

That illustrates the tangle we are getting into, and the complexity will keep our minutes secretaries busy looking over their shoulders and reading their minutes into the late hours to make sure they have not fallen into the Solicitor-General's trap by getting themselves involved in an enforceable collective agreement.

I return to the underlying theme on this side of the House by quoting what Professor Wellington said in his evidence to Donovan: A collective agreement is one episode in a continuing joint history of a firm and a union. It is a temporary calm in a restless, shifting relationship. Accordingly, an attempt to compel the employer or the union during contract time peacefully to yield on a deeply felt issue, particularly if it believes it never consented to yield, often will not resolve that issue. This links up with what my hon. Friend said in the last debate when he recognised the essential vagueness so important to collective agreements which encompass numerous unforeseen circumstances and unforeseeable events because industry is constantly changing. No amount of complex definition such as the Solicitor-General has introduced in the Amendment will help him in the context of our national traditions and our history of free collective bargaining. All the evidence is, as was clear from Donovan, that a judge's training and a lawyer's training—and I include the hon. and learned Gentleman and myself in this—are likely to make us reject some of what should be closely considered when we deal with collective agreements, because in many respects the person involved in industry is better qualified to understand these matters. Compromise, and not judicial rulings that have to be finite, definite and on one side, is the essence of free collective bargaining. Surely this is where the hon. and learned Gentleman goes wrong.

To obtain satisfactory enforceable agreements of the type covered in this definition would mean great changes in industry, and Donovan understood this. The Solicitor-General has dismissed all that Donovan had to say. He has put the cart before the horse, because Donovan recommended the consideration of enforceability only after the reform of collective bargaining. All the documents that were drawn up by the previous Government, whatever criticism the hon. and learned Gentleman may level at them, straightforwardly opposed legal enforceability.

There is the added fact that the Solicitor-General knows only too well that today, with wage drift and plant bargaining, the substantive agreement represents often nothing more than the minimum which the worker expects in that industry. Therefore, it is the procedure agreement that will be the subject of litigation, and it is the procedure agreement that gives the employer the opportunity to take action. There will be very few actions on substance by employees in that climate of collective bargaining, even if they have been unwise enough to enter a collective agreement that is enforceable. But define the agreement as he may, legal enforceability, as Roy Lewis pointed out in an excellent article in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, will be unlikely to deter unofficial or unconstitutional strikes.

The Solicitor-General is misleading himself, the House and the public if he thinks this Clause will cut down the number of strikes. These problems require the exercise of discretion and judgment based on practical experience, rather than the exclusive application of strict legal principles". Those words are taken from a document which the hon. and learned Gentleman well knows—"Fair Deal at Work". I fear that in introducing this new Clause and the consequential Amendment the Solicitor-General has failed to show that discretion and judgment. All he has displayed is the fact that, despite the long passage of this Bill through this House and through another place, the Government's judgment and discretion are just as lacking as they ever were.

Mr. Ronald King Murray

I wish to echo two themes which were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) in discussing this group of Amendments. The first concerns the meaning of "collective agreement". Various subsections which reappear in this arrangement of provisions have been re-engaged rather than reinstated, and I believe the results are not satisfactory. They have been moved round and although some improvement has been made—I do not want to be under-generous—there are two quite serious flaws which remain.

This matter is connected with the point made by my hon. Friend about collective agreements. On the face of it many of the difficulties with this definition Clause are connected with the fact that the distinction between a registered trade union and an organisation of workers is drawn when it suits the Government to the disadvantage of organisations of workers; and, again when it suits the Government, it is drawn to the advantage of the employers. The result is that organisations of workers, who remain outlaws in the Bill for most purposes, are brought into the Bill for purposes of enforcement under the new Clause.

The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General yesterday ventured to say that the Bill followed Donovan on registration of trade unions. That is less than fair to Donovan. He will see from paragraph 792 of the Donovan Report the following statement We think, therefore that all trade unions should as from some convenient future date receive corporate status and be registered. The difference between that approach and the present Bill is the difference between chalk and cheese. What Donovan recommended was that trade unions for the first time should have conferred on them the full status of legal corporate bodies. They have been outlaws—pariahs—throughout industrial legislation in this country up to the present. This Bill does not propose to enfranchise them, as Donovan was proposing to do.

It is worth noting that the fundamental point in that key sentence in Donovan is the conferring of corporate status. If a new freedom and liberty is to be conferred on these bodies, it is only fair that restrictions of law should follow. The Donovan restriction was that they should be registered so that it is known where they are and so that the corporate status can be given full effect.

In this context registration is a different thing from registration under the Bill. Registration under the Bill is a special privilege conferred on trade unions which are prepared to eat humble pie and accept what is offered to them in the Bill.

What worries me is that collective agreements still stand as something to be enforced against organisations of workers, although organisations of workers are not to get the corresponding franchise which registered trade unions will obtain under the Bill.

I foresee that great trouble will arise from these provisions. It is questionable whether this Bill—this monstrous jumbo, indeed jumble, of a Bill—can ever be made to work. The more we discuss it the more questionable it becomes. I believe the provisions in the new Clause will become matters for heated controversy and much difficulty will be experienced in interpretation of a collective agreement.

I should like to take another point on the new Clause. One sees in subsection (1)(a) of new Clause L a slight change from the original form of the provisions. The original form in Clause 32(3) started by saying: In this Act ' collective agreement ' means any agreement or arrangement (whether written or oral) … and then the provision proceeds to define the characteristics to be given. However, in paragraph (a) of the new Clause there is the following definition of a collective agreement: an agreement or arrangement made (in whatever and in whatever form) …". That is fantastic wording when one thinks of the physical reality to which it is supposed to apply.

The House will recall that there was some criticism on both sides of the House when we originally discussed Clause 32, but there is a vagueness in the wording of the new Clause which is even more open to objection. The words: an agreement or arrangement made (in whatever way and in whatever form) …". must be applied to the realities of shop floor experience. It is as plain as a pikestaff that often in the heat of a workshop a nod may be as good as a wink. A controversy exists, there is a great deal of discussion, and the people concerned get to the end of words and find they are getting nowhere. And then suddenly they agree on something that works. How on earth is one to prove such an agreement? Where does one start? Where is one to get the consensus which exists at the moment of crisis in the workshop? How is one to reproduce that afterwards when the heat has passed? The Clause is less workable than was the original provision. It seems to me clear that in this provision the contact between law and industrial reality is lacking.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackley stressed the fact that it is a mockery to talk about a procedure agreement when by the provisions of Clause 39 a procedure can be imposed against the will of those concerned. Surely the Government should have taken the opportunity to rectify that situation by deleting the word "agreement" altogether. An imposed procedure is a totally different thing from a procedure agreement. I am sure that industry would regard them quite differently. A procedure agreement is obviously a much more desirable entity. There has been a consensus, which is understandable, and both sides of industry should be held to it. In addition to the fact that there has been some kind of agreement, there is a moral sanction. But the moral sanction is often more powerful in the industrial sphere. Why get rid of that by reducing them both to the same level and by saying that a procedure agreement is to be regarded as the same kind of thing as an imposed procedure? Plainly, that is not true. What the Government are doing in putting them on the same level is levelling down on the worst possible consensus. They will find that they have poisoned the sort of atmosphere in which a procedure agreement might have a chance of viability today.

For this reason, amongst others, this new Clause is a lost opportunity. The Government have had the opportunity of rectifying a great many evils and—I do not want to be ungenerous—they have rectified some defects, but they have lost the opportunity to transform this part of the Bill and recognise the true realities of the industrial workshop instead of stressing the legality.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)

When I intervened in a debate last week, I drew attention to the fact that the Amendment we were then discussing was a more complex portion of the Bill than it had been when it left this House. I can make the same point exactly on this Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that subsection (1) of new Clause L was a retransposition of the original definition which had gone to the House of Lords, but he used a euphemism and said that the definition had been extended. Indeed, that is so. Another word he might have used was that the definition of the parties to a collective agreement had been rendered more complicated than when the provision left us. Now it has come back to us, we find that there are new types of people who can be parties to a collective agreement; there are new definitions of them.

It is not a great increase in complexity, but once again the Government, faced with the problem of applying the instrument of law to what one might term either rich or appalling complexities in our industrial life—depending on one's point of view at a particular time—have solved it by extending the complexity of the definitions which they have worked into the Bill. This has happened over and over again throughout the Bill. As a problem has been met, instead of trying to solve it by process of simplification, it has been solved on the basis of increasing complexity and has rendered the Bill less and less useful to industrial personnel on both sides who will have to try and apply it in practice.

An altercation took place between my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) and my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) about the question of the legal enforceability of minutes. This is a practical point. As someone who has been involved in this process, a practical question occurred to me. Supposing the parties to a collective agreement had had sufficient forethought to exclude their minutes from legal enforceability, as I think they would inevitably wish to do, for some reason peculiar to their trade or industry, but wanted to have the agreement itself enforced. It is well known that, if one has a dispute about the actual content of the agreement, perhaps it will not go as far as the industrial tribunal but the parties to the agreement around the table may wish to settle the dispute, and one of the documents they may take in evidence, in order to try to clear up what the collective agreement might mean, is the minutes of the joint negotiating body which had reached the agreement. Supposing there is a reference in the enforceable agreement to the non-legally enforceable minutes, for example, as a source by which obscurities in the legally enforceable agreement might be cleared up. Does that render the minutes legally enforceable—a situation which the parties to the joint negotiations deliberately wished to avoid?

I am trying to look at this new Clause as someone trying to apply it. So far I have two strong objections to it—on the grounds that it is totally obscure and that it is an opaque document when it comes to helping people like myself in doing their job in industry. The matter can be taken further. Having referred to subsection (1) of new Clause L, one turns to subsection (5). First of all, there is an attempt to define there what a procedure agreement may mean from the point of view of legal enforceability. Here it becomes particularly difficult and complicated because, to start with, the subsection refers to … machinery for consultation with regard to … settlement by negotiation … This is indeed a very obscure phrase.

As I have always understood it, in industrial relations consultation means a situation where the management may invite the trade union into the room, listen to what it has to say, and then the decision in that process still rests with the management. I may be wrong on this, but I have been unable to find a definition of the term "consultation" in the Bill. On the other hand, settlement by negotiation is a totally different process. The union and the management meet. They argue and the decision which emerges, if a decision does emerge—and it does most of the time—is a joint decision, and both sides are responsible for applying it. Given that, what I would like to know is how one can have machinery for consultation with regard to settlement by negotiation.

It seems to me that these two technical phrases—at least they have a technical meaning to people who try to apply industrial relations matters in practice—only confuse the issue in the absence of some authoritative definition as to what the Bill will actually mean. This point, I suppose, I could have picked up when the Bill was in this House previously. In fact, the more one reads the Bill the more complex seem to be the issues raised, and one is forever coming across new aspects which were not recognised earlier. From that point of view, therefore, I feel that no apology is needed.

The next point arising from subsection (5) is that whereas it attempts to define what a procedure agreement may mean, and whereas Clause 142 does give the Minister power to appoint conciliation officers, there is no reference in subsection (5) to the settlement of terms and conditions of employment by a process of conciliation. I wonder whether the Government intentionally mean to exclude the settlement of terms and conditions of service reached by a process of conciliation from the Bill, or whether this is an oversight on their part.

I recall one negotiating body to which I was attached. It was the normal pro- cedure for an officer of the Department to be present at every joint negotiating meeting. I take it that his main purpose was, if difficulties did arise, to refer the matter back to the Department. I have no doubt that, if a dispute had arisen where he felt he had the resources to conciliate and reach a settlement at the negotiating table by a process of conciliation, he would have done so. Supposing this sort of situation arose, would the right hon. Gentleman then assume that, because the agreement had been reached by a process of conciliation and not by a settlement by negotiation or arbitration, it was automatically excluded from the procedure agreement which it is the attempt of this part of the Bill to define? As I have pointed out, the Bill is not defining what a procedure agreement is but is throwing up an even greater number of questions as to what a procedure agreement is.

There is an addition here. Subsection (5)(d) of new Clause L says that facilities for officials of trade unions or other organisations of workers are indeed matters for a procedure agreement. I take it that any agreement between the employers and the trade unions to have a member of the right hon. Gentleman's Department present, although it might tend to be a crucial factor in any settlement which might be reached at some future stage, would not be regarded as a procedure agreement.

Another point arises on paragraph (g): procedures relating to grievances of individual workers I have had experience of collective agreements involving works councils, district joint industrial councils and a national joint industrial council. Under that procedure, there is the question of negotiating terms and conditions of service for the whole of the industry concerned, particularly manual workers, as they used to be called. I think that "operatives" is the usual term nowadays. In that situation there is a process by which an individual worker who has a grievance can appeal to his works council. If that does not produce satisfaction, he can appeal to the district joint industrial council. Finally, if that does not produce satisfaction, he can appeal to the national joint industrial council. I presume that that could be a procedure agreement which could be legally enforceable under subsection (5).

What can also be found in industry is a situation where small groups of workers wish to appeal against a grievance. They do not wish to renegotiate any of the national or local agreements; they wish to ensure that the national or district agreement is correctly applied to them. They appeal through the same procedure that an individual worker might use if he had an individual grievance.

Suppose it is a group grievance not of sufficient status to warrant being a national matter. Will this be a procedure agreement under subsection (5) of new Clause L? It is not clear. I assume that the Government have intentionally omitted to deal with the group procedure. If not, I hope that I have done them some service in drawing attention to the omission.

Indeed, this point particularly arose in one industry with which I was connected when an entirely new form of agreement was negotiated and was being applied. At that time it was thought that, because it was a new form of agreement and misunderstandings might arise, a special procedure should be introduced for grievance appeals by small groups of employees against the national agreement so that it might be correctly applied to them in case the personnel staff concerned were misunderstanding it and were wrongly applying that procedure to individual groups of workers.

The procedure was quite simple. It was that groups of workers were allowed to appeal directly from their works, offices or production stations, or whatever it might be, straight to the national joint industrial council. This was a specific procedure to deal with the grievances of individual groups of workers.

I cannot see how subsection (5) will define whether that is a procedure agreement or not. I assume that if the right hon. Gentleman had had notice of this kind of agreement he would have said that it should be a procedure agreement. However, I suppose that as he has not had notice of it, it is unlikely to be caught by the definition in subsection (5), and therefore there will be a loophole which I hope can be used to the advantage of trade unions and organisations representing workers. It may just compound the confusion to which this subsection is already leading.

It is interesting to see that subsection (5) of new Clause L has been deliberately drafted in considerable detail with a view to avoiding legal confusion on many of these matters. However, I believe that anybody attempting to administer the provisions in the subsection in the circumstances of British industry, by virtue of the complexity with which it has been drafted, will be led ever deeper into the mire until the point where few trade unionists or personnel managers will be confident that they can apply it to industrial relations in their own industries.

I should like answers to the many questions which I have asked. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman has those answers.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)

In an earlier debate the Solicitor-General treated up to an intellectual exercise showing how trade unions and workpeople can be given exact equations at law. It was as if he were standing or leaning two playing cards against each other and suggesting that they could ever have equal weight. It is precisely that thinking which leads us into a situation where we now discuss the burden of enforceable contract law applying to collective agreements.

My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) put his finger on the crucial spot of industrial relations in this matter when he more or less pointed out that, under the concept of collective agreements between work people and trade unions and employers, the thing is in constant motion. The only constant factor in such a relationship is that of change. That is a matter which the law cannot possibly embrace, because the law is not a constant factor of change.

I cannot help feeling, Mr. Speaker, that the proceedings of this House are made workable, possible and practicable, not as a result of the rulebook, but largely as a result of convention, of continuous trial and error and, of course, of the skill and experience of yourself in our proceedings.

So it is with the realities of industrial relations. That is why we on this side of the House, with our experience and background in industry, whether in a particular trade union or over the whole of the trade union front, or whether, as in my case, in trade union education work for many years before coming here, having listened to workers' explanations at summer school and within the whole complex of the trade union educational system, have had borne in upon us the tremendous variety of relationships which exist between workpeople and employers in the great complexity of British industry.

When we look at this attempt to draw together the concept of enforceable contract in new Clause L, I cannot help thinking that the reason that we have a relatively co-operative situation—not by any means a perfect situation—within our industry and economy is that at least we have not got the strike records and the turmoil which many other countries have. We have too many strikes in the sense that we do not want them. We want justice to be achieved without resorting to strikes. The co-operation which exists in industry results from the workers having a feeling of freedom within the existing system. If at the beginning, we had applied the concept of contract law to agreements, and had allowed it to have its run and then, over the years, progressed from it, that would have been all right, but instead of that we are walking backwards to Christmas.

Very often when an agreement is made between trade unions and employers there is provision for a certain amount of freedom of action by both sides. On many occasions trade union representatives come to an agreement with employers and then find that in practice the agreement is unacceptable to the workers on whose behalf it has been made. The trade union negotiators have misread the situation but, because of the terms of the agreement, it is possible to countermand what has been agreed with the employers. If a contract is enforceable at law, trade union representatives will have to be doubly cautious. They may even not come to any agreement at all. That is what the Solicitor-General, with his excess of legality is missing, and he will find that if he tries to enforce this provision he will come unstuck.

It is all a question of flexibility. I remember my experience as a railway worker. I was a departmental committee worker, a local shop steward. I was a shunter, doing a dirty and dangerous job. At our meetings we always spoke about the spirit of an agreement. One cannot refer to the spirit of an agreement when there is enforceability at law. What matters is not the words on the lines of an agreement, but what is between the lines.

We are not proposing that a trade union representative has to hold a ballot among his fellow workers before accepting any and every part of an agreement. That would be totally unworkable, but one wonders whether a trade union representative will ever come to a decision in the future, bearing in mind this threat of enforceability at law. He has not been brought up in that tradition, and that factor should weigh heavily with the Solicitor-General when he considers these matters.

Time and again the Solicitor-General has referred to the Donovan Commission which laboured for so long with so much expertise and in the end gave us a brilliant presentation of the views at which its experts had arrived. In the trade union movement we had our different opinions about the extent to which we should permit the incursion of the State into trade union matters. We saw that when my right hon. Friend presented her Bill to deal with industrial relations. There was a discussion about how much of the Donovan Commission's Report would apply in the event of a Labour Government continuing in office. One thing that is certain is that we should never have ended up with the concept of enforceable contracts.

Mr. Orme

The legal analysis of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose), reinforced by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray), is an indication of the pitfalls that await us if we make collective agreements legally enforceable.

I want to consider the problem from a practical point of view. In the engineering industry, when a national agreement is arrived at between the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and the Engineering Employers Federation it is drawn up with a great deal of precision. It is probably one of the most precise agreements in the trade union world.

The agreement having been drawn up, the two sides meet to define the notes for guidance. It must be remembered that an engineering agreement affects about 3¼ million workers. These notes for guidance are often of pamphlet size. They are circulated to all Engineering Employers Federation establishments and to the trade unions concerned. The trade unions then send copies of those notes to shop stewards throughout the engineering industry, and they become the bible for the current agreements.

The agreement may last for three years, and the notes may deal with overtime, piece-work earnings, hours of work, holidays and so on, but by the very nature of things they are somewhat imprecise. Everyone knows that it is not possible to draw up even legal agreements with absolute precision. We all know of agreements being interpreted differently by different courts. A judge in one court puts a certain interpretation on a document. A judge in a higher court may take a different view. Although judges are authorities on the law, all too often differences of opinion and emphasis arise between them.

When a trade union agreement is circulated to industry as a whole, one finds a different emphasis being put on different aspects of the agreement, depending on the area in which it is being considered. This is because of the historical background of the industry in an area. Because a certain skill predominates in, say, the Manchester area, the agreement is interpreted slightly differently there from the way in which it is interpreted in the Midlands, in London or in Nottingham.

Because there are differences of opinion on the notes for guidance, negotiations take place between district committees and local employers' associations, and between shop stewards and employers at a plant or factory. This is the very meat of industrial relations and the day-to-day work of collective bargaining. Because an agreement has been arrived at nationally, it does not mean that every employer and employee will interpret it in the same way locally.

8.0 p.m.

I have taken part in negotiations about agreements. I have experienced disputes arising about agreements. They go from the factory to the local level, and then through a tortuous procedure to a conference under the York Agreement provi- sions, and possibly even there no agreement is possible. The matter is then referred back to the district or plant for some form of settlement. That does not happen because the people say, obdurately, "We are not going to have an agreement". It does not mean that either the employer or the union is saying that there is not going to be an agreement; it is simply a case of there being a different form of approach and a different analysis.

That is a part of industrial relations and collective bargaining, and the human relations to which the Solicitor-General referred earlier. All that I say is that on top of the complicated procedure of the national agreement—and at the moment I am not talking about anything else—we are imposing all the business of legal enforceability, and making these agreements subject to the law, as if there is not enough trouble in collective bargaining and industrial relations at the moment!

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

The Bill does not alter that position one iota, since if an agreement is made it is either accepted as legally enforceable or, if it is written in that it is not legally enforceable, it is not. In any event, the interpretation of any agreement is a matter for management and unions, at national or local level, to decide whether, in a given situation, a certain interpretation is acceptable. If it is acceptable to both unions and employers, whether at national or local level, a request is made to the workpeople on the shop floor that they should accept it. If they accept it, that is fine; if they go on strike, it is an unofficial strike.

Mr. Orme

The hon. Member has missed the point. All right—unions can agree not to make agreements legally enforceable. But let us not have any illusions about this matter; the intention of the Bill is to bring into operation legally enforceable agreements, and the employers will bring pressure to bear upon the unions to accept such agreements. At the end of the day, in certain circumstances an agreement can be made legally enforceable unless the unions and employers specifically agree that it should not.

Pressure will be imposed upon industrial relations. I was showing how the procedure operates in the engineering industry at the moment, and what problems will arise if agreements become legally enforceable. I was asking how on earth we would overcome all the negotiating difficulties and similar problems that would arise.

In suggesting this procedure the Government fail to understand the realities of industrial life, and of negotiations and collective bargaining. Their whole effort is to switch power from the workers and trade unions to the employers. All this carefully prepared legal paraphernalia has one purpose—to restrict the activities and power of the trade unions.

I now turn to the question of what happens locally in industry. I want to refer to the strange wording already mentioned by my hon. Friend in subsection (1)(a), which provides that an agreement or arrangement made (in whatever way and in whatever form) may be the basis of a legally enforceable agreement. The day-to-day working of industry is not like the working of the House of Commons in its committees—including the rarefied air of Standing Committees—backed by all the civil servants and Clerks of the House, with the careful drawing up of Amendments and agreements. Even in the most advanced sections of industry, life at factory level is much more "hit-and-miss" than that.

I have worked in factories which have been 100 per cent. organised, where the management was anxious to obtain agreements with the workers and where, when agreements were arrived at, workers and management had respect for each other. The agreement was written out on a piece of paper, and there was no looking over one's shoulders to see whether it was legally correct, or whether some lawyer in the future would contest this phrase or that word. The two sides reached an agreement and got on with its implementation.

What some people fail to understand is that in industry agreements take months or even years to achieve. Over a long period a shop steward may have wished to reach some form of agreement with the management which will radically change the working operations in his factory. It may change the whole piecework system, or the method of computing wages. The tremendous number of problems that arise involve months of long and arduous negotiations between management and trade unions, and when the two sides finally arrive at an agreement which they can set down in one or two clear, precise clauses, they do it and then get on with the implementation of the agreement. If there is a breakdown, or the management feel that the workers have gone back on the agreement, or the workers feel that the management have gone back on it, there may be a row, and then a clearing of the air. A few straight words may be spoken. But in a properly regulated industry the difficulty resolves itself and everybody gets on with the job.

I have worked in factories in which the workers are told, "This is the agreement; it is an established fact." The works manager, or the managing director, or the shop steward in the factory may not have been a party to the agreement; it may not even be written down. It has become custom and practice. In many of these custom-and-practice agreements employers and unions stick rigidly to the rules and honour the terms. They are oral agreements, arrived at in whatever way and in whatever form They work by trial and error—by a building up of confidence in the factory or in the industry. Such agreements have worked for a long period.

This Clause and all that is appended to it will bring into industry a fear that agreements of the kind to which I have referred can no longer be made. A rigidity will be introduced. The Secretary of State has had some experience in industry. I do not believe that he has ever operated a legally enforceable agreement; neither have I. I have tried to indicate what this provision will mean. It is being held as a sword over the heads of the negotiators. It brings into play a weapon that is alien to industrial relations.

That is the crux of the matter. The Opposition are opposed to the Clause. We feel that the Government are introducing something that will be very difficult to implement—something that will be an irritant at best, and a much more serious deterrent to industrial relations at worst. On that basis we believe that the Amendment should be rejected

Mr. Buchan

We have been listening to a great deal of trade union experience, but the Government must recognise that the best of management are saying exactly the same. One of the tragedies is the lost opportunity. Enough has been said before, during and since Donovan, in this House and in another place, to make the Government think again. This is one of the five major provisions that they should have removed entirely from the Bill. It can do nothing but exacerbate relationships in industry, and this is particularly serious at a time when this Government may be moving us into a great deal of difficulties in industry.

We could have a difficult year ahead of us if the economic policy is continued as it is, and on top of that they try to write this kind of agreement into existing industrial relationships. Much has been said about constant factors in industrial relations. One of my hon. Friends said that the constant factor was change. But the really constant factor is the relationship itself. One cannot govern this kind of relationship by a set of written, legally binding rules.

All that agreements between the two sides of industry can achieve is set out the kind of ground work to which management and workers adhere. Often, they too have to ignore the background work, because they know that it is sensible, that this is the relationship—but what on earth happens when it is bound to a legal agreement?

There are one or two disturbing and sinister aspects apart from this terrible lost opportunity. I should have thought that the Secretary of State, with his background, would know why this should not have been done. What does the phrase "however expressed" in Clause 32(1)(b) mean? It requires that the exclusion must be in writing, as the agreement must be collectively enforceable. But the Amendment brings in the phrase "agreement or arrangement ", made in whatever way and in whatever form.

What on earth does that mean? What is an "arrangement"? In what way is this different from "however expressed", when it relates to a written exclusion clause? What is the difference? Is it something written? Is it custom and habit? How, for example, would existing custom be altered if it must be legally enforceable? When does this become included in it?

We cannot proceed with the Amendment until we see this new concept. In the whole period of the Bill, every time I come into the Chamber, I find that a new concept has emerged as we proceed to Mark III, Mark IV or Mark V of the Bill. This is becoming a frightening piece of legislation.

What are the implications of dealing in future with legally enforceable agreements? One of the problems with this, as with all written agreements relating to relationships in industry, is that we cannot envisage all circumstances. Very often, what is left out of an agreement has an equal effect in a factory to what is included. People know what is meant and when it comes to the crunch they can discuss it. They cannot discuss it if it has been spelled out in legally enforceable form—or if it has not been so spelled out. The situation creates its own problems.

In modern factories, as the Minister should know, circumstances can change so that the meaning of the original agreement alters, so that it no longer means what it was originally thought to mean. An example is the situation which the Government face in Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. Can one really have envisaged an agreement in which the management would say, "We must write in an exclusion clause saying that it will not apply if you choose to have a work-in"? But this has happened. A new dimension has been given to our industrial relations and not one Member of the Government had envisaged this situation when this clause was drawn up.

What will be the situation if this becomes legally enforceable and 7,000 workers say, "We want to work; give us work."? Will the Government say, "You have a legally enforceable agreement and you forgot to include a Clause saying that this would not apply to a work-in. You will now feel the majesty of the law."? What will the reaction be, not only among workers but among the Government's own supporters on Clydeside?

So they are exacerbating this situation on top of the problem that their economic policy is forcing upon the country. They are doing it in such a way that the law can provide no solution. What will happen, as has been predicted often enough, is that, to a great extent, every written agreement will include an exclusion clause. But if that is so, this kind of legislation should not be imposed.

The real difficulty will occur in small groups and small factories, when everybody knows that the management does not really mean it and so they do not take the necessary care—then suddenly the crunch comes and it begins to matter.

The Government are embarking on a dangerous course. Despite all the self-praise that the Solicitor-General gave, saying that they had now cleared up the former mess of the Bill—what an admission of bad drafting this is, by the way—by bringing it together, they have shown how impossible and dangerous the whole thing is.

We must know what is meant by an "arrangement". Does it mean custom or the nod and the wink? How are we to know if an agreement as nebulous as this has been made, let alone define the way in which it has been made? We may not even know that it has been made at all.

I hope that the Government will think again and withdraw this concept. It would at least give a little comfort in a disturbed and troubled industrial world.

Mr. John Fraser

My hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) spoke of nebulous agreements. I can think of a contract that is made without any written or word of mouth agreement. Somebody gets on a bus, does not say anything to the conductor, who gives the passenger a ticket without saying a word. A contract has been made, neither in writing nor by word of mouth. That contract is legally enforceable between the passenger and bus company. Other arrangements of that nature can be entered into.

If a trade union negotiates an agreement on behalf of a number of employees to the effect that they will not come out on strike or will work a certain amount of overtime in return for three weeks' holiday and certain incremental payments, when the workers accept the extra holiday and do the overtime they are, in effect, amending their contracts of employment.

Although not a word in writing has passed between the employer and employees, a collective arrangement has been entered into by the trade union. That arrangement has, as a result, been incorporated into their individual contracts of employment. In other words, an arrangement which need not be in writing or be made by word of mouth can become a legally enforceable contract.

This was accepted by Donovan when it was pointed out that all sorts of collective agreements could be incorporated into individual contracts of employment. There has, therefore, always been legal enforceability as between employer and worker. Indeed, in most cases of unofficial strikes the employer could sue the individual workers for breach of contract. That is not normally done because he would be suing only when the strike is over, and his action would exacerbate a situation which has probably been solved by a return to work.

The Government thought how they could overcome this problem. By making the leadership of workers subject to an action for damages in cases where a collective agreement is broken, they have missed an opportunity and in this connection my hon. Friends have two main arguments against this set of proposals. The first is that if an agreement is made legally enforceable—for example, by saying that the terms will be enforceable unless there is a disclaimer clause, that the proceedings of a voluntary body are presumed to be legally enforceable, or if an agreement is imposed by the court when no collective agreement has been arrived at—one is attempting to impose on organisations of workers a legal liability.

This is a lost opportunity because, in practice, few employers will choose to sue trade unions. The Government have been challenged on this in the past and have been unable to provide one instance where a bad industrial relations situation—a strike or go-slow—would have been averted as the result of the existence of a legally enforceable contract with the trade unions.

This is, therefore, a lost opportunity in the sense that while we are against legal enforceability, because it will not work, we are deeply concerned to improve industrial relations. This is not a private fight between the benches in this House. We want to reduce the number of strikes and industrial disputes.

Why have the Government flown in the fact of all the recommendations of, for example, Donovan? Having gone thoroughly into the proposition that legally enforceable agreements would reduce the number of disputes, Donovan came to the conclusion in every case that that would not be so.

The second missed opportunity results from the fact that once one begins to attach legal enforceability to agreements, people will be more shy to enter into them. This is rather like a client being told by his lawyer about the possibility of buying a business, "For heaven's sake don't sign anything". Ordinary working people are afraid of the law. They do not like to get involved with legal commitments because they have found from experience that the processes of the law and litigation often involve one individual facing a powerful and large body.

In many cases tenants do not enforce their rights under the housing legislation because they are afraid of a confrontation between the individual and a large organisation. They know that legal proceedings are a gamble. Indeed, they can be more of a gamble than going to a casino in Monte Carlo. A man with a small wage and limited savings does not want to get involved in the courts because the course of legal proceedings appears to be capricious. At the end of the day he may lose a case that he expected to win, with the loss of his personal wealth. That is why people do not want to enter into legal obligations.

There are, of course, circumstances when recourse to the law is sensible. A man will obviously wish to sue for damages for an industrial injury. He will not ask his colleagues in a factory to come out on strike to get him compensation. He uses the processes of the law because he can usually get legal aid and because he knows from experience that the arrangements are satisfactory.

In this instance the Government are not saying, "We want the legal enforceability of remedies between one worker and his employer" but "We want to place a legal liability on the representatives of that and other employees". It is rather like a lawyer making an agreement on behalf of a client and being told that he will be personally responsible if the client does not observe it.

This Measure says that if the client, the worker and member of a trade union, does not obey an agreement negotiated on his behalf, then his representatives, the trade union, will be liable for damages. Indeed, it goes further and says that people who purport to encourage a breach of an agreement negotiated on their behalf can be made liable for damages.

This all adds up to the fact that people will cry off making better procedure and working agreements, the very things that Donovan said were at the centre of any solution to the problem of bad industrial relations. Nobody produced credible evidence before Donovan—no such evidence was produced up to the time when we left office—to show that legal enforceability would improve industrial relations.

As this long debate draws to an end, I plead with the Government to give an example, if they cannot give evidence, of how legal enforceability will improve industrial relations and lead to more and better procedure and collective agreements being entered into. If they cannot, as I am convinced that they cannot, these proposals will be shown to be the pursuing of an idealogy which was conceived before the Donovan Commission was set up, an ideology which remained unaltered by the conclusions of the Donovan Commission and of most responsible commentators on industrial relations, and an ideology which will harm and not benefit industrial relations.

8.30 p.m.

Mrs. Castle

I have immense sympathy with my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan), who said that whenever he entered the Chamber in the course of the many weeks of debate we have had on the Bill he found that some new elaborate form of redrafting was under consideration.

I felt on listening to the Solicitor-General a sense of despairing sadness spreading through the Chamber as we face the fact that in these very complicated Amendments we are dealing with three of the Bill's major Clauses—we are dealing with the presumption of legal enforceability, we are dealing with the incredible Clause 33, and we are dealing with the iniquitous Clause 39 under which the Government take power to impose an agreement where none exists. These Clauses are at the heart of the industrial relations argument and the industrial relations battle.

This is an absolute complex of Amendments. Perhaps I am more stupid than other hon. Members—that is perfectly possible and I am prepared to accept it—but I had to sit for an hour in intense concentration following just the meaning of this group of Amendments in drafting terms. They change literally nothing. The Government have not heeded one argument advanced in this House, in another place, or outside Parliament, about their policy. They have gone to enormous trouble to regroup, redraft and rejig, to give us exactly the same result at the end of the day and to leave everybody who is trying to understand the Bill and the many people who will have to work by the Bill in future years literally more confused than ever.

The Solicitor-General is like a sort of favoured son of the Government who has been given his head on his pet theme and in his pet sphere. He sits there with his enormous and staggering ingenuity. We are all dazzled by the forensic brilliance with which he goes on drafting and redrafting, grouping and regrouping, to his own personal satisfaction but to the increasing mystification and despair of everyone else.

It is a tragic commentary on the Government's whole approach that they should have handed over this admittedly serious problem of industrial relations to the Society of Conservative Lawyers to have a field day of the kind we have been having here again today.

This group of Amendments does nothing to meet the objections which have been poured out against the Government's policy and which have been reiterated by my hon. Friends so tellingly today. It does not do anything to alter the provisions of Clause 32, which seek to presume legal enforceability where none was intended to exist by some of the parties. It does nothing to alter Clause 39. It does nothing to alter Clause 33.

I turn to one of the policy implications of what we have been discussing but which nobody has touched on today. I speak as a layman lost in a lawyer's world—the unreal world in which we have been debating this subject for all these weary weeks and months. I am lost in that world, but I cannot afford to be lost in it, just as no shop steward can afford to be lost in it and no trade union official can afford to be lost in it. I want to try to follow the Solicitor-General through one part of this legal labyrinth.

I want to look at the effect of the Amendments on Clause 143, to which Lords Amendment No. 241 applies. This Clause is part of the Government's argument in what they are doing about the right to strike. This is crucial to the whole theme of trade union rights. If trade unionists are to be put under the threat of legal penalties, they will have to understand those rights. Clause 143 appears on the surface to be a charter of the right to strike. It says that where a worker strikes after having given due notice, he shall not be held to be in breach of his contract of employment. This all fits in with the image of reasonableness which the Government have tried to present to the country. They say, "We are only getting at the wildcats." I have heard the Secretary of State saying so effectively and plausibly on television and on radio—" Nobody need fear anything unless he is a wildcat." That is a nice emotive expression.

Clause 143 says that where a man takes part in a strike after due notice, he is not to be held to be breaking his contract of employment. If I understand subsection (2)(d) of that Clause, nobody who calls him out on strike can be committing an unfair industrial practice. It says: shall not be regarded as a breach of his contract of employment for the purposes of … (d) section 92 of this Act.

Section 92 relates to the unfair industrial practice of inducing people to break their contracts of employment.

We now know that it is not as simple as that. It never was as simple as that in Clause 143 in its old form. Subsection (3) says that none of these immunities shall apply in certain circumstances—and this has not been altered by the Amendment; it has, in fact, been elaborated in new Clause L.

Subsection (3), as amended by new Clause L, says that even if a worker does give notice before striking, he will be breaking his contract of employment if there is in his contract of employment any term, implied or incorporated, which excludes his right to strike. I should have thought that was a lawyer's diet for a month in itself. A man will be breaking his contract of employment if there is in his contract of employment any implied term arising from any of the following—first, a collective agreement which, as we see from new Clause L(5), includes a procedure agreement.

New Clause L defines a collective agreement for us at great length, and it includes a procedure agreement. Secondly, a man will be breaking his contract of employment if there is a decision of any joint body of any kind under Clause 33, or if there is an imposed procedure agreement under Clause 39. So the man's right to strike with impunity provided that he gives due notice, is now eroded if it can be held that there is an implied term in his contract of employment arising either from an imposed procedure agreement or from any negotiated procedure agreement or from any decision of a joint body under Clause 33.

Their Lordships were considerably exercised about this when they discussed it in another place. The noble Lord, Lord Diamond, put this question to the Government, having heard that explanation by the Government spokesman of what this complex of Amendments meant. He said: What the noble Lord is saying is what I feared was the effect of this subsection; namely, that an 'agreement' (in inverted commas)—meaning an arrangement imposed upon you—can include (I shall be delighted if the noble Lord will tell me I am wrong) a provision, under which a no-strike clause is involved, as a result of which it is a breach of that contract to strike, What I am concerned with is getting a clear statement from the Government of the limitations on the freedom to strike.

That was the question asked in another place, and we must ask it here at this stage. Lord Diamond was saying that if under Clause 39, a procedure agreement is imposed which contains a no-strike clause, the right to strike under due notice can be taken away by imposition from above; and the same is true equally if there is any kind of no-strike clause negotiated in any sort of collective agreement.

The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, had a rather vague shot at answering that, and then the Lord Chancellor decided that he had not got it right because he then intervened with legal explanations even more involved than those which we hear from the Solicitor-General. It is not surprising, therefore, that the subject still remains obscure. Answering Lord Diamond, the Lord Chancellor said: I am not sure this is quite right. Perhaps I am talking out of turn, but I think the difficulty lies in the difference between the two phrases ' collective agreement ' and ' procedure agreement '.

When my noble Friend Lord Diamond pointed out that a collective agreement may include a procedure agreement—under new Clause L it expressly includes a procedure agreement—the Lord Chancellor blundered on, adding more and more confusion. "Oh, no", he said, "there is a difference; and my understanding is that a collective agreement is related to terms of employment and a procedure agreement is not". This difference, therefore, he said, was crucial to the definition of the right to strike, but he went on, with unaccustomed humility, to add: Having said that, I would rather look at it again in order that I may be able to retract if I am wrong".

He kept returning to the point: the collective agreement can be of two kinds; it can either relate to terms and conditions of employment or it can be a procedure agreement, and he went on to say about a procedure agreement, that, in the nature of things, is not something which is imported into the individual contract of employment, because the individual workman does not necessarily work on those terms ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT,House of Lords, 9th June, 1971; Vol. 320, c. 350–6.]

But is that not exactly what is being imported into the contract of employment by this Amendment? Is it not being expressly done by the Amendment, and is that not exactly what new Clause L is all about, that is to say, that the right to strike, if notice be given, shall not apply where a strike is contrary to any term of the worker's contract of employment implied by a collective agreement—which new Clause L now makes clear can include a procedure agreement? What is more, new Clause L, in subsection (3), expressly provides that a collective agreement may include a procedure agreement imposed under Clause 39.

So the distinction which the Lord Chancellor drew was false. In practice, as everyone knows, it is impossible to draw a strict line between the terms and conditions of employment and the procedure for negotiating them. If a man has a no-strike clause imposed on him in a procedure agreement, the effect is to reduce his bargaining power. That is the intention in doing it. So the distinction was always false from the start. But the Lord Chancellor went further. He misrepresented new Clause L. So he was wrong, on my reading of it, when he said that a procedure agreement could not affect a worker's rights under Clause 143. He said, again somewhat tentatively, "I am not always sure that I am right, but I believe myself to be right." I ask the Solicitor-General to tell us when he replies, because the Lord Chancellor explicitly silenced doubts on the issue in another place by promising to reconsider. Who was right in the reading of the Clause and the effect of the Amendments? Was Lord Diamond right when he said that an agreement to be imposed can include a no-strike clause, as a result of which it would be a breach of contract to strike? Of was the Lord Chancellor right when he said, "Oh, no. It is only a collective agreement that we are concerned with here, and a collective agreement is different from a procedure agreement"? The House is entitled to clarity on this point at least.

8.45 p.m.

I do not think that the Secretary of State is really a party to most of the Bill, for the simple reason that, like us, he could not possibly understand it sufficiently to do so. I think that he appreciates the paramount importance of psychology in industrial relations. I want to leave with him this thought about the provisions of Clause 39, which we are reaffirming in the Amendments. We are limiting the workers' freedom to strike by imposing on them a legally enforceable agreement to which they never agreed. What kind of example do the Government think they are giving in doing that? I entirely agree with the wise words of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leigh (Mr. Ronald King Murray) on this point. If the Government can, through the law of the land, say that "agreement" shall mean what they say it means, what can they expect the ordinary worker on the shopfloor to define it as meaning? Have not the workers the right to say, "No. 'Agreement' shall mean what we say it means"? If the Government say, "You will not get away with that, because we are in power, and we shall enforce an agreement through our power", the workers will retaliate by saying that the only answer is the use of power. So we have got away from negotiation, away from conciliation, away from agreement, into industrial war. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the Bill feeds the very opposite psychology to that at which we should be aiming.

Perhaps the Solicitor-General can tell me which of the two sides in another place was right.

The Solicitor-General

With the leave of the House, I should like to reply.

I am tempted, rather sadly, to ask which of the two personae in which, within the space of two years, the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) has appeared before the House is to be regarded as the persona she wishes to go down in history as representing her contribution to this very important subject. To hear her closing her speech suggesting that to admit the concept of law into this subject, to admit the idea of prescribing or varying procedure agreements——

Mrs. Castle

That was never in my proposals.

The Solicitor-General

—was to be regarded as wholly unacceptable, to hear her putting it in such a regrettably provocative style and tone of voice, must be sad for those who remember the attempts she was making two years ago to solve the very problems with which we are dealing. It is unconvincing, to say the least, to hear her denouncing this kind of provision, when she proposed to take powers for the imposition of cooling-off periods, and the imposition on individual workpeople of an obligation to return to work when some situations arose. I know—I do not want to reopen the whole debate—that there are variations—[Interruption.] If the right hon. Lady will contain herself and allow me to answer the last point and then go on to the other one, I will do so but I must finish disposing of this point.

Of course variations in method are adopted to solve these problems, but the most unimpressive variation is the translation of the right hon. Lady from someone who was at one time responsibly putting forward proposals related to these problems into the tone on which she has just closed her speech to the House. I say that it is a sad translation honestly and meaningfully. It will be a difficult task for history to decide with which character the right hon. Lady is to be credited in the years ahead.

As regards Clause 143(3) of the Bill, the right hon. Lady has used an Amendment which is designed to translate from one part of the Bill to new Clause L exactly the same reference to Clause 39. The right hon. Lady asked to what extent Clause 143(3) makes any variation in the apparent intention of Clause 143(2). The effect of subsection (3) is to say that where the terms of a collective agreement are implied or incorporated in a contract of employment, in the same kind of way as they are now implied or incorporated in the overwhelming majority of contracts of employment, by reference to the surrounding circumstances, the terms of that collective agreement have effect in that contract of employment.

If the collective agreement prescribes a different period of notice by having a "notice of strike action" clause, say, on 14 days' notice rather than on seven days' notice, that different period of notice operates to vary or replace the due notice which would otherwise arise from the contract of employment. That is what would happen today.

If a collective agreement provided for no notice of strike action, but that notice to terminate a contract of employment should not be less than six weeks' notice, the worker in his own contract of employment would be bound by such a clause from the collective agreement if it was implied into the contract of employment.

Mrs. Castle

This would, therefore, be true where an imposed procedural agreement contained a no-strike clause. Therefore, Lord Diamond was right and the Lord Chancellor was wrong.

The Solicitor-General

I am coming to the point.

If a collective agreement includes a provision which varies by extending or, perhaps, diminishing—it would probably be by extending—the length of notice which has to be given to terminate a contract of employment, if it is incorporated into the original contract, that takes effect; and it follows from the reference to Clause 39 in the Clause as drafted and from the replacement, that the incorporation of a no-strike clause, including a minimum notice period in a procedural agreement made enforceable under Clause 39, that it would have the same effect. There is nothing particularly sinister in saying that the length of notice which has to be given under an individual contract of employment is that which is incorporated into it by reference to the governing conditions in the place of work where the worker is employed.

Mrs. Castle

There was a long debate on this in another place. The Lord Chancellor, the highest legal luminary in the land, replied to Lord Diamond's analysis of the position—which is exactly what the Solicitor-General has confirmed was right—by saying that he was not sure that it was right and then said, "I do not understand it. I will go away and look at it. If I am sure that it is right, I will come back and rectify the position." The Lord Chancellor obviously thought that for an imposed procedure agreement to have the effect which the Solicitor-General now reveals was rather shocking. Therefore, he denied it was Government policy. Can we have that corrected?

The Solicitor-General

I think the right hon. Lady is reading too much into this. Obviously, since the reference to this, I have not restudied what my noble and learned Friend said about it, but the effect of the provision is as I have explained. The provision in Clause 143 is there to prevent the judgment of the case of Morgan v. Fry from being overturned to the disadvantage of the worker. Notice which the worker has to give to terminate his employment is notice either as contained in his contract of employment or by reference to the collective agreement, if the provisions of that collective agreement have been incorporated in the contract of employment. That is the answer to the right hon. Lady's question.

Apart from that, however, the greater part of this debate has been concentrated on the reconsideration of the central idea of enforceability of collective agreements. The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) quoted Professor Harry Wellington and his evidence to the Donovan Commission, and the right hon. Lady asked for evidence which would justify disregarding Professor Wellington's view, and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) also wanted justification for disregarding Professor Wellington's view on balance against the enforceability of collective agreements.

The evidence which justifies that is evidence of almost the whole of industrial experience outside this country, even the evidence of the country from which Professor Wellington was coming, and the evidence is supported by the example given by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), which, given in a different context, was saying that in every walk of life we expect as a matter of course that legally enforceable agreements are the relationships which we have when dealing with one another. He made reference to the existence of industrial injury legislation, of rent tribunal legislation. He certainly did not go on to argue that we should disregard or abandon those provisions—it would be an absolutely nonsensical proposition—or that in those areas where we have effective law giving rise to remedies we should discard them.

All we are saying is that in this field it is important to introduce the idea of people being bound by agreements which they make, unless they expressly decide to the contrary. The argument has been advanced that this is out of line with the Donovan approach and that we ought more constructively to take the opposite view. I want to make this point about that. Rather significantly, the hon. Member for Blackley, defending the present non-enforceable contract, said it was important to have regard to the essential vagueness of the relationships which prevail in industrial relations, and that was illustrated by the example given by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Ronald King Murray) with his reference to a nod and a wink.

This is the point. Donovan said in paragraph 502: We are not in principle opposed to the use of legal sanctions for the enforcement of agreed procedure. Donovan went on to say that he would not recommend the use of legal sanctions till those procedures had been improved. That second part is important, because Donovan was saying, as far as quality of agreements is concerned—this is paragraph 503—that wherever possible, collective agreements should be written and precise … procedure agreements should be comprehensive in scope and should provide for rapid and equitable settlement of disputes. Specifically—and this is why I take up the essential vagueness referred to by the hon. Member for Blackley—the Donovan Commission made its summary judgment in paragraph 504 in this way: Those resorting to unconstitutional action should not be threatened with any disadvantages imposed by law until new procedures have been put into operation, procedures which are clear where the present procedures are vague, comprehensive where the present procedures are fragmentary, speedy where the present procedures are protracted, and effective where the present procedures are fruitless. All experience in other fields and in other countries suggests that until people approaching the collective bargaining table start from the premise that they are intending to arrive at a legally enforceable bargain, they are unlikely to set about the task effectively, negotiating procedures which are clear where the present procedures are vague, and so on, and that is the emphasis of our approach.

Once people appreciate that this is what they are after, once they acknowledge the overwhelming force of the Donovan diagnosis that our troubles spring from vague, imprecise, indecisive, slow procedures, they will appreciate what the Government are saying, that it is a good thing for people to approach the business of looking at their collective agreements on the basis that they mean what they say.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. McBride

The hon. and learned Gentleman quoted Donovan as being in favour in principle, but he did not say that Donovan was in favour in fact. Is there not a difference in law between principle and fact and should not the hon. and learned Gentleman's definitive preference have been given the other way?

The Solicitor-General

This is not so much a legal argument as a more practical matter of judgment. It is a question of carts and horses. We make it perfectly plain that it is only collective agreements in writing arrived at after the commencement of the Act to which the presumption of enforceability is to be attached if the parties do not dissent from that. Upon the footing that no presumption is attaching to anything save that which is hammered out hereafter, people are more likely to come to bargains which are plain, precise and expeditious, rather than the opposite.

Mr. Bidwell


The Solicitor-General

I do not want to give way any further at this point. I will now follow up what the hon. and learned Member for Leith said about registration and non-registration, because we have already canvassed that territory many times. When he makes the point that an unregistered organisation can be under liability on a collective agreement, I reply, "Yes, certainly, but only when the agreement is written, when it has not secured an exclusion of enforceability and when the agreement is reached after the commencement of the Act." There can be no question there, or anywhere else, of a trap situation.

The hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) raised a point which was touched on by the hon. Members for Blackley and Salford, West (Mr. Orme) about the meaning of the phrase: (in whatever way and in whatever form) introduced instead of "whether orally or in writing". It is important to see the two settings in which this can arise. Sometimes the court and those operating the Bill will be concerned with such things as the reporting of a procedure agreement. In that sense it is often important to know about arrangements or agreements that are founded upon custom and practice. When one is concerned with making an agreement enforceable, then—again going back to Clause 32—enforceability cannot be attached to custom and practice in that sense, but only to something which is reduced to writing after the commencement of the Act either under Clause 32 (1)(a) or Clause 33.

I think it was the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) who asked how far minutes about a non-enforceable agreement could be relied upon to construct an enforceable written agreement thereafter That is related to the same kind of point: how far will custom and practice be capable of importation into a subsequent written agreement? The answer is that the minutes would not in the ordinary way be admissible. If they are non-enforceable minutes, they are part of the negotiations between the parties— just as correspondence between people is not admissible to construe what they finally put into a written agreement. They would become admissible only if incorporated by express reference in the written agreement when made. They would not become admissible by presumption but only if they had been brought into it in that way.

Mr. Heffer

What is the situation when minutes of a joint committee are circulated because they contain decisions of that committee? Would not such a document be presumed to be legally binding, unless there is a disclaimer?

The Solicitor-General

That was not the point put by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North. If a minute recording a decision of that joint body is unaccompanied by a statement saying that it is not to be legally binding, then it is presumed to be legally binding—the hon. Member for Walton is right. But the hon. Member for Lewisham, North asked whether a minute recording a decision and having attached to it a statement "This is not intended to give rise to a legal obligation" could be incorporated in some subsequent, legally-binding document. The answer is that it cannot and would not be unless expressly incorporated. If a decision were reached which was not intended to be legally binding—say a decision which regulates the variation of shifts or the manning on a job—but if at a later stage the parties got to the point of drawing up a legally binding agreement and said, "The arrangements informally arrived at in minute 123 six months ago shall hereafter be incorporated in the collective agreement ", then it would be brought in. It would not otherwise be brought in as a matter of implication.

I was going to deal with the point raised by the hon. Member for Lewisham, North, who referred to the definition of procedure agreements. I was simply going to say that when he pointed out that in new Clause L subsection (5)(a) included machinery for consultation with regard to, or for the settlement by negotiation or arbitration of, terms and conditions of employment that is only setting out alternatives. It refers to machinery for consultation with regard to terms and conditions of employment, or machinery for the settlement by negotiation or arbitration of terms and conditions of employment. So that machinery by either party could give rise to a procedure agreement. It does not involve machinery for consultation with regard to settlement. They are two separate concepts.

I refrain at this comparatively tranquil stage of the debate from making any comparison on the source of that definition with the previous Government's Bill. I imagine that if I were to speak from now until midnight tomorrow on this provision, I should not persuade hon. Members opposite to accept our approach to this question of enforceability.

Mr. Moyle

Could the hon. and learned Gentleman say whether subsection (5)(a) refers to settlement of disputes by conciliation?

The Solicitor-General

I do not think it does, not expressly; but that does not relate to the conciliation arrangements set out under the Act, because those exist anyway. This is merely a definition of those matters which would be

regarded as a procedure agreement which is in line, apart from the variations I have mentioned, with that adopted by the previous Government's Bill.

I was drawing to a close and saying that these provisions, as the right hon. Lady said, are not significantly different from those originally debated by the House. They are an important part of the Bill.

It is a little hard for the Government to be criticised for altering the drafting in this way simply on the basis that it changes nothing when, in fact, we redrafted the definitions in this way in response to requests from both sides of this House. All we have done is to bring them together to make them plain and simple. They are an important part of the policy of the Government and on that basis I commend them to the House.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 270, Noes 231.

Division No. 457.] AYES [9.10 p.m.
Adley, Robert Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Foster, Sir John
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Channon, Paul Fowler, Norman
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Chapman, Sydney Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Chichester-Clark, R. Fry, Peter
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Churchill, W. S. Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Astor, John Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Gardner, Edward
Atkins, Humphrey Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gibson-Watt, David
Awdry, Daniel Clegg, Walter Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Cockeram, Eric Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Cooke, Robert Glyn, Dr. Alan
Balniel, Lord Coombs, Derek Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Goodhart, Philip
Batsford, Brian Cormack, Patrick Gorst, John
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Costain, A. P. Gower, Raymond
Bell, Ronald Critchley, Julian Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Crouch, David Gray, Hamish
Benyon, W. Curran, Charles Green, Alan
Berry, Hn. Anthony d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Grieve, Percy
Biffen, John d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Biggs-Davison, John Dean, Paul Grylls, Michael
Blaker, Peter Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Gummer, Selwyn
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Dixon, Piers Gurden, Harold
Body, Richard Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Boscawen, Robert Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bossom, Sir Clive Drayson, G. B. Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Bowden, Andrew du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Dykes, Hugh Hannam, John (Exeter)
Braine, Bernard Eden, Sir John Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bray, Ronald Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Haselhurst, Alan
Brewis, John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Havers, Michael
Brinton, Sir Tatton Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hawkins, Paul
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Emery, Peter Hayhoe, Barney
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Eyre, Reginald Hicks, Robert
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Farr, John Higgins, Terence L.
Bryan, Paul Fell, Anthony Hiley, Joseph
Buchanan-Smith Alick (Angus, N & M) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Buck, Antony Fidler, Michael Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bullus, Sir Eric Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Holt, Miss Mary
Burden, F. A. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Hooson, Emlyn
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Fookes, Miss Janet Hordern, Peter
Carlisle, Mark Fortescue, Tim Hornby, Richard
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Monks, Mrs. Connie Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Monro, Hector Soref, Harold
Howell, David (Guildford) Montgomery, Fergus Speed, Keith
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) More, Jasper Spence, John
Hunt, John Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Sproat, Iain
Hutchison, Michael Clark Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stanbrook, Ivor
Iremonger, T. L, Mudd, David Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
James, David Murton, Oscar Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Jessel, Toby Neave, Airey Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Stokes, John
Jopling Michael Normanton, Tom Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Kershaw, Anthony Nott, John Sutcliffe, John
Kilfedder, James Onslow, Cranley Tapsell, Peter
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
King Tom (Bridgwater) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Kinsey, J. R. Osborn, John Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Kirk, Peter Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Tebbit, Norman
Kitson, Timothy Page, Graham (Crosby) Temple, John M.
Knox, David Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Lane, David Peel, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Percival, Ian Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Henden, S.)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Pink, R. Bonner Tilney, John
Le Marchant, Spencer Pounder, Rafton Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Trew, Peter
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Tugendhat, Christopher
Longden, Gilbert Proudfoot, Wilfred Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Loveridge, John Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis van Straubenzee, W. R.
Luce, R. N. Quennell, Miss J. M. Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
McAdden, Sir Stephen Raison, Timothy Vickers, Dame Joan
MacArthur, Ian Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Waddington, David
McCrindle, R. A. Redmond, Robert Walder, David (Clitheroe)
McLaren, Martin Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Rees-Daves, W. R. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
McMaster, Stanley Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Walters, Dennis
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Ward, Dame Irene
McNair-Wilson, Michael Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Weatherill, Bernard
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Ridsdale, Julian Wells, John (Maidstone)
Maddan, Martin Roberts, Wyn (Conway) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Maginnis, John E. Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Marten, Neil Rost, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Mather, Carol Russell, Sir Ronald Wilkinson, John
Maude, Angus St. John-Stevas, Norman Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Mawby, Ray Scott, Nicholas Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
MaxwelI-Hyslop, R. J. Scott-Hopkins, James Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Meyer, Sir Anthony Sharples, Richard Worsley, Marcus
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Simeons, Charles TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Moate, Roger Sinclair, Sir George
Molyneaux, James Skeet, T. H. H. Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Money, Ernie Mr. Hugh Rossi.
Albu, Austen Cant, R. B. Duffy, A. E. P.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Carmichael, Neil Eadie, Alex
Allen, Scholefield Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Edelman, Maurice
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Armstrong, Ernest Clark, David (Colne Valley) Edwards, William (Merioneth)
Ashley, Jack Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Ellis, Tom
Ashton, Joe Coleman. Donald English, Michael
Atkinson, Norman Corbet, Mrs. Freda Evans, Fred
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Faulds, Andrew
Barnett, Joel Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.
Beaney, Alan Cronin, John Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Foley, Maurice
Bidwell, Sydney Dalyell, Tam Foot, Michael
Bishop, E. S. Darling, Rt. Hn. George Ford, Ben
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davidson, Arthur Forrester, John
Boardman, H, (Leigh) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Fraser, John (Norwood)
Booth, Albert Davies, lfor (Gower) Freeson, Reginald
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil) Galpern, Sir Myer
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Gilbert, Dr. John
Bradley, Tom Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Ginsburg, David
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Delargy, H. J. Gourlay, Harry
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Grant, George (Morpeth)
Buchan, Norman Dempsey, James Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Doig, Peter Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hamling, William
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Driberg, Tom Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Hardy, Peter McGuire, Michael Rhodes, Geoffrey
Harper, Joseph Mackenzie, Gregor Richard, Ivor
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mackie, John Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Maclennan, Robert Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Hattersley, Roy McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis McNamara, J. Kevin Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Heffer, Eric S. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Roper, John
Horam, John Marks, Kenneth Rose, Paul B.
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Marquand, David Sandelson, Neville
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Marsden, F. Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Huckfield, Leslie Marshall, Dr. Edmund Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Meacher, Michael Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Silverman, Julius
Hunter, Adam Mendelson, John Skinner, Dennis
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Millan, Bruce Small, William
Janner, Greville Miller, Dr. M. S. Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Milne, Edward (Blyth) Spearing, Nigel
Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Spriggs, Leslie
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Molloy, William Stallard, A. W.
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
John, Brynmor Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Strang, Gavin
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Moyle, Roland Taverne, Dick
Jones, Barry, (Flint, E.) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Murray, Ronald King Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.) Ogden, Eric Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) O'Halloran, Michael Tinn, James
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) O'Malley, Brian Tomney, Frank
Kaufman, Gerald Oram, Bert Torney, Tom
Kelley, Richard Orme, Stanley Tuck, Raphael
Kinnock, Neil Oswald, Thomas Urwin, T. W.
Lambie, David Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Varley, Eric G.
Wainwright, Edwin
Latham, Arthur Paget, R. T. Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lawson, George Palmer, Arthur Wallace, George
Leadbitter, Ted Panned, Rt. Hn. Charles Watkins, David
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Parker, John (Dagenham) Weitzman, David
Leonard, Dick Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Pendry, Tom Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Pentland, Norman Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Lipton, Marcus Perry, Ernest G. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Loughlin, Charles Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Prescott, John
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Probert, Arthur Mr. John Golding and
McBride, Neil Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Mr. James Hamilton
McCartney, Hugh Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
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