HC Deb 27 January 1971 vol 810 cc589-719

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Heffer

I beg to move Amendment No. 441, in page 3, line 33, leave out 'if he so desires'.

The Deputy Chairman

It might be convenient to take the following Amendments at the same time. This does not preclude voting on any particular Amendment in that grouping.

No. 488, in the name of the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) —in page 3, leave out lines 33 and 34 and insert: (a) The right to belong to an appropriate trade union. No. 440, in the name of the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle)— in line 33, leave out 'such trade union as he may choose' and insert 'a trade union'.

No. 550, in line 33, leave out 'such' and insert 'an appropriate'.

No. 551, in line 34, leave out 'as he may choose'.

No. 552, in line 40, leave out second 'a' and insert' an appropriate'.

No. 553, in page 4, line 1, leave out 'the' and insert 'that'.

No. 554, in line 2, leave out 'the' and insert 'that'; all in the name of the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page).

Mr. Heffer

These Amendments are very important indeed because Clause 5 is undoubtedly one of the most important in the Bill. It raises the whole question of trade union membership and the activities of the members. In one sense, it is the core of the Bill. Once again I will be extremely brief because of the actions of the Government in imposing a guillotine in the way they have and not allowing sufficient time to discuss the Bill in depth. I make no apology for reiterating that point.

The Amendments are importang because, as the Bill stands, it is blatantly discriminatory, given that the definition of a trade union is that which is contained in Clause 57(3) which says: In this Act 'trade union' means an organisation of workers which is for the time being registered under this Act. I will return to that point.

Amendment No. 441 proposes to remove the words "if he so desires". Apart from anything else, I cannot understand how the Government could ever have put in such words—except, of course, that the Bill has been sloppily drafted and is, indeed, quite ridiculous in its wording. The Amendment would mean that the limitations and qualifications would be removed, because subsection (1) even at this stage already hits at the principle of the closed shop and 100 per cent, trade unionism. The words " if he so desires" are at the heart of the argument. I may point out that not only trade unionists want these words to be struck out and the closed shop recognised. Many employers recognise that closed shops are beneficial to good industrial relations.

Then there is the wording such trade union as he may choose ". How did the Government arrive at those words? More than anything else, they show that the Government have no real knowledge of the trade union movement. For example, I was a joiner before entering the House, a skilled craftsman. I didnot join the dockers' section of the Transport and General Workers' Union. That sort of example indicates how silly these words are. We have not yet got industrial unions in the building industry and, therefore, the plumbers do not join the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers, although a plumber might like the general secretary of that organisation more than he does the general secretary of the plumbers' trade union. One only has to quote such cases to show how silly these words are. Miners do not join the dockers' section of the T. & G.W.U. and dockers do not join the National Union of Mineworkers. It is clear that the Government have got themselves into a mess at this point.

The Bill gives the right to people to create break-away organisations—indeed,is an encouragement to them to do so. I am thinking of the sort of foremen's organisations and so on which all trade unionists know. We have had such organisations in the past and know from experience that such provision is a recipe for industrial anarchy.

Mr. Orme

Does not my hon. Friend agree that this Bill encourages a return to the paternalistic house unions we were getting away from and will again create a division among workpeople in industry where such divisions should not exist?

Mr. Heffer

I entirely agree and I am sure that this is part of the strategy of Clause 5.

I will conclude because I have to be extremely brief in the circumstances in which we are discussing the Bill. The Clause as it stands means that a trade union is a recognised registered one and in my argument, whilst we have not got a form of words which would eliminate this point, I make it clear that we are seeking the removal by the Government of the concept that a trade union must only be a registered trade union and not also an unregistered trade union.

If one contrasts subsection (1) with subsection (2), one finds that it is discriminatory because they contradict each other. It is all right for someone not to belong to either a recognised trade union or an unrecognised trade union—this apparently is to be made the law; it is not to be reversed. The Amendments are import ant. We hope that the Committee will accept them and that the Government, if they are genuinely concerned about these issues, will see the justice of the case that we are putting. I hope that they will be sufficiently sensible to accept the Amendment without a long debate so that we can get on to the next part of the Bill, which we feel is of fundamental importance to the trade union movement.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)

I shall not detain the Committee more than a few minutes. I hold in my hand the notes of the speech I had intended to make on the Amendments. It would have been relevant. What I intended to do was to establish, if I could, the validity of the proposition of obligatory trade union membership. If I had had time, I would have suggested that it is not only a State which is an organisation that we accept for compulsion. I would have suggested that, just as examinational qualifications are generally recognised as obligatory in some areas and no one can enter certain activities without an examinational qualification, so at craft level compulsory trade union membership is the equivalent of examinational qualifications recognised at other levels.

I would have argued this point and illustrated it freely. I would have suggested that a trade union organisation in some areas cannot really function without obligatory trade union membership. I would have given examples to show what vast differences there are and how, in some places, it is not really necessary to have obligatory trade union membership and how in others, owing to the nature of the organisation—possibly the casual nature of the employment—without obligatory trade union membership the organisation cannot effectively function and a situation of chaos and collapse is bound to occur.

These are arguments which the guillotine has deprived me of an opportunity of making. I shall, therefore, not stand very long between the Committee and the vote on the Amendment which I am sure hon. Members on this side want universally to make. Indeed, I believe that some hon. Members opposite agree. If I had had time, I might even have persuaded some of them to stand out of the Lobby on this issue rather than establish a proposition which would render impossible the operation of some of the organisations of trade unions which perform necessary and vital functions.

Safety, for example, cannot be operated in some occupations without 100 per cent. trade union membership. In mining, for instance, it is possible for safety to be operated, for men to be able to trust each other, without 100 per cent. trade union membership. It is impossible in an extreme case for a stunt man to accept the risks which are inherent in his occupation unless he knows that the qualification of experience, which is inherent in trade union membership, operates in that situation. I am not arguing on behalf of one trade union; this is a general question.

I should like later to illustrate the general case which I should like to have made by giving specific examples. 1 am sorry that it is not possible to develop the case now, but it is impossible and I will now sit down.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

The Amendments which my hon. Friends and I have suggested are of an exploratory nature. There is some concern among trade unions and employers that a completely free choice of to which trade union an individual may belong could lead to a fragmentation and an increase in the number of unions with which an employer might have to negotiate. This is something which the Committee should consider. I should like to hear my right hon. Friend's views on whether there are sufficient safeguards in the Bill to ensure that such fragmentation does not occur.

Mr. Ashton

I am pleased to see that at last some fragments of light are beginning to be borne in upon the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page). The issue which he mentioned has been troubling us for a long time. If people are left to join what union they choose, there will be complete chaos in coal mining, for instance, where a fitter serves an apprenticeship in engineering and could therefore choose to join the A.E.F. instead of the N.U.M., which would be a great handicap to the National Coal Board

In conjunction with the employers, the unions have worked together for many years for a system of industry trade unions We believe that the best trade union is one which covers an industry, as does the N.U.M., which answers for everybody in coal mining, irrespective of his trade. If someone with a petty grievance with a shop steward, for instance, is able to join the Transport and General Workers' Union and another 10 people say that they will join the General and Municipal Workers' Union, we shall have some of the problems which have bedevilled the car trade and there will be absolute chaos. We are confident that some people will join other unions out of sheer mischievousness, or spite, or simply because they have a grudge against their union, or have a petty argument about whether they are in arrears, or are entitled to benefit and so on. It would be a grave error to allow this chaos to ensue.


5.45 p.m.

The part of the Bill which refers to trade union activities is very vague. At present there is the system which allows many local councillors who are not nominated by trade unions, but who are nevertheless trade union members, to be given time off by employers so that they may attend council meetings. Is that to be regarded as a trade union activity? For instance, if a trade unionist accepts an appointment as a justice of the peace, and the trade unions are asked to nominate members to become justices of the peace, would that count as a trade unionactivity? Could he have appropriate time off work, or would there have to be a long argy-bargy and a strike to prove a principle which might have to be settled by the courts? Other examples can be taken from hospital management committees.

After the elections next May, it would be possible—I do not say that it would occur—for an employers federation to wipe out a Labour majority on a council. For instance, in a small town like Rawmarsh, where everybody works in the Parkgate steel works—it is a company town—if the company refused to allow men to have time off work to attend council meetings, because council meetings were not regarded as trade union activities, the wishes of the electorate could be overruled and the company could ensure a majority for only one side, at least for the several months which it would take for the courts to decide the issue.

We think that trade union activities should be more carefully defined and that they should cover not merely activities directly connected with trade unions, but those undertaken consequent upon trade union membership and consequent upon existing agreements with the union. This is a major matter which requires clarification, and I hope that the Secretary of State will examine it and make some pronouncement upon it so that there is not utter chaos.

Mr. Gower

We recognise that Labour Members are putting forward these views with good intentions and good motives and are arguing from much experience. On the other hand, the growth of trade union practices in this country has been bedevilled by our political history much longer than has been the case in some other countries and those countries have been helped by trade union practices, whereas, for some reason, they have hampered this country.

We accept that the Amendments are based on good intentions and good motives. But tyranny has sometimes been based on good motives and good intentions. I should not like a system which would permit a person, who, for any reason, however misguided, did not want to be a member of a particular trade union, to find that his only alternative was to be drummed out of his industry. That is the bleak alternative, and I sincerely hope that Labour Members do not want that.

We do not want a fragmentation of the trade union movement. Nothing we have done in recent years, however, has achieved a smaller number of trade unions in the motor car industry. The present system has permitted fragmentation in some industries. We want effective trade unions which will attract a large membership as much as possible by their efficiency, excellence and merit. We do not want compulsion in this respect any more than we accept the proposal, sometimes advanced, that people should be compelled to vote at elections. Abstinence is sometimes a positive action in democratic voting. Similarly, we want to achieve excellence in industrial relations not by compulsion, but by the quality of the services which both sides of industry give to their members.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

This is the silliest of all the Clauses in a very silly Bill. One of our troubles has been inter-union disputes, inter-union fragmentation, demarcation disputes and competition by one union for the members of another, often by a display of more intransigence, more energy. Does the right hon. Gentleman want to encourage that? Does he want more inter-union disputes? Does he want to build in a charter for every union secretary who, by his militancy, does all he can to pinch the members of another union? It seems quite fantastic that the right hon. Gentleman should be putting this forward. Does he really believe that we can, by law, compel men to work with blacklegs? All that will happen, and this is the most unpleasant thing of all, is that accidents will be arranged for the blacklegs.

Hon. Members: Nonsense.

Mr. Paget

This is exactly the kind of thing that will happen. It has happened and this Clause is asking it to happen. [Interruption.] Read American trade union history.

Mr. Orme

Read British history.

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)

May I tell my hon. and learned Friend that there is no tradition of violence in British trade unions.

Mr. Paget

We will not go into that.

Turning to Clause 51(l)(c)—

Hon. Members

We are not on that.

Mr. Paget

I understood that Clause 5 was to be discussed generally.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

The instructions I have is that we take Amendments 441, 440, 488, and 550 to 554.

Mr. Paget

I think that covers the point that I was making with regard to 5(l)(c).

The point I seek to raise relates to the boot and shoe trade union. It has a rule that members of the Communist Party are not eligible for office. The view that the union takes is that the loyalties involved by acceptance of the Communist Party ticket are inconsistent with the loyalties required by a trade union officer. The union has another rule and that is that any candidate for office must satisfy the executive that he is competent to perform the duties involved in that office. If he wants a job as secretary he has to satisfy the executive that he has taken the necessary courses in bookkeeping and other subjects which will qualify him for the job.

Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to make these rules illegal? This is a union which has worked extraordinarily well and has not resorted to strikes. It has made highly successful collective agreements for members of the boot and shoe trade who form a considerable group in my constituency. I find this an alarming restriction.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Robert Carr)

It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I reply to what has been said so far. May I, first of all, take up the points raised by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). I apologise to him for shaking my head when he began to talk about Clause 5(l)(c) but, with respect, he was not actually talking about the Amendments moved to the subsection but was making points which might perhaps be better dealt with during the debate on the Motion, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. He is right on one point and wrong on the other.

He is right in saying that under (c) we are removing the right of any union to have what I call bars, political restrictions, in its rules. I take the point that he makes. The Transport and General Workers Union, until recently I believe, had some similar rule. I can understand the reasons—people do not want those who do not believe in democracy to undermine the institutions of those who do. I believe that where there are such people they will get in under some other disguise and therefore I do not believe that by excluding Communists and fascists as such from an organisation and from office within it we will achieve the required aim. By having such rules we may exclude others. I do not see why a member of the Labour, Liberal or Conservative Party should be excluded by a union rule from playing a full part in the affairs of the union or from holding office.

The hon. and learned Gentleman is wrong on the second part of his question, about qualifications. We have to look at other parts of the Bill, for example Clause 61(2) which begins to talk about membership. A union does not have to let anyone into membership. It can lay down proper qualifications and conditions for membership and it would be perfectly in order for any union, including that to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, to have such qualifications in its rules as it thought necessary. The hon. and learned Gentleman need have no fears—

Mr. Paget

This is not a question of joining a union, it is a question of seeking election once a member is in a union. Members of the boot and shoe trade union have to show qualification for the office before they can seek election.

Mr. Carr

I am getting simultaneous advice from two hon. and learned Gentle-ment, one in each ear. They have met in the middle and caused a certain amount of confusion in my mind.

Hon. Members

Very dangerous.

Mr. Carr

No, it is not very dangerous. It is essential not only in this area but in many others that hon. and learned Gentlemen should advise us, but I like them to do it one by one and not both together. I am grateful to the Solicitor-General for his help. However, the real point is that all hon. Members seem to have forgotten the real nature of the Clause. We are dealing with the rights of every worker as between himself and his employer, not as between himself and his union. That is dealt with in another part of the Bill. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at the opening part of the Clause, he will see that it says: Every worker shall, as between himself and his employer, have the following rights.. If we were to accept the Amendment and to leave out the words such trade union as he may choose we would not be increasing the rights of the individual, we would be increasing the rights of the employer vis-à-vis the individual.

These words are essential if we are to maintain the position whereby the employer cannot dictate to the employee the union to which he may or may not belong. I understand the significance of the points made by hon. Members and I can only say that I believe they are arguing on the wrong basis on this Clause.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

What does the right hon. Gentleman say to the situation in which there is a contract of employment between employer and employee and it is part of that contract that the employee shall be a member of a particular trade union? Under these circumstances, who is making the compulsion, the employer or the employee who freely enters into a contract as a result of which membership of a particular trade union is obligatory?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Carr

Again, 1 say with respect, we come to this under paragraph (b). That relates to the right not to join. At the moment we are talking about the right to join. This is only one half of the equation. We believe that it is essential that, as between the employer and the employee, the employee should be able to choose and join if he so desires. There is a clash between us, and we shall come to it, but I am only saying now to the Committee that this is not the point at which it arises, because here we are supporting the right of the employee vis-à-vis his employer.

Sir Edward Brown (Bath)

Perhaps my right hon. Friend would explain his attitude to Amendment No. 550 in the names of my hon. Friends and myself— to leave out "such" and insert "an appropriate". If one is in industry and thinking of joining a union one would join one which would be appropriate.

Mr. Carr

Yes, and I was just coming to my hon. Friends' series of Amendments. Really the same arguments apply to their Amendments as I have just used to this Amendment. If we allow the word "appropriate" to come in here we again give the employer a power to say what he thinks an appropriate union for a person to join.

I must again repeat to the Committee that we are at this point in the Bill dealing with the rights of the employee vis-à-vis his employer. That is what this Clause is about.

Mr. Orme

In industry at the moment an employee has the right to join the appropriate trade union, and that appropriate trade union seeks to negotiate rights with the employer. The right hon. Gentleman is tying his argument to the employer, but how has it come about that the employer now is to have rights he never had before?

Mr. Carr

At the moment I would have thought some employers do what certainly some have done in the past. They have dictated, or attempted to dictate, sometimes successfully, whether an individual employee should belong to a union at all. One reason why we must have these words is that we are declaring the right that anybody shall be able, shall have the right, shall have the legal right, to join a union of his choice, and no employer, without infringing this Bill, will be able to try to prevent him from exercising that right. This is an important new right which we believe ought to be established, and which is established here, and that is one of the reasons why we must have this paragraph dealing with the rights as between an employer and an employee.

Mr. James Sillars (South Ayrshire)

Is the Secretary of State in fact giving an absolute right to an employee to choose any trade union that he may choose—an absolute right?

Mr. Carr

No. Not an absolute right. An absolute right vis-à-vis his employer. But we have provisions later on in relation to agency shops; appropriateness of a trade union; agreement of an employer, between himself and his employees, that he shall recognise solely one union; and so forth. In that case, that would be a negotiated right between the union and employer. The employee would still have the right not only to join the union which is the agency union in an agency shop but if he wishes for any reason, to join another union as well. [Interruption.] It is not ridiculous, not if we wish to give an employee a right, which he does not have at the moment, to resist dictation from his employer as to whether he shall join a union, and which union he shall join.

Mr. Sillars

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Let us remove ourselves from the agency shop situation. In a situation where there is not an agency shop, but where a trade union operates, based on recognition, does the right hon. Gentleman's proposition give the employee an absolute right to join any trade union?

Mr. Carr

Yes, indeed it does—any trade union for which he is properly qualified—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."]—if he is qualified under the union's rules. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) was talking about joining a plumbers' union or a miners' union, whatever union one likes. Would the rules of that union allow this mythical man the hon. Gentleman was talking about to join? Because it is perfectly proper for a union in its rules to define the classes of people for whom it caters, and to turn away others. It is perfectly proper for a union to lay down that it is a union for plumbers and to turn away, for example, journalists. It is perfectly proper for a trade union to define in its rules the category of people it will accept.

Mr. Heffer

Does not this underline the whole point that in fact it is not possible for the worker to join the union of his choice—in the strict sense of that term? He can join an appropriate trade union. Therefore, what we say in our Amendment is absolutely justified.

Mr. Carr

No. It is not, really. At the moment an employee has a range of unions for which possibly he may be qualified to join. What we are seeking here to ensure, and what, I believe, we are ensuring, is that, among the unions for which he would have qualifications to join, it would be wrong for such union to refuse him membership. He himself as an employee has absolute freedom to choose, and I really believe that that is the sensible thing to try to achieve.

While I fully recognise that there are later parts of the Clause which are controversial between the two sides of the Committee, I really do not believe that this one is, and I really do ask the Committee, hon. Members opposite and some of my hon. Friends as well, to consider this and perhaps save us time by not pressing this matter to a Division, because I think they are on a false point.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Carr

I give way to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson).

Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)

I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. While I agree with him that the whole matter is qualified by the opening words of the Clause, as between himself and his employer is not the whole point of the first part of this Clause that it does basically affect the 100 per cent, union shop—a matter which does not seem to have been dealt with so far in the arguments?

Mr. Carr

I agree this Clause does that, but I do not believe that this particular bit of the Clause does that. On reflection, I see that the hon. and learned Gentleman is right, because we are saying here that the employee must be free at this juncture to join the union of his choice; therefore, it would be wrong to compel him to join a union not of his choice; and, to that extent, yes, it does; but I think that this becomes important in practical terms only in relation to other parts of the Clause and of the Bill. At this point I do not really believe that there is any point on which the Committee ought to divide. Obviously, it is for the Committee to decide. I am only trying to explain to the Committee that, while I fully appreciate that there can be very big differences between us later, I do not think there are on this Amendment.

Mr. Paget

What the right hon. Gentleman says is that subsection (1) is governed by the words as between himself and his employer and that that is merely saying the employer is not to dictate what union he belongs to. How does that work when we apply it in the case of the Communist, which I raised? Because if paragraph (c) simply means that the employer is not to forbid a Communist taking office in a trade union, it does not matter at all; but if, on the other hand, it means what the right hon. Gentleman said it meant, then he is wrong in saying that this is governed by the initial words.

Mr. Carr

I take the hon. and learned Gentleman's point. I am afraid I may have combined two points in one. I stand corrected, because what this Clause says is that the employer shall not in any way dictate whether a Communist or a Liberal or a Conservative or anybody should not stand for office. So the hon. and learned Gentleman is right.

I think that speed matters, and that instead of allowing myself to be interrupted I should sit down and let others make their speeches if they wish to. I was hoping to save time and unnecessary dividing and dissension by trying to point out to the Committee that I genuinely believe that our real points of controversy, on which we shall want to concentrate, come later in the Clause, and not at this point.

Mr. A. W. Stallard (St. Pancras, North)

What effect does the right hon. Gentleman envisage the Clause will have on the Bridlington Agreement?

Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)

I think that the right hon. Gentleman would help the Committee if he were to agree to look again at the wording of paragraph (a). The right hon. Gentleman has not got his opposites right. In paragraph (b) he is saying that a man has a right to refuse to be a trade unionist. The logic of his argument is that in paragraph (a) he should say that a man has the right to be a trade unionist. If he were to say that, I think that my hon. Friends would understand the opposites, even though they do not agree with the Bill.

At the moment the right hon. Gentleman is arguing that a man should be eligible to be a member of such trade union as he may choose. This brings us to the point that was made about fragmentation. It is a legitimate point, and it is no good the right hon. Gentleman saying that we all understand that it is only the appropriate trade union, because there is nothing about that in the Bill.

Later provisions of the Bill seek to provide for an appropriate trade union to be the negotiating body. If he leaves the wording of the Clause as it is, the provision here will be a negation of what the right hon. Gentleman is trying to do later on. The Minister wants to encourage works committee organisations which will negotiate with employers, especially in big firms. In most instances there can be as many as 10 trade unions which have agreed to accept a works committee arrangement. It would therefore be desirable for the workers at that factory to be members of one of the trade unions which have accepted the internal negotiating agreement. If the right hon. Gentleman leaves the Clause in its present form, he may well encourage people to join trade unions whose function may be to operate broadly in that industry, but which are not appropriate unions for the works committee procedure in a big factory.

I know that the right hon. Gentleman wants to get on with the Bill. We do not want To waste time by dividing on everything on which there is a difference of opinion. I think that the right hon. Gentleman should agree to look again at the wording of paragraph (a), to try to bring it within the four corners of what I have been arguing. If he agrees to do that, I think that we shall be able to get on with the next Amendment. If the right hon. Gentleman does not agree to that suggestion, he will run the risk of including unions in a large factory which are not appropriate to the works committee organisation. If that were to happen it would be destructive of what we are all trying to do, which is to get a far better negotiating machinery into factories than is possible at the moment.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Booth

The right hon. Gentleman has made it quite clear in rejecting one of the Amendments that the meaning of paragraph (a) is that an employer shall not be able to influence the employee in deciding which trade union to join but that he should be free to make his own choice, but such a right would be meaningless if the employer could circumscribe the provision by granting negotiating rights to only one trade union.

Let us consider the position if the employer is the State. Let us consider the National Health Service. If the National Health Service legislation gives the Secretary of State the right to say which body he will recognise as the appropriate negotiating body, the Secretary of State for Social Services may well run foul of this provision.

Consider the position of hospital doctors. I understand that the Minister has given an assurance that at an approprite stage of the Bill he will safeguard the position of the B.M.A. This will prevent the Junior Hospital Doctors' Association, for example, which any hospital doctor will have the right to join, from being able to claim the protection of the Bill unless the Minister gives a clear assurance that the Clause means that anybody opting to join this trade union will be joining a union which, irrespective of existing legislation, has the right to negotiate on his behalf. If the Clause is not amended, will the Secretary of State for Social Services continue to determine which unions organising employees in the Health Service shall have negotiating rights?

Mr. R. Carr

I think that because of a genuine misunderstanding some confusion has arisen here. I believe that the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) was getting confused between membership and negotiating rights. The two normally go together, and they are important, but when one is writing legislation one has to separate them.

This paragraph gives an unrestricted right to membership. It does not deal with negotiating rights, which are controlled in other ways, both by voluntary agreement and by other machinery provided in the Bill. Here we are dealing with a man's right to join the union of his choice, and making it clear that the employer cannot take away that right.

Mr. Booth

Does the Minister agree that the right to join a union can be meaningless if, by virtue of some other legislation, that union is debarred from having negotiating rights? Is it not fair to say that the two are clearly related for the purpose of this legislation?

Mr. Carr

They are related, but not at this point.

Mr. Thomas Cox (Wandsworth, Central)

The right hon. Gentleman is adding to the confusion, and what we are trying to do is to clear it up.

Mr. Heffer

I hesitated for a moment, because I thought that the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. James Hill) wished to speak and I wanted to give him the opportunity to do so.

Mr. James Hill (Southampton, Test)

I am sure my hon. Friend will agree that there are certain sections of the trade union movement which have to be protected from stronger forces. The phrase such trade union as he may choose is applicable because there is a conflict of forces in, for example, the Post Office Corporation. I am referring particularly to the Telecommunications Staff Association, which is a registered trade union, but the Bridlington Agreement does not seem to be protecting it at all, as it is being forced by the Union of Post Office Workers to accept union membership. It is possible under paragraph (a) for a member of the Telecommunications Staff Association also to be a member of the U.P.W., and he can at any time have a choice. This is basically what the subsection is getting at.

Mr. Heffer

Perhaps it might have been wiser if I had not hesitated but had dealt immediately with some of the points made during the debate.

My hon. Friends are deeply concerned with the next Amendment, and I think everyone understands that this is the most important Amendment that we shall have before us today, if not during the whole of our consideration of the Bill.

The debate has brought out very clearly that what we are dealing with is the trade union movement, and the British trade union movement in particular. We are dealing with one of the most complex organisations that one can have, because of the history of the trade union movement.

One of my hon. Friends made the point that if an engineer working in a mine were given the right to join the A.E.F. an enormous problem could be created, because there is an industrial union in the coal mining industry, whereas other industries have a number of unions. Whenever a dispute arose in respect of a certain union, if another union were available on the doorstep, so that workers could opt from one union to another, it could create chaos in the industry concerned. We must remember that a very complex situation exists in terms of the trade union movement and industrial relations. No one set pattern is applicable to all unions or all situations.

The question of accidents was raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). I have been in the trade union movement since

Division No. 81. AYES [6.24 p.m.
Abse, Leo Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)
Albu, Austen Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Deakins, Eric
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cant, R. B. de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Allen, Scholefield Carmichael, Neil Delargy, H. J.
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund
Armstrong, Ernest Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Dempsey, James
Ashley, Jack Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Doig, Peter
Ashton, Joe Clark, David (Colne Valley) Dormand, J. D.
Atkinson, Norman Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cohen, Stanley Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Barnes, Michael Coleman, Donald Driberg, Tom
Barnett, Joel Concannon, J. D. Duffy, A. E. P.
Beaney, Alan Conlan, Bernard Dunn, James A.
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Dunnett, Jack
Bishop, E. S. Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Eadie, Alex
Blenkinsop, Arthur Crawshaw, Richard Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Cronin, John Edwards, William (Merioneth)
Booth, Albert Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Ellis, Tom
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) English, Michael
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Evans, Fred
Bradley, Tom Dalyell Tam Fernyhough, E.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon.Tyne, W.) Darling, Rt. Hn. George Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Davidson, Arthur Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Foley, Maurice
Buchan, Norman Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Foot, Michael
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Ford, Ben
Butter, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil) Forrester, John

I was 15 years old and I have never heard of a blackleg or other worker involved in an argument with trade unionists being subjected to violent action by those trade unionists. It was a disgraceful statement for my hon. and learned Friend to make. I am sorry that he is not here to hear me say so. There is no comparison between the situation that exists here and that which exists in the United States of America. One of our arguments has been that precisely by introducing this type of legislation from the United States some of the most unpleasant aspects of industrial relations in that country may also be introduced here.

The right hon. Gentleman has said that the issues were between the worker and his employer, and that we have got it wrong, but we feel that we have got it absolutely right. As it stands, the Clause is confusing, and when we reach Amendment No. 440 we shall ask the Committee to divide on it.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment No. 440 proposed: In page 3, line 33, leave out such trade union as he may choose and insert "a trade union".—[Mr. Heffer.]

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 255, Noes 312.

Fraser, John (Norwood) Lomas, Kenneth Rankin, John
Freeson, Reginald Loughlin, Charles Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Galpern, Sir Myer Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Gilbert, Dr. John Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Ginsburg, David Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Richard, Ivor
Golding, John McBride, Neil Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Gordon Water, Rt. Hn. P. C. McCartney, Hugh Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Gourlay, Harry McElhone, Frank Robertson, John (Paisley)
Grant, George (Morpeth) McGuire, Michael Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mackenzie, Gregor Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mackie, John Roper, John
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mackintosh, John P. Rose, Paul B.
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Maclennan, Robert Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Hamilton, William McNamara, J. Kevin Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) MacPherson, Malcolm Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Hardy, Peter Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Sillars, James
Harper, Joseph Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Silverman, Julius
Harrison, Walter (Watefield) Marquand, David Skinner, Dennis
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Small William
Hattersley, Roy Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Heatey, Rt. Hn. Denis Meacher, Michael Spearing, Nigel
Heffer, Eric S. Mettish, Rt. Hn. Robert Spriggs, Leslie
Hilton, W. S. Mendelson, John Staffard, A. W.
Horam, John Millan, Bruce Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Miller, Dr. M. S. Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Huckfield, Leslie Molloy, William Strang Gavin
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Swain, Thomas
Hunter, Adam Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Taverne, Dick
Irvine, Rt. Hn. SirArthur (Edge Hill) Moyle, Roland Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Janner, Greville Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Murray, Ronald King Tinn, James
Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St. P'cras, S.) Ogden, Eric Torney, Tom
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) O'Halloran, Michael Tuck, Raphael
John, Brynmor O'Malley, Brian Urwin, T. W.
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Oram, Bert Varley, Eric G.
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Orbach, Maurice Wainwright Edwin
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Orme, Stanley Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Oswald, Thomas Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Wallace, George
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Padley, Walter Watkins David
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Paget, R. T. Weitzman, David
Kaufman, Gerald Palmer, Arthur Wellbeloved, James
Kerr, Russell Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles White James (Gasgow, Pollok)
Kinnock Neil Parker, John (Dagenham) Whitehead, Phillip
Lambie, David Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Whitlock, William
Lamond, James Pavitt, Laurie Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Latham, Arthur Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lawson, George Pendry, Tom Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Leadbitter, Ted Pentland, Norman Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Lee, Rt. Hn, Frederick Perry, Ernest G. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Leonard, Dick Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg Wilson, William (Coventry S.)
Lestor, Miss Joan Prescott, John
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Price, William (Rugby) Mr. Alan Fitch and
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Probert, Arthur Mr. Kenneth Marks.
Lipton, Marcus
Adley, Robert Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Body, Richard Cary, Sir Robert
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Boscawen, Robert Channon, Paul
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Bossom, Sir Clive Chapman, Sydney
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Bowden, Andrew Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher
Astor, John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Chichester-Clark, R.
Atkins, Humphrey Braine, Bernard Churchill, W. S.
Awdry, Daniel Bray, Ronald Clark, William (Surrey, E.)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Brewis, John Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Brinton, Sir Tatton Clegg, Walter
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Cockeram, Eric
Batsford, Brian Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Cooke, Robert
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Bruce-Gardyne, J. Coombs, Derek
Bell, Ronald Bryan, Paul Cooper, A. E.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Cordle, John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Buck, Antony Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Benyon, W. Bullus, Sir Eric Cormack, Patrick
Berry, Hn. Anthony Burden, F. A. Costain, A. P.
Biffen, John Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Critchley, Julian
Biggs-Davison, John Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Crouch, David
Blaker, Peter Carlisle, Mark Crowder, F. P.
Curran Charles Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Dalkeith, Earl of Jessel Toby Quennell, Miss J. M.
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Raison, Timothy
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Jopling, Michael Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Dean, Paul Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Redmond, Robert
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kaberry, Sir Donald Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Rees, Peter (Dover)
Dixon, Piers Kershaw, Anthony Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Kilfedder, James Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Kimball, Marcus Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Drayson G. B. King Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ridsdale, Julian
Dykes, Hugh Kinsey, J. R. Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Eden, Sir John Kirk, Peter Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kitson, Timothy Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Knight, Mrs. Jill Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Knox, David Rost, Peter
Emery, Peter Lambton, Antony Royle, Anthony
Eyre, Reginald Lane, David Russell, Sir Ronald
Farr, John Langford-Holt, Sir John St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fell, Anthony Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Scott, Nicholas
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Le Marchant, Spencer Sharples, Richard
Finsberg Geoffrey (Hampstead) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Longden, Gilbert Simeons, Charles
Fookes, Miss Janet Loveridge, John Skeet, T. H. H.
Fortescue, Tim McAdden, Sir Stephen Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Foster, Sir John MacArthur, Ian Scref, Harold
Fowler, Norman McCrindle, R. A. Speed, Keith
McLaren, Martin
Fox, Marcus Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Spence, John
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) McMaster, Stanley Sproat, Iain
Stainton, Keith
Fry, Peter Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Stanbrook, Ivor
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. McNair-Wilson, Michael Steel, David
Gardner, Edward McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Gibson-Watt, David Maddan Martin
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Madel David Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maginnis, John E. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Glyn, Dr. Alan Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Stokes, John
Goodhart, Philip Marten, Neil Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Goodhew, Victor Mather, Carol Sutcliffe, John
Gorst, John Maude, Angus Tapsell, Peter
Gower, Raymond Mauding, Rt. Hn. Reginald Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Taylor, Edward M (G'gow, Cathcart)
Gray, Hamish Meyer, Sir Anthony Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Green, Alan Mills, Peter (Torrington) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.)
Grieve, Percy Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Tebbit, Norman
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Miscampbell, Norman Temple, John M.
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Gummer, Selwyn Moate, Roger Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Gurden, Harold Molyneaux, James Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Money, Ernle D. Tilney, John
Hall, John (Wycombe) Monks, Mrs. Connie Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Montgomery, Fergus Trew, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) More, Jasper Tugendnat, Christopher
Hannam, John (Exeter) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Van Straubenzee, W. R.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mudd, David Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Murton, Oscar Vickers, Dame Joan
Haselhurst, Alan Nabarro, Sir Gerald Waddington, David
Hastings, Stephen Neave, Airey Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Havers, Michael Nicholls, Sir Harmar Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Hawkins, Paul Normanton, Tom Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Hayhoe, Barney Nott, John Wall, Patrick
Heseltine, Michael Onslow, Cranley Walters, Dennis
Hicks, Robert Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Ward, Dame Irene
Higgins, Terence L. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Warren, Kenneth
Hiley, Joseph Osborn, John Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Page, Graham (Crosby) Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Holland, Philip Page, John (Harrow, W.) Wiggin, Jerry
Holt, Miss Mary Pardoe, John Wilkinson, John
Hooson, Emlyn Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hordern, Peter Peel, John Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Hornby, Richard Percival, Ian Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Woodnutt, Mark
Howe, Hn, Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Pike, Miss Mervyn Worsley, Marcus
Howell, David (Guildford) Pink, R. Bonner Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Pounder, Rafton Younger, Hn. George
Hunt, John Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, David (Eastleigh) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Iremonger, T. L. Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Mr. Hector Monro and
James, David Proudfoot, Wilfred Mr. Bernard Weatherill.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Holland

I beg to move Amendment No. 65, in page 3, line 34, at end insert, 'and for which he is appropriately qualified'. I was flattered to hear the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) refer to my modest little Amendment as the most important on the Order Paper, until I realised that he meant the next one that he intended to move.

Much of the reply to my points was given by my right hon. Friend in reply to the last group of Amendments. He cleared up a number of points and made it plain that this relates only to the relationship between the employer and the employee, and that it would be within the scope of the union-employee relationship to prevent people joining unions for which they are not properly qualified. My purpose was to prevent a situation in which I might decide that I would like to join, and would have the statutory right to join, the union of the hon. Member for Walton. I am sure that we could get along very well together, but it seemed to me that this was a statutory right to which I should not be able to claim privilege.

Can the Minister say whether the words that I propose are required to make it clear beyond doubt that an individual shall not have the right to join, say, a craft union for which he is not adequately qualified?

Mr. Dudley Smith

I appreciate the motives of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Mr. Holland) in moving the Amendment so briefly. I also will be brief in view of the interesting debate which we are to have next.

The Amendment would severely qualify a worker's right to exercise a choice over union membership. It would mean that an employer could specify which union he should belong to. This might be entirely inappropriate to people's interests and qualifications. It might leave such a man in the position of not joining any union, in which case, the only course open to him would be, if he were in an agency shop situation, to pay union dues but not be able to have the benefit of belonging to a union.

It would also worsen the position of professional workers, who have been lobbying very strongly for a right to belong to a union whose outlook is compatible with the ethics of their profession. We shall be discussing that later tonight. Nothing in the Bill compels a union to accept anyone who does not satisfy the conditions of membership, provided that they are fairly and properly applied, and we think that this is very important. It gets around the difficulty of someone who is completely unqualified for one union making application and being accepted.

In these circumstances, although we appreciate the spirit of the Amendment, it would have almost the opposite effect to that which my hon. Friend intends. In the interests of progress, I hope that he will be prepared to withdraw it.

Mr. Holland

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for accepting that it was not my motive to give dictatorial powers in the way that has been described. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

I beg to move Amendment No. 503, in page 3, line 34, at end insert: Provided that an employer shall not be precluded from restricting the choice of union in the case of an employee who is concerned with negotiating with trade unions on behalf of the employer, whether the restriction is imposed by a term of the employee's contract of employment or otherwise. The words of the Amendment are remarkably clear and tell the purpose of the proposal exactly. I know of a number of cases in which negotiations are carried out on behalf of employers with trade unions by individuals who are themselves members of the same trade unions. Nevertheless, there is an unrestricted right on the part of the employee to join the trade union of his choice.

This modest safeguard on behalf of the employer will, I hope, be accepted by the Government. I cannot see how this could be controversial and I doubt whether anybody will oppose it, especially as it is worded in such a modest way. Nevertheless, it voices a feeling which is strongly held by a number of employers.

Mr. Ashton

This Amendment has far wider implications than the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page) has made out. It almost says that people like personnel officers could not belong to the trade unions with which they were holding negotiations on behalf of their employers. This could be difficult, bearing in mind the high level of white-collar trade unionism today.

Consider the nationalised industries. Colliery managers have their own union, but they must negotiate on behalf of the National Coal Board. The National Federation of Professional Workers contains many members who are at a very high level in industry, as does the National and Local Government Officers Association. Indeed, I believe that town clerks belong to this association. Members of N.A.L.G.O. often negotiate on behalf of employers with N.A.L.G.O. They would be prohibited from doing so if the Amendment were accepted.

There is a new set-up in the engineering industry which allows professional engineers who are themselves bosses or extremely near to being bosses to negotiate with the unions. Frequently the man one step below the boss must negotiate with the relevant union on behalf of the boss, and he might well be a member of that union. The Amendment would preclude many white-collar trade unionists from continuing to be members of unions.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Hooson

I wholeheartedly agree with the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton). The Amendment is unnecessary and would place a severe restriction on the right of many trade unionists to conduct negotiations on behalf of their employers.

On one occasion I appeared in an industrial court case for the G.L.C. I was personally instructed against N.A.L.G.O. by gentlemen who were themselves members of N.A.L.G.O. I assure the Committee that their membership of that organisation did not in any way inhibit them from giving me straight-forward instructions on behalf of the employers, even though it was against their own interests.

Senior men of that calibre would be restricted from such activities if the Amendment were accepted. I am sure that the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page) would not wish to impose such a restriction, and I hope that he will take the wise course and withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)

If my hon. and learned Friend is not able to accept the Amendment, I hope that he will bear in mind the need to ensure that a man is not a member of the same branch of a union as that with which he seeks to negotiate. To do so could place such a man in an extremely difficult position. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may rember the case of the "branching" of Dundee busmen.

[Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

The Solicitor-General

This is a topic of sufficient importance to justify its having been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page). It is obviously a matter that gives rise to legitimate concern from the point of view which my hon. Friend expressed. The Government have equally had in mind the arguments adduced by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) and the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson).

There are here factors which must be balanced. Experience suggests that the advance of white collar unionism, particularly in the Civil Service and local government, shows that it is possible to accommodate, without difficulty, the sort of situation to which my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West referred— where a member of management staff is negotiating about conditions with the union of which he is himself a member.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite will appreciate that this can give rise to difficulties. For example, if a person in this position of dual loyalty were to begin to betray his trust both ways, so to speak—what one might describe as a double agent situation—both management and union would be entitled to exercise remedies in respect of somebody who was misapplying his function in this way. However, we have not been persuaded that it would be right to include a provision of this kind in the Bill because although the words of the Amendment are, as my hon. Friend pointed out, modest in the form—for example, when they refer to an employer shall not be precluded from restricting"— put the other way round, they could mean "may prescribe as an absolute right". We believe that to go in that direction would be to go too far and, for this reason, I cannot advise the Committee to accept the Amendment. I again assure my hon. Friend that it was right for him to raise this point. We will certainly look into it again.

It may be that the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) should be considered further, though not precisely in that form. He raised a point which, no doubt, the C.I.R. will have in mind and about which it might be appropriate for there to be a general reference at some stage. That stage does not appear to the Government to have arrived yet. We do not feel that the Amendment is necessary, sympathetic though we are to what has been said about the practical human difficulties that could arise.

Mr. H. J. Delargy (Thurrock)

On a point of order. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he would consider the point raised by the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell). As the point which the hon. Gentleman raised is not included in the Amendment, can the Government consider it further?

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

That is not a point of order, as the hon. Gentleman knows.

The Solicitor-General

I was merely saying that we will look at the points that have been made in debating the Amendment, although we had considered the Amendment earlier. The point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke is an illustration of a different way of considering the problem, and might therefore be looked at as part of a consideration of the Amendment.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West will not consider that this is an Amendment which he must press to the point at which I would feel obliged, on behalf of the Government, to reject it formally.

Mr. Page

Having listened to the debate, I think that there is a greater weight of argument on my side than on that of those opposing me. On the other hand, knowing what a great senti- mentalist my hon. and learned Friend is I point out that this is the first occasion during the course of the Committee stage on which the Government have said they will look at something again. Now that we have two extra days for Report, I shall look very carefully at the new Clauses which are then suggested by the Government, and I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will find some way of accommodating the views expressed by myself and by hon. Members opposite. With that in mind, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

I beg to move, Amendment No. 418, in page 3, line 35, leave out paragraph (b).

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

With this Amendment it will be convenient to take the following Amendments:

No. 489, in page 3, line 36, leave out from 'right' to end of line 39 and insert: 'not to be a member of a trade union on the grounds of conscience or for any other reason without prejudice to any agreement arrived at by an employer and employees which provides for membership of a trade union being a condition of employment'. No. 579, in line 36, leave out from 'right' to end of subsection and insert: 'not to be compelled to be a member of a trade union or other organisation of workers'. No. 582, in line 36, leave out from 'right' to end of line 39 and insert: 'not to be forced or intimidated to join a trade union'. No. 442, in line 39, at end insert: 'but this right shall not be exercisable in any employment or occupation where the rate of unemployment exceeds five per cent, of those employed'. No. 443, in line 39, at end insert: 'but this right shall not be exercisable in any employment or occupation where the average length of the employment is less than two years in duration'. No. 502, in page 4, line 44, at end insert: (4A) Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a person employed as a seaman on a seagoing British ship having a gross registered tonnage of 80 tons or more, including a person ordinarily employed as a seaman who is employed on, or, on about such a ship in port by the owner or charterer or the ship to do work of a kind ordinarily done by a seaman on such a ship while it is in port. I understand that there has been a request for a separate Division on Amendment No. 502.

Mr. Walker

We have now reached what has been prophesied as a major debate, and it is certainly one centring on one of the most controversial features of the Bill. As I expect that many hon. Members on both sides will wish to take part, I will speak as briefly as possible.

The paragraph is that part of the Bill which, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, outlaws the closed shop whether pre-entry or post-entry. It certainly does that, but it is important to recognise that its effects go well beyond that. It will strike a crippling blow at trade union membership and recruitment wherever trade unions operate. This proposal is irreconcilable with the Secretary of State's claim that his Bill strengthens the unions. It certainly contradicts his claim that it is in harmony with Donovan and, as I hope to show, makes a mockery of the declared aim of strengthening the hands of trade union officials at the expense of those whom he would no doubt describe as unofficial militants.

I say at once that the onus is on the right hon. Gentleman to make his case for what he proposes rather than on us to try to convince him of his folly. I refer to someone who is acknowledged as the outstanding authority on this subject —Dr. W. E. McCarthy—who, in his work, "The Closed Shop in Britain" stated: A general case must be made out against the closed shop before one can support legislation the intention of which is to suppress it by law. A general case must also be made out against the use of any one of the functions of the practice—say entry control—before one can approve of legislation aimed at striking against this function alone. Dr. McCarthy concluded: I do not think such general arguments can be sustained. I agree.

We still await the right hon. Gentleman's case. He certainly referred to the Clause on Second Reading, when the kernel of his brief reference was that the practice against which he is striking is a restriction of personal liberty. Assuredly it is. But that does not amount to a case for legislating. Our society abounds with examples of the restriction of personal liberty from sources other than the law.

While the Royal Commission recognised that the closed shop does not always operate in the best interests of either workers or the community, it was none the less obliged to record that … no reasoned case has been put to us in evidence for prohibiting the closed shop, even by those who strongly object to it. The Clause goes far beyond the prohibition of the closed shop. It removes the ignominy which our industrial community has hitherto attached to the non-unionist. But, in spite of what I have said about the burden of argument resting with the Government, let me now say why we think it wrong to endow the non-unionist with this legalistic virtue.

I recall, first, the very powerful and compelling argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), who on Second Reading challenged the prerogative of management with regard to entry into employment. I will not repeat his arguments, nor will I try to match his eloquence, but I share his conviction that working men and women have a right to say with whom they shall associate.

The social and moral quality of life is not something which becomes irrelevant at the factory gate but is something which matters in the workshop, too. The standard will be set by the people who work there, and we believe that the only effective regulator is very often the test of trade union admission. This right of people to choose with whom they shall work is endowed with even greater significance, often crucial significance, for those engaged in such hazardous industries as coal mining, and seafaring, and others will readily spring to mind.

Let me now turn to the effect of the Clause on trade union organisation. The Secretary of State said that this Measure will strengthen the unions. I heard him say that on television one Wednesday night. I have not heard of a trade union yet which agrees with him, with the possible exception of the National Farmers Union. Incidentally, I recall that Wednesday is a good night on the "telly" for comedians.

I say that not only will the Clause diminish, and deliberately diminish, the pressures on non-unionists but it will have a contrary effect. It will, in fact, virtually destroy some unions which, because of the character and structure of the industries within which they operate, can function effectively only on the basis of some kind of closed shop or pre-entry control. One thinks of the seamen's Union, Equity, the Musicians' Union, the Constructional Engineering Union and many others.

There is the Government's declared belief that the Bill will diminish unofficial strikes by concentrating greater authority within the official structure of the unions. We have heard that the Bill as a whole seeks to impose on trade unions and officials an industrial policing role. But the right hon. Gentleman, by this provision, is diminishing dramatically the only effective sanction by which unions can discipline their members— expulsion. If non-unionism is to be equated with union membership, the loss of that membership is of greatly reduced consequence.

We may be told that fines are the proper disciplinary measure, but the only effective way of collecting fines is to have the threat of expulsion lurking in the background. By removing the force of this sanction the Government are weakening those whom they claim to be strengthening.

There is a further point on which I want to hear the Government reply, and I hope that it will be the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General who will tell us how, after the Bill has been enacted, he can justify the fact that the legal profession, the Bar, will be virtually the only legitimate closed shop. As we know, in addition to being the only closed shop, it will be one of the few bodies legitimately entitled to use restrictive practices, reserving to its members, as it does, the right for barristers alone to serve in a judicial capacity. But that is by the way—

7.0 p.m.

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)

It is not. It is very important.

Mr. Walker

No doubt my hon. Friend will ram this point home if he catches your eye, Mr. Godman Irvine.

The Bill places many new and onerous obligations on trade unions and trade unionists. We are entitled to ask: is the non-unionist to be exempt from these? Is the individual who evades his social responsibility towards his fellow workers to be given a bonus, a reward, by being free also of the punitive provisions of the Bill? If so, there will be a double incentive for him to respond to the provision which we are challenging.

In putting this proposal before the Committee the right hon. Gentleman has defied the conclusions of virtually every distinguished academic commentator on industrial relations, not a few employers, and, from my researches, every union which submitted evidence to the Royal Commission.

I should like to conclude by quoting from one submission, not of a militant body, nor one which practices a closed shop, but a large and responsible body— N.A.L.G.O.—which said: The position of non-unionists is somewhat akin to those who would, equally illogically, wish to receive their National Insurance benefits and yet refuse to pay for their 'stamp', an omission for which they would be quickly punished by the courts. It can be noted that there is no 'conscience clause' to excuse those whose religious beliefs tell them that they should not pay National Insurance contributions. The Royal Commission itself, firmly, clearly and categorically, said: In our view, prohibition of the closed shop must be rejected. I ask the Committee to share the Royal Commission's conclusion.

[Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

Mr. Nicholas Scott (Paddington, South)

I intervene briefly to make one or two comments on the speech made by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) and to talk about Amendment No. 579 in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Simeons) and myself.

I was slightly amused to hear the hon. Member for Doncaster, following the intervention of his hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough), when he, quite wrongly, attacked the Bill earlier this week for including provision for fining individual workpeople. There is no provision for such fines to be imposed. The hon. Gentleman now argues that the only way that a trade union and discipline its members is to have the sanction of fines and expulsion in the background. There is a slight anomaly in attitude there.

I ask the Committee to accept that I would not support the Bill unless I believed, having looked at it objectively, that it would create stronger trade unions. Having looked at the Bill carefully and talked to many trade unionists about it, I have not been persuaded to the contrary view.

We all know that the oldest conflict in our society is between freedom and order. This subsection seeks to resolve that conflict in industrial relations. It is a difficult balance. I recognise the strong feelings among trade unionists against free riders—those who do not accept the responsibilities of trade unionism. On the other hand, I respect the individual liberty of a man to choose whether he will or will not join any particular organisation. This, after all, is in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights—[HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] It is a right, which is contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, that no man may be compelled to belong to an association. There is that right, on the one hand. On the other hand, there is the acknowledged strong feeling of trade unionists against the free rider.

There is a compromise in the Bill. I should like to see that compromise shifted. That is why Amendment No. 579 and Amendment No. 560, which has not been selected, seek to shift that balance. I do not believe that society ought to be completely neutral about the right either to join or not to join. In normal circumstances it is right that society should encourage people to belong to a trade union, just as it is the duty of good citizens to vote. In normal circumstances a good citizen, a member of industry, will join a trade union. It is therefore appropriate within the legislation, while preserving that fundamental right not to be compelled to join, to make clear that the attitude of society is that people should join trade unions.

We do not want a Bill which will encourage apathy, non-involvement, non-participation.

Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)

I think that the hon. Gentleman has to some extent gone wrong by comparing the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights with the Bill. The Bill puts as much on the right of a person not to belong as on the right to belong to a trade union. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights wants people to join associations and merely says that they should not be compelled to join an organisation. That is a totally different view from the one which the hon. Gentleman was taking earlier.

Mr. Scott

I apologise. Clearly the hon. Gentleman has just come in or was not listening to me, or I am totally incapable of communicating, because that is the argument which I have been putting forward. The Bill at the moment is neutral. I have put down an Amendment which would make it not neutral and would use exactly the terms of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

That is all I wish to say. I ask my right hon. Friends to consider this point carefully and to see whether we cannot, while preserving this fundamental right, shift the balance in this small way.

Mr. Hooson

I have no hesitation in opposing these Amendments and agreeing with the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott). But I sympathise with some of the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) in moving the Amendments.

I have previously said that, certainly in my experience, union shops are generally much better run than others. I think that people should be encouraged to join unions. However, we are not discussing that issue. We are discussing whether a person could be compelled to join a union.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

On a point of order. The hon and learned Gentleman has just said that he opposes the Amendments. Clearly the hon and learned Gentleman is referring to the whole block of Amendments which are being taken together. Is it not possibly out of order, in the sense that the hon. and learned Gentleman is apparently opposing some Amendments which have not yet been moved?

The Chairman

If we are discussing all these Amendments together, the hon. and learned Gentleman may say what his views are on any of them.

Mrs. Castle

I think that my hon. Friend was suggesting that, as there is a whole range of Amendments dealing with different aspects of the problem, before we move to a general debate it would be better to have all the facets of the arguments put to us by having the Amendments moved?

The Chairman

Order. 1 see the force of the right hon. Lady's argument, but we must observe the normal course of events. When a whole series of Amendments is grouped together for discussion it is in order for an hon. Member to speak to any one of those Amendments in any way he chooses, so long as he keeps within the bounds of that Amendment. I see what the right hon. Lady means, but we must follow our normal practice.

Mr. Hooson

As the hon. Member for Paddington, South mentioned, this is a question of balance. On the one side, we are concerned with the general interests of a large body of the population—people who are working together in the same industry and want to belong to and want all their colleagues to belong to, the same union. They feel that the union has gained certain advantages for them —often, with our historical background, based on conflict. It is, therefore, natural that they should want to strengthen the union. Nevertheless, it is our duty to look at the problem more broadly. An individual has rights against a union; he has a right not to belong to a union. This is a delicate question.

The Clause is concerned with the rights between a worker and his employer and therefore has particular significance with regard to the closed shop and the 100 per cent, union shop. Let us take the latter position—and I have dealt with this type of case myself, on behalf of the union—where a man is seeking employment with an employer who tells him, "I think you are very well qualified for this job, but you must join the union", but the union refuses to have him because its rules enable it to refuse a man membership without giving any reasons.

It may be that not every union has such rules, but we must face the reality that certain trade unions have the right to refuse membership without giving any reason. It is open to argument whether this is a valid provision, and Lord Denning has pronounced on this matter. Nevertheless, this provision remains in the rules of a number of trade unions. I dare say that it is included in the rules of most unions, but I do not know about that.

Mr. Orme

What happens if a person says to the Law Society or the Bar Council that he wants to be a solicitor or a barrister and is told, "I am sorry, we cannot accept you; you do not have the qualifications"?

Mr. Hooson

I was dealing with a totally different point. I prefaced my remarks by saying that this man was qualified for membership of that union in that it was a craft union and he had served his apprenticeship and was qualified for the work he would be doing. The hon. Member has raised the question, which has been bandied about many times, of the Bar Council, the Law Society, the medical professions, and so on. There is a difference between a professional qualification and membership of an association. To practise at the Bar a person must qualify as a barrister, but the Bar Council has no rights to insist that that person pays dues to the Bar Council. The Bar Council does all the negotiation on behalf of the Bar, but it has no rights to insist that a barrister shall subscribe to the Bar Council. It is exactly the same with a solicitor. A man becomes a solicitor, but the Law Society cannot force that man to subscribe.

This point which is so glibly made so often—what about such restrictive professions as the Bar—is misunderstood. As I understand, no one is suggesting that a person could join a craft union without having the necessary craftsman's qualifications. If the argument were accepted that anybody can practise in any profession, join a union and do what they like regardless of qualifications, this country would soon be reduced to chaos.

Mr. Walden

When I was a tutor in a university I recall that a person could not enter the hon. and learned Gentleman's profession unless he went through the farce of eating wholly unnecessary dinners at one of the Inns. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain that?

Mr. Hooson

I do not want to go into that. If the Committee is anxious for me to do so, I will. Over the years it has been thought that in a profession such as the Bar ethical standards are important. A great deal of trust must exist between judges and barristers. One way of inducing those ethics is to have—

Mr. Orme

A closed shop.

Mr. Hooson

—people in practice coming together and keeping dining terms so that they get to know each other. There is not an hon. Member who can interrupt me to tell me that the Bar Council insists that members who have qualified in the profession must subscribe to the Bar Council. What hon. Members seek to do by these Amendments is to insist that a man not only has a qualification for the job but is not allowed to practise that job unless he subscribes to the trade union. I throw out a challenge to any hon. Member to tell me that I am wrong about that.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Surely the hon. Gentleman is wrong on one point. We are discussing here relations between an employer and employees, which involve some form of regular employment contract between an employer and a workman who belongs to a trade union. Surely there is a world of difference between the services of a barrister which are on an ad hoc basis and the circumstances of a contract of employment which we are discussing here?

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Hooson

If there is, it is a distinction without a difference. What we are discussing is: has an employer the right to insist on not employing a man who is fully qualified to do the job unless he subscribes to a particular trade union? I agree with the Government. A man is entitled to have work, and no union should be able to control his right to work. It is a grave infringement of the rights of the individual to insist that a union can control a man's right to earn a livelihood. I am for encouraging people to join trade unions, and the agency shop. Giving the right of negotiation to one union will greatly encourage people to join that uinon. People join a union to gain the advantages of the umbrella activities of the union. There is a balance here. On the one hand, the agency shop will encourage people to join a union. On the other hand, the rights of the individual must be main- tained, and that is why I shall support the Government.

The Chairman

Mr. Kinsey.

Mr. Paget

Before the hon. and learned Member sits down—

The Chairman

Order. I called Mr. Kinsey. The hon. and learned Gentleman will have ample opportunity to speak later.

Mr. J. R. Kinsey (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

At the outset of my short interjection, I emphasise that I should like every worker to be a member of a trade union, and I know that that is the argument of hon. and right hon. Members on the other side of the Committee. Although I might think that and they might think that, some people disagree with us. We have to recognise that some people, through some quirk in their make-up, genuinely do not want to belong to a trade union. It would be a funny democracy that allowed the right to join a trade union whilst denying the right not to join a trade union, and I welcome the Clause for that reason. What is fundamental, and what every worker would agree is fundamental, is the right to work. The two factors are sometimes in conflict. There is a right to work, in some cases, only if a man belongs to a trade union, in other words, a closed shop.

Mr. Fernyhough

What is the moral difference between an employer who says, "You must belong to a trade union or I will not have you working here", and an employer who says to a man who is healthy and fit and has every qualification to do a particular job, "You will not work here unless you join the pension scheme that I have introduced"? Many people have to measure the conditions of a pension scheme when taking employment. What is the difference between saying that a man must belong to a pension scheme laid down by the employer and saying that he must belong to a trade union?

Mr. Kinsey

I see no difference between the two fundamental rights there. I believe that both should be on this basis. If the hon. Gentleman considers that they are against the workers' interest, he can bring in a Measure to correct the situation exactly as we are doing here in the Bill.

It is indefensible that a worker should be thrown out of work, denied one of his fundamental rights, because of a squabble, perhaps, or because he falls out with his union. In my view, there are three basic rights—the right to employ, the right to work, and the right of freedom. All three can be denied if we accept the argument of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) about expulsion from a union as a means of discipline. That is a far greater imposition on a worker than anything proposed in the Bill for, in a closed shop situation, he is cut off from following his livelihood if he does not agree with something which the union wants or has done. The Clause would protect the position of such people, and it will have my wholehearted support.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Kinsey) referred to the right of expulsion. Every trade union must have the right of expulsion. Every organisation, every sports club, must have the right of expulsion. Every corporate body must have the right of expulsion.

Mr. Kinsey

May I say—

Mr. Pannell

I have hardly got a sentence out yet. If the hon. Gentleman feels that he has not made himself clear, I can only tell him that he did. There must be a right of expulsion. I should like to know what the Secretary of State for Employment will do in such cases as this. The ticket I have from my trade union is a qualification, as much a qualification as anything the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) has, and a man without my qualification could do a lot more harm than he could. When I ran a closed shop as a shop steward, people tendered to me a card, a section 1 card of the A.E.U. In certain types of work as a charge engineer the section 2 ticket from my union would not do, and neither would a section 5 ticket. It had to be a section 1 ticket. This sort of thing runs right through the industry, and it has been the common practice in engineering workshops for a very long time.

There has to be a great deal of trust between workers in such circumstances, where there are rotating shifts and one man takes over another man's work. The question of safety is involved. So I reject the idea which the right hon. Gentleman has enunciated, that recruitment is the sole prerogative of management Among miners, the question of safety is of vital importance, with men working side by side. When I was at work, it was essential for me to know that the mate who assisted me was competent. He could have been a danger to me. These are workaday considerations affecting people in industry all the time.

If a shop steward or a shop official "fiddles" the shop funds, do we have no right to expel him? That man may be qualified to do the job, but he is an undesirable person. Does the Bill come in there? I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) that one is so long at work that the quality of life at work and the sort of people with whom one works are an essential part of civilised living. I reject the idea that one can accept the cad or the outsider, however well qualified. Frankly, there are some hon. Members to whom I do not want to talk. It may be that there are those who do not want to talk to me. All I can say to any such on the benches opposite is that I should tell them personally why I did not want to talk to them.

Mr. Kinsey


Mr. Pannell

No. I remind the hon. Gentleman that this is the Committee stage. It is bad enough to listen to 30-minute speeches from the Solicitor-General, without having to give way all the time to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Kinsey

I want to challenge the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Pannell

All right. The hon. Gentleman has challenged me.

Mr. Kinsey

The right hon. Gentleman has said that there are many hon. Members to whom he does not want to speak. That does not mean that he can stop anyone coming here, just because he does not want to talk to them.

Mr. Pannell

When I look at the representatives of some constituencies, it seems to me that some people are silly enough for anything.

In the same way, as part of the disciplines in a great shop, fines have to be part of the order of the day, too. There is no question about it. This democracy is older than the House itself. The Secretary of State must deal with this question: where within workshop society there are sanctions, justified sanctions, sanctions with which he himself would agree, what becomes of the issue then? Can a man resign and take advantage of the Clause? We are entitled to know.

The Clause would give the right not to join a trade union. That has been the prerogative of the employers all the time I have been in industry; they have done their best to protect that right. Often, the right to join a trade union has had to be fought for hard. When I went to Morris Motors in 1926, after the General Strike, I was the only one holding a trade union ticket in the repair shop, and I dare not admit it at the time. When I read sometimes that people have come out for the closed shop in what was then Morris Motors, I look back all those years, and I am not sorry about it.

I can highlight the point dramatically. Are there hon. Members present old enough to remember the "Thetis" disaster? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] What happened then turned upon the capacity and skill of the people themselves, and the story of those events shows that what counted was the opinion one of another among colleagues. That is an example illustrating that the Clause touches a matter of very great moment.

Certain trades in industry will not accept a lower section. All the way through industry, in trade after trade, whether among boilermakers, printers and so on, at the end of the day what the Government propose will not be enforceable. In the event, it will cause strike after strike and commotion after commotion, for although the Bill lays down the right of a man not to join the trade union, 200 men in a shop will say that they have a right to say with whom they will work. That is what will happen.

I do not want to detain the Committee for much longer, but this view about the quality of life and the people with whom a man works runs throughout our society, whether it concerns the regiment, the mess, the club or the workshop. We do not have to put up with the outsider in our daily life.

I hope that this proposal will be dropped. At the end of the day, what- ever is done, human nature being what it is, working men being what they are, normal social pressures will be exercised, and I do not want those to come into our law. The normal, decent feeling is to recognise conscience. However, the weakness in the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery is when he speaks of a "suitably qualified" man. Who is he to judge? No barrister can judge the ability of a boilermaker. It is a matter of his reputation. His character is like a bank account, capable of being called upon in case of emergency. It is not a matter for outside people to argue. It is a matter for those who work with him and who depend on him for safety, for association and comradeship. That is what I shall stick on in the Committee's consideration of this Bill, if I stick on nothing else.

[Mr. E. L. MALLALIEU in the Chair]

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

It was my intention to make some comment about qualification, but my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) has done it so well that there is no need for me to spend time on it, except to make the point that some occupations do not lend themselves to any examinational qualification.

The flaw in the argument advanced by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) is that he seems to think that, because barristers and doctors are judged by examinations, the same necessarily applies to everyone else. However, in many occupations the only method whereby the fitness of a person can be tested lies in his possession of a trade union card. In such cases, the trade union is not only a negotiating body. It is also the organisation which gives some degree of certification of skill, excellence and craft. That point is not taken into account in the Bill.

Later in my speech I shall be referring to the two Amendments standing in my name and those of a number of my hon. Friends. However, before doing so, perhaps I might return to the point that I made earlier about the ethical justification of obligatory trade union membership.

The objection to the closed shop which comes from so many people rests upon the proposition that the individual's right is the only right which counts, and that so long as one safeguards that right one need not worry about any others. We on this side of the Committee reject that proposition totally. In our view, the collective rights of a group are no less important than the individual's rights.

I will illustrate that by referring to the case that I know best. For many years at the beginning of the present century there were attempts to form an organisation of actors to negotiate and get rid of many of the evils that operated at the time. One was the bogus manager, who did not pay his cast at the end of the week. An Actors' Association and a Stage Guild were formed, but those organisations collapsed solely because they were not in a position to enforce the contracts that they drew up. The Actors' Association went to the Left and tried to establish itself as an organisation which was progressive and militant. The Stage Guild went the other way and tried to form an organisation in which both managers and actors were represented. It broke down because the interests of the parties were so far apart.

It was not until Equity was formed that the position improved. It was formed by people who were not militant trade unionists but who recognised that, unless they could achieve 100 per cent. membership, they would be unable to protect anyone. They recognised that the individual rights of every single person were dependent upon the assertion of their collective rights. That is the basic tenet of trade unionism: individual rights depend upon the assertion of collective rights and, without that assertion, there can be no individual rights.

The formulation of that statement upon which Equity was founded is an interesting one. It was formed partly by the work of Dame May Whitty and Dame Marie Tempest in the 1930s. They could hardly be described as reds under the bed. The formulation that they presented to their fellow actors was that all the leaders of the profession at that time would pledge themselves that they would not enter into any engagements with theatre managers on conditions which would deny their right to refuse to work with non-members of Equity.

What was being asserted was the collective right of the group to say that they would decide whether or not the people who wished to work with them were worthy of the craft which they represented. That is exactly what my hon. Friends and I are asserting.

That right is not inferior to the right of the individual. It is just as worthy and just as moral. Without such a right, society could scarcely exist. I suggest that the only place where an individual's rights can be asserted without any other rights is on a desert island. Society depends on the assertion of collective rights.

I now turn to our two Amendments. Apparently, the Government are determined that the right of a group to choose its own members is not to be generally asserted. We would much prefer this Bill to contain the proposition that the right is a general one and should not be denied to any group. However, if the Government are determined not to have this general right and freedom we say that there are certain circumstances in which this freedom is essential and must be preserved.

In our Amendments, we define two areas in which that freedom is vital. The first one is where there is a high rate of unemployment. The Amendment refers to any … employment or occupation where the rate of unemployment exceeds five per cent of those employed". I am not adicted to any percentage. If the right hon. Gentleman says that he does not like the 5 per cent. but accepts the principle that it is necessary to maintain the right to select membership and to preserve 100 per cent. membership in areas of high employment, I will be happy to leave the matter with him, and he can bring forward another figure at a later stage.

The same applies to our second Amendment in which we refer to … any employment or occupation where the average length of the employment is less than two years in duration". This right is vital not only to actors but to technicians, seamen, construction workers and a large number of others where employment is casual and where the only permanent element in their lives is their trade union. In such cases, the occupation does not go on, and the trade union is the only stable element they have. The knowledge that everyone belongs to the union is vital to them. If the right hon. Gentleman says that two years is too much and that he would be prepared to accept a shorter duration, I shall be happy. I am not wedded to any period.

Sir Hannar Nicholls (Peterborough)

Later on, I shall be making similar comments with the same sort of sincerity. However, to put the picture right from the standpoint of Equity and the theatre, is not the hon. Gentleman making matters difficult by suggesting that it would be an encouragement to have high unemployment if that was the only qualification for getting everyone in the union? Surely a more positive and constructive answer is the one that I hope that we shall produce later.

Mr. Jenkins

No doubt the hon. Gentleman will deploy his case later. In my view, a general statement of this sort in the Bill is very much better in principle than any proposal to leave matters in the hands of the Secretary of State. It is invidious to leave it to the Minister to determine how this right is to be granted. If the right is spelled out in the Bill in terms of needs, it will be a general right which is applicable to all who come under it and will not be left for the Secretary of State to exercise. After all, we may not always be blessed with a civilised Secretary of State such as we have at the moment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I stand by that proposition. The right hon. Gentleman's notions are quite wrong, but he does his best when he expresses those notions—

Mr. Onne

He puts a gloss on them.

Mr. Jenkins

I accept that the right hon. Gentleman puts a gloss on them, but he puts a very good gloss on a bad case. Certainly I would prefer him to some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I think that the same goes for some of my hon. Friends—[Interruption.] I am suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman is preferable to some alternatives and that that is accepted by my right hon. and hon. Friends.

I think that our case commands considerable sympathy. It is beginning to be widely recognised that some unions depend for their very existence upon the ability to be universal. If that ability is taken from them, it will mean the possible deterioration and decline of many organisations. That would be bad for them. Certainly it would be bad for actors. It would also be bad for the country. The reason why there were distinguished people outside No. 10 Downing Street a week or so ago was not because those actors and actresses are militant trade unionists. It was because they realise that the high standard of British acting, recognised as brilliant throughout the world and, incidentally, a very good dollar earner, depend on the assertion that Equity is the organisation on which they rely for the maintenance of discipline, apart from anything else.

A Conservative Minister, Oliver Stanley, set up the Theatre Councils under the aegis of Lord Esher. Under them, the, managers and unions collectively decided that every contract of employment shall include in it, in effect, membership of Equity. Equity is the disciplinary body which gives effect to this. If that is taken away, it means the destruction of an edifice which goes far beyond the employment of actors, to the very foundation of the excellence of British entertainment arts.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

I do not take quite the strong objection to the closed shop—perhaps for the reasons which were touched upon when the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) was speaking—that some of my hon. Friends do. I am bound to say that the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) has made a very powerful case for a particular closed shop, as did the right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) previously.

What I think hon. Members opposite should concentrate on, though, is not so much the closed shop as such as the fact that the general public, rightly, associate with the closed shop certain abuses of power. My view is that the closed shop may be, perhaps readily, admitted in many circumstances and situations, but if it is admitted, then the absolute right of unions to decide who shall be admitted, and, even more, the right to say who shall be expelled, should be subject to some sort of public control. That should be a quid pro quo.

That is certainly the case in many professional organisations. I part company with the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery about our own profession. I think that there is an element of closed shop about it and that it is no good denying that. The same applies to many other professional organisations. But it will be found that, in the case of those bodies which deal with admission—and certainly when they deal with expulsion of a member, thereby depriving him of the opportunity to practise his trade or profession—there is the right of appeal to an independent body outside the union as of right, and the member can then be reinstated. If this principle were applied in the trade union movement as well—that is to say, where there is a closed shop, then the absolute independent right of the union enjoying that closed shop should be abridged by providing for independent appeal against expulsion— most of the objections to the closed shop would, it seems to me, disappear.

This was the suggestion put forward some 15 years ago by a group of us in the House of Commons under the title of, "A Giant's Strength". It was derided then by all parties but I still have the nostalgia to believe that it is a correct solution to this problem.

Mr. Walter Johnson (Derby, South)

I am pleased to have the opportunity of taking part in this debate. During the course of my maiden speech in the debate on the Consultative Document, I gave the House two examples where this Clause will result in more strikes, and not fewer. The first concerned London bus staff and the second the power workers. It would be helpful, I believe, if I briefly said something about them again.

I speak from experience because, in my previous employment, I recruited many thousands of people into the service of London Transport and I know the conditions which prevail there. At present, if a man wishes to become either a driver or a conductor in London Transport, when he signs his application form he has to indicate on it that he is prepared to become a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union. This condition has existed for over 30 years and has caused no difficulty at all. There has been no trouble in London Transport in this connection.

As a result of this Clause, presumably those words will have to come out of the application form because any individual with a public service vehicle licence will have the right to say that he should be entitled to join London Transport as a bus driver and the management will not be able to refuse him the opportunity of so doing, although he might say "I am prepared to pay my contribution to a charity or to the union but not to become a member of the union."

If that condition prevailed, and that man went to a bus garage saying that he was prepared to pay his contribution to the union but not become a member, or to pay to a charity, the other busmen would not work with him. There would be an unofficial strike. Presumably, at the end of the day, someone would take action against the unofficial strikers, who would be fined for taking action as an unfair practice. This could escalate, with all bus garages coming out in sympathy with those fired.

One can see how this could go right through the industry. At the end of the day, if the general secretary did not use his best endeavours to get his people back to work, he, too, could be fined and nonpayment of the fine could result in imprisonment. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the implications. Can he imagine the other workers in a big union like the Transport and General Workers' Union standing aside and allowing their general secretary to be sent to prison? This could escalate right through the industry.

In the debate on the Consultative Document, my second example, as I have said, was the power workers. Supposing a man who is already a member of a trade union falls out with that union for some reason or other and decides that he will leave it and pay a contribution either to it or to a charity and not be a member. The same sort of situation could arise. Rather than stopping strikes, the Clause will mean more—and they will be serious and spread right through an industry.

We seem to have spent a great deal of time today talking of the rights of non-trade unionists. Much time has been taken by hon. Members opposite on that. The Bill has been described as the Magna Charta for non-trade unionists or as the "Blacklegs' Charter". That is very much the implication of it.

For many years I have dealt with people who we wanted to become members of trade unions. In my experience, the vast majority of those who say they do not want to join do not want to join only because they are too mean to pay the contribution. We hear a great deal about moral objections and why people should have a moral right to stay out of a union. But I have never met people who, while hawking their morality around, turn to the employer and say, "I refuse to accept that pay increase because it was negotiated by a union of which I am not a member". This is what the issue is about. I ask the Government to think again. The provision offends the whole trade union movement.

Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)

The hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Walter Johnson) has put his finger on a very important aspect of the problem. He says that the vast majority of those who refuse to join a union but are prepared to take all the benefits it gains, refuse not on grounds of conscience or principle but because they do not want to pay the contribution. They want to save the money. I think this gets to the heart of the problem. One has, on the one hand, the desire to secure and preserve the freedom of the individual and, on the other hand, the perfectly legitimate feeling of trade unionists that someone who takes the benefits it gains without contributing to the union should not be allowed to do so.

There are thus two contrasting and conflicting points of view. I believe that my right hon. Friend has, through the introduction of the agency shop, found a way in which he can reconcile these points of view and reduce the tensions and embittered feelings which, understandably, arise in the hearts of trade unionists who see others taking benefits without making a contribution to the union—benefits for which trade unionists have done so much work. Apart from the provision for conscientious objection, my right hon. Friend has provided for the agency shop agreement whereby those who contribute to trade union funds will be allowed to stay in the agency shop.

Mr. Thomas Swain (Derbyshire, North-East)

Perhaps inadvertently the hon. Gentleman has made a mistake. He mentioned only those who contribute to the funds of the union, but the Bill refers also to those who would contribute to a charity.

Mr. Mitchell

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman was so anxious to interrupt me that he did not hear what I said. I said that, apart from a small number who will have conscientious grounds, the Bill lays down that those who are in an agency shop will either have to be a member of the union or contribute to union funds. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will confirm that every word of what I have said is accurate.

Mr. R. Carr indicated assent.

Mr. Mitchell

I hope, therefore, that, when the Division takes place on the question of the agency shop, the hon. Member for Derby, South will be strongly in support of the principle that my right hon. Friend has entrenched in the Bill, and will vote with us.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will resist Amendment No. 418 because it seeks to maintain the situation created by the 1965 Act, whereby there is a right to coerce, intimidate and conscript membership. I am certain that the great British trade union movement will never gain from conscript membership but will gain enormously in strength from voluntary membership.

My purpose in rising is mainly to draw attention to Amendment No. 582, which stands in my name and in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Heston and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe). The Clause as drafted gives an equal right to be a member of a trade union and not to be a member, as if they were one and the same thing. The effect of accepting Amendment No. 582 would be an enormous psychological difference. There would be a right to join but a right also not to be forced or intimidated into joining. I give three reasons in aid of the Amendment.

First, the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, in Article 20—signed, it must be remembered, in Paris by the post-war Labour Government in 1948— says that no one shall be compelled to join. Therefore, I have used in the Amendment the words, "forced or intimidated", which cover the same principle. There is a world of difference between the Labour Government signing that Article in 1948 and not having taken action in this country to repeal the legislation permitting the closed shop, and now, in 1971, putting on to the Statute Book new legislation which is not in accordance with our international obligations and with internationally accepted standards of justice and what is right.

Secondly, the Clause as drafted implies a total disinterest, which I am sure my right hon. Friend has not got, in whether a man joins a union or not. The first principle of the Bill, laid down in Clause 1, specifically says that the purpose is to promote good industrial relations by collective bargaining. That has been accepted by the Committee as the first principle of the Bill, and it must follow that my right hon. Friend has an interest in people taking part in collective bargaining and being members of collective bargaining organisations. It is true also that the philosophy of the Bill lies in strengthening legitimate trade union activities. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will recognise that the right to belong and the right not to belong are not equal. There is a social duty on people to join their trade union; there is an industrial duty on them and it is the basis of the Bill. I think that an employer should be able to recommend to his employees that they should join their appropriate trade union, and I should not like to see a man placed in a situation where the Bill gave him a recommendation to say, "Go jump in the lake. I have an absolute and equal right whether I join or not".

8.0 p.m.

Thirdly, if the Clause is not amended, there is an incitement to the silent but responsible and politically disinterested not to join a trade union, and I believe that the whole of our industrial activity and the purposes of the Bill would be greatly enhanced if we could persuade the silent responsible and politically disinterested to join and to play an active part in their trade union to counterbalance the hot heads and those who sometimes have incited or induced a situation which the majority of workers do not accept and do not wish to support.

For those three reasons, I hope that my right hon. Friend will reject Amendment No. 418 and will assure the Committee that, if need be, he will redraft the Bill by an Amendment to paragraph (b) along the lines of Amendment No. 582.

Mr. Orme

The debate has shown that, despite the veneer which Tory Members are putting on the issue, the basic difference between us concerns the subject of non-unionism and trade unionism.

Hon. Members opposite argue as though industry were one beautiful piece of mechanism where employers and workers were all happy and where employers encouraged workers to join unions. In fact, in our competitive society there is a natural conflict between employers and employees. It is reflected in negotiations about wages and conditions. Brought to its lowest common denominator, it means that the employer seeks to get labour at the cheapest to work the longest hours, while the employee tries to obtain the most for the shortest hours.

In the middle, where there is reason and organisation, as is the case in many factories and industries, there is no "me-tooism" between employers and trade unionists, but mutual respect and a recognition by the employer that workers will organise and have a basic right to organise and that that has nothing to do with him, while the unions, on the other hand, negotiate for the best conditions for their members, while helping—although one would not have thought so from what is said on television and in the newspapers about industrial conflicts—to maintain a firm and disciplined organisation which helps to get the productivity which is so essential.

This is what industry is about. We are not concerned just with the giant firms. In manufacturing industry and in the engineering industry, about which I know something, most workers are in medium or small firms. It is in such firms that there are the most reactionary employers and there is the greatest opposition to trade union organisation. It is in such firms that trade union organisations have to be built up by diligent shop stewards and other people who have the courage to be members of trade unions, not in 1930 but in 1971. It is not a right given to them on a plate. Factories have to be organised and the majority of workers in them have to be persuaded to join a trade union. With such an organisation, conditions may be improved, but the shop stewards may have to fight a constant battle.

When an employer is intelligent, he recognises that it is no good trying to maintain an anti-union attitude and that it is much better to co-operate with the union and that the development of 100 per cent. trade unionism, or the closed shop—but more often in manufacturing industry, as the Minister will know, it is 100 per cent. trade unionism as opposed to the closed shop—will allow the union to negotiate with the employer when a worker is about to start work at the factory.

This is in the interests not only of the unions, but of the employer. Many of us know from experience that an employer will often tell a shop steward that a would-be worker does not have his cards, but says that he has served an apprenticeship, and the employer asks the shop steward to interview the man and make sure that he is truly a skilled worker. A shop steward has only to ask two or three questions—where the man served his apprenticeship and what was his previous trade union branch—to know what the truth is.

A shop steward does not then say, "We are not having him" if the man is not a member of the union. What he says is, "We have no objection if you want to employ him; he does not have a card, but if he is prepared to join a union, we have no objection". The ironic thing about it is that a manager will often say to a shop steward, "I should like to start this chap, but I am not sure whether he is suitable; can he work here for a couple of weeks and, if I want to keep him, I will agree to your proposition that he should join a union?" That prevents any difficulty. More often than not, the shop steward will concede the point and, if the man is unsatisfactory, he can be got rid of because he is not suitable for the job and he will not have joined the union.

That is the sort of co-operation which goes in industry. If there is anything at the moment that is sticking in the trade union movement it is this Clause. What does the Secretary of State have to say about the story in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week when it was forecast that when the Bill became operative, hundreds of thousands of women would be leaving unions because they would be encouraged to do so? He talks of encouraging trade unionism, but what has he to say in answer to that when people are waiting for the Bill to operate?

What does he say about the telephone operatives in Liverpool who are working during the dispute between the Post Office and the Union of Post Office Workers and who have had a letter from the area manager to say, "Your job is not in jeopardy and you will not have to join after the strike, because in a short while the Bill will come into force and it is in your interests"? It will be in the interests of people who are now blacklegs. Forget the conscientious objection!

Mr. Carr

I assume that any union making an agency shop agreement with an employer, for example, the Post Office, would make one of the clauses that it was one duty of the employer to encourage and persuade, but not, of course, to compel, his employees to join the trade union.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

So what?

Mr. Carr

The hon. Member asks, "So what?", but the important thing is that if that were to happen and that employer were to write a letter such as the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) instanced, it would be in breach of his agreement with the union, which could act accordingly.

Mr. Orme

That sounds marvellous when it is said in the House of Commons, but in the real world what this manager was trying to do was to create a situation in which an agency shop agreement would be impossible to implement, because he was encouraging non-unionism. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is aware of what he is letting loose.

There is a theory that non-unionists do not often strike. It is interesting to note that in the municipal workers dispute not long ago, which was officially recognised by many unions, there was nothing like 100 per cent. trade union organisation. The non-unionists followed the lead of the unionists because they felt that there was justice in the case. As a result many new trade union members were recruited. If the Minister wants a recipe for industrial anarchy, bitterness and strife, if he wants to create the opportunity for some little gauleiter to arise in some factories in the name of an employer, if he wants to bring about friction which will create a loss of production and if he wants to reduce the status of industrial workers—something for which they are still fighting and which is at the basis of our democracy—then he will go ahead with the Bill.

The trade union movement not only provides members who play a part within it but it provides people who sit on hospital boards, who are magistrates and councillors. All of these functions are carried out on a voluntary basis on behalf of society. I have been in this position in industry. I was a member of local employment committees and so forth and was able to attend to these duties because I worked in a shop which was 100 per cent. and the workers in that shop wanted me to go out do that work. I have known many people in shops not so organised who have had to give this work up. It will hit at our democracy in all sorts of ways, and it is because of this that I do not think the Minister understands the seriousness of the Bill.

Mr. David Mitchell


Mr. Orme

I am not giving way. We are making short speeches and many of my hon. Friends want to take part in what we consider to be a fundamental debate.

Within my own union feeling runs so high that the Executive Council, as the Minister will have seen, is to recommend to the week-old national committee of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers on 4th February that there should be a series of official industrial strikes against the Bill. One of the reasons for opposing it is to do with Clause 5. The union movement is fighting to maintain its organisation and its place in industry because it will be fragmented and decimated by the Bill.

One issue on which I challenge the Minister is his statement that this will extend trade unionism. As we go on to other Clauses dealing with agency shops we can see that it will lead to fragmentation. It will allow the workers at St. Helens, or any other workers, to move out of one union into another. It will stop the patient work that has been carried on within industry for so long. Most hon. Members opposite, knowing their character and nature, would, if they were on the shop floor, be fighting for their rights. I have often seen Tory trade unionists being the most difficult to get back into the shop after a strike. When they get involved they want their rights the same as everyone else.

The difference between us is not understood. There is no way of saying what it means to be a trade unionist, to have a card such as I have in my hand now, a section 1 card of my own union. It is the union in which I served an apprenticeship, in which I became a skilled craftsman and of which I have been a member since the age of 14. It means something to me, it is almost more important than anything else I possess. People who feel like myself will fight to defend the union when we see it is under attack, when we see that not only are the Government introducing this kind of Bill but they are also using a guillotine to stop us discussing it. At quarter-past eight we are only in the middle of Clause 5 and we have to get to Clause 31. There is no filibustering by my hon. Friends, who feel this right from the heart. As we would say, this is a "gut issue" for us.

8.15 p.m.

I would say to trade unionists outside and to my hon. Friends, that the struggle we are involved in tonight is one of the most important in which we have to engage on behalf of the trade union movement. What that trade union card has meant to me is that when I went into the factory I was a skilled craftsman, and I was also a first-class citizen inside it as well as outside. I earned respect from the employer and he recognised my rights. We used to argue and fight on the basic issues, but it was done not on the basis of master and man but on the basis of equality.

In present society we are moving towards the multi-national company, when the general manager of a factory is almost as anonymous as the chap on the shop floor. The general manager recognises the need for organisation. In that sort of society—and it is a jungle in many cases in the manufacturing industry—the one element of sanity for the worker is that union card and what it means to him. It is not a matter of paying a subscription, it is something more than than, and I find it difficult to express in words what it means.

This is one of the many important Clauses in the Bill. This is where we see the Bill impinging on trade union organisation, encouraging non-unionism, breaking up the 100 per cent. trade unionism, causing fractional development within industry. It is over such Clauses that my hon. Friends and myself feel so deeply moved. There is no more important issue than that which we are discussing tonight. We might lose the fight but, I warn the Government, we shall win the battle.

Mr. Waddington

The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) will forgive me if I do not follow him into the details of the arguments he put forward, although I was interested to hear his reference to Tory trade unionists and to the fact that often it was they who were the most doughty fighters for workers' rights.

Mr. Orme

I did not say that.

Mr. Waddington

That is what I understood the hon. Member to say.

The right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) raised an interesting and important point. He referred to the fact that very often in this life one finds oneself faced with what appear to be two absolute rights in conflict with each other. He said that, in the society with which we are concerned tonight, there is on the one hand the right of a man to work and on the other the right of a man to choose with whom he will work. I have to ask myself which is the more important of these rights and I am forced to the conclusion, having examined all the arguments, that the more important right to preserve is the right of a man to work. This Bill contains safeguards which are a compromise and which enable the right of a man to work to be protected and yet allow the legitimate aspirations of trade unionists to be safeguarded.

Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the right to work extends to the 700,000 unemployed?

Mr. Waddington

I do not think that is very germane to the argument.

I repeat what I originally said, that having examined, among other things, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been referred to, and having listened to all the arguments which have been advanced tonight, should those two rights be in conflict with each other, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, West said, the right, on the one hand, of a man to work, and the right, on the other hand, of a man to choose with whom he will work, then I am forced to the conclusion that the first right is the more important.

In the end, one comes down to cases, and I should like very briefly to mention two cases which have recently come to my notice. One is that of a man called Kevin Howes, who was working with Rolls-Royce at Barnoldswick, not very far from my constituency. The people with whom he was working objected very strongly to his putting up posters on his machine, and those posters referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and referred to the right of a man not to join a trade union.

Mr. Rose

What right?

Mr. Waddington

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene. If he does, I will give way.

Mr. Rose

Will the hon. Gentleman say where there is a right not to join a trade union in any of the international conventions or the Charter?

Mr. Waddington

Article 20 provides that no one may be compelled to belong to an association—

Mr. Rose

That is quite different.

Mr. Waddington

—and that, of course, would conflict with the closed shop. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Certainly it is in conflict with the pre-entry closed shop.

Perhaps I may continue with my argument, because I do not want to detain the Committee too long. I know that a number of hon. Members want to speak. One can well understand, in the case of the man at Rolls-Royce, that those working with him should have become extremely annoyed at his insistence on his putting up what they considered to be inflammatory pamphlets on his machine. Eventually they went to the management and said they were not going to put up with it any longer.

This was not a case of a closed shop. It was a case of management deciding that that man should not be allowed to work there any longer because he was causing a great deal of friction within the works. It was certainly not a case of the man's being reluctant to pay his union dues. That was not his motive at all. He had got what many people even in this Committee might consider to be a bee in his bonnet, but there are lots of people at work in factories and elsewhere who have bees in their bonnets, and we have to be careful, when we are dealing with matters such as this, to see, when we frame the law, that eccentrics in society have their rights safeguarded, as well as seeing that the rights of the more conventionally minded are safeguarded.

Mr. Walden

If the hon. Gentleman follows this line of argument I wonder if he would tell us what would happen to any officer in a Guards regiment who at a mess dinner insisted on instructing the company in the value of Communism?

Mr. Waddington

1 certainly ought to have notice of that question! However, I think I am going some way to meet the objections on the other side of the Committee here. I am trying to point out that we well understand that, in circumstances such as those, a man's fellow workpeople may become extremely aggravated and that they may feel they cannot continue to co-operate with the man, but what moved me to mention this case was a remark which came from this side of the Committee to the effect that all these people who object to joining trade unions object because they are not prepared to pay the money. I am citing this case as one of many, in which a man refuses to join a trade union not because he is reluctant to pay the dues but because of a bee in his bonnet and because he does not want to join that organisation.

There is another case I should like to mention.

Mr. Harold Walker

I interrupt to seek information. Would the hon. Member tell the Committee why that man was sacked? What was the official reason for his dismissal?

Mr. Waddington

I had a long correspondence with the management, and the management took the view that he was causing friction in the shop and that it was better that he should go. I thought I made that clear.

Mr. Harold Walker

I just wanted to be sure.

Mr. Waddington

That is one sort of case, and it is not a case of a man being reluctant to pay his dues; it is not a case of a free rider; it is not a case of a man wanting to get all the privileges of membership of a trade union but yet not prepared to pay for them.

An Hon. Member

He was a trouble maker.

Mr. Waddington

He was not just a trouble maker. He happened to be a member of the Salvation Army, and he had religious objections to joining a trade union. We get people like that.

The other case to which I want to draw attention was that of a man who managed to get a situation in a factory in the division I represent and who was turned away when he got to the factory gate because a closed shop operated there, and he did not realise, before he turned up, that a closed shop did operate. He was a fully qualified workman—indeed, a former member of the E.T.U.—and eventually he attended a committee meeting and was told that he would be readmitted to the E.T.U. and could take up the situation if he paid £10. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I know that that is a common practice, that if a man has lapsed from a union it is a condition of his re-entry that he should pay a sum of money. Again, one can well understand that sort of rule appertaining.

The point I want to make is that that man was unemployed; that man was looking for a job; that man was told he would have to pay £10 before he would be allowed to rejoin his union and before he could start work; but he was on the dole and unable to find £2, let alone £10. I mention that, not to pretend that that is a typical case, but it is yet another case in which, as a result of the present working of the law, real hardship can be caused to a man, and we in this Committee ought to be concerned to safeguard the rights of the individual, as well as to look after the legitimate aspirations of the members of the trade union movement.

I come to the conclusion that there are safeguards in this Bill for legitimate trade unionists. There are safeguards which will strengthen the trade union movement, and I believe it is our duty to do something to look after the rights of the individual which, unfortunately, under the present law are assailed.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Rose

I rise now, not to curtail this vital debate but to interpose some legal matters which I believe the Committee should consider, and to urge on the right hon. Gentleman that, in view of the anger shown by my hon. Friends with their practical knowledge of the shop floor, and because of the firm jurisprudential grounds which have been put to him, this is a matter which he should reconsider if he is genuinely concerned about industrial peace.

In putting forward this subsection the Government have gone in the face of the Donovan Report. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) put forward the plausible illusion that the right not to join a trade union is the same as the right to join one. As Donovan said: The former condition is designed to frustrate the development of collective bargaining, which it is public policy to promote, whereas no such objection applies to the latter. so there is a profound social difference between those two concepts.

The clearest example of where this came into conflict was during the period in Ireland when they went over from a common law system to a written constitution, when they began their system of licensed bargaining units and put a restriction on the closed shop, with the result that Ireland has the highest strike figures in the whole of Europe while we, if I may quote Turner's Cambridge University Press publication in 1969, have a lowest strike incidence than any major non-Communist industrial country except the German Federal Republic. I want to go back to the words of Mr. Justice Murnaghan, in N.U.R. v Sullivan and Irish Transport and General Workers Union, because they sum up directly the position with which we are faced. He said: … both logically and practically to deprive a person of a choice of person with whom he will associate is not a control of the exercise of association but a denial of the right altogether. That is what the Government are doing. They are denying the right to associate which has been accepted and in this country for a long time, with perhaps the exception of the Rookes v. Barnard case. As Mr. Justice Sarjant said in Reynolds v. Supply Federation, in 1924: For many years past no one has questioned the right of a trade union to insist, if they are strong enough so to do, under penalty of a strike, that an employer or group of employers shall employ none but members of the trade union. That was in 1924, and the hon. Gentleman is trying to put forward grounds in 1971 for turning the clock back. To accept this subsection is to take us back to Rookes v. Barnard and it is in direct conflict with all that Donovan put forward. In 1957 Mr. Justice Upjohn ruled, in Clarke v. N.U.F.T.O., that it was an established fact that unions had absolute freedom to control admission.

Of course there is a right for a person who is offended, where natural justice has been breached, to go to the courts. This right is exercised, and nobody is denying that, but there are problems in relation to our international obligations. The hon. Gentleman made a great deal of this, and quoted the United Nations Charter. There is nothing in that Charter, or in the European Social Charter, which enshrines the right not to join a union. What the hon. Gentleman is misunderstanding is what was actually stated. The Report of the Committee of Independent Experts on the European Social Charter said: The Committee considered, however, that any form of compulsory unionism imposed by law must be considered incompatible with the obligation arising under this article of the Charter. We know the kind of unionism imposed by law in totalitarian countries, and to import this into the argument is a red herring.

The I.L.O. Convention, to which we are signatories, No. 87, concerning Freedom of Association and Protection to Organise, passed at the 31st Session at San Francisco in 1948, states in Article 3: Workers and employer organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, and to organise their administration and activities. By inserting this subsection, that freedom is taken away. If we consider that freedom with Article 11 which allows workers freely to exercise the right to organise, we see that there can be no doubt that the freedom of association implies a social right which cannot possibly be consistent with the so-called right laid down in Clause 5(1)(b).

I have referred to the European Social Charter, which we have ratified. It contains two articles of relevance—Articles 5 and 6. If hon. Gentlemen opposite look at Article 5, they will see in it a reference to the freedom of workers and employers to form local, national or international organisations for the protection of their economic and social interests, and to join those organisations: The Contracting Parties undertake that national law shall not be such as to impair, nor shall it be so applied as to impair, this freedom. There is no equivalent right in the European Social Charter not to join a Union. There is no false equation in the Charter, any more than there is in Donovan, which shows that these are two distinct social concepts and two distinct jurisprudential concepts. The right to join a trade union, especially under the Bill, must be considered in the light of Clause 57(3), because non-registered trade unions are now beyond the law. We are not only enshrining the right not to join a trade union; we are saying that there is a right not to join a registered trade union. But there is also an incursion into the freedom to organise, because non-registered trade unions are virtually beyond the law.

I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) and another right hon. Member were recalled from Strasbourg recently, because they were able to furnish me with a document containing the conclusions of the Committee of Independent Experts on the European Social Charter. It was made clear by those experts that the Contracting State is obliged to take adequate legislative or other measures to guarantee the exercise of the right to organise, and in particular to protect, workers' organisations from any interference on the part of employers. I defy the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) or any other hon. Member opposite to find anything in that report by the independent experts —a report that has come hotfoot from Strasbourg as a result of the guillotine Motion—which enshrines the right not to join a trade union. Of course it does not—nor does the United Nations Charter.

Professor Grunfelde's apposite statement has been referred to in the course of the debate. He said that freedom not to join a union … amounts to freedom … to take a free ride on the backs of one's fellow workers. There is a right that is more important —the right of workers to have their backs unencumbered. That is a right already enshrined by law. I accept the Charter of the United Nations. I have worked consistently for human rights. I have served on the Human Rights Subcommittee in the Council of Europe and have worked actively in this field. I support the Donovan Report. I ask the Solicitor-General or the Minister who is to reply whether he will not reconsider this point in the light of our international obligations, because it is a derogation that we shall have to make.

I ask the Solicitor-General in particular —and I ask the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), who comes here when he wishes to make a speech but is always absent when anybody else speaks—

Mr. John Mendelson

He is eating dinner.

Mr. Rose

I do not know whether he is eating dinner at the Inns of Court or at the House, and I reserve judgment as to which provides the better dinners. Speaking as a member of the legal profession, I say that in that profession there is the best pre-entry closed shop in the world, based primarily not on ability —because there is no ability in eating dinners or in paying large fees—but on the class origins of the person who wishes to enter that profession. It ill behoves members of that profession—who have to pay in order to join an Inn of Court; who have to come down from the Provinces on 12 occasions to take dinners in London; who, once they have passed their Bar final, have to pay another 100 guineas pupilage fee and do no work for six months, and who design every one of their rules to keep working people out of their profession—to come here and talk about the rights of people not to join a union.

I speak as a member of that profession —as good a trade unionist as anybody— in defence of the restrictions which we enjoy in the profession, because its members are also good trade unionists. I say that there are two rights—one enshrined in every one of these international obligations and the other not enshrined in any; one supported by Donovan and the other not supported by him.

It is clear why my hon. and right hon. Friends are angry, and I urge the right hon. Gentleman to understand the deep feeling that exists among my hon. Friends and do something about it by undertaking to reconsider the question at least before Report.

Mr. Gower

The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) did a very remarkable thing. He found what he argued to be some deficiency in the system of recruitment for the Bar, and if we concede what he said to be right, he then chose that to justify his attitude to the Bill. He found what he deemed to be some inadequacy in this branch of the legal profession and said that this was proof that what we propose is wrong. He sought to use this as justification for his own view of what he regarded to be wrong.

I believe that we all had a lot of sympathy with the hon. Member for Salford. West (Mr. Orme), who made an impassioned statement of his own attitude. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides would fully understand what he said. Of course it is creditable and proper that he should take tremendous pride in his trade union membership, extending over so many years. We want to uphold it. Until this Bill was presented, there was no legislation to enforce an employer who chose to make non-membership of trade unions a term of employment. This is, for the first time, enshrined in the Bill.

In other words, in this Clause, the Bill is strengthening the position of trade unions and trade unionists. It is right and proper that it should be thus. I hope that all hon. Members would fight ardently and long to retain this new right of trade unions, and I hope that we should take the view in future as I hope that we have all done for many years— that it is wrong for an employer to say to anyone that he cannot work in a factory unless he could establish that he was not a member of a union.

But hon. Members opposite ask us to go much further and to provide that a man cannot obtain employment in a certain firm if he is not a member of a particular union. They justify this, in some cases speciously and in others with some apparent force, by saying that a person who becomes employed in an industry without this membership will benefit from things done by those who are members. The consequences do not matter, they say.

Indeed, this was the one point on which I quarrel with the hon. Member for Salford, West. He said that we can disregard the cases of conscience, that they do not matter. They do. I hope that this House will never say that cases of conscience do not matter. Of course they matter. If only a very small minority of people have particular and peculiar religious objections, who are we to say that there cannot thereby be any provision at all in our legislation?

Mr. Swain

Has the hon. Gentleman read the history of the trade unions and found out that it was a Nonconformist element within the unions which built the movement up and made it what it is today? Yet he is talking about religious objections.

Mr. Gower

Yes, all honour to those who did it. I am not saying that those people did not do a wonderful thing.

Mr. Swain

There are more Christians in the unions than there are in the Tory Party.

Mr. Gower

I am simply saying that it is just as right and proper that we should take cognisance in our legislative proposals of the different views of other, smaller, religious groups. What we are asked to do is not merely to say that a person shall not work in an industry if those in the industry refuse to work with him. We are asked to say that it should be imposed by the employer, which is even worse.

8.45 p.m.

I appreciate what is said about people working in an industry having some say about those with whom they work, but that is not what the Amendment says. It says that an employer should be permitted to impose such a condition and say with whom they should work. I appreciate the historical reasons why hon. Gentlemen opposite think this essential, but I hope that they do not have such a poor opinion of the future of the trade union movement that they feel bound to rely on a provision of this kind. Surely they are more optimistic about the virtues of trade unionism than to think a provision like this is necessary to achieve maximum membership. They cannot be so lacking in faith that they want this legislation to be their recruiting sergeant.

Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport)

Why did not the hon. Gentleman attend last Saturday's vast demonstration in Cardiff at which trade unionists who are bitterly opposed to the Bill expressed their views?

Mr. Gower

I am explaining why. I am very much in favour of many parts of the Bill. I would be betraying much of what I believe about the freedom of the individual and a great deal of what I said at the last General Election if I supported this monstrosity of an Amendment.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Was my hon. Friend invited to attend last Saturday's meeting in Cardiff? Is he aware that when trade unionists in Peterborough organised a protest meeting, they asked me to come along and open it?

Mr. Gower

I wish to be brief. I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite will show more faith in the future of the trade union movement and will not have to depend on this sort of expedient to achieve maximum membership. Let the unions take advantage of the new safeguards which are embodied in the Bill and which give a modest amount of freedom in agency arrangements to those who feel as I have described. After all, today the cards are heavily stacked in favour of the unions. I have found that all enlightened, progressive and successful employers lean heavily on close co-opera- tion with the unions. They are not looking to hammer the unions. Nor are we.

[Miss HARVIE ANDERSON in the Chair]

Mr. Frederick Lee

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) talked about the Bill strengthening the hands of the unions, but he was coming to the aid of the conquerors. Few employers would now dare to refuse to allow their employees to be union members. Indeed, if we could have had many years ago the sort of speech which the hon. Gentleman made tonight, it would have been helpful to us in explaining precisely what the Tories meant. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we can do very well without a Bill of this kind saying that employers must agree to a man being a member of a trade union.

The argument has turned on the freedom of the individual to join or not to join a trade union. That argument has gone on for many years and will no doubt go on for many more. But the issue confronting the House now is even bigger than that. I do not know of any manager in any firm or industry who would dispute the suggestion that without the cooperation of the trade union movement he could not run his business efficiently. Trade unionism is now accepted as being a part of industry which is essential for increased efficiency throughout the whole of our industrial life.

That being so, I believe that we have now reached a position in which without trade unions—and, therefore, without trade unionists—there can be no responsible collective bargaining; and that to eliminate the power of the trade unions now must result in sheer industrial chaos. It is fantastic that in a Bill which we are invited to believe is necessary because of an increasing number of unofficial strikes, we should for the first time be invited to enshrine in the law a provision giving equivalent status to the non-unionist and to the unionist. To try to hold the scales of justice between the two is a fantastic exercise.

It is not now a matter of opinion but a question of fact that the trade unions are established; that when a trade union official negotiates, his authority resides in the fact that he speaks for a certain number of people inside the factory concerned. But here we have a Bill which not only threatens all sorts of sanctions on people who break contracts but makes it almost obligatory for the trade union official to get the full agreement of everyone in the factory, yet makes it illegal for his members to try to get non-trade unionists into that trade union.

The Bill is a mass of contradictions from beginning to end. Whilst none of us can be very happy about the relative progress of British industry vis-à-vis its competitors, we now seem determined to put every spoke possible in the wheel, almost to put a spanner in the works. There is no more responsible trade union movement throughout the democratic world than ours, but whenever the subject of trade unions and their responsibilities is discussed it is done by way of reference to lack of co-operation and increased strikes and denigration of trade union work. Some hon. Members opposite speak of the closed shop as though it were something inimical to democratic action. Let me remind them that when this nation was facing its gravest threat, even before the war with Hitler started, the British trade union movement gave up every one of its customs and practices in the interests of defeating Fascism.

I recall that in those days our old friend, Ernest Bevin, brought in the Essential Work Orders—regulations which in peacetime conditions no one would have accepted. We also got legislation agreed to by both sides of industry which permitted literally millions of people who had never before worked in industry to come in and be taught— certainly in engineering by our own members—the rudiments of their craft. This included opening all the doors of the closed shop. Without this move by the trade union movement we could not have defeated Fascism in the 1939–45 war. This was typical of the forward-looking, generous approach which the trade union movement has always displayed.

Ernest Bevin, with the agreement of the trade unions, took away all their customs and practices and promised that when the war was over they could ask for them back. Not one trade union asked for its customs and practices to be returned.

I was at the Ministry of Labour in the immediate period after the war. The constructive approach of the trade unions, because of the post-war crisis, was a source of great pride. I mention that because it is such a different approach from that which we often hear expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Indeed, when Britain faces crisis, issues like the closed shop have never stopped the trade unions accepting that, in certain conditions of emergency, they will not continue with custom and practice as they have known it.

Why, therefore, in the 1970s, we should have a Government equating the status of non-trade unionisms with trade unionism, as though they were Justice holding the scales, is too fantastic for words. There is no equation between the two.

I repeat, industry in Britain cannot function without responsible trade unionism. Those who negotiate agreements cannot get them honoured if people are to be encouraged not to join unions and are to be completely outside the control of those who make agreements.

Mr. David Mitchell

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to Amendment No. 582? If so, does he agree that, although drafted by an hon. Member on this side, it covers the substance of the case which he is making?

Mr. Lee

The hon. Gentleman must agree that if they would withdraw the whole darned thing there would be no need for such Amendments as he and his hon. Friends have put down.

Whether it sounds palatable or not does not matter, but hon. Gentlemen opposite must realise that non-trade unionists can be tolerated only because they know that a great many others will be trade unionists. This is a fact of life. To try to give to the non-trade unionist status equivalent to that of those without whom industry could not function is to stand justice on its head.

In this day and age we are all under certain pressures. Problems have changed enormously so far as power in industry goes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister do not tire of saying that, although they support free collective bargaining, they hate the results—in other words, that it gives too much by way of reward. If trade unionism in Britain is indeed so strong, it cannot be treated as being equivalent only to non-trade unionists who do not matter in collective bargaining.

I hope that the Government will not continue to pursue this course of action. Whether they like it or not, they are elevating the whole basis of non-trade unionism at a time when trade unionism is accepted throughout the whole of industry. I do not know of any managers —I almost said progressive, but they do not need to be progressive managers— who do not realise that their ability to run their factories either profitably or efficiently depends on the degree of co-operation which they can get from representatives of trade unions. Those representatives are to be denuded of some of the personnel of the factory by an Act of Parliament. It is apparently wrong to try to coerce people to become trade unionists, and if they are outlawed or if other people refuse to work with them, those people may well finish up before the Industrial Court. If that is the Government's conception, no wonder they are getting into an awful mess with their industrial relations.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Barney Hayhoe (Heston and Isleworth)

I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Frederick Lee) was present during the interventions of my hon. Friends the Members for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott) and Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell)—

Mr. Frederick Lee

In the whole of the debate I have missed only three-quarters of a speech.

Mr. Hayhoe

In that case the right hon. Gentleman was less than gracious in not giving some support to the view expressed by my hon. Friends when they were speaking to Amendments Nos. 579 and 582. The right hon. Gentleman made the blanket condemnation that without exception all Members of the Committee were attempting to equate the right to join with the right not to join a trade union. There is no foundation for that in the speeches that have been made from this side of the Committee. I thought that we were participating in a debate and trying to follow the speeches—

Mr. John Mendelson

So we are.

Mr. Hayhoe

That is fine. There has been a remarkable degree of agreement on both sides of the Committee, although perhaps it did not go quite so far as hon. Gentlemen opposite might wish, just as there was when my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) referred to the agreement of both sides of the Committee on the remarkable ending of the speech of the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), who was moved to lyrical words in expressing the sentiment he felt about his belonging to a trade union. This is right and proper, and we respect his feelings—

Mrs. Castle


Mr. Hayhoe

May I just finish my sentence? I know that the right hon. Lady loves to interrupt at the commas. If only she would wait occasionally for the full stops, we might get on more happily together. I am at a comma, and when the full stop comes I shall be willing to give way. The end of the speech of the hon. Member for Salford, West in which he spoke about union membership is the essence of our case. If he had been compelled to join the union at the age of 14, and if he had stayed in the union because of external compulsion, he would never have expressed those sentiments. He was voluntarily a member of the union, he joined it of his own free will. It is because we support the voluntary principle and not compulsion that we are against the pre-entry closed shop.

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Gentleman has moved several paragraphs beyond the point which I wished to raise with him. Some minutes ago he said that there was a great deal of agreement between the two sides of the Committee, and it was on that that I wished to intervene. I agree with him that there seems to be a large measure of agreement between the two sides of the Committee that the Bill as it stands acts as an incitement to people not to join a trade union. Has the hon. Gentleman had any indication from his Front Bench that they agree with the back benchers? If so, we should like an immediate intervention from the Front Bench to tell us that the Bill will not go forward in its present form.

Mr. Hayhoe

I have had from our Front Bench no indication of what they will say. I am only sorry that the full team is not present to hear what I hope will be regarded as a strong plea that some changes should be made in subsection (1)(b), along the lines of Amendment No. 582, to which I have put my name, or Amendment No. 579. In my view, there is a good case to be made of that, and I am speaking in the hope of influencing the reply which will be made from the Government Front Bench at—I agree here with the right hon. Lady— not too distant a time.

In opening the debate, the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) reviewed the case for the closed shop. When he turned to Donovan, I thought that he was highly selective in his quotations. Quite properly, he quoted the words In our view prohibition of the closed shop must be rejected ", but from the summary of Donovan which the hon. Gentleman gave one might have thought that it was the Commission's view that the closed shop is a good thing.

From the speeches we have heard from the Opposition benches, one might conclude that the closed shop had nothing but good on its side.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins indicated assent.

Mr. Hayhoe

The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) made a powerful case for the particular closed shop with which he was dealing, but he did not make out a general case for the closed shop, and he did not deal, and neither did his hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, with the other comment of Donovan—this is paragraph 594— that the closed shop is most prevalent in those areas of our industrial life where unofficial strikes and industrial relations are worst.

It is hard, therefore, to equate the presence of the closed shop with particularly good industrial relations. Equally, at paragraph 598, Donovan said: In our view the closed shop as it operates at present is not always in the best interests either of workers or of the community as a whole". The essence of the Donovan case is that there is a balance; there are good things about the closed shop and there are bad. On grounds of principle rather than expediency, we on this side take the view that the closed shop should be forbidden—

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Only for some—not the lawyers.

Mr. Hayhoe

Before I came to the House, I used to think sometimes that there were too many lawyers here— particularly when they appeared at the same selection conference as myself. Since I have been here, however—this is certainly true of our debates on industrial relations—I have felt that too much time is spent in talking about whether there is or is not a closed shop in the legal profession. I am sure that we can settle these points at some other time. Now, we have more important questions to discuss.

The closed shop is not always a bad thing, as, perhaps, some people of my political persuasion make out. Equally, it is not always the good thing which some hon. Members opposite say it is. On grounds of individual freedom, a powerful case can be made for doing away with the pre-entry closed shop and the closed shop in general, and I regard the agency shop provisions proposed by my right hon. Friend as sensible and good, provided that he accepts either Amendment No. 579 or Amendment No. 582, or words along those lines.

I believe that the agency shop proposals are right, provided that they are combined with the point of view which has been expressed on both sides of the Committee that one cannot equate the right to membership with the right not to join. The two are not equal and opposite. The right to membership is good and proper. Equally, the rights of minorities should be protected. People should not be compelled to join organisations whose very strength depends upon their voluntary character of association, as we saw clearly from the speech of the hon. Member for Salford, West.

For those reasons, I urge my right hon. Friend to accept some form of wording along the lines of the two Amendments to which I have referred and reject the Amendments moved by hon. Gentlemen opposite.

Mrs. Castle

I have no wish to close the debate, of course, but, in view of the very strong pressure on the right hon. Gentleman that has come from the benches behind him, it might be useful to know whether he is prepared to meet that pressure and, if so, in what form.

Mr. R. Carr

I do not wish to reply to this point alone. If it is convenient to the Committee, without wishing to close the debate, I am quite prepared to give my views on these Amendments now and, if new points are raised after I have spoken and it is the wish of the Committee that I should try to reply to them, perhaps I might be allowed to intervene again.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

On a point of order. A number of Amendments have been grouped together. One of them, Amendment No. 502, specifically deals with the exemption of seamen. I wish to raise some specific points, and it will be difficult for me to make my case after the Secretary of State has spoken.

The Deputy Chairman (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Order. That is not a point of order. In any event, the Minister has made it plain that he will intervene not only now but, if necessary, later on as well.

Mr. Carr

I assure the hon. Gentleman that, if he raises specific points which require answers, I will be happy to make another short speech later, assuming that that is the desire of the Committee.

I accept that whether there should be the right that we are proposing in the Bill and which is under challenge in these Amendments—namely, the right not to have to join a union against one's will—is an extremely big issue. There can be no doubt about that. It is a very big issue about which there are fundamental differences within the Committee and principally, but not entirely, between the two sides of the Committee.

I also accept that the case here is not a black and white one. As many hon. Members have pointed out, there is the right of the majority to decide with whom they will or will not work. That is a genuine right. There is the right of the individual to be able to work, even if he does not fall in with the majority. That is another genuine right. We are trying to find the proper balance between the two conflicting rights.

In the past, when unions were weak and the whole social and economic climate and balance of power in the community was very different, it may be that the right to a closed shop was the one which should predominate. Although it can only be a matter of opinion, we believe that in modern times, with the present balance of power in society and the economy, that right is no longer necessary for the majority. It is now time to give more recognition to the wishes of the minority of nonconformist individuals, however misguided we think them, also to have their rights. We believe that, at the same time as we bring into our law the right of nonconformity, we should also make other changes in our law simultaneously, as we are in this Bill. I have in mind the legal duty on employers to recognise unions in certain circumstances, the legal right to have an agency shop and all that goes with it, and, coupled with it, the abolition of the free rider, the individual who refuses to join the union but who gets all the benefits of unionisation without making any contribution.

If we simultaneously introduce this freedom for the individual, the legal duty to recognise, the legal right to an agency shop and the abolition of the free rider, on balance, it is right in modern conditions to give this right not to join as well as the right to join.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a direct question? We are aware that this Measure has been produced by the legal advisers to the Conservative Party. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government have sought the advice of the C.B.I. and the Engineering Employers' Federation. May we have a direct answer to that question?

Mr. Carr

We have not sought that advice. The Bill has not been produced by the lawyers of the Conservative Party. This is a matter of high political principle. It is proper and natural that different Members of the House take fundamentally different views about the answers to this matter of high political principle. But we decided as a matter of principle that this right should be enshrined in our law. It was only then that we asked our lawyers to tell us how to do it.

Mr. Dan Jones

Did the Government seek the advice of the C.B.I. and the Engineering Employers?

Mr. Carr

No, we have not asked them.

Mr. Dan Jones

Have not they been consulted?

Mr. Carr

Yes, they have been, and they may differ with us about this. This Government do not in any way feel bound to follow the C.B.I.—or the T.U.C., for that matter. We are, thank goodness, the Government of the country. We have a duty to make up our own minds about these matters, having listened to the views of all those who wished to express them. We may not be right but we can only do what we believe to be right and explain the reason for it.

Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)

In many factories throughout the country, there is an agreement between the unions and the employers that there should be a closed shop. When a man goes for employment at such a factory, he either already must have the appropriate union card or must be prepared to join the union. What will be the reaction of the Government to those employers who insist, in the interests of good industrial relations, that this practice should be continued?

Mr. Carr

It is just this sort of agreement which we believe can, in certain circumstances, override proper human rights, but, as I have said, if we were merely to be introducing this new right for the individual and doing nothing else simultaneously, there would be real force in that point. But the fact is that we are simultaneously introducing the legal duty to recognise, the legal right to an agency shop and the abolition of the free rider. It is only if one takes all these things together that we believe that this new right for the individual is right.

I make it clear that we want to encourage trade union membership.

Mr. Orme

You will not.

Mr. Carr

The hon. Gentleman may hold the view that we shall fail to do so but he cannot say that we do not do so. We want to encourage trade union membership and stronger trade unions. I believe that the result of the Bill will be greatly over the years to increase trade union membership. I believe that, for every member who may use the new right to resign from the union, many more, under the influence of the agency shop provision and the legal duty to recognise the non-free rider position, will be joining. I am in no doubt of these things but, of course, we cannot be certain until we see the effect. I think that, for every one who leaves the union under this right, many more will be recruited under the other rights and provisions I have mentioned.

Mr. Alex Eadie (Midlothian)

The right hon. Gentleman argues that the proposition he is putting will increase trade union membership. But he cannot deny that, since similar measures were introduced in the United States, trade union membership there has decreased proportionately. We believe that, as a consequence of this Bill, the same experience will be repeated in this country —that there will be a reduction and not an increase in trade union membership.

Mr. Carr

This must be a matter of opinion. The size of trade union membership will not only be affected one way or the other by this law or any other, but by all sorts of other changes in the social, cultural and economic climate which may all be tending either to increase or decrease membership. After all, without any change in the law, trade union membership in this country has in recent years been somewhat static on the whole. Indeed, there was a period a little while ago when it even showed signs of declining. It is now showing some signs of increasing— largely, I suspect, because there is a big source of recruitment among what one used loosely to call the "white collar" workers. That source was not really widely tapped in the past and it is a fruitful field for recruitment—more fruitful now than in the past. It is this sort of change which will probably have an effect one way or the other on total membership. We want this Bill, as far as it goes, to encourage trade union membership and we believe that it will do so.

Mr. Dan Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Carr

I will, but I am conscious of the fact that we are working under pressure of time. I do not want to take more time than I need and we all know that nothing prolongs speeches more than giving way.

Mr. Dan Jones

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take account of trade union membership in 1928 after the last Tory punitive measure in 1927, against the unions.

Mr. Carr

One of the points I was making was that something that might have been justified in the totally different conditions of 50 years ago may not be right or justified in 1971. Conditions do change, thank goodness, and sometimes they change for the better. We want to see employers encouraging and, indeed, seeking to persuade their employees to join the appropriate trade union.

I agree very much with the sentiments expressed in Amendment No. 560—in page 4, line 29, at end insert: (4) It shall not be an unfair industrial practice for any employer, or for any person acting on behalf of an employer to encourage a worker to become a member of a trade union. standing in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott) and my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Simeons), but which has not been selected for debate. It is on the point of making clear that employers will have the right under the Bill positively to encourage their employees to join the appropriate trade union. I believe that they will, but I shall certainly be looking at the Bill to make sure that they will and that there is no doubt about that.

Mr. C. Pannell

If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to look into that, will he also look again at the first two words, "Every worker", a phrase which means without qualification? Will he consider the question of anti-social conduct and such other things of which I was speaking?

Mr. Carr

We will, of course, consider any points which are made, but we believe that there is nothing in the Bill to prevent employers from entering into an agency shop agreement and using their best endeavours to encourage and persuade their employees to join the appropriate union.

Mr. Orme

Including the closed shop?

Mr. Carr

Encouraging and persuading but not compelling. What we are trying to do is to encourage persuasion, but to protect the individual against persuasion spilling over into compulsion. That is what we are trying to do and I believe that that is what we are doing. We believe that we must protect and that it is right to protect the individual in the balance of society which we now have, without damaging the majority as it might have been damaged 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Without damaging the rights of the majority, we seek to give the non-conforming individual the right not to have to join a trade union.

Mr. Orme

You are exhorting him not to join.

Mr. Carr

No, we are not; we are giving him the right not to do so. We think that it would be perfectly natural and perfectly proper, and it would be something which we should like to see, for it to be a term of an agency shop agreement that it established a duty on the employer, party to that agreement, to encourage and persuade his employees to join the appropriate trade union. All we want to do is to protect the individual against being compelled.

I believe that in these circumstances, when an employer has undertaken to encourage and persuade, in fact the over-whelming majority of employees will join trade unions and will do so freely and readily, and I firmly say that in our view that is a good thing and a desirable thing which we want to happen. But there may be a few who do not join and we say that they should not be compelled to do so. Nor do we believe that in this day and age it is necessary for trade unions that they should be so compelled. It may have been necessary in the past; we do not believe that it is necessary now.

I have known, and I am sure that many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have known, many leading trade unionists who sincerely do not want to have members who are members only by compulsion, who feel that they are stronger with a 95 per cent. membership of a shop with voluntary members than with a 100 per cent. membership when the last 5 per cent. of the 100 per cent. have joined against their will.

Moreover I must recall to the Committee again that the free rider—and we all understand the objection, emotional and real, against the free rider—is to be deliberately and specifically excluded by other provisions in the Bill, so that a man cannot altogether on grounds of conscientious objection evade his social responsibilities as can a free rider.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)


Mr. Carr

I will give way in a moment.

If we cannot so organise our industrial affairs and life in this country as to tolerate a number of nonconformists as provided in the Bill, it is a very poor thing. I believe that we are a richer and stronger society for doing so and I simply do not believe that it is necessary for us to deny these rights to a small number of non-conformists.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

If the right hon. Gentleman is right and there are good employers who want 100 per cent. shops, then even within the legal provisions of the Bill it would be possible for them to employ men who are only trade unionists and to keep out those who are not. It therefore follows that those who will avail themselves of these provisions will be the bad employers who do not want 100 per cent. shops. Is that not the argument which my hon. Friends are making?

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Carr

That might be the argument if there were not the other provisions. Earlier we have talked about another subsection which lays down the absolute right of a worker, as between himself and his employer, to join. That is new and important, and all of these things must be taken together. There will be a legal right for the workers and a legal duty on the employer to recognise and negotiate with a trade union if that is the wish of the majority of his employees. These are important new rights on the other side which must be taken together. They are the rights which we believe will hold in check and gradually remove the bad employers whom the hon. Gentleman fears, where they still exist.

We must resist these Amendments and maintain the Clause as it stands, first of all on grounds of individual liberty.

Mr. Orme

On that point, would the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that there are at the moment in industry many People, Jehovah's Witnesses and so forth, who are accepted and who are not carrying a trade union card? They are allowed complete freedom because we recognise people with individual consciences. It is not these people that the right hon. Gentleman is protecting, it is the scabs, those who do not want to join the union.

Mr. Carr

We have to be very careful when we as individuals exercise subjective value judgments of that kind. Who is any one of us to accuse? We may feel very strongly that someone is a scab, or some other unpleasant expression. But we must be rather careful before any one of us presumes to exercise those judgments. I accept what the hon. Gentleman says, that throughout great sectors of industry, the majority of industry, there is no undue pressure. What the law is doing is consolidating what is already good practice. This applies not only to this Clause but to many others. We are making sure that where there are blocks on what is the general good practice, pressure should be brought to remove those blocks.

While we must resist the Amendments on grounds of individual liberty we must also resist them on grounds of industrial democracy, and I should like to explain what I have in mind. If we are to come to terms with what the right hon. Lady graphically described as "power on the shop floor" in that well-known speech at the Institute of Directors conference, with all that goes with that, then we have to provide to industry some equivalent of the right we have in our national political life, to chose and to change government.

The equivalent of that right in industrial terms is the right of a person to be able to choose and change his union. If we believe in a paternalistic form of organisation where those below have to do what those above say is good for them, we do not have to do this; but if we are to recognise that people increasingly have the right to make those decisions for themselves, then one of the acts of statesmanship which we have to try to perform is that of providing some way in which they can exercise that right in a controlled manner without doing great damage to the rest of the community.

If we look at two recent disputes over the last year we can see what I have in mind. I am thinking of the very difficult dispute among the white-collar workers in the steel industry. I remember when I was sitting on the benches opposite saying that one of the things that disturbed me was that while the T.U.C. was looking at it, while there was this Committee of Inquiry under Lord Pearson looking at the problem, no one seemed in any way to consider that we ought to ask the white-collar workers in the steel industry what they wanted. I of course accept, for the sake of order in industry, that we cannot have instant democracy, that we cannot have people rushing off changing their union in a fit of pique or passing discontent, one week in one union and the next week in another. That is why there must be some control, but I believe that we must provide the safety valve of the right to change, the right to decide.

I believe that this is one of the things about the Pilkington dispute. There we had a union, a long-standing, honourable union, with a great record of responsible trade union activity over many years, which had had the bargaining rights in the company for a long time, and, not deliberately but unconsciously, over a period, it lost the confidence of at least a large section of the people whom it claimed to represent. There were the union and the management comfortably sitting there together, believing that all was hunky-dory and thinking everything had been wonderful for a long time, when, in fact, seething there was a growing feeling among the men—and I am not saying whether they were right or wrong, but they had the feeling—that that union no longer represented them in the way they thought they should be represented.

At the moment in this country there is no orderly way of change, no orderly way in which to prepare to change. I believe it is important to provide those orderly ways. This, of course, is what we are talking about in later provisions of our Bill, when we come to the bargaining agents and so forth. But if one is to have that, and have orderly ways, which must not be too easy ways, one must have the right, I believe, to leave a union as well as to join it; in other words, the right even in a union shop, to use the common parlance, to cease to be a member of a trade union, in order to feel that there is some way of preparing for and promoting orderly change, if one should decide that that is necessary.

Mr. Stanley Cohen (Leeds, South-East)

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the statement he is now making could be preached by a Trotskyist? He is in fact undermining the authority of the responsible trade union leadership in this country.

Mr. Carr

I do not believe that in the end that is true. I am not a Communist doctrinaire and I do not understand the philosophy of Trotskyists, but there is one thing [am proposing in this Bill, which I believe happens to be particularly Tory—which I know more about—and that is to provide for orderly change. I do not think that we allow a society to evolve and to move with the mood of the times and the cultural, social and economic development of the times if we try to mummify the structure, the status quo, as it stands at the moment.

Mrs. Castle

Surely, that is an entirely different point from the major point of the subsection, which is the right to refuse to belong to any union at all? It is with that principle we are concerned here.

Mr. Carr

We shall come to points of substance in these other matters later, but the point I am making now is that we are resisting the right hon. Lady's Amendment not only on the ground of individual liberty but also the ground of industrial democracy, which I have just been trying to explain. One of the paving movements to bring about that change, if it is desired, is to provide the right to be able to resign from, to cease membership of, a union in an agency shop or a union shop situation. This is really vital, and, therefore, this is one of the essential rights, if one is to have change of the bargaining agent.

Mr. John D. Grant (Islington, East)

Will the right hon. Gentleman not agree that he has given an extraordinary definition of industrial democracy? I do not think anybody on either side of British industry would recognise it from what he has said about it.

Mr. Carr

Establishments on both sides of British industry may not at the moment altogether agree with it, but that does not necessarily make it wrong, because establishments in industry have not in the past always been right.

Going round industry as I have done a lot in recent years, I have found that a good many people whom I respect, both on the union side and on the personnel management side, believe that there is a great deal of truth in what I am saying, and that we must find ways in which change of the kind that I am talking about can take place through ordered machinery—not too easily, not on a passing phase of discontent, but the possibility for it must be there.

Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)

I have to intervene, because I have a considerable background of educative experience in the whole trade union movement. Does the right hon. Gentleman understand that, apart from the thorough-going closed shop, which is pretty rare in British industry, where management says to a worker on engagement, "You must belong to a union", where there is 100 per cent. unionisation, the normal situation is that there is a voluntary agreement and a worker, if he is courageous enough, can say that he does or does not wish to join a union? The right hon. Gentleman is not adding anything fundamental, or taking anything away. What he is really attacking is the drive for 100 per cent. trade unionism.

Mr. Carr

If the hon. Gentleman believes that, I can only say that I do not.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)


Mr. Carr

I shall not give way any more. I have been very generous in giving way. I am thinking of the rights of other hon. Members. This is a Committee stage, and several hon. Members have the freedom to speak.

Mr. Orme

There is a guillotine.

Mr. Carr

That is the point, and that is why I shall not give way, because the more I do so the less time there is available for other hon. Members.

I agree that it is a delicate, finely balanced matter. I accept, as the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) said in his opening remarks, that we here disagree with Donovan, but I am not sure that it really is for the Front Bench opposite to make the point that Donovan said that this was not necessary. This must be taken in conjunction with a number of his other recommendations, one of which was that there should be the right of appeal by a union to an independent board. That provision was in the right hon. Lady's document "In Place of Strife". It was not, however, in her Bill, and we were told that the other provisions in "In Place of Strife" had been buried. Now that they have cut out the other provisions, they cannot rest on Donovan.

I cannot accept the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), but I have some sympathy for what I might loosely call the Equity case. I believe that this can be better debated on a later group of Amendments, which I shall try to do.

I return to the point made by my hon. Friends the Members for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott), Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) and Heston and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) in their speeches and in their Amendment. They mentioned the basic freedom laid down in the Declaration of Human Rights, which we all accept, but they all point out that in the Clause as it stands the right to join and the right not to join are put on an equal footing, and they say that I should in some way tilt the balance so that the right to join is stronger than the right not to join.

My hon. Friends suggest some words for that purpose. I have to say that I cannot accept their words as they stand. I have some sympathy with the point they are making, but my difficulty is that I believe that what I was saying about the ordered mechanism for change involves the right to be able to leave a union. There is a conflict here, and it is not going to be easy to see how one maintains the principle which I believe is so important, while at the same time accepting words such as those suggested by my hon. Friends. All I can say is that I shall look at this further, very sympathetically, with the object of trying to meet the point they have in mind, but saying also, quite frankly, that it may be difficult, and I therefore may not succeed.

I leave my hon. Friends with the thought that possibly the Amendment which was not called, the Amendment which would lay down the right of the employer to persuade and encourage employees to join a union, might possibly be at least as effective a way of achieving their object, without some of the difficulties presented by the words they have suggested. One way or another I shall seek to meet their point.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

On a point of order. Will it be in order for the right hon. Gentleman to give the very full reply that I am sure he wishes to give on the Motion already referred to by myself, in the course of this debate—

The Deputy Chairman (Miss Harvie Anderson)

The Chair is not in a position to give a reply on that point; nor is it a point of order.

Mr. Jenkins

I have not finished. I was going to ask you whether it would be in order for the Minister to reply to Motions moved in this debate when he speaks—as he said he will—to a later debate. If that will be in order it is satisfactory, but if it will not, I ask the Minister to reply now.

The Deputy Chairman

I have already said that that is not a point of order. The Minister has made plain his intentions.

[Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]

9.45 p.m.

Mr. Walden

Nobody who listened to the right hon. Gentleman would doubt-as I have never doubted—his fundamental good will when he dicusses these issues. Equally, nobody would doubt the extreme level of abstraction at which he is now discussing deeply practical matters. We have never had it made as clear as it has been made tonight how abstract these arguments are.

I want to give one illustration, which I shall ask hon. Members opposite to consider so that they can judge whether I am right. Before the Minister made his speech, did many hon. Members opposite imagine that the Conservative Party would have the definition of industrial democracy that the right hon. Gentleman produced at the Dispatch Box? I am not arguing whether it is good or bad —I am asking hon. Members opposite whether they seriously believe that it is the case that before this evening many of them thought that there would be an implied criticism of the industrial establishment on both sides, and that one of the major recommendations for getting rid of closed shops, or 100 per cent. union membership, would be that trade unionists could switch from unions that had arrived at agreements with employers to unions that had not arrived at agreements with their employers, so as to get a better deal.

Are hon. Members opposite seriously going to tell me that those were the arguments that they put forward in June, to the electorate? Similarly, imagine the confusion involved in the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he has to do this because it is a principle—because it relates not to Trotskyism, "which I do not understand", says he—

Mr. James Tinn (Cleveland)

On a point of order. The Minister sat down so abruptly that I thought that my hon. Friend was making an intervention in his speech. I had wished to raise a point of order. A very important part of the Minister's reply dealt with subsection (l)(a)—the right to change from one union to another. I am seeking to safeguard the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. Many of my hon. Friends will refrain from raising the points referred to by the Minister if we are allowed to take them up in the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill, but we do not want to find that when we reach that stage the Chair rules that there has already been sufficient discussion of these important points.

The Chairman

These points can be raised in the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. The Minister is entitled to make his speech in his own way. There is no particular point of order for me.

Mr. Walden

I must tell the House that my hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland (Mr. Tinn) and I share the same secretary. He is a very old friend of mine.

The point that I wanted to make was that the real confusion in the right hon. Gentleman's mind comes about when he says that he has here what he regards as an essential principle of his political ideology. He says he knows nothing about Trotskyism. I think that he is unduly modest, incidentally. I think that he knows more about Trotskyism, at least at second hand, than he would suppose. My hon. Friend who said that there was a definite Trotskyite element in his speech was right. We do not say that he is a Trotskyist, but I think that he has absorbed some of their sillier arguments, rather unthinkingly.

He says that he has a great principle. But he started his speech, astonishingly, by saying, of this great principle, that of course, a few years ago, we would not have bothered. In those days, the social situation would have been such that this would not have been necessary. Mind you, Tories never put a date on it. I am never sure whether "those days" were 1935 or 1905. It is just that there was some period in the past when the closed shop, the right hon. Gentleman said, was perfectly reasonable, and that if we balanced one thing against another, we would take the closed shop.

But now, we are told, we have evolved to a position in society in which not only shall we have a touch of Tory-style Trotskyism in terms of industrial bargaining but it is now advisable to allow the principle behind the closed shop to fall and to allow the principle of individualism in regard to non-union membership to come to the top.

I would only ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at that again, and to look at the very odd use of the word "principle". I think that he will see what I mean when I say that the argument that he has put, either consciously or unconsciously, is becoming more and more an abstraction, less and less in touch with the sort of questions which my hon. Friends are asking.

He uses the word "principle" because he does not want to answer, quite understandably, some of the very detailed points put to him, but in using the word in that sense, he is starting to confuse himself. It is not a shining principle of Toryism that they should choose to do something in 1971 which would, on the whole, by and large, taking the broad with the short, not have been very advisable in 1961. It is that sort of argument from the Government Front Bench which alarms me practically.

I came into this debate—this is the first time, and it will be the last time that I shall speak in the Committee stage: I can promise my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) that, unlike some of his members, this is definitely a final, farewell performance— for one reason only. I had already said to some of my hon. Friends that I wanted desperately to speak on this Amendment. Let me be clear, because we have a grouping here, that I am talking about Amendment No. 418. I want paragraph (b) taken out in toto.

Because the House wants no weasel words, I mean that I am standing up to defend the operation of the closed shop. I know that there is a difficulty, as my hon. Friends do, about the use of the words "closed shop" and "100 per cent. union membership", but I am taking it fairly freely. Of course I am not saying— hon. Gentlemen opposite will understand this—that I want the closed shop enshrined in national law. What I am saying is that I do not want anything that prohibits it enshrined in law.

The reason that I am making this speech and keeping out people like my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson), whom we like to hear— it is accepted throughout the House that the House respects people with practical experience of these things, and the best speeches come from such people, as with the brilliant speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) and the speeches of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Frederick Lee) and others—is that this is something of which I have practical experience.

I went to the United States and saw— indeed, if I had stayed in honest employment I would have written about—the operation of the closed shop and the right-to-work laws of the United States. My old friend and pair the Solicitor-General peregrinated around that country and came back not only with this but with many of the other fancy franchises which we find in the Bill.

Though, as my hon. Friends know, I love the United States dearly, I want to know why it is that we choose to take examples like this from a country which is notorious for its rate of strikes, its union corruption, the viciousness of its labour wars and the general malpractices which exist in its industry. As this principle is the whole pith of right-to-work legislation in America, and hon. Gentlemen opposite are always busily telling us that we do not do things which other countries do and that we should learn from them, it is important to know why the Secretary of State has picked on this principle.

I wish to comment not on the principle of the closed shop—though I shall have something to say about that later—but about the closed shop in practice. What is this right-to-work legislation? It is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman has decided is going on under the provision in subsection (l)(b). Although there is a good deal that we could say about the agency shop and the fragmentary effect which will result, the fact remains that subsection (l)(b) allows a man not to join a union.

The A. F. of L.—C.I.O. has spent more millions of dollars than my hon. Friends will ever see getting over the concept of the right-to-work legislation in industrial States in America. It has been doing this because the operation of right-to-work laws has been observed in other States; broadly those States in the East and mid-West. They have been applied in the West, except, of course, in California, and these laws have also gone through in the South, which is perhaps ominous.

We know how people south of the Mason-Dixon line feel about individual liberty and the freedom of the subject. We also know why these are the States with right-to-work laws. The right hon. Gentleman was wrong when he said in reply to an intervention from one of my hon. Friends that there was no evidence one way or the other about this. There is, and if he had looked into this matter he would have found it. From the first time that figures were available about States in America where right-to-work laws were operating, it was found that after those laws were passed, union membership fell and did not recover proportionately in those States.

Much of the trouble is that the world about which we hear from the right hon. Gentleman does not approximate to the real world in which we live. If one goes to, for example, Alabama, one sees how they go about introducing right-to-work laws. Those in command say, "We can bring in some money, and a new factory, but the trouble is that they do not want to bring the factory down from Philadelphia. But we know you could do with the factory and the extra money which it would bring here in Alabama. If we go to a lot of trouble, we think we could get that factory for you. Under the right-to-work law, you will have the right not to belong to a trade union. We feel that if you want this little town in Alabama to boom and prosper, the best thing you can do, for the sake of all concerned, is to accept this law because those we represent do not want any union trouble."

I suppose that before this week most hon. Gentlemen opposite would have said that that sort of thing could never happen here in Britain. It can. They would probably have said that the double wage packet—the "kick-back payment" to prevent people joining the union—could never arise here. It is happening on construction sites in Britain.

Moreover, if non-unionism of this kind is allowed—this is a point which my hon. Friends have kept putting to the Government but which we cannot seem to get through to hon. Gentlemen opposite, primarily because my hon. Friends talk of practice while the Secretary of State talks only of so-called principle—all sorts of other difficulties arise. They are not worried about Jehovah's Witnesses or the son of the local Conservative agent who feels that, for political reasons, he cannot join the union. They are worried about the "freeloaders" and the general climate of opinion which will exist if one equates non-unionism with trade unionism.

It is difficult for people who work in professional jobs, as I have always done, to understand people like my father, who always worked in manual jobs. The real differences are psychological. A large number of working-class people are held to their opinions by psychological environment.

What the right hon. Gentleman will do —I am sure unwittingly—by this provision in the name of principle, and by giving to a man who has sincere religious convictions the right to stand out from union membership, is to encourage the very worst British employers to create in their firms the sort of climate which makes it difficult for one to exercise one's rights. That is what the hon. Gentleman never talks about.

Of course, if a man is black in Alabama he can join a union. There is no State law that says he cannot; there is no Federal law that says he cannot. Why is it, then, that many do not? First of all, to be an A.F. of L.—C.I.O. organiser in the South is to put one's life in danger. A negro in Mississippi just does not exercise that right to join a trade union. I am not worried about Metrovickers or Longbridge, Birmingham, but I am worried about some of the small factories where this Clause will create a climate of opinion which prohibits people from joining.

10.0 p.m.

Moreover—and this comes from American experience, too—one of the facts about trade unionism in every Western country is that a great deal of the membership—and by "a great deal" I mean anything up to 15 per cent. or 20 per cent.—is of a passive type. It exists because of a climate of opinion. In every Western country the most passive section of the membership—and I do not criticise them as such—are women. If this Bill is passed in its present form, trade union organisers will talk themselves blue in the face, but a very large number of women will become "nons" and will simply go out of the union. We only have to look at the Post Office now to see that situation.

It is all very well for hon. Members opposite, who would welcome such a situation. We understand them very well. What we do not understand are the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott) and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, who tell us quite sincerely that they want stronger unions. If they want stronger unions they cannot keep subsection (5)(b) in the Bill. That paragraph is a recipe for extending the right of the "freeloader", of all the people who do not wish to join a union, to stay out, because it creates a climate in which they can do so.

I have listened to these debates, and I have read them. I have tried to understand why it is that people of good will —as I think most hon. Members on both sides are: just as I think, thank God, that most men in British politics are moderates—do not seem able to have a meaningful dialogue. I think that it has a good deal to do with class. I do not say that because I want to stir up—that is the very thing I do not want to do, though this Bill will do it. This Measure has touched pools of class consciousness which will become obvious to hon. Members opposite in the next few years.

It is very difficult for people with a certain background, with a certain temperamental inclination, with a certain view, for instance, of patriotism and of the courts, who have a certain view of responsibility and of duty, people with a background that has been not only in their own lives but in their training basically individualistic, to grasp how much so many of us on this side are shaped by a different set of values; no better, no worse—just different.

They are collective values. They are values very well understood. Indeed, the whole reason why the Labour Party exists is that we were able to stand together as a group when we were anonymous. There are very few of us here today with any name or reputation who would be here were it not for the fact that millions of anonymous people stood together.

I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to have any doubt at all that in any judgment this is a part of the Bill which the trade unions will never accept. Any chance he has of moderation from the other side will be dead if he attacks what the unions regard as their most fundamental and sacred right, and the eventual end of all that will be what I fear most; that by the time we have gone through this whole performnce there will be no moderates left.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

I hope that I do not sound in the least bit condescending in saying that many of us recognise that we have heard a brilliant tour de force by the hon. Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. Brian Walden). I, as a new Member, have not had the pleasure of hearing the hon. Gentleman speak before. I certainly enjoyed every minute of his speech, although I regretted what I thought were one or two lapses of logic at certain moments.

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman was present at the time, but a number of the questions which he posed have in fact been answered by hon. Members opposite. The hon. Gentleman asked when the Tory Party chose the date, and suggested that it always put the date back. The right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) covered that point. The right hon. Gentleman said that when he went into the Morris-Cowley works in 1926 he was the only man employed there who held a union card and that he was ashamed, or did not think it advisable, to mention it.

Mr. C. Pannell

I said that I dared not disclose it.

Mr. King

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman.

Now we see how the situation has changed; how much the power has moved to the other side.

I feel at a great disadvantage in discussing this proposal—a feeling which I know is shared by many right hon. and hon. Members opposite. I feel that I have been a little too close to the front line and a little too used to the present situation to find it as easy as other hon. Members, who have perhaps stood back a little, to see the implications which are envisaged in what we recognise is a major change in the legislation governing industrial relations.

The hon. Member for All Saints, by his own admission, will not understand my speech, because I strongly support the Amendment put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott). I support union membership. During the period which I spent in industry most of my problems were caused by weak unionism, badly organised unionism, and not having somebody across the table with whom I could deal who could really deliver the goods in any face-to-face negotiation.

I recognise the importance of strong union membership. I support my hon. Friend's effort to try to balance the Bill and to make clear that the Government wish to encourage union membership; that it is not an equal right both to join and not to join, but that the encouragement and emphasis must be on being a member of a union, and that it is the act of a good citizen to join and to play his part in his union.

Like many other hon. Members, I know that there is no more pathetic sight than four or five members at a chapel or branch meeting taking no interest in decisions which may vitally affect their position and security.

In encouraging stronger unions, my right hon. Friend has said that we must look at other areas in the Bill. One very important element which we still have to discuss, which is not clearly specified in the Bill, is what the agency shop contribution level for non-union members will be. My right hon. Friend has specified that it will be not more than the normal union subscription. I sincerely trust that it will be not less, and that there is no artificial inducement of a cheap ride to encourage any drift away from union membership.

The speech of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) was unduly pessimistic. He was unfair to the trade union movement in laying too great emphasis on the need for a compulsive sanction to maintain union membership. These new legislative proposals will mean a change of emphasis by unions, in that they may have to sell their services and make a more aggressive presentation of the opportunities and the rights that their members will enjoy. But, if unionism is to flourish, it must be on the basis of encouraging voluntary union membership, with the unions recognising that they have to sell their services, and not upon the basis of compulsive sanction.

The point on which I feel that the hon. Member for All Saints was at his weakest was on what I might call the "Pilking-ton" situation. My right hon. Friend talked about providing the opportunity for change. He was not recommending that people should drop out one week and drop in again the next week. He clarified what he meant by saying that there must be built into the system the opportunity for change. Speaking from an industry which has operated a pre-entry closed shop, I recognise the real difficulties which this imposes. If an employee feels out of sorts with his foreman, his manager or his company, he can leave and seek employment elsewhere. If an elderly craftsmen falls out with his union he cannot go anywhere else; without his card he cannot practise his trade.

Against this background, where there is a group that has an increasing awareness that it is not being adequately represented, one recognises the need for some opportunity for change. Is the hon. Member for All Saints saying that there shall never be the opportunity for change, that the present union structure shall be permanently frozen in the status quo, or is he saying, as my right hon. Friend is saying, that we cannot tolerate a situation in which there is no possibility of orderly change and that in the ultimate there must be built into the system some facility for orderly change?

Mr. Prescott

I wish to speak to Amendment No. 502 in the name of my hon. Friends and myself. It is a little difficult to follow the brilliant speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. Walden). It is a reflection on the guillotine system that it denies us the opportunity of listening to such brilliant speeches on other Clauses.

There has been considerable debate on whether the right to join and the right not to join are equal rights. Several hon. Members on the Government backbenches have attempted to deal with this problem more honestly than did the Secretary of State. He has offered to sum up and answer the points raised and I hope that he will answer some of the strong points made by the hon. Member for All Saints.

The rôle of trade union recognition within the place of work is seriously under-estimated when we talk about the principle or belonging or not belonging to a union. Although I was a seaman, and I have been an official of the National Union of Seamen, I was for a short time an official of a large union, and my job was to try to introduce union organisation in small firms, particularly those in which a large proportion of female labour was employed. One of the difficulties in securing union recognition—this is a common experience—is that the few who do not want to belong to a union actively conduct a campaign to prevent others joining, and they do it in a way which it is difficult to demonstrate as an unfair practice.

10.15 p.m.

In my view, much of the talk about the right to belong or not to belong to a trade union does not give proper weight to the collective right of people to belong to a trade union, the collective right to organise and to work for the aims of British trade unionism.

We have heard a good deal from the Government benches about the right to work, which, so it is said, is the main principle here, but I find that hard to reconcile with the fact that there are now 700,000 unemployed. More importantly, trade unionism is not just about the right to work; it is about fighting for good conditions and terms of work. A slave or a poor man in the Southern States of America might have had the right to work. Trade unionism is also about the terms and conditions of work.

Apart from the point that the Clause is designed largely to exclude seamen, there is a solid case for saying that it should be deleted altogether, yet it seems that the Government intend to keep it as a fundamental provision which challenges the whole role of trade unionism. My difficulty is that few people are well informed about shipping and seafaring, and I have little time to explain the case. I shall do my best to explain, first, the nature of the problem, and then why the Bill will make it much more difficult for trade unionism to develop, addressing myself in particular to the practicalities of the shipping industry and the position of seamen under the Bill. As a seafaring man, I regard it as my task to impart to the Committee what knowledge and experience I have.

As a seaman, I have been fined under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts, for disobeying an order but in fact for engaging in what would in ordinary circumstances be regarded as an industrial dispute. These fines which have been imposed upon me, not by the courts but by the employer—in my case the captain—foreshadow, I believe, what will eventually begin to come in when the Bill is seen to fail, as I am sure it will. The next step will be not to remove the Bill from the Statute Book and accept its failure but to move to the next stage and increase the deterrent. I warn the Government that they are on the slippery slope and, in moving along these lines, they will find that the tendency will be to go further. In my experience, I have, so to speak, been in 1984 and been subject to fines and disciplinary labour laws such as the various provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts.

The justification constantly flaunted by hon. Members opposite is that they are doing what public opinion demands. We strongly contest that, and not only on the question whether it was a part of the Tory manifesto at the General Election. The question of hanging is another example in respect of which there might, perhaps, be a majority point of view but the facts are against it. Moreover, I cannot help remembering that a great deal was done in Fascist Germany in the name of public opinion, but that did not justify it in those times, either.

I hope that my points, based as they are on personal experience, will not be considered nit-picking, which was the charge made against a number of my hon. Friends when they were attempting to make valid contributions to earlier debates.

In my Amendments, it is necessary for me to justify denying the right not to belong to a union. If this Clause gives the right to a man not to join a union, it is incumbent upon me to show that it is justifiable to deny that right to seamen. It is required for effective trade unionism, especially in my industry where it is necessary to maintain a form of closed shop.

I appreciate that this is not a debate on the closed shop. However, by implication, the right not to belong to a trade union is a denial of the closed shop principle. In my industry, we have a pre-entry closed shop. The Donovan Committee criticised the system, and in some measure those criticisms were taken up in "In Place of Strife". It was hoped that those who had complaints against injustices perpetrated by the system would have a right of appeal. The Donovan Committee said that on balance it was in the interests of the development of trade unionism.

The state of affairs in my industry involves quite different considerations. Normally, a trade union concentrates on improving conditions of work and wages. My union, in addition, has to negotiate such matters as living conditions on board vessels, and it must also concern itself with safety and manning. In these days, we hear a great deal about collisions at sea. I attribute the vast majority of them to the poor seamanship of the men who sail in flags of convenience vessels. The union also stands for stable employment in an industry where casual labour is almost essential to keep the industry going. We have to provide some form of representation for men who may find themselves involved in disputes anywhere in the world. Frequently, a dispute arises between a man and his employer, in this case, the captain, on which our member needs advice. Our shipboard representation system is designed to give that advice. We cannot guarantee to provide those services without effective trade union control of the labour supply.

The Rochdale Committee and the Pearson Inquiry, both dealing with the shipping industry, concluded that it was essential to retain these objectives and for the trade union concerned, the National Union of Seamen, to maintain its position of strength.

The nature of my industry is such that it is international: it has 400 companies and thousands of ships of varying sizes all round the world. It is difficult to control. It is not like a factory gate where one can turn up at night to deal with a problem that has arisen in the day. The ship concerned may be in Australia. As I have said, the industry relies on casual labour. About every five years, 80 per cent. of the labour force leaves the industry. The pressure on a man from the wife who wants her husband to stay at home, and the lure of an industrial job to a younger man are easy to understand. Such matters prevent real difficulty for trade union organisation and for the development of the trade union spirit which is essential in the industry.

The fact that our members are on board ships makes it extremely difficult to develop any form of trade union control. We are also faced with an international labour supply. Many shipowners find their labour in Asiatic countries. We are faced with even greater difficulties if we do not have control of the labour force and we try to do something about this problem.

The Bill is concerned only with protecting non-trade unionists. What will happen, I am sure, is that employers will suggest to their foreign workers that they should become trade unionists, and the result will be that it will be illegal for us to try to do anything about these problems.

As a trade union organisation, we have representatives in Australia, America and every port in this country. That is an expensive proposition for a union. We need some form of finance and stability in order to maintain a stable trade union structure in this industry.

I make these points to show how the Bill is on the way to destroying my trade union within 12 months of becoming law. We have heard a lot about the defence of trade unionism. Despite their past, hon. Members opposite still say that they stand for the strength of the trade union movement. They may hide behind their platitudes but the fact remains that we can demonstrate that, by this Clause, the Government will effectively destroy trade unionism in seafaring.

It is only fair to admit that I am arguing the case that we are different from other industrial workers. But it is true. That is not only my point of view. It was that of the Conservative Government in 1963 and has been held by all Governments since then. The Contracts of Employment Act, 1963—a useless Measure—exempted seamen, for example. But this differentiation of treatment is to be seen not only there but also in the Redundancy Act, the Race Relations Act, the Homosexuality Act and some of the Health Acts and, of course, the Merchant Shipping Act. They all exempted seamen from rights given to other trade unionists. There are hon. Members opposite present who will remember the passage of the Merchant Shipping Act through this House. It was conducted primarily on the argument that seamen are different and that we must accept penal Clauses and other provisions dealing with the conditions of service— for example, when a man is discharged abroad.

Mr. John Page


Mr. Prescott

I do not want to give way because of the time.

There is thus ample precedent in the legislation by Governments of all parties for saying that seamen are different, and in the light of that case many injustices nave been perpetrated on the seamen, who have thus been left behind by many other workers on shore in relation to standards and conditions of work. These Precedents have been established for so long that a number of problems have been created.

For example, seamen are exempt from the we Race Relations Act. This means, taking into account also the effect of this Bill, that if a man joins a ship and is a non-trade unionist and the men say, "We will not work with you because you are not in the union", that will be an unfair industrial practice. But if he is a black non-trade unionist and his fellow seamen say, "We will not work with you not because you are a non-trade unionist but because you are a black man", that will be all right, and will be allowed to happen because they are exempt from the Race Relations Act.

In the Contracts of Employment Act certain rights were given to workers, such as extending the period of notice. Seamen already have to give 48 hours' notice under their articles and do not have to give a reason for leaving the ship. That is why the provision about unfair dismissal is useless. There is a two-year penalty clause on it and our agreements are for far less than that. All the captain has to do is to give 48 hours' notice. As we are exempt from the Act, the right of unfair dismissal in this Bill is meaningless.

Another aspect is the attachment of wages. I have heard it said that men will not be sent to goal because there will be attachment of wages in cases where damages are found against them. Apart from the fact that many people are already in gaol for non-payment of debts, seamen are exempt from the provisions for the attachment of wages, although they could be sent to gaol for refusing to pay a fine. They are exempt from those provisions for the very good reason that the wages of seamen accumulate when they are abroad for long periods at a time and it was thought that it was only fair to exempt them in that way. But the seaman will still have to pay a fine or go to prison for not doing so, and so either way the good old seaman will get a belting.

10.30 p.m.

One of the major difficulties of organisation of the National Union of Seamen arises because ships are abroad for so long. It has been argued that the agency shop would be an alternative, but how are seamen to be balloted for their views about an agency shop agreement when they are spread all over the world? How would a ballot be conducted in an emergency or a strike? Would it be only those men who were ashore who would be balloted, or would there have to be a delay, so that men might be disenfranchised for four months while every seaman was contacted? It is impossible to operate such a provision and, although it might be argued that this could be a matter for the Commission for Industrial Relations, that would be merely passing the buck and would not be satisfactory.

The Bill calls for a cooling-off period, but how could seamen have a cooling-off period of 60 days if a vessel were about to leave port? On the other hand, if a seaman were ordered to go back to the ship pending the cooling-off period, it might mean that he was joining a ship for two years. He might say that as the ship would be away for two years and not for 60 days, he would not sail in it, but if he did that he would put himself in jeopardy.

What would be his position with a sympathy strike? It is essential for seamen to maintain some sort of international solidarity, not only national solidarity. We need a strong trade union structure for that. There are ships such as the Liberian ships which make it extremely difficult for the union and which have much lower standards. It is difficult for the union to tackle the problems which arise on ships sailing from countries with lower standards. A sympathy strike in the conditions laid down by the Bill would be considered unfair practice.

The Merchant Shipping Acts make disobeying an order a criminal offence— almost anything the seaman does is a criminal offence. In some circumstances, he could be taken to court and fined on a criminal charge and then face an action for damages under this Bill.

The agency shop system and laws similar to those of the Bill are operated in the United States and in Australia, but it must be remembered that in those countries there are union hiring laws which impose control on the labour supply and it must not be forgotten that that sort of arrangement is maintained by violence which has been a large part of the trade union scene in America and has not been so in this country.

The Bill, should it become law, will mean especial difficulties for seamen. It will deny him the rights which a trade union is designed to fight to obtain for him. It will increase the number of those who do not want to belong to a trade union because they will be able to stay on vessels and it will be difficult to contact these vessels, some of which can be in and out of port in a few hours.

The Bill will effectively destroy the National Union of Seamen. It is designed not only to cripple the trade union movement but to crush it wherever possible. It may be difficult for the Government to accept that this will always happen ashore, but I assure them that it will certainly destroy trade unionism in the shipping industry. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nonsense."] That may be the point of view of the hon. Member but in his earlier contribution he did not show that he knew much about shore trade unionism and he probably knows much less about shipping trade unionism.

The seamen have their hands on the jugular vein of the country. The life-blood of the country is under their control. I want to point out the disruption that could be caused, with the development of company unions and multi-trade-unionism. There will be a bitterness which will lead to dispute. The dispute of 1966 showed that the industry was a vital part of the economy. With our background of trade unionism we shall not lie down and accept this legislation which will effectively destroy all that which has taken so long to build up and to which we firmly adhere and believe in.

Mr. Patrick Wolrige-Gordon (Aberdeenshire, East)

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) has certainly exemplified very well the large variety of cases which should be considered and which are affected by this legislation. I do not want to follow him in what he has said, although I have a considerable sympathy with the case deployed by the Opposition on the closed shop or the 100 per cent. shop. I accept that there have been, and probably will be, abuses of the power of the closed shop and that they have provided some of the "steam" behind the speeches of my hon. Friends tonight. There has been abuse of many things throughout the years, but that does not mean that those things are wrong. Rather it means that the men who abuse these things are wrong and it is upon them that we want the power and authority of the law to bear. It is upon those who abuse the power of the closed shop that the law must operate.

There is strong feeling on this side of the Committee about the freedom of the individual, and my right hon. Friend made that one of the two main arguments in his case against the Opposition Amendments. I cannot see that it is an undue interference with the freedom of the individual if he knows that, should he go to work in a certain place, he will have to join a union. That is something that happens to most of us. Even if we become M.P.s we know there are rules connected with the House which could be said to interfere with our freedom as individuals but which we have to accept if we are to work here.

There can be a much more difficult situation for a man or woman who has worked all of his or her life in a factory and finds that he is suddenly required to join a union when he has strong feelings about doing so. Trade unionists are not inevitably bound to be malevolent about this, and we have had many speeches about the degree of freedom of conscience allowed in such a situation. If there is abuse in such a case then we have the legal structure in the Bill.

The truth is that, obviously, individual freedom can always and will always be strengthened at the expense of collective association, and that dividing line is a very difficult one. It is a question of judgment and a very finely based judgment. Freedom is a qualified matter. The example was given today of companies which operate pension schemes, and of how a worker has to join a company pension scheme. In a sense, that is an infringement of his liberty, if he feels that it would be wiser for him not to contribute to a company's pension scheme. Equally, a man may feel that his money might be more usefully employed than in contributing to a trade union. It is a matter of judgment.

I believe that we on this side of the Committee have to accept that, with the abolition of the closed shop, industrial procedures, some of which have been stable for over fifty years, and have been understood for at least one generation if not two generations, will inevitably be in flux, and no one can know at this stage exactly what the result will be. All of us are aware that there is very great feeling in the country, and I sometimes wonder whether we should not be advised to try to meet some of the very genuine and, I think, well-founded fears on the part of responsible trade unionists and responsible managements on this point, and whether we should not see whether there are some ways in which we could meet the point about the 100 per cent. shop or even the closed shop in certain circumstances.

Mr. John Mendelson

The Secretary of State will probably, when he replies to the debate further, move a little from general philosophy on to the main Amendment moved on behalf of the Opposition. Although, of course, he mentioned it, he did not pay as much attention to it as he did to the other Amendments when he intervened earlier, and he did not pay as much attention to it as I had expected him to do. After all the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that throughout the country there is more anxiety about and concentration upon this Clause and this principle we are discussing than about any other part of the Bill.

I am not very much concerned with the various United Nations and other charters which have been mentioned, and I do not believe that it is of the greatest importance that we should find that we might be in some way not in tune with some declaration or other. What is far more important, and what is being discussed far more up and down the country at trade union meetings and at meetings addressed by M.P.s in their constituencies, is the reality of the situation in the factories and other places of work.

The right hon. Gentleman, throughout these debates, has claimed from time to time that in effect the solid core of the trade union movement, and many of the trade union leaders, agree with him and are in support of the principles of this Bill. Here is the opportunity, by reference to this Clause, and by reference to this principle, for the Secretary of State to make good his claim, and to produce any evidence whatsoever, from the most solid and respectable trade union circles, of anyone, a general secretary or president of a union, or of local branch members, or a miners' lodge, or of steel workers, expressing understanding of, let alone support for, this Clause, which is known up and down the country as a blacklegs' charter. That is the way it is being referred to at branch meetings and lodge meetings throughout my constituency and throughout the constituencies of many other Members on both sides of this Committee.

10.45 p.m.

From where does the right hon. Gentleman get his information that there is so much solid support for what he is trying to do in the Bill? There is no such support. Perhaps I might give the Committee one example to support what I am saying. The steelworkers union has a large membership in my constituency, because there is there a major steelworks which supplies most of the special steels for the South Yorkshire area, and that means that it supplies a great deal of the special steels used in the United Kingdom.

At a meeting which I attended a few days ago branch secretaries and senior officers of the union expressed the greatest possible concern about this Clause. They are tolerant men. They have plenty of experience of dealing with people who might be thought to have an odd point of view. They are not the kind of men who tell someone with an odd point of view that he must do this, or that he must do that. It is a travesty of the real position in the United Kingdom to assume that they do not know how to deal with what might be regarded as difficult cases.

A great deal of the misunderstanding about the way in which these senior officials handle the problems with which they are confronted is the result of stories put out by the Press. Almost without exception the Press pick on someone with an odd point of view and make him the hero of an article on how badly trade union officials deal with men who do not want to belong to a union. The story they put out, which usually includes a picture of the man concerned, is not representative of reality at all.

I am not challenging hon. Gentlemen opposite in bulk. I am not saying that all of them do not understand the realities of the situation. After all, many of them are employers. Whatever may be the difference of approach in philosophy and upbringing, there is a point at which the real work is done, and many hon. Gentlemen opposite have an interest in industry and in manufacturing. I repeat that I am not challenging them in bulk with having no knowledge of the realities of British industrial life.

The reality of the situation is not that somebody with an odd point of view is immediately set upon. On the contrary, branch secretaries are men of great experience. In solidly-established unions such as those of the steel workers, miners, engineers and others, where membership is as near 100 per cent. as it can be, the union officials know the value of the human touch. They know, without too much difficulty, whether people are trying deliberately to wreck the union, or whether they are merely people with an odd point of view.

The moral and ethical case for which the United Nations Charter and other documents have been referred to by hon. Gentleman opposite falls to the ground when tested against the reality of our industrial situation. People with an odd point of view are not hounded out of the factory. They are looked upon with a certain amount of amused tolerance. I think that to say that is to describe the situation much more accurately than we have heard it put by hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The question then arises, where does the other part of the ethical and moral principle arise? Where is the evidence for it? Most of the stories written by reputable industrial writers about what happens in industry arise during a strike situation, and not during normal conditions. It is quite easy, in the middle of a fight—it does not matter whether one agrees with the purpose of the fight or not—for someone to say that he is resigning from the union and is going to work the next day. Such people are made heroes in the national Press.

How would the members of a regiment or a company, or a battalion feel if, the moment a battle was about to begin, one of their number said that he was going to resign and refuse to do what the rest of his "union" was going to do? Occasionally such a man is made out by the national Press to be a hero. One would not be surprised to learn that the men from his unit were angry with him. Nor would one be surprised if they informed other units in other parts of the country that so-and-so was a blackleg, because that is what he would be.

I cannot understand the right hon. Gentlemen's reasons for trying to make a moral point. What he has said does not fit in with reality. One is therefore driven to assume that, because of a combination of circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman, who, after all, has under his umbrella all the functions of the old Ministry of Labour, has had to agree with Tory lawyers and those who have studied the situation in the United States, and have come back so enthusiastic about it, that this Clause should be included in the Bill.

I am driven to the conclusion that the combination of reasons were these: that the Conservative Party—which is not the only one that finds itself in this situation—had created a wave of criticism and suspicion about our trade unions. At annual conference after annual conference of the Conservative Party one had only to go to the rostrum and tear into shop stewards and attack the irresponsibility of the trade unionists and the cheers were there. Hon. Members opposite have created a wave of suspicion against the trade union movement and against trade unionists, and they are now driven to pretend that the Bill will do something about the most serious of the strikes when every informed person in Parliament and industry knows that it will not. In exactly the same way they have created the illusion that individual workers suffered many injustices. They wanted to make themselves popular by appearing to be the moral and ethical party that would do something about it.

The second reason that the right hon. Gentleman felt he could not resist was the general feeling among members of his party that labour had become too big. This was the argument that led to the Taft-Hartley Act in the United States, as all my hon. Friends who know about the situation in that country will confirm. If the right hon. Gentleman reads the reports of the debates in the United States—both in Congress and in the national Press—he will find that for years people had said, "Of course, when the unions were small and struggling it was understandable that the law did not want to be too direct in attaching itself to their functions, but now that we have"—a term prevalent in the United States—"big labour as well as big capital, labour is becoming too influential, and we must put it back a bit."

That is the way in which the argument started here. Hon. Members opposite will agree that there has been a tendency for that sort of discussion, and that many hon. Members opposite have contributed to that tendency. The right hon. Gentleman has agreed to this provision against the better judgment of many people in industry who support his political philosophy but who certainly part company from him on this point. Many managers in my area are signing the petition of the T.U.C. against the Bill. Many middle managers are committing their names to the petition.

The right hon. Gentleman knows— because he meets employers—that many senior employers see grave dangers in the precision of this Clause. As one of them put it to a friend of mine the other day, "I can see more half-baked lack of knowledge in this one Clause than I could find in 20 years of industrial experience." That sums up the attitude of many managers.

The right hon. Gentleman's argument will please many of his party, and particularly those who do not know too much about the day-to-day life of real industrial relations and what happens on the job, when people get together to perform the export success that we have had in recent years—those of his Party who have furthered the completely ill-informed and wrong-headed story that this country is ridden by industrial strife. They say that about people who have produced the export successes of recent years and have been responsible for the mounting figures of production. How could they have done so if they were at each other's throats all the time?

Upon this travesty of a description of our industrial position some hon. Members opposite have built completely unfounded prejudices, suggesting that the time has come to weaken the trade union movement. This Clause is the centre of that attempt. I warn the right hon. Gentleman that if he persists in what he is doing and thinks that the two reasons to which I have referred are good enough for having an ill-conceived, unrealistic Clause of this kind, organised labour will give him the answer that such a proposal richly deserves.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

This debate has probably justified, if no other debate on the Bill has done, the bringing of the Committee stage of the Bill on to the Floor of the House. I have sat through most of the debate and I have seldom heard speeches from the other side of the Committee which have been more sincere and more brilliant than we have had this afternoon.

Although I was absent for part of his speech, I would say to the hon. Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. Walden) that it is always a pleasure to listen to him. I thought that he was even more brilliant today than the last time I heard him. At the end of his speech, however, I thought that he made the case for the Bill, and even for the Clause.

The hon. Member told the Committee that the Bill would have no effect except in the climate that it would create, in which case, if that is true, clearly we can proceed with the Bill and the hon. Member and his hon. Friends can create a climate against the Bill which will assist them to recruit for the trade unions, because we believe that the Bill will help the trade unions to recruit and not the reverse.

The truth is that when people are members of trade unions, as the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) has been for many years, still with his trade union card, it is wrong to suggest to this side of the Committee, and it will be impossible to convince people outside the House of Commons, that they will suddenly resign from their trade unions simply because of the Bill. There is nothing in the Clause to suggest that it can provide an argument sufficient to secure wholesale resignations of members of a trade union from among those who have been members for many years. It may mean that, on odd occasions when there is a dispute, there will be resignations, but they will be immaterial.

In my view, the advantage of accepting in the Bill that there should be the right to opt out—as there is the right to join—a trade union will help recruitment, because there has for many years been a feeling among the population that the unions have been seeking to get membership by force. I think that that feeling is wrong, but that is the belief of many people. It has not been assisted by—

Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)


Mr. Lewis

We have heard a lot about lawyers tonight. Let us deal with the trade unions which will be affected by the Clause, and they are not the lawyers.

A great many people believe that there is an attempt to steamroller membership. No assistance has been given to them tonight to disbelieve that or to change their opinion as a result of some of the comments made by hon. Members opposite, who have somewhat exaggerated the case against the Clause. As soon as the people realise that there is a chance to opt out for those who want to do so, this will in itself be a spur to increase trade union membership, because there is always a resistance to join an association if it is being imposed from the top.

Clearly, if in a Bill which deals with industrial relations generally we give the right to organise—what the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose), who quoted, I think, from a United Nations document, called the right to associate—it would be grossly improper if we did not have written into it the right not to associate. The fact that hon. Members opposite wish to force people to join a trade union and not encourage them to opt out of it does not alter the fact that there are many potential members of trade unions or many who are not in unions who believe that there should be a similar right not to associate.

Recruitment to the unions has increased in recent years. It will increase the better for the Bill, although only those who live to see it operate will be convinced of that. Hon. Members opposite have made some impassioned pleas tonight, but I do not believe that they are against this Clause any more than any others in the Bill. In due course, they will express their views just as vehemently on other Clauses.

If the Bill brings about increased recruitment to responsible unions, no-one will be more pleased than hon. Members on this side. We believe that the weakness of industrial relations in recent years has been that the wild boys have had a free ride. The strengthening of recruitment through the Bill will strengthen responsible trade union activity and restrict the irresponsible.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Bruce Douglas-Mann (Kensington, North)

Would the hon. Gentleman explain how a trade union is likely to be able to enforce any penalties against its dissidents in the circumstances after the Bill becomes law, when there will be entrenched protection for the person who is not a union member and who has been expelled from the union, with the result that the union could have no disciplinary powers?

Mr. Lewis

So long as it is registered and its rules are in order, a union will have the protection of the Bill. Those who are not members of unions, or who are members of unions which are not registered and whose rules are not acceptable to the Registrar, will be got at through the civil law. We have always said that the only aim of the Bill is to strengthen responsible activity. One of the great dangers of the speeches of hon. Members opposite and of some trade union leaders is that they will get behind them the extreme elements who will make it difficult for the Bill to operate. This is not in their interests or in the interests of their movement.

Mr. Swain

I will not follow the path which the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) tried to tread. I have the impression that the only reading he has done about the Bill has been in Private Eye.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Oh dear!

Mr. Swain

Will you please shut up?

Sir Harmar Nicholls


Mr. Swain

I have promised the Chair to be brief and although I expect the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) to make his usual remarks while I am speaking, I do not want to be rude to him tonight.

I have never before heard the judge pronounce his verdict before hearing either the defence or prosecution case. At an odd stage in the proceedings, the Minister intervened and advised his hon. Friends to oppose this group of Amendments. He proved that, regardless of detailed arguments for or against, his decisions on this Measure are predetermined.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) on his remarks about the seamen. Compared with the orgational problems which the union faces, those faced by my union are nil. We operate in a highly concentrated industry and, by necessity, as I will show, we must impose a pre-entry closed shop. The N.U.M. functions in an industry which is a perfect example of why the closed shop is beneficial to the masses in general and the individual in particular.

I was surprised at the hypocritical remarks of the Minister about the need to defend the rights of the individual. Who the hell are hon. Gentlemen opposite to speak about defending individual rights? They have been suppressing them for well over a century. We in the Labour Party have constantly defended those rights. [HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it."] My union has done everything possible over the years to defend the individual's rights, just as I have, and I have never been paid for my advocacy. [Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite who have been enjoying the air around the bar in the smoking room will be quiet for a moment, they might learn a thing or two.

Although my union does not have many organisational difficulties, it is surrounded by rules and regulations, probably more so than apply in any other industry. No man can hold an official position at a colliery unless he is qualified to do so according to Home Office standards. This is one of the few industries, as distinct from professions, which necessitates a qualification of this kind.

To be a shot firer or deputy one needs a third-class certificate within the deputies' organisation. We have a closed shop of necessity because of the middle strata between the workman and the higher levels of management. I do not often have a lot to say in favour of colliery managers, but they have done an excellent job in recent years, in co-operating with the trade unions, to improve conditions and productivity in the mines. Again, strictly because their qualification, which is either the second-class or the first-class Home Office certificate, they must operate a closed shop in the interests of the safety and welfare of every man who works either on the surface or in the bowels of the earth. Coming to the lowest—or I should say the highest— level of society, we have the producers, who are organised within the National Union of Mineworkers. It is inevitable that we have a free entry closed shop.

As distinct from most other unions, we have an agreement whereby the trade union contributions are taken out of the men's wages packets.

When a boy, a new entry—"green labour", as we call it—is set on he is interviewed by the training officer, who is part of the management. He is distinct from the National Union of Mineworkers: he is a member of the management organisation, trade union, association or whatever it is called. He advises the boy that it is in his own interest to belong to the trade union, and it must be so. He is acting on behalf of the manager. He is giving the boy sound advice.

He also tells the boy why he should belong to the union, and that is most important. He tells him that in the event of an accident he will be protected at common law by the trade union, as he will be in the event of industrial injury or disease. In the event of, say, discrimination by the manager, which inevitably occurs in all industries from time to time, he will have that protection as an individual. This is vital.

We have had such success in the run down of manpower in the industry from 780,000 to the present under 300,000 without a major stoppage because we operate a free entry closed shop and because consultation always takes place at all levels. This is the fundamental point.

I want now, if I may, to go off somewhat at a tangent to illustrate exactly the opposite practice. We have at present in my constituency a firm called Polar Aerials, which makes television aerials. It employs women mainly. Some sixteen weeks ago some of the woman had a little talk and decided to apply to join the A.E.U.F. Before the girls had a chance to make representations to the management for recognition of their trade union, the eight who had discussed it were told by the management that they were dismissed, not because they were organising a trade union but because the firm intended to run down its labour force and there was no more work for those girls.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can tell me how the Bill will close that loophole. Can he tell me how a firm which employs fewer than 50 people will be prevented from seeking small premises elsewere and transferring lock, stock and barrel because trade union representation has been made and will continue to be made?

11.15 p.m.

That strike is 16 weeks old and in the first week of it I was asked to try to act as a mediator between the trade unions. I have done a lot of mediation. I nearly set up a marriage guidance council. I was asked to act as mediator between the firm and the union and to try to get them round the table. On Friday morning I was discussinig the problems with the ladies involved, on the highway. [Interruption.] I will tell you where you discuss a lot of your problems.

The Deputy Chairman

Order. I have many problems but I do not think the hon. Member means that.

Mr. Swain

I am trying to make a serious argument and I am being prevented by a lot of jackals who are not prepared to listen. Their minds are made up. They have not read the Bill; they are not involved in the Bill and they are acting' in self interest for their own capitalist aims.

Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)


Mr. Swain

I am not giving way. I give way only to people who have knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

I am sure the hon. Member would wish to instruct us in the meaning of this Bill in which he is so expert. Can he tell me how the unfair practice he has just mentioned is not covered by Clause 20(1)?

Mr. Swain

The hon. Member has read it. He has read between the lines, which is important. This situation which I am quoting is not covered by that Clause because the practice I have mentioned, an unfair practice by the employer, finds the loophole by which employers can dodge the ramifications of that Clause. That is unfortunate.

During the discussion between me and the people who were locked out of the factory, the factory van came round the corner and charged straight at us. It knocked me down and knocked me 30 yards. When I questioned the driver he said that the manager had instructed him to knock down anyone who was in the way. [Laughter.] The only reason hon. Members are laughing is that they are too flaming ignorant to do anything else. If hon. Members do not want to be serious I will not be serious, but if they do, I will be serious.

There is a loophole in this Bill for employers and small factories which could exploit the situation in the Bill, apply unfair practices and claim legality for them. This is a vital point. This, as my hon. Friends the Members for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) and Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) have said, is a blacklegs' charter. I will not talk about men coming out on strike, but can any hon. Member imagine the chaos that would be caused in the mining industry to management, production, safety and welfare if a section of the mining community decided to opt out of the union? Look at the benefits they would lose, the sound advice that is given by the leadership—a very informed, educated leadership. My hon. Friend the Member for Penistone was a tutor of our leadership at one time and he was far more informed on this subject than the Minister or anyone on the other side of the Committee that I could select. He was an expert tutor on industrial and organisational practices. That is much to his credit. In fact, I was one of his pupils.

The whole Bill should be chopped. That is the only word we can use. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not spend more than a minute in winding up, because he could have said all that he said last time in less than one minute. He said "No", and it took him a hell of a long time to say it. Apparently he will not accept our Amendments, but we have won every part of the argument tonight, won every phrase of the argument, presented every fact that has been presented. Our case has not been based on hypotheses, as was the Minister's. He will go down in history as a prophet whose prophecies never came true. He prophesied tonight that in years to come we shall have nothing but harmony within the trade union movement, but I say very seriously that the Bill will cause nothing but chaos in the movement. If it causes chaos there, it can only cause chaos in the country and the economy.

Therefore, I beg the Minister to look more seriously than he has yet at the argument adduced by my right hon. and hon. Friends tonight, and to accept them so that we can go on to the next part of the Bill.

Mr. R. Carr

I shall be very brief, because I have promised the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) that I shall sit down again before half-past eleven.

I should particularly like to deal with the point about the shipping industry raised by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott). He gave us an impressive list of the ways in which in other Statutes, in other connections, the shipping industry has been treated differently, has been made an exception. But what I heard tonight did not convince me that it should be treated differently here.

We believe that the position will be protected by the Amendment we propose later to the agency shop agreement, which will allow an agency shop agreement between a union and a number of employers —that is, a federation of employers. So the National Union of Seamen could make an agency shop agreement with the Shipping Federation, and not only with individual shipping companies as the Bill now provides. This would enable the N.U.S. to make the sort of agency agreement that will indeed safeguard its position as well as it is safeguarded now. The agreement would, I imagine, include a term that the employers would use their best endeavours to persuade all employees to join the union. However, the hon. Gentleman and the general secretary of his union are coming to my Department to discuss these matters on Friday morning, and, although he has not convinced me tonight, we shall listen carefully to what they have to say to us on these matters when we meet.

Mr. Prescott

Apart from our other arguments, the agency shop will not work in our case, in any event. The right hon. Gentleman talks about a one-month and a three-month period in which those who do not want to join a union consider their position. In that period, a ship can go to the other side of the world. If an employer wanted to dismiss a man under the terms of an agency agreement, the Merchant Shipping Acts would prevent him. The employer is forced to bring that man back home. The man is transferred to another ship so that he can be brought back, and he does exactly the same thing again.

Mr. Carr

I take that point. I agree that it would be serious for the union if it could not get a tight agency shop agreement. We will look at the matter and see how it can be done.

I come now to the important matter of safety, which is of immense importance, of course, Sometimes it is so important, as in the mining industry, for instance, that regulations have to be laid down by Statute. In other cases where safety arrangements can be dealt with by agreement, it has to lay down the necessary qualifications, and so it should. Very often, the necessary qualifications will go with union membership. But if someone has all the necessary qualifications to do the job, he should not be excluded from the chance to do it merely because, for some reason, he has not and will not become a union member. But certainly attention must be given to the safety angle.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

While the right hon. Gentleman has replied, albeit inadequately, to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull (Mr. Prescott) and others of my hon. Friends, he has made no reply to my Amendments Nos. 442 and 443. Am I to take it that the lack of any reply means that both will be supported by all members of the Committee?

Mr. Carr

I have already said that we cannot accept them. The 5 per cent. unemployment criterion is not a good one. It can vary from one part of the country to another. It is too unstable a criterion. The hon. Gentleman's second Amendment, which lays down an average length of employment of less than two years, is too wide to be acceptable. The average length of employment in many occupations would satisfy that criterion and would allow the legality of a closed shop far too frequently. However, there is a genuine problem in what might be loosely termed the Equity area of employment, but we shall be debating that later. We will look for solutions, though they may be difficult.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. Walden) made a brilliant and persuasive speech, but I am afraid that he did not persuade me. I understand the feeling to which he referred. It is difficult to understand, but it is inherent. However, I believe that the principle that we are putting forward may give rise to equally important feelings among white collar workers—just as important as the feeling to which he has referred.

I cannot accept these Amendments. But I want to give more emphasis to the right and need to join a union and the benefits which flow from that to the community, to industry and to the people concerned than to the right and opportunity not to join, important though that is. I have taken the points, and I will look at them, though hon. Gentlemen must bear in mind some of the difficulties to which I have referred.

11.30 p.m.

Mrs. Castle

The House has been crowded all day. All hon. Members who have been present will agree that we have had a remarkable debate—remarkable for its seriousness and for its profundity. All who participated in the debate or listened to it must have felt that the Committee was conscious that it was dealing with a constitutional principle of the utmost importance and that the Amendment did not embody some limited party political point but expressed a very deep principle.

Apart from the merits of the argument, the debate has established two thing's, First, as was said by the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis), it has vindicated thoroughly the decision to take the Committee stage on the Floor of the House, because large number of hon. Members on both sides have participated who would not have been able to participate if the Committee stage had been limited to a few hon. Members upstairs. If it had been in Committee upstairs, we should not have had the great privilege of listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. Brian Walden). There are not many occasions on which the whole House—today in Committee—feels that it has had a quite astonishing debating experience; and this was one of those occasions. It was not only the brilliance of his speech but the sincerity of his emotions and the appositeness of everything he said, as well as the wealth of his experience, that impressed us. My hon. Friend's participation in the debate proved that in the hours during which we have been discussing the Amendment, Parliament has been carrying out its proper functions and has been reaching the heights of which it is capable. We have, therefore, been restoring the status and reputation of Parliament on this issue.

Secondly, it has been made clear how right we were to take 4½ hours on the Amendment. But it follows—and every hon. Member who is honest on the matter must face it—that it will be totally impossible for us to begin to discuss the Bill as it ought to be discussed within the allocation of time laid down. We are still on the first Amendment to Clause 5, and nobody can pretend that there has been any time wasting either in putting down unnecessary Amendments or in speaking at undue length. I leave this thought with the Government: they ought to do some serious re-thinking whether they dare, on an issue of this importance, risk castrating Parliament by pressing ahead with this guillotine and with the allocation of time which has been made under it. I ask them to reconsider it. I do not want to make party political points. I simply draw attention to the experience of this afternoon and evening, and I assure hon. Members that, as we go through the Bill, there will be many similar occasions on which hon. Members on both sides will have important issues of principle and practice which they want to discuss and examine. Therefore, if, despite this experience, we are still told that we are to be kept to the rigours of the timetable, we on this side shall be compelled to drawn one conclusion, and I think that the country will draw it also, that the whole purpose of the guillotine is to prevent us from examining this Bill.

We have always said, "Give us the chance to examine the Bill closely and we will expose its fallacies and its frauds. We will do it constructively; we will do it out of the wealth of practical experience of industry on this side of the Committee. But do it we will." I think that it has emerged clearly tonight again that all the practical evidence has been coming from this side. I do not expect ever again to hear a Minister, introducing an important Clause in a Bill dealing with industrial relations, telling us, "No, I did not take the views of the C.B.I. or the Engineering Employers' Federation". [Interruption.] He was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones), on the issue of the closed shop, whether the employers' organisations agreed with him—we know that the T.U.C. does not—and he said, "No. I am not concerned. I am not interested. I do not take my policies from industry." Hon. Members may check this in HANSARD tomorrow.

We have been having a one-sided debate in which my right hon. and hon. Friends, who, after all, speak for people who live and die from the practical workings of industry, whose livelihood it is and which is the whole context of their existence, have been presenting practical arguments, and we have not had from hon. Members opposite any equivalent expression of industrial experience. All the representation of industry has come from us. We said, "Give us time and we will reveal the fallacies of the Bill", and the right hon. Gentleman has proved us triumphantly right.

So what are we left with? Where are we going from here? Hon. Members opposite must be feeling deeply uneasy because they have been listening to a piece of theoretical fanaticism from the right hon. Gentleman, equalled only by the Prime Minister. [Interruption.] Yes. I am sorry but we who have been listening to the debate have been struck by one thing. One after another, hon. Members opposite have endorsed our analysis of subsection (1) (b). The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) is just one I can quote. He pleaded with the right hon. Gentleman, saying, "What we have in this Bill is, in effect, an incitement to people not to join a union." He was not the only one, as I have said. Many other hon. Members have said, "This is the whole divide between us on this." They turned hopefully to the right hon. Gentleman for comfort and redress.

Mr. John Page

They got it.

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page) is remarkably easily soothed. What hon. Members opposite got was the confirmation of then-worst fears. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was very sorry that Amendment No. 560 had not been called because it was one he might have been able to accept since it was the nearest to his train of thought.

What a commentary it is on the Clause that we feel, and hon. Members opposite feel, that it is necessary to point out, in the terms of that Amendment, that it shall not be an unfair industrial practice for an employer to encourage a worker to join a union. We have to put it solemnly on the Order Paper that it shall not be an unfair industrial practice, punishable by law, for an employer to go to a worker and say, "Now, lad, you would do better in a union." If that is not a revelation of the sort of lengths to which we are going in the Bill, nothing is.

More than that, said the right hon. Gentleman, we cannot hope to do. Why not? Because for reasons of principle and reasons of practice he must give people the legal right to leave a union. This is one of the most fantastic injections into industrial relations even any employer would ever have expected to see.

What is the reason? The right hon. Gentleman said that he must assert the principle of individual liberty. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite cheer, but liberty for what? The realities of the liberty involved were put most succinctly by Dr. Rideout, Reader in Law at University College, London, when in Federation News this month he wrote: This Bill is said to protect the individual. Indeed, yes! It defends to the last his right to be alone and weak. That is a right which some employers, I do not say all, would be only too happy to be able to encourage workers to assert.

My hon. Friend the Member for All Saints dealt brilliantly with the American parallel when he warned the House of the effects on American legislation of the principle of the right to work, which is a misleading way of putting it. It happens to be the American legal phraseology, but it does not mean the right to a job; it means the right to challenge the union shop concept. This is how it was put by George Meany, President of the A.F.L.—C.I.O. in the document which he produced embodying the testimony which he gave in the House Labour Sub-Committee in support of an attempt to repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, in other words, to eliminate this impediment to 100 per cent. unionism. He said: The standard argument of the ' right-to-work ' advocates is that they are concerned about the freedom of the individual worker to hold a job without belonging to a union. Some of those who express this concern are probably sincere, but that is beside the point. They simply do not understand or take into account the employment conditions in urbanized, industrialised, 20th Century America. They seem to be unaware that there is no true right to work. The first and most arbitrary requirement a worker must meet is to find an employer who will hire him. Once hired, he is subject to many other arbitrary regulations, from punching a time clock to a 'no-smoking' rule. Every work-place has a long list. These regulations are set by employers. Why are they more acceptable than a union shop requirement, jointly agreed to by the employer and the union? Why is this the one regulation, among all the others, from which workers need to be 'liberated'? In terms of the practicality of individual life, this so-called individual liberty is just a trap. The right hon. Gentleman was at least honest in admitting that he was out of line with the Donovan Report.

11.45 p.m.

There have been arguments about whether we can quote Donovan on this issue of the closed shop—by which we really mean the 100 per cent. union shop. We do not necessarily mean the pre-entry closed shop. This is what Donovan said on the closed shop: …it might be said that since we suggest elsewhere that any condition in a contract of employment that the employee shall not join a union is to be void in law, it would be right to treat in the same way a condition that the worker shall join a union. However, the two are not truly comparable. The former condition is designed to frustrate the development of collective bargaining, which it is public policy to promote, whereas no such objection applies to the latter. That is of course the real difference between the Government and Donovan. Under Donovan it was an essential priority in the protection and reform of collective bargaining that we should promote and encourage, with the backing of the community and the Government, not only the right to belong to a trade union, but the desirability of doing so.

The real give-away in the right hon. Gentleman's first intervention came when he referred to the balance of power. There might have been a time, he said, when union strength was such that the closed shop would be defended, but that time was past and the moment had come to adjust the balance of power. As my hon. Friends have said, that is what this argument is about. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the need to assert the rights of the non-conforming minority, but we must remind the Committee that we are not talking about the "conscience Clause". Trade unionists have always recognised the very rare cases of genuine conscientious objection—

Hon. Members


Mrs. Castle

Oh, yes, as Donovan admitted. We are not dealing with the "conscience Clause" in this subsection but with the wide, general principle of an equal and unqualified right of any-

Division No. 82.] AYES [11.50 p.m.
Abse, Leo Ashton, Joe Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Albu, Austen Atkinson, Norman Bid well, Sydney
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bishop, E. S.
Allen, Scholefield Barnes, Michael Blenkinsop, Arthur
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Barnett, Joel Boardman, H. (Leigh)
Armstrong, Ernest Beaney, Alan Booth, Albert

one on any grounds not to belong to a trade union. The right hon. Gentleman even tried to persuade us that in the interest of industrial democracy it was essential to enable a worker to leave a union. The picture of industrial chaos with which he left us must have struck terror into the heart of every serious-minded employer in the country. I ask the right hon. Gentleman: does he not know that the new industrial relations policy which Mr. Pat Lowry has been busy drawing up for British Leyland, designed to give that firm greater industrial stability and to put its industrial troubles right, includes a provision for the closed shop? Is he unaware that that report has been accepted by the whole board, including Lord Stokes? Does he not know that these things are part of the realities of the industrial situation?

Every one of us ought to be alive to the road along which this Government are taking us. That is why we oppose this Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) has received no real assurances about the National Union of Seamen and my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) no assurance about the problem of Equity.

Above all we oppose this because we believe that this is a point of principle and we cannot uphold the principle by which we stand by enabling one group here or another group there to contract out. It is not right that the few should contract out of the tyranny of the right hon. Gentleman. We are seeking to establish the right of all workers to refuse to work with non-unionists. This is an integral part of the Tory philosophy and their principles and I therefore ask my hon. and right hon. Friends to join me in the Lobby in supporting our Amendments.

Question put, That the Amendment be made: —

The Committee divided: Ayes 265, Noes 314.

Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hattersley, Roy Oram, Bert
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Orbach, Maurice
Bradley, Tom Heffer, Eric S. Orme, Stanley
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hilton W. S. Oswald, Thomas
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Horam, John Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Padley, Walter
Buchan, Norman Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Paget, R. T.
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Huckfield, Leslie Palmer, Arthur
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Hughes, Mark (Durham) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Pavitt, Laurie
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Pendry, Tom
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Janner, Greville Pentland, Norman
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Perry, Ernest G.
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Jeger,Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Prescott, John
Cohen, Stanley Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Concannon, J. D. John, Brynmer Price, William (Rugby)
Conlan, Bernard Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Rankin, John
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Cronin, John Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jones, Rt. Hn.Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Richard, Ivor
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Kaufman, Gerald Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarven)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Kelley, Richard Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dalyell, Tam Kerr, Russell Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Kinnock, Neil Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Davidson, Arthur Lambie, David Roper, John
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Lamond, James Rose, Paul B.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Latham, Arthur Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Davies, I for (Gower) Lawson, George Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Leadbitter, Ted Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Deakins, Eric Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N. E.)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Leonard, Dick Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Delargy, H. J. Lestor, Miss Joan Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Sillars, James
Dempsey, James Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Silverman, Julius
Doig, Peter Lewis, Ron (Carlists) Skinner, Dennis
Dormand, J. D. Lipton, Marcus Small, William
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lomas, Kenneth Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Loughlin, Charles Spearing, Nigel
Driberg, Tom Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Spriggs, Leslie
Duffy, A. E. P. Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Stallrd, A. W.
Dunn, James A. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Dunnett, Jack McBride, Neil Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Eadie, Alex McCartney, Hugh Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McElhone, Frank Strang, Gavin
Edwards, William (Merioneth) McGuire, Michael Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Ellis, Tom Mackenzie, Gregor Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
English, Michael Mackie, John Swain, Thomas
Evans, Fred Mackintosh, John P. Taverne, Dick
Fernyhough, E. Maclennan, Robert Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McNamara, J. Kevin Thomson Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) MacPherson, Malcolm Tinn, James
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Tomney, Frank
Foley, Maurice Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Torney, Tom
Foot, Michael Marks, Kenneth Tuck Raphael
Ford, Ben Marquand, David Urwin, T. W.
Forrester, John Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Varley, Eric G.
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Wainwright, Edwin
Freeson, Reginald Meacher, Michael Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mellesh, Rt. Hn. Robert Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Garrett, W. E. Mendelson, John Wallace, George
Gilbert, Dr. John Mikardo, Ian Watkins, David
Ginsburg, David Millan, Bruce Weitzman, David
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Miller, Dr. M. S Wells William (Walsall, N.)
Gourlay, Harry Milne, Edward (Blyth) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Molloy, William Whitehead, Phillip
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardinganshire) Whitlock, William
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Morris, Charles R. (Opanshaw) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Moyle, Roland Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Hamling, William Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Murray, Ronald King Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Hardy, Peter Ogden, Eric TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Harper, Joseph O'Halloran, Michael Mr. John Golding and
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) 0'Malley, Brian Mr. Donald Coleman.
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Adley, Robert Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Knight, Mrs. J.M
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Emery, Peter Knox, David
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Farr, John Lambton, Antony
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fell, Anthony Lane, David
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Langford-Holt, Sir John
Astor, John Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Atkins, Humphrey Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Le Marcham, Spencer
Awdry, Daniel Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Fortescue, Tim Longden, Gilbert
Balniel, Lord Foster, Sir John Loveridge, John
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fowler, Norman McAdden, Sir Stephen
Batsford, Brian Fox, Marcus MacArthur, Ian
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(St'fford & Stone) McCrindie, R. A.
Bell, Ronald Fry, Peter McLaren, Martin
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Gardner, Edward McMaster, Stanley
Benyon, W. Gibson-Watt, David Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) McNair-Wilson, Michael
Biffen, John Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)
Biggs-Davison, John Glyn, Dr. Alan Maddan, Martin
Blaker, Peter Goodhart, Philip Madel, David
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Gorst, John Maginnis, John E.
Body, Richard Gower, Raymond Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Boscawen, Robert Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Marten, Neil
Bossom, Sir Clive Gray, Hamish Mather, Carol
Bowden, Andrew Green, Alan Maude, Angus
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Grieve, Percy Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Braine, Bernard Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mawby, Ray
Bray, Ronald Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Brewis, John Grylls, Michael Meyer, Sr Anthony
Brinton, Sir Tatton Gummer, Selwyn Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gurden, Harold Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hail, Miss Joan (Keighley) Miscampbell, Norman
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hall, John (Wycombe) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdenshire,W)
Bryan, Paul Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Moate, Roger
Buck, Antony Hannam, John (Exeter) Molyneaux, James
Bullus, Sir Eric Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Money, Ernie
Burden, F. A. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Monks, Mrs. Connie
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Monro, Hector
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Haselhurst, Alan Montgomery, Fergus
Carlisle, Mark Hastings, Stephen More, Jasper
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Havers, Michael Morgan-Gilles, Rear-Adm.
Cary, Sir Robert Hawkins, Paul Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Channon, Paul Hayhoe, Barney Mudd, David
Chapman, Sydney Heseltine, Michael Murtcn, Oscar
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hicks, Robert Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Chichester-Clark, R. Higgins, Terence L. Neave, Airey
Churchill, W. S. Hiley, Joseph Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Normanton, Tom
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Nott, John
Clegg, Walter Holland, Philip Onslow, Cranley
Cockeram, Eric Holt, Miss Mary Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Cooke, Robert Hooson, Emlyn Osborn, John
Coombs, Derek Hordern, Peter Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Cooper, A. E. Hornby, Richard Page, Graham (Crosby)
Cordle, John Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Pardoe, John
Cormack, Patrick Howell, David (Guildford) Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)
Costain, A. P. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Peel, John
Critchley, Julian Hunt, John Percival, Ian
Crouch, David Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Crowder, F. P. Iremonger, T. L. Pike. Miss Mervyn
Curran, Charles James, David Pink, R. Bonner
Dalkeith, Earl of Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pounder, Rafton
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Jessel, Toby Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Price, David (Eastleigh)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Dean, Paul Jopling, Michael Proudfoot, Wilfred
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kaberry, Sir Donald Quennell, Miss J. M.
Dixon, Piers Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Raison, Timothy
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Kershaw, Anthony Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Kilsdder, James Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Drayson, G. B. Kimball, Marcus Redmond, Robert
du cann, Rt. Hn. Edward King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Reed, Laurence (Bolton, E.)
Dykes, Hugh King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rees, Peter (Dover)
Eden, Sir John Kinsey, J. R. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kirk, Peter Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kitson, Timothy Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper) Waddington, David
Ridsdale, Julian Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Stokes, John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Wall, Patrick
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Sutcliffe, John Walters, Dennis
Rost, Peter Tapsell, Peter Ward, Dame Irene
Royle, Anthony Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Warren, Kenneth
Russell, Sir Ronald Tay1or, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart) Weatherill, Bernard
St. John-Stevas, Norman Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Scott, Nicholas Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Sharples, Richard Tebbit, Norman Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Temple, John M. Wiggin, Jerry
Shelton, William (Clapham) Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wilkinson, John
Simeons, Charles Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Sinclair, Sir George Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Skeet, T. H. H. Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Tilney, John Woodnutt, Mark
Soref, Harold Trafford, Dr. Anthony Worsley, Marcus
Speed, Keith Trew, Peter Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Spence, John Tugendhat, Christopher Younger, Hn. George
Sproat, lain Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Stainton, Keith van Straubenzee, W. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stanbrook, Ivor Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Mr. Reginald Eyre and
Steel, David Vickers, Dame Joan Mr. Victor Goodhew.

It being after Twelve o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again, pursuant of the Order of the House of 25th January.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.

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