HC Deb 18 January 1971 vol 809 cc644-80

Again considered in Committee.

Question again proposed, That the Amendment be made.

Mr. Mawby

Sir Robert, I was saying that it might be a useful exercise to work out the figures—obviously the statistics are available—for the number of man-hours lost through official strikes compared with the number involved in recent unofficial strikes.

Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to be aware that this exercise was conducted by the Donovan Commission, which said that 95 per cent. of strikes were unofficial and lasted one and a half days; that official strikes lasted three weeks; and that the number of days lost in unofficial strikes was only 5 per cent. of the total I warn the hon. Gentleman that his exercise is unnecessary. If he had read the Donovan Report he would have seen that these statistics were available.

Mr. Mawby

The hon. Gentleman has made an important point, but a point with which I have dealt in the past. The statistics for unofficial strikes will take into account only man hours lost by those on unofficial strike; they will not take into account only man-hours lost by those whose production is lost because of the unofficial strike by a relatively small number of people. Therefore, the statistics can give a completely wrong picture of the whole situation.

Hon. Gentlemen have been taking me away—

Mr. Harold Walker

I should tell the hon. Gentleman that when I was at the Department of Employment and Productivity, as it then was, the figures produced and published in the Gazette, which are the figures used by Donovan, took into account the number of days lost due to workers being laid off at the establishment where the dispute had occurred, but did not include days lost by workers laid off at other establishments For example, if, in an establishment employing 5,000 workers, 3,000 were laid off because of a strike by 100, those 3,000 were counted for the purposes of the statistics.

Mr. Mawby

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I do not wish to make too much of this point. The motor-car industry is an example where many firms sub-contract to the main assembly plant, and none of the figures for man-hours lost in the subsidiaries, sub-contractors, and so on, can be taken into account. No Department can do this. Therefore, the figures cannot be statistically accurate for an unofficial strike.

The important point which I want to make is that the wording in the Bill is reasonable and does not require the addition of the words in the Amendment. If hon. Gentlemen opposite believe that those words ought to be added, they should make certain that everyone in industry also believes and acts on them. Those words mean nothing at all. I therefore see no reason for changing what appears to be the admirable and fair wording of the subsection under discussion.

Mr. Tinn

In our debates on Amendments to the Clause we have time and again fallen foul of the difficulty of defining some of the words used. This might give support to the view of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) that the whole of this Clause and the principles which it enunciates would be better included in the Preamble, as was the fashion at one time, and thus not require precise legal definition. Time and again as non-lawyers we have found ourselves putting different interpretations on the words in the Clause but I am, nevertheless, inclined to agree with the Minister that these principles should be contained within the Bill, despite the difficulties that this might cause, because that is preferable to having the essence of the Bill and the principles upon which it is based, in the Preamble and thus external to the Bill and perhaps in important respects conflicting with it, as has frequently happened with past legislation.

One of the difficulties that has arisen in connection with this issue of definition is that we have had to put to the Minister questions which, understandably, he has found it difficult to answer off the cuff, being a non-lawyer himself. One has sympathy with the Minister in his position, but it is an important part of his rôle to be able to answer questions put to him, and I hope that he will not again depart from his normal standards of courtesy and good humour as he did when he replied to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), when he sought, albeit by means of a point of order, to draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that his assurance that any technical and legal questions put to him would be dealt with later had not been honoured during the Second Reading debate. That was a fair point put by my hon. Friend, and I hope that the Minister will think a little more about it.

I believe that the Amendment brings us to the heart of why many of us on this side of the Committee believe that the Bill is unworkable. The Minister will remember that in my contribution to the Second Reading debate I did not deny—in fact, I fully accepted—the Government's right to legislate, and their responsibility to legislate in this matter if they saw the need for it and had solutions to put forward. My opposition, and that of many of my hon. Friends, is based on the fact that we believe the Bill to be wrong and unworkable, and the Amendment gives me the opportunity to say as concisely as possible why I take that view.

Some hon. Gentlemen who had criticised the Amendment seem to be under the impression that the insertion of these words will mean that every agreement must be voluntary, thus ruling out arbitration, and so on. The subsection into which the words are sought to be inserted deals with the principle of developing and maintaining orderly procedures in industry for the peaceful settlement of disputes". and so on. It deals with general structures and general procedures.

In considering the Amendment we should look at those countries where legally based systems of industrial relations have worked very satisfactorily. Germany is an excellent example, and Sweden and Norway and other countries have been quoted as having systems of industrial negotiation through collective bargaining based on law. But two of the German trade union leaders, for example, readily agree that this legally based system attains its success and works only because it is acceptable to the trade union movement concerned. In other words, it is essentially a voluntary system. Recent German experience, which has so often been extolled as a model of industrial virtue and as a model for the avoidance of strikes, has shown that when faced with the disagreement of the great German trade unions the provisions for conciliation, negotiation and arbitration do not work and cannot work, and were not enforced in the recent spate of German strikes.

I do not accept all that has been said about inconsistency among those of us who supported my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). As a trade unionist I supported her. I believe that 99 per cent. of the proposals in "In Place of Strife" were good. It is tragic that just a few of them, and those not really essential to the main purpose of her Bill, aroused such trade union opposition as to be regarded as unacceptable.

But, whilst I supported the main provisions of my right hon. Friend's Bill, I do not believe that it, any more than the present legislation, would have been workable or practicable, good though it was, in the face of the genuine, solid opposition, misguided though some may have thought it, of the trade union movement. That trade union movement is, after all, comprised of men who have given a lifetime of service in it, who are much more acquainted than any of us with the full complexity of the problems they face, the great variations in customs and practice, and the different types of agreement to be dealt with, which, it is felt, would be made even more complicated rather than simplified by the introduction of lawyers.

I put it as strongly as I can to the Committee that the importance of the insertion of these words would be that it would go some way towards recognising the total impracticability of a legally based system of industrial relations, which goes against the grain and is totally unacceptable to the trade union movement.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. McNamara

My first point refers to the reply given by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) when he spoke of the implied terms of a contract. He may unwittingly have fallen foul of the actual situation because when the law implies terms—as, for example, under the Sale of Goods Act—they are terms on which the parties to the contract think that they are already in agreement. Here we are considering a situation in which the parties do not think that they have agreement but, instead, are having terms imposed on them. That is the important distinction to make.

I want to refer in particular to Amendment No. 363, which seeks to insert the words, without recourse to legal proceedings". To many of us, this is one of the most important aspects of the Bill. When we come to Clauses 35 to 39, perhaps we shall deal with it at greater length. Once one brings the law into a shop floor situation, then the law is no longer a thing of awe and majesty to be observed, respected and heeded. It becomes just another element for use by one side or the other in a dispute over wages and class conditions. It becomes a weapon rightly or wrongly regarded as being in the class war. Once one introduces that kind of situation on to the shop floor, one is bringing the law into complete disrepute. To try to bring the law into our industrial relations in this way is socially divisive and threatens the whole of our social fabric, in which at present the law is properly regarded with respect.

Yet this is being proposed by the party opposite which is supposed to be basing its policies on a proper respect and regard for law and order, and the situation can only he regarded as tragic. We should never bring the law into disrepute, but this part of the Bill will do just that. Amendment No. 363 is fundamental to the whole attitude of our people throughout society to this iniquitous legislation.

Mr. Gower

There are many instances where the law has to be brought into dealings between persons, as in the case mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson). For example, there is legislation on monopolies, fraudulent practices and weights and measures. Surely the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) would not argue that this brings the law into disrepute among private traders. Again, companies are strictly regulated in their dealings.

We on this side share the anxiety of most hon. Members opposite that most of these things will be done voluntarily. Indeed, I believe that practically all of them should be carried out by voluntary action. I agree that negotiation and conciliation should be the basis and that we want to see a state of affairs where that climate prevails. But the Amendments would not cover the whole range of matters to be dealt with.

My hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) mentioned cases where there have been long negotiations, perhaps over months or sometimes even years, between the democratically elected trade union leaders and the management, and yet immediately afterwards a small element has taken the view that the agreement is unsuitable and has made those negotiations abortive. Then there is the whole field of arbitration. How often in this House have we heard the Opposition, both past and present, calling upon a Minister to set up a court of inquiry or some other kind of inquiry? All these cases would not be covered by the Amendments.

We on this side want to see the voluntary element in industrial relations prevail, but we believe that there should be a background of law. That is not unreasonable, especially in the light of the fact that there is a background of law in so many mercantile activities.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Sir Robert, I wondered whether I had heard you aright then, because earlier, after my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) had spoken, I immediately rose to ask the then occupant of the Chair whether I had correctly understood that my Amendment—No. 363—was being discussed with No. 348 and I was assured that my Amendment was to be called. I naturally assumed, having one or two Amendments on the Notice Paper, that this one had slipped in by accident, because most of my Amendments have not been called.

I thought that the usual practice, which has been adopted to my knowledge for 26 years, was that when the Chair says that it is to call an Amendment with another Amendment it calls the person on the first Amendment and then the person on the next Amendment. My hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster referred to my Amendment even though at that stage it had not been moved; so perhaps I can now move it, being the seventh speaker—

The Chairman

Order. The hon. Gentleman does not move his Amendment now. It is moved, if he wishes to move it, in its appropriate place. He is now at liberty to speak either to his Amendment or to Amendment No. 348.

Mr. Lewis

I accept that, Sir Robert. I know the usual procedure. I think that the usual procedure is that if an hon. Member is told that his Amendment is to be called it is then called. However, having made that point, I say to my hon. Friend on my left—geographically speaking, not politically—my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), that I support all progressive Amendments which are moved from this side of the House. Life becomes a little difficult, because the Whips are going around telling us they want us to speak on one Amendment and not on another. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] They are good Amendments. All our Amendments are good. Amendment No. 348, good as it is, would be improved if my Amendment were included, because my Amendment points to the real difficulty; namely, recourse to legal proceedings. I seek to prevent there being recourse to legal proceedings.

You and I, Sir Robert, like many other hon. Members, have had the undoubted honour and pleasure of mixing daily with many hon. and learned Gentlemen. All of them are good, likeable, honourable Members. I will not say a word against any of them. The longer I remain in Parliament the more I admire them. I know that they are not the fearsome, awful gentlemen that most trade unionists think that they are.

The ordinary trade unionist does not mind what he goes through in the way of industrial practices and under his branch and lodge procedure, because he knows all that like the back of his hand. He understands and appreciates just what industrial procedure means: but he does not like recourse to legal proceedings. There is no need for it, because he knows that our great democratic trade union movement, which is the best in the world, has been built up on a voluntary basis and that, with the exception of a relatively few and greatly under-paid full-time leaders, the majority of the work is still done by voluntary workers. They know that this wonderful movement not only was founded on a voluntary basis but that most of the important union day-to-day work is still conducted on a voluntary basis.

Shop stewards, branch secretaries and union committee members are not usually paid servants. Invariably disputes are settled freely and voluntarily by debate and conciliation. To hear hon. Gentlemen opposite speak, to read comments in the Press and to hear some radio commentators one would imagine that the number of industrial disputes not settled by this means is astonishing. In fact, thousands of daily difficulties are resolved on the shop floor by shop stewards and convenors of shop stewards, and the majority of these are settled satisfactorily from the employers' and employees' point of view.

There are occasions when, unfortunately, they are not so settled, but then there is conciliation and arbitration machinery at works, district and national level.

Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)

My hon. Friend will be aware of the doubt and anxiety of trade unionists in the engineering industry and their distrust of the engineering employers because of the York Memorandum. This is why we have bad industrial relations in this industry.

Mr. Lewis

I recall that when I was a trade union official the York Memorandum presented many difficulties. It should have been done away with long before we were born. [Interruption.] I am being generous to the youthfulness of my hon. Friend, and I am not as old as I look. I know the history of the York Memorandum. It should he abolished, and we would willingly help the Government draft the Bill for its abolition.


10.30 p.m.

Before my hon. Friend intervened, I was about to explain how the ordinary worker has a dislike of legal proceedings. Workers invariably go to voluntary conciliation panels and voluntary arbitration tribunals. But recently they have had doubts—and one cannot blame them—not because they are against the old established conciliation machinery in what was the Ministry of Labour, or the conciliation officers, who do a wonderful job, or the conciliation machinery which is in existence, but because of the happenings of the last six months or so whereby the Government have deliberately tried to "cook" the position by ensuring that the tribunals were fixed before they went to them. [An HON. MEMBER: "Rubbish."] The hon. Gentleman may say "Rubbish", but that is not what Mr. Jackson or the Post Office workers say. It is not what Mr. Chapple of the E.T.U. says. Only today Mr. Chapple has made a statement on this matter.

If I went to a court and found that one of the arbitrators was a director of a big steel combine which I had been attacking and which had made large donations to the Conservative Party, I would have doubts—I do not put it higher—about whether I would get fair play. There is an old maxim that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. One can understand the reluctance of a trade unionist in appearing before a body which includes Lord Wilberforce, who gets much more than the ordinary electrical worker, and the gentleman from Guest, Keen and Nettlefold, which makes donations to the Conservative Party. One can understand the attitude of the trade unionist who says that the position will be worse if the Bill goes through without the Amendments which we have tabled. He may say, "We may go before a phoney tribunal which has been rigged and fixed by the Government. Even if that goes against us, as the Bill stands, there could be recourse to legal action against us." Is it any wonder that the trade unionist feels that the scales are weighted against him and his union?

Mr. Ashton

When, just before Christmas, the publishers of the national newspaper took out an injunction in the courts to stop the printing unions having a one-day strike on 8th December and the unions ignored it, no action was taken against them. Employers are very reluctant to bring the existing legal procedures into operation. Therefore, this Bill will be a mockery.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, I agree. As always, my hon. Friend is correct. However, I would not be in order in developing the fact that the whole of the Bill is a mockery. I agree that it is unnecessary. But I think that you, Mr. Godman Irvine, would call me to order if I were to develop that point because we are concerned with only two narrow points.

I am dealing with my Amendment which supports the official Amendment, although I believe that mine goes a little further and is rather more decisive, if I may say so, and is more in line with the feeling and attitude of the ordinary worker on the shop floor. He likes to have spelt out the fact that legal proceedings are precluded, which is the object to my Amendment. If the wording is not quite right legally, I should be prepared to accept an Amendment with the same object but in good legal phraseology.

My Amendment seeks to insert in the Clause the stipulation that there can be voluntary arbitration, voluntary negotiation and voluntary conciliation but that there shall not be compulsory legal action. I agree that the worst thing that one can do with trade unionists, particularly when there is an industrial dispute in the offing, is to threaten them with legal action. The British person—and I say "person" deliberately because I do not mean only the British working man as such—the ordinary Britisher hates to have threats made against him, particularly by the legal profession. Therefore, I believe there could be an opportunity of settling many of these disputes on a purely voluntary basis, if it were known that there could not be the possibility of recourse to legal action.

If people knew that, not only trade unionists but the Press barons also would think to themselves, "Why should we be as bloody-minded as we may have been in the past? We can now resolve this by voluntary conciliation because we shall not have the chance of taking legal remedy. There will be no opportunity of recourse to legal proceedings." The odds are that there would be a speedier settlement and a better opportunity of reaching an amicable settlement.

Mr. Derek Coombs (Birmingham, Yardley)

If the present means of conciliation have been so effective, why have we had such a dramatic deterioration in our industrial relations, particularly with regard to unofficial stoppages, during the months before 18th June?

Mr. Lewis

If the hon. Member had been here earlier he would have heard me try to explain that one of the reasons for industrial strikes in general, and recent ones in particular, was the high rise in prices and in the cost of living, which depreciates the purchasing value of the workers' wages and their standard of living.

Mr. Coombs

Before 18th June?

Mr. Lewis

Yes. I have said that this has happened over the years—the hon. Gentleman would have heard that if he had been here earlier—with this difference, that before 18th June the workers never found that they were having taxes put on their social service benefits while at the same time hundreds of millions of pounds in tax rebates were given to the very rich and the surtax payers. This was the vast difference. Since 18th June we have had a 10 per cent. increase in the cost of living. Let us get that clear, because it is on record, and there are Ministers here who can substantiate it.

I was, I am glad to say, one of those who criticised the former Government because we thought there never could be enough action to control prices, but at least they had a try, at least they had a go, at least they made some approach to the problem, and at least they welcomed Questions in the House, and when we raised Questions about high and unjustified price increases they answered them. But what has happened? Since 18th June this Government have deliberately refused to take any action whatever on any price increases. If the hon. Member had been here when I spoke previously—I do not think he was—he would remember that I gave chapter and verse of prices having risen by 1,500 per cent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] My hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) said it was 1,500 per cent. in one instance.

Mr. Fernyhough

My hon. Friend will not want to misrepresent what I said. What I said was that in London people at the time of the electricians' strike were charging 15s. for candles which were previously sold for 1s.

Mr. Lewis

I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend. I called that increase from 1s. to 15s. a 1,500 per cent. increase. It was an increase by 15 times. Perhaps there is not much difference! It was a slip of the tongue. I should have said 15 times, because to some hon. Members 1,500 per cent. does not seem the same as 15 times!

The Temporary Chairman

I hope the hon. Member will return to the Amendment.

Mr. Lewis

I was dealing with an interjection by an hon. Member who was rightly asking me to what extent these disputes are caused by failure on the part of trade unionists to get or keep agreements, and I was explaining that they are partly due to wage increases not being given to offset high rises in prices and the cost of living, with which this Government have definitely refused to deal. It is a bit unfair, I think, that if a worker finds that articles that he is making in his factory which are produced for x are priced at two or three times more at the shop where he buys them and he finds that—

The Temporary Chairman

Order. My reading of the Amendment is that it is about legal proceedings. Perhaps the hon. Member would address his mind to that subject.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, Mr. Godman Irvine. I was sidetracked somewhat. I had to deal with an interjection because I thought that otherwise it might be thought I was running away from it.

As the Clause now stands, without the Amendments my hon. Friends and I are proposing, it would mean that if there were a dispute as to whether or not a worker should have an increase in wages, and if there were no attempt to resolve the dispute by negotiation or arbitration, there could be recourse to legal proceedings. I am suggesting that we should make this Amendment to say that there should be no recourse to legal proceedings. I do not think legal proceedings will help, if the dispute cannot be resolved by normal, voluntary means of negotiation, arbitration and conciliation, to see whether the worker should or should not get an extra few shillings a week to offset the continued rise in the cost of living—of about 10 per cent. on average. I do not see why, in addition to having the worry and trouble of trying to manage on a low income, he should have the worry and trouble of finding that there may be recourse to legal proceedings against him.

Therefore, when the time comes, I shall try to get a Division on the Amendment.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. R. Carr

It might be for the convenience of the Committee if I dealt first with Amendment No. 363 in the name of the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis). The hon. Gentleman wants to write into the Bill as one of the general guiding principles a provision that there shall be no recourse to legal proceedings. If we were to do that, we should not only be altering this new legislation but changing the law as it stands.

The hon. Gentleman must know that as the law stands, without any new Bill, it is possible for legal proceedings to be taken, and over the years legal proceedings have been taken in many cases, without, as far as I know, objection from the Labour Party. Some of them occurred while the Labour Government were in power, and they made no proposal that the law should be changed to make legal proceedings impossible. What the hon. Gentleman is proposing does not apply only to the Bill. He is wanting to make impossible what is possible without the Bill. It will be interesting to know whether that is the official view, or whether it is a solo view of the hon. Member for West Ham, North.

We cannot accept the Amendment. We believe that recourse to legal action should be there as the very last resort in any matters concerned with industrial relations. It should be rarely and reluctantly used, but the possibility of legal action must be there, and it would be wrong to take it away. If we were to take it away we should put ourselves in a position which does not exist in any other industrial country in the world, and our record is such that we cannot contemplate a move in that direction. If Amendment No. 363 is moved, I must advise the Committee to reject it, and I hope we shall have the support of the Opposition Front Bench in taking that action.

Amendment No. 348 deals with the second of the four major guiding principles laid down in the Clause for the whole of this legislation. I will remind the Committee what that second principle is: the principle of developing and maintaining orderly procedures in industry for the peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, conciliation or arbitration, with due regard to the general interests of the community; The words "by voluntary agreement" would seem to be harmless and superficially welcome words to put in, but the reasons why the Committee would be wrong to put them in were given, among others, by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) and the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson). We certainly want procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes to be voluntarily agreed. That is how it should come about, and that is why we stress in the principle that we want settlement to come about by negotiation, by conciliation or by arbitration. In doing so we are making crystal clear that we believe that the proper way to arrive at procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes is by voluntary agreement assisted, where necessary, by conciliation and arbitration.

Mr. Orme

On the question of conciliation, how does the Minister equate that with the withdrawal of his conciliation officers at present in the Ministry? Is not this an indication of what is in the Bill?

Mr. Carr

It is monstrous to suggest that my conciliation officers have been withdrawn. The conciliation officers in my Department are active throughout the country the whole time. For every dispute which is not settled there are many more which are. Many are settled without the help of my Department's conciliation officers, but week in and week out many are settled with their assistance. I am glad, with the hon. Member's intervention, to be able to nail this lie. It is a lie that the conciliation services of my Department have been withdrawn.

Mr. Orme

Since the right hon. Gentleman says that it is a lie, why did the Post Office workers wait for four days after writing a letter to him personally requesting that his conciliation officers take action? The right hon. Gentleman is on record as saying that his Department will not conciliate to get agreements which may involve a higher figure than that already decided.

Mr. Carr

That is not what I have said, nor is it true that the Post Office workers have waited for four days. Mr. Tom Jackson only wrote the letter on Friday. Today is Monday, so let us calculate a little. I have been in the House most of the evening, with the exception of 20 minutes a little while ago when I had a cup of tea, so I have not been in contact with what happened then. But, as my right hon. Friend announced in his statement earlier, my officials have been seeing both sides this afternoon, and I shall consider, as requested by the right hon. Lady earlier, the possibility and advisability of making a statement tomorrow. It is simply not true that the conciliation services of my Department have been withdrawn.

Mrs. Castle

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that at the time of the local government manual workers dispute he stated that the conciliation services of his Department were not to be used in the normal way, and that he stated as a point of Government policy and principle that there was to be no attempt to reach a settlement because it was to be make or break on the employers' latest offer? Will the right hon. Gentleman, if he is trying to tell us that it is a lie and that the normal conciliation services of his Department have not been withdrawn, recognise that he himself is part of those normal services, and will he, therefore, give the House an undertaking that he will tomorrow, if necessary, intervene personally in the postal workers dispute?

The Temporary Chairman

Order. I cannot in any way prevent the right hon. Gentleman from replying to what has just been said, but I hope that he will not pursue this point but will return to the Amendment which concerns the words "voluntarily agreed".

Mr. Carr

I should like to do that, Mr. Godman Irvine, but as the question has been put to me and you allowed it to be put, I hope that you will allow me to answer it briefly. My position will be the same as that of previous Ministers of Employment, Ministers of Labour, or whatever title they have had in the past; namely, that I must use my judgment about the right moment to intervene personally. This is absolutely in line with the approach adopted by all of my predecessors of all parties. There is no question of my putting myself out of consideration for a personal intervention, but whether and when must be a judgment which the Minister must exercise, as he has always done in the past, and as I hope he will do in the future.

To come back to the Amendment, the fact that we state in our principles that we wish to seek these procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, conciliation and arbitration is proof positive that we want to encourage these agreements to be made by voluntary methods and not by any other method. But we also properly state—and I believe the country will expect us to state—in this principle that this must be done with due regard to the general interests of the community. That is a part of this principle.

We have to face the fact that there may be cases—unfortunately, in the last few years there have been an increasing number of cases—where voluntary procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes simply have not been made and do not exist. If we are to have due regard to the general interests of the community, there must be reserve powers of intervention where necessary.

This is why in Part III of the Bill, which we shall discuss in due course, we provide for remedial action where procedural agreements are non-existent or defective and where as a result of their non-existence or defectiveness the community is suffering in a serious manner. Therefore, in our view we must have this reserve power.

Even in the use of this reserve power we are laying great stress on the need to try to achieve voluntary acceptance and voluntary agreement. Thus, it is not right, as one hon. Member suggested earlier this evening, that these procedures will be laid down by the National Industrial Relations Court. That is not the case. What we propose is that if the Court sees fit, if the Court agrees as a matter of fact that there is a deficiency or the non-existence of a procedure agreement, then the Court can refer that case to the Commission on Industrial Relations, but the Commission in looking at that case is specifically charged to try to reach a voluntary agreement between the two sides. So even in the rare cases where we have to use the reserve power in the general community interest, we still intend to see that that reserve power is of such a nature in its mechanism as to give high priority to trying to arrive at a situation where the parties voluntarily accept the procedural agreement which is needed.

We lay great stress on the whole question of voluntary procedures, but we cannot limit the statement of this principle to voluntarily agreed procedures alone. If I were to accept the Amendment, it might be thought that we were saying that voluntarily agreed procedures, and only voluntarily agreed procedures, were within the principles of the Bill. We hope that they will provide the great majority of cases in this Bill, we intend to see that the Bill should encourage that majority of cases in this Bill, we intend that there must be some reserve powers for the exceptional case. That must be taken cognisance of in the wording of this principle. Therefore, I must advise the Committee to reject the Amendment.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Heffer

This has been a very interesting and important debate. Apart from one or two slightly hilarious sections, it has been a very serious debate. We regard the Amendment as a very serious one. It raises the fundamental question of the voluntary nature of the industrial relations system that has operated up till now, as against the proposal for a legal framework and legal proceedings suggested by the Government.

If we are to get better industrial relations we must continue with the voluntary system. We are not arguing—and we have never argued—that we have the best industrial relations in the world; we accept that there is a need to improve our procedures and voluntary industrial relations system. We have long argued this and have shown it by introducing a Bill—I am not talking about "In Place of Strife", which never became a Bill—which would have had the effect of improving our voluntary industrial relations system.

The Minister always gives the impression of being a very fair man—{HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I said "gives the impression"—because behind that fairly affable mask there is a fairly steely soul. He is dedicated to the concept of changing fundamentally the whole of our industrial relations system—and changing it without justification. I have heard it argued tonight by many hon. Members opposite that we need this new system because the number of unofficial strikes and, in the last six months, of official disputes has increased.

The Donovan Commission studied the background of our industrial relations for three years. It went through the whole spectrum, right into the past. It discussed the question of the legal enforceability of agreements, including procedure agreements. It is always important to refer back to Donovan, because the Government have completely ignored what Donovan says. Paragraph 1054 says: The implications of making collective agreements into binding legal contracts are examined. A measure which had the effect of putting on unions a legal obligation to use their best endeavours to secure the observance of procedure agreements would be more likely to lead to internal union disruption than to fewer unofficial strikes. In present circumstances, no proposal to impose legal sanctions on individuals who strike in breach of procedure agreements is practicable if it relies on enforcement by the employer. It may be said that Donovan can be hedged round and that what the Government propose is not entirely Donovan. But the point is that all those who have any real knowledge of our industrial relations system are totally against the enforceability of contracts and for the continuation of the voluntary system.

I come then to the contribution of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson). I confess that I never know where the Liberal Party stands on any matter. Its Members usually try to face both ways, as their voting on the previous Amendment made clear. Nevertheless, the hon. and learned Gentleman made an interesting point. He said that the Amendment was an appeal to the heart and not to the intellect.

I have heard remarks like that before. I always get a little worried when people appeal to intellectuals in any discussion of industrial relations. I am not opposed to intellectuals. I have myself sometimes been accused of being a sort of pseudo-intellectual—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] I would not expect hon. Gentlemen opposite to appreciate that point.

The concept of introducing the law and appealing to the intellect is out of line with the realities of industrial relations. We do not need it. It is unnecessary. It does not solve the problems. It does not improve industrial relations.

Mr. Hooson

The hon. Gentleman has been good enough to refer to the point that I raised. But would he answer the question which I posed in my speech? How would he deal with those minimal cases where a procedure is not voluntarily agreed? How would the hon. Gentleman deal with a situation where, because one side is intractable, no agreement proves possible?

Mr. Heffer

I am glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman asked that question. I was just about to come to it. He talked about a longstop. He accepts, as other hon. Members do, that there are cases where there are intractable problems.

That is why a number of my hon. Friends and I did not object to the setting up of the Commission on Industrial Relations at the time of "In Place of Strife". We recognised that there are certain cases which raise very difficult problems. The C.I.R. was the blob of oil which could lubricate the wheels and help overcome the problems. My hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) gave a good example earlier—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] That is the answer to the question. Whenever a case raises great problems, it is referred to the C.I.R. The Commission goes into operation and produces a system based upon voluntary discussion which is designed to overcome the difficulties.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not accept that. They do not believe in it. They want to bring the law into every facet of our industrial relations. They talk about longstops. They say that the voluntary system must be operated, and that only as a last resort will the law be used.

If right hon. and hon. Gentlemen are genuinely concerned about the voluntary system, they should accept without question the Amendments which we have put down. They are sensible Amendments which seek to continue the system of voluntary negotiations. The Amendments strengthen the Clause by making clear precisely what we are seeking. That is why I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends, in view of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, to divide the Committee and support the Amendments.

The Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) was a bit of free enterprise which on this occasion we are willing to accept and support. The right hon. Gentleman said that there were legal proceedings to which we had never objected in the past. That is quite true. But we are discussing a Bill which fundamentally changes our industrial relations system. Because of this, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support both Amendments.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 247. Noes, 282.

Division No. 56.] AYES [11.12 p.m.
Abse, Leo Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Bagier, Gordon A. T.
Albu, Austen Ashton, Joe Barnes, Michael
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Atkinson, Norman Barnett, Joel
Baxter, William Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Murray, Ronald King
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Ogden, Eric
Bidwell, Sydney Hardy, Peter O'Halloran, Michael
Bishop, E. S. Harper, Joseph O'Malley, Brian
Blenkinsop, Arthur Harison, Walter (Wakefield) Oram, Bert
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Orbach, Maurice
Booth, Albert Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Orme, Stanley
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Heffer, Eric S. Oswald, Thomas
Bradley, Tom Hilton W. S. Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Horam, John Padley, Walter
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Paget, R. T.
Buchan, Norman Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Palmer, Arthur
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Huckfield, Leslie Parker, John (Dagenham)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Hughes, Mark (Durham) Pavitt, Laurie
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Pendry, Tom
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Pentland, Norman
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Janner, Greville Perry, Ernest G.
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Prescott, John
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Price, William (Rugby)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) John, Brynmor Probert, Arthur
Cohen, Stanley Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Reed, D.(Sedgefield)
Coleman, Donald Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Concannon, J. D. Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Conlan, Bernard Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Richard, Ivor
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Cronin, John Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Judd, Frank Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Kaufman, Gerald Roper, John
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Kelley, Richard Rose, Paul B.
Dalyell, Tam Kerr, Russell Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Davidson, Arthur Kinnock, Neil Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Lambie, David Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lamond, James Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Latham, Arthur Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Deakins, Eric Lawson, George Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Delargy, H. J. Leadbitter, Ted Sillars, James
Dell Rt. Hn. Edmund Leonard, Dick Silverman, Julius
Devlin, Miss Bernadette Lestor, Miss Joan Small, William
Doig, Peter Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Dormand, J. D. Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Spearing, Nigel
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Spriggs, Leslie
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lipton, Marcus Stallard, A. W.
Driberg, Tom Lomas, Kenneth Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Dunn, James A. Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Eadie, Alex Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Strang, Gavin
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McBride, Neil Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Edwards, William (Merioneth) McCann, John Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Ellis, Tom McCartney, Hugh Swain, Thomas
English, Michael McElhone, Frank Taverne, Dick
Evans, Fred McGuire, Michael Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Faulds, Andrew Mackenzie, Gregor Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Fernyhough, E. Mackie, John Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Mackintosh, John P. Tinn, James
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Maclennan, Robert Tomney, Frank
Fitt, Garard (Belfast, W.) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Urwin, T. W.
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McNamara, J. Kevin Varley, Eric G.
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) MacPherson, Malcolm Wainwright, Edwin
Foley, Maurice Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Foot, Michael Marks, Kenneth Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Ford, Ben Marquand, David Wallace, George
Forrester, John Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Watkins, David
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Weitzman, David
Fraser, John (Norwood) Meacher, Michael Wellbeloved, James
Freeson, Reginald Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mendelson, John Whitehead, Phillip
Garrett, W. E. Mikardo, Ian Whitlock, William
Gilbert, Dr. John Millan, Bruce Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Ginsberg, David Miller, Dr. M. S. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Golding, John Milne, Edward (Blyth) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Molloy, William Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Moyle, Roland Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Mr. William Hamling
Adley, Robert Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Mawby, Ray
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Gibson-Watt, David Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Goodhart, Philip Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Astor, John Goodhew, Victor Miscampbell, Norman
Atkins, Humphrey Gorst, John Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Gower, Raymond Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Baker, W. H. K. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Moate, Roger
Balniel, Lord Gray, Hamish Molyneaux, James
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Green, Alan Money, Ernie
Batsford, Brian Grieve, Percy Monks, Mrs. Connie
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Monro, Hector
Bell, Ronald Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Montgomery, Fergus
Benyon, W. Grylls, Michael More, Jasper
Berry, Hn. Anthony Gummer, Selwyn Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Biffen, John Gurden, Harold Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Biggs-Davison, John Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Hall, John (Wycombe) Mudd, David
Body, Richard Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Boscawen, Robert Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Neave, Airey
Bossom, Sir Clive Hannam, John (Exeter) Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Bowden, Andrew Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Normanton, Tom
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Haselhurst, Alan Nott, John
Braine, Bernard Havers, Michael Onslow, Cranley
Bray, Ronald Hawkins, Paul Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Brewis, John Hayhoe, Barney Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Brinton, Sir Tatton Heseltine, Michael Osborn, John
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hicks, Robert Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Higgins, Terence L. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hiley, Joseph Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Bryan, Paul Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Pardoe, John
Buck, Antony Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)
Burden, F. A. Holland, Philip Percival, Ian
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holt, Miss Mary Pike, Miss Mervyn
Carlisle, Mark Hooson, Emlyn Pink, R. Bonner
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hordern, Peter Pounder, Rafton
Channon, Paul Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Chapman, Sydney Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Howell, David (Guildford) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Churchill, W. S. Hunt, John Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hutchison, Michael Clark Raison, Timothy
Clegg, Walter James, David Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Cockeram, Eric Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn Sir Peter
Cooke, Robert Jessel, Toby Redmond, Robert
Coombs, Derek Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Cooper, A. E. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rees, Peter (Dover)
Cormack, Patrick Jopling, Michael Rees-Davies, W. R.
Costain, A. P. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Critchley, Julian Kaberry, Sir Donald Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Curran, Charles Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl of Kershaw, Anthony Ridsdale, Julian
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Kimball, Marcus Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack King, Tom (Bridgwater) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dean, Paul Kinsey, J. R. Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kirk, Peter Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Knight, Mrs. Jill Rost, Peter
Dixon, Piers Knox, David Royle, Anthony
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Lane, David Russell, Sir Ronald
Drayson, G. B. Langford-Holt, Sir John St. John-Stevas, Norman
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Dykes, Hugh Le Merchant, Spencer Scott, Nicholas
Eden, Sir John Lewis, Kennth (Rutland) Scott-Hopkins, James
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Longden, Gilbert Sharples, Richard
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Loveridge, John Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) McAdden, Sir Stephen Shelton, William (Clapham)
Eyre, Reginald MacArthur, Ian Simeons, Charles
Farr, John McCrindle, R. A. Sinclair, Sir George
Fell, Anthony McLaren, Martin Skeet, T. H. H.
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Fidler, Michael McMaster, Stanley Soref, Harold
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Speed, Keith
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Spence, John
Fookes, Miss Janet Maddan, Martin Sproat, Iain
Foster, Sir John Madel, David Stainton, Keith
Fowler, Norman Maginnis, John E. Stanbrook, Ivor
Fox, Marcus Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Steel, David
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Marten, Neil Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Fry, Peter Mather, Carol Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Trafford, Dr. Anthony White, Roger (Gravesend)
Stokes, John Trew, Peter Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Tugendhat, Christopher Wiggin, Jerry
Sutcliffe, John Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H. Wilkinson, John
Tapsell, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart) Walder, David (Clitheroe) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester) Woodnutt, Mark
Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Tebbit, Norman Wall, Patrick Younger Hn. George
Temple, John M. Walters, Dennis
Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Ward, Dame Irene TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Warren, Kenneth Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Wells, John (Maidstone) Mr. Tim Fortescue
Tilney, John

[Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

Mr. Peter Archer (Rowley Regis and Tipton)

I beg to move Amendment No. 12, in page 1, line 13, after 'peaceful', insert 'and expeditious'.

This Amendment is another bit of private enterprise, but it may mean a period of relative peace and quiet for the House as it entails the addition of only two words. I should like to make it clear that I do not regard it as just a minor textual Amendment. I invite the Secretary of State to demonstrate that he has grasped what I consider to be a fundamental point about industrial relations—the effect on the human mind of a remedy unduly delayed. The fundamental reason for negotiations so frequently breaking down is a sheer loss of patience. Many wage claims have eventuated in strikes because they have been unresolved for so long.

But, of course, about half the unofficial strikes, if we are to believe the Donovan Commission, are not about wages at all. Many of them are about grievances which sometimes in cold print appear remarkably small matters, sometimes almost frivolous. They are matters which could be resolved very quickly if someone was minded to resolve them. Why do they give rise so often to industrial action? In my submission it is not because anyone enjoys industrial action or because people want to strike and not, normally, because shop stewards are minded to foment a situation of that kind.

I remind the Committee of what the Donovan Commission said about shop stewards: Our clear impression, reinforced by the results of our surveys of workshop relations, is that shop stewards in the motor industry, like shop stewards elsewhere are in general hard-working and responsible people who are making a sincere attempt to do a difficult job. Often, in fact, the stewards are cast in the role of mediators trying to prevent stoppages taking place while grievances can be examined. The difficulty is often that those responsible for management are just too busy—and one has some sympathy with them. They have other things to attend to, such as production and maintenance. But those who suffer are confronted with a situation every moment of their working day, day after day and week after week. For the management, it is too easy to forget these matters; for the workers, it is too difficult to forget them. [Interruption.] Then, of course, one day tempers simply explode and then there is industrial action. Frequently, the matter is rectified with a remarkable expedition which might have been applied very much earlier. [Interruption.] This is—

The Chairman

Order. I must ask the Committee to give a little more silence. The hon. Gentleman is entitled to a good hearing, and I am sure that we would like to hear him.

Mr. Archer

I am grateful to you, Sir Robert. It is always difficult at this time of the evening. I shall try not to delay the Committee for long.

This is only one type of problem which arises. Sometimes, of course, there are disputes which have to be resolved quickly, otherwise it is too late to resolve them at all. The question of the holiday rota which is published only a very short time before it is to take effect is an example. This sort of thing is the flesh and blood of which industrial relations are made. What is needed is a method of ensuring that this kind of dispute is rectified quickly.

The whole difficulty is that the negotiating procedure is so frequently too slow. What is the remedy proposed by the Government? They propose to make a list of what they call "unfair practices" and refer them to the Industrial Court. I suspect that at this stage I may forfeit the support of some of my hon. Friends but I say this because honesty compels me to say it. Everything I have ever said and written is consistent with a profound respect for the procedures evolved by our common law in the settlement of this kind of dispute, which traditionally have found their way into the law courts, and I do not resile from that for a moment. But there are two conditions. I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman will get off on the wrong foot on this point because, as has been said more than once today, members of trade unions feel, to begin with, that this is no solution to the problem of expediting the resolution of their disputes.

Every time Shakespeare wrote about it, the word "law" has given rise to association of the word "delays", and sometimes for very good reason. In the debate on the Courts Bill last week many hon. Members pointed out that the civil lists were subject to considerable delays with which the legal system had not coped. I do not believe that that is built into the procedures of the common law, but it is very much the way people feel about the law. I suspect that the Secretary of State will find it difficult to convince the unions that he has hit on a method of expediting the resolution of their disputes by referring them to a legal procedure in this way.

11.30 p.m.

Second, again without for a moment apologising for my respect for the solutions of the common law, they were not designed to resolve disputes which demand solution within days, if not hours. Has the Secretary of State given thought to some of the questions of time which will arise under the procedure which the Bill prescribes? Has he made any estimate of the number of cases which are likely to be referred under the Bill to the Industrial Court in the first 12 months of its existence? Has he given any thought to the pre-trial procedures, because obviously it is not a method of expediting the solution of these problems to bring them before the court without there first being some form of written submissions in an attempt to determine the issues with which the court will be confronted? Has he made any estimate of the time a reference will take from the moment of first submission until it is heard?

I am a little worried about the solution that the right hon. Gentleman has proposed at a time when it has been found that the existing procedures are too slow, a matter to which the right hon. Gentleman himself referred in the debate on the last Amendment. If it is discovered that an existing procedure is too slow, the Secretary of State can submit it under Clause 35 to the Industrial Court, and the Court can consider it. If the court is satisfied that it is too slow, it refers it to the Commission. Then the Commission attempts to see whether there can be some agreement between the parties. If that fails, the Commission formulates proposals which are retransmitted to the Court. The Court considers those proposals and, if it deems them suitable, confirms them. At that stage the new procedure goes back to the original negotiators to sort out the very situation which gave rise to the dispute in the first place.

Many of these problems will be discussed later during the Committee stage. At this stage I merely invite the Secretary of State to indicate that he is at least aware of the problem, because it is a problem which is daily and hourly with those whose job it is to resolve industrial disputes. If the right hon. Gentleman agrees that this is part of the problem, he can make a beginning by accepting the Amendment.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Dudley Smith)

We appreciate the way in which the hon. Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Archer) moved his Amendment. We understand that he has a profound respect for the rule and application of law, and it is very difficult indeed at this stage to make an estimate of how many cases there will be initially when the Bill becomes law.

I will not labour the point, because it is not entirely material to the point under discussion, but the courts will be a last resort in all these procedures. Conciliation comes first. These courts are deliberately designed to be flexible and informal. I assume, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, who has a far greater experience than I of courts and the law, will believe, that with those procedures there will be a speeding up of cases compared with some of the delays which occur in other facets of the law at present.

Much earlier today the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said that he hoped that we would not be hidebound in our approach to the Bill and that, as the various Amendments were discussed, if there were one or two of merit and if they commended themselves to us we would look favourably on them and would not, because the Bill has been so admirably drafted, wish to preserve every dot, comma and word without any additions or subtractions. That is precisely the case and I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman that we accept the Amendment.

It is, naturally, desirable that disputes should be settled as rapidly as possible. There is common ground about that. If a procedure is unduly long, frustration builds up and industrial action is likely to follow, and this is often a cause of difficulty. It is for this reason that we believe that the insertion of the word "expeditious" may have some merit, though I must sound a word of caution; that it would be undesirable to encourage speed at the expense of thoroughness.

Mrs. Castle

We are, of course, glad that the Government have had the common sense to accept this sensible Amendment which my hon. Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Peter Archer) moved so effectively. He established an overwhelming case for the need to speed up the procedures for the settlement of disputes. We are glad that, by accepting the insertion of this word, the Government have recognised this.

As the Secretary of State said earlier, the country will judge the Government by deeds and not by words. We therefore expect that the principle which they have accepted by including the word "expeditious" will be embodied in Amendments involving action.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 363 proposed: In line 14, after 'negotiation', insert 'without recourse to legal proceedings'.—[Mr. Arthur Lewis.]

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 245, Noes 281.

Division No. 57.] AYES [11.38 p.m.
Abse, Leo Conlan, Bernard Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Albu, Austen Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Foley, Maurice
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Crawshaw, Richard Foot, Michael
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Cronin, John Ford, Ben
Armstrong, Ernest Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Forrester, John
Ashton, Joe Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Fraser, John (Norwood)
Atkinson, Norman Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Freeson, Reginald
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Galpern, Sir Myer
Barnes, Michael Dalyell, Tam Garrett, W. E.
Barnett, Joel Davidson, Arthur Gilbert, Dr. John
Baxter, William Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Ginsburg, David
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Bidwell, Sydney Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Bishop, E. S. Deakins, Eric Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Delargy, H. J. Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Booth, Albert Devlin, Miss Bernadette Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Doig, Peter Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Bradley, Tom Dormand, J. D. Hamling William
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hardy, Peter
Buchan, Norman Driberg, Tom Harper, Joseph
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Duffy, A. E. P. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Dunn, James A. Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Eadie, Alex Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Heffer, Eric S.
Cant, R. B. Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hilton, W. S.
Carmichael, Neil Ellis, Tom Horam, John
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) English, Michael Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Evans, Fred Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Faulds, Andrew Huckfield, Leslie
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Fernyhough, E. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Cohen, Stanley Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Coleman, Donald Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Concannon, J. D. Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Hunter, Adam
Janner, Greville Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Rose, Paul B.
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Meacher, Michael Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Mendelson, John Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
John, Brynmor Mikardo, Ian Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Millan, Bruce Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Miller, Dr. M. S. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Sillars, James
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Molloy, William Silverman, Julius
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Small, William
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Spearing, Nigel
Judd, Frank Moyle, Roland Spriggs, Leslie
Kaufman, Gerald Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Stallard, A. W.
Kelley, Richard Murray, Ronald King Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Kerr, Russell Ogden, Eric Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Kinnock, Neil O'Halloran, Michael Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lambie, David O'Malley, Brian Strang, Gavin
Lamond, James Oram, Bert Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Latham, Arthur Orbach, Maurice Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Lawson, George Orme, Stanley Swain, Thomas
Leadbitter, Ted Oswald, Thomas Taverne, Dick
Leonard, Dick Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Lestor, Miss Joan Padley, Walter Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Paget, R. T. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Palmer, Arthur Tinn, James
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Parker, John (Dagenham) Tomney, Frank
Lipton, Marcus Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Urwin, T. W.
Lomas, Kenneth Pavitt, Laurie Varley, Eric G.
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Wainwright, Edwin
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Pendry, Tom Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pentland, Norman Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
McBride, Neil Perry, Ernest G. Watkins, David
McCann, John Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Weitzman, David
McCartney, Hugh Prescott, John Wellbeloved, James
McElhone, Frank Price, William (Rugby) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
McGuire, Michael Probert, Arthur Whitehead, Phillip
Mackenzie, Gregor Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Whitlock, William
Mackie, John Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Mackintosh, John P. Rhodes, Geoffrey Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Maclennan, Robert Richard, Ivor Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
McNamara, J. Kevin Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
MacPherson, Malcolm Robertson, John (Paisley)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Marquand, David Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Mr. Kenneth Marks and
Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Roper, John Mr. John Golding
Adley, Robert Burden, F. A. Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Eyre, Reginald
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Carlisle, Mark Farr, John
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Fell, Anthony
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Channon, Paul Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Astor, John Chapman, Sydney Fidler, Michael
Atkins, Humphrey Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Chichester-Clark, R. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Baker, W. H. K. Churchill, W. S. Fookes, Miss Janet
Balniel, Lord Clarks, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fortescue, Tim
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Cockerham, Eric Foster, Sir John
Batsford, Brian Cooke, Robert Fowler, Norman
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Coombs, Derek Fox, Marcus
Bell, Ronald Cooper, A. E. Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)
Benyon, W. Cormack, Patrick Fry, Peter
Berry, Hn. Anthony Costain, A. P. Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Biffen, John Critchley, Julian Gibson-Watt, David
Biggs-Davison, John Curran, Charles Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Dalkeith, Earl of Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Body, Richard Davies, John (Knutsford) Goodhart, Philip
Boscawen, Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Goodhew, Victor
Bossom, Sir Clive d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Gorst, John
Bowden, Andrew Dean, Paul Gower, Raymond
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Braine, Bernard Digby, Simon Wingfield Gray, Hamish
Bray, Ronald Dixon, Piers Green, Alan
Brewis, John Dodds-Parker, Douglas Grieve, Percy
Brinton, Sir Tatton Drayson, G. B. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dykes, Hugh Grylls, Michael
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Eden, Sir John Gummer, Selwyn
Bryan, Paul Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Buck, Antony Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Scott, Nicholas
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Meyer, Sir Anthony Scott-Hopkins, James
Hannam, John (Exeter) Mills, Peter (Torrington) Sharples, Richard
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Haselhurst, Alan Miscampbell, Norman Shelton, William (Clapham)
Havers, Michael Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Simeons, Charles
Hawkins, Paul Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Sinclair, Sir George
Hayhoe, Barney Moate, Roger Skeet, T. H. H.
Heseltine, Michael Molyneaux, James Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hicks, Robert Money, Ernie Soref, Harold
Higgins, Terence L. Monks, Mrs. Connie Speed, Keith
Hiley, Joseph Monro, Hector Spence, John
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Montgomery, Fergus Sproat, Iain
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) More, Jasper Stainton, Keith
Holland, Philip Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Stanbrook, Ivor
Holt, Miss Mary Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Steel, David
Hooson, Emlyn Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Hordern, Peter Mudd, David Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn&Dame Patricia Nabarro, Sir Gerald Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Howe, Hn. Sir (Geoffrey Reigate) Neave, Airey Stokes, John
Howell, David (Guildford) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Normanton, Tom Sutcliffe, John
Hunt, John Nott, John Tapsall, Peter
Hutchison, Michael Clark Onslow, Cranley Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
James, David Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Jessel, Toby Osborn, John Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)
Joihnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Tebbit, Norman
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Page, Graham (Crosby) Temple, John M.
Jopling, Michael Page, John (Harrow, W.) Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pardoe, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Percival, Ian Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Kershaw, Anthony Pike, Miss Mervyn Tilney, John
Kimball, Marcus Pink, R. Bonner Trafford, Dr. Anthony
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Pounder, Rafton Trew, Peter
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Tugendhat, Christopher
Kinsey, J. R. Price, David (Eastleigh) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Kirk, Peter Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Knight, Mrs. Jill Proudfoot, Wilfred Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Knox, David Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Lane, David Raison, Timothy Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Wall, Patrick
Le Marchant, Spencer Redmond, Robert Walters, Dennis
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Ward, Dame Irene
Longden, Gilbert Rees, Peter (Dover) Warren, Kenneth
Loveridge, John Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John (Maidstone)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David White Roger (Gravesend)
MacArthur, Ian Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
McCrindle, R. A. Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
McLaren, Martin Ridsdale, Julian Wilkinson, John
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Woodhouse, Hn. Christpher
Maddan, Martin Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Woodnutt, Mark
Madel, David Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Maginnis, John E. Rost, Peter Younger, Hn. George
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Royle, Anthony
Marten, Neil Russell, Sir Ronald TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mather, Carol St. John-Stevas, Norman Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Mawby, Ray Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Mr. Walter Clegg.

11.47 p.m.

Mr. R. Carr

On a point of order, Sir Robert. I have been considering the stage that we have reached in our deliberations today. I must confess that the progress that we have made has, I am afraid, been pretty slow and disappointing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] It is all very well for the right hon. Lady and others to say "Nonsense", but we all know that there are very big and important issues ahead of us—issues which are genuinely controversial in the full and proper sense of the word. Yet here we are, still only having completed line 14 of page 1 of the Bill. In other words, we are dealing with the early part of Clause 1, a Clause which is not controversial, a Clause which at least one hon. Member opposite agreed with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) might be so unimportant as to be possibly included in a non-debatable preamble. That is the view which was expressed by one of the right hon. Lady's supporters.

After seven hours or more, having reached only line 14 in a Clause which is really a statement of principles which I would have thought was generally agreed throughout the country, I cannot help but express disappointment. I am sorry if the Opposition do not agree, but that is our view.

Nevertheless, this is the first day of the Committee, and it is now ten minutes to twelve. It seems to me that we have to decide to go on a great deal longer—for it is not, I think, convenient for hon. Members to stop here only a bit, because of transport, and so forth—or to stop now further consideration of the Bill today. Alternatively, we must decide to go on for quite a while longer. While I certainly hope and believe that we shall make much faster progress tomorrow, I hope that it may be convenient to the Committee to adjourn now.

Therefore, I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Mrs. Castle

We of course accept this Motion, though we are willing to go on if the right hon. Gentleman wants us to go on. We believe that this is a very important piece of legislation indeed—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes very important; one of the most seriously reactionary pieces of legislation which even a Conservative Government have produced. We intend to see that it is examined responsibly and carefully by the Opposition.

While accepting the right hon. Gentleman's Motion, I want totally to repudiate his suggestion that we have spent an unnecessary amount of time on Clause 1. It really is rather odd for the right hon. Gentleman to affix to the beginning of the Bill a very unusual formula, a series of guiding principles—but that is his choice, this odd manoeuvre—and to say, in Clause 1 (2), that these principles are to be guiding principles for the courts and for Ministers and for the tribunals under his Bill, and then to complain because we want to examine these principles.

If that is to be his approach, then I think that indeed the country will judge him as being factious in his attitude and denying us the right to exercise responsibly the duties of the Opposition. We shall continue to do so. We accept his Motion, but I can assure him again, as I did at the beginning, that we do not intend to filibuster, we do not intend to put down unnecessary Amendments, but, equally, we do not intend to be done out of our democratic right to examine this important Bill exhaustively.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.