HC Deb 28 July 1971 vol 822 cc667-701

Lords Amendment: No. 11, after Clause 5, in page 5, line 23, at end insert new Clause "A": A.—(1) Where an agency shop agreement is for the time being in force, a worker to whom the agreement applies shall not have the right, as between himself and an employer to whom the agreement applies, to refuse to be a member of the trade union with which the agreement was made unless he agrees to pay appropriate contributions to the trade union in lieu of membership of it. (2) In accordance with the preceding subsection, it shall not be an unfair industrial practice for an employer to whom an agency shop agreement applies, or for a person acting on behalf of such an employer,—

  1. (a) to dismiss, penalise or otherwise discriminate against any such worker on the grounds that he is not a member of the trade union with which the agreement was made and has not agreed, or has refused or failed, to pay appropriate contributions to it, or
  2. (b) to refuse to engage a worker who, if engaged by the employer, would be a worker to whom the agreement applies, on the grounds that he is not a member of that trade union and refuses to become a member of it and also refuses to pay appropriate contributions to it.
(3) Where a worker to whom an agency shop agreement applies has agreed to pay appropriate contributions to the trade union with which the agreement was made, and requests his employer to deduct the contributions from his remuneration and pay them on his behalf, then so long as that request remains in force—
  1. (a) he shall not be regarded for the purposes of subsection (2)(a) of this section as having refused to pay the contributions to the trade union, and
  2. (b) any failure on the part of the employer to comply with the request shall not be regarded as a failure on the part of the worker to pay the contributions.
(4) In the application of the preceding subsections to an agency shop agreement made with two or more trade unions, references in those subsections to the trade union with which the agreement was made shall be construed as references to one of those trade unions. (5) In relation to a person who, in accordance with section 8 or section 9 of this Act, is permitted on grounds of conscience to pay contributions to a charity instead of contributions to a trade union, subsections (1) to (3) of this section shall have effect as if any reference to appropriate contributions to a trade union were a reference to equivalent contributions to that charity. (6) In this Act references to an employer to whom an agency shop agreement applies shall be construed as follows, that is to say—
  1. (a) in the case of such an agreement made by one or more employers, or made by an employers' association and expressed to be made on behalf of one or more employers specified in the agreement, any such reference shall be construed as a reference to that employer or any of those employers, as the case may be;
  2. (b) in the case of such an agreement made by an employers' association otherwise than as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, any such reference shall be construed as a reference to any employer who is for the time being a member of that employers' 669 association, whether he was a member of it on the date on which the agreement was made or not."

Read a Second time.

Mr. Harold Walker

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, leave out subsection (3) and insert: (3) Every agency shop agreement shall provide for authorised representatives of trade unions or independent organisations of workers to whom it applies to be provided with, by the employer, at intervals of not more than three months, lists of names, numbers and descriptions of workers who are liable for payment or contributions in lieu of trade union membership subscriptions, and every such agreement shall make provision for the method of payment by the employer to the trade union or independent organisation of workers of such contributions in lieu of trade union contributions such payments to be made at intervals of not longer than two weeks. (4) Every agency shop agreement shall provide that the employer shall be responsible for transferring to the union or independent organisations of workers, at not less than the stated interval, such sums as may be due in respect of appropriate contributions in lieu of membership, and facilities shall be afforded to authorised representatives of the trade unions or independent organisations of workers to scrutinise an account which the employer shall make of such payments whenever such representatives deem it appropriate to do so. In the debate which concluded a few minutes ago we inevitably travelled over much of the ground relating to this Amendment and its aims. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) and others made absolutely clear in Committee and on Report our fundamental opposition to the agency shop concept. It was a matter of some regret that we had to do that against the pressure of the guillotine with the thunder of the tumbrils rolling in our ears very late at night and for that reason we did so very briefly and inevitably. This debate gives us the opportunity to repair one or two of the omissions of that occasion and perhaps further to expose the weaknesses of what seems to be an attempt to graft an alien concept on the British system of industrial relations.

The Secretary of State has frequently said—he did so this afternoon, as did the Solicitor-General—that the agency shop provision would check the free rider, a longstanding source of complaint in the trade union movement. We are told that the requirement to pay appropriate contributions in lieu of membership achieves this end.

8.15 p.m.

There is sometimes confusion about the free rider and the effect of the agency shop provision. Sometimes, the conscientious objector is confused with the non-unionist, the non-payer per se. The conscientious objector creates a miniscule problem which the British trade union movement has always been able to take in its stride. The more fundamental problem is that of the very large number—and I confess that with great regret—of those who are not members of trade unions. In spite of the rapidly growing membership of the T.U.C., it is a sad fact that fewer than 50 per cent. of the workers in British industries are organised into trade unions. One would welcome anything which helped to induce, if not coerce, more workers to join trade unions.

While the Bill sets that out as the proclaimed aim, it is silent about the machinery by which it is to be enforced, and that is why we have moved the Amendment, in spite of the words of the Solicitor-General, to whom I listened with great care when he seemed to be replying to this debate in advance. I am sure that his earlier words will be similar to those with which he replies to this Amendment.

The Bill does not describe who collects what from whom. The Solicitor-General said that it would be the responsibility of the trade unions to collect the cash from the non-unionist who was paying in lieu of membership. I wonder whether he has thought of the gulf between that hope—and it cannot be much more—and the reality of the workshop floor. In the Amendment we seek to place an obligation in detailed terms on the employer, and we do so because it is the employer and the employer alone who is in control of and who has full knowledge of the situation. The Solicitor-General may believe that in the mixed situation with which we are dealing, with non-unionists and unionists, the unionists will make their identity known to the trade union official, so that all the official or shop steward will have to do is to deduct the known unionists from the global total so that the remainder are non-unionists liable to pay either appropriate contributions in lieu, or contributions to a charity. But that does not correspond with the reality of life in the workshop.

First, it would be very nice if that limited facility were accorded to officials and shop stewards, but not only is it not, but it begs the further question of how, even if it were, the official or shop steward would proceed to determine what appropriate contribution should be paid and how it should be collected. Reading through the reports of their Lordships' debates, I noticed that it was assumed that when a union or unions had a shop agency, there was a simple straightforward contribution due to that union or unions; but with my own union—and this no doubt reflects the position of many others—there are differing contributions based on differing classes of membership which are based not merely on an occupational classification, but according to certain wide-ranging friendly benefits. It is therefore extremely difficult for the official at the factory, who under the provisions of the rules is not the one ordinarily charged with the collection of union dues, to determine what the appropriate contribution should be.

I quote my own union as that of which I have first-hand knowledge, but no doubt it can be paralleled by many others. It has a provision that the member must go to the branch to pay his subscriptions, and that is based on a geographical unit and not necessarily the factory. The rules preclude any moneys from being taken outside the branch, except in certain well defined circumstances, and the proposal in the Lords Amendment would not conform to those circumstances. In that kind of situation, how could we advise the non-unionist to attend the trade union branch to make contributions?

Mr. David Mitchell indicated assent.

Mr. Walker

I see the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell), who knows something of these matters, nodding his head. No doubt he will tell me that the union ought to change its rules.

Mr. Mitchell


Mr. Walker

I am glad that we are at one about that. He will share with me the recognition that practical difficulties will arise.

But that is not the only practical difficulty. When the agency shop has been established, the only individual who will be required to pay the appropriate contributions in lieu of membership is the non-member, but he may be a member of another union. If a union has established an agency and a member of another union seeks employment in that factory, and there may be unions with overlapping recruitment areas—in engineering, for example, we have a plurality of unions and there may be different unions catering for an identical range of workers—he will have to pay double contributions or transfer his union membership.

The second course may not be easy. For example, in my constituency we are enduring unemployment at a penal level and an engineering fitter may be compelled to seek what would otherwise be uncongenial employment in the coal mining industry as a fitter. But the National Union of Mineworkers has an agreement with the National Coal Board that all manual workers in the industry shall be members of the N.U.M.

The A.E.U. fitter has to say, "This is purely temporary employment for me. There may well be a Labour Government in three years and employment will take up and I know that I can get back into a decent job out of this rotten industry. Therefore I do not want to surrender my passport, my union membership. I want to keep my A.E.U. membership."

Equally, he will be reluctant, because contrary to popular belief it is not a highly-paid industry, to incur the financial penalty of paying to both the N.U.M. and the A.E.F. Under Clause 5 he would be entitled to say to both management and union representatives, when asked: "What union do you belong to, if any?", "That is my business and none of yours. I refuse to divulge it." They would not be able to take any action against him. He has the right to be or not to be in his relationships with his employers. It would seem to me that this is one of the attractions of the new Clause, that if the employer were prejudiced against employing a man who refused to divulge then the man might have cause for taking the employer to court.

Mr. David Mitchell

In the earlier part of the hon. Gentleman's speech he referred to the situation where a man might be faced with having to belong to two unions because he held a union card for one, in the engineering industry, which he did not wish to lose, and was working in what was formerly a closed shop, now an agency shop in the coalmining industry. This would impose financial difficulties upon him. The hon. Gentleman is experienced in these matters and must realise that that situation exists now, except that the man will have to belong to both unions if he wishes to retain his card in the engineering union and wishes to work inside a closed shop in another industry where that closed shop is not the engineering union.

Mr. Walker

This is true but the hon. Gentleman misses my point. What I seek to expose is the impracticality of the agency shop proposals because——

Mr. David Mitchell indicated dissent.

Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman shakes his head but it has been our case all along that because of this kind of situation the agency shop is an impractical proposition. I used an argument in Committee to expose that. It was that a situation might arise where there is rivalry between two unions which co-exist uneasily side by side. After enactment one may seek to establish a sole agency in a factory with the result that the union or unions which lose out in that agency shop situation will be confronted with having to tell their members either to transfer to the victor union or to pay a double fee. I exampled the position of the railway workshops at Doncaster where the N.U.M. and the A.E.F.—I am not even sure whether it is the A.E.F. or the A.U.E.W. in these days of change—had over-lapping recruitment areas, geographically and in terms of classification. After enactment one or the other might seek to establish a sole agency.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that we would think this to be a good thing? He might not say so but in his heart of hearts I believe he would accept that if more unions had greater control there would be less inter-union rivalry and greater industrial peace. Secondly, this will work both ways so that while one union will gain at one factory as against another, if it is a majority union, in another area the union which has lost out earlier will gain by becoming the majority union. It will work Box and Cox.

Mr. Walker

We agree that an important element in this situation is the variety of unions and the overlapping of recruiting areas which often leads to complication. I am on the record when we debated the agency shop arrangement in Committee as saying that the Secretary of Stale was tilting at a problem which undeniably existed. We say that this is not the right way to resolve it. Having diagnosed the problem, this is not the prescription which we would support. It seeks to import from the United States a system of industrial relations in the belief that it will transform our industrial relations. We do not believe that the trade union movement or industrial relations generally can be transformed in that way.

The movement is an organic thing, it has grown, it has modified itself—perhaps too slowly for changing circumstances. We believe that this is the right way for change to take place, perhaps more rapidly than has been the case. It should happen as an organic thing, responding and evolving through changing circumstances. The trade union movement is changing rapidly. I referred to my confusion over my own union—the A.E.U. the A.U.E.W. or the A.E.F. It is an indication of the rapidity of change.

Last week I was at a meeting and I had to query the name of a union I had not heard before. I was quietly told that it was the new name for the building trade workers, the General Federation of Construction Workers, I believe. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) is familiar with it, he belonged to the industry that it represents. That is the way evolution should come about, in response to changing circumstances.

Turning to the second point raised by the hon. Gentleman I am bound to say that he sees this in terms of the abstract rather than the real problems which arise for members. It is no solution for the individual to be told that his union has lost out at the railway workshop and that he has to change his union membership and forfeit the benefits he has paid for for years.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Oh !

Mr. Walker

With respect, this shows the hon. Gentleman's lack of understanding. He scoffs when I make that point. I would point out that my union operates a superannuation benefit, a pitiful few shillings it is I know, but many A.E.F. super-annuitants are desperately dependent on those few shillings extra because it means the difference between absolute penury at the normal pension level and the odd ounce of "baccy". It is important to him. He may be on the brink of retirement after 30 or 40 years' service and qualifies for superannuation benefit. He will not take kindly to being told, "The union has lost. You will have to join the others or pay a contribution in lieu". The hon. Gentleman seems to think that it will be some consolation for him to be told, "It does not matter because we have won against them down the road, so our union membership will remain balanced. We have lost 200 here, but we have 250 of their lot". If the hon. Gentleman says that it is desirable to have all the workers in the establishment in one union, we agree with him; we see the advantages of it. But the Bill seeks to impose this when there is an agreed agency shop situation——

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

For years we in the House have been talking about the transferability of pensions from firm to firm. [HON. MEMBERS: "We on this side have."] So have we on this side of the House. If that is what we want in industry, surely we may expect that the trade unions, when there is a change, whether arising from this Bill or not, will be responsible for their members' benefit and that they will ensure that their members do not suffer but will arrange the transfer of benefits with the object of having one union to represent one factory. Surely they will ensure that their members do not lose.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Walker

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for responding roughly to him. He is usually a most genial debater for whom I have respect. But it ill lies in his mouth to talk about the transferability of pensions when my right hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) sought to achieve transferability by means of a very large Bill which was received with nothing but abuse from hon. Members opposite. The hon. Gentleman does not understand the reality of the trade union movement when it comes to the transferability of pensions and other benefit provisions be- tween unions. Every trade union is a distinctly different animal from the rest. There are deep differences between their rules and other provisions.

Hon. Members opposite seem to see this as an easy way out every time they come up against the problems of the structure of the trade union movement. Those problems are recognised not only by hon. Members on this side of the House but by trade unions and trade unionists. The movement has inherited problems of structure because it is the oldest trade union movement in the world. We taught trade unionism to the world. It is not good enough for hon. Members opposite to suggest or imply that the unions should change their rules.

Having realistically posed some of the problems which are likely to arise from the agency shop concept, and recognising the Government's intention to catch the free rider, we say that the sincerity of their aim is tested by our Amendment. One lamentable failure on the part of those who drafted the Bill is the omission from it of machinery for collecting the payments made in lieu of trade union membership contributions. The Solicitor-General said that this was the task of the trade unions. I say in reply that in the majority of cases the trade unions cannot know who are non-unionists and who are unionists. Dual membership, except in a few cases, is a contravention of the T.U.C. Bridlington Agreement. I am sure that that will bring forth the riposte from the Government Front Bench and that the Bridlington Agreement will have to be scrapped. This is the kind of cavalier treatment to which the trade union movement has been subjected by the Bill.

Reverting to the difficulty which we are seeking to overcome with the agency shop provisions, we say that if the Government are sincere in their intention that the free rider should not be able to evade his obligations, but should meet them, then the right way to do it is to make the employer responsible for taking the money. A union cannot take money from non-unionists. That is nonsense, is it not? Non-unionists cannot attend a union branch meeting. There seems to be running through the whole of the Government's proposal the assumption that employers are falling over themselves to let trade union officials or shop stewards go round catching up with the lads in the factories to collect the money. I wish they were, and the Solicitor-General should address himself to the employers if he really believes it is the job of trade union officials in the factories or on the sites to go round collecting the cash from the boys. However, I do not believe that that is the practical or proper way to do it.

When this Lords Amendment was debated in another place the Government spokesman said, if I recall aright, that the Government wanted to keep the agency shop agreement provisions in the Bill as simple and free from detail as possible, and he spoke of the difficulties of enforcement of the proposed Amendment. The Solicitor-General made a point of this. He said we were being inconsistent on this point of enforceability. I must point out to him that under terms of Clause 10 of the Bill as it stands at the moment the appropriate contributions for trade union membership will be an integral part of the individual worker's terms and conditions of employment. We are only saying in our Amendment to the Lords Amendment that if this provision is to stay there must be the provision for the machinery by means of which the contributions shall be collected. Note that we are not talking of legal enforceability. We are talking in the same terms as the Bill, and saying that this provision should be written into the agency shop agreement whether that agreement is legally enforceable or not.

I hope that I have made it clear, and that the preceding speeches of my hon. Friends speaking on previous Lords Amendments have made it clear, that we are opposed in principle and in practice and fundamentally to the provisions in the Bill anyhow, and we recognise the impracticability of these provisions as they stand, but we say that if they are to be there they ought to be able to work properly, and our Amendment to the Lords Amendment is a test of the Government's sincerity.

Mr. David Mitchell

I rise to welcome the Lords Amendments in this case and to urge upon my hon. and learned Friend the rejection of the Amendment to the Lords Amendment moved so eloquently by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker).

Mr. Harold Walker

I am deeply sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but I rise on a point of order. May 1 assume that subsequently we shall have a separate or further debate on the Lords Amendment itself? I deliberately withheld some remarks which I should like to address later to the Lords Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

The hon. Member is quite right. It will be in order to have further debate on the Question later, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

Mr. Mitchell

I trust that that will not prevent us from being able to talk about two matters which are very closely interrelated. I believe that some representations which I passed on to the Solicitor-General from trade unionists and non-trade unionists in my constituency may have played some part in bringing the attention of the Government to the problem which was present in the Bill in the form in which it left this House. I refer to the problem of the non-trade unionist having to pay a subscription to a union and the physical method of transferring the money.

The hon. Member for Doncaster recognised the problem of the non-trade unionist attending a union branch meeting. It is not only the problem of the non-trade unionist being asked to come on to hallowed ground. The last time I attended a meeting of what is now the A.U.E.W. the main branch meeting which I was addressing was being held at one end of the hall. Union members were entering at the back of the hall, paying their subscriptions to the treasurer and, if they did not wish to take part in the meeting, slipping out again.

One can imagine the unpleasant reception which the non-trade unionist would have at some of the more militant branches when he turned up to pay the subscription required by law. I do not suggest that he would be wet-towelled, but he would encounter tough picketing and have a tough reception from the more militant members who objected to his non-membership.

It is therefore essential that the Government should interpose between the non-trade unionist and the union branch and the union membership somebody who is not involved as the collector of the money, who can hand the money over without there having to be a regular personal problem of the type which would face the non-trade unionist. The Government have obviously reached the right conclusions. The only person who is available in a non-personal capacity and who is continually there is the employer. Therefore, that the money should be handed to the employer and that the employer should hand it to the union at appropriate intervals is a logical and sensible way of dealing with a very considerable personal problem which would otherwise arise for the non-trade unionist. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman recognised at least part of this problem.

The purpose is to remove bitterness. I am certain that the result of a non-trade unionist's going to a union meeting would be anything but to remove bitterness. It would indeed bring it to a new tension at regular intervals.

The Amendment to the Lords Amendment is very curious in a number of ways. There is no logical reason for stipulating three months in line 3, two weeks in line 8, and the right of authorised representatives of the trade union … to scrutinise an account".

Provided that the money was handed over once every six months with a list of those to whom it applied, that should be adequate and could be covered under the Bill's existing proposals. I have no doubt that the worthy Solicitor-General will guide us if I am in any way misinformed.

I hope that the House will reject the Amendment to the Lords Amendment and accept with alacrity the Lords Amendment.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

I cannot forbear from commenting on the rather amusing thought that entered my mind when the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) spoke of a non-trade unionist going to a trade union branch meeting. He might not exactly be wet-towelled. I come from a trade union background and would not pretend that the language used by trade unionists and the feelings they express towards non-unionists are exactly polite at times; but wet-towelling is one of the things which belongs to the public school sixth-form novels which are not part of the reading and discussion of unionists. That kind of remark clearly shows the background from which the hon. Gentleman comes. I am not suggesting that he should be ashamed of it, but I am saying that it is the kind of background which does not enable him even to begin to understand or have any feeling of what trade unionism is about.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. David Mitchell

It will help the hon. Gentleman if I clarify my qualification in this context—six years' membership of the Transport and General Workers' Union, which is not normally classed as an upper-class Tory organisation.

Mr. Hughes

It is obvious that the hon. Gentleman learned absolutely nothing in those six years. The great shame of it is that his membership did not rub some good sense into him.

Mr. Mitchell

Since the hon. Gentleman has made that point, perhaps I can point out that the union took the view that I was at least absorbing enough knowledge to send me on a scholarship to its summer school.

Mr. Hughes

First, the hon. Gentleman needed it, and, secondly, it shows that even in the great trade unions there are aberrations of judgment.

I come now to the more serious point of the Amendment to the Lords Amendment. Although it really goes against the grain, we on these benches have to try to mount some kind of rescue operation for the Bill and the agency shop provisions. The Government are having their way on the agency shop agreement and probably at the end of the day they will carry the Lords Amendment. Nevertheless, the difficulties involved in the agency shop are such that it is necessary to take such steps as we can to try to remove the kind of bitterness and distress which will arise in factories and which hon. Members opposite fail to understand will exist in even greater degree that now between trade unionists and non-trade unionists.

The Solicitor-General seemed to suggest earlier that the free rider is being eliminated in the sense that no longer will he be absolutely free of cost, that he will have to pay either a contribution in lieu of membership or to a charity. I do not want to deal now with the problem of the genuine conscientious objector, but with the kind of person whom we regard as a free rider. As I understand the Bill in its present form, the amount of contribution by the non-trade unionist will not be the full cost of trade union membership. It will be at a reduced rate which takes care of the service which is being provided for him by the union.

Hon. Members may think that that is the end of the matter. One might argue straightforwardly that any man who does not pay his full contribution by becoming a union member is losing all kinds of benefits. My own union—the A.E.U.W. in its latest incarnation—provides in addition to superannuation, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, tool benefit insurance and various other services. Non-trade unionists, by not paying this element of the subscription, will not only be denying themselves benefit but also denying benefit to trade union members. My union takes the view that the more members it has and the more who pay into its funds, the greater the benefits paid. The rules say that when contributions have reached a certain monetary level the benefits to union members increase. Here is the first source of friction in that the benefits which could be made available to union members will be eroded—although not to any great extent—by people who are not paying the full contribution. We are not arguing now in terms of the actual physical reduction in benefit. What we are talking about is the kind of distress and resentment which will arise and which is to be backed by the full force of the law. That is one aspect.

The other aspect is that when a person seeks employment in a factory, amongst the things which will have to be explained to him are the regulations if an agency shop agreement is in operation. Some hon. Members opposite have the fond illusion that employers are falling over themselves to get their workers to join a union. My experience in my 16 years of working in factories is the very opposite to that. My experience is that any opportunity an employer finds to discourage people from becoming trade union members he will take. It would be quite legal, possible and likely under the Bill for employers to say, "We have an agency shop agreement here, and a trade union, but it will cost you less if you opt out"—because this is what the agency shop agreement amounts to. In explaining the different provisions an employer can suggest that a man will be better off not to join by the very manner in which he speaks, so that the person going for the job recognises the employer's attitude. It is no good the hon. Member for Basingstoke shaking his head: anyone with any real experience of industry knows that this is precisely what happens.

Mr. David Mitchell

I was not shaking my head at that, but at the interpretation of the Bill. It is wrong to say that the non-trade unionists will not have to pay the full minimum subscription which the trade union member pays, because the only thing he will not have to pay is anything which is voluntary to the full member not to pay.

Mr. Hughes

That is an interpretation which may be put on the terms of the Bill, but my belief is that by the time the rules of the registered trade union have been examined, we will have to ask ourselves what a full subscription is. In my union the minimum is section 5 membership. That does not carry the full benefits conferred by section 1 membership. Those in the skilled trades can choose either section 1 and have the benefits of full membership, or section 5, in which case they pay the absolute minimum. If the agency shop agreement is in force, it is highly unlikely that the basic contribution will be regarded as anything but the minimum contribution.

As I was saying, the employer could by the very tone in which he discussed the various conditions encourage the prospective employee not to join the trade union. That would mean a growing number of people not becoming trade union members. I say that they are still free riders even though they are paying something, because they have no responsibility towards the trade union; no responsibility to try to promote its aims and ideas. That is bad for trade union membership.

The Amendment would mean that conditions would be laid down by which shop stewards or trade union representatives could find out who was not a member of their trade union, who was paying reduced subscriptions, and who was a conscientious objector and making a payment to a charity. It is vital that we should know.

If a shop steward asks a new employee, "Are you a member of the trade union?" the employee can either say that he is not, because he has not got a card—and that is all right—or he may say that he is a conscientious objector, and thus paying to a charity, or that he is paying a reduced subscription to the trade union. On the other hand, the shop steward may get a dusty answer, and be told, "It is none of your business. I am not a trade union member. You have no control over me. You have no right to question me." But if the employee says that he is paying to a charity, how is the shop steward to verify that statement? He may ask the management, but if the management refuses to answer, where does he go to then? If there is an employer who is particularly difficult, he could make out a case of harassment by the shop steward who was continually asking non-unionists whether they were paying any subscriptions. As I understand it, that would be an unfair industrial practice, and things could develop into a real conflict.

The whole problem of industrial relations is one of psychology. The Government have totally failed to understand the feelings of trade unionists in this kind of situation. The agency concept is bad. It will not work. It is better for people to solve their problems by themselves, but if there has to be conflict, let it at least be among equals, among people on the shop floor. If the law is interposed, and employers are interposed, it results only in greater distrust. It is a prescription for disastrous industrial relations. It is wholly bad, and I think that the Government could begin at least a minimum salvage operation by accepting the Opposition's Amendment.

The Solicitor-General

I do not propose to take a great deal of time to reply to the debate, because a large part of what the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) said, and almost the whole of what was said by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes), was devoted to a general description of the principles of the agency shop, and a discussion at any length on that topic would be out of order on this proposed Amendment to a Lords Amendment. In so far as the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North covered again the arguments about the growing number of free-riders, I can only reply that that is a topic with which I dealt in my reply to the last debate, at perhaps more length than was necessary.

The hon. Member for Doncaster warned the House that there was a danger that my reply to this debate would follow closely my reply to the earlier debate. That arose only because the argument put forward from the other side of the House on the earlier debate drew me on to this territory.

Most of the debate on Amendment No. 11 has been held on an earlier Amendment but, in the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell), perhaps I might repeat what I said then. The appearance of subsection (3) in this Amend-mena and a similar phrase in Amendment No. 40 is due to the representations made to the Government by my hon. Friend, and many others, on this very point.

On the narrow point now being discussed, namely, the Opposition's Amendment to Amendment No. 11, as I said in reply to the earlier debate, it is not necessary for any such provision to be included as a matter of course in an agency shop agreement. Points of this kind can be covered by the collective agreement in which the agency shop agreement will be comprised. They could be the only legally enforceable points covered in such a clause of an agency shop agreement. An agency shop agreement could include, as many union or closed shop agreements do, a provision for the check off system to apply, whether generally or selectively; in other words, for all the people employed in the factory, or only in respect of those who were appropriate contributors.

The union, of course, would be entitled to ask the employer where there was a collective agreement, whether contributions were being received under the proposals in subsection (3) of Amendment No. 11. The union would be entitled to ask the worker whether he was making a contribution, and if he were ill-advised enough to reply that it was none of the union's business he would soon find that that was an unwise response, because it is the union's business to know, just as it is the employer's business to know, whether, in an agency shop, a member is paying his contributions. Either he pays to the union as a member of it, or the union and the employer are entitled to know whether he is paying his appropriate contributions.

It is in the employer's interest to satisfy himself that these people are paying their contributions. It is in the employee's interest to satisfy the union that he is paying his contributions. But it is in the employer's interest to satisfy the union as well.

Therefore, quite apart from any agreement, the provisions would follow as a matter of course from everybody's interest in such a situation. Also, collective agreements could provide for it, and, beyond that, if an employer were collecting contributions on behalf of an individual and not passing them on, it would also be open, in the last resort, for the union to take industrial action to enforce payment.

In fact, one cannot see a situation in which a union would not know its own membership in such a situation. Therefore, it would know that it was entitled to receive contributions from all the employees in the shop or factory who were not its own members or who had not agreed with the union to pay to a charity, and it would know the number of members in respect of whom payments would have to be made, either direct or through the employer to the unions.

The Opposition fear unnecessarily. Their anxiety about the agency shop is well understood. It is not the subject of this debate. Amendment No. 11 is perfectly reasonable and workable without this complex addition.

9.0 p.m.

Mrs. Castle

We are in some difficulty, because we are discussing our Amendment in isolation from the last Amendment. The two obviously hang together. What the Solicitor-General has not answered is my hon. Friend's telling remark that if subsection (3) of the proposed new Clause is necessary and desir- able—the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Devid Mitchell) welcomed it and the Solicitor-General applauded it as meeting a valid point—then our Amendment is equally necessary and desirable.

We cannot be told, "We have that subsection (3) in the new Clause," and then, when we say that this provision is not adequate and that we want a stronger one, be old, "You can do it all through the collective agreement". That is fobbing us off with an attempt to get the best of both arguments.

My hon. Friend said that we accept that we have to make provision as to whose responsibility it is to see that these contributions in lieu become a valid part of the agency shop agreement. We do not accept that subsection (3) makes that explicit or goes far enough. The hon. Member for Basingstoke welcomed the subsection as getting over the problem that one cannot expect the union to be responsible for collecting from non-unionists, and he said that the Opposition's further Amendment was unnecessary.

But subsection (3) helps us only where the worker who is making the contributions in lieu or who has applied to make them requests his employer to deduct his contributions from his wage. That is a slightly Alice in Wonderland situation. If a non-unionist chooses on principle not to belong to a union, and if he is a member of the "awkward squad", in a union shop, and if he will be taking advantage of the legal loophole which the Government are giving him to exercise the statutory right not to belong to a union, if he will glory in it and then request his employer to deduct his contributions from his pay, that is not a reasonable solution.

Mr. David Mitchell

The right hon. Lady will agree that there are circumstances in which it is usual for union subscriptions to be collected at the place of work rather than at a branch meeting, which might occur in a different situation. It may be perfectly reasonable for money to be handed over to the union collector in this case, when and where the other subscriptions are being handed over. The Bill will, therefore, provide flexibility so that either situation can be met.

Mrs. Castle

It is reasonable for the check-off system to apply, but let us consider the wording of the Bill and not what the hon. Gentleman thinks it says. The Measure talks about the worker requesting his employer to deduct money from his pay, which means that an initiative must be taken. Does the hon. Gentleman think that non-unionists will not wish to sit on their money for as long as they can? Does he believe that non-unionists having decided to make contributions to charity, they will queue up to take the initiative and say to their employer, "Please apply the check-off system to me. I would hate to be outside the law in this matter?"

The Solicitor-General managed, with one of his usual labyrinthine answers, to avoid answering our questions.

The Solicitor-General

Perhaps the right hon. Lady overlooks the fact that, labyrinthine or not, I explained the matter clearly when answering the debate on the previous Amendment. She was not in her place at that time. On that occasion I gave a detailed response to a number

of questitons from her hon. Friends. I do not wish to go over all the steps again.

Mrs. Castle

I listened to his answer on this occasion, in which he said he was summarising what he said previously. I have also been given some information by my hon. Friends about the earlier answer he gave. I came in towards the end of his answer to the last debate and I challenged him about being on the horns of a legal enforceability dilemma. He wants to lure us into his legal enforceability trap by saying that this is negotiable as part of the closed shop agreement, but that is no answer.

If it is necessary to spell out this provision in the Bill, then let it be spelt out in the way we suggest and not in the manner he suggests. If the Government wish to achieve a certain end, they will prove their integrity by choosing our, more effective, means of securing that end.

Question put, That the Amendment be made to the Lords Amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 255, Noes 286.

Division No. 440.] AYES [9.8 p.m.
Abse, Leo Crawshaw, Richard Fraser, John (Norwood)
Albu, Austen Cronin, John Freeson, Reginald
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Galpern, Sir Myer
Allen, Scholefield Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Garrett, W. E.
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Gilbert, Dr. John
Armstrong, Ernest Dalyell, Tam Ginsburg, David
Ashton, Joe Darling, Rt Hn. George Golding, John
Atkinson, Norman Davidson, Arthur Gourlay, Harry
Bagier, Cordon A. T. Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Barnes, Michael Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davies, Ifor (Cower) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Barnett, Joel Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Beaney, Alan Davis, Clinton (Hacknev, C.) Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Deakins, Eric Hamling, William
Bidwell, Sydney de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrev Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Bishop, E. S. Delargy, H. J. Hardy, Peter
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dempsey, James Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Booth, Albert Doig, Peter Hattersley, Roy
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Dormand, J. D. Heffer, Eric S.
Bradley, Tom Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Horam, John
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, w.) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)
Brown Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Driberg, Tom Huckfield, Leslie
Buchan, Norman Duffy, A. E. P. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Dunnett, Jack Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Eadie, Alex Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Cailaghan, Rt. Hn. James Edelman, Maurice Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hunter, Adam
Cant, R. B. Edwards, William (Merioneth) Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Carmichael, Neil Ellis, Tom Janner, Greville
Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield) English, Michael Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Evans, Fred Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n & St.P'cras, S.)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Faulds, Andrew Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. John, Brynmor
Cohen, Stanley Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Coleman, Donald Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Concannon, J. D. Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Conlan, Bernard Foot, Michael Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Ford, Ben Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth. C.) Forrester, John Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Miller, Dr. M. S. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Jones, T, Alec (Rhondda, w.) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Sillars, James
Judd, Frank Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Silverman, Julius
Kaufman, Gerald Molloy, William Skinner, Dennis
Kelley, Richard Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Small, William
Kerr, Russell Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Spearing, Nigel
Kinnock, Neil Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Spriggs, Leslie
Lambie, David Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Stallard, A. W.
Lamond, James Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Latham, Arthur Murray, Ronald King Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Lawson, George Ogden, Eric Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Leadbitter, Ted O'Halloran, Michael Strang, Gavin
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick O'Malley, Brian Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Leonard, Dick Oram, Bert Taverne, Dick
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Orme, Stanley Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff, W.)
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Padley, Walter Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Lipton, Marcus Paget, R. T. Tinn, James
Lomas, Kenneth Palmer, Arthur Tomney, Frank
Loughlin, Charles Parker, John (Dagenham) Torney, Tom
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Tuck, Raphael
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Pendry, Tom Urwin, T. W.
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pentland, Norman Varley, Eric G.
McBride, Neil Perry, Ernest G. Wainwright, Edwin
McCann, John Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
McCartney, Hugh Prescott, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
McElhone, Frank Price, J. T. (Westhoughon) Wallace, George
McGuire, Michael Probert, Arthur Watkins, David
Mackenzie, Gregor Rankin, John Weitzman, David
Mackintosh, John P. Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wellbeloved, James
Maclennan, Robert Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Rhodes, Geoffrey White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
McNamara, J. Kevin Richard, Ivor Whitehead, Phillip
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitlock, William
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield. E) Robertson, John (Paisley) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marks, Kenneth Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Marquand, David Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Marsden, F. Roper, John Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Marshall, Dr. Edmund Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Meacher, Michael Sandelson, Neville Woof, Robert
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-uncler-Lyne)
Mendelson, John Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mikardo, Ian Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Millan, Bruce Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Mr. James A. Dunn.
Adley, Robert Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn) Emery, Peter
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Carlisle, Mark Eyre, Reginald
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Farr, John
Astor, John Channon, Paul Fell, Anthony
Atkins, Humphrey Chapman, Sydney Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Awdry, Daniel Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Fidler, Michael
Baker, w. H. K. (Banff) Chichester-Clark, R. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Balniel, Lord Churchill, W. S. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Flercher-Cooke, Charles
Batsford, Brian Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fookes, Miss Janet
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Clegg, Walter Foster, Sir John
Bell, Ronald Cockeram, Eric Fowler, Norman
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Coombs, Derek Fox, Marcus
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cooper, A. E. Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford … Stone)
Benyon, W. Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Fry, Peter
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cormack, Patrick Galbrarith, Hn. T. G.
Biffen, John Costain, A. P. Gardner, Edward
Biggs-Davison, John Critchley, Julian Gibson-Watt, David
Blaker, Peter Crouch, David Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Crowder, F. P. Glyn, Dr. Alan
Boscawen, Robert Curran, Charles Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Bossom, Sir Clive Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutstord) Goodhart, Philip
Bowden, Andrew d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Goodhew, Victor
Boyd'Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John
Braine, Bernard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Gorst, John
Bray, Ronald Dean, Paul Gower, Raymond
Brewis, John Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Digby, Simon Wingfleld Gray, Hamish
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Dixon, Piers Green, Alan
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Grieve, Percy
Bryan, Paul Drayson, G. B. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Dykes, Hugh Grylls, Michael
Buck, Antony Eden, Sir John Gummer, Selwyn
Bullus, Sir Eric Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Curden, Harold
Burden, F. A. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maginnis, John E. Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Marples, Rt Hn. Ernest Rost, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Marten, Neil Russell, Sir Ronald
Hannam, John (Exeter) Mather, Carol St. John-Stevas, Norman
Harrrison, Brian (Maldon) Maude, Angus Scott, Nicholas
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mawby, Ray Scott-Hopkins, James
Haselhurst, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hastings, Stephen Meyer, Sir Anthony Simeons, Charles
Havers, Michael Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Sinclair, Sir George
Hay, John Miscampbell, Norman Skeet, T. H. H.
Hayhoe, Barney Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire. W) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Soref, Harold
Hicks, Robert Moate, Roger Speed, Keith
Higgins, Terence L. Molyneaux, James Spence, John
Hiley, Joseph Money, Ernle Sproat, lain
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Monro, Hector Stanbrook, Ivor
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Montgomery, Fergus Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Holland, Philip More, Jasper Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Holt, Miss Mary Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Hordern, Peter Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stokes, John
Hornby, Richard Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Mudd, David Sutcliffe, John
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Murton, Oscar Tapsell, Peter
Howell, David (Guildford) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Neave, Airey Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hunt, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Tebbit, Norman
Iremonger, T. L. Normanton, Tom Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
James, David Nott, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Onslow, Cranley Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Jessel, Toby Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Tilney, John
Jopling, Michael Osborn, John Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Page, Graham (Crosby) Trew, Peter
Kaberry, Sir Donald Page, John (Harrow, W.) Tugendhat, Christopher
Kilfedder, James Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Kimball, Marcus Peel, John van Straubenzee, W. R.
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Percival, Ian Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Vickers, Dame Joan
Kinsey, J. R. Pike, Miss Mervyn Waddington, David
Kirk, Peter Pink, R. Bonner Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Kitson, Timothy Pounder, Rafton Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Knox, David Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Walters, Dennis
Lane, David Price, David (Eastleigh) Ward, Dame Irene
Langford-Holt, Sir John Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Warren, Kenneth
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Proudfoot, Wilfred Weatherill, Bernard
Le Marchant, Spencer Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Wells, John (Maidstone)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Quennell, Miss J. M. White, Roger (Gravesend)
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Raison, Timothy Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Longden, Gilbert Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Loveridge, John Redmond, Robert Wilkinson, John
Luce, R. N. Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rees, Peter (Dover) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
MacArthur, Ian Rees-Davies, W. R. Woodnutt, Mark
McCrindle, R. A. Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Worsley, Marcus
McLaren, Martin Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Younger, Hn. George
McMaster, Stanley Ridsdale, Julian
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) FELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McNair-Wilson, Michael Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Mr. Paul Hawkins and
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Mr. Tim Fortescue.
Maddan, Martin

9.15 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

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

The substance of all the points in the Amendment has already been discussed. It is largely redrafting. Subsections (1), (2) and (5) take the place of passages which we have removed from an earlier Clause. Subsection (4) makes plain the position where there is more than one union party to a shop agreement. Subsection (6), which I have already explained in connection with

Amendment No. 18, is designed to make it possible for an agency shop agreement to be made with an employer's association as well as with one or more employer. That provision was generally welcomed when we discussed it in the context of Amendment No. 18.

In subsection (3), which we discussed during the last debate, provision is made for a form of check-off in respect of contributions by a contributing member.

The only other change to which I should draw attention is in subsection (2)(b). The words "has refused" are replaced by the word "refuses", an Amendment moved by Lord Gray in another place, so as to make plain that it is refusal at the time which is a necessary condition to show that the worker is not complying with the agency shop agreement.

On that basis, I commend the new Clause to the House.

Mr. Harold Walker

I have two queries to raise. The Solicitor-General said that he had referred earlier to subsection (6). I deeply regret that I was not here for the opening of his earlier speech, and I missed that reference, so he may well have dealt with the query which I wish to raise on it.

First, however, I take up the question of subsection (2) and the change to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, that is, that it will not be an unfair industrial practice for an employer to refused to engage an applicant for work who is (a) not a trade unionist or (b) is not prepared to pay his contributions in lieu. Does this mean that an earlier assumption of mine that Clause 5 may well preclude an employer from vetting the trade union credentials of an applicant for employment is ill-founded and the employer may so vet an applicant? In other words, is it open to him to say, in effect, that membership of a particular union is a matter which he is entitled to question, and he will reserve his judgment about whether there is in that respect a valid reason for employing him?

Now, the question on subsection (6). I can well understand that this has probably been introduced to meet the difficulties of people engaged in the acting profession, for example, in which there is transitory employment and a plurality of employers. But does it at the same time open the door for the Engineering Employers' Federation to conclude an agreement with, for example, the A.E.F. at national level that in all federated establishments, toolmakers, say, shall be members of the A.E.F.? In other words, can a national agency be established along those lines between a union and an employers' federation on behalf of all federated establishments?

The Solicitor-General

I did not quite follow the question which the hon. Gentleman put on subsection (2). Would he be good enuogh to explain it a little further?

Mr. Walker

Subsection (2) provides that it shall not be an unfair industrial practice for an employer to refuse to engage a worker who is either not a member of a trade union or refuses to pay his contributions in lieu. In other words, if an applicant for employment is neither one nor the other, the employer is entitled to refuse to engage him without incurring penalty. Clearly, that implies that the employer has the right to vet the union credentials of an applicant and to put the question, "Are you a member of a trade union?".

In earlier debates there had been an assumption, certainly on my part, that the provisions of the Clause could put the employer at some risk if he asked an applicant for employment, "Are you a member of a trade union?" and subsequently wrote regretting that he had been unsuccessful in his application. We never had the position clarified. Would the applicant who admitted he was a non-unionist applying for employment at an establishment with 100 per cent. unionism—not a closed shop—have grounds for telling the tribunal or court, "I believe that there has been prejudice against me because I am not a union member"? It seemed to me that there was implicit in the Clause a disentitlement to the employer to ask that question. Subsection (2) of the new Clause implies that the employer has the right to ask an applicant whether he is a union member, and, if he is not, whether he is prepared to become one or to pay his contributions in lieu. Is my interpretation correct?

The Solicitor-General

With the leave of the House, I should like to answer the two points the hon. Gentleman raised. His understanding of the effect of subsection (2) is entirely correct. With the small change that I have mentioned, it reproduces the provision in the original Clause 5. The effect is that where an agency shop agreement exists the employer is entitled to ask a prospective employee whether he is a member of Union X. If the man says, "No", the employer may reply, "If you are to enter employment here you must become a member of Union X or agree to pay appropriate contributions". It is in order for the employer to ask that kind of question.

Clause 18 makes it plain that the statement given to the employee under the Contracts of Employment Act would have to tell him the nature of his union membership obligations in the place at which he will come to work, and Clause 7 gives the incoming worker a month in which to join the union or pay the contribution.

Therefore, the position is that the employer can ask, "Do you belong? If not, will you belong or contribute?" If the man refuses to reply, "Yes", to either of those questions the employer can refuse to engage him. If the answer is, "Yes", the employer can dismiss him if he does not comply with his agreements.

I explained subsection (6) when the hon. Gentleman was not present in the Chamber, but I will run over it again shortly. It entitles an employers' association, including an employers' federation, to make an agency shop agreement on behalf of its members with a union or unions. The employers' association can do that industry-wide in so far as its membership is industry-wide. There may be some employers in the industry who do not belong to the association, and therefore could not be covered by such an agreement. Let us take, for example, the employers' association in the boot and shoe industry, which made representations to ascertain that it could make an agency shop agreement for all its members throughout the section of the industry that it covered. That association may indeed enter into an agency shop agreement on behalf of all its members. It could not bind people who did not belong to it, but within its membership, acting on their behalf as a result of subsection (6)(b), it would make the agency shop agreement so as to bind any member of the association or any employer who became a member.

I hope that makes the position clear. Both answers are in the sense that the hon. Member wants. An employer may inquire into the credentials of a prospective employee and encourage him to join the union and the employers' association may make an agency shop agreement on behalf of all its members.

9.30 p.m.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

I am getting a little worried about this interchange. I was not able to listen to the introduction to the discussion, and I am probably stepping off on the wrong foot. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am always perfectly willing to declare that I do not know something. The Opposition would be far better if they learned a little more sometimes. [HON. MEMBERS: "You should come and listen."] I had other business to attend to. [HON. MEMBERS: "The House comes first."] It is no good shouting at me, because I will just stand here until I have said what I want to say. In fact, I am rather enjoying standing here, because I can have a good look at all the hon. Members opposite. Where I am is a very good observation post.

I want to know for certain that this provision will not affect the right of the professional engineers now involved in the C. A. Parsons dispute, many of them my constituents. [HON. MEMBERS: "What a question !"] I can stand up for them if I want to do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are not miners."] They are not miners, but they are professional engineers. Hon. Members opposite might as well allow me to go on, because I intend to say what I want to say and it will save time if they let me do so now.

I want to be assured that what my hon. and learned Friend said in that interchange will not affect the right of professional engineers not to join D.A.T.A. unless they want to do so. I have been told in correspondence that when the Bill is passed, the position of professional engineers will be absolutely clear, and I want to be certain that there is no alteration to that.

The Solicitor-General

Before my hon. Friend sits down—I hope that I may interrupt her, for I am sure that the House would not want me to speak again——

Mr. Speaker

Has the hon. and learned Gentleman the leave of the House?

Hon. Members


The Solicitor-General

I was seeking to interrupt my hon. Friend in order to answer her question. I had hoped to catch her before she sat down from her lofty vantage point. I wish to say that a professional engineer covered by an agency shop agreement would be covered by it exactly as the agreement said. The employer could ask him whether he belonged to the union in question and whether he was willing to contribute to the union in question but he would not be obliged to belong.

Dame Irene Ward

He would have to pay the agency shop contribution?

The Solicitor-General

Yes, but he could not be compelled, as the union mentioned by my hon. Friend would seek to compel him, to join a union against his wishes.

Mrs. Castle

May I help the hon. Lady?

Dame Irene Ward

There is no need to help me.

Mrs. Castle

May I thank the hon. Lady, who has helped the House by her pertinent question? I want to make it clear, so that we may all benefit from the Solicitor-General's answer, that he is saying about the professional workers in whom the hon. Lady is interested that if an agency shop agreement existed, they could be compelled to contribute to D.A.T.A. as well as to their professional organisation.

The Solicitor-General

But not to belong.

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

The House divided: Ayes 285, Noes 254.

Division No. 441.] AYES [9.35 p.m.
Adley, Robert Coombs, Derek Gray, Hamish
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Cooper, A. E. Green, Alan
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Grieve, Percy
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Cormack, Patrick Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmund
Astor, John Costain, A. P. Grylls, Michael
Atkins, Humphrey Critchley, Julian Gummer, Selwyn
Awdry, Daniel Crouch, David Gurden, Harold
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Crowder, F. P. Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Balniel, Lord Curran, Charles Hall, John (Wycombe)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Batsford, Brian d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen. James Hannam, John (Exeter)
Bell, Ronald Dean, Paul Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Bennett, Sir Frederick (Torquay) Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Digby, Simon Wingfield Haselhurst, Alan
Benyon, W. Dixon, Piers Hastings, Stephen
Berry, Hn. Anthony Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Havers, Michael
Biffen, John Drayson, G. B. Hay, John
Biggs-Davison, John Dykes, Hugh Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Blaker, Peter Eden, Sir John Hicks, Robert
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Higgins, Terence L.
Boscawen, Robert Elliott, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hiley, Joseph
Bossom, Sir Clive Elliot, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Bowden, Andrew Emery, Peter Hill, James (Southampton, Teat)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Eyre, Reginald Holland, Philip
Braine, Bernard Fell, Anthony Holt, Miss Mary
Bray, Ronald Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Hordern, Peter
Brewis, John Fidler, Michael Hornby, Richard
Brinton, Sir Tatton Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Howell, David (Guildford)
Bryan, Paul Fookes, Miss Janet Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Fortescue, Tim Hunt, John
Buck, Antony Foster, Sir John Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bullus, Sir Eric Fowler, Norman Iremonger, T. L.
Burden, F. A. Fox, Marcus James, David
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn) Fry, Peter Jessel, Toby
Carlisle, Mark Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Gardner, Edward Jopling, Michael
Channon, Paul Gibson-Watt, David Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Chapman, Sydney Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Glyn, Dr. Alan Kershaw, Anthony
Chichester-Clark, R. Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Kilfedder, James
Churchill, W. S. Goodhart, Philip Kimball, Marcus
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Goodhew, Victor King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gorst, John King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Cockeram, Eric Gower, Raymond Kinsey, J. R.
Cooke, Robert Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Kirk, Peter
Kitson, Timothy Nott, John Spence, John
Knox, David Onslow, Cranley Sproat, lain
Lane, David Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Stanbrook, Ivor
Langford-Holt, Sir John Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Osborn, John Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Le Marchant, Spencer Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Page, Graham (Crosby) Stokes, John
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Page, John (Harrow, W.) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Longden, Gilbert Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Sutcliffe, John
Loveridge, John Peel, John Tapsell, Peter
Luce, R. N, Percival, Ian Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
MacArthur, Ian Pike, Miss Mervyn Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
McCrindle, R. A. Pink, R. Bonner Tebbit, Norman
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Pounder, Rafton Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
McMaster, Stanley Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Price, David (Eastleigh) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
McNair-Wilson, Michael Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
McNair-Wilon, Patrick (New Forest) Proudfoot, Wilfred Tilney, John
Maddan, Martin Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Maginnis, John E. Quennell, Miss J. M. Trew, Peter
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Raison, Timothy Tugendhat, Christopher
Marten, Neil Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Mather, Carol Redmond, Robert van Straubenzee, W. R.
Maude, Angus Reed, Laurence (Bolton, E.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Mawby, Ray Rees, Peter (Dover) Vickers, Dame Joan
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J Rees-Davies, W. R. Waddington, David
Meyer, Sir Anthony Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Miscampbell Norman Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Walters, Dennis
Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W) Ridsdale, Julian Ward, Dame Irene
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Warren, Kenneth
Moate, Roger Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Weatherill, Bernard
Molyneaux, James Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Money, Ernle Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Monro, Hector Rost, Peter Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Montgomery, Fergus Russell, Sir Ronald Wiggin, Jerry
More, Jasper St. John-Stevas, Norman Wilkinson, John
Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Scott, Nicholas Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Scott-Hopkins, James Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Worsley, Marcus
Mudd, David Simeons, Charles Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Murton, Oscar Sinclair, Sir George Younger, Hn. George
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Skeet, T. H. H.
Neave, Airey Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Soref, Harold Mr. Paul Hawkins and
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Speed, Keith Mr. Walter Clegg.
Normanton, Tom
Abse, Leo Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Driberg, Tom
Albu, Austen Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Duffy, A. E. P.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Dunnett, Jack
Allen, Scholefield Cohen, Stanley Eadie, Alex
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Coleman, Donald Edelman, Maurice
Ashton, Joe Concannon, J. D. Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Atkinson, Norman Conlan, Bernard Ellis, Tom
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Corbet, Mrs. Freda English, Michael
Barnes, Michael Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Evans, Fred
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Crawshaw, Richard Faulds, Andrew
Barnett, Joel Cronin, John Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.
Beaney, Alan Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bidwell, Sydney Dalyell, Tam Foot, Michael
Bishop, E. S. Darling, Rt. Hn. George Ford, Ben
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davidson, Arthur Forrester, John
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Fraser, John (Norwood)
Booth, Albert Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Freeson, Reginald
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Davies, Ifor (Cower) Galpern, Sir Myer
Bradley, Tom Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil) Garrett, W. E.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, c.) Gilbert, Dr. John
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Ginsburg, David
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Deakins, Eric Golding, John
Buchan, Norman de Freitas, Rt, Hn. Sir Geoffrey Gourlay, Harry
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'bum) Delargy, H. J. Grant, George (Morpeth)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Dempsey, James Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Doig, Peter Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Cant, R. B. Dormand, J. D. Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Carmichael, Neil Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hamling, William
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McGuire, Michael Roper, John
Hardy, Peter Mackenzie, Gregor Rose, Paul B.
Harper, Joseph Mackintosh, John P. Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Maclennan, Robert Sandelson, Neville
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Hattersley, Roy McNamara, J. Kevin Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Heffer, Eric S. Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Short, Mrs. Renée (W 'hampton, N.E.)
Horam, John Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Marks, Kenneth Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Huckfield, Leslie Marquand, David Sillars, James
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Marsden, F. Silverman, Julius
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Small, William
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Meacher, Michael Spearing, Nigel
Hunter, Adam Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Spriggs, Leslie
lrvine, Rt.Hn.SirArthur (Edge Hill) Mendelson, John Stallard, A. W.
Janner, Greville Millan, Bruce Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Miller, Dr. M. S. Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras, S.) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Strang, Gavin
John, Brynmor Molloy, William Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Taverne, Dick
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff, W.)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Tinn, James
Jones, Rt. Hn. SirElwyn (W. Ham, S.) Murray, Ronald King Tomney, Frank
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Ogden, Eric Torney, Tom
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) O'Halloran, Michael Tuck, Raphael
Judd, Frank O'Malley, Brian Urwin, T. W.
Kaufman, Gerald Oram, Bert Varley, Eric G.
Kelley, Richard Orme, Stanley Wainwright, Edwin
Kerr, Russell Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Kinnock, Neil Padley, Walter Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lambie, David Paget, R. T. Wallace, George
Lamond, David Palmer, Arthur Watkins, David
Latham, Arthur Parker, John (Dagenham) Weitzman, David
Lawson, George Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Wellbeloved, James
Leadbitter, Ted Pendry, Tom Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Pentland, Norman White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Leonard, Dick Perry, Ernest G. Whitehead, Phillip
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Whitlock, William
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Prescott, John Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lipton, Marcus Probert, Arthur Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Lomas, Kenneth Rankin, John Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Loughlin, Charles Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Rhodes, Geoffrey Woof, Robert
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Richard, Ivor
McBride, Neil Roberts, Albert (Normanton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McCann, John Robertson, John (Paisley) Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
McCartney, Hugh Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Mr. James A. Dunn.
McElhone, Frank Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Forward to