§ Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)
I beg to move, Amendment No. 388 in page 2, line 16, leave out from beginning to 'to' in line 17 and insert:'appointed day on which this Act shall come into operation'
§ The Deputy Chairman (Miss Harvie Anderson)
I suggest that it would be convenient for the Committee to consider 962 at the same time the following Amendments:
No. 27 in page 2, line 16, leave out 'one year' and insert 'two years'.
No. 389 in line 16, leave out 'one year' and insert 'three months'.
No. 390 in line 16, leave out 'one year' and insert 'six months'.
No. 40 in Clause 3, page 2, line 31, leave out 'one year' and insert 'two years'.
§ Mr. Pardoe
The Amendment concerns the Code of Practice. I am aware that many hon. Members of the Committee will not be very concerned about that 963 They oppose the Bill in its entirety and the whole philosophy behind it. I take a different position. I do not oppose the Bill in its entirety, as I have already made clear in the debate on the Consultative Document. I welcome it as the first attempt to reorganise the chaos of our industrial relations. I want to make it work and to make it relevant and effective.
Unfortunately, as the Bill stands, without the Code of Practice, it has little of a radical or reforming nature. It could be that this reform and radicalism will come in the code of industrial relations practice. It could be that when the code finally emerges after the period of gestation, it will be merely a list of biased platitudes and will never be possible to put it into effect. I hope very much that that will not be so and that the code will be relevant to the problems of industrial relations, and I hope that it will probably be the most significant part of the whole of this process of legislation. We know very little of what it will contain, and we are being asked to accept an undisclosed code in the Bill.
What we are told about the code in the Bill is extremely sketchy. But we are told that although it will not be enforceable in law, nevertheless it will have to be taken into account by the Industrial Court or by an Industrial Tribunal, and that when it has been taken into account it can be used in determining the question, and presumably even determining the level of compensation if it is relevant to that.
We are told more in the Consultative Document about the code than we are told in the Bill. In the Consultative Document, on page 2, paragraph 13, section b, we are told that its purpose is:to encourage the establishment … of effective means of communication, including the provision of information, between management and workers at all levels so as to involve them more fully in the operations of their firms.I echo those words and welcome them. That is the nub of the whole problem.
If one considers the suggestion that the code of industrial practice will set out ideas for better communications between employees and employers, one realises that this could be an extremely contentious issue. We have already dis- 964 cussed this to some extent on a previous Amendment, but if we are being asked to accept that this code will set out the practice by which communications can be bettered in industry on the shop floor, we ought to know something about it. What is more, the Bill should not come into force until we have that code printed and before us.
Secondly, the Consultative Document states that the code will set out certain provisions for guiding employers and employees in the provision of information. Again, this will be an extremely contentious issue, both on communications and information, and there will be enormous argument between employers and employees, and between trade unions and employers' federations, about how much information should be divulged. All this will have to be tied up in the Code of Practice.
The code could be the most relevant part of the whole Bill to the whole problem in industry. I regret that without it the Bill concentrates on the regulation of relationships between trade unions and employers' associations, which will at best have only a marginal effect on industrial unrest and productivity, and which ignores almost completely the establishment of a constitutional relationship between employers and employees within individual companies, which is considered by those experienced in industry to be the key factor in improving our industrial relations. Therefore, the code should be the most important part of the Bill, but we do not have it. [AN HON. MEMBER: "What is it?"]. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to ask that. I hope that we can have it much earlier than we are promised it in the Bill. I hope that we can have it before the Bill becomes law. I should like it now that we are deliberating upon the early stages of the Bill. At least we should have it before the Bill becomes law.
We have tabled two further Amendments. In case the Government are not prepared to accept that somewhat radical suggestion, we offer them a three months' or six months' option so that they can buy forward.
Much of the Bill depends on the code, and it is very necessary that we should 965 have it at an early opportunity. I hope that when this debate is answered we can also have some idea of what the code will contain. What will it say about communications on the shopfloor? Might it, for instance, provide for the setting up of works councils in firms? These are vital to the improvement of communications within the firm. I hope that the Minister will take the opportunity of this debate to give more details of what is likely to be in the code. I hope that he may also even try to explain the reason for the delay in its publication. Is it that the Government wish the Bill to stand for 12 months and to try to clear up its inadequacies, and perhaps even the mess created by it, in that strange document, the code.
If they have any confidence in the ability of the code to do anything at all for our industrial relations, if it is not to be simply a list of pious platitudes, there is no reason why we should not have a draft code to study now, or at least before the Bill becomes law.
§ Mr. Ashton
On a point of order. Mr. Deputy Chairman, three weeks before Christmas the previous Speaker, Dr. King, ruled that I and my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. William Price) had contravened a well-established practice of the House that the vote must follow the voice. We have on the Order Paper several Amendments by the Liberals, of whom only one is present. Is it in order for Liberal Members to put their names to Amendments and then not bother to turn up to vote for them? Should not their names be deleted from the Amendments in the same way as Mr. Speaker ruled that our names should be deleted from the Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill?
§ The Deputy Chairman (Miss Harvie Anderson)
Order. The hon. Gentleman has made his point, but he probably knows that it is not out of order to do what he has complained about.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
I am glad that the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) gives a general welcome to the efforts behind the Bill. Rightly, he has raised questions about the Code of Practice because it is a relevant part of the Bill and is dealt with in Clause 2. In 966 effect, he asks, "How can the Bill become law without the Code of Practice?"
I make it clear that the Government see the code as a valuable background to the operation of promoting good industrial relations, as specified in Clause 1. It is not essential in the short term in order to enable the Bill to become law to have a Code of Practice. Ideally perhaps it should be ready, and I shall explain when we expect it.
The code envisaged by the Bill provides a long-term climate and an additional clarification of good industrial relations. Largely, I believe, it will become an educative document. As we heard in the long debates on Clause 1, there are a number of guiding principles for those concerned with this legislation and these will be backed up by the Code of Practice in Clause 2, which says, relating to the preparation and drafting of the code, that it shall contain… such practical guidance as in the opinion of the Secretary of State would be helpful …"Practical guidance" is the operative part of this provision, and the Bill can stand on its own, certainly initially, without the code actually being ready and published. Clause 3 provides that the Secretary of State has a duty to lay a draft of the code before Parliament, and it will be subject to approval or rejection by Parliament.
I turn now to the legal part of the code. It will not be possible for anyone to bring an action on the ground that the provisions of the code have been broken. Actions will have to be based on the provisions about unfair industrial practices. Any of these breaches are the ones which will be liable to civil action in the courts. The code will not and cannot lay down precise rules to cover any and every set of circumstances. In the last resort, it will be for the courts to interpret the differences of views between the parties on particular points, having regard to any general provisions of the code which may be relevant.
Indeed, the courts are always subject to that type of interpretation. Failure to observe the code will not in itself lead to any particular proceedings, but in any proceedings under the Bill it will have much the same force as the Highway Code, for instance, in relation to the Road Traffic Acts. The Road Traffic Acts 967 came into operation a long time before the Highway Code was drafted and refined, but that did not prevent civil actions taking place following from road accidents, and I imagine that the law was further clarified by having the Highway Code, which is a most valuable institution in relation to the Road Traffic Acts.
§ Mr. Iremonger
What about complaints for damages which have been suffered? Will it be possible to bring a complaint in respect of a breach of the code?
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
Not directly. It is specified in the Bill that the Industrial Court will take account of circumstances, on one side or the other, where it is alleged that there has not been compliance with the code. It is not a civil offence in itself not to comply with the code but it can be taken into account in deciding other particular issues. It forms an important and valuable background. The equation with the Highway Code, although these are entirely separate things, is the best illustration I can give to show how a previous code has come into being and has worked and is applied successfully in civil litigation.
The Amendment, which was moved so courteously by the hon. Gentleman, is unacceptable, I am afraid, because there will not be any one day on which the Bill becomes operative. Clause 150(2) provides that different days may be appointed for the implementation of provisions of the Bill. This, of course, is very important. It would, perhaps, be wrong for the whole Bill to come into operation simultaneously, and a good deal of work will have to be done. For example, it will become necessary to set up the machinery for dealing with unfair industrial practices before bringing into effect those Clauses which provide for the presentation of complaints about unfair industrial practices. One has to take that into account, too.
The hon. Gentleman asked whether I would give a good deal of detail about the Code of Practice. I cannot do so tonight. It will cover a wide area. As he knows, my right hon. Friend will have consultations about it, and it would be premature to anticipate exactly what the 968 provisions will be. For instance, matters like management rights, the responsibility of management towards employees, the rôle of the supervisor, the relationship of management with trade unions, those facilities which management should provide to help unions in representing employees, the rôle of the trade unions, their rights, responsibilities and functions, collective agreements and guide lines on establishing effective agreements, dismissals and the establishment of the right of employees to know why they are being dismissed, joint consultations—in fact, a comprehensive survey intended to be genuinely helpful to both sides of industry will be carried out.
As we know, the great advantage of this is that it will not be sacrosanct for ever more but it can be revised in due course, again subject to the approval of Parliament.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
That will come up on a later Amendment, but perhaps I could give the short answer now: everybody who would like to may make representations. My right hon. Friend was very liberal when the Bill was originally published in the form of the Consultative Document, and he invited comments from all sections of society. Some responded, and some did not. Certainly, it is his intention on the Code of Practice seriously to consider all bona fide representations which are made to him. There is no question of trying to favour one group against another. He will welcome this information when it comes forward.
I can tell the Committee that work is now in progress on the draft of the code, but a great deal remains to be done. Our current aim is to have the draft of the document available in the spring and to present the code to Parliament probably by the autumn. We cannot be absolutely final about that, and I should be misleading the Committee if I tried to be more definite.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
This year. I appreciate the aim of the other Amendments put down by the Liberal Party. 969 There would be too much restriction if we accepted them. With a little more time for preparation, and with the right type of consultation as a result, it is likely to be a better document. I stress that my right hon. Friend is most anxious to issue the Code of Practice as soon as possible. His aim is to prepare it and present it to Parliament before the time allowed in the Bill, that is, a year from the date of its coming into operation. We should be surprised and disappointed if we did not achieve it this year, 1971. We all realise the importance of speed in this matter, and we shall not drag our feet.
I know that there is a genuine doubt in the hon. Gentleman's mind, but I hope that he will not wish to press his Amendment and will accept our assurances that we are pressing matters forward in good faith and with the utmost speed.
§ 3.30 a.m.
§ Mr. Atkinson
The assurances given by the Minister are not quite good enough in the circumstances, because timing is essential here. The more one reads the Bill, the more one discovers that the Registrar will be absolutely dependent upon this Code of Practice for determining whether he is prepared to accept rule books lodged with him by various trade unions.
As I understand it, the procedure will be that each trade union will be automatically registered once this Bill becomes law, and that preliminary registration will remain for some three months. At the end of that three months period, the Registrar will have to make some sort of recommendations to the various trade unions, telling them how to amend their rule books to make them comply with what I understand to be the Code of Practice. This will determine the whole question whether unions will register and under what conditions they will register, so that this question of the time scale is so important.
I should like to pose one or two questions about the urgency which the Government attach to getting the Bill. One assumes that the decision to bring the Bill on to the Floor of the House means that the Government are looking to completion of it in, say, twelve months from this March. Perhaps March, 1972, would be a rough guess, on the basis of 15 970 hours per Clause. I do not know whether the Leader of the House would like to consider whether he is anxious to get the Bill this year, or whether it is the Government's intention to use the guillotine method and various other undemocratic practices in order to speed up the whole proceedings. The point put to us by the Minister is that he is hoping to accelerate the completion of this Code of Practice, the Highway Code as he called it—
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
I did not call it a Highway Code. I gave the Highway Code as an illustration of the type of background to an Act of Parliament that the code of practice will be.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am not going into details about the analogy with the Highway Code. The Minister was suggesting that it was the Government's intention to accelerate the completion of this Code of Practice. What we now need is some assurance as to when we shall start to see the terms, the practice, because the Registrar has nothing else to guide him on the question of rules. There is nothing in the Bill which spells out in great detail what are the terms for the Registrar in regard to how the rule books of the trade unions are to be remoulded or reconsidered, and before very long we ought to have some idea of what will be contained in the code.
Therefore, I suggest that the Minister's reply is not good enough. It is very important that we understand the content of the code, and I ask that the Government should begin to prepare some sort of preliminary draft of what they are thinking at the moment. Let us have a Green, a Blue or, preferably, a White Paper, so that we can see the terms and judge some of the other Clauses in the light of that knowledge.
§ The Solicitor-General
On the question of registration, the provisions are already fully set out in Clauses 63 and 64 and Schedule 3. It is not visualised that the code will be adding substantially to these provisions because they are set out in great detail. The code is primarily concerned to give guidance to those who will be concerned with day-to-day conduct of industrial relations within industry and not with the point with which the hon. Member is dealing.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman because he has cleared up one or two matters. If we can take it that the two Clauses mentioned and Schedule 3 contain the whole of the recommendations to be made to the Registrar when he is appointed and that the changes will be within the terms of those Clauses and that Schedule, then our knowledge is increased, and with it our fears. We shall therefore intensify our arguments when we come to these parts of the Bill. On that basis we can return to the subject later, presumably somewhere near the end of July on the Minister's timetable.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
My hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson) has got it wrong. I do not see why we should hurry this. I should like to see it put off for a couple of years to give the Minister time to consult these hundreds of thousands of trade unionists who are supposed to be in favour of the Bill. If these people are to be consulted, then two years may not be enough. If two years is allowed to go by, it will give the Government time to think again and they might realise that they had made a mistake and withdraw the Bill.
My hon. Friend is wrong to hurry the Bill. He is backing the Liberals who are saying, "Do it quickly". I say, "Do not do it quickly, take time over it". Let the trade unionists have an opportunity of discussing it, and if two years is not enough, let us make it five years. Then we could have a General Election and the people could decide whether they wanted it.
§ Mr. Pardoe
I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for giving us a little more information, although not by any means enough, about what is to be in the code. I should like him to reconsider the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson) that we should have some kind of coloured Paper, either white with green edges or white all over. Having said that I do not think that it will entirely surprise hon. Members if I say that I do not intend to press the Amendment.
I should like to answer a question raised why my hon. and right hon. Friends were not here to support this Amendment. I, and most other people in the country, would regard their absence at 972 this hour in the morning as being eminently sensible. I shall be the only member of the Liberal Party who will be thought to be completely crackers, being here at this time of the morning. The whole of the country regards this kind of exercise as mad and if the two Front Benches would get together in a reasonably civilised and democratic manner they could stop this nonsense and have this Bill debated without staying up all night. It would be much more democratic if they did.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mrs. Castle
I beg to move, Amendment No. 355, in page 2, line 17, leave out from 'practice' to end of line 19 and insert:'which has been agreed with organisations of employers and the General Council of the Trades Union Congress'.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Harold Gurden)
With this Amendment we take the following Amendments: No. 28, in page 2, line 17, after 'Act', insert:'to discuss with the Trades Union Congress, and the Confederation of British Industry to enable him'.No. 29, in page 2, line 17, after 'to', insert:'discuss with the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry and with their assistance and advice'.No. 36, in page 2, line 27, after 'may', insert:'after discussion and agreement with the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry'.No. 37, in page 2, line 27, after 'may' insert:'after full discussions with the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry'.No. 356, in page 2, line 27, after 'may', insert:'in agreement with organisations of employers and the General Council of the Trades Union Congress'.No. 395, in page 2, line 27, after 'may', insert:'on his own initiative or on the request from a trade union, the Trades Union Congress or the Confederation of British Industry'.No. 49, in Clause 3, page 2, line 40, after 'shall' insert:'first discuss same with the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry and'.973 No. 359, in page 2, line 40, after 'shall', insert:'after consultation with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry'.No. 50, in page 2, line 42, after second 'the', insert:'Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry and the'.No. 51, in page 3, line 2, after 'the', insert:'Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry and'.
§ Mrs. Castle
I must say that I thought the outburst of the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) was unwarranted in view of the fact that he is the only Member who has proposed an Amendment which he did not intend to press to a vote. If we are talking about wasting the time of the Committee, I suggest that he concentrates his attention on that kind of activity. When we in this party put down Amendments we have the very strongest desire to see them carried.
§ Mr. Pardoe
I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for giving way, but she is talking the most arrant nonsense. She knows perfectly well that it is a normal procedure to put down exploratory Amendments. She has been a party to such Amendments to hundreds of Bills. I hope that she will have the good sense to withdraw that stupid remark.
§ Mrs. Castle
No. I certainly will not. I have no intention of withdrawing that highly apposite remark, for the simple reason that the hon. Gentleman was talking about the conduct of the Bill and why we are here at this hour of the morning. I do not like being here at this hour any more than he does, but I strongly resent the suggestion that in some way we could avoid it by talks across the Table. It has been a characteristic of our discussions on this Bill so far that there has been no waste of time by anybody, on either side of the Committee. There have been a lot of speeches from both sides, because there have been a lot of very important points. It would not have been possible to curtail discussion without curtailing essential examination of the Bill.
I am about to ask the Committee to accept an Amendment which is very important indeed. I would suggest, with- 974 out exaggeration, that it is one of the most important Amendments we shall be discussing. The hon. Member for Cornwall, North said some of us do not like the Code of Practice. We in this party certainly do not like this Code of Practice. We do not like its scope; we do not like the legal uses or semi-legal uses to which it is going to be put; and we do not like its authorship. Certainly we do not think expediting its coming into operation will contribute anything to the improvement of industrial relations. That is why we had no sympathy with the hon. Member's last Amendment.
What we are by this Amendment seeking to do is to remedy one of the most extraordinary things about this Code of Practice. We have been told—and we have spent a lot of time discussing this—that the purpose of the Bill and the guiding principles is to promote good industrial relations practice, and that we need to have this Code of Practice issued so as to enable all of us to reach the desirable goal of good industrial relations practice.
If such a code of industrial relations practice is to work, it must be based on agreement with the T.U.C. and representatives of employers' organisations. They are the people who run the industrial relations. It is unprecedented that in a Bill dealing with industrial relations, or with industry in any form, there is no word about the need for the Government to consult both sides of industry. There was no word in the Consultative Document either. There was a lot about the trade unions and what the Government would do about the trade unions, to the trade unions and against the trade unions, but not a word about discussion, consultation or dialogue by the Government with the trade union movement.
In reply to the previous debate the Under-Secretary said that there would be consultations with absolutely everybody who cared to write in and ask for them. I am sorry, but that is not a good enough guarantee for us, when we have so clearly in our minds that the Secretary of State failed to consult the T.U.C. over the initiation of the Bill. That again is unprecedented. He had no consultation because he took the high-handed line that it was only worth while the T.U.C.'s talking to him about the Bill, which 975 had such far-reaching effects on its future, if the T.U.C. began by accepting his principles and discussed only their shape. No self-respecting consultee would agree to those terms, and we are, therefore, discussing a Bill which the Government have not discussed with the T.U.C.
We are told that we are to have this Code of Practice covering all aspects of industrial relations, but nowhere in the Bill is there any indication that there will be consultation with the T.U.C. or the employers. This is a supreme example of the blind leading the blind. The Government, without any commitment to accept industry's views, will tell industry what it should do to put things right. This shows how ill-equipped the Government are to lay down principles for anybody. Anyone with experience knows that consultation is at the heart of good industrial relations and that consent is at the heart of good consultation and is what consultation should seek to achieve.
The Government should have more humility. The first people to get cracking on an examination of the Donovan report were the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. who, when the Government were still examining the report, were getting together to discuss what practical steps they could take by agreement to improve the defects indicated in the Donovan Report. It is extraordinary that at this hour of the morning here we are discussing a Code of Practice in relation to which we are told "There will be consultation with anybody who cares to write in." What an approach! Central to the Government's whole attitude should have been the priority of getting both sides of industry into consultation and then presenting to the House a Code of Practice on which the two sides of industry had agreed.
The Government came into office facing a number of economic problems, but certainly with a favourable balance of payments base from which to set out to win the co-operation of the unions and of the employers in tackling the problem of inflation. It was a very great opportunity and the Government will probably come to regret that they threw it away so lightheartedly. Instead of going out of their way as a priority to bring both sides of industry together and try to win 976 their co-operation, the first act of the Government was to throw down the gauntlet to the trade union movement by saying that a priority measure would be the publication of this Bill. And they then added further insult by snubbing the T.U.C. and being arrogant to the trade unions—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—The Chancellor of the Exchequer never opens his mouth without blaming all the economic ills on the trade union movement and on their wage demands.
The T.U.C. submitted a document to "Neddy" only a short time ago which said that the trade union movement does not like runaway inflation any more than anybody else does, and the T.U.C. said it had proposals to put forward on which agreement might eventually be reached. That was merely answered by a cold douche in the face. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not wait to go into print as quickly as possible to denounce the document as a purely inflationary formula. There has been this long catalogue of arrogance towards the trade union movement.
Therefore, in that context to talk about a Code of Practice as promoting good industrial relations is to make a mockery of this whole paraphernalia of legislation. We face a situation in which this Bill is to be imposed on the trade union movement, a movement which has complained bitterly because it has never been given the chance to convince the Government that one of their precious principles might be wrong. The trade unions have been told that they must take it or leave it and that the Government will slap down the unions if they get difficult.
Now we are to have a Code of Practice which is to be imposed on industry without its agreement. How far are the Government trying to put back the clock? Do they not realize that in this day and age one can govern only by consent, not by coercion? One will get people to operate good industrial relations practice if in the first place one wins their agreement. In the Amendment we are coming to the Government's rescue.
§ Mr. John Page
Just as an example, when the right hon. Lady produced her Bill just before the election, was there agreement between the C.B.I. and the T.U.C. on the terms of the Bill?
§ Mrs. Castle
No. I am not asking that. It would be absurd to ask that the Government should get the agreement of the T.U.C. on its policies. We could never get any Parliamentary government that way.
I am saying that a Code of Practice, a different thing, dealing with all these principles—fine-sounding principles which all reasonable people in industry should observe—should be agreed with both sides. There is not even a mention in the Bill of the need to consult both sides, in contradistinction to my Bill which had a different Code of Practice related purely to disclosure of information and which was not linked, as is this, with all sorts of sanctions and regulatory issues.
Even with my Code of Practice, limited, as it was, to disclosure of information by employers, it laid down that it should be prepared by the Secretary of State, after consultation with the General Council and the C.B.I. There is not a breath of a word of anything similar in the Consultative Document or this Bill.
That is a revelation of the Government's attitude of mind, one of those Freudian slips which is so revealing. We are coming to the Government's rescue so that at this late hour it can remedy some of the damage caused by its indifference and arrogance towards the trade union movement and towards both sides of industry. I seriously ask that the Government should accept this Amendment and that the code of practice must be agreed with the T.U.C. and the employers' organisations before it is put to Parliament for approval.
§ 4.0 a.m.
§ Mr. John Mendelson
In many ways, although this is only one Amendment which deals with the principle of consultation, we are reaching the crux of the matter. The various methods which the Government have used to confuse their refusal to have meaningful consultations with the trade union movement over these matters will be those most hotly debated in years to come.
There has always been an underlying agreement in our parliamentary practice that there are a number of policies on which one can expect the Government to say that they are in the best position to judge. I apply this to any Government and I used to argue the same point with 978 my right hon. Friends when they were in office, and will do so again. There are many policies, like the attitude towards the conduct of the war in Vietnam or some aspect of Commonwealth policy about which the Government are entitled to say, "There are various organisations, one the trade union movement, with 10 million members, which express a certain view on that war, and we respect that view, but we say that there is no reason why our conduct should be decisively influenced by the point of view expressed. We, as a Government, believe that we are entitled to say, 'We are in a better position to judge than you.' After all, this is something which we ask the nation as a whole to implement—that is, to underwrite our foreign policy. We must, therefore, come back for parliamentary sanction and sanction at a General Election, the final sanction of our foreign policy being a matter which only the whole nation can ensure. But when we are conducting our affairs and negotiations with other nations, we must reserve the right to say that we know better than you what our policy ought to be."
However, the situation changes completely and radically when we come to industrial relations. It is monstrously unrealistic—I should say blind—for any Government to argue that they can, even with Parliamentary approval, impose a code of industrial conduct on the day-to-day business of about 44,000 individual enterprises and large publicly owned corporations. The proposition immediately becomes absurd. That is why I suggested at the beginning that we have in many ways reached the crux of the matter in this debate.
What are the consequences of what the Government are trying to do? They have used the excuse for not consulting the T.U.C. that the principles embodied in the Bill are not approved by the T.U.C. How short-sighted. If they proceed without such consultations, how will they make anybody in industry feel responsible for the kind of conduct which they will expect after they have passed the Bill and issued their code of industrial conduct?
Surely, it has always been common ground in this House and in all circles where industrial relations are discussed that the secret of getting anything done in 979 industry is the creation of an atmosphere of co-operation and consultation. The right hon. Gentleman incorporates in his work the functions of the Ministry and the Minister of Labour, the principal officer involved in these matters. The right hon. Gentleman knows, without my labouring the point, what I have in mind in saying that. In many ways, the Minister of Labour has always been apart from his colleagues. He has always been—I remind the Committee of Sir Walter Monckton and other past Ministers of Labour—the Minister who was not quite like some of his colleagues, because, although he has in his Ministry a chief conciliation officer, he always reserved to himself the right to supersede that officer and, when he judged it appropriate, to intervene and become the chief conciliation officer. This, in many ways, is one of his major functions.
How can the right hon. Gentleman expect either that his function will be properly exercised or that people in industry will feel responsible towards the working of the code of industrial practice when they have not been consulted on the details of what he is going to put into it? This is a matter which the Government have never explained.
We always get evasions from the right hon. Gentleman when we reach this point. On the one hand, the Minister argues that he at least has as much industrial experience as many others—I always accept what he says in that respect—and that, from his experience, he knows that these things must be done in a way which commits people to feeling that they have a reasonable interest in conducting themselves in a certain way.
On the other hand, when we move on to the question of consultation with the T.U.C., the right hon. Gentleman produces a completely contradictory argument: that, in the absence of prior agreement on principle, he could not proceed to these consultations.
Both propositions cannot be right. One or the other may be, but not both.
As a direct consequence of the Government's conduct, another development follows which is already beginning to show itself. There is throughout the country a growing loss of confidence among the trade union movement in the 980 intentions of the right hon. Gentleman which will reflect upon the way in which he will be successful or otherwise in carrying out his duties as Minister of Labour. It is not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to separate himself into two sections.
People in industry and in the trade union movement, and any Member of the House who has conducted meetings on the proposals of the Bill, as practically all of us on this side have done—and, I dare say, there must be hon. Members opposite who have also had such meetings or, at least, have been approached by trade union constituents even if they themselves did not take the initiative in holding such meetings, but I am sure that some will have done that as well—must have known about the growing doubts in the minds of active and highly responsible trade unionists, to return for a moment to the blessed word which was discussed so much yesterday, people who are known in their firms and in their plants, sometimes plants employing 5,000 to 10,000 people, as the most responsible partners of their own management in settling in so many ways difficult situations without ever having a major dispute arising from them.
The right hon. Gentleman knows—he does not have to be told again and again—that 99 out of 100 industrial disputes are never brought to our notice because they are settled and resolved before they become a dispute in which the newspapers take an interest, although he, of course, with the resources of his Department, will hear about a great many of them. He knows, therefore, the calibre of the kind of people to whom I am referring. These very responsible people on the trade union side in industry, whose active work is greatly respected and recognised by so many enlightened managements in privately-owned corporations just as much as in publicly-owned industries, are now expressing more and more doubts as to whether they will be faced by a Minister of Labour who has reserved this position for himself.
There will be another consequence of the way in which the Government are proceeding in this matter which gives force and additional weight to the argument so clearly put by my right hon. Friend. Even now, my right hon. Friend 981 has rightly invited the Government to call a halt to the way they are conducting themselves in this business and to accept the Amendment. All sorts of problems face major sections of industry. For instance, one with which I am concerned in my constituency has the prospect of considerable redundancy. My experience was that whereas the discussions between the shop stewards' representatives, the full-time officer of the trade union involved and the management have revealed serious disagreements, on certain aspects of the situation which is developing there is important co-operation in spite of the general disagreement. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones) agrees with me. As an active member of his trade union, he will know that these situations arise from time to time.
§ Mr. Dan Jones
Hon. Members opposite would do well, instead of smiling in such a smug manner, to look at the experiences of the late Iain Macleod, which support my hon. Friend's argument.
§ Mr. Mendelson
My hon. Friend has great experience in industrial matters and, no doubt, felt that additional attention should be directed to what I was saying. I was quite satisfied with the attention which I was receiving. It is the argument that matters.
The Minister and the Government know that we are far from satisfied—those who represent industrial workers are far from satisfied—with the position concerning redundancies. The secret agreements and arrangements that nobody is allowed to know about suddenly develop into mergers, and at short notice workers are presented with dismissal notices against which they no longer have any appeal. Difficult situations such as this call for an atmosphere in industry in which the trade union side feels very much committed to the kind of code that is obtained and is at work. If the Government refuse to accept the Amendment and change their attitude, there will be a growing loss of confidence about calling in a third party to help resolve industrial problems which arise when a merger develops behind the scenes and problems of redundance arise.
I could give many more examples, but there is no point in doing that because 982 everyone knows that good relationships are essential between the people who do the work on both sides of industry and the right hon. Gentleman's Department if we are to produce the best solution in the difficult circumstances that I have outlined.
I think that I have said enough to reinforce my right hon. Friend's argument and to ask the Government to consider the Amendment with the seriousness that it deserves.
§ Mr. Douglas
I rise to support my right hon. Friend's argument and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), and also to pose certain questions to the Minister in the hope of getting satisfactory answers to them.
In his reply to an earlier Amendment the Minister gave a comprehensive list of the items likely to be covered by this code of industrial practice. The list included many facets of our industrial life, and I should like to query how we can include in such a Code of Practice all these
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
I did not give a comprehensive list, but an illustrative list, because I was pressed by the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) to give some indication of what was intended. I said that it was not meant to be a comprehensive list. It was an indication of some of the areas which the Code of Practice would probably cover.
§ Mr. Douglas
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Let me rephrase my statement and say that it was a fairly comprehensive list. The kernel of my remarks is that the drawing up of this list ought not even to have been embarked upon without consulting the major bodies responsible for industrial relations, or at least the key organisations.
There is no excuse for the Government's bringing forward this type of measure on the ground that industrial relations have become so important that something must be done about them, for their trying to persuade the key organisations of employers and trade unions that they are important in the national context, and then proceeding to insult both sides of industry by refusing to have consultations with them about a document which the Minister has said will form a valuable background to the new 983 organisations which the Bill seeks to create.
There is no excuse for it. It is out of keeping with the history—certainly the modern history—of the Ministry of Labour, or the Department of Employment as it now is. I shudder to think of the great figures that held the office of Minister of Labour—people like Ernest Bevin—getting the co-operation of both sides of industry and then ignoring them, in terms of statutory provisions.
In reply to a previous Amendment the Minister used the analogy of the Highway Code. I want to use the analogy of other legislation that the House has passed. Imagine our trying to embark on an annual Price Review and telling the farmers' representatives "Anybody interested in this matter can write in and make his observations known, so that we can concoct an annual Price Review". Imagine the uproar that would come from the farmers' organisations if that posture were adopted by a Government of any political colour.
If the Minister is to resist the Amendment, I want to know whether it is on the ground that if we insert these words it might exclude other organisations from making representations. If so, his argument rests on a dubious legal foundation. Now that we have moved from the Preamble and the generalities we are saying that the House is responsible for seeing that the relevant Secretary of State has a direct and specific responsibility for ensuring adequate consultation and obtaining the agreement of the major representatives of both sides of industry for this code of industrial practice.
The nation will have watched the postures of the Minister. He is very good at his public relations. We charge him to be good in his public relations not only from the point of view of the mass media but in terms of writing provisions into a statute which can be enforced in the courts.
§ Mr. Dan Jones
It would appear that I was not entirely in order when I made an interjection during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson). I still make the point that if the Minister wants to find the kind of justification for the Amendment that would convince him more 984 sensibly than any argument advanced from this side of the Committee he should consider the attitude of the late Iain Macleod, when he was Minister of Labour during the 1957 strike in the engineering industry, to what we fondly call the little T.U.C.—the Confederation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Unions. If the Minister will do so he will find all the justification he needs for accepting an Amendment of this character. He will lose much if he does not read of the experiences of that period—
§ The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Robert Carr)
I happened to be the late Iain Macleod's Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry at the time. Naturally, close consultations took place. Nobody had to write anything into the Statute Book.
§ Mr. Jones
That is hardly the point. The point is that that man had the breadth of vision and the wisdom to see that there were consultations with these people, because he knew that they had responsibility for handling these affairs, and before he made a move he had the sort of consultations that the Amendment asks the Minister to have. I ask the Minister to read of those experiences and to refresh his mind about them. I am aware of the position that the right hon. Gentleman held, but I held a position in the trade union movement and I well remember the experiences of that time.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I wish to bring hon. Gentlemen opposite down to earth. There are no trade unionists waiting to get down to detailed discussions to create a code of industrial practice. It seems that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) may be giving hon. Gentlemen opposite the wrong idea. There will be no cosy chat between the trade unions and the Government on this matter.
Hon. Members are under an illusion if they do not appreciate the bitterness that exists in the trade union movement over this proposed Code of Practice. [Interruption.] If the monocled hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) has something to say, he should get to his feet and not mutter under his breath. I often wonder why he 985 closes the eye with which he is supposed to look through the monocle and opens the other eye.
Is it any wonder why the trade unions are not anxious to formulate a code of practice with the Government, considering the way in which hon. Gentlemen opposite dismissed the T.U.C. as being virtually non-existent? Now we know that the Government are prepared to drive every postman into the ground and to extract the last drop of blood from them. This is their policy. How, in the sort of atmosphere which the Government have created, can they expect trade unionists to have anything to do with their proposals? It will be a long time before trade unionists have anything to do with hon. Gentlemen opposite.
Workers throughout the country are talking about taking general strike action against this legislation. They see it as a threat to their fundamental freedoms. Trade unionists have declared that they will never serve on these courts and other bodies and there is non-co-operation over a wide area. Indeed, the Labour movement is likely to disown people who serve on the bodies proposed to be established by the Government.
My earlier remarks were designed to get the Government to produce a White Paper setting out the basis of the industrial practices they have in mind so that we may more easily interpret some of the later provisions in the Bill. I wish to make it clear, however, that there will be no co-operation with the Government over this and that in the last few days hon. Gentlemen opposite have declared war on the trade union movement.
§ Mr. Orme
One of the extraordinary things about this Clause and the proposed Code of Practice is that we are being asked to buy something which we have not seen. In a previous reply the Minister said that he would give a few illustrations of what might be in this Highway Code, as he called it. He said that it would include the question of the attitude of management to redundancy and collective bargaining, and all sorts of factors. He said that the code is still being presented, and that it would not provide a reason for taking an issue to the Industrial Court, but that it could be used at the court as guidelines for the court if it were dealing with an issue arising from the Bill.
986 We are discussing a Bill of 156 Clauses and eight Schedules. We are being asked to accept, within the terms of the Bill, something which we have not seen but which will run alongside the Bill and will be guidelines in industry.
§ Mr. R. Carr
It will help to shorten our proceedings if I make clear to the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), in case he does not already realise it, that the code will have to have the affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. There is no question of this being something which hon. Members have not seen.
§ Mr. Orme
The point was made earlier that it was hoped that by the spring the code would be prepared and perhaps dealt with in the House by the autumn. I do not deny that. But while we are discussing the broad principles of the Bill, we are asked to pass a Clause setting up a code of conduct, which is to run parallel and in unison with the Bill, with points we have not yet seen.
In the engineering industry, with which I have had dealings, when a major agreement is concluded and issued, it is a very detailed agreement. It is interesting that both sides of the industry produce notes for guidance for interpretation by managers and shop stewards throughout the industry. The three-year package deal which is just coming to a close is a classic example. Fundamental points are explained and explored in the notes and guidance is given to negotiators in industry. This is accepted by both sides, and when there is a dispute about an agreement at a local works conference, or if we go to York, the notes for guidance are produced and both sides accept them as factual—but there is argument about interpretation. But there will be no acceptance with the code of practice because the trade unions have not been and will not be consulted about it and, because of their attitude to the Bill, would not take part in discussions in any case, having been originally thrown out through the door at St. James's Square by the Minister. Mr. Feather has gone on record about the very cursory manner in which they were told, "You can come here and discuss the details but you will have to accept the principles, whether you like them or not."
The trade union movement will not become parties to this discussion. I 987 accept that it will not be invited, so there will be imposed upon industry not only the Bill, which the trade union movement opposes, but a Code of Practice which our side of industry completely refuses.
How are any sensible industrial relations to be obtained on that sort of basis? We have difficulty with agreements, particularly in the engineering industry. A great deal of discussion and negotiation on the York Memorandum is going on, with a view perhaps to changing it. The passage of the Bill is holding that up. Even under that memorandum there is within our industry a broad acceptance of the good will that there is in the main on both sides of manufacturing industry.
In future we shall have something imposed on industry from outside, from a Ministry, from a Parliament, which will have judicial backing. The law will be brought directly into industrial relations. If people cannot see that, they cannot see what all the argument is about and why we are discussing the matter in such depth and detail tonight.
My right hon. Friend has stated the importance of the Clause and what the Government are doing. The Bill will not be in the hands of every trade unionist, but many will have it. If it is passed it will become the knowledge of people fundamentally involved from day to day in negotiations. But the Code of Practice will probably be handled by tens of thousands of people. It will be discredited before it starts. I want the Minister to think about that.
§ Mr. Swain
When I asked the Under-Secretary whom he was going to consult, he said that he would consult all parties who made application for consultation. In support of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) I warn him not to bother the postman with a letter to Victor Feather. I am certain that as a result of the attitude of the trade unions during the past months Victor Feather will steadfastly refuse to discuss a code of conduct in connection with a Bill to which the trade union movement is diametrically opposed.
I illustrate the Minister's answer tonight in this way. It reminds me of a hangman spending the full night with the man who is to be hanged next morning, Practising 988 tying the knot around the victim's neck to see whether it is comfortable. Then the victim was hanged. That is the type of discussion the Government appear to wish to have. The only people I can see the Government taking notice of are their paymasters. The code of conduct is still hypothetical. According to the Minister, it is still in the abstract. But it should have been the meat on which the bones of the Bill were constructed. We should be discussing it in conjunction with the Bill.
The Amendment moved so eloquently by my right hon. Friend is sensible and moderate. It is not a wrecking Amendment. It would bring some common sense into the Clause. She knows as well as the trade union movement that the word "consultation" coming from the lips of the Secretary of State, his colleagues in the Government and hon Members opposite, who are so loyally supporting him although some of them appear to be asleep at the moment, is nothing but Tory cant. "Consultation" does not mean genuine consultation to them; it means dictatorship by the Minister. It means his attitude, "I want you to come to talk to me but in the end you will have to do as I tell you."
That is the sort of consultation we used to experience years ago. I am convinced that the Secretary of State is taking us back to those dark ages and the struggle which used to take place then between trade unions and employers. Acceptance of the Amendment would mean that we could make progress instead of retarding.
But I do not see us making any impression on the right hon. Gentleman. Yet we know of the success of consultation by his Department, as exampled in its conciliation officers when we have been faced with strikes, although the present Secretary of State has sent them out only half-heartedly to deal with issues after the unions have gone into the struggle. The result has been that, since last June, the consultations have been negative. They have yielded no positive results. Consultation as envisaged by the right hon. Gentleman is a waste of time and I am sure that Mr. Feather and the General Council will consider it as such.
A few days ago, we had a national demonstration day. [Interruption.] I wish the joint political conference going on was over so that hon. Members who are 989 interested in the Amendment could listen to what was being said. I say that with all due respect to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis), who is playing a great part in the attempt to make this Bill better—or a genuine attempt to defeat it in toto. I say that with deference to him but none to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), who chatters away like a cage of monkeys in Regent's Park Zoo. Talking to oneself is one of the worst habits in the world.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Swain) was addressing the Chair and had his back to me, and I knew that he could not see me. I went over to ask the hon. Member whether I had lost some weight because he, like others, might have thought that I had faded away quickly and was no longer visible. But he assured me that I have not lost that amount of weight.
§ Mr. Swain
Even if my hon. Friend were invisible, he would not be inaudible. I was saying that the hon. Member for Peterborough has been chattering like a cage-full of monkeys, and in Derbyshire people would say that a man who talks to himself consistently is on the road to Mickleover, that being where the asylum is.
In the Minister's mind, the idea of consultation is just hypothetical; it does not mean consultation in the true sense. It means that the T.U.C. or other interested parties would trot along to the Ministry—there would be no tea and cakes at midnight at Downing Street for them, because there is no hostess there to entertain them—and, after spending hours of boredom listening to the Secretary of State, they would come away having learned nothing because the right hon. Gentleman could not teach them anything. [An HON. MEMBER: "The same goes for the Post Office workers."] I was coming to the question of consultation with the Post Office workers, the electricity workers and with the miners. When we were in a struggle with the employers only a few weeks ago, the consultation was meaningless.
The Code of Practice should have been spelled out to us line by line so that we could have something tangible to talk about. In the event, the Code of Practice, when it is introduced, will be strictly 990 dependent on the success or failure of the Bill in the first month or two, yet that Code of Practice could disturb labour relations which have been built up over a great many years more than anything else could, more even than the Bill itself.
Let the Secretary of State be honest with the Committee—that will be strange, coming from a Conservative Minister, to say the least—and let him tell us what his Code of Practice is to be. He has not made these proposals without some foreknowledge of what it is to contain. I understand that the Code of Practice will need an affirmative Resolution of both Houses, but that will be a mere formality once the Bill has become law. Therefore, it is fundamental to our debates, and fundamental to the Amendment now before us, that the Committee be made aware of the structure and framework of the Code of Practice, at least, if the right hon. Gentleman cannot tell us what the details will be.
§ 4.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Hugh D. Brown (Glasgow, Provan)
I feel that I do not make my best speeches at a quarter to five in the morning, but one of the penalties of sitting in the Chamber is that one sometimes hears provocative remarks or remarks which call for elucidation. We are talking about good industrial relations, but I admit that the Chief Whip never consults me about how long we are to sit, whether we can expect to get Clause 2, or which point in the Bill we are supposed to reach.
I do not think that it is too big an intrusion to take up a few minutes of the time of the House on a serious point. The Under-Secretary referred earlier to the Code of Practice, and that has prompted me to make this contribution.
I am quite sure he will now realise that he will have to explain what he means about this Code of Practice. He suggested that the Highway Code gives some idea of his approach to this matter. Obviously, there is agreement in the Highway Code that everyone should drive on the left-hand side of the road. There are certain rules there which are accepted by everyone, and the Highway Code would be meaningless unless that were so.
The Under-Secretary used the phrase, "facilities for employees", and I should 991 like to ask whether those facilities will include accommodation for representation of the workers. Will they be granted the use of a 'phone? Does the hon. Gentleman know that there was almost a revolution in the Fairfield experiment on the Clyde, because the new management suggested to the shipbuilding people that there should be a room available for shop stewards, which was unheard of? Is that the kind of facility which will be included? What about meetings held during working hours? Will there be general guidance in the Code of Practice about the collection of subscriptions?
These are all important points, and it is meaningless for a Minister to come to the House unless he is prepared to give some idea of what is going to be in the Code of Practice. Will there be a separate section dealing with the public sector where, before the events of the past few weeks, there might have been a possibility of getting a model Code of Practice? Has the hon. Gentleman destroyed that possibility, because of the handling of the industrial situation over the last few weeks?
We are surely entitled to some information. Or is it, as I am beginning to suspect, that no matter how plausible—I put it no worse than that—or how reasonable Government spokesmen on the Front Bench are, they are afraid to give any indication that they are willing to consult anyone? Will their backbench Members stand for it? They are all howling for blood. Will their supporters outside stand for it? [Interruption.] This is a matter of opinion, and I have stated my opinion.
§ The Chairman (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. I hope that the Committee will allow the hon. Gentleman to get on with his speech.
§ Mr. Brown
The Government may have realised that there is a mood in the country which wants action against trade unions. The matter has not been thought out, but that mood exists and the Government are prisoners of the very attitude which they have encouraged in the public.
I do not believe that when he replies the Minister will be prepared to indicate that he might even have to think about 992 compelling employers to make facilities available for trade unions. Are the Government willing to do that? They are willing to talk to some of the younger reactionary backwoodsmen that we have in this Parliament. Are they willing to spell out that they might even have to put pressure on employers? They should give us some indication about their Code of Practice. If they are not willing to accept the Amendment and to consult the major representative bodies, whom will they consult? Who do they think will write to them? Who will give them advice and information as to what might make a Code of Practice?
§ Mr. R. Carr
I am delighted to have the chance of replying to the debate.
Let me begin by assuring the Committee that there is no question of imposing a Code of Practice on industry without consultation. It has never been in our mind that such a thing should happen and I can give an unqualified assurance that I shall be taking the initiative in seeking discussions and views about the formation of this Code of Practice. I shall be making every effort to consult. What does alarm me, or it would if I believed that certain hon. Members spoke for anyone other than themselves, is the suggestion which came, for example, from the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson), the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) and the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Swain) that the T.U.C. and trade unions generally would refuse to participate in consultation.
§ Mr. Swain
The actions and words of the members of the General Council and of Mr. Victor Feather during the past week or two and the demonstrations that have been held—although some backbench Members think that the demontrations were not a success—were indicative of the attitude of the T.U.C. towards the Government. If the Government expect the T.U.C. to discuss with them in the climate of opinion created by this Bill I can say that I am speaking for the T.U.C. or at least for the Miners' Union, which is a very large and integral part of the T.U.C.
§ Mr. Carr
I see the hon. Member nodding his head. When the hon. Member was speaking I could not help wishing rather strongly that our proceedings were televised and that all the people could hear the opinions he was stating. I have no doubt what the conclusion of the public would have been. I simply do not believe that a Measure passed by Parliament should suffer a deliberate attack to wreck it by non-co-operation, by a refusal to consult in accordance with its processes and participate in its machinery. It is not something which the public will understand or accept with any great toleration. Nor do I believe that that is what will happen. Only time till tell.
§ Mr. Orme
If the right hon. Gentleman will not take either the word of my hon. Friend or of myself on this, has he seen what Mr. Hugh Scanlon, President of the A.E.F., has said about the possibility that non-co-operation, non-registration will be considered at least by that union, which is one of the major unions in Britain? That is the voice of the premier official of the A.E.F.
§ Mr. Carr
—and I am quite sure that that would be as untypical of the views and wishes of at least 80 per cent. of trade union members in this country as it would be of the views and wishes of 90 per cent. of the total population of this country. I do not believe that that will happen, because I believe that trade unions need, and understand the need for, public support, and want and respect public support and opinion, as much as any other body of people—in fact, I believe their history shows this at least as much as, if not more than, for any other section of public opinion.
§ Mr. Atkinson
The Minister suggested that 80 per cent. of the trade union movement are supporters of the Bill, or have some sympathy with the Bill, and that the great majority of the people have 994 sympathy with it. I do not know whether he meant the great majority of trade unionists or of the people as a whole. If that is the case, would he name a union which, in its national conference, between now and 18th March will record a decision in favour of this Bill and publicly declare its support for the Bill in any respect whatever? Secondly, will he predict what the decision of the Trades Union Congress will be on 18th March? If he has faith—
§ The Chairman (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but I think there is a definite danger now of our getting on to the general principles of the Bill as a whole. I hope that the hon. Member will adhere as closely as possible to the terms of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I was just finishing. I do not know why the Minister mentioned televising these proceedings and not other reporting of them. Surely the public know what is said here. This is a public rostrum. But on the question of the T.U.C., will the Minister say what the decision will be on 18th March?
§ Mr. Carr
I do not think I shall embark on that because I should be out of order. I was not at that moment expressing any view of the percentage of trade unionists who support the Bill, although there is a great deal of evidence, whatever may be the views of the executive committees, delegate conferences, and so forth, that the majority of the rank and file trade unionists do support it, or something like it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] What I was saying on this occasion was something much less controversial. I said that I believe that 80 per cent.—I should be surprised if it is not a much higher percentage—of trade unionists in this country do respect an Act of Parliament passed properly through Parliament by a democratically elected Government, particularly one which had made it a major feature of their election appeal to the country. That, I believe, is true, and I believe that it will be seen to be true when the time comes.
I repeat that I assure the Committee that I shall be seeking views and that I shall be seeking consultation. I only hope that I get it. I am going to expect 995 to get it. I am going to seek it, and I hope that this time the trade unions will feel able to come to consult me fully, as I very much wish they had done earlier this autumn. It could have been of great benefit, as other institutions and individuals have found.
§ Mr. John Mendelson
Speaking for myself, I certainly take the view that it is for the trade union movement itself to declare which attitude it will adopt at any time. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that I was very careful to stress that the Amendment which I am supporting demands that the Government get agreement with the T.U.C. and employers' organisations, not merely consultation. That is the argument to which he has to address himself.
§ 5.0 a.m.
§ Mr. Carr
I certainly shall address myself to that argument. I stress the importance which the Government attach to this Code of Practice. We have always seen the Bill and the Code of Practice as central and complementary one to the other. The basic framework of the law in the Bill is the instrument by which we lay down the boundaries within which people are free to act. Because the Bill lays down boundaries of freedom it inevitably has to be to some extent negative rather than positive in character. By definition law is a restraining, restrictive instrument. But, within the boundaries, the Code of Practice can play an immensely important, positive, constructive rôle in giving guidance both to managements and to unions, particularly in individual companies, on what are in most circumstances the best practices to follow.
The reason why we do not think that these practices can be laid down specifically within the Act of Parliament is that if we are to be as constructive and positive as this we cannot lay down precisely what should be done in each and every industry and each and every company. That is why we cannot make it obligatory, and it would be wrong to try.
Moreover, the code must be flexible and capable of frequent revision or supplementation. That, again, is a reason for putting it forward as something which will be presented to Parliament in draft for approval by affirmative Resolution of both Houses, at the same time laying 996 down machinery by which the code can be easily revised, supplemented and changed as conditions change and as experience teaches us.
So we pay enormous attention to the importance of the code and the flexibility of the procedure of guidance and help which it can offer in bringing up the average performance of British industry somewhat nearer the best. Industrial relations in Britain at their best are as good as if not better than anywhere else in the world. We need to bring up the average nearer to the best. We can include in the Code of Practice positive guidlines for management, trade unions and individual employees which will help to speed up the raising of the average level of the conduct of industrial relations, and that is why we regard it as so important.
I think that it would not be the wish of the Committee, if I may say so with respect to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown), that I should go through the details of what might be in this code, but I can assure him that I would expect the code to have many important things to say about the duties of management in providing facilities for trade unions and trade unionists. I would certainly expect this subject to be covered in the Code of Practice. These matters can make all the difference to the smooth working of plants and companies and these are the sort of guidelines and standards which we want to set down. So I repeat my assurance that there will be consultation.
I have now to address myself to the group of Amendments. Essentially they deal with two different stages of the Code of Practice, namely, the stage of preparing the initial code and then the stage of adding to or revising. The code deals with different themes. The theme exemplified in the Amendment by the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn demands that we should attain the agreement of industry, the T.U.C., the C.B.I. and the employers' associations before coming forward with the code. Other themes in this group of Amendments merely ask us to discuss and consult.
We cannot accept the suggestion that agreement must be obtained, nor would any Government of any party ever accept such an Amendment. It means that we should be giving to the C.B.I., the T.U.C. 997 or to any other organisation that might be named, an absolute right of veto over the production of this code in any form. I do not believe that that would be right and I cannot accept it.
The question of consultation is a different matter. The only matter at issue there is not whether it should be done, but to what extent, if any, the requirement should be written into an Act of Parliament. I should like to distinguish between the two stages of producing the code, namely the first stage, the preparation of the initial code, and then what we shall do about making revisions and additions to it in the future.
I regard the first stage, the production of the initial code, as a matter of great urgency in time as well as of great importance. In fact, I am beginning to proceed towards preparation, consultation and discussion on this matter immediately.
I want to put this matter in its constitutional context. In the form as here envisaged, the code comes under this Bill—which is not yet, of course, an Act of Parliament. I wish to make it clear that I am going ahead with preparations and discussions about this code, not only because I hope that the Bill will become an Act of Parliament this Session, but in view of the fact that, even if it were not to do so, we should still want to publish a Code of Practice on industrial relations. Therefore, even if Parliament were to turn us down on this Bill, as I am sure it will not, we should still wish to publish a Code of Practice which in itself, we believe, would be of great value.
I hope and trust that before the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, I shall have had many deep and long discussions and consultations with everybody who wishes to speak to me on this point. That includes not only the T.U.C. and the main unions, but the C.B.I. and the main employers' associations and companies. It also will include bodies like the Industrial Society, the Institute of Personnel Management—and I could go on. There are many bodies which have important views to put forward, and there are many people involved—including some who do not agree with some of the legislative provisions but who nevertheless strongly agree with the great potential value of the Code of Practice and wish to contribute to its form. I shall very much welcome that contribution.
§ Mr. Alex Eadie (Midlothian)
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that to some extent he is destroying his own case? He said that he could not seek agreement with the bodies involved and that the Government had responsibilities. Most of us would accept that. Does the Secretary of State not realise that he is in a peculiar situation in not having a mandate for this Bill according to the interpretation of democracy in his own Bill? He has only 32 per cent. of the people eligible to vote and has to use persuasion to get agreement. He certainly has no mandate in Scotland even if he has in this country.
§ Mr. Carr
I was not aware that the hon. Gentleman was a Scottish Nationalist who believed that Scotland should be ruled separately from the rest of the United Kingdom. I think that he is trying to pre-empt a debate which we shall be having on a later Clause. I hope to seek agreement, but the Government are not prepared, nor would any other Government be prepared, to subject an important matter of this kind to the veto of any one section or interest in our society and economy. Consult, by all means. Seek agreement, by all means. But no Government should accept a right of veto imposed from outside in that way.
I shall be consulting and discussing on the initial code and I hope very much that the trade unions will join in. I shall do my best to persuade them, but I cannot subject what I believe is a vital matter in the improvement of industrial relations in this country to the possible refusal by some body to consult with me, and I must therefore maintain the right to produce this initial code in the form in the Bill.
When we come to the revision of the code, it will be within the power not just of this Secretary of State but of all my successors to lay down that the C.I.R. should be given the opportunity to be consulted and to advise before revision, which also includes additions. When we get to that stage, we shall have flexibility and, I hope, time, and I hope that by then all these things will be working in a much smoother manner. It is right that that should be so.
I have then to consider, as I have mentioned, the C.I.R.'s place in the Bill, and taking account of the well-established 999 practice to consult with all the sorts of bodies which hon. Members have in mind, to consider whether I should not specifically mention certain other bodies in addition. I am in genuine doubt because I am sure that it is the C.I.R.'s job to be corporate advisor to the Secretary of State in these matters. That is why, and the only reason why, the T.U.C. or the C.B.I., or words implying those bodies, were not written into this Clause.
I am sympathetic to that feeling. When the C.I.R. has advised the Secretary of State on continual revisions of the code, the Secretary of State of the day must be quite open to hear and to take account of representations which bodies such as the T.U.C., and the C.B.I. wish to make to him.
If it helps the House, while I cannot accept the wording of any of the Amendments, I will consider whether, in relation to the revisions Clause, Clause 3, I can on Report import some words which give substance to the assurance which I have given to the House in respect of formal recognition given to the rights of bodies like the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. to have their views taken into account.
I want to do this in a way which must not overrule the responsibility, the authority and the influence of the C.I.R. That is why I am somewhat reserved about giving a specific promise. But, for what it is worth, I give the undertaking that I will consider this matter to see whether, on Report, I can find some words to import into Clause 3 which will meet the wish of at least the other side of the Committee.
§ 5.15 a.m.
§ Mrs. Castle
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having at last overcome his reluctance to rise and wind up
|Division No.61.]||AYES||[5.20 a.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Booth, Albert||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Clark, David (Colne Valley)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Bradley, Tom||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Cohen, Stanley|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Concannon, J. D.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Conlan, Bernard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Buchan, Norman||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Barnes, Michael||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Barnett, Joel||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Dalyell, Tam|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Cant, R. B.||Davidson, Arthur|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Carmichael, Neil||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
§ the debate. The enthusiasm of the Government for encouraging verbosity, not least on their own side, hardly accords with the kind of aura of urgency which they have endeavoured to give to the subject. It is duly noted, and the significance of the right hon. Gentleman's slow motion activities is, I think, clear to us.
§ When the right hon. Gentleman got to his feet, he took a great many words indeed, despise the lateness of the hour, to tell us simply that he was not prepared to import any element of democratic participation into the drawing up of this Code of Practice.
§ The right hon. Gentleman need not trouble himself or waste any time or sleep worrying whether, on Report, he should import a provision that there should be consultation on the revising of the Code of Practice when the C.I.R. is brought in. We are asking for something different. I agree with my hon. Friends that if the Code of Practice is to remain unagreed, is to come straight from the Government without anybody else having a chance to influence and mould it, the T.U.C. will not be interested in the kind of consultation which the right hon. Gentleman is offering, because it has no impact, no influence.
§ The right hon. Gentleman goes through the motions. He does not believe in it; he is not influenced by it; he does not listen to it seriously. Therefore, I ask my hon. Friends to divide the Committee on the Amendment so that we can get on with more important business, because we want to make progress even if the Government do not.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 212, Noes 246.
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Deakins, Eric||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Prescott, John|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kaufman, Gerald||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Kelley, Richard||Probert, Arthur|
|Doig, Peter||Kinnock, Neil||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lambie, David||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lamond, James||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Latham, Arthur||Richard, Ivor|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lawson, George||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Dunn, James A.||Leadbitter, Ted||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Leonard, Dick||Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'dnor)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Roper, John|
|Ellis, Tom||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Rose, Paul B.|
|English, Michael||Lomas, Kenneth||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Evans, Fred||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)||McBride, Neil||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McCann, John||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McCartney, Hugh||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Foley, Maurice||McElhone, Frank||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Ford, Ben||McGuire, Michael||Sillars, James|
|Forrester, John||Mackenzie, Gregor||Silverman, Julius|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mackie, John||Small, William|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mackintosh, John P.||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Garrett, W. E.||McNamara, J. Kevin||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Ginsburg, David||Marks, Kenneth||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Strang, Gavin|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Meacher, Michael||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Swain, Thomas|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mendelson, John||Taverne, Dick|
|Hamling, William||Mikardo, Ian||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Millan, Bruce||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Hardy, Peter||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Tinn, James|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Hilton, W. S.||Moyle, Roland||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Horam, John||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Murray, Ronald King||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Ogden, Eric||Wallace, George|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||O'Halloran, Michael||Watkins, David|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Oram, Bert||Wellbeloved, James|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Orbach, Maurice||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Hunter, Adam||Orme, Stanley||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Janner, Greville||Oswald, Thomas||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|John, Brynmor||Palmer, Arthur||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Parry, Robert (Liverool, Exchange)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Pendry, Tom||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pentland, Norman||Mr. John Golding.|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Adley, Robert||Brewis, John||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Drayson, G. B.|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Dykes, Hugh|
|Astor, John||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Eden, Sir John|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Bryan, Paul||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Carlisle, Mark||Eyre, Reginald|
|Batsford, Brian||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Farr, John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Chapman, Sydney||Fell, Anthony|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy|
|Benyon, W.||Chichester-Clark, R.||Fidler, Michael|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Churchill, W. S.||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)|
|Biffen, John||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Cockeram, Eric||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Blaker, Peter||Coombs, Derek|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Cooper, A. E.||Fortescue, Tim|
|Body, Richard||Cormack, Patrick||Fowler, Norman|
|Boscawen, Robert||Critchley, Julian||Fox, Marcus|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Curran, Charles||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)|
|Bowden, Andrew||Dalkeith, Earl of||Fry, Peter|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.|
|Braine, Bernard||d'Avigdor-Goldmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Bray, Ronald||Dean, Paul||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||McLaren, Martin||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Goodhart, Philip||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Gorst, John||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Gower, Raymond||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Rost, Peter|
|Gray, Hamish||Maddan, Martin||Royle, Anthony|
|Green, Alan||Madel, David||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Maginnis, John E.||Scott, Nicholas|
|Grylls, Michael||Marten, Neil||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Gummer, Selwyn||Mather, Carol||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Mawby, Ray||Simeons, Charles|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Soref, Harold|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Abrdeenshire, W.)||Speed, Keith|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Spence, John|
|Hastings, Stephen||Moate, Roger||Sproat, Iain|
|Havers, Michael||Molyneaux, James||Stainton, Keith|
|Hawkins, Paul||Money, Ernie D.||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
|Heseltine, Michael||Monro, Hector||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Hicks, Robert||Montgomery, Fergus||Stokes, John|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||More, Jasper||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Holland, Philip||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Sutcliffe, John|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Horden, Peter||Mudd, David|
|Hornby, Richard||Murton, Oscar||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Neave, Airey||Tebbit, Norman|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Temple, John M.|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Hunt, John||Normanton, Tom||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Nott, John||Tilney, John|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Onslow, Cranley||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|James, David||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Trew, Peter|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Jessel, Toby||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield)||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Jopling, Michael||Percival, Ian||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wall, Patrick|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pink, R. Bonner||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Kellett, Mrs. Elaine||Pounder, Rafton||Warren, Kenneth|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Weatherill, Bernard|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Kinsey, J. R.||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Kirk, Peter||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Wilkinson, John|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Raison, Timothy||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Knox, David||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Lane, David||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Redmond, Robert||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Le Marchant, Spencer||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Longden, Gilbert||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Loveridge, John||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Mr. Walter Clegg and|
|MacArthur, Ian||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Mr. Victor Goodhew|
|McCrindle, R. A.|
§ Mr. Barry Jones (Flint, East)
I beg to move Amendment No. 386, in page 2, line 18, after 'State', insert'or, in the case of teachers in maintained schools the Secretary of State for Education and Science after consulting with organisations representing teachers'.
§ The Chairman
I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if, with that Amendment, we take Amendment No. 387, in page 2, line 19. after 'Act' insert:'such code of practice shall have regard to the position and the practices applicable to employees in local authorities'.
§ Mr. Jones
Thank you, Sir Robert.
1004 5.30 a.m.
I think that at this wretched hour it would be stretching the limits of the tolerance of the Committee if I were to speak overlong, and I am certain that I can be very brief if the Committee will bear with me for two minutes. I should declare an interest, in that I am a member of the National Union of Teachers, and until I was elected to Parliament in June of this year I worked for that union. But I do not come before the Committee with a sectional interest; I want to point out what I regard as a serious anomaly in the Bill. The professions in general, and the 1005 teachers in particular, are not adequately catered for.
It is well to consider the membership of the teaching profession. In one way or another it could amount to 400,000. Certainly there are 330,000 practising teachers, and there are 100,000 trainee teachers in colleges and universities. Taking into account other public servants, the percentage of this category in terms of the total work force must be large. Having regard to the working record of this category—which is not free from strikes—the Government should have had more regard for it in the Bill.
It would be a good idea if the Secretary of State for Education and Science, and those civil servants who aid the Minister in Curzon Street, were involved in the problems of teachers. I believe, as do the teachers' unions, that the terminology of the Bill is slanted in favour of industry and commerce, to the detriment of the professions, and I have moved the Amendment in order to draw this fact to the attention of the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
I am sure that the Committee appreciates the good intentions of the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mr. Barry Jones) in moving the Amendment, having the interests of the teachers at heart as he does. The Amendment would require the Secretary of State, in preparing a draft Code of Practice, to take into account the opinion of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science concerning the position of teachers in maintained schools, and would oblige him to consult organisations representing teachers.
In preparing the Code of Practice my right hon. Friend will consult many people. He will consult other Government Departments, including his Ministerial colleagues who have an interest in the preparation of the Code of Practice. Those Departments will include the Department of Education and Science. I submit that it is unnecessary to place my right hon. Friend under a statutory obligation to consult. There seems no good reason for singling out a certain part of the public sector for special consultation in this way. It could lead to similar demands from other groups—although I realise that the teachers have a special interest.
Whether or not the Department of Education and Science should seek the 1006 views of teachers' organisations is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. No doubt that will be taken into account. I can assure the hon. Member that there is nothing to prevent such organisations making representations direct to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment or, in the case of affiliated organisations, through the T.U.C. That includes the N.U.T. and the N.A.S. I hope that when the time comes they will take every opportunity to make those representations.
With the assurance that we are open to such representations but do not wish to single out teachers for special statutory treatment, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be prepared to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I beg to move Amendment No. 384, in page 2, line 20, leave out 'in particular have regard to' and insert:'have regard to—I know that this Amendment has the wholehearted support of my hon. Friends. I hope that it will be equally supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite because this is a matter concerning industrial relations about which I think there can be unanimous agreement and is an aspect which I hope can be emphasised by the Committee as a whole.
- (a) the need for those who manage undertakings to accept the primary responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations, and
In previous speeches in the House on this subject—I made this point in the debate on the Consultative Document and, I believe, on Second Reading—I have pointed out that when we have created the right environment, we must look to leadership in our voluntary system from both management and trade unions. However, I have always gone on to stress that the primary responsibility for that leadership must rest with management, starting from the very top in each company, because if they do not lead, who can follow?
The purpose of the Amendment is specific. It would write into the Clause—which instructs the Secretary of State on 1007 how the Code of Practice is to be prepared—specific responsibilities which he should take into account in preparing the Code, with the primary responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations resting with those who manage undertakings.
I need not, at this juncture, delay the Committee by going into the matter further; I will answer any questions that are asked by hon. Members. I hope and believe that this proposition will have the unanimous support of the Committee.
§ Mr. Orme
I have been asked to reply for the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] We oppose the Amendment and will vote against it. We oppose it primarily because it takes us back to the earlier debate we had about worker participation in industry and the various responsibilities of management and workers. We do not accept that on the whole question of good industrial relations the responsibility is the sole prerogative of management.
In industry the issue of managerial function has confounded many of the negotiations that have taken place, and it is in relation to managerial function and the trade unions wanting to have a better status that our opposition to the Amendment becomes clear.
For example, in the engineering industry a new agreement is being negotiated. The engineering employers wanted to change one basis of collective bargaining by deleting the right of mutuality. This right—by which any agreement made between employees and management must be mutual; one or other side can reject it, so that the employers cannot proceed without there being mutual agreement—has existed in this industry.
The Secretary of State will be aware of some of the negotiations that have been going on. For example, the management of British Leyland is seeking to change the wage structure from piece work to measured day work. Basic discussions are taking place on that. These discussions have gone right through the engineering agreement. But at the end of the day the unions reserve the right not to have forced upon them a different form of wage negotiation and wage structure if it cannot be mutually agreed between the management and the trade 1008 unions. Therefore, we cannot accept that good industrial relations is the primary responsibility of management. It is the responsibility of workers within the industry and both management and the trade unions. By free collective bargaining we mean equating the right of the worker with management.
The Secretary of State will recognise that basic changes are taking place within industry and that the industrial atmosphere is changing. We are now moving from the small family firm to the multinational company and huge combines, where it is very difficult to ascertain the owner of the company. In many large combines some of the senior management people are as confused about the situation and their relationship within the combine as the worker on the shop floor.
While there is this changing atmosphere and while workers are asking for participation in management and ownership within industry, it is a little naive of the Secretary of State to ask the House to accept the Amendment, where he rests the issue of prime responsibility on management. I hope that the Opposition will vote against the Amendment.
§ Mr. John Page
I have listened to the debate for 17 hours. I have not yet made a speech, and this will be a short one. I cannot understand why the Opposition are opposing this Amendment. It is the most extraordinary example of schizophrenia I have yet heard in the 17 hours. Only minutes ago the Committee were being told that it was up to management to make more provision and more room, and to supply more telephones, for shop stewards and to allow time for trade union meetings during working hours. There has been consistent criticism from the benches opposite of the attitude of management in connection with industrial relations.
My right hon. Friend has quite rightly suggested the insertion here of what I should have thought every person in the Committee would agree with: the statement that the primary responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations is with management. Does not the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) agree that it is the duty of management primarily to provide the atmosphere and leadership for good industrial relations? He has neither shaken his head nor 1009 nodded it. Perhaps he does not wish to be seen to be a collaborator with me or to be too unfriendly with any member of the Tribune Group. But I have heard him speak over the years, and in the Prices and Incomes Board Committee, constantly pressing management to make more use of its opportunities.
I am extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend for putting this burden on management in writing in the Bill, the most appropriate place. This will rest on the shoulders of management, and taken into account in future discussion of the Bill will be the duty of managements to make a more positive effort to take the responsibility for good industrial relations on themselves. If the Opposition divide against the Amendment it will be a sign of even newer and deeper hypocrisy.
§ 5.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Tinn
I am astonished at the suggestion that we should oppose the Amendment, because it seems to me to contain a good deal of what many of us have always asserted, that the primary responsibility for maintaining good relations and giving the leadership for such relations lies with management, and that it has the main responsibility when those relations are not good. In many instances and in many ways management has the initiative in the creation of the atmosphere in which negotiations on industrial relations are conducted. It does not have the sole responsibility, as my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) suggested, but it has a primary responsibility for the improvement of those relations, and a heavy and primary responsibility whether they are inadequate or poor.
I am glad to see some hon. Members opposite nodding assent, but I should have liked a more ready and more frequent acceptance from their side that management in this country does carry a much heavier responsibility for what is wrong with industrial relations than does the labour side.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I was deliberately very brief in moving the Amendment, because I genuinely thought that I was putting forward a proposition that would have the wholehearted support of both sides of the Committee. It is important that we should be united about this if we can, 1010 because I believe that it is one of the most important issues that we should lay down—the primary responsibility of management.
Perhaps I may remind the Opposition, before they decide how to vote on the Amendment, of paragraph 27 of the right hon. Lady's White Paper "In Place of Strife", because I still refuse to believe that that is totally buried. The first sentence of that paragraph reads:The major responsibility for solving the problem lies with management.If the right hon. Lady is no longer persuasive with her right hon. and hon. Friends, perhaps I could call in aid the Donovan Royal Commission Report, and part of it that is unanimous. I am sure that hon. Members who have read the Report will remember, without my quoting in extenso, that the responsibility of management, beginning with the responsibility of boards of directors, was one of its major themes, around which the Royal Commission built many of its most important recommendations.
For example, having analysed the situation in industrial relations in this country in paragraph 162, the first paragraph in a section of the Report headedThe Direction of Reformthe Royal Commission write early in that paragraph:Consequently the remedy must seek to introduce greater order into factory and workshop relations.The last sentence in paragraph 168 reads:If Britain is to shift to factory agreements therefore the change must be accomplished by boards of directors.This again emphasises the primary responsibility of management. In paragraph 182 the Commission said:In order to promote the orderly and effective regulation of industrial relations within companies and factories we recommend that the boards of companies review industrial relations within their undertakings. In doing so, should have the following objectives in mind:Then it lists a number of objectives.
I think I have quoted enough from Donovan to show that this concept of the primary responsibility of management was central to the Commission's analysis as to the direction and method and form it proposed. I would have hoped that this was one issue on which the Committee could and should have been 1011 united. I believe it would be a great pity and will do damage if we are not united. I therefore appeal to the Front Bench opposite to think very carefully before following the advice given by the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme). I believe that the Amendment deserves—indeed, commands—a very wide measure of agreement of those most knowledgeable both inside and outside the Committee.
§ Mr. Heffer
The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that we on the Opposition Front Bench should think very carefully before we follow the advice given by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme). We accepted that my hon. Friend should oppose the Amendment in order that we could get very clearly from the right hon. Gentleman precisely what he and the Government have in mind. [Interruption.] As far as we are concerned, we are not arguing against the concept that those who manage undertakings should accept primary responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations. [Laughter.] We have argued that for many years. We have consistently argued that too many managements in the past have not accepted their responsibility for good industrial relations. Many speeches made by my hon. Friend have equally made that point in the House. [Laughter.] If hon. Members opposite had attended any discussions we have had on industrial relations, they would have known full well that that is the situation. I accept that some of them only rarely attend industrial relations debates and have not heard what my hon. Friend has been saying on this subject over the years.
What we are advising is that we should not vote against the Amendment, but if any of my hon. Friends feel so disposed themselves to do so, there is nothing that I or any Front Bench speaker on this side of the Committee could do to stop them. [Laughter.] We have a much better spirit of independence in our party than the Tories have in theirs.
I wish to make clear that we accept the concept of worker management. We have argued this in earlier debates on the Bill. We feel that we could well put down an Amendment at a later stage giving a definition of management and 1012 managers, so at this stage we are advising our hon. Friends not to vote against the Amendment. [Laughter.] I realise that hon. Members opposite have been having a nice time earlier this evening, but let us treat the matter seriously. We have endeavoured from the outset to treat this whole business in a serious fashion, and we are doing the same now. It is not a laughing matter. We are asking our hon. Friends not to divide on this Amendment. We shall put down appropriate Amendments at a later stage to probe the matter further.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Philip Holland (Carlton)
I beg to move Amendment No. 35, in page 2, line 24, leave out 'information' and insert 'negotiation, consultation'.
I have never believed that it was possible by excess of words to bludgeon any Government into acquiescence on any matter. I shall not detain the Committee for long, not just for that reason but also because I believe that a good proposal will stand on its own feet and will be its own best advocate.
Why do I wish to delete one word and insert two others in its place? Clause 2(2) at present, in setting out the nub of the terms of reference of the code of industrial practice, stresses theneed for providing practical guidance with respect to disclosure of information by employers, and with respect to the establishment and maintenance of effective means of information …"—that last word being the one which I wish to replace by the words "negotiation" and "consultation".
The subsection stresses already the need with respect to disclosure of information by employers, and it seemed to me superfluous to stress again the need to bring information into the matter when there is no other purpose. Employers do not require information on trade union finance and that sort of thing. The essence of the matter here lies in information from the employer to the trade union, to give equality of information for negotiation purposes. Therefore, it seems to me superfluous to stress the word "information" a second time, and to leave out what I regard as a very important aspect of the code of good industrial relations practice. It is with that in mind that I propose deleting the 1013 word "information" and inserting the words "negotiation, consultation", so that subsection (2) would then read,… to the need for providing practical guidance with respect to disclosure of information by employers"—which I regard as very important; it comes first and is therefore rightly emphasised—and with respect to the establishment and maintenance of effective means of negotiation, consultation and communication at all levels".That does not alter the intention of my right hon. Friend. I believe that it expresses the intention a little more fully and perhaps a little better than the original draft. I therefore commend this Amendment to my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the Amendment will give encouragement to large and small employers to reveal to the trade unions how much they contribute to the Tory Party political funds, to action groups and the rest?
§ Mr. Holland
I may be under a misapprehension, but I understood that this information was already disclosed under an Act brought in by the hon. Member's own Government.
§ Mr. Ashton
Yesterday we had a reference by the Minister to filibustering on Amendments, and I wondered whether this was the sort of Amendment that he had in mind. We are not trying to help the Government or to improve the Bill. That is not what we are here for. I am here to help the Opposition. But if the Government will look at the history of industrial relations in this country, they will see that when information is provided by an employer it leads to a very great reduction in the number of industrial disputes.
The number of coal mines has dropped from 700 to about 350, and a major technological change took place with hardly any industrial disputes at all. Disputes in industries such as mining have been about pay, and not about the reorganisation of those industries. Reorganisation has been accepted by the men, because full information has been given to the N.U.M. With regard to the growth of white collar workers in industry, and the growth of trade unions among the white collar workers, which are getting higher and higher up the scale with unions such as A.S.T.M.S. and D.A.T.A.
§ Mr. Holland
Is the hon. Member not supporting what I said? In my view, information from the N.U.M. to the management is required in a code of good industrial relations practice.
§ Mr. Ashton
Yes, but this Bill is going to be handled by lawyers in the courts and the position will be far more ambiguous than is the case now. With regard to the other aspects, I could quote the example of the Co-op, where several mergers and reorganisations have taken place with no industrial disputes at all, because proper information has been given to the staff.
This very day we have a dispute, one of the major points of which is how much a wage increase is going to cost. The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications said yesterday that it would mean a 9d. stamp, but that is disputed by the union. But if the information were given in a way which could be checked, it might be a great step forward to settling the dispute, so we are in favour of information at all levels. We think that the hon. Member's Amendment would tend to confuse the object, which is the last think we want to do in a Bill which is already very confusing and ambiguous. That is why we do not recommend its acceptance.
§ The Solicitor-General
The Government take a more optimistic view of the effect of my hon. Friend's Amendment. It is exactly as he has explained it, the deletion of the second reference to "information" doing no harm and the intention and effect of the subsection is improved by the addition of the words suggested by my hon. Friend. I would advise the Committee to accept the Amendment. It is entirely in line in spirit and practice with the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, and with the possible new principle in Clause 1 (1) referred to by the hon. Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Peter Archer).
§ Mr. Holland
May I say thank you to my hon. and learned Friend for the advice he has given to the Committee.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.1015
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I am astonished that we should now have deleted "information" from what seems one of the principal provisions of the Code of Practice. The Committee will recall that my right hon. Friend's Bill was entirely devoted to the provision of information. The Government have retreated even further from the important principle that she established in her Bill.
We have been told precious little about the Code. It ought to have been made clearer, although we have had some guidance insofar as Clause 2 (1) refers to the need for a Code of Practice to provide guidance for the purpose specified in Clause 1 (1) of the Bill. Because we oppose Clause 1 (1) we are obviously opposed to anything which is designed to benefit that. Both the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary have been skimpy at best in the information that they have so far provided about the content of the code.
There was a curious dichotomy between the approach of the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend. The Under-Secretary assured the Liberal Party, when it sought to reduce the period of preparation, that there was no need to be in a hurry, because other parts of the Bill, when enacted, could be implemented, whereas the right hon. Gentleman subsequently said that the Code of Practice was crucial to the Bill, and that this and the other parts of the Bill hang together.
I was rather surprised at the extraordinary—I hope the Under-Secretary of State will forgive me when I say—glibness with which he trotted out to the Committee phrases about the responsibility of management and so on—a whole host of things. He mentioned them so fast that I could not quite catch them all, but they all sounded to me at the time extremely complex and deserving of the serious consideration of the Committee. It would seem to me there is a requirement for the House to know more about the purposes and contents of the Code of Practice, and, in spite of the Amendment, that the Code should make some reference to responsibility to provide information. It seems to me particularly important in view of Clause 52. I assume that whoever replies for the Government will refer me to Clause 52 in respect to the provision of information, but Clause 1016 52 hinges on this Clause 2 and that subsection with which we have been dealing. I should like an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that when we eventually reach Clause 52 we shall not be told, when pressing him and his hon. Friends on the need for information, that the horse has bolted because we should have pressed that matter when dealing with the Code of Practice. Unless the right hon. Gentleman can give more information, or some assurance about this, I must advise my hon. Friends to divide the Committee.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The position gets curioser and curioser. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) started his speech by apparently wishing to oppose the previous Amendment which his hon. Friend who claimed to have been asked to reply indicated he and his hon. Friends would oppose, and when the Question was put we heard one or two voices in opposition, which, we believe, included the voice of the right hon. Lady herself. That was not then pressed and the Amendment was carried without a Division, and then the hon. Member for Doncaster gets up and, on the Question, That the Clause as amended, stand part of the Bill, opposes the Amendment which, after much muddle, his side had just let through without a Division.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I can well understand that the right hon. Gentleman has had a trying day, and I realise that he has been under considerable strain in the last 24 hours, but I was pointing out to him my astonishment that, after having written the word into the Clause in the first place, and given it such significance, and attaching such importance, particularly, I assume, to information in this code, and the contents of Clause 52, he should so readily have accepted such a change in the provisions of the Clause. Now perhaps he will address himself to the remarks I addressed to him rather than to differences which he imagines between my hon. Friend and me.
§ Mr. Carr
I was sorry those remarks were not addressed to me. I do not know whom the hon. Gentleman was addressing. I repeat, he began his speech by opposing an Amendment he had just let through without a Division. But he has misunderstood the purpose of it. 1017 Indeed, he seems to have misunderstood the actual words of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Mr. Holland) and accepted, on behalf of the Government, by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General.
We are not deleting "information" from that subsection. As my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton pointed out, the word "information" was mentioned twice in the subsection, and all my hon. Friend suggested was that, since it was mentioned twice, the second mention might be deleted and might better be replaced by "negotiation, consultation". So we have in this subsection, which contains the guidelines for the Secretary of State on what he must particularly take into account in preparing the Code of Practice, the proper sequence of events—information, communication of information, consultation and negotiation. This is the whole gamut of processes which must be recognised and taken particularly into account by the Secretary of State, along with the prime responsibility of management, in preparing the Code of Practice. I assure the hon. Gentleman that he is quite mistaken if he thinks that the purpose of the Amendment is to lessen the importance which we attach to information. When he studies the subsection as amended that will be clear to him.
The hon. Gentleman principally wanted from the Government more information about the code of practice. I make no secret of the fact that I wish a draft code could have been available to the Committee so that what we have in mind could have been seen fully, but the more consultation and discussion there is about it the longer we need to produce it.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)
Should not the code have been available at this juncture? It could be argued that if the Bill became law and workers acted unlawfully and did not adhere to the code, the contents of the Bill would be invalidated. Is not this a serious omission at this stage?
§ Mr. Bidwell
The fact that the code is mentioned in the Bill suggests that it will be of enormous importance in establishing what is lawful and unlawful.
§ Mr. Carr
With respect to the hon. Gentleman, that is not so. As is made clear in Clause 4, the code does not attempt to lay down in any way what is lawful and unlawful. Its purpose is to set standards and guidelines which can be broadly followed by industry in encouraging responsible and informed collective bargaining, the establishment and observance of orderly and effective procedures for resolving grievances and disputes, the establishment of fair rights and obligations for all parties and the encouragement of effective communication and consultation. The code will not lay down what is lawful and unlawful.
§ Mr. James Hamilton
A great deal has been said about communication and consultation, which I agree are vitally important matters. I hope that any consultations between the right hon. Gentleman and the T.U.C. will be true consultation. Our information is that when the General Council met the right hon. Gentleman to discuss the Consultative Document, it was told immediately that the eight matters in that document would be in the Bill, quite irrespective of anything said by the General Council. If that is the sort of consultation that is involved, we want no part of it.
§ Mr. Carr
I think the hon. Gentleman is harping back to earlier matters. I do not complain about that. I repeat that I intend to have the fullest discussions and exchange of views with the T.U.C. and to have a word about the formation of the code. I only hope that the traffic will be both ways. I am a little nervous, judging by some of the things that have been said, that some of the hon. Gentleman's Friends will try to influence the T.U.C. and the unions not to participate in consultations. I hope that they will not 1019 be successful. For my part I shall attempt to consult fully and shall take account of the views which are put forward.
I was asked for more details of what might be in the code. It would be wrong at this time of the morning for me to give a lengthy exposition, but if it will help I will indicate some subject headings.
One very important section of the code must be about the rôle of management. This is directly consonant with an earlier Amendment that dealt with management having a prime responsibility for creating good industrial relations. In the code we must define the principles of effective management, leadership and inititive. In that code we must define what are management's chief responsibilities to employees. Also, in the code we must define what is effective communication and essential information. On the matter of information the Committee will be aware that there was a reference to the C.I.R. by his right hon. Friend a few weeks before the General Election. I am anxiously waiting to hear from the Commission about its views on this subject, but I can assure the Committee that the question of information will be a central and important part of the code.
We believe that the code must say something about the rôle and training of supervisors which are required if we are to have good factory floor relations. We believe it must say something about the rôle of management in relation to facilities for trade unions and individual shop stewards in a plant, and not just officials outside the plant. We believe it must say something about the rôle of employers' associations and about the proper rôle of trade unions in company plants. We believe the code can be useful in laying down a model structure in collective agreements and the subject matter thereof, and the sort of disclosure of information required to make agreements effective and of a kind which we can genuinely expect people to enter into and to keep.
We cannot expect people to enter into agreements and bind themselves unless they feel that they are negotiating such agreements for the benefit of fair equality
|Division No.65.]||AYES||[6.30 a.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Astor, John||Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Atkins, Humphrey||Balniel, Lord|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Batsford, Brian|
§ of information between the two parties to the agreement. I have given some examples of the sort of vital subjects, the very guts of a practical industrial relations system in individual companies and plants, that we shall include in this code of industrial relations practice. This is what we are doing in trying to distil what is best in British practice, and by including this in the code it will give it authority that will come from its association with this Bill and its specific approval by Parliament will be a substantial encouragement to the development of these good practices in the individual company and factory, because it is here that we can most effectively improve the quality of human relations in industry and the peaceful resolution of disputes which inevitably arise. That is the purpose of the code, the purpose of Clause 2.
§ I would, while fully realising the fundamental opposition on the benches opposite to this Bill, ask hon. Members to think carefully before voting against Clause 2. They know, as I know, that they will find many people outside this Committee who may be not in agreement with some or even all of our main legislative proposals but still strongly believe that the Code of Practice idea is of immense value and is essentially non-controversial.
§ Whatever may be the ultimate fate of the Bill and however long it may stay on the Statute Book—and I believe it will be longer than many hon. Members opposite imagine—this Code of Practice idea is of permanent value. We could all do good in the improvement of human relations in industry if we could unanimously bless this idea which could be separated from the other provisions of the Bill if a future Government or Secretary of State wished. It would be of great value if the Committee could give that blessing, recognising that it was by no means thus blessing the rest of the Bill.
§ Question put, That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 242, Noes 204.
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Havers, Michael||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Hawkins, Paul||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Benyon, W.||Hayhoe, Barney||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Heseltine, Michael||Percival, Ian|
|Biffen, John||Hicks, Robert||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Blaker, Peter||Holland, Philip||Pounder, Rafton|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Holt, Miss Mary||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Body, Richard||Hordern, Peter||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Boscawen, Robert||Hornby, Richard||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Bowden, Andrew||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Raison, Timothy|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Howell, David (Guildford)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Braine, Bernard||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Bray, Ronald||Hunt, John||Redmond, Robert|
|Brewis, John||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Iremonger, T. L.||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||James, David||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Jessel, Toby||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Bryan, Paul||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Carlisle, Mark||Jopling, Michael||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Kellett, Mrs. Elaine||Rost, Peter|
|Chichester-clark, R.||Kershaw, Anthony||Royle, Anthony|
|Churchill, W. S.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Clegg, Walter||Kinsey, J. R.||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cockeram, Eric||Kirk, Peter||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Coombs, Derek||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Simeons, Charles|
|Cooper, A. E.||Knox, David||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Cormack, Patrick||Lane, David||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Curran, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Le Marchant, Spencer||Soref, Harold|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Speed, Keith|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack||Longden, Gilbert||Spence, John|
|Loveridge, John||Sproat, Iain|
|Dean, Paul||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Stainton, Keith|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||MacArthur, Ian||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Drayson, G. B.||McCrindle, R. A.||Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Eden, Sir John||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Stokes, John|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (carshalton)||Sutcliffe, John|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Farr, John||Maddan, Martin||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Fell, Anthony||Madel, David||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Maginnis, John E.||Tebbit, Norman|
|Fidler, Michael||Marten, Neil||Temple, John M.|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Mather, Carol||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mawby, Ray||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Tilney, John|
|Fowler, Norman||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Fox, Marcus||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Trew, Peter|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Mills, Stratton (Balfast, N.)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Fry, Peter||Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Moate, Roger||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Molyneaux, James||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Money, Ernie||Wall, Patrick|
|Goodhart, Philip||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Goodhew, Victor||Monro, Hector||Warren, Kenneth|
|Gorst, John||Montgomery, Fergus||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Gower, Raymond||More, Jasper||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Gray, Hamish||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Green, Alan||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Wilkinson, John|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Mudd, David||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Grylls, Michael||Murton, Oscar||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Gummer, Selwyn||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Neave, Airey||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Worsley, Marcus|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Normanton, Tom|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Nott, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Onslow, Cranley||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Mr. Tim Fortescue.|
|Hastings, Stephen||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Abse, Leo||Ashton, Joe||Barnett, Joel|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Atkinson, Norman||Beaney, Alan|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Barnes, Michael||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hardy, Peter||Orme, Stanley|
|Bishop, E. S.||Harper, Joseph||Oswald, Thomas|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Booth, Albert||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Palmer, Arthur|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Heffer, Eric S.||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bradley, Tom||Hilton, W. S.||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Brown, Bon (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Horam, John||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Huckfield, Leslie||Pendry, Tom|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pentland, Norman|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Prescott, John|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hunter, Adam||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cant, R. B.||Janner, Greville||Probert, Arthur|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||John, Brynmor||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Richard, Ivor|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'nor)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Roper, John|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.)||Kaufman, Gerald||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Kelley, Richard||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kinnock, Neil||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lambie, David||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lamond, James||Short, Mrs. Ranée (W'hampton, N. E.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Latham, Arthur||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Leadbitter, Ted||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Deakins, Eric||Leonard, Dick||Sillars, James|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lestor, Miss Joan||Silverman, Julius|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.)||Small, William|
|Doig, Peter||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lomas, Kenneth||Spearing, Nigel|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lyone, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Stallard, A. W.|
|McBride, Neil||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||McCann, John||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Dunn, James A.||McCartney, Hugh||Strang, Gavin|
|Dunnett, Jack||McElhone, Frank||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Eadie, Alex||McGuire, Michael||Swain, Thomas|
|Ellis, Tom||Mackie, John||Taverne, Dick|
|English, Michael||Mackintosh, John P.||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Evans, Fred||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Tinn, James|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Varley, Eric G.|
|Foley, Maurice||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Ford, Ben||Meacher, Michael||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Forrester, John||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mendelson, John||Wallace, George|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mikardo, Ian||Watkins, David|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Millan, Bruce||Wellbeloved, James|
|Garrett, W. E.||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Ginsberg, David||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Golding, John||Moyle, Roland||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Murray, Ronald King||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Griffiths, Eddis (Brightside)||Ogden, Eric|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||O'Halloran, Michael||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||O'Malley, Brian||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Hamling, William||Oram, Bert||Mr. Kenneth Marks.|
§ Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I beg to move,That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.We had had a long sitting, Sir Alfred. It is now 20 minutes to seven in the 1024 morning, and I hope that the Committee will think it appropriate for me to move this Motion.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again this day.