Lords Amendment: No. 12, in page 5, line 39, at end insert:
(1A) Any worker who, on application to an employer, has been refused engagement, and who claims that the refusal was attributable (wholly or in part) to a provision in an agreement which had the effect of precluding the employer as mentioned in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section may apply to the Industrial Court for an order under the next following subsection.
(1B) If on such an application the Industrial Court finds—
the Industrial Court shall make an order declaring that provision to be void".
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.
I suggest that it might be for the convenience of the House to discuss at the same time Lords Amendment No. 13, in page 5, line 40, leave out subsection (2), 703 and Lords Amendment No. 61, in page 24, line 26, at end insert:() knowingly to induce an employer to comply with a provision declared to be void by an order of the Industrial Court under section 6(1B) of this Act, orThis group of Lords Amendments, two of them to Clause 6 and one of them to Clause 31, is designed to deal with one point, namely, the situation where although a pre-entry closed shop agreement does not exist as such, another agreement or arrangement has the same effect as a pre-entry closed shop agreement. The House will know that the Government are opposed to the continued existence of the pre-entry closed shop whereby somebody is unable to secure employment unless he is already a member of a given union. It is clear from Clause 6 as it stands that without this Lords Amendment it would be possible for a pre-entry closed shop to be maintained by virtue of an arrangement or agreement which had the same effect. Lords Amendment No. 12 enables a worker to make application to the industrial court if he can show that as a result of an arrangement of that kind he has been refused work and is not therefore able to establish his rights under Clause 5 to work. Clause 6(2) is to be removed by Lords Amendment No. 13 because there is, on further consideration, no need for that to appear there.
The third Lords Amendment in this group, No. 61, is an Amendment to Clause 31 making it plain that if an industrial action be threatened or taken with the intention of persuading an employer to deny a worker his rights under Clause 6—in other words, if industrial action be taken with the object of enforcing the pre-entry closed shop, whether explicitly or implicitly—that is also industrial action to be regarded as an unfair industrial practice.
There is no further consequence of this trio of Lords Amendments, which are designed to make clear and effective the clear intention of the Government as originally set out in Clause 6, namely, that pre-entry closed shop agreements are to be void.
§ Mr. Heffer
The Amendment is designed to plug what the Lord Chancellor described and what the Solicitor-General has described in a different way 704 as an obvious gap. In other words, there could well be a pre-entry closed shop agreement between an employer and trade unions which has existed with amicable arrangements between employer and unions for, say, 20 or 30 years, but, because the Bill when enacted will make the agreement null and void, the unions and employer can make a verbal agreement to continue the long-standing agreement which has worked well over the years.
The Government realised this and therefore decided that the gap must be closed. Yet the Tories say that they are not against the trade union movement. If ever there was an example of the extent to which the Government are against the trade union movement this is one. The Government therefore produced the Amendment which will secure that any worker who goes to a shop of the type I have described and asks for a job, and who is put off by the employer because he is not old enough or because he is not the type of worker the employer requires, and who thinks there is an agreement between the employer and the unions to perpetuate a closed shop arrangement, can make an application to the Industrial Court.
Hon. Members opposite are delighted with the Amendment. This is a good example of their class politics. The Solicitor-General used the very words which we have said are in line with American policy. He referred to the right to work. He revealed that the Tories believe in the American concept—the right of the union shop and the right of the non-unionist to have protection under the law. It is right that the Solicitor-General spelt the situation out more clearly than it was spelt out in the other place by the Lord Chancellor.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
My hon. Friend makes an alarming statement, though I do not deny that he is correct. Perhaps he will take the example of the National Union of Mine-workers. Since nationalisation a form of pre-entry closed shop has been in operation. It seems that my hon. Friend is saying that the Amendment can mean dislocation in the mining industry with men attempting to work underground without being members of the union.
§ Mr. Heffer
Of course it can work out like that. Further than that, not only 705 are all pre-entry closed shops void, any informal arrangement between a union and employer which appears to be continuing a closed shop equally becomes void as a result of the Amendment. In other words, the Government have seen that there is just a remote possibility that such arrangements could be made and in order to ensure that the gap is closed they have introduced the Amendment. It reveals their real thinking. The Lord Chancellor did not so clearly reveal the situation as it has now been revealed by the Solicitor-General.
The other point about the Amendment which needs underlining is that the application will have to be made by a worker to the industrial court. Obviously, once the application is made, the worker has to prove his case. But he will not be doing so on his own. At that stage, the lawyers will become involved. We have described the Bill as a lawyers' picnic and this is a very good example of the sort of pickings that the lawyers will be able to get out of the Bill. The trade union will have to employ its lawyer, the worker will be employing a lawyer, and the employer may well have to employ a lawyer. One can envisage an extremely complicated situation which will be totally unnecessary in that it could be destroying an arrangement which has existed perfectly logically and happily for 20 or 30 years.
We are opposed to the whole concept that the pre-entry closed shop should be destroyed. We are equally opposed to this Amendment because it is a logical extension of the Clause. On that basis, we shall vote against the Amendment.
§ Mr. Robert Edwards (Bilston)
I have signed quite a number of closed shop agreements in the chemical industry. I have always been opposed to the closed shop. I think that one must hold union members by the services one gives them and not by any duress. But from time to time I have discovered that the managements of certain chemical factories have thought that, in their own interest, it would be better for themselves and for negotiations to make it a condition of employment that the worker should be a member of the appropriate trade union. I have signed six such agreements. We have never had any trouble in those firms.
706 I do not know how one can apply this Clause, because those trade union members covered by the closed shop will not give up this right without a fight. Many millions of workers are in this kind of situation. If the Government try to apply these provisions, they will witness some of the biggest industrial upheavals this country has seen since the general strike.
10 0 p.m.
I give as an example the more than 100 co-operative societies where union membership is a condition of employment. The relevant rules have been confirmed by the membership at their quarterly and annual general meetings. Their reason for having the closed shop arrangement is that part of the union work relates to benefits such as pensions. No retirement pension is payable unless all the employees are union members. Without that, the organisation cannot function. The union negotiations relate not only to wages but to holidays, sickness payments and retirement pensions. Negotiations of this kind create harmony within the service industries, particularly those covered by the co-operative movement, and that work cannot be carried out without the closed shop.
How will the Government deal with over 100 such powerful consumer organisations? Those co-operative societies have 12½ million members, over half of whom are housewives, and the rules are confirmed by those members at the annual general meetings. How will the Government deal with that situation? Do they think that these societies will change their rules just because a Tory Government bring in this Measure? They will do no such thing.
You will have trouble in the distributive trades as well as throughout British industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) says that you are fighting class warfare, and I am afraid that lodged in the minds of millions of industrial workers is the firm belief that you do not talk class war—you wage it, once you get power——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This may be a formality, but, technically, the hon. Member is addressing the Chair.
§ Mr. Edwards
I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker. I would not dream of suggesting that you were waging class warfare 707 I therefore hope that it is not too late for new thinking in this respect. The new Clauses will not work. The trade union movement will not give away rights it has won after a hundred years of struggle, as the Government will discover to their amazement once they try to apply this kind of legislation.
§ Mr. Orme
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards), who has put an excellent case, I believe that where it can be obtained we need 100 per cent. trade unionism, as opposed to inflicting a closed shop from above, as it were, on trade union members. The interesting point to note is that the majority of the closed shop agreements result from the behest of the employers. For instance, for safety and for other reasons, it is as much in the interests of the National Coal Board to have 100 per cent. union membership as it is for the National Union of Mine-workers.
Let us suppose that a man seeks work at a factory with 100 per cent. union membership and where there is an agreement that before a worker starts, the management will ask him whether he has a trade union card—always assuming that it is satisfied that he can do the job. He may not have a card. He may have lapsed his membership, or he may have left his trade, or something of that kind. The manager tells him, "We have here a 100 per cent. trade union organisation, but it is not a closed shop". In certain industries prior lack of a card precludes a man from getting a job.
I can see the argument for this, and I operated this kind of arrangement in industry when I was a shop steward, and a shop steward convenor. If the manager tells the person concerned that he considers him to be suitable for employment in the firm, but asks whether he is prepared to join the appropriate union after he has been at the firm for a week, or three weeks, or a month, and has proved himself to be a suitable employee, how will this provision apply? The person concerned has to give an undertaking, before he starts work, that he will join a union in due course, but he does not have a union card at the time of starting work. In such a firm as that, one often finds that there is an agreement between the trade union and the employer that if 708 either side finds someone unsatisfactory his employment will be terminated.
In many industries the very fact that a man holds a union card almost guarantees that he has the necessary skill for the job. [HON. MEMBERS: "Almost."] Not always, but almost always. I am not trying to be pedantic: I am saying that in many cases it proves almost overwhelmingly that he has the necessary skill.
§ The Solicitor-General
I do not want to seek the leave of the House to speak again, but if I may I should like to answer the question put to me by the hon. Gentleman. The Clause does not affect the situation that he has posed. It affects only the situation in which a worker coming for a job has to be in possession of a union card. If he does not have a union card, and the employer says that he must join a union, that takes us back to the agency shop provisions. An employer cannot tell the man that he must join a union. He must tell the man that he must join or agree to pay the appropriate contributions, but that is dealt with under the agency shop provisions. What we are concerned with here is the position of a man not being able to get a job unless he can, at the moment of application, produce a union card—the pre-entry closed shop.
§ Mr. Orme
I understand that, but if that man is refused a job and he feels aggrieved and goes to the industrial court, it will be up to the court to interpret the situation. I think the Solicitor-General will agree that it is likely that the industrial court, which will be an independent body, will reach a decision different from that which the Solicitor-General would like it to reach, but it will be based on the terms of the Bill and on the agency shop agreement.
The other matter to which I wish to refer is that of the chaos that will be created in industry. Quite often when a difficulty arises over industrial relations, the fact that a man is a member of a trade union, which means that he is a skilled man, is of great assistance to the employer as well as to the trade union. Sometimes people get trade union cards illegally. Sometimes they are filled in wrongly. This has happened. I have known people start work and then the management discover that they do not 709 have the necessary skills or qualifications for the job.
If there has been a previous arrangement with the trade union and the union is satisfied that they are not qualified or satisfactory, an agreement can be reached between the management and the employees which in the interests of industrial relations prevents industrial strife". These are the arrangements which are going on in British industry and they are conducted by shop stewards who are responsible to their members and have as much responsibility as works managers.
The pre-entry closed shop will be smashed and there will be the problems of the agency shop, of contracting out of a union and of a shop steward chasing around to see whether the subscriptions have been deducted. All these things could be exploited by employers.
Hon. Members opposite with experience of industrial relations from an employer's point of view know that, in a shop with proper trade union organisation, where agreements are mutually made and kept, there is a far happier atmosphere than in badly organised nonunion shops.
§ The Clause will make industrial relations more difficult and create all sorts of problems. Recalcitrant men who want to be genuine trouble makers could create all sorts of problems. This Clause, which says that the pre-entry closed shop is finished, is central to the Bill and must be opposed by this side of the House.
§ Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)
I apologise for having been away for the opening speeches on these Amendments. I have been sitting here since the debate started and only retired to eat.
We are opposed to these proposals. If someone is precluded from employment because he does not have a union card, if an agreement between a union and an employer includes a provision denying him that employment, he will then be able to appeal against this provision.
Hon. Members look to their own experience. My industry is shipping. The Government have faced considerable difficulties in interpreting the Bill with regard to shipping and have had to adjust it—although they have not done so very well. One of the difficulties in the employment 710 of seamen is the provision of the agency shop or the approved closed shop. There was the difficulty of the seaman who was away and who chose to disobey a master's lawful command. In this situation he faces severe penalties. It is against the law for him to do what he considers is his right, which is to refuse to work with such a person. Any agency shop or closed shop agreement which is reached must include a provision which will prevent this problem from arising, which means that a man will have to make his decision about whether to join a union before the ship sails.
The Bill says that the Secretary of State will have power to adjust the periods during which men will have an opportunity to decide whether or not to belong to a union, and I understand that the periods envisage are from one to three months. This brings me back to the difficulties that will be faced by a man joining a ship. If he has up to three months to decide whether or not to join a union, all sorts of problems might arise. For example, he might be in another part of the world while problems are having to be faced on the ship itself.
It has been suggested that a man joining a ship in this situation will have to make his decision before the ship sails. If an agreement contains a clause to that effect, how will it overcome the difficulty that the man's employment on the ship begins from the moment he signs his contract and joins the ship? Technically, therefore, it is almost impossible for him not to be a member of a union before signing on.
It seems that a closed shop or agency shop agreement will have to include a provision that men must make their decision about whether or not to join a union before they join their ships. How this dilemma will be overcome it is difficult to see, though we have made it clear that we reject the Bill in its entirety.
§ Mr. J. R. Kinsey (Birmingham, Perry Barr)
We cannot allow this part of the debate to pass without a word from these benches. I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Liverpol, Walton (Mr. Heffer) talk about the situation working happily. One of the greatest forms of tyranny that the trade unions exert is. 711 the denial of the right to work—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."]—and this remains one of the greatest tyrannies that the unions can impose.
A man who falls foul of his union by one means or another may find his union card withdrawn, and that will mean not only the loss of his job in his present firm but probably an inability to get another job with another firm in the same industry. This applies as much to shipping as to anything else.
This must be altered. The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) spoke about the "awkward squad". Why should not even the awkward person be allowed to work? If it were not for him, one or two hon. Members would not be in the House of Commons. A constituent of mine has suffered very badly from this and, by ensuring that nobody else suffers as he has done, we shall do a great service to the trade unions.
§ Mr. Skinner
The question of the pre-entry closed shop is typified by the coal mining industry and by the industry which my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) represents. Ever since nationalisation there has been a pre-entry closed shop in the mining industry, and one cannot visualise how the mining of coal could be carried out without a pre-entry closed shop. If workers in the mining industry were allowed to decide that they would not join the union, many measures would have to be taken by the union and by the management to deal with the situation.
For instance, there are consultative committees at national area and pit level. In the mining industry consultative committees are set up to represent the National Coal Board, the unions at management and junior official level and the N.U.M. I cannot visualise consultative committee meeting every fortnight to discuss production without being fully representative, as they are at present. Nor can I visualise the safety committee which meets once a month to discuss dust hazards and other safety problems making a decision on the basis that there are some men working underground who are not within the union. It cannot be tolerated, and it will not be tolerated.
§ Mr. Butler
I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that, if he has experience, as I have, of an industry which is not fully unionised, he will have had experience of works councils. A works council does not automatically represent only union members, but represents members of the unions and workers who are not members of the union. Workers are elected from the shop floor to the works council. The problems which the hon. Gentleman is discussing are those which I assume are discussed at the consultative committee in the National Union of Mineworkers.
§ Mr. Skinner
There is a big difference between a works council and the men who represent the unions on the consultative committees at the pit. I can only describe the people referred to by the hon. Gentleman as stooges. The people who represent the miners on the consultative committees and safety committees are of a different calibre from those mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.
To take the argument a little further every three years we elect workmen's inspectors under Section 123 of the Mines and Quarries Act, to see that the safety regulations are being carried out by the management. It would be a farcical situation if the workmen's inspector, elected by the men at the pit had to investigate the activities of non-union members who were contravening the Mines and Quarries Act. Can anyone imagine that the miners' union would tolerate a situation like that?
Let us take it a stage further. We have joint committees on the allocation of miners' houses. Can any hon. Member opposite in his right mind imagine a joint housing committee, comprising men elected by the respective unions, particularly the National Union of Mineworkers, allocating a house to a man who refuses to join the union? It is not on. I would more than hazard a guess that in some instances that man would not even be allowed to go into the local welfare and enjoy his pint with the rest of the men, and he would not deserve to do so either. Therefore the Clause, affecting the mining industry particularly, cannot work, whether it is lawful or not.
713 Had not this long stop, as it was described so ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), been introduced by the Government, it is fairly clear to me that the consultations which at present take place would without doubt have resulted in the National Coal Board, the National Union of Mineworkers and the deputies' union—N.A.C.O.D.S.—agreeing in verbal fashion to the pre-entry closed shop continuing as it has done up to the present.
The people who will be affected in this situation are not men of 20, 30, 40 or 50 entering the mining industry. The people who will join the union in future are the young lads of 15 coming from school. What kind of situation will it be when a young boy turns up at Grass-moor training centre wanting to start work at Oxcroft Colliery—if it is not closed beforehand—and being put in the situation that he is given the privilege of not signing a form which hitherto all miners have signed?
We at the Grassmoor training centre have put people in the position of lecturer to lecture not merely on mining practices but on the rôle of trade unionism in the mining industry. If the Clause is passed in its present form, we shall need not one lecturer to deal with the rôle of trade unionism in the industry; we shall need another to lecture about how not to have trade unionism in the industry.
§ Mr. Robert Redmond (Bolton, West)
I am bothered about the arrogance that the hon. Member is showing in this matter. In one instance he says that the National Union of Mineworkers does such a wonderful job for its members that it has to keep its members by compulsion and it does not allow anybody the opportunity of not joining the union because it dare not. That is absolute nonsense. I listened to the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) speaking from my own industry; I always feel that the hon. Member speaks with great sincerity, although I do not agree with 714 everything he says, and I follow him with great interest.
This arrogance on the part of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) in saying that the N.U.M. will demand membership from everyone because it cannot encourage people to join by its example of what it does for its members is the most outrageous conduct I have ever known from a trade unionist and it must be refuted from this side of the House. [Interruption.] The collier is a skilled man—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Skinner
Maybe the hon. Gentleman does believe that I am arrogant. I am not saying that I am, but perhaps that is the result of the environment in which I was brought up.
The hon. Gentleman talked about compulsion. I am saying, and have said from the outset, that it is not a question of people refusing to join the union in the mining industry. There will be very few idiots who will prefer that course. I am saying that the law as it will be if the Clause and the Amendment are passed will result in chaos in the industry, because neither management nor union could carry it out in practice. It is intolerable to think that a situation could arise whereby 900 men were working underground at the same time as half a dozen who were not in the union. It cannot be done. That is the point I am trying to make.
Whilst the N.U.M. and other unions, but the N.U.M. in particular, have engaged lawyers over the past 40 years or so to fight for damages at common law and under the old workmen's compensation provisions, there is no doubt that they will not be engaging lawyers to see to it that blacklegs and scabs are kept out of the mining industry. They will resolve that matter in the orthodox way they have used in the past, by stopping the wheels if necessary.
§ Mr. Carter-Jones
I am a bit puzzled, because the Solicitor-General has said that we are talking about making it much easier for shop stewards to conduct industrial relations. I am thinking of the ordinary shop steward who goes to a man on the factory floor and says, "Look, Fred, there's a problem for you here. Under Clause 6, at line 39 on page 5 of the Industrial Relations Act, 'Any worker who, on application to an employer, has been refused engagement, and who claims that the refusal was attributable (wholly or in part)'"—and remember that this is a poor guy on the shop floor explaining to his mate why he cannot get in—" 'to a provision in an agreement which had the effect of precluding the employer as mentioned in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section may apply to the Industrial Court for an order under the next following subsection'."
Will the Solicitor-General be there, holding the shop steward's hand, saying to him, "This is what's involved, mate"? No. There is only one Solicitor-General in this country—thank God!—and he cannot be everywhere.
§ The Clause is a Eunuchs' Charter. It is a device whereby over the years men with a large number of wives have protected their interests, by castrating those who are caring for them. This is emasculation taken into industrial relations. It is making quite sure that those who can come in under the Clause shall be harmless. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but that is the truth.
§ We have a choice. One course would be to multiply the Solicitor-General by one million, and I fervently hope that we do not. But if the Government want Clause 6 to work, every shop steward will have to have a solicitor, pure, unblemished, unsullied, non-Tory. If Clause 6 does not work in that pure and unsullied fashion required by the purists of the Tory Party, it will have to work in the other way.
§ It goes to the root of Tory philosophy. It is said to be a method by which to improve industrial relations. I have read it carefully and found it to be complicated, and even the Solicitor-General does not understand it. He is waiting for judges' law. He is waiting 716 for the judges to rule, in the hope that they will grind the unions down. If he cannot now rise to explain it in terms understandable by the simple people who will have to advise about it, ordinary guys in the street, perhaps one in 30, or 100, or even 1,000, he will be openly admitting that he is waiting for judges' law to prevail, hoping that any rulings from the courts will clamp down on union activities.
§ He is making sure that all the trouble makers are kept out of the unions. From time immemorial, ladies who have wanted to keep torn cats have treated them in advance, and that is precisely what this Clause will do to active unionists. It seeks to ensure that there are brought into the factories and the workshops people who will not fight and who will not have much regard for human dignity.
§ Mr. Ashton
I return to a more serious basis. The Clause is concerned with discrimination. It means that a man who applies for a job and believes that he is discriminated against if he does not get it will have the right to appeal to the court and say that the union and the employer are acting to keep him out of the job.
§ The Clause may result in severe embarrassment for personnel officers, and it is one of the Clauses which employers regret. It has the undertones and difficulties associated with other legislation which went through the House about two years ago, the Racial Discrimination Act.
§ There will be the feeling, when anyone applies for an unskilled job or one requiring a low level of skill and is refused, that he or she has been discriminated against. This will lead to severe embarrassment among employers. If a coloured man applies for a job and does not get it, because he does not have the qualifications, or is not suitable—and sometimes this happens with the best will in the world—he can allege, perhaps without foundation, that there is a conspiracy between the employer and union to keep him out of a job. He could appeal to the court on the grounds of racial discrimination, saying that there was some sort of tacit agreement to keep a coloured man out of a job. It could be very embarrassing for the employer if he had to explain it in the cold light of day.717
§ There is another angle to this Clause which will grow over the years, and it is to do with discrimination against women. Suppose there is a vacancy in a police force and a policewoman applies for the job, saying that she can do it as well as a policeman. Suppose too, that the chief constable has decided he wants 20 per cent. policewomen and 80 per cent. policemen. Is she entitled to say that this is discriminating against her because there is a tacit agreement between the chief constable and the Police Federation?
§ The same can happen in many other jobs. Suppose there is an advertisement for a journalist to report football matches at the Arsenal. A woman applies and the editor says that he prefers a man. Can she then take the paper to court and say she is perfectly well qualified to do the job but is being discriminated against because there is a tacit agreement with the union? Women are trying to break into engineering. There could be the same thing there. A woman could apply to work in a factory or a coal mine.
§ The bureaucratic machine could be built up until anyone could say that there was a tacit agreement between employer and union to keep him out of a job--because he will not join a union, because he was coloured, not qualified, or too old to join a pension scheme. It opens the door wide for anyone to go to the tribunal saying that they have been discriminated against.
§ Earlier the Solicitor-General said that there would be certain trouble makers who would always bring these things forward and object on some grounds. I am certain that this is true. There are certain people in the women's liberation movement who would challenge refusal of a job on the ground that they were entitled to do it and were being discriminated against—because they would not be admitted to the union, because the union had a rule which said "men only". The union might not be discriminating against them because they were women but because no women had applied to join the N.U.M. in the past and it had no rule to deal with it.
§ This is the lawyers' paradise part of the Bill. Once we begin to examine the ramifications of the Bill and how it can be exploited by any little pressure group which wants to make a nonsense of the Measure it will be seen that the door 718 is open to all who apply for a job. They can stand up and say that there is an agreement between the union and employer and that is why they are not getting the job, because they are women, because they are over 61 years, that they are willing to join the union but are not eligible under the rules. There has been a rule of no women in the Stock Exchange. It probably does not come under the head of "employer". There are certainly many cases where anyone who applies for a job and is refused can invoke clause 6. This is one of the many aspects of the Bill which turn it into a lawyer's paradise and a nonsense.
§ Any employer or person with experience will admit that the system of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) is better whereby if a man is a clause 1 member he is a fully skilled engineer and can do the job of fitter or turner or if he is a member of the N.U.M. he is fit to go down the pit. The system has been built up in industry of applying for and accepting jobs by means of a rule-of-thumb procedure which has been accepted through trial and error over a century by personnel officers who are not fools and shop stewards who know whether a man can do the job. The Government are driving a wedge into this system which destroys the established fabric of hiring and firing or hiring and testing for a certain time and leaves the door open to any pseudo women's "lib" organisation to exploit the situation.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)
I wish to comment on the impact which the Amendment is likely to have on the shop floor. My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Ashton), in a very powerful speech, has outlined the consequences which the Amendment is likely to have in the coal mining industry. As a Member for a constituency in the County of Durham, I endorse what he said because I know from my knowledge of the psychology of the Durham miners that as soon as a non-unionist enters the mines in Durham the whole industry will stop. The Government have not considered the consequences of their action in this Clause.
I wish to give one or two examples from the engineering industry. Imagine a factory employing 1,000 workers in a 719 pre-entry closed shop. A man applies for a job. He is not a member of the union, but the employer decides that he is too old for the job or has not enough skill for the job. Consequently he declines to employ him. He can go to the National Industrial Relations Court and claim that there has been discrimination against him. Suppose that the court upholds his case and the firm is told that it must employ him. What will happen in a union-organised shop with 1,000 members when one non-unionist is brought in? Will the 1,000 men cooperate with him—men who have spent their spare time, energy and money building up a union organisation? Will they co-operate with someone who has made no contribution to building up the union but who is prepared to take the benefits?
Have the Government consulted the Engineering Employers' Federation or any personnel officers about this matter? There is no doubt that if non-unionism is introduced into factories by this Clause, it will cause disharmony in establishments and institutions which perhaps have not had a strike for 30 or 40 years.
There is a difference between the arid lawyers' approach and the real problems which are understood by millions of people who work in factories. People who were in the mining industry spent 200 years in building up an organisation in face of persecution, deportation, harassment, imprisonment and victimisation to achieve better terms and conditions of employment for the men in the industry. Will the present members allow them to be undermined by individuals who have no allegiance to the union but who take the benefits built up not only by themselves but by their fathers and grandfathers? Will they allow all these benefits to be dissipated by this Clause? Of course they will not. Not one miner will respect this provision. Not one engineering worker in a closed shop will be prepared to welcome with open arms anyone who is not a union member who tries to claim the benefits that union organisation has secured.
This will be a lawyers' paradise. If there is only one awkward individual in every thousand, in the 10 million trade unionists that is 10,000 cases to be taken to the Industrial Court. I do not often disagree with my hon. Friend the Mem- 720 ber for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), but on this occasion he was guilty of an under-statement when he said that this would be a lawyers' picnic. I disagree. It will be a lawyers' banquet. The only growth industry under the Tory Government is likely to be the legal industry with thousands of cases going before the Industrial Court. When the Court has decided that an employer must take on a particular man whom it has refused employment on grounds of discrimination, hon. Members must not think that the workers will be prepared to accept such a worker. It is not the end of a case when a judgment has been given. Those on the Government Front Bench seem to be pinning their faith in the legal system and in the qualities of capitalist society. These are not the facts of life in the society in which we live.
The Bill is designed to bring peace and harmony into industrial society, we are told—to make relations between employer and employee more perfect. It is a Bill designed to reduce the number of strikes. I believe that the Bill will produce anarchy. If these provisions are allowed to come into force, they will result in industrial dislocation.
I advise right hon. and hon. Members opposite to speak to people with some experience in management in the engineering industry. Let them speak to personnel officers and ask them what the consequences will be of a pre-entry closed shop if any endeavour is made—it does not matter about the legal apparatus and the majesty of the law behind it—to introduce non-unionism through the back door.
§ Mr. Tom King
As somebody who has worked in management in a pre-entry closed shop, I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's comment. A little earlier in the day complaints were made about the need to deal effectively with the Lords Amendments. The hon. Gentleman is making a trenchant and powerful Second Reading speech on Clause 5, which we have already been through.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am making specific reference to an Amendment. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would rule me out of order if I were not in order. The hon. Gentleman's experience does not accord 721 with that of many managers and executives in industry with whom I have discussed the matter. I speak as a former trade union official. Those with whom I have discussed this matter believe that this provision will cause dislocation in industry. They hope that even at this late hour the Government will have second thoughts. I plead with the Government to think carefully about this. This is a recipe not for industrial peace, but for industrial anarchy.
§ Mr. James Tinn (Cleveland)
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Ted Fletcher), I believe that the Government do not appreciate the disruptive effect this provision will have in many industries. Because the Government have listened to too much of the nonsense which has been spoken about pre-entry closed shops, even recognising the few individual cases which can occasionally occur, the Government have fallen into the trap of ignoring the old saying that hard cases make bad law. I believe that this is a very bad law indeed.
What representations have the Government received, not just from the engineering industry but from other industries concerned—from employers and managements—for the inclusion of this provision? What contrary representations or doubts have been expressed to them? Few things can be more disruptive of harmonious relations than the existence of the industrial maverick, the person who for one reason or another, will not cooperate with his fellows.
The motives behind such a provision as this arise, I believe, from a fundamental misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of how our trade union movement has developed. There is significance in where the pre-entry closed shop conditions have developed. They have developed in certain industries such as shipping and mining, for example. The warmth and vigour of my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) in putting his case should not be mistaken for arrogance. Although I do not represent a mining constituency, I come from a mining area. The mining industry is a great example of where history and conditions of work have imposed co-operation—the necessity of working and living and co-operating together. Through these years of struggle 722 and out of the daily necessity for cooperation, there has developed a genuine and worth-while and proud tradition of unity.
This kind of provision basically offends against some of the deepest instincts of trade unionism by trying to break or impinge upon the fine traditions of unity, and the effects can be incalculable. Even at this eleventh hour, I urge the Government to have second thoughts on this provision. I urge them to forget the prejudices which the Press and propaganda have cultivated over the years. I urge them to look at industry as it really is and see why our movement has grown up as it has and why it has developed these practices as it has done. They will see that they are not as unreasonable as they have been represented. If the Government do that, they will realise that they will be doing far more harm than good if they press ahead with this provision.
§ Mr. Alex Eadie (Midlothian)
I have felt at times during the debate that it has not been as serious as it should have been. I hope that the Government fully realise the significance of the proposition they are putting forward here, because it is a prescription for industrial and economic anarchy and it gives to some extent the lie to what we are discussing—the Industrial Relations Bill.
Hon. Members are aware that I have associations with the mining industry. I resent the suggestion that there are trade union representatives in this House who probably would not have been here if they had not been so militant. As an active trade unionist, under successive Governments I have been appointed to Government bodies of responsibility to serve on behalf of the men I have sought to represent.
My hon. Friends have pointed out the peculiarities of the mining industry. The Government are putting forward propositions that will mean a momentous change. They are saying that the mining industry, employing hundreds of thousands of men, will help the country to achieve greater economic stability. If we do anything to imperil the Bill it will not merely be a question of miners and their families suffering; the whole country will suffer.
723 There always has been discipline in the mining industry. There has to be, from the very nature of the work. As my hon. Friend said, when men are thousands of feet underground they cannot have anarchy; they must have discipline, with co-operation between man and man. They cannot bicker with each other because the moment they do they jeopardise the lives of hundreds of other men. I wish the Government appreciated the significance of the proposition that they are putting forward.
My first experience of trade unionism in the industry, as a young kid, was the card inspection at the pit gate, to make sure that everyone was a member of the union. That was necessary then, because men in the trade union movement were trying to establish themselves as representatives of the mineworkers. It was not a question of trying to win more wages and economic sustenance; at that time we had a colossal toll of accidents in the industry, with great loss of life. We were fighting to establish safety in the industry.
We knew that we could not establish safety if the proposals for safety came only from the men; there had to be a combined approach with management. That is not possible if there is anarchy among the employees with some in the union and some outside it. That is a prescription for anarchy in any industry.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis rose——
§ Mr. Eadie
The hon. Member has just come in. He is a sort of scavenger. I would give way to anybody but him.
The mining industry is a very democratic one. It is not a question of trying to impose our will on people. We have democratic votes. When we appoint a safety committee its members are elected by the men, by ballot. That is a good British tradition—something that this Mother of Parliaments would not resent.
One of the sad aspects of the situation is that dying with the industry are some of its cultural activities; our pipe and brass bands are dying. They were maintained in the past because we had a vigilant union membership. Something goes out of our lives with the loss of the pipe and brass bands, and the children's galas.
724 It is not a question of our being militant; it is a question of the Government being sensible. If the Government are serious about this being a Bill dealing with industrial relations they should make sure that they are not prescribing industrial anarchy. If there is a fuel shortage the Government will have to take responsibility, and they will introduce a Bill that brings it about at their direst peril.
§ Mr. Loughlin
The hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Tom King) intervened a short while ago to say that he had been employed in management, in a pre-entry closed shop. According to right hon. and hon. Members opposite, the Bill deals with industrial relations. It is imperative that both workers and management should understand, to a certain extent if not wholly and completely, the Bill's implications. It does not make the slightest difference what our views are about the Bill, how good it is or how bad it is, unless we can produce at the conclusion of our deliberations a document which can be readily understood by the work people on the shop floor and by management. Unless we can do that, the Bill is completely abortive. It is no use any Legislature in the world producing what may well be in the legalistic sense perfect legislation unless the terminology used in that legislation is understandable to the ordinary people to whom the legislation applies and there is a high acceptability factor in the law.
I return to the hon. Member for Bridgwater. He made a claim to which we should pay some attention. [Interruption]. I am willing to give way to the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) if he wants to make a reasoned intervention.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis
I wanted to ask this question of the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) who was talking about unity. We have with us on this side of the House a recruit in the shape of the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) who has joined us on this Bill. He is sitting on the Front Bench, below the Gangway.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps I may return to the 725 hon. Member for Bridgwater. He claimed that he had experience in management of the pre-entry closed shop, and I should like him to give us the benefit of that experience. When I was discussing this Bill in Committee I repeatedly had to complain that there was bound to be great difficulty among people on the shop floor in understanding fully the implications of the Bill. I think the Solicitor-General will agree that I repeatedly complained to him that we ourselves had difficulty in understanding the full implications of the Bill-I wonder whether the hon. Member for Bridgwater could help me. I recognise that there are two parties who will be concerned with the Bill. I have to recognise first that the Bill will affect the individual worker and also that in the generality of British industry there is a multiplicity of small and medium-sized firms which will not have the expertise which might be necessary—and I use "might" deliberately—to enable them to keep within the confines of the legislation we are proposing.
I should like to know how many ordinary employers, not workers, would be able to follow through the Amendment as it is laid down. For the benefit of those who may want to look at it, it is on page 3 of the list of Amendments—[Interruption.]—The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), as far as I know, committed only one fact to memory—his majority of three in 1966.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Mr. Speaker, I will stop immediately and apologise to you, but neither was the hon. Member's intervention.
§ Mr. Loughlin
That was a pity. I did; but, to be serious, I challenge either the hon. Member for Bridgwater or the Solicitor-General to look at the Amendment and to say categorically that even 5 per cent. of the managements of this country could relate this through its various paragraphs—they should not forget that it relates to paragraph (a) and 726 paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this Clause, and goes on ad nauseam.
If one has legislation of this kind—and these are the words to be used in the Bill—how, in heaven's name can one expect the workers on the factory floor and the employers to understand? This deals with employers' responsibilities and with the right of any worker who, on application to an employer has been refused engagement and claims that the refusal was attributable in whole or in part to a provision in an agreement which had the effect of precluding the employers, as mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b), etc.
How can one expect any employer, let alone a workman, to understand the ridiculous language and implications of legislation of this kind? I am interested, because I believe—and I may be wrong—that it is the responsibility of the legislature to frame legislation in such a way as to ensure that at least the general principles will be known and will be acceptable to the general populace.
We all have to engage lawyers, but this is a riot for the lawyers. It is not a lawyers' paradise, but it is complete and utter nonsense to the layman. If the Government apply this kind of yardstick to industrial relations and say that it will contribute to industry harmony, I say that not only is the Solicitor-General barmy, but the whole House is barmy if it thinks that this will be effective. The most sensible thing for the Solicitor-General to do, even at this late hour, is to take this back and say to his lawyers who are responsible for framing the legislation, "If you cannot do better than this, go and find yourself a job digging trenches."
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I want to intervene briefly to cover three main points. After seven Second Reading further speeches to the Lords Amendment, the speech we have just heard from the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) was in some degree an exception, and that was a pleasure.
Once the House has passed and accepted, however strongly it is opposed, that there shall be pre-entry closed shop 727 agreements, it is essential to include protection for the worker, which the Amendment provides. It provides that if a worker is refused an engagement by an employer, he will be able on application to have the matter referred to the Industrial Court.
However much one may oppose the original principle, which has been opposed in the many speeches we have heard tonight, once that principle has been accepted it is necessary to introduce an Amendment which gives, as the Lords Amendment gives, protection toAny worker who, on application to an employer, has been refused engagement",and who complains that that is due to the existence of an agreement which contravenes the main provision, toapply to the Industrial Court".Whatever view might have been taken originally, I find it difficult to understand how the Opposition can refuse the Amendment once the principle becomes law.
It is said, secondly, that the main provisions are a recipe for anarchy. All one can say is that we had a number of synthetic speeches from the members of the miners' union, who have now mainly left the House having delivered themselves of those speeches. [Interruption.] At least, two have walked out having delivered their speeches. Both of them used the same language, that it was a recipe for anarchy, but neither referred in the slightest degree to the Amendment. Neither of them having understood it, they have, no doubt, gone to check their speeches for their constituencies or for their trade union without being interested in whether their speeches were relevant.
In making those speeches and dealing with the matter in that way, those hon. Members deliberately overlooked a most important fact. They know perfectly well that the National Union of Mine-workers has so far stated that it does not intend to work the Bill when it becomes an Act. The N.U.M. knows that it could constitute itself an agency shop agreement and, if it did, it would not be subject to the pre-entry closed shop agreements envisaged in the Clause. It knows this perfectly well.
I have seldom heard the like of the utterly hypocritical, insincere rubbish and 728 claptrap that we have sat through tonight.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
It may be that the National Union of Mineworkers does not intend to work the Act. The dilemma for the mineworkers and other unions which do not work it is that if they do not have agency shop agreements or do not have approved closed shop agreements which will apply to certain more professional types of union, it follows that they will be bound by the Clause. It hardly lies in their mouths to complain if a number of the more modern-looking men decide that they do not want to be members of the N.U.M. They may have a constitutional viewpoint and object to being members of a union which is not prepared to uphold the law of the country.
For how long are we to go on abusing the ordinary constitutional processes of the House of Commons? I have sat here since 4 o'clock this afternoon. From 5.30 until 11 p.m., because this is an industrial Bill, we heard speech after speech which was manifestly a Second Reading speech, and wholly irrelevant and out of order.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
Hon. Gentlemen opposite say that, but they have not the faintest interest in the relevance of the debate. They want to go back to Second Reading speeches and at the end, I suppose, to be able to say that there was insufficient time to debate the Lords Amendments. Had they been relevantly contained, everybody knows that the first seven Amendments could have been dealt with within half an hour.
It is not a question of opposition. Lords Amendments are not designed to be, and were not laid down and intended to be, a cause for going back to Second Reading speeches hour after hour, day after day. They were intended to pinpoint particular issues, and we have to decide whether we agree or disagree with their Lordships. What has happened here is that the Labour Party has taken over the House of Commons, and hour after hour hon. Gentlemen opposite have gone on producing the same arguments 729 which they deployed for many hours on Second Reading and in Committee.
This type of behaviour is very bad for the constitutional processes of this House, and we have had no fewer——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I doubt whether what the hon. Gentleman is saying is in order by his own standards.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I have developed the argument, Mr. Speaker, and I leave it with you. If you read the speeches, and if on reflection you think that anything I have said is not in order, I shall be glad to withdraw it. Some of the speeches were made when you were not in the Chair. I think that tomorrow morning, in the light of day, most hon. Gentlemen will recognise that this is a rather special occasion, but it does not comply with the normal rules of order.
Many of us—and I perhaps most of all on this side of the House—have recognised, and do recognise, the need, in special cases, to be able to have a closed shop. My hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) and others have fought to obtain the special exemptions contained in the Bill, and which are not the subject of the Amendment. If that be so, it hardly lies in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite, even if they are going back to Second Reading speeches, to twist the Bill and suggest that it does not contain good arrangements to enable unions which want to use the Bill, and not to abuse it, to take up their proper position by having the agency shop agreement.
I understand the view of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) who says quite frankly that he will have none of this Bill. That is understandable but, when it becomes an Act of Parliament, and when the feelings die down, the trade unions in this country will have to work this Measure, just as the trade unions throughout Europe are effectively working measures there which have——
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
Yes, Mr. Speaker, but as you would not accept that the others were not Second Reading speeches, I take it that exactly the same conditions will apply to me. [HON. 730 MEMBERS: "Order."] I was about to say finally that the Amendment merely provides for the worker protection that is essential to give full effect to the Clause.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
When this Amendment was before the other place it went through without a vote in 20 minutes. I am glad that the issue has been thoroughly debated in this House, and I shall vote against the Amendment.
In the other place the Lord Chancellor got away with it by saying roughly what the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) said—that it was in the interests of the workers. Indeed, when Lord Bernstein asked whether he was right to take it that the Amendment was designed to protect the worker, the Lord Chancellor replied that it was. That proves that our fears are justified, for either the Lord Chancellor did not understand the object of the Amendment or he made an extremely dishonest remark.
It is as well that we have had this extensive debate. The hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet is entirely wrong in suggesting that the Amendment will protect the workers. On the contrary, it proves that the so-called concessions which the Government have suggested are being extended to, for example, Equity, do not exist and that, from the point of view of the closed shop, whenever it is challenged it must collapse.
I will content myself at this stage by saying that I am pleased that this subject has been extensively aired. On another occasion, perhaps on later Amendments, I will speak on this subject at greater length. In the meantime, I will resume my seat to give my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) an opportunity to speak.
§ Mr. Heffer
With the leave of the House, I will comment on some of the points that have been raised in this debate, in which I have been pleased to welcome some contributions from hon. Gentlemen opposite. We regard the Amendment as fundamentally against the interests of the trade union movement. That is why we are opposing it with such vigour.
On this issue we have heard the authentic voice of the Conservative Party. The whole idea of workers protecting themselves and trying to obtain better 731 conditions through union solidarity is, to hon. Gentlemen opposite, all wrong. They regard it as a tyranny to other workers who do not wish to belong to trade unions.
The hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) tried to kid us that the Amendment was in the interests of the workers. The Amendment sums up the concept which the Tories have adopted from the United States of the open shop, the right to work.
We are debating also Amendments Nos. 13 and 61. Amendment No. 61 is another example of an unfair industrial practice. We are opposed to it as much as we are opposed to Amendment No. 12 and, at the appropriate time, we shall vote against it, as we shall vote against Amendment No. 12.
There has been talk of the arrogance of my hon. Friends who have experience of the mining industry. Their speeches were not arrogant, but expressed the justified anger and frustration of workers who understand what the closed shop means to the protection of their interests. We have heard not arrogance but the authentic voice of workers in an industry which most hon. Members would never enter even if they were paid £1,000 a week. How many hon. Gentlemen opposite would be prepared to volunteer to work in the mines tomorrow morning? It ill becomes hon. Members who have led a sheltered existence to accuse my hon. Friends, who have worked in an industry which hon. Gentlemen opposite would never at any price enter, of being arrogant. The arrogance shown by the hon. Member for Isle of Thanet typifies the Tory Party view of the trade union movement which is expressed in the Amendment and in the Bill.
§ The Solicitor-General
I will not follow the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) or other hon. Members who have rehearsed during this debate the Second Reading speech they made in Committee and on Second Reading. I will deal with the pre-entry closed shop. Several hon. Members have suggested that the closed shop is a creature which, however and wherever it exists, operates universally for the good of industrial peace. It is worth reminding the House that even 732 the Donovan Report said that it must not be supposed that good industrial relations are the invariable accompaniment of the closed shop. On the contrary, the closed shop is widespread in motor manufacturing, ship building, coal mining and the docks, the four industries in which strikes in breach of agreement have been most common in recent years.
"We therefore reject the prohibition of the closed shop"?
§ The Solicitor-General
That is right, but I am dealing with the suggestion implicit in what many hon. Members have said that the closed shop is a prescription for industrial tranquillity. Far from it. We are dealing in the Amendment with a much narrower section, namely, the pre-entry closed shop.
Again, it is worth reminding the House that the pre-entry closed shop applies to less than I million workpeople. It is rejected in principle, for example, by the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards) as unattractive, and, indeed, the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) acknowledged that a case could be made out against an arrangement which insisted on prior possession of a union card before a man could enter a job. We are dealing with a matter in respect of which there are plainly two views—and on a narrow front. The Amendment deals with the extent to which a pre-entry closed shop can be enforced by a device amounting to the same thing.
§ The Solicitor-General
I do not wish to misrepresent the hon. Member. His hon. Friend the Member for Bilston said that he had always opposed the closed shop, and certainly the pre-entry closed shop, and the hon. Member for Salford, West said that he could see that a case could be made against the pre-entry closed shop.
We are, in fact, dealing with the pre-entry closed shop. The Bill already proscribes it, and the only effect of the 733 Amendment is to protect the worker who has been refused employment—refused not because of the manifest existence of a clear pre-entry agreement but because of a provision or arrangement between the employer and the trade union which has the same effect and which operates to exclude him because he was not a member of a pre-entry closed shop. It is entirely logical that this change should be made.
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) suggested that the Lord Chancellor had given a dishonest reply to a Question put to him by Lord Bernstein in another place. That is wholly without justification. The Lord Chancellor explained the intention of the Amendment exactly as I have done. He said:
§ 'the effect … is to give to a worker who is prevented from entering employment on grounds which he claims to be an effective pre-entry closed shop, an appeal to the court to establish that fact."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1971; Vol. 318, c. 569.]
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
If the Solicitor-General is saying that the Lord Chancellor misunderstood the effect of the proposals and that what he said was a result of a misunderstanding rather than of a mistake, I entirely accept that.
§ The Solicitor-General
I am repudiating utterly the hon. Member's suggestion that the Lord Chancellor gave a dishonest reply.
§ The Solicitor-General
That is equally false. I am repudiating both alternatives. The hon. Member cannot get away with it in that way. The Lord Chancellor's explanation was clear—that the provision is designed to help a worker who is being blocked by a device tantamount to a pre-entry closed shop although not recognisable as such.
I was astonished, as was the House, by the observations of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) suggesting that the provisions would be invoked in the cause of Women's Lib. I thought that he was talking about the Equal Pay Act of his right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). He referred in passing also to the Race Relations Act. If it were right for the last Government to pass legislation to prevent discrimination in terms of pay between the sexes 734 and for the last Government to pass legislation to prevent discrimination on grounds of race, it is surely acceptable for this Government to pass legislation designed to secure—and I have no shame in adopting the words denounced by the hon. Member for Walton—the right of people to work without that right being unfairly impeded or obstructed by a prior requirement to belong to a particular trade union.
Of course the individual must establish his qualifications for the job. Of course he must establish his qualification for entry to a union. But beyond that there is no cause—this is the heart of the Government's case—for excluding him from the right to work simply because he does not belong to a particular union. The Amendment is designed simply to achieve that end and to achieve it quite plainly.
The hon. Member for Bilston suggested that managements often insist on this kind of agreement and persuade unions to accept it as desirable. Frankly, one cares not whether a barrier which is being erected in the face of a person otherwise qualified to work is erected by management or by unions, or by a conspiracy between the two We are here concerned with legislation designed to secure people's freedom in that respect. We recognise primarily the point made by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) that it is necessary in the coalmining industry, as in every other industry, to maintain safety standards, and that one of the ways of doing that is to insist upon achievements and qualifications on the part of people entering the industry. There is nothing in this legislation that would stop that.
We also recognise the necessity for having consultative committees, whether pit or works consultative committees, to survey and maintain safety standards. All those things exist and are compatible with a system of organisation which does not go so far as to require a pre-entry closed shop. Safety standards and the supervision of safety can be maintained without going in that direction.
§ Mr. Skinner
The hon. and learned Gentleman was presumably saying that pit consultative committees could work easily with someone who was not a member of the union. The point I was trying to make was that the committees 735 are set up on the basis of representing management and unions, not management and men. That is the distinction that must be drawn. If the provision becomes law, the consultative machinery that has been in operation for about 20 years will have to be drastically revised, and I cannot see it happening.
§ The Solicitor-General
I entirely understand that the consultative committees are set up to represent management and unions. So they are in the vast majority of other industries. It is only in a small sector of British industry that the pre-entry closed shop operates. A pre-entry closed shop is not required in order to have a perfectly effective representative joint consultative arrangement between management and unions. There is no case in terms of safety, maintenance of standards or the preservation of established negotiating machinery for struggling to retain the pre-entry closed shop, which is what the provisions are about.
§ Mr. Eadie
The Solicitor-General is saying that we do not have to have trade unions in order to man committees for consultation, whether on production or safety. But it is necessary to have disciplined agreement between management and men. Does not he agree that a trade union is in a better position to discipline its members than individuals are to discipline themselves?
§ The Solicitor-General
I do not propose to detain the House by going back yet again over the entire structure of the approach to the legislation. All that I am saying in the context of this debate is that for the purpose of maintaining union organisation and effective union representation it is not necessary to have a pre-entry closed shop, nor to have anything of the kind against which the
§ Amendment is directed, namely, something resembling, working like and having the effect of, the pre-entry closed shop. That is the simple point.
§ I adopt the description of the speech of the hon. Member for Bolsover as having a touch of arrogance about it. To put it bluntly, when we hear a speech like the one the hon. Gentleman made, asserting as aggressively and as uncompromisingly as he did the right of a trade union to enforce its will upon individuals, even to the point of depriving them of access to housing or excluding them from entering a job, we have to struggle to remind ourselves that we are talking about industrial relations in a free society. When it hears such an argument advanced, the House, I feel certain, will be firm in its assessment that the prohibition of the pre-entry closed shop is a profoundly wise measure to include, and that the Amendment is doubly wise to ensure the effectiveness of that provision.
§ 11.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Prescott
The Solicitor-General has not answered my specific question. In view of the complaints of hon. Members opposite, I was careful to keep to the detail of the Bill, and I asked specifically about interpretation. If a seaman working under an agency shop agreement or an approved closed shop agreement has to be a member of the union before he joins his ship, where he has to sign a contract of employment, would he not be in contravention of the amended Clause? Does not that mean that such agreements could not apply to the shipping industry?
§ Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 250.741
|Division No. 442.]||AYES||[11.46 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Brinton, Sir Tatton|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Benyon, W.||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Berry, Hn. Anthony||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Biffen, John||Bruce-Gardyne, J.|
|Astor, John||Biggs-Davison, John||Bryan, Paul|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Blaker, Peter||Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Buck, Antony|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Boscawen, Robert||Burden, F. A.|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Bossom, Sir Clive||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)|
|Balniel, Lord||Bowden, Andrew||Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Carlisle, Mark|
|Batsford, Brian||Braine, Bernard||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Bray, Ronald||Channon, Paul|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Brewis, John||Chapman, Sydney|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hornby, Richard||Percival, Ian|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Churchill, W. S.||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Clark, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Clegg, Walter||Hunt, John||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cockeram, Eric||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cooke, Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Coombs, Derek||James, David||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Cooper, A. E.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Jessel, Toby||Raison, Timothy|
|Cormack, Patrick||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Costain, A. P.||Jopling, Michael||Redmond, Robert|
|Critchley, Julian||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Crouch, David||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Flees, Peter (Dover)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kershaw, Anthony||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Curran, Charles||Kilfedder, James||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Kimball, Marcus||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen. James||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Dean, Paul||Kinsey, J. R.||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kirk, Peter||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kitson, Timothy||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Dixon, Piers||Knox, David||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Lane, David||Rost, Peter|
|Drayson, G. B.||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Dykes, Hugh||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Eden, Sir John||Le Marchant, Spencer||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Edwards. Nicholas (Pembroke)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Sharples, Richard|
|Emery, Peter||Loveridge, John||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Luce, R. M.||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Farr, John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Simeons, Charles|
|Fell, Anthony||MacArthur, Ian||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||McCrindle, R. A.||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Fidler, Michael||McLaren, Martin||Soref, Harold|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Spence, John|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||McMaster, Stanley||Sproat, lain|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Steel, David|
|Fortescue, Tim||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Foster, Sir John||Maddan, Martin||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Fowler, Norman||Madel, David||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Fox, Marcus||Maginnis, John E.||Stokes, John|
|Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Marples, Rt Hn. Ernest||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Fry, Peter||Marten, Neil||Sutcliffe, John|
|Galhraith, Hn. T. G.||Mather, Carol||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gardner, Edward||Maude, Angus||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Mawby, Ray||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Tebbit, Norman|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mils, Peter (Torrington)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.|
|Gorst, John||Miseampbell, Norman||Tilney, John|
|Cower, Raymond||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeensnire, W)||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Trew, Peter|
|Gray, Hamish||Moate, Roger||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Green, Alan||Molyneaux, James||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Grieve, Percy||Money, Ernle||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Monro, Hector||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Crylls, Michael||Montgomery, Fergus||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Gummer, Selwyn||More, Jasper||Waddington, David|
|Gurden, Harold||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Wall, Patrick|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mudd, David||Walters, Dennis|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Murton, Oscar||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Warren, Kenneth|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Neave, Airey||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Harrison, Co. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Noble, Rt Hn. Michael||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Hastings, Stephen||Normanton, Tom||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Havers, Michael||Nott, John||Wilkinson, John|
|Hawkins, Paul||Onslow, Cranley||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Hay, John||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hicks, Robert||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Osborn, John||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Hiley, Joseph||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)||Mr. Bernard Weatherill and|
|Hordern, Peter||Peel, John||Mr. Keith Speed.|
|Abse, Leo||Garrett, W. E.||Mendelson, John|
|Albu, Austen||Gilbert, Dr. John||Mikardo, Ian|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ginsburg, David||Millan, Bruce|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Golding, John||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Gourlay, Harry||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Ashton, Joe||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Molloy, William|
|Bagier, Cordon A. T.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Barnes, Michael||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Barnett, Joel||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Beaney, Alan||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hardy, Peter||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Harper, Joseph||Ogden, Eric|
|Eidwell, Sydney||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Bishop, E. S.||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||O'Malley, Brian|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hattersley, Roy||Oram, Bert|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Orme, Stanley|
|Booth, Albert||Heffer, Eric S.||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Horam, John||Padley, Walter|
|Bradley, Tom||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Paget, R. T.|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Huckfield, Leslie||Palmer, Arthur|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Pendry, Tom|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Pentland, Norman|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hunter, Adam||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Irvine, Rt.Hn. Sir ArthuKEdge Hill)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Campbell, I (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Janner, Greville||Prescott, John|
|Cant, R. B.||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras, S.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Rankin, John|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||John, Brynmor||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Cohen, Stanley||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Richard, Ivor|
|Coleman, Donald||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roderick, CaerwynE.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, c.)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Roper, John|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Cronin, John||Judd, Frank||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Kaufman, Gerald||Sandelson, Neville|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Kelley, Richard||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kerr, Russell||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Kinnock, Neil||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lambie, David||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Lamond, James||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Latham, Arthur||Sillars, James|
|Davies, Ifor (Cower)||Lawson, George||Silverman, Julius|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Leadbitter, Ted||Skinner, Dennis|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Leonard, Dick||Small, William|
|Deakins, Eric||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Spearing, Nigel|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lipton, Marcus||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Dempsey, James||Lomas, Kenneth||Stodart, David (Swindon)|
|Doig, Peter||Loughlin, Charles||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Strang, Gavin|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson||Taverne, Dick|
|Driberg, Tom||McBride, Neil||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W,)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||McCartney, Hugh||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Dunnett, Jack||McElhone, Frank||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Eadie, Alex||McGuire, Michael||Tinn, James|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mackenzie, Gregor||Torney, Tom|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Mackie, John||Tuck, Raphael|
|Ellis, Tom||Mackintosh, John P.||Urwin, T. W.|
|English, Michael||Maclennan, Robert||Varley, Eric G.|
|Evans, Fred||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McNamara, J. Kevin||Walker, Harold (Doneaster)|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Wallace, George|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Malalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Watkins, David|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marks, Kenneth||Weitzman, David|
|Foot, Michael||Marquand, David||Wellbeloved, James|
|Ford, Ben||Marsden, F.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Forrester, John||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Freeson, Reginald||Meacher, Michael||Whitlock, William|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Hnyton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)||Mr. William Hamling and|
|Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Woof, Robert||Mr. James A. Dunn.|
|Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
§ Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.