HC Deb 15 March 1971 vol 813 cc923-1158
(1) In this section "approved closed shop agreement" means an agreement which—
(a) is made between one or more employers and one or more trade unions, or between an employers' association and one or more trade unions;
5 (b) is an agreement whereby it is agreed, in respect of workers of one or more descriptions specified in the agreement, that their terms and conditions of employment shall include a condition that every such worker, unless, specially exempted, must be or become a member of that trade union or of one of those trade unions, as the case may be; and
10 (c) is made in accordance with proposals approved by an order of the Industrial Court made under Schedule (Provisions as to certain closed shop agreements) to this Act which is for the time being in force.
(2) Where an approved closed shop agreement is for the time being in force, the following provisions of this section shall have effect notwithstanding anything in section 5(1)(b) of this Act.
15 (3) A worker to whom the agreement applies, and who is not specially exempted, 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, or (as the case may be) of one of the trade unions, with which the agreement was made.
20 (4) A worker to whom the agreement applies, and who is specially exempted, shall not have the right, as between himself and an employer to whom the agreement applies, to refuse to be a member of that trade union, or one of those trade unions, as the case may be, unless he agrees to pay appropriate contributions to a charity.
25 (5) In accordance with subsections (3) and (4) of this section, it shall not be an unfair industrial practice for an employer to whom an approved closed shop agreement applies, or for a person acting on behalf of such an employer,—
30 (a)to dismiss, penalise or otherwise discriminate against a worker to whom the agreement applies, on the grounds that he is not, and has refused or failed to become, a member of the trade union or (as the case may be) of one of the trade unions, with which the agreement was made, or if specially exempted, has refused or failed to pay appropiate contributions to a charity, or
(b) to refuse to engage a worker who, if engaged by him, would be a worker to whom the agreement applies, on the grounds that he is not, and has refused to become, a member of that trade union or of one of those trade unions, as the case may be.
35 (6) In this section "specially exempted" and "appropriate contributions" have the meanings assigned to them by Part IV of Schedule (Provisions as to certain closed shop agreements) to this Act, and any reference to an employer to whom an approved closed shop agreement applies shall be construed in accordance with Part V of that Schedule.—[Mr. R. Carr.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.42 p.m.

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

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

Right hon. and hon. Members will see from my list of provisional selection that it is proposed to discuss at the same time the following:

Amendment (a), line 1, leave out ' approved'.

Amendment (h), line 10, leave out certain'.

Amendment (j), line 12, leave out 'an approved ' and insert 'a'.

Amendment (k), line 13, leave out 'notwithstanding' and insert 'in place of'.

Amendment (q), line 24, leave out 'approved'.

Amendment (v), line 36, leave out 'approved".

Amendment (c), line 3, leave out 'an employers' association' and insert: 'one or more employers' associations whether registered or not'.

Amendment (d), line 7, leave out 'or become'.

Amendment (g), line 9, leave out 'an order of the Industrial Court' and insert: 'recommendations of the Commission on Industrial Relations'.

Amendment (i), line 11, leave out: 'which is for the time being in force'.

Amendment No. 5, page 3 line 37, Clause 5, after 'section', insert: 'and to section (Special provisions for approval of closed shop agreement) of this Act'.

Amendment No. 14, page 6, line 27, Clause 7, at end insert: 'or in so far as it constitutes an approved closed shop agreement within the meaning of section (Special provisions for approval of closed shop agreement) of this Act'.

Amendment No. 15, page 8, line 6, Clause 9, leave out 'and the next following section' and insert 'Part of this Act'.

The new Schedule entitled "Provisions as to certain closed shop agreements'', and all the Opposition Amendments to it.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

On a point of order. It will be very difficult to have an adequate discussion, Mr. Speaker, without possibly making fairly generous reference to the new Schedule. Will that be permitted during the debate?

Mr. Speaker

Certainly. The hon. Gentleman will see from my provisional list that the new Schedule and all the Amendments to the new Schedule can be considered in this debate.

Mr. Carr

I am sure that it will be for the convenience of the House to discuss with the new Clause the new Schedule and the other Amendments.

The new Clause needs to be seen in the context of the basic principles of the Bill. One of the cardinal principles of the Bill is that every person should have an absolute right to join a union, no matter what an employer wishes or says to the contrary, but that equally every person shall possess the right not to have to join a union against his will. Thus, the Bill contains provisions to preclude the implementation of agreements which require workers to be or to become members of trade unions as a condition for employment or engagement. Thus, Clause 7 makes void the pre-entry closed shop, and Clause 5 makes unenforceable any agreement which denies a worker the right freely to choose whether he will be a member of a union. These provisions reflect the importance which the Government attach to ensuring that an individual's livelihood is not dependent on a union's discretion and that a man with the necessary qualifications to pursue an occupation should not be prevented from doing so because he does not wish or, in some cases, is not permitted to belong to a union.

However, as I made clear in Committee, the Government recognise that the right to join and the right not to join, although both are essential to our principles, are not simply equal and opposite rights. The community's interest in having good order in industry which involves the existence of stable and strong collective bargaining machinery and the democratic right to respect and give effect to the wish of the majority providing there is proper protection for the minority both point to the fact that the right to join a trade union is of a different order compared with the right not to join.

Hence the proposal in the Bill for the agency shop. The provisions regulating agency shop agreements recognise the fact that effective union organisation and responsible and constructive union leadership can and often should be materially assisted by arrangements under which a union has exclusive bargaining rights in respect of employees, or at least employees of a particular kind, in an undertaking and is financially supported by all those employees.

The agency shop provisions also recognise the justifiable demand of trade unions that the Bill should not, through outlawing the closed shop, encourage the so-called free rider who enjoys the benefits of union bargaining power but contributes nothing to support the union. Therefore, the provisions exclude the free rider. An Amendment which we are proposing to Clause 5 makes clear that in an agency shop agreement an employer can bind himself to use his best endeavours to encourage his employees to join the union or unions which he recognises. We shall stress this point in a positive way in the code of practice.

In these circumstances, we believe that a high degree of union membership and union security will be voluntarily achieved in the vast majority of cases. As a practical judgment, I would normally expect the achievement and maintenance of an agency shop of a stable 90 to 95 per cent. union membership and often more. I believe, and I know that many union leaders have for years believed, that a union with that degree of voluntary membership—say, 95 per cent.—is in a stronger and not a weaker position than a union with 100 per cent. membership in which the last 5 per cent. are forced recruits.

We are therefore absolutely satisfied, having listened to all the arguments, that the agency shop provisions represent a carefully balanced and effective compromise between the right of the individual to choose not to have to belong against his will and his social responsibilities as a member of a work group whose standard of living may depend upon the effectiveness of the union which represents them and also the need for stable collective bargaining machinery for the sake of good order in industrial relations. We remain firmly of the view that the provisions for the agency shop represent a reasonable and workable compromise between the two extreme positions and will profit and not weaken industrial relations in the overwhelming majority of cases.

That is the background against which I present the new Clause. Although we hold very strongly the proposition which I have just stated, we do nevertheless accept the force of representations which have been made from a number of quarters and from both sides of the House to the effect that the ban which the Bill imposes upon the closed shop may in a small minority of cases weaken the position of unions gravely, and might undermine union authority, and the integrity of collective agreement which depend to a considerable extent on the ability of unions to discipline their members.

It has been suggested that in some industries the agency shop provisions cannot secure for unions the same benefits which may be expected in the overwhelming majority of cases throughout most of industry and commerce and employment generally. The case, for example, of preserving the closed shop in the entertainments industry, particularly among actors, and in seafaring, has commanded a certain amount of sympathy among Members on both sides of the House. I indicated in Committee that we would give this careful consideration, although I made clear that we would have to think not in terms of particular industries, or classes like actors or seafarers, but would have to think, of course, in terms of an Amendment which could provide the exception in any case which could justify an exception.

It has been pointed out, however, taking these industries for example, that many employers in those industries are also as much in favour of the closed shop as are the unions themselves. This new Clause and the associated Amendments seek to remedy this situation to provide this exceptional possibility of post-entry closed shop in the minority of cases where it really is and can be proved to be justified and, indeed, necessary.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

This is complex wording which my right hon. Friend has put down. At first glance it looks as though it goes some way to meet the point. I hope I am not being unfair to my right hon. Friend in asking him a specific question. Does the new Clause validate or invalidate existing agreements, for example, through Equity about acting?

Mr. Carr

I should like to come to this in a moment when I come to the mechanism, although, perhaps, I may say to my hon. Friend now that the application of the principle by which this should be judged is, of course, the work of the C.I.R. What we are doing, and, I think, rightly doing, in the Bill is laying down criteria which the C.I.R. should apply. I believe that what we are putting forward here should, for example, provide a situation thoroughly acceptable to Equity. Though I cannot be sure whether it would mean any changes or not, I genuinely believe it would meet its needs. What I stress is that it would be wrong to try to answer conclusively, because the whole principle on which we are working is not to say that this particular industry or that particular industry shall be exempt from the provisions of the Bill but to lay down conditions which, wherever they apply, would justify exceptional treatment. It is the only proper way in which we can proceed in legislation. It is certainly the case that the criteria, which I shall mention in a moment or two, have been drawn up for cases which have been provided, which Equity wants, because, I believe, it has been a cause of concern that some special provision should be made to meet the needs of those concerned.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)

Has not the right hon. Gentleman just underwritten at the beginning the principle and philosophy outlined in Clause 5? As I understand what he has said, it means that he still maintains right across the board that principle and philosophy. If this is so, what new situation has been created? Surely Equity and the seamen will be in an invidious position in not being able to enforce a 100 per cent. closed shop, as they had previously?

Mr. Carr

I made clear in response to my hon. Friend that I was not saying that the position would be able to stay exactly as it is—

Mr. Orme


Mr. Can

—but I think that when one studies this Clause one realises that something is needed, other than is provided for some exceptional treatment which need not necessarily be precisely what it is at the moment. It will be for the C.I.R. to look at this in relation to the criteria. I was not expecting hon. Members who have made their views well known on this to accept this, but we are firmly maintaining what the general principle should be, and we are providing an exception procedure so that, in a minority of cases where the principle which we believe in can be shown not to provide the security, the stability, the conditions, which are required both in the interests of the community and in the interests of those who work in that particular sector of employment, the C.I.R. will be able to approve as exceptions post entry closed shops.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman so early in his speech but it might be of value to both sides of the House if this position were clarified. The right hon. Gentleman has just referred to the post-entry closed shop. Would I, therefore, be right in understanding from that that he regards restriction of entry—that is to say, regulation of entry, in effect an element of pre-entry closed shop—as excluding in principle what he is conceding here, or that he provides no concession at all of a character to enable an organisation to limit the number of people or the types of people joining a particular occupation or a particular part of an occupation?

Mr. Carr

It is true—I did before make this clear—that we are not permitting the pre-entry closed shop, but having studied the problems, and having listened to the representations of Equity and others, we do not believe that a pre-entry closed shop is in effect essential for their purpose.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

Could my right hon. Friend say whether the Showmen's Guild comes into this Clause? It is a very important matter to the Showmen's Guild.

Mr. Carr

The point I am trying to make to the House, a point which I think is an important one, is that this new Clause and the associated Amendments do not specify any particular industry, because that would be wrong; we should not legislate for particular industries. What we are proposing to legislate for are the criteria, and the machinery for judging those criteria, and in any industry which chooses to apply them it will be for the C.I.R. to decide. My hon. Friend has raised another point; and that is whether the Showmen's Guild comes within this Bill, and whether it is a trade union or an organisation of workers or an employers' association, as the case may be, and if it is not, then, of course, it cannot either use this Bill or come under this Bill in any way; and if an employers' association or trade union in an industry does not exist then it is up to that industry to form the necessary machinery to look after its interests and to set up the right sort of organisation, as in another industry, and to apply for the machinery to be used and tested in that case.

Mr. Gower

After enunciating this principle about the Bill in relation to the closed shop my right hon. Friend has now introduced an important exception. Can he give an assurance, on examination of it by the Law Officers, that this procedure could not be used to knock a large hole in the general principle against the closed shop?

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Carr

Perhaps my hon. Friend and the House will now let me develop my argument, because I am coming to the criteria in a moment. I will take the two examples which are principally put before the House, namely, the acting and seafaring cases, and look at some of the conditions in those two cases which we believe justify consideration according to the criteria to see whether an approved closed shop may be necessary.

The nature of the work has characteristics in common which distinguish them from most other industries. Jobs are typically of short duration. The attachment to particular employers is the exception rather than the rule. Seldom are actors or seamen together in the same company or establishment on two successive engagements. The nucleus of permanent, full-time workers is in both cases supplemented by a large transient work force. These are characteristics in these two industries and there may be other industries with similar characteristics. Where characteristics of this sort apply, it is reasonable to suppose that there may be a place for an exception and there should, therefore, be machinery for testing that and obtaining exceptional approval of a closed shop if it is necessary.

It seems reasonable to suppose that the agency shop provisions in the Bill might not deal adequately with some of the special cases which I have outlined. Therefore, following my undertaking in Committee, we gave a great deal of thought to ways in which modifications might be made to the Bill to meet these special cases. As a result of that, we have concluded that the best course is the one put on the Order Paper today, namely, the idea of permitting the operation of post-entry closed shop agreements, subject to certain safeguards and constraints, for the exceptional cases where it can be shown that the agency shop provisions would not provide an adequate alternative. To repeat an answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), we do not accept that the pre-entry closed shop, which denies employment to the worker who is not a member of the appropriate union at the time he applies for the job, is either necessary or desirable for the improvement of industrial relations, and therefore the pre-entry closed shop will not be allowed in any circumstances under this procedure.

The new Clause and Schedule with the associated Amendments will allow post-entry closed shops to operate where employer and trade union are both willing parties to an agreement, and where it is necessary. The criteria, which I am sure will interest my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), are these. First, that it is necessary in order to enable workers to be organised effectively for collective bargaining. Secondly, that it is necessary in order to maintain reasonable terms and conditions and reasonable continuity of employment. Thirdly, that it is necessary for promoting and maintaining stable collective bargaining. Fourthly, that it is necessary for maintaining the integrity of collective agreements. Fifthly, and most important, where the alternative of an agency shop agreement would not satisfactorily serve those purposes, but it will be up to the C.I.R. to judge these cases.

Our judgment in laying down these criteria—and we have given a great deal of thought to them—is that they will provide the gateway for the necessary exceptions when the need really is there, but they will not open the door wide to a general application of the post-entry closed shop, which we believe is neither desirable nor necessary and for which we believe in general the agency shop is an adequate and preferable alternative.

I will say something about how the procedure will work. When both parties agree that they wish to seek approval for a closed shop agreement, they will make a joint application to the Industrial Relations Court, but it must be a voluntary joint application. It will, therefore, be an unfair industrial practice for any person to organise or threaten a strike or other industrial action to induce an employer to join in making an application for approval for a close shop agreement when he is not voluntarily wishing to do so.

Having received the voluntary joint application, the Industrial Relations Court will, if satisfied that there has been no similar application within the last two years or that one has not been rejected in the last two years, refer the matter to the Commission on Industrial Relations, who will examine the case on the basis of the five criteria which I have just mentioned.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

The House is trying to follow this somewhat complex drafting. My right hon. Friend has referred twice to the five criteria. Paragraph 5(1) of the new Schedule, "Provisions as to Certain Closed Shop Agreements" gives four criteria, in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d). Will my right hon. Friend explain where the fifth criterion comes from?

Mr. Carr

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend. The fifth criterion is in paragraph 5(2). What we are saying is that here are four basic criteria and the C.I.R. will also have to be satisfied that these basic conditions cannot be met by an ordinary agency shop agreement. The C.I.R. will apply the four criteria and ask whether or not they can be met by an agency shop agreement. If not, the Commission can grant an exemption. I was short-circuiting by referring to the five criteria.

Where on investigation the C.I.R. is satisfied that it would be appropriate to approve the closed shop agreement, the court will then allow up to three months to the workers who are to be covered by that agreement to apply for a ballot of all the workers concerned on whether a closed shop agreement should be made. Such an application for a ballot will have to be supported by one-fifth of the workers concerned and, if the ballot is secured, there will have to be a majority of those eligible to vote in favour of the proposed agreement before it can be made.

An approved agreement will impose an important contractual term on the workers covered by it, and where 20 per cent. of them have asked for the ballot, indicating that at least that number—a substantial number—have doubts about it and are probably opposed to it, it seems to us to be reasonable that the proposed agreement should be required to obtain the support of the majority of the workers in the ballot before it is approved.

I stress that where no ballot is asked for within the three months by a minimum of 20 per cent. of those eligible, the court will automatically make the closed shop agreement effective, without a ballot. The ballot is there as a right of challenge. It is not a necessary bit of machinery if it is not asked for.

Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that only a registered trade union can activate this machinery?

Mr. Carr

Yes, I was coming to that point next, and 1 will make it straight away. This again is in line with another major principle of the Bill, that registration is perfectly reasonable for any organisation which claims, as unions claim, to exercise great power in our economy and in our society. The provisions in our view are reasonable, and we therefore believe that registered trade unions should have advantages which are not available to unregistered organisations of workers.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

I thank my right hon. Friend for allowing us to try to clear up certain points about this complex provision. I can understand trade unions which are easily identifiable being registered, but in the theatrical profession employers cannot be so easily recognised. There are many employers who set themselves up for one show or one film. Would there have to be a separate application made each time or would the principle of one carry through to the others?

Mr. Carr

I think it does. [Laughter.] I do not know why hon. Gentlemen opposite are laughing. In the particular case to which my hon. Friend has referred, they are not covered by the existing Equity agreements, which would be at risk under this Measure without this Amendment. They would be no better or worse off than they are at present.

Under this Amendment we are providing an opportunity, where Equity has these agreements, to recognise single employers or groups of employers—and my hon. Friend knows better than I do of the West End and provincial employers in this connection—and we are providing an opportunity to provide for the especial nature of what is essential to achieve the requirements of the Bill. We are not, in the case mentioned by my hon. Friend, either taking away from or giving to what already exists.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I must correct the right hon. Gentleman because he is, in fact, taking away the present power enjoyed by the union to enforce a closed shop on recalcitrant employers. He is taking that power away and is giving nothing whatever in its place.

Mr. Carr

This must be a matter for argument—[Interruption.]—and I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to state his case, when I shall be interested to listen to his remarks.

I am only saying at this stage that having studied these problems carefully and having listened in great detail to the representations of Equity, which is what we are discussing, we believe—I do not want to commit anybody, but this is also believed by important members of Equity—that provided they get through the gateway, as it were, and the C.I.R., and we have reason to think that that will happen, they will achieve under these proposals what it is necessary for them to achieve to maintain the right conditions for employment in their industry.

I have spoken about the right of a minimum of 20 per cent. of workers to demand a ballot before one of these closed shop agreements becomes officially and finally approved. We are also providing similar provisions to allow workers to challenge the continuance of a closed shop, also by applying for a ballot, but not more frequently than once every two years.

Thus, if a closed shop is approved and a substantial number of people affected by it do not like it, they will have the right, after two years, provided they can gather 20 per cent. support, to ask for a ballot to see whether they have a majority against its continuance. If they do not, then it will go on, but if they do, then the position will be changed.

Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

Would the right hon. Gentleman comment on the scope of the ballot? In other words, would he comment on the eligibility of those who will be entitled to take part in it? How will the temporary work force fit in with the ballot arrangements he has in mind?

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Carr

The hon. Gentleman is right to ask that question and, of course, ballots in industries like those he obviously has in mind will not be easy. I recognise that.

As for the making of an application for a ballot, the applicants will have to show that 20 per cent. of the workers, as defined in the agreement at the date they make their application, support them. We believe this will be possible. They must go to the court with the agreement, and the agreement will specify those workers affected. The applicants will have to show, to the satisfaction of the court, that they represent 20 per cent. of those who, on the date when they are making the application, take the same view.

When it comes to the ballot—there will be a time-lag between the making of the application, the application being granted, the C.I.R. making arrangements for the ballot and the appointment of the time for the ballot and the ballot taking place —one will need to take the numbers covered by the agreement at that date because the numbers covered when the ballot takes place may be different from the numbers when the application was made. This is unavoidable in an industry with a floating population.

To sum up, then, the applicants must show that they represent 20 per cent. of those covered by the agreement at the date when the application is made and a majority of those so covered must be secured on the date when the ballot takes place. That will be the procedure. I am not pretending that there will not be difficulties—[Interruption.]—but in a matter like this it is essential that an opportunity for a ballot should exist.

Normally I would not expect it to happen in this type of case because, in circumstances of this kind, which are special, I would expect one to find a clear majority of people wishing to make an application, so that, by definition, these circumstances are likely to occur in only very exceptional cases. However, I consider that the possibility of challenge, approval or disapproval should exist by law in the hands of the majority. Although difficulties may arise, I still believe it necessary to introduce this sort of provision. In other words, though it may seldom be used, it is right that it should exist.

The Schedule also provides special protection for those who wish, on conscientious ground, not to belong to a trade union. In an ordinary agency shop there will, therefore, be a possibility for those who do not wish to join, in spite of encouragement from their employers and so on, on conscientious grounds, to be able to raise an objection in this narrow sense. In the post-entry closed shop as approved the only exceptions will be those with genuine conscientious grounds.

I believe it to be right that there should be this special protection. Such individuals will be exempted from the requirement to join a union provided they agree to pay an appropriate contribution in lieu of membership to an agreed charity. In disputed cases there will be a right of appeal to the industrial tribunals, and they will decide on conscientious ground.

Perhaps I should make it clear that the provisions for the approval of certain closed shop agreements allow such agreements to be made between employers' associations, acting on behalf of their members, and trade unions, as well as between individual employers and trade unions. I believe this to be important in both the acting and shipping industries, to take the two examples I have mentioned.

I commend the Clause and its related Amendments to the House. Hon. Gentle- men opposite have claimed at earlier stages that without at least the post-entry closed shop, the very basis of union security and stability would be utterly undermined. I do not know whether that was the case in times gone by, but I simply do not believe it to be the case today as a general proposition over the vast majority of employment.

With the provisions we have made under the agency shop—for example, with the specific provision that an employer can, and I believe should, encourage his employees to join the appropriate trade unions—one will, in the great majority of cases, obtain the high degree of union membership which is required to meet the wishes of the majority and provide for orderly collective bargaining, the keeping of agreements and the rest of it.

I therefore do not accept the Opposition's case as a generality. However, I accept that it may be true in a few isolated cases. If it may be true in a few isolated cases, then we ought properly to provide for exceptions to meet those few cases.

That is what we attempt and, I believe, succeed in doing in the new Clause, Schedule and the associated Amendments. I beg to commend them to the House.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

The right hon. Gentleman moved the new Clause in a very amenable way, but then he always does. It is not necessarily his kind and friendly words one has to take note of but what lies behind them. In the Clause it is precisely what is written down and what lies behind the words that is all important.

We are discussing a tremendously large new Clause. If we take the new Clause plus the Schedule, we find that we have almost, in a sense, a new mini-Bill. This means that we shall require to examine this in much greater detail than possibly we shall have time to do, which is very regrettable.

The right hon. Gentleman accepted the fact that the right to join a union or the right not to join a union were not necessarily the same, that they were of a different order—I think those were the words which he used. I am absolutely delighted that at least that much is now understood by the Government, that there is a difference between the right to join a trade union and the right not to join one. That is something that the Opposition has been trying to point out to the Government all the way through the Bill.

Listening to the right hon. Gentleman we might believe that an immense concession had been made, that the principle had been given away, on the basis of the recognition that there was a difference between joining or not joining a trade union. But the right hon. Gentleman has given very little away indeed. He has given away practically nothing. I can well understand the satisfaction felt by the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) when he was assured that there was not to be a hole knocked in the Government's legislation about the closed shop. Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheered that, which is understandable because it is a basic principle for the Government. On 11th March the Daily Telegraph, referring to new Clause 1, said: A new Clause would make it possible…", to have a closed shop …in closely defined circumstances… That is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman has spelt out this afternoon, that the proposals are on the basis of closely defined circumstances. To that extent they are almost worthless to the trade unions. It is not really a big concession at all.

What exactly have we here? First, the closed shop must be an approved closed shop, not a closed shop which perhaps is acceptable merely to the employer and to the trade union, but a closed shop which is approved by the Industrial Court, because a joint application has to be made to the Industrial Court. The C.I.R. will then investigate, and on that basis it could become a closed shop under certain circumstances, but only an approved closed shop. What is the right hon. Gentleman giving away? Surely the whole principle of a voluntary agreement between the trade union and the employer is being completely destroyed on the basis of the new Clause, because if a trade union wishes to enter into an agreement with an employer for a closed shop, this is a matter for agreement on a voluntary basis between the employer and the trade union. But what do we find here? We find that there has to be a joint application, not that the trade union can say to the employer, "We want a closed shop", and then the employer perhaps might refuse a closed shop, but the trade union cannot make application unless that employer agrees also that there must be or could be a closed shop. If the trade union applies pressure, it will be carrying out an unfair industrial practice.

How much is the right hon. Gentleman giving away? I should like to explain to him how most closed shops came into existence. For the London Passenger Transport workers the closed shop came into existence on the basis that the workers decided that they would have 100 per cent. trade union organisation. They were the motivating force, the rank and file of the trade union organisation They then decided on that basis to approach the management, and finally, because of the pressure from the rank and file, the management accepted the principle. But if a trade union were to do that now, it would be carrying out an unfair industrial practice under new Clause 2. The unions cannot do this, so they are going into this matter with one hand tied behind their backs. On this subject very little is being given away.

The application must firstly be made to the Industrial Court. We have the whole rigmarole and paraphernalia once again. The application goes to the Industrial Court, and then the C.I.R. can be asked to look at it. In our Amendment, which is being taken with new Clause 1, we are suggesting that the Industrial Court should be eliminated altogether, that the C.I.R. should be asked to look into the position and then make recommendations, and that there should be no question of a court order one way or the other.

The right hon. Gentleman is so hedging in this whole business that we are faced with something which is almost unworkable. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman meant by his reply to his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), who raised the matter of the casting agreements that apply to Equity. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was not absolutely sure. Later the hon. Member for Peterborough raised the question of whether there would have to be an individual application on each occasion, and the right hon. Gentleman said that he thought that there might have to be an individual application on each occasion. What does that mean? It makes the whole thing absolutely absurd and ridiculous, because if there had to be an individual application on each occasion, the play would be over, the television programme which the people were involved in would be over, and so on. We must have this absolutely clear.

The right hon. Gentleman also says that it would apply to industries where there are transient workers, and so on. What about the building industry? Will it apply to the building industry? Will it strictly apply to Equity, to people employed in television, to those described as seafarers, and so on? The right hon. Gentleman said that the principles are laid down and that these criteria will perhaps apply to the whole of industry. He has not said that they will apply. There may be an exception. The right hon. Gentleman is giving us very little.

4.30 p.m.

Those of my hon. Friends who are concerned with seafarers, with Equity, and so on, will wish to spell out in a little more detail how they believe that the provision will apply to them. Once they have done that, it will be come clear to everyone that the right hon. Gentleman is giving us nothing.

Having looked at the new Clause, we find that all the stories in the Press about great concessions being made by the Government which would be welcomed by the trade unions turn out to be very small beer. We see a slight extension of the concept of the agency shop, and nothing else.

If a trade union has a voluntary agreement with an employer that a closed shop is necessary, we believe that it should be accepted on the basis of the criteria established in the first four points of paragraph 5 of the new Schedule, for the purposes of enabling the workers to be organised or continue to be organised, of maintaining reasonable terms and conditions of employment and reasonable prospects of continued employment for those workers, of promoting or maintain-mg stable arrangements for collective bargaining for those workers, and of preventing collective agreements relating to those workers from being frustrated.

Within reason, those are acceptable principles. They are principles which exist already where closed shop arrange- ments and agreements operate. Because they exist now, why do we require the sort of proposals that the right hon. Gentleman is putting to us today?

The right hon. Gentleman could have produced a very simple new Clause 1 saying that wherever closed shop agreements were reached on a voluntary basis between employers and trade unions, they should continue. A new Clause of that kind would have been accepted. To concede even a minor point as far as I am concerned, such a new Clause might have gone on to state that, where in future there were discussions about setting up a closed shop, there should be reference to the C.I.R., but with the complete elimination of the Industrial Court and all the rest of the paraphernalia with which the right hon. Gentleman seeks to saddle us.

Mr. R. Carr

Is the hon. Gentleman telling the House and the country that where an employer and a union agree upon a closed shop, if there are some qualified people in that trade or industry who have strong reasons for not wishing to belong to a union, they should be excluded from the possibility of getting a job and earning their livelihood in that industry? I believe that that is what he is saying.

Mr. Heffer

The right hon. Gentleman does not know what goes on in industry at the moment.

Mr. Carr

I do.

Mr. Heffer

I think that the right hon. Gentleman does not know. If he did, he would know that, in industries which have closed shop agreements, there are thousands of workers who have concientious objections and do not belong to the trade unions. That situation exists today, and there is no reason for writing this provision into the law.

Mr. David Mitchell

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that he believes that it is right that, wherever there is a closed shop, people on conscientious grounds should have the right not to belong to the union?

Mr. Heffer

That is a situation which exists at the moment. There are plenty of people who do not belong to trade unions for conscientious reasons but who work in industries which operate closed shop arrangements.

Mr. Carr

indicated assent.

Mr. Heffer

Apparently the right hon. Gentleman agrees. Therefore I cannot understand why he wants to write this provision into the law. Why do we need to have all this paraphernalia to meet a situation which exists?

The right hon. Gentleman cannot expect the trade unions not to be suspicious of, the Government's activities and objectives. I understand that he said yesterday in a speech that the T.U.C. was misleading people and not telling them the facts. The facts are that people really are beginning to understand what this Bill will mean. I appreciate why the right hon. Gentleman and his friends are screaming. It is because people are beginning to understand what is involved in the Bill.

Mr. Orme

Perhaps my hon. Friend could help hon. Members on this side of the House by telling us whether there is any real difference between the agency shop as proposed in the Bill and what will be implemented by these Amendments. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Amendments are a camouflage and do not alter the basic provisions already outlined in the agency shop proposals?

Mr. Heffer

There are certain differences between the concept of the approved closed shop and the agency shop arrangements suggested in another part of the Bill, but they are minor differences.

The right hon. Gentleman raised one vital point which needs to be spelt out clearly. Even this so-called concession will not apply to a non-registered trade union. Only a registered trade union will be able to take advantage of it, assuming that it offers an advantage, which I do not accept.

The right hon. Gentleman is offering the House, the country and the trade union movement no real advantage by this new Clause. For that reason, we oppose it. Even at this late stage, we believe that the right hon. Gentleman should be prepared to take back the Clause and, after this Bill has been to the other place, to bring forward an Amendment which accepts that, where a trade union and an employer are prepared to reach a voluntary agreement on a closed shop, that principle will be embodied in the Bill.

Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

It may help to commend my right hon. Friend's new Clause to hon. Members opposite if I say to the House that I am very far from happy about it. Indeed, if my right hon. Friend were to take the advice just given to him by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) and, in the light of the reaction to it, withdraw the Clause, I would not wish to stand in his way. Because as my right hon. Friend said in his admirable speech the party to which he and I belong has for a long time believed in the right of the citizen to join or not to join a union, and the closed shop is a very serious interference with that right.

I fully understand the practical reasons which cause not only trade unions but many employers to like an arrangement of this sort. There is in many cases very great practical convenience—I do not waste the time of the House by disputing that for a moment—but there is here something more important even than practical convenience in industry, and that is the right and freedom of the individual citizen.

Our great trade unions today, for all their significance in the State, are still basically private bodies. They are not part, and I hope that they never will be part, of the apparatus of the State. Therefore, it does not seem to me to be the function of legislaation to assist in compelling, as opposed to persuading, individual citizens to join them. In the corporate States of the Fascist and Communist type the converse is the case: there one has the complete closed shop. The unions are part of the structure of the State, and the State insists that citizens join their individual trade unions. But here we have the fact that there are citizens—not, I think, very many—who simply do not wish to join a union. Do I hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) say "ridiculous"?

Mr. Orme

No. I was saying that the point that the right hon. Gentleman is now emphasising, the right not to belong, is met in the terms of the new Schedule and of the new Clause. That is the point we are contesting.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me for a moment he will see that I do not go with him the whole way.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Perhaps I may intervene in order to save an interruption later. My right hon. Friend started by saying that he was speaking on the principle of Conservatism. He and I are in the same party. I have never understood that the principle of Conservatism means that we have to be slaves to dogma. While I would go along with my right hon. Friend and with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, I would say that we always have been a practical party, and have recognised that a rule is strong when we recognise an exception to it. I merely ask my right hon. Friend, because he is a very powerful member of the party, to recognise that point in putting his submissions to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am rather surprised to hear the hon. Baronet below the Gangway equating a belief in individual liberty with an ecceptance of dogma. I should have hoped that the principle of individual liberty, of the right of the citizen under the law to do all that the State does not forbid him to do and not to be compelled to do things other than the State itself for necessary purposes compels, went a good deal further than dogma. That is one of the principles upon which our society is founded.

To return to what is said by the hon. Member opposite, I know that provision is made for conscientious objection, which is right and proper, but there may be perfectly reasonable objections, even if one disagrees with them, that are not conscientious. People may not want to join a union whose leadership is fomenting a political strike. I do not think that that is unreasonable. They may not wish to join a union because it supports a certain political party, and that may be a perfectly reasonable attitude.

So I start on the principle that the closed shop is a bad thing because it is apt to face an individual with a decision either to do what he does not want to do, and join what is, after all, a private organisation, or lose his job. That is a form of compulsion on the individual in aid of a private organisation which is, I think, unacceptable in a liberal and civilised society.

My right hon. Friend accepted that view. His argument was the traditional one of the servant girl's baby—it is only a little one—and he was supported in that argument by the hon. Member for Walton. But the principle is right, even in respect of a little one—and I must say that I am very unhappy about this Clause.

I am glad that my right hon. Friend has rejected the pre-entry closed shop, because I agree that that is the worst possible form of closed shop. I had a case of this in my constituency, a year or two ago. A printer, who had been a member of the appropriate union for some years, went to New Zealand, where he joined the appropriate printing union. On his return to this country he got a job at once as a printer on a local newspaper which had a closed shop agreement. When he tried to join the appropriate union, of which he had been a member in the past, he was denied membership because the union preferred to put forward another of its members for the job which my constituent had secured. I do not think that that is tolerable, and I am glad that my right hon. Friend has rejected it.

But following from my example, which related to the pre-entry closed shop, I should like a little more clarification of the meaning of what I hope my right hon. Friend does not think it discourteous of me to describe as a somewhat cumbersomely drafted Clause. If he looks at subsection (5)(a), he will see that provision is made in which it is open to an employer …to dismiss, penalise or otherwise discriminate against a worker to whom the agreement applies "— I must say that I do not like the sound of "dismiss, penalise or otherwise discriminate against a worker" in any circumstances— on the grounds that he is not, and has refused or failed to become, a member of the trade union… or another trade union.

What I should like to know from my right hon. Friend is the significance of the words "or failed". It is perhaps revealing that these words do not appear in the parallel provisions of subsection (5)(b) which are …that he has not, and has refused to become… a member of the trade union.

It must on the ordinary canons of interpretation be that the words "or failed" have, or are intended to have, some meaning, though after the recent revelation of how the Finance Act, 1968 was drafted, that is perhaps an optimistic view.

4.45 p.m.

What is meant by "or failed"? It seems to me at least capable of the interpretation that a person who is not a member of a trade union, who has not refused to join but fails to join, is a person who, like my constituent in the case to which I have referred, has applied for membership and has been rejected by the union. If that is so, it casts a rather different light on the operation of the Clause than my right hon. Friend put upon it, because it would mean that the worker who was willing to join the appropriate trade union under these arrangements but who was blackballed for membership by the union would be liable to be dismissed, penalised or otherwise discriminated against by his employer.

I cannot believe that this is what my right hon. Friend wants. I am sufficiently conscious enough of my own limitations in understanding the drafting of these Clauses to believe that there may well be some other interpretation than that to which, on the fact of it, this seems to lead. But I would be grateful if my right hon. Friend at some stage, whenever convenient to him, could clear up this point because, unhappy as I am about the Clause as a whole, if this wording really meant what it seems possible for it to mean, I would find it impossible to support my right hon. Friend in the Lobby.

Mr. R. Carr

Before my right hon. Friend sits down, let me answer that one point. My right hon. Friend should remember Clause 61, because that Clause lays down guiding principles for the organisation of workers, and it lays down that membership may not be arbitrarily or unreasonably refused. I think that we recognise that a union has a perfect right to make a condition of membership: reasonable terms, for example, to ensure qualifications necessary for safety in some particular trade. Therefore, it would be proper for somebody to fail to get in for failing to meet the perfectly proper conditions laid down in the law. But we are saying that in future, once this Bill is law, in the sort of case that my right hon. Friend quoted of his constituent, who clearly had been accepted as being properly qualified in every way in the past, he should not be refused membership under this Bill.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The example which my right hon. Friend gave of an insufficiently qualified man carries some weight, but surely he will appreciate that in this new Clause we are dealing with a man who ex hypothesi is already working for an employer—otherwise he does not come into the sub-Clause—and who presumably would have been able to continue to work unless a closed shop arrangement had been imposed.

Are we not, therefore, in this position, that either the union rejects him for something reasonable, like qualifications, or, if the union acts unreasonably, the unfortunate man who has been discriminated against has got to take up the case as an unfair industrial practice under Clause 61. However theoretically possible, I suggest that that is not in the real world. There is, therefore, a very real difficulty here.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has been arguing the case from the point of view of the freedom of the individual. I want to refer to three specific Amendments which I think are essential to the new Clause if this Clause is to be in any sense useful. I am afraid that the consequence of accepting these Amendments would make the Clause even more offensive to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames than it is at present.

Nobody would deny that the freedom of the individual is important. But we on this side of the House are concerned with the freedom of the group who protect the individual. We maintain that that freedom is no less important, for unless the freedom of the group is maintained to enable the group to look after those who belong to it, we deprive those individuals of their freedom. There is, therefore, a difference of philsophy here. In our experience on this side of the House, the freedom of the individual cannot be preserved unless he is within a group. That is the situation in which we find ourselves. Our whole experience leads us to the conclusion that we can be free only within the expression of a collective freedom.

It is recognised that in some professions the total collective organisation which makes up the profession is essential, on behalf of the community as a whole and on behalf of the indivduals who belong to that group. What is sauce for the doctors and the lawyers is equally sauce for the trade unionists on this side of the House.

Mr. David Waddington (Nelson and Colne)


Mr. Jenkins

I will give way in a moment. We say that this is equally sauce for the trade unions, and we make no distinction between actors or seamen or others who feel that freedom cannot be served except by a collective organisation.

Mr. Ian Percival (Southport)

The hon. Gentleman has referred to lawyers to illustrate his argument. There is no obligation upon a member of the Bar to be a member of the Bar Council. The two things are quite separate.

Mr. Jenkins

Whether or not the legal profession possesses adequate disciplinary powers to control those within the profession, we might reasonably debate on another occasion.

I will now turn to the three points to which I specifically want to draw attention—

Mr. Waddington

If the hon. Gentleman is passing to another point, would he give way? I am grateful to him for doing so. I think there is some misconception on the other side of the House. I have often heard it said on previous occasions during the passage of this Bill that the lawyers operate a closed shop. Does he not concede that there is a great deal of difference between the law requiring that before a man can pratise a certain profession he should have certain qualifications, a law which is designed for the protection of the public, and a man being compelled to join a particular organisation? Would the hon. Gentleman not reconsider his earlier remarks on this subject and concede that a doctor has not got to be a member of the B.M.A., that a barrister has not got to be a member of the Bar Council and that a solicitor has not got to be a member of the Law Society? Therefore, there is no question of the closed shop principle in those professions at all.

Mr. Jenkins

The hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong. All he is saying is that under certain different circumstances different compulsions apply. That is indeed the case. But one cannot say that because a particular compulsion is necessay in one case, all other compulsions are automatically rulled out. I think I shall illustrate my point better if I am allowed to continue.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Geoffrey Howe)


Mr. Jenkins

I will give way in a moment to the hon. and learned Gentleman. I think I could best illustrate my case if I were to proceed to the particular arguments which I wish to adduce, without taking up too much time, and if I do not allow myself to be diverted too much on this issue. I will now give way to the Solicitor-General.

The Solicitor-General

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. He said that in different professions different compulsions apply. The point is that there are no compulsions to belong to any organisations in any of the professions which he mentioned. The only compulsion which applies, if one is to continue practising as a doctor, a lawyer or a barrister is that one should comply with the qualification conditions, and that one should not be discharged or dismissed by bodies like the General Medical Council on grounds of misconduct and not for failing to belong to a particular organisation. There is no compulsion to belong to any organisation in order to continue practising. The only compulsion is to conform with standards asserted by bodies like the G.M.C. in the public interest.

Mr. Jenkins

What the hon. and learned Gentleman is saying is that in those professions in which an examinational qualification is laid down, that qualification is all right; but he is not ready to accept that in other professions a qualification agreed by people in the profession as a whole is reasonable. We could argue about this for a long time.

It seems to me that the proposition which hon. Members opposite put forward—that there is only one form of qualification which should be recognised, and that other forms of qualification laid down by people in other occupations are entirely unacceptable—is one which we on this side of the House could never accept.

Mr. R. Carr

May I point out that we have no objection, for example, to a union agreeing that certain standards of competence and certain qualifications should be essential for employment in a particular trade. What we object to is that in addition to those standards of competence, one has compulsorily to be a member of a particular organisation. The Bar does not do that. Medicine does not do that. They require standards of competence which are decided by examination. That is not the only way of laying down standards of competence.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Jenkins

The right hon. Gentleman gives the impression, at least, of being a reasonable man, and I shall hope to explain to him later precisely why the forms of qualification about which he has been talking do not apply elsewhere, and why other forms of qualification are necessary.

I come now to Amendment (c), which, in spite of what has just been said, I believe to be non-controversial and acceptable to the Government. Amended in this way, subsection (1)(a) of new Clause No. 1 would read: …is made between one or more employers and one or more trade unions, or between one or more employers' associations whether registered or not and one or more trade unions". After I have explained the purpose here, I hope to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he regards this change as acceptable, but, in order to explain the matter, at the risk of wearying the House, I shall have to give a little of the history of how the Equity shop came about.

Up till the 1930s, there was an appalling background in the acting profession, with bad employers, with people not being paid, and with appalling conditions of work. At that time, there were two competing trade unions, a Left-wing union called the Actors' Association and a Right-wing union called the Stage Guild. Neither of those two organisations could cope with the situation because they were not universal.

In the state of chaos then existing, a group of actors, the leading actors in the country, got together and decided that those things must stop. They signed an undertaking, which is preserved in the Equity offices to this day. It was signed by the leading actors in this country at that time, irrespective of their political views—they were not militants—and it was in these terms: We, the undersigned, pledge ourselves not to sign any contract which would deny our right to refuse to work with non-members of Equity". The House will see that what is being asserted there is the right of the group to refuse to work with one individual.

That decision has applied ever since. The morning after the declaration was signed, the Equity officers were besieged because it was recognised by employers and employees that, if the distinguished actors in the country were determined to assert their right to refuse to work with non-members of Equity, the thing to do was to join.

For the first time, there was a qualification, and that qualification was membership of the trade union. For the first time, there was the possibility of order being brought out of chaos. The Government of the day, a Conservative Government, recognised the situation, and Oliver Stanley, who was the Minister of Labour at the time, set up an organisation, to give validity to the principles set out in the declaration. The London Theatre Council was created, and, after that, the Provincial Theatre Council. Those two Theatre Councils brought out a series of contracts which were known as Esher contracts. The name of Lord Esher is revered throughout the theatrical profession, because these Esher contracts contained a union-shop principle which made possible the establishment of order and decency in the acting profession—and, incidentally, on the basis of that order and decency, helped to make this country the finest theatrical country in the world. It is the basis of those contracts which the Government are now out to destroy.

The Esher contracts provided also that in the provinces two theatrical managers' associations should be parties. There were four organisations, the Theatrical Managers' Association, the Association of Touring and Producing Managers, the Variety Artistes' Federation, and Equity. These four organisations validated the contracts, and every contract said that the employer should be a member of the employers' association, or, if he were not, he had to put down a deposit to ensure that the money would be there for the actors' salaries at the end of the week. On the other side, the contract said that the actor would be a member of Equity, or, as it was at that time, the Variety Artistes' Federation.

That principle has operated ever since. Every actor's contract, from the top to the bottom, is essentially the same, and that is the basis upon which security has been effected, through the existence of the union shop.

Who carries out the discipline? The contracts are not one-sided agreements. They are negotiated between the employee and the employers' organisation, and they are issued by the Provincial Theatre Council, the chairman of which has always been appointed by the Minister of Labour, and would, no doubt, be appointed today by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State if a change were to be made.

The system brought into being in that way has been run on the basis that discipline is enforced by the trade union. It is the trade union which collects fines if the employers and the union collectively decide that there will be fines. It is the trade union which ensures that the actor is there when the curtain goes up.

This discipline can be enforced only by an organisation which has the power to enforce it, an organisation which can go to any employer and say, "You will not have any workers, you will have no one on the stage at all, unless you are prepared to use the Esher standard contract", which the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, in his wisdom, decided was the right system to operate in this field.

Without the changes which I am pressing upon the Government, it will be impossible for that system to be maintained. Since these days, the Theatre Council system has been extended to the cinema and television. Throughout the whole range of entertainment, with some changes and differences, it has operated to bring some security into a life which is notoriously insecure. It is that which we seek to protect and maintain, but it is that which the right hon. Gentleman's proposals would take away.

Now, Amendment (d), to leave out the words "or become" in paragraph (b), so that the closing words would read: …every such worker, unless specially exempted, must be a member of that trade union.… The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames was a little worried about a similar provision a little lower down. I was at first surprised that he was not worried about this one, too, but I think that I now understand, because the subsection as at present worded preserves what the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to preserve, namely, that it shall be a post-entry shop.

If the post-entry shop is the only form of shop allowed, in the world with which I am most closely concerned it will mean that no form of restriction can be operated. Everyone knows that in the entertainment world the problem is not to get people in, it is not a question of recruitment or forcing people to be members of the trade union; it is to keep them out. They all want to come in, and the problem is to try to keep unemployment at about one-third of the total of workers. At the moment, unemployment among actors is nearer half, and if the right hon. Gentleman's Clause goes through unamended there will be many more people unemployed than there are employed, because it will not be possible to operate the casting agreements as they are operated at present.

If the trade union and the employers together are not able to say, "You are not already a member of the union, and we are not admitting any extra members to this area", every casting agreement which Equity now has will be invalidated overnight.

Mr. Gower

Would the hon. Gentleman go so far as to contend that the most appropriate instrument to dissuade people from entering a trade or industry in excessive numbers would be a closed shop? Is he saying that a closed shop agreed between the employers and the trade union is the best and most appropriate instrument for restricting the number of people in a trade or industry?

Mr. Jenkins

I am saying that experience has shown it to be the only way, when the occupation carries with it a certain spurious glamour and when people mistakenly believe that the occupation is one in which they will enjoy themselves and earn vast sums with very little effort. The true situation is nothing like that. By the time they discover that it is nothing like it, it may be too late. Their opportunity to learn another useful occupation and one which they could put to the use of the community is by this time gone, because the learning years may have passed.

For this reason, I believe that the Equity shop is an absolute necessity and that, unless the Government accept my Amendment, the preservation of the trade union's power to control the number of people coming in will be destroyed. This is why I find the Clause as it stands unacceptable.

I turn finally to Amendment (jjjj) on page 2445, which seeks to insert in line 196 of the Secretary of State's proposed new Schedule— (c) every employer of relevant workers shall be covered by such agreement whether or not the employer is a member of the employer's association or associations. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), who so ably represents the interests of seamen in the House, and I commend this Amendment to the House.

I hope that this Amendment, too, will commend itself to the Secretary of State. This Amendment seeks to deal with the bad employer. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman about good employers. If we had to deal with only good employers, there would be no great problems and there would be hardly any necessity for trade unions. The problem is that we have to deal with all kinds of employers.

In the car industry we have to deal, not only with the employers where there is relatively little trouble, but also with Fords. Similarly in the entertainment world, the problem is not usually the large and established employers. It is the smaller employers. It is also those employers who may be very good but who are very temporary, who are here today and gone tomorrow, and who are not members of the Association.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East will seek to say a few words about this as it affects those about whom he is particularly concerned. We hope that the right hon. Gentleman will find this Amendment acceptable, because without it it will be impossible, even if other Amendments are accepted, to maintain organisation throughout. The essence of organisation in the entertainment world is that it must be universal.

For these reasons, I commend to the House the three Amendments which I have been advocating. Without these three Amendments, the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has put before the House and which he suggests will meet the problems of those with whom I am particularly concerned and of those with whom my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East is particularly concerned will do nothing.

If that be the case, my advice to those people must necessarily be this. If the Government will not concede these points, they are making no real concession and the only thing people can do in these circumstances is to put their backs to the wall and fight the whole thing through to the end.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Peter Emery (Honiton)

I will not follow the direct argument which has been adduced by the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins).

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the new Clause, which will go further towards obtaining industrial discipline than some of the speeches we have heard so far may have suggested. It is not only a question of the seamen, the actors or the individual objecting to joining a union. It has become apparent as the Bill has proceeded through its stages that trade unions and management have wished to have the opportunity of having a closed shop for the benefit of the industry and of the workers. The fact that my right hon. Friend has introduced the new Clause shows that he has not a closed mind, even on aspects of major principle.

Whether we like it or not, in certain industries management, perhaps because of the size or dispersal of the industry or the size of the firm, has lost the ordinary control which management should have over industrial discipline. The control over industrial discipline has in such circumstances passed to the trade unions. Whether the trade unions want it is another matter. The power of management in certain areas has decreased as the power of the trade unions has increased. The docks are perhaps an easy and useful illustration.

Mr. J. D. Concannon (Mansfield)

Talk about the coal mines.

Mr. Emery

In the docks the operation of more than one union has allowed militancy amongst certain organisations of workers to work against the desire of the Transport and General Workers' Union, which is the main union. It is no secret that the main union has not wanted to intervene to deal with problems until a strike has been running for two or three weeks.

The operation of a closed shop in that industry, with one union dominating, will allow the unions to have control over its militants, something which has not happened up to the present. Unlike my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), I think that a trade union should have the right to preclude certain people from being members of the union, whether by depriving them of their union cards if they are already members or by stopping them from obtaining employment, because the trade union believes that such people will not assist in operating the arrangements which the union has entered into, and I hope registered, under the Bill.

Mr. David Mitchell

Is my hon. Friend suggesting that the question whether a man is employed or not employed should be decided by the union and not by the employer?

Mr. Emery

Whether my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) likes it or not, that is the case in certain industries today. He may dismiss the fact, but let him at least be practical and open-minded enough to acknowledge that, in certain industries, this power rests not with the management but with the trade unions. The trade unions know it.

Mr. Gower

But has my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) not gone a little further than that? Has he not said that it is highly desirable? He said that it is highly desirable that a trade union should have the right to dissuade or prevent persons from being members not because of any deficiency of qualification but because of some other matter at the discretion of the union.

Mr. Emery

I said that, in certain instances, it may be desirable. Perhaps I may spell it out again so that my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) may absolutely understand it. Supposing there is a militant who is disrupting agreements which the union and the management may want to have under a closed shop. It will be possible for that person to be disciplined and perhaps to have his trade union card taken away, if that is necessary. One of the matters with which this Bill is principally concerned, and which is important surely to both sides of this House, as it is to both sides of industry, is to obtain a greater degree of industrial discipline. This is one of the weaknesses which Henry Ford has been talking about over the weekend. Responsible trade unionists are willing to discuss it in private. They do not want to discuss it in public but they recognise the difficulties in that they have not always been able properly to control some of their members. It is not surprising, but it goes against the interests of trade unions. If the Bill can strengthen the powers of trade unions in this matter, it is a good thing.

One must, therefore, go against the argument propounded by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames. He said that individual liberty must be defended by this House. He referred to the rights and freedoms of the individual citizen. It is certainly the individual's right to work, but it is not his right to be able to disrupt an industrial organisation purely on his right, for example, to be given a certain job.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As my hon. Friend puts it, it sounds reasonable, but what he is asking for is the right, at the discretion of a trade union, to deprive a man of the right to work, whether he be disruptive or whether his fault be the opposite one, of working too hard.

Mr. Emery

The rights of the individual worker in that matter are covered by Clauses 61 and 62. The rights of the individual in those instances where both the industry and the trade union wish to come to an agreement should be preserved. Both the C.B.I. and the T.U.C. have argued this and I congratulate the Government on ensuring that it will happen.

How does my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State envisage this in practice? What delay does he see in the matter having to go to the Court before it goes to the Commission? There is force in the argument that it would be useful for it to be possible for the matter to be referred directly to the Commission Without having to go to the Court first. Why, therefore, must the Government have this extra proviso in the procedure when it seems to involve delay and is, on the whole, unnecessary?

Will my hon. Friend say something about the point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames concerning the way in which a trade union might or might not be able to discipline a person under a closed shop arrangement by taking away his right to work? If a man is shown to be disruptive of an agreement or of the rules of his union, that seems to me to be a fair reason and one which would normally be substantiated. If such action is taken, has that worker any right of appeal? A right of appeal would meet the point put by my right hon. Friend. Surely no one could have any objection if the worker had a right of appeal against the action of his union in depriving him of his card. All we are trying to ensure is that this shall be done properly and legitimately and not out of personal pique or the personal feelings of a trade union official.

The matter of greater consideration, above all, is that it has been proved that a closed shop agreement can be beneficial—indeed, it is beneficial at the moment.

Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)


Mr. Emery

I am not saying that it has been beneficial in every instance but that it has been beneficial where management and unions have wished to have it brought about and substantiated.

I wonder whether the Government are certain that the right criterion for establishing this is that 50 per cent. of all those who are able to vote should be in favour. The criterion is not that 50 per cent. of those who actually vote must be in favour. We all know, from our knowledge of elections in trade unions and other associations and societies, how difficult it is to get those who are qualified to vote to do so. Particularly if a very large union is involved, the result will be very difficult to obtain. I wonder whether the Government should not alter the requirement so that a closed shop could continue if 50 per cent. of those actually voting were in favour.

My general view of the new Clause is that it is a step in the right direction, and I hoped that it would be welcomed to a greater extent by hon. Members opposite than has been the case so far. It goes much further towards benefiting both sides of industry than was expected.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

I represent a seafaring constituency and I want to address my remarks to the difficulties of the merchant seamen in relation to the new Clause. The Secretary of State talked about 5 per cent. of the trade union movement—not the other 95 per cent. It is my belief and that of my union—the National Union of Seamen—that the closed shop principle is applicable to all trade unionism and is necessary in many cases for the development of strong trade unions. In certain cases, to abolish it will entail degrees of severity which will vary from union to union. In the case of the National Union of Seamen, the difficulty arises from the abolition of the pre-entry closed shop.

The new Clause obviously represents a rethinking of the Government's attitude on this matter and is perhaps a welcome departure from some of the rather abstract arguments we heard from them at earlier stages. It reveals some rather more practical thinking about the problems which a number of trade unions face.

5.30 p.m.

The new Clause recognises something that we have frequently attempted to explain to the Government—that the right to belong and the right not to belong to a trade union are not equal. The Clause is long and complex in its attempt to cover 5 per cent. of the country's labour force, and in that it reminds me of one of the theories advanced in technology—that the smaller the problem, the more money is needed to buy the equipment to deal with it. A similar principle seems to have been applied to the Clause, which is to cover about 5 per cent of the labour force. I believe that the figure of 5 per cent. is based on the Donovan Report, which said that 5 per cent. of the labour force was covered by closed shop agreements, but how many unions could qualify under the Clause is debatable.

The Clause is meant to be a compromise. The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) explained one of the difficulties, in that the Clause will deny rights to non-trade unionists who may be parties to an agreement. The right hon. Gentleman has strong views about the liberty of the individual. I should like to draw the attention of the House to other difficulties which have already been mentioned to the Government in their discussions of the problem.

The Clause may not completely destroy the National Union of Seamen, but it is a long step towards crippling effective trade union representation in the shipping industry. It has frequently been said that the Bill is designed to cripple the trade union movement and especially shop floor representation. The new Clause is drafted in the hope that it will meet some of the difficulties which have been explained to the Government, but it will not solve the problems. It ducks the main issue. It does not say that seamen or anybody else will be exempt, but it provides that the Commission for Industrial Relations will decide the issue and, once again, authority in important matters is therefore delegated to outside bodies.

Mine is a pre-entry closed shop union and we control the labour force. I shall not weary the House with the reasons for that, for I have given them in other speeches. It is important to remember that in this industry the labour force does not just do its job and then go home. It does its job and then lives as a community aboard a vessel, and that creates major difficulties in working relationships and introduces tensions which might be increased if there were no union control of the labour force. Most important, by the maintenance of a pre-entry closed shop, we have been able to establish some degree of safety aboard vessels. The competence of the crews in our ships is maintained at a standard which is much higher than that of the ships of other nations which sail in our channels. That is an important achievement for a union.

I give one small example in justification of my view. The Government lay down manning standards for vessels in that certain members of a crew must have certain certificates if they are to sail on certain vessels. However, in the past many companies have required seamen on large vessels only to clean bulkheads for instance. These men have been able to leave to go to smaller ships. We call these men "deck hands uncertified ". Special problems are created by the increase in the number of uncertified seamen in the industry and the problem will be increased if the pre-entry closed shop is denied. I will not develop this theme, although there are other examples which I could give.

The Government have recognised the special circumstances in which an approved closed shop agreement could apply. The closed shop is applicable to all trade unions, but how strictly it is applied will vary from industry to industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) detailed the provisions of the Clause. It requires, in line with the principle of the Bill, that a closed shop agreement should be made by a union approved by the Registrar. The application must be jointly made by the union and the employer. It is conditional on all the criteria being satisfied. It is conditional on the union registering as such and, in certain circumstances, applying to the courts which so many of us find so objectionable.

Why should joint application be necessary? The argument should be as sound if only the union applies. It is always with the bad employer that we are concerned and if he does not agree to go for registration, the whole exercise will fail, and yet it is the bad- employer who is the kind of person who will not want to recognise the development of trade unionism anyway. An employer or employers' association may refuse to register and should then be subject to the same provisions as a union in similar circumstances.

I may be asked why an employers' association would refuse. It may be that it did not want trade unionism at any price in that industry, and it might be that there were good economic reasons for its view. In America, for instance, a number of oil companies have opted out of union agreements because of their special kinds of development, and a number of companies may find it attractive to employ labour more cheaply or, as in my industry, there may be access to foreign labour, to an international pool of unemployed seamen.

There may be powerful economic reasons for it refusing to do anything. This may be thought to be pushing the point, but the Cunard Steamship Company, in which I served for many years and from which I was ultimately banned for trade union activities, has said that it is thinking of manning British ships with Greek crews. There is a powerful economic incentive not to register as a company or employers' association. There will be some companies excessively powerful within an association which can exercise a disproportionate amount of influence upon the decision of an association as to registration. If it did not register then the whole thing would fall. We are giving to employers the right to frustrate and deter the development of trade unionism.

Mr. Stainton

Can the hon. Gentleman develop this important point about the possible arrangement between Cunard and the Greek shipowner? Can he develop it in terms of chartering?

Mr. Prescott

I certainly could, but I am conscious of the need to remain in order. This is a constant problem. The chartering is made easy because if the company charters a ship there is no requirement that the crew should be British. The crew is chartered with the ship. This is happening constantly with a lot of Liberian shipping as I have pointed out in this House. It is a threat to our stability and that is why we need to have international solidarity in my industry, because it is an international threat.

This gives the right to the employer to frustrate and deter the development of trade unionism. Taking the argument in the context of the Bill as it stands, if an agreement is to be made with the consent of the employers' association and the trade union, we have to go through the process of drawing up a closed shop agreement, submitting it to the Court to be passed to the C.I.R., which considers it. If an employer refuses to be a party to that application and the C.I.R. decides that a closed shop is necessary, in such conditions can the agreement be forced upon the employer who refuses to be a member of the association?

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

Would it not be true to say that the recalcitrant employer could organise 20 per cent. to ballot against the proposal and defeat the whole plan?

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Prescott

My hon. Friend has taken my second point from me. Assume that the C.I.R. has decided that there should be a closed shop. There is then a period of one to three months during which such an employer could get 20 per cent. to object to this and have the agreement set aside if 51 per cent. of those eligible to vote do not agree. If we give the employer the right to ask for a closed shop I assume we also give him the right to do what he can to prevent the imposition of a closed shop if he does not wish it.

I come next to the independent workers' organisation, that is, one that is not a trade union by definition. In this context trade unions are those bodies which have registered. If it is right that there should be a closed shop in an industry, because of reasons which have convinced the C.I.R., ought that not to be available also to the independent workers' organisation, if the Government wish to maintain a strengthened trade union organisation? The argument is equally valid.

We have heard of the "gateways" argument dealing with the "gateways" embodied in the Bill. However, we have heard the various interpretations that can be placed on the words in the Bill inside this House. The whole course of trade union history shows that different judges have interpreted things differently and, no coincidence, have interpreted such things against trade unions when there has been strong anti-trade union feeling. There is, for example, the word "reasonable." The Bill talks of reasonable terms and conditions of employment and reasonable prospects of continued employment. I do not suppose that anyone would be able to give me a tight definition of "reason able ". We have tried but it is not possible. How can we get an interpretation of a reasonable wage or a fair wage?

What is "stable collective bargaining "? Is it when only 35 per cent. is in the union, as happens in America? We shall have no influence in the interpretation of these words and instead the extent and course of trade union development will be determined by an outside body.

If it is decided by the C.I.R. that an agency shop could apply, then the closed shop is denied. The most important thing is that a union has to satisfy all those points set out. That will make it extremely difficult. That is why we can justly say that this is an attempt to cripple the development of trade unionism in certain areas.

Extreme difficulties will arise with ballots. I hope that the Secretary of State will pay attention to this. It is particularly so because of the transient work force in my industry. Both the Pearson and Rochdale Reports into the industry show that 80 per cent. of those in the industry will have left it within five years. That means that in a three month period over 4 per cent. or 5 per cent. of the seafaring population will have left, and that can bring about problems with balloting. There will be all sorts of disputes about whether the 20 per cent. contains people who have left the industry.

The problem about ballots is that we have thousands of ships all over the world and it is not possible to get a letter to them in three months. Ships go to places which are almost inaccessible where there are no means of radio communication or of getting ballot papers to them. My union has found it increasingly difficult to carry out elections for its executive council and for the office of general secretary. Despite extending the period of the ballot to over six months, only 5.7 per cent. of the membership took part in the ballot in 1969, although many more applied for papers through the Electoral Reform Society, which runs our elections. Another difficulty is that the length of the voyage may be so considerable that it is not possible to get in touch with the men in time. They may be away for two years and therefore would be disfranchised.

Will an agreement apply to an industry or to a company? Many of our men change their ship in a matter of weeks. If an agreement applies to a company, will the company be able to opt out? It is proposed that the court will be able to take into account special circumstances, but it will be absolutely impossible to get 51 per cent. of the membership to take part in the vote. Imposition of the kind of conditions proposed makes the Clause almost meaningless.

Mr. Orme

Can my hon. Friend give us any idea of the approximate number of members of his union who are in the United Kingdom at one time?

Mr. Prescott

I cannot. It is extremely difficult to give the number. However, 20 per cent. of seamen are ashore waiting for jobs.

What power will be available to discipline the rogue company which does not want to agree to trade union development? The new Clause denies us the use of pressure to ensure the maintenance of a closed shop. Suppose that a company desires to employ a foreign crew. Companies are employing Spanish seamen, for example, in places like Rotterdam. They may say," We have made them members of the trade union ". The situation can be controlled only by the existence of a pre-entry closed shop. If there is no such control, companies will be able to go abroad and employ foreign labour and pay the union contribution in order to keep the men on the ship.

I come to the question of special exemption and the conscience Clause. The effect of the Clause is that a member of a closed shop agreement can be sacked for being a member of a trade union. Clause 8 gives a man a period in which to make up his mind whether to become a conscientious objector. His vessel may be in any part of the world. There will be no pressure on him because the company cannot discharge him since the Merchant Shipping Acts prevent it and it will be obliged to bring him back to this country. If it is said that he must make a decision before he joins the ship, he might have to make it half an hour before joining.

My union and I feel that the Clause is a compromise which will go a very short way to solving our problems. We adhere strongly to the overriding principle of the collective agreement. We believe in the voluntary development of trade unionism. Like all trade unions, we are against the Bill. The conditions which the Government lay down make it almost useless. This attempt to compromise satisfies no one and will serve only to cripple the development of trade unionism in the shipping industry.

Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)

After the eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), mine will be a very boring, nitpicking speech and therefore I warn hon. Members that now is the time to go.

I was interested in the defence of the pre-entry closed shop put forward by the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). He said that the Clause would be useless to his union because it forbade the pre-entry closed shop. I ask the hon. Gentleman, or perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) who knows all about these things, to tell me how the pre-entry closed shop works. I understand from the hon. Member for Putney that membership of his union, Equity, is given only to actors and actresses of experience. Yet they are not allowed to get a job unless they are already members. How on earth do they get into the union in those circumstances? My hon. Friend is going to give the answer.

6.0 p.m.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

I would like to put my hon. and learned Friend right at an early stage because I know that the rest of his speech will be constructive and helpful. The qualification has been made perfectly clear. In the special conditions of the acting business it is not possible to have easily recognised qualifications as do lawyers or doctors who have to pass examinations. The qualification asked for is that one satisfies an employer that one has been offered a job and has carried it out. That qualification enables one to become a member of Equity. It is the only qualification an actor has for this purpose.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

If one has to have had a job there can surely be no absolute pre-entry closed shop. If people have already been employed before becoming members of the union, I do not quite see the absolute severity of the pre-entry closed shop which the hon. Member for Putney seeks to maintain.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I wonder whether the hon. and learned Gentleman will allow me to explain to him now rather than later? As the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) has just said, there is no attempt to prevent or to control entry into the profession as a whole. The position is that, within the general freedom, there is what is called a casting agreement whereby certain sectors of the industry are enclosed, as it were, and it is possible to enter those sectors—the films are a case in point—only if a person has entered already through another sector and so acquired a degree of training before he gets into the area of the enclosure. I am sorry to take up the time of the House on this but I think it may save the hon. and learned Gentleman from being under a misapprehension if I explain that within the general freedom of entry, provided there is a contract, there are restricted sectors, closing around those who have acquired some knowledge and experience of the business.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

I am most grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for allowing me to remind him that representatives from Equity came to visit us in the House and that they accepted the view that they did not operate a pre-entry closed shop.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

I am most grateful for those three informative interventions, and it seems to me that according to the last and most received opinion there is no pre-entry closed shop. In that case I do not quite know why the hon. Member for Putney was so insistent that it should be preserved.

I heard with great interest my right hon. Friend say that this was a post-entry closed shop. I was not sure, from reading this long and complicated new Clause, and I am still not absolutely sure, on that. It is true that the sidenote to Clause 7 says Pre-entry closed shop agreements to be void. We all know that a sidenote does not govern a Clause or a Bill but at any rate this one helps. But in what will presumably be the sidenote to this new Clause we see Special provisions for approval of closed shop agreement. giving one no indication whether this would be a pre-entry or a post-entry agreement.

The first request 1 would make is that that should be made clear in the sidenote when it is put into the Bill, because I think there is some ambiguity about it. I will try, without boring the House, to explain why.

An approved agreement means, we know from subsection (1)(b) of the new Clause, an agreement whereby it is agreed, in respect of workers of one or more descriptions specified in the agreement, that their terms and conditions of employment shall include a condition that every such worker … must be or become a member of that trade union or of one of those trade unions, as the case may be". That may be read in two ways. That can either mean that it is to the option of the employee either that he is or will subsequently become a member; or it can mean that there can be agreement that he must already be a member or alternatively there can be an agreement that he can become a member.

The first of these readings, or rather, the reading of an agreement that the employee must be a member, is, of course, a pre-entry closed shop, and that possibility of that reading is, to my mind, strengthened by the words "as the case may be".

Here is a real nitpicking point. It will be said, "Oh, no, that means only a member of that trade union or of one of those trade unions as the case may be ". That is to say, that the words "as the case may be" govern only the latter alternative. I wonder whether that is right, because subsection (3) uses the words "as the case may be" in brackets immediately governing the alternative trade union or one of the trade unions; and the same matter applies in subsection (5,a) where the words are in brackets, and there they clearly govern only the second possible alternative.

If there is any doubt about it, then I hope that it will be very carefully redrafted even if it means keeping their Lordships' House up another night. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East said so eloquently one thing with which I strongly agree, and that is that different judges interpret these things differently. He knows that and I know that. Therefore, I want this matter taken out of the realm of judicial choice and made quite clear, if necessary by redrafting, that in subsection (1,b) the word "or" does not give the alternative of a pre-entry closed shop as one reading of that subsection might do.

I do not think, if I may say so with great respect—I do not wonder, because, obviously, the Clause has been drafted quickly—that it is altogether clear in other respects. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has pointed out to me another similar difficulty in subsection (5,b). This is a case in which an approved closed shop agreement applies and an employer is entitled to refuse to engage a worker who, if engaged by him, would be a worker to whom the agreement applies, on the grounds that he is not and has refused to become, a member of that trade union … What about the worker who tried to become a member of the union and was blackballed? It is true that he is not a member of that trade union because he has been blackballed, but he has not refused to become a member, because he applied.

In those circumstances, although he was not a member of the trade union, the employer would be obliged to employ him. It cannot be right that an employer should be obliged to accept a man who has been blackballed, for good or bad reasons, by the union in the case of a closed shop agreement. It is true that he is not a member of the union, but he has not refused to become one, because he applied and was rejected. There is the word "and". Before he is rejectable he has both not to be a member and to have refused to become a member, and in the case which I am posing he did not refuse to become a member: he asked to become a member but was rejected. Nevertheless, the employer is obliged to accept him under subsection (5,b) as drafted.

Mr. David Mitchell

Am I not right in thinking that under Schedule 3 the union does not have a right to refuse membership if the man' is reasonably well qualified, and therefore the blackballing to which my hon. Friend has referred does not arise?

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

I was not on that point, although it is a good one. I am assuming that the man has been rejected for good and sufficient reasons. This is not a Clause 61 case. He has not been excluded by way of any arbitrary or unreasonable discrimination, but has been rejected because, for example, he is a notorious trouble-maker. My hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) was bitter against trouble-makers today and thought they should be thoroughly disciplined. Let us assume such a man has asked the union for membership and the union has refused membership not on arbitrary and unreasonable grounds but because the man never pays his dues and has been thoroughly shifty all his life, nobody will work with him, and so on. That man is not a member of the union. But he has not refused to become a member of the union, because he has asked for membership. He has been rejected, but nevertheless he is entitled to be employed under the closed shop agreement as I read subsection (5)(b).

Mr. James Thin (Cleveland)

Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that if the employer may be obliged to take that man on under subsection (5)(b), he could then dismiss him under subsection (5)(a)?

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right and this illustrates that the drafting of the Clause cannot be right. It is absurd to suppose that the employer is not entitled to reject him and must engage him, and then after two days is entitled to sack him. That must be wrong. Although the hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that paragraphs (b) and (a) must be read together, they are not simultaneous in their application. One deals with a situation in which the man is already employed, and the other with the man who is applying for employment. That is why I said that this would be a nitpicking speech. I have picked two nits. I have picked the one about the ambiguity of the word "or" in line 7—if I may recapitulate now that my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General is here—and my view that the word "and" in line 32 should be "or ". With those two corrections my nits would disappear.

Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)

The hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke), referred to his speech as nitpicking. I hope he was not referring to the three interjections which were made when he was dealing with the pre-entry closed shop. I do not know whether he was any wiser after receiving the advice of the three hon. Members who interrupted him, but it did not make sense to the rest of the House. We are still uncertain whether Equity is a pre-entry closed shop, but I suspect that it depends on what is meant by "entry" to a stage career.

The first question of principle before the House is whether closed shop agreements should be exempted at all under the Bill. Having listened to the Committee stage, I thought that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) made a very powerful case for the exemption of the National Union of Seamen from the provisions of the Bill. I started out from the position of being instinctively against a closed shop, but he made out a very good case for exempting the National Union of Seamen, because of the difficulties of the Merchant Navy. These have always been recognised in our law. The Merchant Shipping Acts, which contain special provisions dealing with the Merchant Navy, show that seamen are in a different category of employment from anyone else. I found the hon. Member very convincing again today. His specific and detailed attack carried a certain amount of conviction even to the untutored, such as myself. He was much better in his specific attack from the point of view of the special interests of the seamen than in his general remarks which he thought he was obliged to make against the Bill in general.

In the same way, I think that a case has been made out, though not with the same conviction, for exempting the stage not from the pre-entry closed shop but from the prohibition of a closed shop. I have not in the course of the debate heard arguments that would entitle the House to say that there should be a general or blanket approval, even under certain conditions, for other closed shops.

6.15 p.m.

Having been convinced that an exemption should be given to the National Union of Seamen and to Equity, I think the right way of doing it would be to exempt them from the provisions of the Bill. There are few general rules which do not bear some specific exceptions. The right place to establish exceptions to the general provisions of the Bill is on the Floor of the House. I know it can be argued that the new Clause, together with the Schedule, gives greater flexibility, and that referring the matter to the C.I.R. enables other closed shops to be established, but I do not like this process.

If the House thinks that the case of the National Union of Seamen and of Equity is made out, those two unions should be exempted from the provisions of the Bill, full stop. There should be no further provision to enable closed shops to be established. I do not like the process whereby gradually there could be a considerable enlargement of the number of closed shops and, if the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East is correct, the National Union of Seamen might eventually lose its closed shop because of the difficulties which he pointed out.

I do not think the Clause and Schedule would necessarily secure the objectives immediately in the mind of the House, namely, the exemption of those two bodies. They might have the opposite result and enable many more closed shops to be established while not enabling a closed shop to be established in the Merchant Navy. Having approached the debate with a fairly open mind, and having listened to the arguments, I have become more and more convinced that I should vote against the new Clause and that we should make the two specific exceptions and leave it at that.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) was concise and sound in his arguments, but I hope that he will change his mind on his last few words. The case has been made out for the National Union of Seamen and for Equity, and it is unanswerable. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will vote for the new Clause and the Schedule, and so move some way towards getting what we want, rather than against them, although I respect him for his clear thinking.

I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) who put the seamen's point of view. As the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery said, he had to bring in a certain militancy to keep in with his brothers, but by and large his speech dealt with the special difficulties and complexities of the words used. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General will pay heed to the points he made about the National Union of Seamen which to a large extent are endorsed by those who feel that Equity has a similar case.

I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, East pay tribute to the attempt of my right hon. and learned Friend to meet the points made in Committee. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), for whom I have great respect, was rather churlish in the way in which he threw the proposals out of the window, lock, stock and barrel.

Considering that the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and I are virtually brothers in arms in this matter, I was surprised, disturbed and indeed sorry that he could not find it possible to pay tribute to the trouble which the Secretary of State and the Solicitor-General have taken between the Committee stage and today to try to meet the points that have been made in this context.

They have kept their promise. They said they would look into the matter and they have accepted, in general, the strength of the case and have tried to find words to cater for Equity and the National Union of Seamen. In the absence of others paying tribute to the occupants of the Government Front Bench, I do so.

I must, having said that, join forces, at least to some extent, with the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East in considering in detail the words suggested by the Government, who have made it clear, through the mouth of the Secretary of State, that they believe that we should not have the closed shop principle over the whole of industry, that they agree with the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery that if it is to be allowed, it should occur in the minimum of cases, that it would not be in the nation's interest to have a general acceptance of the pre-entry closed shop system and that Equity and the National Union of Seamen should have a way out.

The view having been clearly expressed that a way out should be found for Equity and the seamen, words should be found to make that abundantly clear. I intervened earlier—as I did so from a sedentary position I was out of order and my remarks may not have been noted—to point out that I had faith in my right hon. Friend. However, the words in the Bill when it becomes law should be such as to be crystal clear to all concerned that these two organisations should be allowed to carry on their work with some sort of closed shop idea because that is essential to their existence.

Remembering that the Bill has yet to pass through another place and return to this House before receiving the Royal Assent to give it the force of law, I hope that my right hon. Friend will keep up the high standard we expect of him and ensure that the Bill contains such words which make it crystal clear that it is accepted that Equity and the seamen should be enabled to carry on as at present.

The theatrical business is not only important but vital, because the very existence of our economic strength is largely dependent on our being able to attract an ever-increasing share of the world's tourists to this country. As we have been able to produce the skill and know-how in other spheres which have given us a good share of the world's trade, so in theatrical terms we should not be doing our duty if we injured what has already been set afoot with considerable success; namely, establishing the United Kingdom as the centre of world theatreland. New ideas and skills in acting happen in this country and they provide a tremendous inducement to tourists to come here and spend their money.

I am speaking not for a small pleasure group but for a large business which is a vital ingredient in our capacity to attract our share of the world's wealth through tourist spending. As my right hon. Friend said in no uncertain terms that he wants Equity to get through the net which he is properly laying down to preserve the freedom of the individual, I hope that he will find words which will avoid any doubt in this matter to those interpreting this Bill.

I hope that he will give a clear indication whether, in his view, the present casting agreements will be considered as pre-entry or post-entry conditions. In what he described as a nitpicking speech, but which I found to be entirely helpful, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) thought that casting agreements would be post-rather than pre-entry closed shop conditions, and that is my view. However, they have been interpreted in the past in certain official quarters as being pre-entry conditions. This point should be made absolutely clear and the answer should be identifiable in the Bill.

I had some sympathy with an Opposition Amendment which seeks to allow a closed shop agreement to be made with more than one employers' association where there is more than one such association in the same field of employment. This is the case in respect of the provincial theatre. It is not possible in this business to say that the union is on one side and an association of all employers is on the other.

In this and the film business, the unions and Equity are clearly and easily identifiable and they will, no doubt, maintain the highest standards, but on the employers' side, while the bulk of the industry is gathered together by owners and producers, a large section of employment is, of necessity, covered by temporary theatre and film companies, which are set up for perhaps one production and disbanded immediately thereafter. It is essential, therefore, that the Bill contains words which clearly allows for this.

A critical defect in the Schedule is that while it provides for approved closed shop agreements made with employers associations to be binding on present and future members of those associations, it does not provide for them to be binding on non-member employers in these spheres. Independent managers will be bound in terms of the provincial theatre and, to some extent, in the West End, but in the film industry it is the rule, rather than the exception, for each film to be made by separate limited companies. Indeed, this may be the only way in which this industry can obtain its vitality and new approach.

6.30 p.m.

I do not think that my right hon. Friend will accept Opposition Amendment (jjj). I understand that. I should like him to look at it. Here again, it should be possible for him to find words which will have the effect of bringing out what is good in the Amendment without interfering with the general principle of the Bill as he sees it. I suggest to my right hon. Friend that it may be worth looking at the precedent set in the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act, 1959, set out in Schedule 6 of the Bill. The principle contained in that Act is that it provides that where terms and conditions are established in any trade or industry by negotiation between employers and unions, terms not less favourable may be enforced upon employers who are not members of the association which was a party of the negotiations. But the safeguard contained in the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act is that before such negotiated terms and conditions became enforceable on non-member employers, it has to be established that the employers' association and the trade union concerned were both representative of a substantial portion of the employers and the workers in the trade or industry concerned.

Between now and the time when Royal Assent is given to the Bill, my right hon. Friend may wish to have a look at that as a basis of further thought. It may well remove one of the big difficulties in our accepting the present words, as set out in the new Clause, as words which will be understandable by whoever has to take the decision and may make less likely a silly decision.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Gentleman will recollect his own Amendment tabled during the Committee stage, which did not seek to extend the provisions of a closed shop agreement beyond the members of a given employers' association. I should like to know whether he is now propounding a different argument from that which was then advanced on that point. On the second point, Section 8 of the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act, which, as the hon. Gentleman says, enables terms and conditions agreed to be extended across the whole of an industry, does not apply to any terms or conditions relating to trade union membership. I wonder how Equity, at the moment, with its closed shop agreement, be it pre- or post-entry, ensures the adoption by a non-member employer of the conditions which the hon. Gentleman is seeking to extend to the nonmember employer in the way he suggests.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

I am contemplating putting down an Amendment, which is still possible until next Thursday, which to some extent would give my views on the last point which the Solicitor-General has put to me. On the first point, I agree that there appears to be some contradiction, but that arises out of the complexity of the answer which the hon. and learned Gentleman has given to the points I made during the argument on the Committee stage. That is the sort of thing which happens when we have to take the long way around instead of the short cut suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), who suggested that we should have exempted these two industries. I reinforce the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery.

Whilst there may be general objections to the Industrial Relations Bill, for political or sectional reasons, or whilst certain parts of the House may have to accept a decision eventually which is unpalatable to them, both sides of the House seem to recognise that Equity and the Seamen's Union ought to be exempted from the terms of this closed shop provision. It may well be that to use a few words and exempt these two unions from the terms would be the cleanest and quickest way of doing it. But if that is not possible, if we have gone too far down the other road, of having to use the maximum words, I beg of my right hon. Friend to try to make certain, between now and the Bill becoming accepted legislation, that there can be no doubt that when the matter eventually goes to some court, these two industries will find their way through the net which he properly, in general terms, has put around this subject, in the interests of individual freedom.

Mr. Orme

It was very interesting to hear that the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) had come round firmly to the view that a case had clearly been made in favour of omitting Equity and the National Union of Seamen from the provisions of the Bill. That is based not only on his own eloquent argument on behalf of the acting profession, of which he has great detailed knowledge, but also on the case made today and on previous occasions by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), which has been unanswerable in regard to the seafaring profession.

The hon. Member for Peterborough would recognise, if he refers to the original debate on Clause 5, where this all begins, with the ending of the closed shop, which is ended in some detail in Clause 5 and subsequent Clauses, that on that occasion equally powerful arguments were made by my hon. Friends on behalf of the mining industry, the docks and the distributive industry. Equally powerful arguments were made on those occasions in great detail, showing, as the hon. Member for Peterborough has shown this afternoon, how the application of the closed shop can be in the interests of the industry concerned and is welcomed by both the employers and the trade unions.

It must be a little disheartening to the Secretary of State to see all his work, the new Clauses and a Schedule of five pages, completely destroyed in argument on both sides of the House this afternoon. This was not only on one side of the House. We even had an intervention from the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) who made one of his infrequent sallies into this debate. He completely astounded his hon. Friends because he carried the argument to an extreme which they could not countenance at all. In every instance he completely justified the case for the extension of the closed shop. Hon. Members on this side of the House could not have made the case more clearly.

On the point made by the hon. Member for Peterborough, the fact that the Secretary of State has not been able to answer the compelling arguments raised this afternoon, the intervention of the Solicitor-General just now did not carry the Front Bench arguments any further.

My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said that in a way this was an extention of the agency shop provision; it goes a little further, and there is some element of compulsion involved in it, particularly if one looks at subsection (5)—the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) took exception to this—which gives the right for an employer to discipline for not being a member of a trade union, and we have the unusual words—

it shall not be an unfair industrial practice"— to take action against a person because he is not a member of a trade union. I agree with the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames that it is a most unusual term of words in the Bill.

In a way, this debate has become an argument about semantics. The interesting point is that the Secretary of State was very careful at the beginning of his speech to say that Clause 5 had not been diluted and, therefore, that the right not to be a member of a union was still paramount and still included in the Bill. However, I find it difficult to equate that with subsection (5). Furthermore, we see in new Clause 2 that the rights written into Clause 5 are taken away. It spells out in detail the right of a person not to belong to a trade union and of an employer not to compel him to be a member of a trade union. If that is so, where are we?

As I said just now, it must have been very disheartening for the Secretary of State to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), supported by the hon. Member for Peterborough, completely destroying all the right hon. Gentleman's good work and the night oil that has gone into it—

Sir Harmar Nicholls

I thought that I made it clear that, in a way, I thought that the hon. Member for Putney did not reflect the view of Equity about the proposed wording. Equity has not turned it down out of hand. My impression is that it would like to see some clearer form of words, but it does not reject it. which is the impression that may have been gained from the speech of the hon. Member for Putney.

Mr. Orme

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. This is an extremely serious argument. It was the hon. Gentleman who appealed to the Secretary of State to make it crystal clear that Equity will be assisted. However, it is not the Secretary of State who will give a ruling. The Industrial Court will give that ruling.

Mr. R. Carr

Ministers never give rulings on Bills. It is the courts which always give rulings.

Mr. Orme

I thank the Secretary of State for stating the obvious. That is the very point that I was making. It has been said that debates in this House cannot be used in a court of law to interpret an Act of Parliament and that the Act must stand or fall by itself. In this case, the Industrial Court will give a ruling. Nevertheless, it is a judicial court which will give the interpretation.

The hon. Member for Peterborough appealed to the Secretary of State to write into the Bill a provision which will strengthen it from his point of view. He was admitting, therefore, that despite the concession that he said that his right hon. Friend has made and that we were churlish in not accepting, the legislation would not work as it was framed at the moment. He went on to strengthen the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), who asked for the exclusion of Equity and the National Union of Seamen from the provision. If that is not to say that the provision will not meet the point, I do not know what is.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

My hon. Friend has referred to the position of Equity in this matter and, in view of what the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) has said, it might assist the House if I make my position clear. Whereas the hon. Gentleman is interested in and has a wide knowledge of the theatre as a whole, my position is that I am a member of Equity and a part-time member of its staff. Although what I say may not be identical with the view of the Equity Council which, to be fair, has had no time to pronounce on this new Clause, when I refer to the position of Equity what I say about its view is not without substance.

Mr. Orme

I thank my hon. Friend for clarifying the situation as it is now with the hon. Member for Peterborough, through me.

It is the duty of the Government to explain to the House how this provision will work. We have not been told so far. We need to know about the operation of new Clause 2, the effect of subsection (5) and the overall effect of the original Clause 5, which encompasses the whole argument which must be answered. I intervened in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Walton to say that I thought that these Amendments were only a slight extension of the agency shop. I still believe that to be the case.

I turn briefly to the possibility of excluding other organisations of workers. It is obvious that the Government do not intend the trade union movement to have any freedom of action. There is an element now of real compulsion in regard to registration and the exclusion of other organisations. That is now coming out very clearly, and we shall probably hear more about it on Thursday of this week, when these matters are to be discussed by the trade union movement.

Trade unions should realise now that they are being circumscribed by a form of law which will deny them freedom of action. This tortuous new Clause is not easy to understand. The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames is not only a distinguished Member of this House but a distinguished member of the Bar, and he has said how difficult he finds it to understand the new Clause. Most of us are not lawyers, but we recognise that this so-called concession on the closed shop will be of no assistance to Equity and the National Union of Seamen. For that reason, I think that we are right to oppose the new Clause.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

I am extremely grateful to you Mr. Speaker to be called at this point, because I am most anxious to get in on the act, since I am concerned for the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Musicians' Union. I was horrified to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) suddenly come up with the suggestion that Equity and the National Union of Seamen should have specific exemption when the same opportunity would be denied to the Writers' Guild, members of which provide the scripts, and material essential to members of Equity for their livelihood.

I do not find the new Clause a difficult one to construe. In saying that, I am not talking about the small points for amendment which were made admirably by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke). I have just had the opportunity to check on this matter in a short interlude with my right hon. Friend the Minister and it is clear that the Clause deals with the one aspect of post-entry closed shop agreements.

In the case of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain which, as I say, is the body which provides virtually all the material for our theatres and films, this point arises from certain specific agreements which have been built up over the years with the television producers, I.T.C. and the Film Production Association. Curiously enough, there is no agreement with the B.B.C. Every writer or author has the opportunity to join the Guild. He is not obliged to do so until he has established himself with a script or shown himself to be an author. Once that is done, he is obliged to join the shop and become a member of the Guild if he wants to send his script for acceptance to the various organisations with which it holds an agreement. Therefore, there is no obligation to become a member of a union in the pre-closed shop sense. It is a post-closed shop provision.

The Clause clearly applies to that. It thus gives, beyond doubt, the power to the Guild to go before the Court and if approval is given by the Court, it is plain that the Guild's agreements can be maintained. Provided that the Guild and the employers agree, this covers the whole of its present position. As I see it, it must, therefore, be eminently satisfactory as one way by which it can achieve the whole of its needs.

Furthermore, it is clear that this can equally well apply to the Musicians' Union. Here again, if that union likes to take certain steps, it may have to make a number of changes, but with those changes this Clause will apply because of the skill of its members as musicians—who equally provide for the tourist industry. What would we do without proper provision for our great orchestras or without our pop musicians, for that matter, who one and all are members of the Musicians' Union and many of whom could well be the subject, after they have established these changes, of a post-closed shop entry agreement which could be so approved. Therefore, we have not merely the Writers' Guild of Great Britain: we have the musicians and Equity, too; to whom these provisions could apply.

I must tell the House, because this is not confidential in any sense, that together with my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page), who is chairman of our own Labour Committee, and colleagues who serve us in the Conservative Party, we met a deputation both of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and of Equity after the Committee stage and before Report. This was no secret meeting in any sense.

At that meeting, we had the advantage of hearing the President of Equity speak. He made it plain that the changes which he wanted to see were on the basis that Equity was not pre-closed shop entry. That was the opinion that he expressed as president speaking on behalf of Equity and its members.

Under the subsisting agreements, there are various types of agreement into which Equity has entered. Some of those agreements clearly provide for the case in respect of post-entry. One or two of the agreements are ambiguous. I think that the West End agreement looks as though it is pre-closed shop entry. At least, there are a number of different agreements. I do not think that the Floor of the House is the place to go into the intricacies of the various subsisting agreements.

I recognise that under the new Clause, Equity does not get everything that it wants. It does not get it in the example given by my hon. and learned Friend the Solocitor-General in which it is trying to operate with non-members of any type of association. If there is a body of outside producers who are wholly independent and are not formed together into one type of association, it is virtually impossible to operate an agreement when one has no body to agree with. There cannot be agreement with a single employer. The Clause deals only with an association of employers.

To that extent, it is true that Equity will not get everything that it wants. If, however, it seeks cleverly to make union agreements saying that employers who are worthwhile must become members of an association, otherwise Equity is not willing to treat with them, the individual employers will find that they have to join together in an association in order to be able to get the advantages which employers would seek in relation to the agreements which they would then be able to undertake with Equity, which would then be enforcing a closed shop under the Act.

The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) raised a point concerning not only construction of the Clause. I think that he was right in saying that our construction will not inevitably be accepted. It does not follow that the Industrial Court will do so. One thing does, however, follow. It is true that the Industrial Court is not entitled to take our opinions in this House as to the construction that we place upon the words we use. The hon. Member was correct about that. Let it not be forgotten, however, that the Industrial Court can take into account the debates in this House. If we have made it plain in this House, as we have done, that Equity is one of the cases to which we want to see the Industrial Court give the benefit, it can take note of this.

One of the reasons why I am raising the question of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Musicians' Union is to put firmly on record that we believe that that type of union, which gives a particular form of service to the arts and to tourism and is, in a sense, a service union of that kind, should receive consideration which we in the Conservative Party believe to be very special.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I hope that the hon. Member is right in his interpretation of the meaning of the new Clause, but his riǵht hon. Friend the Secretary of State did not entirely seem to be in agreement with him. In view of what the hon. Member has just said, I take it that when, tomorrow, we consider new Clause No. 2, under which it will be an offence for a trade union to seek to induce an employer to enter into a closed shop agreement, I shall find the hon. Member in support of our Amendment to the new Clause.

Mr. Rees-Davies

I shall not encroach upon tomorrow's debate. There are more speakers yet for today and I am concluding. However, I shall certainly listen to what the hon. Member says and what my right hon. Friend says in reply.

This seems to me to be a tremendous move forward by the Government without sacrificing the principle of the closed shop which is enshrined in Clause 5 while, at the same time, drawing the distinction between those who have joined a profession—because it is a profession in reality; the theatrical profession, the Writers' Guild and the musicians are really likewise professions—that they shall be able to maintain their status where it is seen to enure for the public good that they shall join together and where employers, too, see that it is good that they join together in one shop for the public good. That distinction shows that the Government are right and always ready, as they have done in this case, to give way to meet not only what is for the benefit of the individual, but the general good as well.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

I have listened to most of the debate, although I apologise for having to leave a moment or two ago. I broke my reading spectacles and had to get a standby pair from my locker.

I have listened to a number of hon. Members who have spoken from the Government side, one of whom described his speech as nit-picking. Again, we get the same sorry tale that we have had in every debate on the Bill. We have had the lawyers demonstrating clearly that whatever may be the intention of the Secretary of State in drafting the regulations, the regulations were to no avail because they did not mean what they were intended to mean.

Then we had the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), who is, I think, associated with the film industry. I was beginning to think that he had coined the phrase "White man speaks with forked tongue ", because if he did not speak with a forked tongue at least he spoke with two tongues in his cheeks. He said that as long as his right hon. Friend gave an assurance that he was happy for Equity and the seamen's union to be under the umbrella of the Clause, he would accept it. It is surprising. The hon. Gentleman wants further consideration to this provision to be given in another place so that there may be an attempt to specify precisely what the Secretary of State means. But, according to the Secretary of State, the Clause is the result of an attempt to meet objections in Committee, and to deal with the situation of Equity and the N.U.S.

7.0 p.m.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Why does the hon. Gentleman despise the parliamentary system? The whole purpose of the Committee and Report stages, and discussion in the House of Lords, is that there may be a sharing of minds. Ministers' views are not sacrosanct. The idea is to share minds and experience, and that is what we are doing. The hon. Gentleman must not despise the parliamentary system. It does not become him in his new glasses.

Mr. Loughlin

If I despised the parliamentary system I would not be here—it is as simple as that. I attach as much importance to the parliamentary system as does any hon. or right hon. Member here.

The hon. Gentleman is not showing his usual astuteness. What happened in Committee was that a measure of criticism was levelled at the application of the Bill to the closed shop and, in particular, to Equity and the N.U.S. It was levelled also at its application to other unions which I shall mention later. When the Secretary of State introduced the new Clause and the new Schedule he made it perfectly clear that he was attempting to meet criticisms made in Committee about the Bill's application, in particular, to the two unions I have mentioned.

We now have it that the hon. Member for Peterborough, my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and other hon. Members conclude that the right hon. Gentleman's attempt to meet that situation fails. If it fails, I do not see how the Secretary of State can allow further revision, because the Clause is his thought on the whole issue as expressed to him in Committee. That is why I say that the hon. Member for Peterborough was speaking with his tongue in his cheek.

I am not altogether au fait with the situation of Equity, but I gather that in regard to individual contracts it was impossible to ensure that there was anything like a post-entry closed shop in what the Secretary of State has submitted. If that were so, I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to withdraw the Clause, but he showed not the slightest indication of agreeing even with what hon. Gentlemen who are most conversant with the industry say will result from the Clause and the Schedule.

Mr. Gower

Why does the hon. Gentleman say that this provision fails? Surely from all we have been told it appears that those who represent Equity and the employers in the theatrical industry, and the two sides in the seagoing industry, should be able to satisfy the Industrial Court.

Mr. Loughlin

Like the hon. Gentleman, I can only listen to what the representatives of the industry say. I listened to the hon. Member for Peterborough and to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney, and to the case for the seamen presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) —

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I may be able to help here if I say that I hold here a letter written today above the signature of the General Secretary of Equity in which he makes it clear that the union would not be satisfied that the Clause would have the effect desired unless the three points which I have made were conceded.

Mr. Loughlin

I will not quarrel with my hon. Friend, but I now want to turn to the shipping industry, because that is, perhaps, an industry about which I know a little. The criticisms made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East are almost unanswerable. At any given time we have very many ships spread across all the seas. If one looks at the balloting procedures involved in the Schedule—relating either to the one-fifth where there is an objection, or otherwise to the total number eligible to vote—and thinks in terms of the changeover in ships and lines, one can see at once how difficult it will be for the Commission to determine who is eligible to vote.

It is laid down: The persons eligible to vote in the ballot shall be the workers who, on a date specified by the Commission in making arrangements for the ballot, are workers to whom the proposed agreement would apply. One has to remember that time will have passed since the first application to dispense with or object to the closed shop. I should have thought that the intention of the Government was that those people employed, in the main, at the time of the objection—always allowing for wastage of labour—would be eligible to vote in the ballot.

But here one has to think in terms of the movement of personnel in ships. To begin with, these men are not on longterm engagements, and many of them who were originally involved in whether or not there should be a closed shop will no longer be employed in the firm concerned, because there is an interchanging of ships. On the date fixed for the ballot the men involved could be sailing on almost every sea. It is not one ship which is involved, but a number of ships. All the ships of a particular line or all the ships in a number of lines may be involved.

So once the date is fixed the Commission faces physical difficulties in ensuring that the ballot is safe in every possible way; that it is not in any way rigged. Once the Commission has fixed the date for the ballot, those eligible to vote in it can be almost anywhere. It is farcical to imagine that one can apply the regulations as set out in this Clause and in the Schedule to the Merchant Navy. Even if one thinks in terms of the fishing industry, it is equally difficult to apply these kinds of regulations.

Let me pose a question to the Secretary of State about the right of 20 per cent. of the workers involved to object to the registration of the closed shop principle. I think there are doubts as to whether this would apply in the case of a single employer, or whether it would apply solely in the case of an association of employers. I certainly have not been able to be clear in my own mind which applies, or whether both apply. The Secretary of State could help me by telling me whether it applies to a single employer or to an association of employers. There is so much which is ambiguous in the wording.

I will put a case to the right hon. Gentleman, and I have got to oversimplify it. Take, for example, a single line with five ships, and assume that they are manned with equal numbers— although there could be a case of this kind in which the numbers fluctuated to some extent. But let us consider this case in which the crew of one ship have a dispute with the union. The application is in. The lads say "We will make an objection ". All the procedures would have to be carried through on an issue of that kind. It seems a little futile to allow a situation of that kind to develop, knowing full well that by the time the application is being determined a great number of the people who have lodged the application will cease to be employed by the individual employer. I am trying to ascertain how the application of these regulations will work in the fishing industry.

I was going to talk about joint applications, but I now want to widen the scope of my speech for a few minutes. The hon. Gentleman will recall that in Committee I instanced the case in which employers and trade unions agreed beforehand that it should be a condition of employment that every employee should be a member of a trade union or of a number of trade unions. I put to him what I think is the classic example of democracy in action. In the Cooperative movement we have complete control of the society by the membership itself. We have an enormous number of agreements—I am speaking of my particular union, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers—applying to the members of the society, all the people who have shares, and they are predetermined at an organised and regulated meeting of the society, not by the board of management acting as representatives of the members but at regularly convened annual meetings of the members of the society. They have said that every one of their employees shall be a member of a trade union or a number of trade unions.

7.15 p.m.

I hear a lot of tripe talked today about the freedom of the individual. We always get it from the other side of the House. They never talk about the freedom of the individual when employers are using every possible device to get rid of people whom they do not want to employ. They say, "Ah, but the employer has a right to hire and fire ". This Bill will circumscribe the employer to some extent, but, if I know industry half as well as I think I do, hon. Members can take it from me that there will not be a single employer who will not be able to get rid of any worker in one way or another.

Mr. Prescott

It is in the small print.

Mr. Loughlin

Whether it is in the small print or not, we have had all sorts of agreements at national level and at Joint Industrial Council level whereby we have been able to tie down the employer, but when it comes to dismissing workers there are a thousand and one excuses for getting rid of somebody whom the employer does not want.

I cannot understand hon. Members opposite talking the cant and humbug which they do about the freedom of the individual, when they refuse to accept the freedom of the whole of the membership of the co-operative society to safeguard its employees. The co-operatives decide with the union that there shall be a condition of employment. This does not come about by pressure. It comes about because there is an identity of interest. It is a social ownership industry. We own it. The people who trade at the co-op, who put the £1 shares in, own it. It is democratically controlled. It does not have a surplus in the usual sense of the term. We have a right to determine our own conditions on the basis of any of the definitions that are given to us.

But when I put this point to the Secretary of State, he had no sympathy with U.S.D.A.W. and with the circumstances which I described. I do not think they will come under this Clause. If, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman says they will, I shall be highly delighted. I shall take the first opportunity of congratulating him during the discussion of this Bill, and I shall do so with great sincerity.

Mr. R. Carr

I am not sure what the hon. Gentleman means by the words "come under this Clause ". If the cooperative employers and the union wish to make a joint application, of course they can do so. Whether the C.I.R., on judging that application, would decide that it was necessary for there to be a closed shop in order to achieve the objectives and the criteria, or whether they could not equally well be achieved by the agency shop, would be a matter for the C.I.R. But, of course they can apply and have the case judged by an industrially sophisticated body which would go into the matter in great depth. That is the object of the procedure.

Mr. Loughlin

Of course, they can apply, but I think we all know that they would not get anywhere. We can all assume that they would not get anywhere. Look at the criteria. If it will not apply to the seamen and to Equity, it will not apply to U.S.D.A.W.

The Secretary of State knows perfectly well that his new Clause and Schedule are so riddled with loopholes of every kind that they amount to no more than a bit of window dressing to kid people into believing that his policies are more progressive than they really are. I do not for a moment believe that the Tories want to safeguard any trade union, whether it be Equity, the National Union of Seamen or any other.

Mr. Gower

The hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) made an observation about the freedom of the individual in relation to the bad employer. He has been assured by this side of the House on many occasions that few of us—none of us, I hope—would stand up for the rights of the bad employer. We want to encourage, through the medium of the Bill, the good employer and the good party in all sections of industry.

Although it is designed to operate very narrowly, the new Clause and its associated new Schedule are, in my view, a significant and important departure from the main provisions in the Bill. Hon. Members opposite say that this is not so. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said that there was no great concession here. It all depends upon one's vantage point in looking at the change proposed. If the closed shop is desirable in all circumstances, as the Opposition say it is, this is no concession. If, on the other hand, one takes our view, that the closed shop in most circumstances is highly objectionable and to be avoided, this is a considerable concession.

Mr. Concannon

But the Bill says that a closed shop is highly objectionable in every circumstance.

Mr. Gower

That is our general view.

Mr. Concannon

The hon. Gentleman has just qualified it.

Mr. Gower

I said that that is the general view which we have expressed, though with one or two individual exceptions. We have heard from one of my hon. Friends this evening a slightly different view. It is not the universal view on this side, but the large majority of us object strongly to the principle of the closed shop obtaining widely in industry.

If one takes that view, this is a large concession, as I say, but it is no concession if one takes the view that the closed shop is highly desirable in any case. In Committee, however, a good many of us were persuaded, through the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) and of the hon. Members for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), that unusual and special conditions obtain in the theatre and among seamen. My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) has today mentioned another body which, he says, should have similar consideration.

Many of us were persuaded that unusual conditions prevailed, in particular, in the theatre and in the merchant marine, and it appears that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Department were likewise persuaded that there was good reason for making a narrow and special concession in this restricted respect. Because I should not like it to be a general concession, I asked earlier whether it could be used as a means to drive a gap into the principles of the Bill and make possible a wide extension of the closed shop.

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) made the interesting suggestion that we could achieve our objective merely by conceding an exemption to the two named unions. That is a matter for thought, but I do not think that it would be right, for the reason already pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet. Conceivably, there could be other claimants with similar grounds for exemption. If we specified the seamen and people in the entertainment business, we should permanently exclude any other body such as the Musicians Union or others not yet named which might have just as strong and meritorious a case as those which have been brought to our attention. I think it better, therefore, to adopt the method outlined in the new Clause and the Schedule.

I feel, however, that the wording should be carefully reconsidered. There seem to be grounds for questioning some of the words, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has already raised one point in that connection.

It has been objected that the concession or exemption does not go far enough. I hope that I have dealt with that. It has been objected, also, that the conditions surrounding it are too tight. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East expressed that view, and the hon. Member for Walton went so far as to say that, if the union and the employer agree, that should be sufficient; there should be no other requirement. In my view, that would be extremely dangerous.

Mr. Loughlin


Mr. Gower

We all know that employers do not always do the things which they deem proper, because they are under heavy pressure. If a joint application has virtue and validity, why should either party object to its being considered by an impartial body? That is all that is prescribed here.

Mr. Prescott

The important point is that there has to be a joint application for this provision to be operative.

Mr. Gower

I take the point which the hon. Gentleman makes, that if there is this fairly elaborate procedure it might not be necessary to have a joint application. I think that that could be considered.

Mr. Prescott


Mr. Gower

I was objecting to something different. I want the safeguards embodied in the new Clause because it confers tremendous powers. A person may be dismissed from his trade or industry—

Mr. E. Fernyhongh (Jarrow)

Not uncommon.

Mr. Gower

Not uncommon, says the right hon. Gentleman. We do not want to make it more common.

Mr. Fernyhough

Last month's unemployment figures will show the hon. Gentleman that quite a lot of people are being dismissed now.

Mr. Gower

Unfortunately, that is related generally to causes not in the individual trade or industry but in some respects worldwide. We are discussing here something which could extend the field of unfair dismissal. The Clause gives power for a person to be discriminated against in various ways, on the ground that he is not a member of a union, that he has refused to join a union, or that he has failed to join. I share the apprehensions expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames about this wording. What does it mean?

A man may apply to join a union and, in its wisdom, the union may reject his application not because of any defect in the person, not because of any blemish of character, not for any shortcoming in his skill or qualifications, but merely because it has decided that there are enough people in the trade in that locality at the moment. It could be dangerous to include this in the Bill in this form.

Mr. Heffer

I accept the hon. Gentleman's argument, except that neither he nor the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) has read the print. The reference is not to not joining a union but to failing to pay to a charity. I am not agreeing with the principle, but we should argue what is in the Bill.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Gower

That is a special exemption in subsection 5(a). These safeguards are necessary. I agree with those who have argued that the wording should be re-examined, but the closed shop imposes fearful consequences. They give great power where such a closed shop is created. For that reason, we want the field to be limited to the industries whose special conditions and requirements have been indicated to us.

This underlines our view that in general the Bill should encourage people to be voluntarily members of their appropriate union. We want that as much as hon. Members opposite. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh. I emphasise "voluntarily". For a union to be efficient and effective it is far better that it should rely on volunteers than on pressed men. Compulsion does not create the best spirit or effect.

This is a narrow but considerable concession. Those hon. Members opposite who have asked for it should welcome it and recognise that the Government have tried to create a wording which is framed expressly to meet these cases. It is in that spirit that I welcome the new Clause.

Mr. David Stoddart (Swindon)

I have come to the conclusion from listening to the debate for most of the day that the Government did not in the first instance understand the nature of the closed shop and got themselves into such a mess with some of their backbenchers that they have to table a new Clause which is hatched around with so much verbiage that it has made confusion even more confounded.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) said, it has become obvious as the debate has proceeded that the division sought by hon. Members opposite is strictly on class lines. [Interruption.] It may well be that some hon. Members have not been listening closely. It has become obvious to me that some hon. Members opposite are prepared to countenance a closed shop in some professions whereas they would deny a closed shop to other professions.

Mr. David Mitchell

The hon. Gentleman says that we on this side appear to represent a class because we have espoused the cause of a certain closed shop. Will he indicate which class is representative of seamen or of actors?

Mr. Stoddart

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take a lesson from me in giving way and give way himself in future.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) put the case of the seamen very clearly. As he said, the Clause will not deal with their case because it precludes the pre-entry closed shop, and it is only the pre-entry closed shop which would do anything for seamen.

The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) and the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) made it clear that they were in favour of closed shops for certain professions but did not wish the closed shop to be extended to other activities. Indeed, the hon. Member for Peter-borough criticised the Clause on the ground that it would have been simpler merely to have named two professions. We on this side do not accept that.

The right hon. Member for Kingston- upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) mentioned the case of a constituent of his who had been a printer, who had gone to Australia, who had returned, who had obtained a job here and who had then found that the print union would not give him a card because it wished some- body else to take that job.

There may be a good reason for that, and it is a good reason for the operation of the closed shop. In that area employment in the print trade might well be restricted and many printers who had not left the country to seek their fortune might have been out of work for long periods. In such circumstances a closed shop which regulates employment on a reasonable and fair basis is worthy of consideration.

One of the most interesting points which has been made was made by the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) who seems to understand the problem to a much greater extent than most of his hon. Friends. The hon. Gentleman clearly understands that it is useless for the Government to talk about strengthening the trade unions while taking from them the opportunities to enforce decisions on their members.

The Government should heed what the hon. Member for Honiton said. Operations on the shop floor are different from operations at the Bar or in a lawyer's office. If trade unions are to be strong and able to force their members to accept policies, policies which have often been agreed with employers, the closed shop is perhaps one of the most powerful weapons in their armoury.

Hon. Members opposite appear to think that trade unions are against the operation of the closed shop and that the closed shop is imposed from above. They appear to think that Mr. Jack Jones or Mr. Hugh Scanlon says, "We will have a closed shop here and we will use all the force at our command to put it into operation."

Mr. Heffer

My hon. Friend is on a very valuable point and it follows what he said earlier. In the old days in the ship-repair industry in Liverpool, before we had an agreement, we used to have to line up at the ship-repair firms and be selected from the stand. That meant that some people were selected and others never got any employment at all. When we got a closed shop agreement with the ship-repair employers, we were able as part of our agreement to get work allocated through the trade unions and every worker had a fair allocation of the work that was going.

Mr. Stoddart

I thank my hon. Friend for reinforcing what I said about the printing trade. It reinforces my point that trade unions are able to assist in the regulation of employment and the proper employment of people who are allocated to do the job.

I return now to the theme I was enunciating regarding pressure for the closed shop and where it comes from. It does not come from the top. It comes from the bottom—make no mistake about that. It is the people on the shop floor themselves who object to working with free riders, with scabs, with people who, in time of crisis, may well let them down. It is the people on the shop floor who see their very livelihood threatened by those who will not band together for collective action for the benefit of all. Hon. Members opposite should take a few more trips to the factory floor.

I worked in the electricity supply industry, and to emphasise my point I will relate what happened there not so long ago. In the industrial grades, a postentry closed shop agreement was reached by the management and the trade unions—with, incidentally, provision for the exclusion of those with genuine conscientious objection whereby they paid a sum of money to a charity. Shortly afterwards, pressure came from people in other grades for the same sort of agreement—from the clerical and administrative grades, for example—because they were experiencing the situation in which they were paying their subscriptions every week, doing the work of trade unionism, manning the national, regional and local committees, while the free riders, the people they could never trust, were drawing the benefits but making no contributions.

Furthermore, there is evidence to show that people who will not belong to a trade union in the main have no conscientious ground at all. Indeed, where an employer has said that he will pay increases in wages only to those belonging to the trade union, there has been a stampede the next day to join the union, with the result that a virtual closed shop has been created.

7.45 p.m.

I turn now to the balloting for a closed shop or agency shop. The Government are making a big mistake by insisting that the voting in favour must be of 50 per cent. of those eligible to vote and not 50 per cent. of those voting. That is completely wrong. In all our electoral activities, we have to take into account those who cannot be bothered to cast a vote. If the Government had had to have 50 per cent. of those who actually voted in the General Election, they would not be in power, let alone 50 per cent. of those eligible to vote. This point really should be reconsidered. It is undemocratic. It is against every electoral principle in our political life, and is unfair and unworkable. I cannot understand on what basis the Government continue to insist that a closed shop or agency shop should only operate providing that 50 per cent. of those eligible to vote make the decision rather than 50 per cent. of those actually voting.

I hope that the Government will have second thoughts about this because undoubtedly the Bill, even with these additions, will do nothing for industrial relations—nothing good, anyway. I think that it will do everything bad.

Mr. David Mitchell

The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart) spoke of the closed shop being the result of pressure from the shop floor and not imposed from above. Knowing my views on this subject, he may not be surprised to find that I am in entire agreement with him. He went on to speak eloquently of the feelings of shop floor workers against the free rider, the person who takes all the benefits without contri- buting. Again, he will find me in entire agreement with him. He went on to speak of the stampede to join a union which occurs when there is a financial advantage and financial pressure on individual workers to join. In view of what he said about that, I am astonished that he voted against the agency shop proposal in the Bill, which is designed to do just the very thing he has been telling us ought to be the way things are done. The agency shop proposal will put a financial pressure on the non-member of a trade union, who will have to pay the union subscription.

I agree also that the conscientious objections of many of those who say they are opposed to union membership are as deep as their pockets, and that they are really trying to secure for themselves the advantage of union membership without contributing.

Mr. David Stoddart

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I merely ask him if he will continue to agree with me and put pressure on the Government to alter the balloting arrangements for the agency shop. That would make it much more likely that we should get agency shops. That is not the whole argument, but I think he will agree that the electoral rules ought to be altered.

Mr. Mitchell

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Swindon. I intended to come later to the subject of voting systems. I say in response to his aside—" if we have any agency shops "—that I know of one major company which is now negotiating to have an agency shop with the co-operation of the workers and the union concerned. It is a large firm which is not particularly anxious for me to give its name this evening because it fears that it may run into politically motivated troubles which do not now exist.

The new Clause and the Schedule are in response to appeals on behalf of actors, musicians and seamen during the Committee stage.

Mr. Prescott

What we did was not to make appeals but to explain what would be the results of the Bill. It was not a matter of appealing but of explaining the logic of the situation.

Mr. Mitchell

I do not think that the minutia can be smaller than objecting to that phraseology, but if the hon. Gentleman objects to it I will say that the new Clause was introduced in response to what was brought out in Committee. It proves the sincerity of the Secretary of State when on Second Reading he gave an assurance that he would be prepared to listen to arguments and accept Amendments if persuaded by the case for them. This evening we see the fruition of that undertaking and the practical way in which the Minister is prepared to meet reasonable and responsible representations.

There is a second and extraordinary aspect of the situation today. In Committee, at least 15 Clauses were taken in one day. In response to the Opposition's request, through the Business Committee, one whole day is now to be spent on the narrow issue of the special needs of the seamen, the actors and musicians, the narrow issue of an exemption for certain people, contrary to the normal processes which will apply through the rest of the Bill.

I am not alone in finding it extraordinary. Throughout the time that I have been here today there have never been more than a score of Labour Members in the Chamber to discuss a matter which is supposed to arouse the deepest anxiety throughout the trade union movement and supposed to be the cause of great concern to the Labour Party. If I were in opposition I should call a count at this moment to have the House counted out, at least in view of the lack of Opposition Members. I do not know what they are playing at, but the business was arranged, because of their request through the Business Committee, in such a way that a whole day is spent on a narrow issue which could have been disposed of in two or three hours. Yet we shall be here until midnight discussing it, and so the House will be denied an opportunity on Report of discussing many important Amendments which have been suggested because of the requests of Labour Members.

Mr. Heller

The hon. Gentleman must not make statements like that. We are discussing a new Clause and a number of Amendments to it, plus a Schedule which has five parts, and we are discussing all this in one day. The hon. Gentleman is misleading the country by suggesting that the matter could have been discussed in less than a full day. The Opposition would have been justified in asking for two days on this subject.

Mr. Mitchell

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) must get his tongue out of his cheek before he chokes himself. He knows as well as I do that his tactics at this stage of the Bill will result in some 150 Government Amendments and many Opposition Amendments not being discussed on Report because so much time will have been spent on the comparatively small beer of today's subject.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

I think that will be enough on that topic. Perhaps the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) will come to the terms of the new Clause.

Mr. Concannon

On a point of order. As I was a member of a Standing Committee, on which the hon. Gentleman served, which considered the Transport Bill, in reply to his accusation may I remind him what happened with the Transport Bill at that time?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Even although I know better than anybody else what happened, that is not a point of order.

Mr. Mitchell

As you rightly observed, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I have strayed a little. I was incensed by the extraordinary behaviour of the Opposition.

The new Clause recognises that there are special problems for transient workers, those who do not work for one employer for a long time. It enables them to have a continuing closed shop when the employer and the trade union agree and there is a joint application, when it is necessary to enable to organise workers who could not otherwise do so where that is necessary to secure reasonable terms and conditions.

I should be grateful if my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General could say what he means by "reasonable terms ". I am not a member of the legal profession, but I believe that nothing gives rise to more litigation than the interpretation of "reasonable ". I am as anxious as any other hon. Member to limit recourse to the law, and I should like a little more explanation of the precise meaning of the word in this context. Is my hon. and learned Friend satisfied that it will not give rise to considerable litigation?

Would he also kindly explain how the Clause will apply to musicians, actors and seamen, but not to construction workers? Many Irish workers come here to work seasonally on building sites in London. I understand that there are certain taxation advantages in working here for six months and somewhere else for six months. How is it that the Clause does not allow those transient workers to charge through it? If they can charge through it, where shall we end, for a gateway will have been opened? I am sorry to be critical of my hon. and learned Friend, but he will know that I speak up when I feel any doubt about the activities of the Government.

I am considerably concerned that the C.I.R. will be asked to decide some intensely political questions. Whether there should be a major let through of industries permitted to use the closed shop is a political question. At some time in the future, there will undoubtedly be a change of Government and a new Government would be able to pack membership of the C.I.R. and so upset one of the Bill's major principles without even introducing new legislation.

8.0 p.m.

In purely practical terms as to what may happen in future my right hon. Friend should take another look at this part of his proposals to see whether he can do anything to strengthen it. It seems that a dangerous situation could develop if a new government were to change the membership of the C.I.R. and allow a number of major industries to re-present themselves. If the hon. Member for Walton and the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and Mr. Frank Cousins were members of the C.I.R. they would accept that every industry in the country complied with the terms of the requirements of the Schedule. The Government have a difficult question to deal with. They have to balance individual freedom against the perfectly legitimate requirements of a trade union and its members to act collectively.

The Government have a choice. They can make trade unions unobjectionable to anyone or they can proceed as they are doing. Let us look at this question of making a trade union unobjectionable. It would mean that we would have to remove the political objectives of trade unions, because it is difficult to defend anyone compelling people to join an association the objectives of which stick in their gullets, to which they are completely opposed.

Many trade unions have political objectives in their rules. Let us look at the Amalgamated Engineering and Foundry Workers. Its rules on objectives state: to co-operate in every possible way with all other organised workers in the transference of industry from private ownership to Socialist and Co-operative ownership.

Mr. Prescott

Hear, hear.

Mr. Mitchell

It is natural for the hon. Member to say that and to wish to join an association which has that sort of objective. Would he not agree that it would be equally understandable if some other people who do not have that objective and do not believe in that political philosophy, choked at the idea of being forced to join and subscribe to an association with unacceptable objectives?

Mr. Prescott

A trade union is involved in certain issues, sometimes industrial, sometimes political and the division between them can be a matter of argument, as is the case with the strike of 18th March. However, a person has the right to contract out of a political contribution.

Mr. Mitchell

I hear what the hon Member says but it is not as simple. These objectives I have read out are not objectives confined to a subsection of the union financed by the political funds They are the objectives and rules of the main trade union, supported by the weight of union subscription and undertaking many political activities which are not reserved for the political fund of that union.

Mr. Hefter

How long have they been there?

Mr. Mitchell

I accept that they have been there for a long time. Because an organisation has deeply-entrenched, long-held objectives, it does not make them any less acceptable to those who are opposed to them. If the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) were asked, as a condition of his employment, to join an association which said that he had to co-operate in every possible way with other workers in the denationalisation of steel and the transference from State control to private ownership of many industries I imagine that he would take offence.

Mr. Prescott

If the policy of the trade union movement was to go for denationalisation or any matter of such political importance, it would have been decided by the membership, through the branches and the offices. That is where the decision is made and that makes it a joint decision.

Mr. Mitchell

This is fascinating. The reality, as the hon. Member knows, is that if it was a condition of his employment that he belong to and finance an organisation deeply committed to the ideals of the Conservative Party he would be furious about it, he would be seething. He would take his case to the International Court, in all probability. Because it is to his advantage he does not look to the disadvantage to other organisations.

The Government appear to have the alternative of making the trade unions unobjectionable or doing something similar to that which they are doing now. If they are to make them unobjectionable then it is not only a question of political control and objectives. There is a need to ensure a higher standard within the unions' rules. For example, I have a constituent who has been fined £20 by her trade union for having given offence to one of the officers. I am not commenting on the circumstances now in which the union decided to fine her, but the rules of that union provide that she has to pay the £20 before she can appeal against the fine.

This good lady is off work, nursing a sick husband and on Social Security benefit. We have a situation in which a woman who has not got £20 has to find this substantial sum of money before she can exercise a right of appeal.

Mr. Heffer


Mr. Mitchell

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton says that it is a smear, but it is not, it is a straightforward fact. If the hon. Gentleman likes to challenge me on the facts I will produce them.

Mr. Heffer

Do it now.

Mr. Mitchell

Since the hon. Gentleman asks me to do it now, I will, but I think that it is rather delaying the House. I have an original letter from the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (Division "A") Basingstoke Branch. There are a series of letters, one from the branch secretary, one telling her of the charge, "having insulted an officer or member etc." Then we come to a letter which says: I am writing to inform you that as you did not attend the branch committee meeting on 20th January to which you were summoned under General Rule 27, Clause 'A', the case was heard in your absence. The decision of the Committee was that you be fined a sum of £20.

Mr. Heffer

What is wrong with that? If you do not go to court, you are fined.

Mr. Mitchell

Let me finish. I would draw your attention to the General Rules concerning the payment of fines and also the rules concerning your right of appeal. The right of appeal arises when the fine has been paid. Here is a woman on Social Security who has to pay £, and she has not got it, before she has the democratic right of appeal to her own union.

Mr. Heffer

I still say it is a smear.

Mr. Mitchell

It is a smear on the good name of trade unions, but that sort of thing should not be in a union rule book. Because it is in a union rule book, it strengthens my argument that the Government should legislate to make the rules of unions unobjectionable at the same time as they are eliminating the political requirements.

In many unions—I am not talking of S.O.G.A.T. or of the case to which I have just referred—there is no right of appeal in a disciplinary case to a different committee from the one which originally heard the matter.

Mr. Heffer

What has this to do with the Clause?

Mr. Mitchell

I will explain what it has to do with it. Either the Government can make union rules unobjectionable to anybody, or they must provide a let-out so that people are not compelled to join unions.

Hon. Members opposite have bitterly opposed any suggestion that the Government should interfere with union rules. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has, I think, gone perhaps too far but as far as is conceivable in meeting the case. Therefore, he has not been able to make regulations which provide that the rules of a trade union are unobjectionable to many people. If the rules of a union remain objectionable to many people—if people still have commitments to the Labour Party and must do things which are unacceptable to them—it must be right that they should be able to say that they will not join.

Mr. David Stoddart

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that trade unions can alter their rules, and would not members who disagree with them be better employed by going to their branch meetings and conferences to alter them?

Mr. Mitchell

That is a valuable point and perhaps I can deal with it in a moment. I shall try not to forget it.

Mrs. Barabara Castle (Blackburn)

On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman began by describing the Clause as narrow. We are now listening to a long and filibustering speech by the hon. Member comprising the whole principle of registration and the reform of union rules. Those of us who have other Amendments on the Notice Paper are anxious to get on to them. May we have your protection, Mr. Deputy Speaker, against this discursiveness?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) is rather spreading himself. He should relate his remarks more closely to the Amendment.

Dame Irene Ward

On a point of order. What my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) is saying interests me enormously. As part of our democratic processes, are not we entitled to hear his views?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Unfortunately, many things interest us which are not in order. Hon. Members should do their best to remain in order. I am sure that the hon. Member for Basingstoke will do just that.

Mr. Mitchell

I apologise to the House if I have strayed outside the bounds of order, but the hon. Member for Walton said that this was a very important debate on a major aspect of the closed shop, and I have been following his example.

Mr. Heffer

The hon. Gentleman's remarks have nothing to do with the point.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. Mitchell

My hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) was a surprising ally of the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) when he argued in favour of the pre-entry closed shop. Many distinguished trade unionists take a different view. Sir Lincoln Evans, a very distinguished trade unionist, said: Such is the logic of the closed shop that a man expelled from his union, which in itself may be quite justified, can then be prevented from following his trade because he has no union card—a piece of injustice that no trade union principle can justify or any trade union need condone. I believe that those words are as true today as when they were said. [Interruption.] I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman does not know some of the great figures of his own trade union movement.

In 1948 the Labour Government were signatories to Article 20 of the Charter of Human Rights, which says: No one may be compelled to belong to an association. The right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn said that I was filibustering, but she is asking for the application throughout industry of a Clause aimed at a very small number of industries. It is therefore essential to the argument whether a closed shop should be applied throughout industry. I am legitimately arguing—and I am sorry if the right hon. Lady does not like it—that the closed shop should not be applied throughout industry.

Mrs. Castle

Does the hon. Gentleman consider it a legitimate use of the time of the House, when a guillotine is in operation and when the Opposition have tabled Amendments which they are anxious to discuss, for him to take more than half an hour explaining a point which has been admirably explained by other hon. Members on his side of the House in much less time? Having had plenty of time to explain his point, will the hon. Gentleman follow the normal courtesies of the House by sitting down and allowing the democratic rights of the Opposition to operate?

Mr. Mitchell

I am astounded by the right hon. Lady's remarks. In view of the "vast" number of hon. Members sitting on the benches behind the right hon. Lady—all four of them—who are anxious to speak, and since I have given way on innumerable occasions to hon. Members opposite, the right hon. Lady's comments are a little unkind and are uncalled for.

The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart) referred a few moments ago to the democratic right and opportunity of union members to alter the rules if they wish. On 18th March we are to have a strike by a major trade union whose general secretary was elected by less than 10 per cent. of his membership. A fat lot can be done by the membership of that union to prevent themselves being brought out on official strike against their will! I have had telephone call after telephone call and letter after letter from angry constituents who do not want to be called out on strike—[HON. MEMBERS: "Stooge."]—and who are deeply torn between loyalty to their union and loyalty to their conscience. I think that that is an adequate answer to the hon. Member for Swindon.

The hon. Member for Walton said that at present there were many closed shops in which hundreds of men were allowed to contract out on conscience grounds. I therefore wonder what all the fuss is about in allowing agency shops to exist and permitting people to contract out on conscience grounds.

Mrs. Castle

I had hoped that the Solicitor-General would have acceded to my request and got to his feet by now. I think he is aware, as other hon. Members are aware, that we have other Amendments embodying important principles which we want to reach and that we are under a very severe restriction on time because of the guillotine, and that it is part of the normal courtesies of the House, when there has been ample time for everybody to put his point of view, to meet the Opposition's request when they are anxious to move on to other Amendments—

Dame Irene Ward

I should have liked to speak.

Mrs. Castle

I am sure. the hon. Lady would have liked to speak, and there are many of my hon. Friends who would have liked to speak, but they restrained themselves because they were aware that we were anxious to move on. I think it an abuse of the procedure of this House for an instruction to go out from the Government Front Bench to keep the debate going till the end of the dinner hour for the convenience of certain hon. Members opposite. I hope that we can now sum up what has been an extensive debate and move on to some of the other principles. If we do not, the House will be able to judge the Government for the high-handed behaviour they are showing to Parliament, as, indeed, they are to the trade union movement under this Bill.

I must say that I thought it was rather fascinating to hear the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) begin his speech by complaining that we were spending a lot of time on what he called a couple of narrow points and then to hear him go on not only to widen the debate beyond this new Clause and the Amendments attached to it but to drive a coach and horses through the whole of the Government's case by saying that it was not only, as he had begun by suggesting, just a small group of unions which might be affected, namely, Equity and the N.U.S., but the construction workers. If we add the construction workers we could add the National Union of Mineworkers as well. Indeed, we could add the engineers, because, as I said in Committee, British Leyland itself, faced with the problems with which it is faced in the motor industry, has decided that it could best deal with some of the industrial unrest and instability in the motor industry by going ahead with the closed shop, with a 100 per cent. union shop.

In fact, contrary to what the hon. Member for Basingstoke tried to suggest, we are, by this new Clause and in this debate, discussing a wide range of issues which have attracted enormous interest from both sides of the House and not least from the other side of the House. It has been fascinating to watch the intra-Tory debate on this new Clause and the issues raised by it. The debate has shown that, in reality, we are not on Report at all, but in Committee on a new mini-Bill, because in this new Clause we have a major modification of the principles which were hammered home to us during the whole of the Committee as basic to the Government's approach to the industrial relations issue.

Where are we getting to on this new Clause and what exactly does it mean? I suggest that at the end of what is by now some four and a half hours of debate there are still an enormous number of confusions and obscurities. In Committee we knew at least where we stood, because right hon. Gentlemen opposite took their stand upon the very simple issue of principle, and they insisted that it was basic to the Government's philosophy that a worker should not only have the right to belong to a union but, in the words of the Consultative Document and of the right hon. Gentleman, the equal and unqualified right not to belong to a union.

Mr. David Mitchell


Mrs. Castle

I am sorry, but I cannot give way to the hon. Member for Basingstoke. If he has not been able to get what is on his mind off it in the last forty minutes no intervention in my speech could enable him to do so.

I repeat, we were told all through Committee that it was basic to Conservative doctrine on industrial relations that the worker must have an equal and unqualified right not to belong to a trade union. What this meant was that even if an agency shop were established a man could claim the right not to belong to the recognised union or indeed to a particular union provided that he paid contributions in lieu of membership to the union; and, in addition, it was an unfair industrial practice—it is an unfair industrial practice under the agency shop provisions—for a union to pressurise anybody to join the union or to try to get the employer to accept the agency shop except through the elaborate procedure laid down in the Bill; or, of course, to have a pre-entry closed shop.

We do not like the agency shop provisions and we do not like the Govern- ment's philosophy, because we say that the agency shop provisions of this Bill encourage non-unionism, are almost a deliberate incitement to people not to join a union. They also prevent an employer from reaching, in the light of his own industrial needs, a voluntary agreement with the unions represented amongst his employees. Moreover they may weaken a union's discipline over its members. As a result of this principle, for which the right hon. Gentleman was almost prepared to go to the stake, the right of any citizen not to belong to a union, we shall have greater industrial instability and not less. So we opposed the agency shop; but at least we recognised that, in their attitude to this, the Government were being consistent.

Now, suddenly, here in this new Clause, we have a complete volte-face, we have the abandonment of this basic principle —because the Government found that we were right, and they found that we were right because of the general effects of this right not to belong. The effects were elaborately demonstrated with particular clarity in a number of cases, which have been discussed again today as they were in Committee. Particularly and outstandingly there were the cases of Equity and the National Union of Seamen, though hon. Members such as the hon. Member for Basingstoke have quoted other examples where the same difficulties apply as a result of the narrow restriction of the agency shop provisions.

Faced with these practical consequences, the Government have had second thoughts, and the right hon. Gentleman has come along with this new Clause and with a speech which has thrown us not only into more drafting complexities but into complete metaphysical confusion. I am not surprised that the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) feels that he has been betrayed. He has listened to all this talk about the importance of the equal and unqualified right not to belong to a trade union, and he believed the right hon. Gentleman when he told him that this was important to Conservative philosophy. To day he has heard the right hon. Gentleman singing a very different tune. There was a marked difference between what the right hon. Gentleman said philosophically this afternoon and what he said philosophically earlier.

8.30 p.m.

This afternoon we were told by the Secretary of State that the right to belong to a union and the right not to belong—and I am quoting him accurately, I think —are "not simply equal and opposite rights". So we have an amendment to the Consultative Document and we have the Government going back on something which we have been told we must swallow as the justification for the agency shop. The right hon. Gentleman said that the right not to join a trade union was of a different order. Like the "grand old Duke of York" he has led his men to the top of the hill and led them down again, because at the top of the hill he saw industrial chaos.

We must ask why he now says that the right not to join a union is of a different order from the right to join one. The answer he gives—and we applaud his answer—is that the interests of the community must be taken into account. We were told that the purpose of the Bill was to get industrial stability and industrial order. But the right hon. Gentleman now finds that his precious principle of the agency shop gives the opposite, so he tells us that it is right to subordinate individual freedom of action to the collective needs of socity.

This is a principle to which we subscribe, but the right hon. Gentleman has now given us our whole case against the agency shop and in favour of the closed shop. The right hon. Gentleman invented the agency shop only to embody the principle of the equal and unqualified right not to belong to a union and that principle finds its expression in the device of making contributions in lieu. Now, that absolute right not to belong to a trade union has gone, in the name of expediency, in recognition of the fact that the 100 per cent. union shop can and does make for industrial stability.

It is important here to define our terms. Even with the new Clause, the pre-entry closed shop is void. We are not talking about the pre-entry closed shop, but about who should have the right to belong to a closed shop, and which union should have the right to enforce a closed shop. By definition we are talking not about a pre-entry closed shop but about a 100 percent. union shop. We are not, therefore, debating the inalienable right of every citizen to refuse to join a union—that has gone, and we are glad of it. We are debating why and on what grounds we should give that right to some people and deny it to others.

The right hon. Gentleman has insisted on dealing with this in terms of general criteria. He said in Committee and again today that he has been asked by some of his hon. Friends to make one or two exceptions by name. He said that it would be wrong to pick out a couple of unions and to say that they shall be excluded from the law, because that would be extraordinarily difficult to justify. So he has had to think terribly hard to find criteria to enable him to pick the sheep from the goats.

The criteria on the basis of which the C.I.R. is to decide who should have what the Tories once called a "basic and inalienable right" are laid down in the new Schedule in paragraph 5(1)(a) to (d). When one looks at those criteria, one finds that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the examples which the right hon. Gentleman gave in his opening remarks. They have nothing to do with whether the workers are transitory, whether they are liable to work for one employer in one month and for another employer in another, nothing to do with whether their work is intermittent. Paragraph 5(1) reads as follows: …the Commission shall consider whether it appears to them … that it is necessary for those workers to be comprised in an approved closed shop agreement for the purposes—

  1. (a) of enabling them to be organised, or to continue to be organised, as mentioned in section 1(1)(c) of this Act;
  2. (b) of maintaining reasonable terms and conditions of employment and reasonable prospects of continued employment for those workers;
  3. (c) of promoting or maintaining stable arrangements for collective bargaining relating to those workers; and
  4. (d) of preventing collective agreements relating to those workers, which have been or may thereafter be made by the applicants, from being frustrated.
Those criteria could apply to absolutely any industrial situation. For what is the 100 per cent. union shop wanted if it is not to maintain stable arrangements? British Leyland wants to adopt it because it knows that it promotes stable collective bargaining arrangements. This is the language of the ordinary union shop, of every industrial situation, and not merely of Equity or the National Union of Seamen.

If the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) were in his place I would tell him that although he asked, rather pathetically, if his right hon. Friend was sure that these criteria would not knock a large hole in the principles of the Bill, his right hon. Friend cannot be sure of anything of the kind. They are bound to knock a large hole in it. Therefore, the Government are philosophically creating a non sequitur by trying to draw divisions between approved and prohibited closed shops. If the Secretary of State wants to achieve the 95 per cent. trade unionism of which he was speaking, he should enable the 100 per cent. union shop to be pursued in the way it has been pursued in the past.

An enormous discretion is being given to the C.I.R. Imagine what that body could make of this proposed Schedule. Its finding—on whether a union shop is necessary or on any other subject—will depend on its membership, and with one sympathetic supporter of trade unionism after another leaving it or refusing to serve on it, we can imagine that the right hon. Gentleman will be careful to pack his C.I.R. with the sort of people who will not interpret those criteria as they could and should be interpreted.

In any event, the Government have a double protection. Not only will they have control over the membership of the C.I.R. but, as my hon. Friends have illustrated effectively time and again, they are not making a real concession to the voluntary principle. The hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) congratulated his right hon. Friend in moving terms for having shown an "open mind" and for having recognised that where the two sides wished to come to an agreement, that right should be retained.

That is what the right hon. Gentleman is supposed to have had in his open-mindedness, but is there a voluntary right to reach an agreement if both sides want to do so? First, however much an employer and unions might want to do so, they cannot have a pre-entry closed shop. They are debarred from having one. Secondly, as my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) pointed out, even if both sides want a pre-entry closed shop, they cannot have one, nor can they have a 100 per cent. union shop, unless their proposal goes through the machinery of the C.I.R. and the industrial court.

Thirdly, the order of the industrial court can be challenged by a minority of workers, but if it is and if a ballot is held, there then comes into operation just about the most undemocratic principle it is possible for a Government to think up. Again, the hon. Member for Honiton pointed out that one cannot democratically say that a ballot is not successful unless a majority of those eligible to vote, in fact vote in favour.

Finally, all the difficulties referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) about allowing people time to become members remain unsolved. Yet while denying the voluntary principle, the Government will not allow the principle of compulsion either. What Equity, the National Union of Seamen or any other union wants is the chance to bring pressure to bear on a recalcitrant employer. That is the only power, freedom and right which is worth having, yet under the Clause, in the very situation where a 100 per cent. union shop is most needed because the employer is anti-union and is resisting it, a union has no more rights than it had under the agency shop. Unions cannot even consult the C.I.R. as to whether a 100 per cent. union shop, in their situation, is desirable. They have to win the approval of the employer first. The chances of exercising normal union pressure on a bad, recalcitrant employer are still denied them. The Government have sacrificed their initial principle for a meaningless mess of potage.

Mr. R. Carr

I am trying hard to follow the right hon. Lady. In the last part of her speech she has been saying that there is nothing in the Clause at all, no concession at all. The early part of her speech was devoted to saying that we had sold what was previously a fundamental principle. The right hon. Lady can have one or the other, but I do not see how she can have both. Might it be that one was trying genuinely to do what one has always been trying to do, to get a reasonable balance between the two extremes?

Mrs. Castle

In his speech the right hon. Gentleman denied the very principle which he said was basic to the Bill, and he produced a philosophic justification for abandoning his own principle. I pointed out to him that if it were right to abandon his principle, the logic of it was to enable us to have the voluntary exercise of the right to the 100 per cent. union shop. If his first principle were wrong and he now wants to amend it, the only way to give a reality to his Amendment is not through the new Clause, which is a meaningless mess of potage, but by recognising that he has given us our whole case against the agency shop.

The right hon. Gentleman's speech was in support of the abandonment of the agency shop and the restoration of the right of employers and unions to negotiate and agree on the 100 per cent. union shop where it seems to them proper and appropriate to do so, and not to offer us, having modified and abandoned his principle, a new Clause which hamstrings the unions in just the same way and does not change the situation for Equity, for the National Union of Seamen or for anyone else.

That is why we shall divide the House against the Clause. The right hon. Gentleman has given us our arguments but not our remedy. We reject the principle that a closed shop should have to be approved. That is why we shall also vote for our Amendment (a) and, at the appropriate stage in our proceedings, as we also reject the role of the Industrial Court in this situation, we shall vote on our Amendment (g).

8.45 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

The right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) sought to suggest, I think, that I should have replied to this debate before she spoke. I seek to intervene at this point in the debate, after the right hon. Lady has spoken, in order to deal with the points which have been advanced, including those made by the right hon. Lady. I know that a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite and some of my hon. Friends still wish to discuss one or two aspects of the Clause, so I do not seek to curtail the debate.

I start by making this point. The right hon. Lady sought to describe my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State as the Duke of York. Anyone less resembling that noble military figure than my right hon. Friend I find it hard to imagine. If we are to consider the activities that he is alleged to have committed and to which the right hon. Lady referred, one wonders what is her title to speak about the Duke of York. If anyone is to qualify for comparison with that military gentleman, surely it must be the right hon. Lady, who solemnly led her troops to the very top of the hill, about to do battle for the sake of the nation and for the sake of reforming industrial relations, and then just as solemnly led them right to the bottom of the hill again. I know not about the pot calling the kettle black, but if we look for any parallel to that military gentleman tonight we see the Duchess of York herself.

Mr. Tom Driberg (Barking)

Answer the debate.

The Solicitor-General

I intend to.

The debate began with the suggestion that we stood upon some point of principle which is inviolable and unassailable and cannot be modified. Certainly we on this side of the House stand upon the principle that coercion into membership of any organisation is unattractive and should be resisted. It was that important principle that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) reasserted early in the debate. But we have never attempted to adhere to that to the selfish exclusion of all else. The agency shop agreement is an attempt to arrive at a balance between the right not to belong and the right not to be coerced and the other factors which have to be taken into account.

My right hon. Friend has always sought a balance. The agency shop proposals represent that balance. But, as my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) pointed out, equally my right hon. Friend made it plain that he is willing and anxious to listen to the discussion in this House and elsewhere to make sure that the balance at which we have arrived is a proper one.

There is no question of the new Clause driving a coach and horses through fundamental principles of the Bill, as the right hon. Lady suggested at the beginning of her speech. Indeed, she demonstrated later that if this is a coach and horses it is, by her later arguments, a very modest coach drawn by some singularly under-powered horses. That is why I commend the new Clause as one representing special provisions to deal wtih special cases of the kind which have been discussed both in Committee and in this debate.

The object of the exercise is that, if a union like Equity or the National Union of Seamen has a case which is as good and strong as their advocates suggest, it is right that it should have the chance of making that case, within the framework of the new Clause, along the lines that we propose. It is extraordinary to find the second thoughts contained in the Clause being denounced on the ground that they represent what the right hon. Lady described as an "intra-Tory" debate, when they represent what we have sought always to achieve, the proper balance between conflicting factors, as in almost every aspect of a free society.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

On the strength of what my right hon. Friend has said, I shall vote with the Government on this matter, but I shall vote in the belief that these words do more than give Equity a chance to state its case. I shall support the Government in the belief that their proposed words mean that Equity's case as a general proposition has been accepted and that it will be able to win its appeal to the court if it makes it.

The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend has made the point already and I shall deal with it in more detail a little later. Certainly, it will be plain that what the new Clause offers is more than, as I perhaps inelegantly put it, a chance for Equity to put its case. However, we will look at it in a little more detail presently.

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) suggested that we could have achieved this just as readily by listing, in his case, he suggested, the two unions, the National Union of Seamen and Equity. I suggest, however, that that would be wrong, for several reasons, but principally because although those have certainly been the two unions whose case has been most strongly put in the general sense in this House, there may well be others, some of which I shall mention presently, for whom the case could be put, if not with equal force, certainly with force which deserved to be considered in the context of the Clause.

If I may mention some of those unions to indicate that it is not easy to arrive at the right conclusion, the construction industry was mentioned by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) as being one which should qualify, and by my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke as one which should not qualify, within the provisions of the Clause.

On the face of it, there seems to be a great difference between the Irish transient employee, if one may accept the "shorthand" as my hon. Friend put it, and the members of the acting profession, who are in much greater danger of being exploited in the kind of conditions which gave rise to the growth of Equity in an under-organised profession. Employees in the building industry come on to the market and return from it to Ireland or wherever they may choose to retire and move from place to place under quite different pressures and subject to quite different disadvantages from those in the acting profession. On the face of it, therefore, it would not be right to accept the case that could be put for the construction industry.

One can, however, perhaps visualise certain circumstances in which an agreement of that kind could be put forward and match the criteria laid down in the new Schedule. It is for that reason that we do not accept the attractive and beguiling simplicity of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery of simply including a list; and plainly, we could not go as far as the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) suggested by including without further ado, for example, the docks industry, which was one of those mentioned by the hon. Member, which is surely one in which the restrictive effects, both upon individuals and on the economy, of the closed shop, whether pre-entry or post-entry, are most apparent. We believe, therefore, that it is right to proceed in this way but no further than the new Schedule allows.

We would certainly be doubtful—several hon. Members have commented on this—about the wisdom of going anything like as far as my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) thought that we had gone. One comes back to the central principle that any situation arrived at by agreement between third parties, between the employer and the union in this case, which imposes an obligation upon employees to join an organisation is a denial of liberty. For the reasons put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames and others, such a denial of liberty must be strictly limited to that which is strictly necessary and reasonable.

We have, therefore, arrived at the general approach, which is set out in the new Clause and the new Schedule, that the approach to the C.I.R. for this kind of agreement to be approved should be, as in other parts of the Bill, through the National Industrial Relations Court, because at the end of the day that agreement can have far-reaching legal effects. It can be arrived at only subject to certain clearly defined conditions, because it can be linked in certain other circumstances with the restraining order which only the court can give. Equally, we think it right to make these provisions available only to registered organisations.

But I take the opportunity of rebutting yet again the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Salford, West that this is another demonstration of our determination to secure compulsory registration of unions. Nothing could be further from the truth. New Clause 12 on the face of it makes plain the right of unions themselves to invite the registrar to remove them from the register, be it provisionally or finally, so there can be no question of compulsory registration.

But the rights, options and gateways provided by the legislation should certainly be open only to unions which, by their registration, comply with certain standards. It is to meet the kind of point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames that we included that provision, so that this kind of privilege can be made available only to the union which accords with the sort of standards laid down in Clause 61 and Schedule 3.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Is the Solicitor-General about to say that he intends to accept Amendment (jjjj) to the new Schedule, which provides that an employer not a member of an employers' association, and therefore not registered, will nonetheless be subject to the tests laid down in the agreement? Is he say- ing, in effect, that it is not necessary for an employer to be a registered employer to be subject to a closed shop agreement if one exists generally for the industry, or is he providing a let-up for the recalcitrant employer not to register or to belong and, therefore, not to be subject to the agreement? If so, the hon. and learned Gentleman is destroying the whole thing altogether.

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Member raises a quite separate point with which I intend to deal in a moment. I am at present dealing with the right of access to this set of provisions for exempting certain closed shop agreements, and that is available to registered unions and employers associations. The position of the employer outside membership of an association is a rather separate point. The hon. Gentleman has seized his chance of making his point, again now, but I will come to it in a moment.

My hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke then directed attention to one of the other principles upon which the Clauses are founded; that the assessment of whether or not a closed shop agreement qualifies for exemption should be made by the C.I.R. He suggested that this would be unwise, because the tests, as he put it, are political and could, therefore, be wrongly judged by the C.I.R. But the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, from a different point of view, put the opposite argument in the same context.

The tests are not political. They are defined in paragraph 5 of the new Schedule. They are cumulative, and they would have to be complied with. It is certainly the intention of the Government to see that those tests have to be made. The four tests in paragraph 5(1) and the fifth test, in paragraph 5(2), by the C.I.R. before an agreement can qualify for exemption in this way—

Mrs. Castle

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman explain what he means by saying that the Government certainly intend to see that those tests will have to be made? Is he implying that the Government will exercise a right of veto over the C.I.R.'s recommendations?

The Solicitor-General

I imply no such thing. I imply that the Government intend that the legislation shall have that effect, and I suggest to the House that it would have that effect. But my hon. Friend has expressed some anxiety about it, and for that reason one would look at it to make sure that it will have that effect—but within the framework of the legislation and not by extra legislative action by the Government.

Mr. David Mitchell

Can my hon. and learned Friend assure me that if membership of the C.I.R. were to consist of hon. Members of the present Opposition Front Bench or to be appointed by them, they would not then be able to accept every union within these criteria?

9.0 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend has again asked the qestion that he put before, and I give the same answer, that each one of these requirements has got to be complied with, and in particular the important one contained in Clause 5(2), that the agency shop agreement could not achieve the same results. The right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn mentioned one or two of them as being in line with the argument on which she would rely in support of the closed shop throughout industry. But I suggest that it would be very difficult to find any case outside those of the kind that we have been debating today which would qualify within each one of those full tests, each one of them to be taken cumulatively, including the maintenance of stable bargaining arrangements and the securing of reasonable terms and conditions of employment. That is the point that my hon. Friend put to me. That is directed to the sort of situation in which an unorganised industry, such as the theatrical profession, in the absence of a closed shop, might indeed revert to the old days of which the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) spoke.

Mrs. Castle

This is really very important. Is the hon. and learned Gentleman telling the House that, say, Mr. Patrick Lowry and Lord Stokes were coming to the C.I.R. together with their appropriate unions, hand in hand, to say that they felt that these conditions would be more successfully achieved in the motor industry, if they had approved a closed shop, the C.I.R. would not be able, under this drafting, to agree with them?

The Solicitor-General

It would be possible in some situation which might be put forward for the C.I.R. to agree, but I do not think that in the particular case which the right hon. Lady puts, of Mr. Patrick Lowry from British Leyland, it would come within each of these criteria.

The central argument towards that proposition is this: not only have each of these criteria got to be met, but also it would be necessary that the standards could not equally readily be achieved by the adoption of an agency shop agreement. This is a question to which the C.I.R. would have to address itself—for separate tests, and the additional one in Clause 5(2). It would have to be satisfied that the purposes could not be expected to be fulfilled by means of an agency shop agreement. It is for that reason that the test is laid down as appropriate in the special cases.

One has once again the example of the right hon. Lady advancing inconsistent arguments. On the one hand, we are being accused of having introduced criteria which are so thin as to be valueless, and the next moment the right hon. Lady suggests that the criteria are so wide ranging as to have destroyed the intentions. The proposition is that they are, in fact, well balanced to achieve the objectives which we have in mind.

It is interesting to compare them with the Amendments originally tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), although not in quite the same form as his. But, with the greatest respect to my hon. Friend, his own would not have ensured a particular consequence in any given case. They require a value judgment to be made. I think the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery at one time had his name to comparable Amendments which required the same kind of value judgment to be made. It was on balancing all those factors that we arrived at these tests here, which are intended to justify the exemption of agreements when that is necessary and the agency shop cannot achieve the same result.

Mr. Heffer

I should like the position to be clarified. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was here when I referred to a case. On Merseyside in the ship repair industry in the past, workers had to go to what was known as "the stand" and wait to be picked out by an employer or a foreman for employment on a ship repair job, which might have lasted for only half a day or for a week if they were lucky. It was only by a closed shop agreement that we could eliminate this situation in which men were being picked out like cattle, and workers when they came up on rotation got a fair employment agreement. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether, under this criterion, such an application could be made to the C.I.R. and whether he feels that the C.I.R. would be justified in agreeing with the closed shop on that basis?

The Solicitor-General

That is exactly the kind of point which I have in mind when I say that that kind of situation, if it were to arise or to recur, is the kind of situation which would, in fact, be met by the agency shop agreement. As the Government have contended from the beginning of the debates on the Bill, that is precisely the sort of situation in respect of which the employees, and the union, by application could secure an agency shop agreement if the employer were unwilling to concede it. It is because that kind of case can be met in that kind of way that these criteria are as strict as they are, since they are not intended to go further than they do.

My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) raised the question of the Writers' Guild and the Musicians' Union. Both those cases would have to be considered separately in the light of these criteria, but I should have expected that the Writers' Guild was not an organisation which would qualify, or would need to qualify, under these provisions. The Writers' Guild effectively asserts its own standards by ensuring that its members, who belong to it voluntarily, do not deal, on the basis of new contracts with people who are unwilling to meet the terms which it suggests. It is, therefore, taking part not in strike action or industrial action but a different kind of action which really falls outside the scope of this legislation, and this legislation certainly would not affect its right to operate in that way.

The Musicians' Union would be a different case, but it is a case the strength of which could be tested before the C.I.R. by reference to the criteria set out here.

Both the hon. Member for Putney and my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough raised points about the existing agreements arrived at by Equity and their prospect in the future. The first question was really whether existing Equity agreements are or are not pre-entry closed shop agreements and are caught by Clause 7. The position of the hon. Member for Putney is clear: he wants to delete the words "or become" in order to ensure that pre-entry closed shops are exempt or entitled to be exempt under the Clause.

The particular agreements with which Equity is primarily concerned are, first, the West End theatre managers' agreement and, second, the repertory theatres agreement outside London. There are others which are less secure and less extensive. As I understand it, the West End theatre managers' agreement is operated ultimately under the control of the London Theatre Joint Council. The effect is that, in the last resort, the employment of a non-member of Equity by a manager who is party to the agreement requires the concurrence of that Joint Council, and the union side of the Joint Council may insist upon a new employee becoming a member of Equity or being a member of Equity before he is taken on. To that extent, the West End agreement—although it is not always operated in this way, I agree—is a pre-entry closed shop agreement.

The agreement operated with the Council of Repertory Theatres is a rather plainer case, I think, because, as I understand it, it requires that 75 per cent. of the artists taken on for a particular engagement shall be members of Equity at the time of engagement, and there is a free 25 per cent. who can be non-members but become members on engagement. That, again, would have the effect, once the 25 per cent. of nonmembers had been taken on, of operating as a pre-entry closed shop. So that both those agreements, to that extent, would come into conflict with Clause 7.

However, so far as the pre-entry closed shop agreement is concerned, the objectives of Equity, to ensure either that a proportion of or that certain members of the cast of any particular performance were suitably qualified so as to protect standards and protect job opportunities and limit them to people suitably qualified, could be, in fact, achieved by insistence in a new agreement upon appropriate qualifications by reference either to length or quality of service or to length or quality of training. To that extent the objectives, so far as they are necessary, of the pre-entry closed shop so far as they are achieved in the theatrical world can be achieved in another way in that way.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Surely the casting agreement as a separate agreement, wherein the last word lies with the employer and only after their employment do they become members of the union, would not be considered a pre-entry closed shop and is separate from the two examples my hon. and learned Friend has quoted to us.

The Solicitor-General

The example my hon. Friend has given is a third example—the separate casting agreement whereby the employer has the choice of employment, but that is a condition of being taken into employment. That is not a pre-entry closed shop. That is the kind of agreement which would fall within the provisions of the new Clause and the new Schedule and one which, if that employer and that union made a joint application as set out in these provisions, provided that the criteria were met—one would expect them so to be met—would qualify; and it could be disturbed and would cease to be effective only if 20 per cent. of the people covered by it sought to change it.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

The casting agreement to which the hon. Member for Peterborough referred provides that in the normal course of events the manager shall cast his play from amongst existing members of Equity. That is the first point in the agreement. Second, if the manager then decides that he cannot find from among existing members of Equity everybody he wants he has the right to table a case to the union and the union can then decide whether he has made a case for the recruitment of a new member. In the event of a dispute arising, a decision can be taken by the Theatre Council. In these circumstances will the hon. and learned Gentleman say whether that arrangement gets through under this Clause?

The Solicitor-General

I have just dealt with the two examples because as put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough, on the one hand, and by the hon. Member for Putney on the other hand, they are rather different cases. The case put by the hon. Member for Putney is rather closer to the West End London Theatre Joint Council situation, whereby it has got to go to the Joint Council for decision as to whether a particular additional person shall be taken on. In that event, if the Council's decision could have the effect of excluding somebody on the grounds of nonmembership, that would be a pre-entry closed shop and would be caught by Clause 7. However, if it stops short of that so that the obligation, as my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough put it to me, is to secure membership by the person engaged on engagement, it would not be caught by Clause 7 and, indeed, would expect to qualify under this in so far as an agency shop agreement would not do it equally well. I therefore suggest that the balance that we have struck is right and effective.

The other point raised by my hon. Friend was the suggestion that it would be possible, by adopting Amendment (jjjj), to secure a wider effectiveness for a closed shop agreement—in other words, by extending the provisions of a closed shop agreement to non-members of the employers association, if necessary to do so by means of the machinery contained in Section 8 of the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act, 1959.

The truth is that that cannot be done today within the theatrical industry as it is now. The 1959 Act does not achieve that. We do not think that it would be right to go that far. It was put in a different way when it was suggested that several employers' associations, rather than one employers' association, could be party to an agreement of this kind. At the moment an agreement with several employers' associations made separately by the union with each of them separately would have to go to the Court for approval as a package of separate agreements. That would probably, I should think, have the same effect as an express reference to several employers' associations as far as that is necessary. One doubts whether it is necessary to go further than that but, like the other points which have been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough and by others in the debate, it can be looked at.

9.15 p.m.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) raised a number of points, some arising from the same kind of situation—the difficulty of securing a licensed closed shop agreement in respect of non-conforming employers. That, of course, is difficult already with the non-conforming employer who chooses not to belong to any association and withdraws from any kind of agreement. There is no effective remedy, save, of course, an assertion by the union of unwillingness to enter into new engagements with such a non-conforming employer.

Mr. Prescott

That is the point. The union has some means of sanction at present against a recalcitrant employer if he decides to break away from an association. It can refuse to provide him with workers who are already in the union. But the Bill will deny us the sanction in that sense.

The Solicitor-General

No. The way in which a union would deny such an employer labour from its own membership would be by expelling a member of the union if he tried to work for him. The same situation applies in the theatre. If such a union member were to work for a non-conforming employer and were expelled from the union, he would be consigning himself to a very difficult employment future, because it would be difficult for him to gain re-admission to the union if he had been expelled on that ground. So far as the non-conforming employer is concerned, there is now provision for application for an agency shop in respect of that person.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East also raised some difficulties about organising a ballot, in particular of securing a sufficient number to vote to endorse a closed shop agreement. It is important to remember that a ballot would only arise, where an agreement had been arrived at between the N.U.S. and an employer's federation, if 20 per cent. of the employees sought to challenge it. It is only in a very vexed situation that a ballot would be sought at all. If the situation were so vexatious as to attract the support of 20 per cent. of the employees covered by the agreement itself, it is more than probable that an attempt would be made to resolve the question.

Mr. Prescott

But I have understood the argument to be the opposite. Surely the idea of the ballot is to ascertain the will of the people in the industry and give them the right to exercise that will. I have heard the hon. and learned Gentleman say that it will be difficult to get a ballot in these conditions, and he can assume that it will be difficult for the 20 per cent. to apply for a ballot in conditions where the closed shop agreement will apply. I pointed out to the hon. and learned Gentleman earlier that it is difficult to apply a ballot in the situation in which seamen find themselves. Now he says to me, "Do not worry too much because the 20 per cent. will find it very difficult to ballot anyway."

The Solicitor-General

I am saying that both in this context and in the agency shop context there is nothing to stop an employer or employers' association and the union, as one would expect if the hon. Gentleman's case is correct, making an agreement under these provisions and seeking to get the approval of the C.I.R. It is only when and if that is challenged effectively by 20 per cent. of the employees covered that one ever reaches the question of a ballot at all. The same is true in the agency shop situation, so there is no real problem here.

My hon. Friend the Member for Honiton and the right hon. Lady questioned the use in this context, as in the agency shop provision, of "the majority of those eligible ". I come back again to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames—each of these provisions, the agency shop and the exempt closed shop, represents a curtailment of liberty, and it is therefore right that there should be this high threshold of approval before it can be adopted.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwin (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) raised some points about the provisions of the new Clause itself and in particular suggested that there was an inconsistency in the placing of the phrase "as the case may be" in subsection (1) and subsequent subsections. If that inconsistency has the effect of licensing the pre-entry closed shop, as he suggested, we shall look at it again to make sure that the provisions cannot operation in that way.

He also suggested that there was an inconsistency in line 27 and line 32 between the inclusion in one place and the exclusion from the other of the words "or failed". The pattern follows the precedent contained in Clause 5 and I believe that it fulfils the object of the exercise. However, if on further examination it appears that the omission of the words "or failed" from subsection (5)(b) produces an inconsistent effect, we shall look at the matter again.

I emphasise that the new Clause and the new Schedule are not expected or intended to go as far as my hon. Friend the Member for Honiton hoped. The agency shop proposals will cope in the vast majority of cases. It is only if they do not cope that an application under the new Clause can become effective.

I give much more attention to the point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames, supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower). It is right to point out, as they pointed out, that under these provisions, when an exempt closed shop agreement has been approved, dismissal from the union could result in dismissal from employment and loss of employment opportunity at that place and perhaps thereafter. It is because of that that we have tried so hard to balance these conflicting factors, to arrive at a properly controlled balance in the Clause. Such a dismissal can be fair only if the employer can justify it as fair and such dismissal in consequence of expulsion of the union can be fair only if the union can justify expulsion from the union under Clause 62, and the member would have the opportunity of challenging under Clause 97 and Clause 95. I remind hon. Members that Clause 77 allows the member to get the Registrar to take up his case for him so as to protect him in that kind of situation.

I commend to my right hon. Friend and to the House what we have qualified and balanced in this way. The right hon. Lady suggested that union membership and the rights of unions to recruit members should be allowed to be pursued hereafter as in the past. We are not prepared or disposed to make any kind of concession in that direction.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Would my hon. and learned Friend confirm whether the interpretation which I tentatively put on subsection (5), that a man can be dismissed in these circumstances because the union failed to elect him, is right and whether, if it is, it means that that man has no remedy other than the fairly prolonged procedure of getting it declared to be an unfair industrial practice?

The Solicitor-General

I was acknowledging the point made by my right hon. Friend. He will remember that the Donovan Commission suggested that that and that alone, without any of the other provisions of the Bill, would be sufficient protection of a man's right to work. We do not subscribe to that. It is only in the very narrow situation here defined that we believe that it can be accepted as my right hon. Friend puts it. The position is as he puts it, that if someone is not admitted to the union and thereby required to lose the job offered to him, his remedy consists of getting his rights of membership of the union established and declared.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

How long does my hon. and learned Friend think it would take before a man dismissed in these circumstances could have the position rectified using this procedure?

The Solicitor-General

It would depend, but I would have thought in this kind of case it would be possible for someone in employment and threatened with the loss of his job as a result of expulsion to get an interim relief that would enable him to hold the position, in other wards his appeal procedure would have to be gone through before it would take effect, so that in most cases it would operate in that way.

As my right hon. Friend appreciates, the fact that that kind of remedy was available to him would make it much less likely that a person would be dealt with in that way. We are trying here to maintain the difficult balance of which my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke spoke, the balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of society. We have accepted that there are some cases where the membership of a union as opposed to paying the contribution to the union funds should be necessary but we have accepted it only upon conditions which should be stringent.

We have done it upon the basis of our belief that the agency shop proposals will meet almost all justifiable cases. We have been persuaded on this narrow aspect to advance this alternative proposal to meet these cases. I commend the new Clause and the new Schedule in association with it to the House as representing a balance which is fair, satisfactory, democratic and workable.

Mr. Concannon

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Mr. Waddington

On a point of order. The hon. Member is seeking to move the closure—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There can be no point of order when the Motion has been moved, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House proceeded to a Division; Mr. Joseph Harper and Mr. Alan Fitch were appointed Tellers for the Ayes, but no Member being willing to act as Teller for the Noes, Mr. SPEAKER declared that the Ayes had it.

Question put accordingly, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 244, Noes 242.

Division No. 236.] AYES [9.30 p.m.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Eden, Sir John Howell, David (Guildford)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Atkins, Humphrey Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Iremonger, T. L.
Awdry, Daniel Emery, Peter James, David
Balniel, Lord Farr, John Jerkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fell, Anthony Jessel, Toby
Batsford, Brian Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Fidler, Michael Jopling, Michael
Bell, Ronald Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Benyon, W. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Keltett, Mrs. Elaine
Biffen, John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Kilfedder, James
Biggs-Davison, John Fortescue, Tim Kimball, Marcus
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Foster, Sir John King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Body, Richard Fowler, Norman Kinsey, J. R.
Boscawen, Robert Fox, Marcus Knox, David
Bowden, Andrew Fry, Peter Lane, David
Braine, Bernard Gardner, Edward Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Bray, Ronald Gibson-Watt, David Le Marchant, Spencer
Brinton, Sir Tatton Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Glyn, Dr. Alan Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Loveridge, John
Bryan, Paul Goodhew, Victor MacArthur, Ian
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Gorst, John McCrindle, R. A.
Buck, Antony Gower, Raymond Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Bullus, Sir Eric Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) McMaster, Stanley
Burden, F. A. Gray, Hamish McNair-Wilson, Michael
Butter, Adam (Bosworth) Green, Alan McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Grieve, Percy Maddan, Martin
Carlisle, Mark Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Madel, David
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Grylls, Michael Maginnis, John E.
Chapman, Sydney Gummer, Selwyn Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Gurden, Harold Marten, Neil
Chichester-Clark, R. Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maude, Angus
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Hall, John (Wycombe) Maudling, Ht. Hn. Reginald
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mawby, Ray
Cockeram, Eric Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Cooke, Robert Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Coombs, Derek Hastings, Stephen MillS, Peter (Torrington)
Corfield, Rt. Ho. Frederick Hawkins, Paul Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Cormack, Patrick Hay, John Mitchell, Lt. -Col.C.(Aberderenshire,W.)
Costain, A. P. Hayhoe, Barney Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Critchley, Julian Heseltine, Michael Moate, Roger
Crouch, David Higgins, Terence L. Molyneaux, James
Curran, Charles Hiley, Joseph Money, Ernie
Dalkeith, Earl of Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Monks, Mrs. Connie
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Monro, Hector
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, JamesMaj.-Gen. Holland, Philip Montgomery, Fergus
Dean, Paul Holt, Miss Mary Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hordern, Peter Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Dixon, Piers Hornby, Richard Mudd, David
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Murton, Oscar
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Neave, Airey Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Normanton, Tom Russell, Sir Ronald Trew, Peter
Nott, John Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Tugendhat, ChristoPher
Onstow, Cranley Scott, Nicholas Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Scott-Hopkins, James van Straubenzee, W. R.
Om, Capt. L. P. S. Sharples, Richard Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Osborn, John Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & amp;Whitby) Vickers, Dame Joan
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Shelton, William (Clapham) Waddington, David
Page, Graham (Crosby) Simeons, Charies Welder, David (Clitheroe)
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Sinclair, Sir George Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Walt, Patrick
Peel, John Soref, Harold Walters, Dennis
Percival, Ian Speed, Keith Ward, Dame Irene
Pink, R. Bonner Spence, John Warren, Kenneth
Pounder, Raftan Stanton, Keith Weatherill, Bernard
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Stanbrook, Ivor Wells, John (Maidstone)
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper) Whitelaw, Rt,Hn. William
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Wiggin, Jerry
Proudfoot, Wilfred Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Wolrigs-Gordon, Patrick
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stokes, John Wood, Rt.Hn. Richard
Quennel, Miss J. M. Stuttaford, Dr. Tom woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Raison, Timothy Sutcliffe, John Worsley, Marcus
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Tapsell, Peter Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Rawlinson, Rt.,Hn. Sir Peter Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Younger, Hn. George
Rees, Peter (Dover) Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Rees-Davies, W. R. Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Tebbit, Norman Mr. Reginald Eyre and
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Temple, John M. Mr. Jasper More.
Ridsdale, Julian Thatcher, nt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Abse, Leo Detargy, H. J. Hunter, Adam
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Allen, Scholefield Dempsey, James Janner, Greville
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Doig, Peter Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&SLP'cras,S.)
Armstrong, Ernest Dormand, J. D. Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Ashley, Jack Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Atkinson, Norman Driberg, Tom John, Brynmor
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Duffy, A. E. P. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Barnett, Joel Dunn, James A. Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Beaney, Alan Dunnett, Jack Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Eadie, Alex Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Bidwell, Sydney Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Bishop, E. S. Ellis, Tom Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Blenkinsop, Arthur English, Michael Judd, Frank
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Evans, Fred Kaufman, Gerald
Booth, Albert Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Kelley, Richard
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Kerr, Russell
Bradley, Tom Fletcher, Raymond (likeston) Kinnock, Neil
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lambie, David
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Foot, Michael Latham, Arthur
Buchan, Norman Forrester, John Lawson, George
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Fraser, John (Norwood) Leadbitter, Ted
Butter, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Galpern, Sir Myer Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Garrett, W. E. Leonard, Dick
Cant, R. B. Gilbert, Dr. John Lestor, Miss Joan
Carmichael, Neil Ginsburg, David Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Golding, John Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Gourley, Harry Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Grant, George (Morpeth) Lipton, Marcus
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lomas, Kenneth
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Loughlin, Charles
Cohen, Stanley Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Coleman, Donald Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Concannon, J. D. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Conlan, Bernard Haming, William McBride, Neil
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) McCartney, Hugh
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) McElhone, Frank
Crawshaw, Richard Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith McGuire, Michael
Cronin, John Hattersley, Roy Mackenzie, Gregor
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hefter, Eric S. Mackie, John
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Hooson, Emlyn Maclennan, Robert
Dalyell, Tam Horam, John McNamara, J. Kevin
Davidson, Arthur Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas MacPherson, Malcolm
Davies, Denzil (LlanellY) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Huckfield, Leslie Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Marquand, David
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Deakins, Eric Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Meacher, Michael
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Mendelson, John Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Thomas, Rt. Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Millan, Bruce Rees,,Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Miller, Dr. M. S. Rhodes, Geoffrey Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Molloy, William Roberts, Albert (NOrmanton) Tinn, James
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Tomney, Frank
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Robertson, John (Paisley) Torney, Tom
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor) Tuck, Raphael
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Urwin, T. W.
Moyle, Roland Roper, John Varley, Eric G.
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Rose, Paul B. Wainwright, Edwin
Murray, R. K. Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Ogden, Eric Sheldon, Robert(Ashton-under-Lyne) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
O'Halloran, Michael Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Wallace, George
O'Malley, Brian Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Watkins, David
Oram, Bert Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.) Weitzman, David
Orbach, Maurice Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Wellbeloved, James
Orme, Stanley Sillars, James Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Oswald, Thomas Silverman, Julius White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Skinner, Dennis Whitehead, Phillip
Palmer, Arthur Small, William Whitlock, William
Parker, John (Dagenham) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Spearing, Nigel Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Pavitt, Laurie Spriggs, Leslie Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Stallard, A. W. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Pendry, Tom Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Pentland, Norman Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Wilson, Re. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Perry, Ernest G. Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Prescott, John Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Woof, Robert
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Strang, Gavin
Price, William (Rugby) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Probert, Arthur Swain, Thomas Mr. Alan Fitch and
Rankin, John Taverne, Dick Mr. Joseph Harper.

Clause accordingly read a Second time.

Amendment (a) proposed to the proposed Clause: In line 1, leave out 'approved'.—[Mrs. Castle.]

Question put, That the Amendment be made to the proposed Clause:—

The House divided: Ayes 243, Noes 264.

Division No. 237.] AYES [9.41 p.m.
Abse, Leo Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Albu, Austen Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dalyell, Tam Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Allen, Scholefield Davidson, Arthur Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Hamling, William
Armstrong, Ernest Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Ashley, Jack Davies, I for (Gower) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Atkinson, Norman Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Deakins, Eric Hattersley, Roy
Barnett, Joel de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Heffer, Eric S.
Beaney, Alan Delargy, H. J. Hooson, Emlyn
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Horam, John
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Dempsey, James Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Bidwell, Sydney Doig, Peter Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Bishop, E. S. Dormand, J. D. Huckfield, Leslie
Blenkinsop, Arthur Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hughes, Rt.Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Driberg, Tom Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Booth, Albert Duffy, A. E. P. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Dunn, James A. Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bradley, Tom Dunnett, Jack Hunter, Adam
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Eadie, Alex Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Edwards, Robert (Bilton) Janner, Greville
Buchan, Norman Edwards, William (Merioneth) Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n& St.P'cras,S.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Ellis, Tom Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) English, Michael Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Evans, Fred John, Brynmor
Cant, R. B. Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Carmichael, Neil Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Castle, Rt.,Hn. Barbara Foot, Michael Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Forrester, John Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Harn,S.)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fraser, John (Norwood) Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Cohen, Stanley Galpern, Sir Myer Judd, Frank
Coleman, Donald Garrett, W. E. Kaufman, Gerald
Concannon, J. D. Gilbret, Dr. John Kelley, Richard
Conlan, Bernard Ginsburg, David Kerr, Russell
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Golding, John Kinnock, Neil
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Gourlay, Harry Lambie, David
Crawshaw, Richard Grant, George (Morpeth) Latham, Arthur
Cronin, John Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lawson, George
Leadbitter, Ted Oram, Bert Stallard, A. W.
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Orbach, Maurice Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Leonard, Dick Orme, Stanley Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Lester, Miss Joan Oswald, Thomas Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Palmer, Arthur Strang, Gavin
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Parker, John (Dagenham) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lipton, Marcus Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Swain, Thomas
Lomas, Kenneth Pavitt, Laurie Taverne, Dick
Loughlin, Charles Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Pendry, Tom Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Pentland, Norman Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Perry, Ernest G. Tinn, James
McBride, Neil Prescott, John Tomney, Frank
McCartney, Hugh Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Torney, Tom
McElhone, Frank Price, William (Rugby) Tuck, Raphael
McGuire, Michael Probert, Arthur Urwin, T. W.
Mackenzie, Gregor Rankin, John Varley, Eric G.
Mackie, John Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wainwright, Edwin
Maclennan, Robert Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
McNamara, J. Kevin Rhodes, Geoffrey Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
MacPherson, Malcolm Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wallace George
Mahon, Simon (Bootie) Roberts, Rt. Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Watkins, David
Mallatieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Robertson, John (Paisley) Weitzman, David
Marquand, David Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) wellbeloved, James
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Meacher, Michael Roper, John White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Rose, Paul B. Whitehead, Phillip
Mendelson, John Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Whitlock, William
Millan, Bruce Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Miller, Dr. M. S. Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Molloy, William Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Short, Mrs. René (W'hampton,N.E.) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Silkin, Rt, Hn. John (Deptford) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Sillars, James Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Silverman, Julius Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Moyle, Roland Skinner, Dennis Woof, Robert
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Small, William
Murray, R. K. Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ogden, Eric Spearing, Nigel Mr. Alan Fitch and
O'Halloran, Michael Spriggs, Leslie Mr. Joseph Harper.
O'Malley, Brian
Adley, Robert Coombs, Derek Gower, Raymond
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Cormack, Patrick Gray, Hamish
Atkins, Humphrey Costain, A. P. Green, Alan
Awdry, Daniel Critchley, Julian Grieve, Percy
Balniel, Lord Crouch, David Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Curran, Charles Grylls, Michael
Batsford, Brian Dalkeith, East of Gummer, Selwyn
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gurden, Harold
Bell, Ronald d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, JamesMaj.-Gen Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Benyon, W. Dean, Paul Hall, John (Wycombe)
Biffen, John Digby, Simon Wingfield Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Biggs-Davison, John Dixon, Piers Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Blaker, Peter Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hannam, John (Exeter)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) du Cann Rt. Hn. Edward Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Body, Richard Eden, Sir John Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere
Boscawen, Robert Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hasethurst, Alan
Bowden, Andrew Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hastings, Stephen
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Emery, Peter Hawkins, Paul
Braine, Bernard Farr, John Hay, John
Bray, Ronald Fell, Anthony Hayhoe, Barney
Brinton, Sir Tatton Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Heseitine, Michael
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fidler, Michael Hicks, Robert
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Higgins, Terence L.
Bryan, Paul Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Hiley, Joseph
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N& M) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Buck, Antony Fookes, Miss Janet Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bullus, Sir Eric Fortescue, Tim Holland, Philip
Burden, F. A. Foster, Sir John Holt, Miss Mary
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Fowler, Norman Hordem, Peter
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray& Nairn) Fox, Marcus Hornby, Richard
Carlisle, Mark Fry, Peter Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Gardner, Edward Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Chapman, Sydney Gibson-Watt, David Howell, David (Guildford)
Chichester-Clark, R. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Glyn, Dr. Alan Hutchison, Michael Clark
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Iremonger, T. L.
Cockeram, Eric Goodhew, Victor James, David
Cooke, Robert Gorst, John Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Jessel, Toby Nabarro, Sir Gerald Sproat, Iain
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Neave, Airey Stainton, Keith
Jopling, Michael Nicholls, Sir Harmar Stanbrook, Ivor
Kaberry, Sir Donald Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Normanton, Tom Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Kershaw, Anthony Nott, John Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Kilfedder, James Onslow, Cranley Stokes, John
Kimball, Marcus Oppertheim, Mrs. Sally Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Sutcliffe, John
Kinsey, J. R. Osborn, John Tapsell, Peter
Knox, David Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Lane, David Page, Graham (Crosby) Tayfor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Page, John (Harrow, W.) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Le Merchant, Spencer Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Peel, John Tebbit, Norman
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Percival, Ian Temple, John M.
Longden, Gilbert Pink, R. Bonner Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Loveridge, John Pounder, Raftan Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
MacArthur, Ian Price, David (Eastleigh) Tilney, John
McCrindle, R. A. Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Trafford, Dr. Anthony
McLaren, Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Trew, Peter
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Pym, Rt Hn. Francis Tugendhat, Christopher
McMaster, Stanley Quennell, Miss J. M. Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Raison, Timothy van Straubenzee, W. R.
McNair-Wilson, Michael Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Vickers, Dame Joan
Madden, Martin Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Waddington, David
Model, David Refs, Peter (Dover) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Maginnis, John E. Rees-Davies, W. R. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Renton, Rt Hn. Sir David Wall, Patrick
Marten, Neil Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Walters, Dennis
Maude, Angus Ridsdale, Julian Ward, Dame Irene
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Warren, Kenneth
Mawby, Ray Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Weatherill, Bernard
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Rost, Peter, White, Roger (Gravesend)
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Russell, Sir Ronald Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Sandys, Rt. Hn, D. Wiggin, Jerry
Mitchell,Lt. Col.C.(Aberdeendshire,W) Scott, Nicholas Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Scott-Hopkins, James Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Moate, Roger Sharpies, Richard Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Molyneaux, James Shaw, Michael (Se'b'gh & Whitby) Woodnutt, Mark
Money,Erine Shelton, William (Clapham) Worsley, Marcus
Monks, Mrs. Connie Simeon, Charles Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Monro, Hector Sinclair, Sir George Younger, Hn. George
Montgomery, Fergus Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Soref, Harold TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Speed, Keith Mr. Reginald Eyre and
Mudd, David Spence, John Mr. Jasper More.
Murton, Oscar
Mr. Speaker

I now call Amendment (b), and with that can be discussed the other Amendments set out in the provisional selection, as follows:

(e) in line 7, after union ', insert: 'or independent organisation of workers'.

(f) in line 8, after unions ', insert: 'or independent organisations of workers'.

(1) in line 17, after union ', insert: 'or independent organisation of workers'.

(m) in line 18, after unions ', insert: ' or independent organisations of workers'.

(n) in line 21, after union ', insert: ' or independent organisation of workers'.

(o) in line 21, after unions ', insert: 'or independent organisations of workers'.

(r) in line 28, after union ', insert: 'or independent organisation of workers'.

(s) in line 29, after unions ', insert: or independent organisations of workers'.

Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

I beg to move Amendment (b) to the proposed Clause, in line 2, after unions ', insert: 'or independent organisations of workers'. After that dramatic collapse of Government support—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will hon. Members withdraw quietly, if they must?

Mr. Walker

As I was saying before I was so rudely and persistently interrupted, after that dramatic—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I think that the only interruption the hon. Member had was from me.

Mr. Walker

I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker, but from this end of the Clerk's Table we could hear an awful lot of other hubbub, too. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not like the word "other ". I do not like that at all.

Mr. Walker

That is what it sounded like at this end, Mr. Speaker. I was saying that the Government's performance suggests that perhaps at last the light is getting through to them and perhaps, if they could try a little harder on this Amendment, they might finally collapse altogether. No doubt we shall have some kangaroo courts in the Government Chief Whip's room in the morning with perhaps the Prime Minister and one or two of his colleagues there, too.

Turning to the Amendment, the House will recognise that its wording reiterates an attitude that we repeatedly expressed from this side of the House during Committee, both in debate and in the silent words in print on the Order Paper. It is not only for the sake of consistency that we have tabled it again throughout the new Clause and the Schedule, wherever we deem it appropriate. The omission of the words on the Order Paper,

or independent organisations of workers not only casts further doubts on the practicability of what the Government are proposing but also raises again what we believe to be an important matter of principle.

Taking the lesser point first, though it is still an important one, it is the practical problem which arises during the transitory period of the provisional register and the sanctity or otherwise of an existing closed shop which might ultimmately be eligible for approval under the provisions of the new Clause and its Schedule.

It may be that the difficulty is explained in the Bill and that the answer is there if one is prepared to plough through a labyrinth of cross-references. But I have not yet been able to find it. That is hardly surprising when so many Government back benchers, today and on other occasions, have drawn attention to the complexity of the Bill. I might recall to the right hon. Gentleman's mind occasions in the past when he chided me from this Box and in Committee about abstruse and complex provisions in Government Bills. I remember the right hon. Gentleman charging me with present- ing the House with gobbledygook. Today, that word was never far from the lips of some right hon. and hon. Members on the benches opposite.

The first question which poses itself with regard to the practical problem which I put to the right hon. Gentleman is whether entry under the provisional register constitutes registration for the purpose of the new Clause. If it does and an organisation which is so registered enters into an approved closed shop arrangement, what happens if subsequently that organisation refuses to go on to the permanent register or disqualifies itself from entry? Does the closed shop agreement in that case automatically become an unfair industrial practice which will be outlawed? Alternatively, if the provisions of Clause 76 apply, that is to say, that entry on the provisional register does not of itself constitute registration, what happens to an existing closed shop pending registration, bearing in mind the Government's new proposal to extend the interim period to 12 months?

Having posed the practical problem which arises, it appears to me that today's debate has centred round the position of two groups-the position of seafarers and that of members of Equity. However, we should not overlook the fact that there are some 3⅛ million workers at present covered by closed shop agreements, and they will want to know their position on the day that the Act comes into force. They will want to know the status of their closed shop, no matter what their organisation may do subsequently about registration. It seems to me that on the day that the relevant Sections of the Act come into force, most if not all existing trade unions will become organisations of workers by virtue of moving on to the provisional register, in the light of Clause 76, or not being registered.

It seems highly likely, whether deliberately or not, that most if not all unions will be organisations of workers. It seems equally likely, especially in the light of the recommendations that the T.U.C. will be putting to its member unions later this week, that many trade unions will continue to be organisations of workers as long as the onerous and odious registration provisions are part of Government policy.

It is at this point that I turn to the issue of principle. Our detestation and the loathing of the trade union movement of the inequitable and iniquitous registration provisions, and the rÔle of the registrar with his arbitrary power to impose specified conditions of registration, have all been spelled out from this side of the House without any shadow of doubt. The Government aim to make the new Clause yet another instrument of coercion to push the recalcitrant into the cage of registration.

It seems to me that even the crumbs that we have had offered from the Government today are to be denied to those who will not jump at the command of the registrar. We have said before that the registration commitments such as are set out in the Bill, administered by the almost absolute and near-unrivalled power of the Chief Registrar, are an affront to any concept of the rÔle of trade unions in a free and democratic society.

Adopting the terms of the Bill, the other side of the registration coin—the side of freedom—is that which is epitomised in the phrase that we have chosen for our Amendment: "organisations of workers ". By putting this Amendment before the House, we put ourselves on the side of that freedom.

10.0 p.m.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

It is said that there is no gratitude in politics, and I have every sympathy with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the reception that his new Clause has received today from the Opposition benches. He seemed to me to go a long way out of his way, much further than he had undertaken during our previous debates, to try to give accommodation and to be helpful to Equity, to the seamen and to the presentations of cases which were made to him, both during the time of the consultative document and subsequently. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) gave a faint nod of recognition of what my right hon. Friend had done, but his hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) gave no response whatever.

This bundle of Amendments to the new Clause intends to extend it to apply to trade unions which are not registered. I urge my right hon. Friend on this occasion not to be flexible at all. In the context of the special provisions for closed shop agreements, it is essential that those agreements should affect only registered trade unions.

The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) said that the whole system of registration was, not disgusting, but some other word.

Mr. Harold Walker


Mr. Page

Odious. Unfortunately, 1 do not have the rather excellent quotation from the winding-up speech by the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) about registration. She accepted, however, the view that registration is quite natural and proper in many of the ways that my right hon. Friend and the Bill suggest. It is in only about a couple of items concerning some of the rules and the position of shop stewards that the right hon. Lady seemed to become anti-registration.

Mr. Harold Walker

The hon. Member must not misrepresent the position of either my right hon. Friend or myself. I attacked the odious and inequitable registration requirements of the Bill and my right hon. Friend, as I recall, attacked them with even more vigour. It was not the principle of registration, but the registration requirements of the Bill, which my right hon. Friend and I attacked.

Mr. Page

Had I realised that this matter would be brought up now I would have looked up my reference, because we have here a remarkable volte face by some hon. Members opposite. It is unfair for me to flog the point without having the reference, but I shall see that I have it by me on the next occasion.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will not try to meet the Opposition on this Amendment as he tried to meet them on the new Clause—as I believe, most successfully; and that he will make absolutely certain that there is no misunderstanding of the fact that the only unions which can be considered for approved closed shop agreements will be those that are registered.

Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

We see in the Government's attitude to this Amendment the source of much of their feelings against the entire trade union movement.

We are here arguing once again about the principle of registration, and in this respect the Government's attitude is consistent. They are saying that unless trade unions register they will be penalised in a number of specific ways. They will not get relief from taxation. The officials, and the unions themselves—because we shall continue to call them unions although we may have to refer to them as independent organisations of workers—will become subject to unlimited financial penalties in the courts, and the officials will, in certain circumstances, be subject to imprisonment. The trade union movement has fairly and squarely faced these prospects in the last few weeks.

As a further item added to the penalties for trade unions which will not register, it is being said that a trade union cannot have a closed shop agreement unless it is registered. No matter how necessary the closed shop may be for industrial relations, no union, whether it be for seamen, actors, scriptwriters, musicians, journalists, lorry drivers, or anyone else, can have a closed shop without registration.

What the Government are saying in opposing the Amendment is: "We have listened to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) and we have accepted the force of his arguments. We have listened to spokesmen on behalf of Equity, and we have been persuaded by what they have said. We have listened with interest to what people have had to say about the musicians and the scriptwriters. They have a case—such a good case that we have been prepared to introduce a new Clause—but no matter how strong their case we shall not let them have the closed shop which we think is an essential for good industrial relations unless they register."

What will happen if the National Union of Seamen declares that it will not take out registration papers, that it will not seek a licence from the State? What will happen if Equity follows? Are the arguments of the Government, that these organisations have a case, to disappear into the background? It seems that the Government are very anxious to place registration above everything else. The coming confrontation between the trade union movement and the Government is about registration, and this, in a sense, reveals the mockery of the argument about this Bill as a Bill to remove industrial conflict.

The argument is about the internal condition of trade unions. The argument is whether the working people are controlling their unions or whether people from outside control the unions. This is the nub of the argument. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nonsense."] I hear an hon. Member opposite saying "Nonsense ". I observe an hon. Member opposite who has been a member of the union that I represent, the Post Office Engineering Union. In our union, as in every union, there are procedures for determining how our rules are arrived at. In the branches every year, policy is made. Branches are asked to submit propositions to conference. Debates take place. Delegates are sent to conference. In the conference, 600 people, with their votes, determine what shall be the policies and from time to time what the rules are to be.

The rules differ greatly from one union to another. Much of my time as a trade union official has been devoted to arguing against the closed shop in my union because it does not fit the specific case of my union. Yet on other occasions I have argued the case for the closed shop in other industries. In union life we have workers coming together at various levels—shop floor, district, regional and national levels—discussing their experiences and evolving rules to suit the union and the body of workers represented in the union.

One can understand rule making and policy-making in a trade union only if one reflects on the House of Commons, because the trade union movement, in its basic approach, has followed two institutions. From the point of view of the closed shop it has followed the professions. I am fond of quoting the preamble to the constitution of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers of 1851, in which it is stated specifically that they are creating a trade union in order to get that control of the job and of standards that professional bodies like the lawyers and the doctors had achieved by 1851.

But if one looks further, one sees that the trade union movement has not only followed the pattern of the professions. It has also modelled itself, in the way in which it has evolved its procedures, its rules and practices, to a large extent on British parliamentary government. The British trade union movement never has been a revolutionary body. Many of my hon. Friends have criticised us in the trade unions because we have been moderate, because we have been constitutional, because we have been conservative with a small "c ". Most people who have studied the history of the British trade union movement recognise that it is a constitutional movement.

10.15 p.m.

What would be the answer if we asked a business efficiency expert what he thought of our Standing Orders, our procedures and what is laid down in Erskine May for the conduct of business in the House of Commons? [Interruption.] We have worked out our own rules and procedures to suit ourselves, but if we asked whether it was reasonable to sit the hours we do, to vote in the way we do and to behave generally as we do in the House. business efficiency experts would say that that was not a satisfactory way to conduct our affairs. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not want all this advice from a sedentary position.

Mr. Golding

You shocked me for a moment, Mr. Speaker, and I wondered whether it was I who was out of order. I was pointing out that we have evolved our procedures, we understand them, and they suit our purposes. The trade union movement has evolved rules and procedures for its purposes. The Government are now trying to take the decision-making from the trade union movement and to hand it over to people outside who have relatively little knowledge of the way in which rules and policies are formulated in the trade union movement.

Mr. Wilfred Proudfoot (Brighouse and Spenborough)

The fallacy in what the whon Gentleman is saying is that there is always an Opposition in the House of Commons. Within the trade union movement there is no Her Majesty's Opposition or anybody else's opposition, and the public interest is not necessarily taken into account. In the House of Commons the public interest is always paramount.

Mr. Golding

The hon. Gentleman's interjection illustrates my point. Let me explain how policy is evolved from time to time in the trade unions. The hon. Gentleman says that there is no opposition. I wonder how much experience he has had. I assure him that someone sitting on the platform at a national conference facing the assembled delegates does not feel like a Russian commissar facing an audience which does not express itself forcibly or vote. Of course there are oppositions in trade unions. That is what trade unionism is about. There will be strong opposition to any trade union leader who tells a union conference that he has settled for a wage increase of 3⅛ per cent. after claiming an increase of 25 per cent.

Mr. Proudfoot

The hon. Member has moved from the question of the decision on rules to bargaining in the market place. They are two different matters.

Mr. Golding

What is of prime importance in union rule-book making is that most modern medium-sized and large trade unions consist of a variety of occupational groups the interests of which are often somewhat in conflict. There are headmasters and assistant masters, long-serving teachers and short-service teachers. In my union there are highly skilled men who work in telephone exchanges and who are called the internal men. There are also the men who work outside—the linesmen—and who are called external men. Nevertheless, there is a history of conflict between these sections.

In most of the unions which were once craft unions and which have become general unions there is an element of conflict between cratsmen, semi-skilled and others. In other unions there is a conflict between the London interest and the provincial interest. This is true of a remarkable number of unions, whether in connection with the London and provincial busmen, the London and provincial printers, the London and provincial civil servants, or any other category. In other unions there are different groups which the union has brought together.

Often there are stresses and strains within the union. The rule books often contain executive reservations for one group. To secure an amalgamation it might have been necessary for a relatively small group to be offered a seat on the executive; and that is written into the rules. To keep groups in membership certain seats on the executive must be reserved. The rule books reflect the stresses and strains and the histories of unions.

To say that there is no opposition within the trade union movement is to show the very ignorance which we are afraid an outside body will show. The implementation must come from outside. The Government are determined that an outside person—the registrar—shall decide whether the rules are satisfactory. Each and every member of a union can decide that the rules should say so-and-so but the registrar, with no experience of the conditions in the industry, can say nay to the union.

Mr. Proudfoot

What the hon. Gentleman has explained is exactly what would happen in an employers' association. The tensions would be there. He says that an outside person—the registrar—would decide. There is company law. There is the monopolies legislation. All this applies to business. He is describing a situation which exists in private enterprise.

Mr. Golding

Of course it exists. I no more want employers' associations to be regulated from outside than I want trade unions to be so regulated. The point is that registration is the central fact. We in the trade union movement bitterly resent the control of our unions being taken away from the rank and file and handed over to people outside who probably have no knowledge of the conditions prevailing within a union or within an industry. That is why we shall oppose registration on every occasion we can do so.

Mr. Gower

The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) accused us of ignorance. He justified his case solely on that claim. He used the phrase, "We have evolved procedures suitable for ourselves ". That apparently was his complete answer to all problems. He did not consider whether those procedures had resulted in an entirely satisfactory state of affairs in industry in relation to the needs of the country. He merely made that bald assertion. To us, that is much more reprehensible than any degree of ignorance of which he accused us.

The Government are not opposing the trade union movement. As my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) said, they are merely doing what has been done in so many sectors in our community over the years. The hon. Gentleman suggests that we will penalise unions which do not register. He said that the Government's attitude to new Clause 1 is consistent with their attitude to the whole Bill. It would have been remarkable if it had not been. That surely is a virtue.

I want to take up a point made by my hon. Friend about what happens if a firm which is supposed to register under the Business Names Act does not do so. It means that, in certain conditions, it will be unable to enforce a judgment in a court of law or may not be able to recover some judgment debt. Similarly, if a limited company refrains or refuses or neglects to register under the companies legislation, it will not only be in danger of losing its limited liability but many other harsh consequences will ensue.

There are differences of opinion on this side of the House but the majority of us have made it clear that we regard the closed shop as generally undesirable. But in this limited sector the Government have made a notable exception. It is a narrow exception and it is perfectly reasonable that the unions which qualify under it should have to fulfil the registration requirements of the Bill.

There is no compulsion to register. It is open to a union not to register. It would be remarkable if a union which refrained from registration then enjoyed this important and decisive exempiton from one of the main provisions of the Bill. It would be unreasonable to make these important exemptions open to unregistered bodies. This is just as reasonable as the registration provisions in other mercantile matters with which we have dealt in the past, and the provision should be incorporated to protect those bodies which are to enjoy the important exemptions introduced by new Clause 1.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Ronald King Murray (Edinburgh, Leith)

One hon. Member opposite said that there was no gratitude in politics and suggested that there was no welcome for the Clause in any sense on the Opposition Benches. That is not correct. The Opposition welcome the extension of the closed shop principle, even in this limited mode. We object to the limitation of the mode of the extension. The objection is well founded, and it is pointed by reference to this series of Amendments which would extend the benefits of the new Clause to independent organisations of workers.

Throughout the Bill's distinctions between trade unions and other organisations of workers there runs a theologically unnecessary rigidity. The Bill is concerned in many places with structure. For example, registration is essentially a matter of structure, of the anatomy rather than the physiology of the trade unions and industrial relations. One can understand the necessity for registration from that point of view when one is concerned with rules and structure.

But nobody, least of all the Government Front Bench, would doubt that the purpose of the Bill is not mere structural changes for ideological or theological reasons, but essentially functional. The Bill must stand or fall, be tested and fail or succeed, according to its effect on industrial relations. That is the reason for it and I credit the Government with sincerity in having this purpose for it. They are making this academic or metaphysical distinction between the trade unions and independent organisations. The arguments which led to the concession on the limited closed shop, a valuable concession which, however, does not go far enough, were concerned with function. Compelling arguments were advanced by my hon. Friends and some hon. Members opposite that the closed shop operated effectively and helpfully for industry. My hon. Friends pressed for the closed shop in those instances where it was seen to be functioning effectively and seen to be necessary for safety or efficiency. It was the functional argument which led to the concession.

It must, therefore, be tested on a functional basis and one turns to the new Schedule which gives four gates and a fifth condition which applicant bodies have to pass through to get the advantage of the closed shop. One sees that this is functional and not structural, a test of physiology rather than of anatomy.

The same is true of the agency shop principle. Clause 11 and the subsequent Clauses which deal with the agency shop, as will be clear from the most casual perusal, are concerned with function and not with structure. Registration is clearly a matter of structure, and Clause 61 and the subsequent Clauses which deal with registration put the emphasis on structure. In passing, I cannot help but refer to Clause 63 where a metaphysical distinction is drawn. That Clause refers to the independent organisation of workers, and in a sense it is the starting point. The prime condition of registration for any union is that it should be an independent organisation of workers.

Even from the structure point of view the first condition of registration is to be an independent organisation of workers. If this Bill becomes law without further amendment in this connection it appears that a federal organisation such as the Trades Union Congress will not, in any sense, be a trade union because all its affiliated bodies will not register. The position seems to be that only a minority is likely to be registered after the Bill has passed into law.

To show how paradoxical this state of of affairs will be we have only to realise that it could no longer be called the Trades Union Congress. It would have to change its name because a substantial part of its membership would be independent organisations of workers. It would have to call itself the Congress of Independent Organisations of Workers or some other such American-style title.

This would be irrelevant because it would not be going for the important point, which is function. It does not mater what we call the T.U.C. provided that it operates in its function. What does it matter what we call a trade union provided it functions effectively in its sphere of operations? Are not the Government labouring this matter unduly? Are they not trying to draw a metaphysical distinction based upon structure which gives far too much emphasis to structure and ignores—and the Government do this at their peril— the more essential aspect of the trade unions and the independent organisations of workers; that is to say the function—what they do in industry and whether they do it well?

The Solicitor-General took some pride in pointing out that the result of new Clause 12 will be to give a trade union the right, at its request, to have its registration cancelled. This means that trade unions can be expected, if the Bill becomes law, to request cancellation of their registration. Suppose we have a union which has obtained a closed shop in terms of new Clause 1, and suppose that this is a successful closed shop, everyone is pleased with it, and it is approved in terms of the Bill. It is important to underline that there are many hurdles to be overcome here. It is by no means an open door. There are seven or eight hurdles to jump.

Let us suppose that this trade union has overcome these and has the closed shop and everyone thinks that it is doing a good job. No one can doubt that trade unions, like other organisations, can make decisions which seem strange from the point of view of their functions and which are not obvious to the outsider. Suppose that this trade union decided for reasons quite unconnected with function, for structural reasons—some sort of personal reasons—that it wanted to cancel its registration. What will happen then? Will the Government stand on that structure and have the closed shop discarded and destroy the industry because the union is no longer registered? The Government must follow through the logic of this new Clause and the Schedule. If it leads to chaos there is something wrong with the logic.

I ask hon. Members to look at the new Schedule and particularly at paragraph 5. We see the four gates and the hurdle to be overcome by applicants to achieve the closed shop status. First, by paragraph 5(1)(a) they have to be organised in a closed shop for the purpose of enabling them to be organised, or to continue to be organised, as mentioned in section 1(1)(c) of this Act ". That takes us back to the fundamental provision of the Bill, Clause 1: …the principle of free association of workers in independent trade unions, and of employers in employers' associations, so organised as to be representative, responsible and effective bodies for regulating relations between employers and workers. That is function, not structure; physiology, not anatomy. By paragraph 5(1)(b) workers have to be organised in a closed shop for the purpose of maintaining reasonable terms and conditions of employment and reasonable prospects of between employers and workers ". That is a vital function of trade unions; it is not structure. Paragraph 5(1)(c)refers to promoting or maintaining stable arrangements for collective bargaining relating to those workers". Both sides of industry want stability. If reasonable and fair arrangements have been made, they should be continued for the benefit of both sides of industry. Again, it is a question of function, not of structure. Paragraph 5(1)(d) refers to preventing collective agreement relating to those workers, which have been or may thereafter be made by the applicants, from being frustrated ". That is a question of getting rid of obstacles. It is function, not structure.

Paragraph 5(2) of the new Schedule provides: The Commission shall also consider whether it appears to them that in the circumstances the purposes specified in the preceding subparagraph could not reasonably be expected to be fulfilled by means of an agency shop agreement. What is being said is that there should not be a closed shop if an agency shop will do. The emphasis is on function and not on structure.

Mr. Gower

These requirements will obtain when the Commission is satisfied that the desired result can be achieved only in this way. In many other instances it will be accepted by the Commission that it can be achieved without invoking these special requirements.

Mr. Murray

I accept that. The points which the hon. Gentleman and I accept as being at the heart of the matter are essentially matters of function. I ask him to follow through the logic of his intervention, which is that if these functional factors are important for trade unions they are equally important for the independent organisation of workers, whether or not they are registered. To insist on registration smacks of dogma and theology which are out of place in a Bill which is meant to be a reforming Bill and to improve functions in industry.

Mr. Waddington

Like other hon. Members, I did not anticipate that we would finish our proceedings tonight with another debate on registration.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) has left the Chamber, because I wanted to take up some of his points. He repeated the threat that the unions would not register. I do not believe that, but we are all entitled to our opinions about what the future holds. The real divide on this issue is between those who believe that the only people who have a legitimate interest in the rules of unions are union members and those who believe that unions are such important bodies that the public interest must be considered.

10.45 p.m.

Having said that, I really do not understand what all the bother is about. Again I regret that the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme has left the Chamber, because he got very excited about the provisions for registration and was suggesting that in some way or another trade unions will be hidebound by the provisions for registration and said they would have taken away from them the right to conduct their affairs in the way they want to conduct them. He did not go on to point to any provisions in the Bill which really would fetter the rights of trade unions. I should like very quickly to go over various provisions in the Bill which deal with registration.

The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker), at the beginning of his speech, to which I listened with the greatest attention, thought that under this Bill the Registrar would be vested with very considerable power. Let us look first of all at Clause 59, which vests powers in the Registrar. When one looks at Clause 59 the very first thing one discovers is that the Registrar is to be as independent as a High Court judge, because he will "hold office during Her Majesty's pleasure ". One really ought not to lose sight of that, because if one is faced with a choice whether one should give more power to the Executive to exercise control over the rules of unions or give power to an individual to supervise those rules, I would have thought that both sides of the House would be in agreement that it is far preferable to vest that sort of power in the hand of an independent official than to vest it in the hands of the Executive.

Then when one looks at Clause 61, which sets out the guiding principles, I would have thought the arguments advanced by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme would have carried a lot more weight if he had been able to point to any of those guiding principles and to say that to call them guiding principles was an abuse of language, they were not guiding principles at all but an attempt to fetter the rights of unions in their legitimate aspirations. But, of course, he could not say that and did not say that.

One moves on to the Third Schedule. No one has told me, in any analysis of that Schedule, which provisions in it take away from the unions their legitimate aspirations. I hope that at some time before the Bill has completed all its stages in the House somebody will explain to me where there are provisions which take away from trade unions important parts of their rights and which fetter them in the way hon. Members opposite are continually suggesting unions will be fettered, or will point to any provision in the Bill which in fact has that effect.

Mr. Harold Walker

I intervene at this stage not to take issue with the hon. Gentleman's case but only to ask him if he has completed his catalogue of duties of the Chief Registrar and his rÔle, because he ought not to do so without looking at the provisions of Clause 64(4)(b), which give the Registrar this power, that he has to be satisfied that any other requirements "— not specified— imposed by the registrar as a condition of registration, have been complied with ".

Mr. Waddington

I have been trying to make a short speech, and perhaps I shortened the argument more than I should have done, but what I was pointing out was, first of all, that the Registrar is an independent person and not a creature of the Executive, and, secondly that the Registrar, in exercising his obligations under the Bill, has to have regard to the guiding principles. I would have thought that if one looked at these two things together it would be quite impossible to sustain the argument that he will take away from the unions any of their legitimate rights and aspirations.

I said earlier that the great divide between the two sides of the House is that we believe that people other than those in the unions' membership do have an interest in the way in which the unions conduct their affairs; but, perhaps, again, I was over-simplifying the divide, because there is another great difference of opinion between hon. Members opposite and ourselves in that we really do believe that many of the rules of many of the unions do not satisfactorily safeguard the rights of individual members of those trade unions.

I am not going to weary the House by going through a whole catalogue of union rules which, to our way of thinking, do not adequately safeguard the rights of individuals. But I would refer to a case which was brought to my attention this weekend and which illustrates how fallacious was the argument of the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Sheldon) that unions are responsible to their membership and the rules are evolved by the decision of that membership.

An angry man came to see me last Saturday morning. He was a member of D.A.T.A., and he had seen a notice in his works telling him that he had to go on strike this coming Thursday. He asked how this had come about, because under the D.A.T.A. rules there could not be a national strike without a ballot resulting in a two-thirds majority in favour of strike action. I said I did not know the answer. He said that he did not either, but he had taken the matter up with the former D.A.T.A. secretary, who had told him that as a result of D.A.T.A. becoming part of the A.E.U.W. on 1st January this year what were the original A.E.F. rules took precedence over the D.A.T.A. rules and the A.E.F. did not give that protection to its membership.

Mr. Golding

Were the articles of amalgamation circulated to the members of D.A.T.A. and discussed in the D.A.T.A. branches? Did the hon. Gentleman's constituent attend his branch meeting to discuss the rules and use his democratic right to vote on the amalgamation?

Mr. Hamish Gray (Ross and Cromarty)

That is the trouble.

Mr. Golding

Those who say "That is the trouble" are the very people who are claiming a mandate for the Bill on a vote which was less than 50 per cent.

Mr. Waddington

We have to look at the reality of the situation. The former D.A.T.A. secretary assured my constituent that in October a circular had been sent to the various factories telling them that the rules might be altered as a result of the amalgamation. Beyond that, no guidance could be given to my constituent on how the draughtsmen had lost the right they had up to 1st January this year.

Mr. James A. Dunn (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

I assure the hon. Gentleman that the amalgamation terms stated specifically that the rules of the A.E.F. would precede any rule hitherto accepted by D.A.T.A. I have had a similar complaint, and I have sympathy with the hon. Gentleman. When I explained this to my constituent, he realised that he had allowed this to happen by default. This is a responsibility shared by us all. Many times we allow things to happen by default.

Mr. Waddington

I am grateful for the intervention. The hon. Gentleman corroborates what I have said. My constituent carried out a straw ballot in his part of the works and found that everyone else was in the same state of bewilderment. None of the other draughtsment could understand how they had lost their right to a ballot before a national strike could be called. The hon. Gentleman is right. Members of trade unions should exercise their rights and go to their branch meetings. We all must help to get them to exercise their rights. But things do not happen like that in the real world outside. The example I have given demonstrates the fallacy of imagining that trade union rules are evolved by the rank and file. It simply does not work out that way.

Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)

The rules of the A.E.F. also lay down that there must be a ballot before a national strike is called. But there is an addendum which says: unless the Executive Committee consider there is insufficient time. Surely there was sufficient time in this case.

Mr. Waddington

I take the point. Unfortunately, there is that addendum which allows the Executive to get round the rule and call a national strike without a ballot, whereas the rules of D.A.T.A. did not allow the D.A.T.A. Executive to call a strike without a ballot.

I emphasise again how aggrieved this gentleman felt and how right he was to be aggrieved. He said to me, "Why should I, having voted for an Industrial Relations Bill in June last year, now be compelled to go on strike against the Bill? What sort of democracy is that? "I could not answer that question, and I do not believe that any hon. Member opposite can.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

I had not intended to intervene until I heard the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington). He surprised me, because this mythical gentlemen he quoted did not know last June what the Industrial Relations Bill was going to be. None of us did. The Bill we have now is not the one promised. This mythical gentleman who is alleged to have said that he knew what the Bill was to be must have known better than any hon. Member of this House.

Mr. Harold Walker

Last June 13 million electors are presumed by the Conservative Party to have voted for the Bill. But on the Government's own standard in the Bill, 26 million people can be presumed to have voted against it.

Mr. Lewis

When elections are held, ideas and principles are put into manifestoes but, from my intimate knowledge after 26 years in this House, I have learnt what happens, irrespective of party. The Government returned to power conveniently find reasons and excuses why they cannot fully implement exactly what they had promised or find that what they had promised is not what they can bring into being. We have it again with the present Government. The Prime Minister promised to cut prices at a stroke but has not done so; nor has he attempted to do so. Every day he finds various excuses and reasons for not doing it. This mythical gentleman who claims—

Mr. Waddington

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not wish to misinterpret or misconstrue what I said or suggest that this man does not exist. I would not have used this example if the man had not been to see me, had not been a member of D.A.T.A. and had not told me what he did.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Lewis

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. I should not have said "mythical gentleman"; "unnamed gentleman" would have been the better term. But the unnamed gentleman claimed that he did not know what was happening, had not taken the trouble to find out and was surprised after the event. It reminds me of a true story about a Member of Parliament. The Member was elected to the House, and he had not been here very long when he received a letter from a constituent, a dear old lady, who said, "I have just received my dividend warrant from a company in which I have shares, and inside it was a note asking me to write to my Member of Parliament asking him to vote against something connected with some Bill. I don't know what it was about or what Bill it was, but will you please vote against it."

This is the same sort of thing. We have this all the time. Companies take over other companies. They send out the notices, and the directors—who invariably do very well in take-over—recommend to the shareholders of an existing company that it is very good for the shareholders that they should vote for it and, indeed, that they should vote for it because the directors will be going on to the new company—at probably double fees and double directorship incomes, but that is not disclosed to the shareholders. They tell the shareholders the need for it. Invariably the shareholders do not trouble to vote, even though they are given a reply-paid printed post-card, all made out, so that all they have to do is to put a cross against whether they are for or against the motion. Nine out of 10 ordinary shareholders do not trouble to return those documents. Surely the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne would not then say that when eventually the take-over is completed those persons concerned who never troubled to vote have a reason to complain of what has happened.

Mr. Nicholas Scott (Paddington, South)

The hon. Gentleman has mentioned nine out of 10 shareholders. Can he confirm to us that in the much publicised election in the Engineering Union 8 per cent. of members bothered to vote in the ballot? The only thing one can say about that is that it is a higher percentage than that of hon. Gentlemen opposite bothering to attend the debate.

Mr. Lewis

If we are to argue about ballots and democracy, I can answer the hon. Gentleman by asking how many voted for the House of Lords. Who would have a chance of voting on that issue? Can the hon. Gentleman say what percentage of the Members of the House of Lords were democratically elected? We do not have to go to the House of Lords. How long has it been since the Leader of the Tory Party was elected? It was not until we on this side clamoured—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I was here, and I know of the mysterious channels used when voting until recently. Who knows, we might not have had the present Prime Minister were it not for this side of the House demanding that the Tory Party should have democracy. We know that there is a lack of democratic procedures in many organisations.

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

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that it is possible for an outside body democratically to change somebody else's rules? That is his argument.

Mr. Lewis

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne was pointing out that in an organisation there appears to be some anti-democratic procedure. I was pointing out that there was nothing anti-democratic at all, that it was completely, 100 per cent. democratic procedure, because every individual member of the organisation had the opportunity to vote. The fact that a member did not vote surely could not be held against the executive of the union, which could not drag him to vote.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) rightly said, the Government were not elected with an overwhelming majority. Even if we tally the two votes together, there were hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of persons who never troubled to vote at all; they abstained. Are we, therefore, to say that because they did not vote, they should say, when the Chancellor introduces his budget and taxes rise, "We will not agree to accept that because we never voted for it or for the Government "? My right hon. and hon. Friends and I might say that we did not vote for them. The democratic decision is there. The opportunity is given. In the same way, these trade unionists had the opportunity of voting—

Mr. James Hill (Southampton, Test)

Does it make any difference to the hon. Gentleman's argument if I remind him that not all trade unionists have the right to vote? There is a section of members of the Transport and General Workers Union which has no right to vote—

Mr. Lewis

indicated dissent.

Mr. Hill

If the hon. Gentleman questions this, perhaps we can discuss it later. But I assure him that that is so.

Mr. Lewis

I know the rules of most unions. The Transport and General Workers Union has democratic voting for membership of the union from the branch level to the district level, and from the district level to the executive and the general council. The union has complete freedom of voting on all matters pertaining to the rules by which its members are governed. It has a biennial conference. It has a rules revision conference. Every member has a chance to vote and, moreover, the opportunity to put forward revisions of rules, individually or collectively. I do not know the individuals about whom the hon. Gentleman speaks. To my knowledge, every union affiliated to the T.U.C. affords similar opportunities to its members to vote and revise its rules.

Mr. R. Carr

When I hear the nature and content of the arguments of many hon. Gentlemen opposite, I find it difficult to take seriously the Opposition's claim that they are desperately short of time to debate this Bill in detail and in a serious manner. When one notices how hard they have found it to keep the debate on this Clause running at a serious level, it is difficult to understand why they wanted to spend the whole of one day on the Clause. Clearly, we should have got on a lot better if we had concentrated our thoughts a little more seriously.

I must ask the House to reject this Amendment and those which we are discussing with it. Before I come to my main argument on that, I will answer two questions specifically put to me by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker). He asked me first what was the position of an organisation that was on the provisional register: would being on the provisional register qualify a union for application under the Clause. The answer is "No.". As with the case of the agency shop rights, so with the rights that we propose in the Clause. They are confined to unions which are permanently and fully registered.

The hon. Gentleman then asked what would the position about existing closed shop agreements pending permanent registration. He wanted to know what would be the position, on the day that the Act comes into force, of the several million people who work under such agreements at the moment. The answer is that when the Bill receives the Royal Assent it will be for the Secretary of State to determine at what date various parts of the Act come into effect. It will be possible for the Secretary of State to consider, for example, delaying the implementation of what I may loosely call the closed shop provisions so as to allow time for the achievement of permanent registration.

If I may assume for a moment that I am still in that position when the Bill becomes an Act, I shall give most careful consideration to these questions of timing to take account of matters of this kind. I shall want to give thought to it and to listen to views about it. Those are the answers to the two questions of important detail which the hon. Member for Doncaster put to me in moving his Amendment.

I come now to the basic principle why I must ask the House to reject the Amendments. All along, not only since we published the Consultative Document and the Bill, but while we on this side were still in opposition, we have made it clear that registration was one of the proposals at the very heart of our policy. I have explained this before, but I should like briefly to do so again.

We believe that when organisations such as trade unions claim—and, as we believe, rightly—to exercise much power in our society and in our economy, they can no longer be treated wholly as private organisations. They are claiming to exercise much power in our community, and rightly so. We make no complaint about that. We say, however, that when a voluntary organisation, which remains voluntary, claims to exercise great power in our society and in our economy, it is not unreasonable—in fact, in our view it is essential—that such organisations should be prepared to submit themselves to that minimum degree of supervision by an independent body or authority that will assure the public that the rules of such organisations are in the public interest and are fair to the members of the organisation. That is the basis on which we put forward registration. We believe this to be an absolutely essential point to the whole concept of the Bill.

If we believe that, it follows naturally, inevitably, from that concept that there must be privileges attaching to registered bodies and lack of privileges to bodies which do not register. The more limited right to any agency shop which we are talking about in the new Clause—in exceptional circumstances, to post-entry closed shop—is an important privilege. It confers important powers. It puts important obligations on individual union members and individual employees as well as on their employers, and it affects in an important way the interest of the community at large. That is why we believe that these privileges, these rights, must be confined to registered bodies and should not be given to unregistered bodies.

I do not want to get into medical analogies with the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Murray), but I believe that the sort of things I have been talking about are much more important than structure. It is an absolutely basic concept of freedom under the law, of freedom with responsibility, that when, as individuals or as organisations, we seek to act in a way which vitally affects the rest of the community, we must be subject to some supervision and control. However paradoxical it may seem, some limitation of our freedom is the very condition of freedom itself.

The hon. Member for Doncaster, whose view is, I know, shared by other hon. Members—I suppose, apparently, by all hon. Members—opposite, described the requirement of registration as being inequitable and iniquitous. I find this impossible to accept. I should have thought that the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) were conclusive.

11.15 p.m.

What is involved in registration? First of all, there is involved the fact that a union or organisation of workers should be able to satisfy the Registrar that it meets the guiding principles. I believe that anyone looking with any impartial, objective mind at the guiding principles laid down in Clause 61 could not possibly say that there was any unfairness or iniquity or inequity about saying that an organisation of workers expecting and claiming the right to exercise great powers not only over its members but in the community should be able easily to satisfy those basic principles but that, if it cannot do so, it should not possess those powers.

Secondly, we say about registration that having satisfied those basic principles the union must have rules on certain subjects. Hon. Members opposite, and many trade union leaders outside, keep on talking as though the Registrar was to write the unions' rules for them, but that is not true. All we are saying in Schedule 3 is that the union must satisfy the registrar that it has rules on certain subjects. True, we say that there must be clear rules on certain important subjects, but it is entirely up to the unions what rules they have on those subjects. We are not saying what they shall be, but just that the unions must have them.

Again, it is not unreasonable, and I cannot believe that anyone in the country thinks it unreasonable, to say that a body which believes and claims to exercise the influence over its members and the community that the unions do claim, should have rules about things like the election of the governing body, the election and appointment of officers, the shops stewards and their powers and duties; rules about, how industrial action by the union can be authorised, and at what level it can be or cannot be authorised; rules about the way in which it can discipline its members. Surely it is essential that a union should have rules about these matters and most unions do. I hear an hon. Member say that they all do.

If that is so, what have the unions to fear about registration? If they are to have these powers in the community, and influence over their members—very largely for good—it is essential that they should have these rules on these subjects. What these rules say can vary from union to union according to their particular needs and purposes, but we believe that in the public interest and in the interest of their members they must have rules covering the important subjects laid down in Schedule 3. If they want to have rules on other subjects as well, they are free to do so, but they must at least have rules on these.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

In view of the great interest, can my right hon. Friend clarify this point? Has he had a single representation from any union that there is anything unreasonable in Schedule 3?

Mr. Carr

To the best of my knowledge, the answer is "no."

Mr. Harold Walker

Is it not true that the T.U.C. has set out its objections to registration as the forefront of its opposition to the whole Bill? Is it not equally true that while the rules must cover certain subjects, they must be rules framed m such a way as to satisfy the Registrar, this legally qualified person? Would the right hon. Gentleman also, at the same time, explain the provision in Clause 64 which refers to …any other requirements imposed by the registrar as a condition of registration … that are not specified in Schedule 3 or elsewhere in the Bill?

Mr. Carr

The basic requirements of registration, I know, are opposed by the trade union movement. But I was answering my hon. Friend and saying that I have not had any specific representations about that. Of course, the trade union movement not only opposed the last Government on this same point when they published "In Place of Strife ", but also presumably was opposed to the unanimous recommendation of the Donovan Commission on the same point as well. So at least we are not alone in this. For many years we have made absolutely no secret—nor would I wish to do so—of the fact that we regard this question of registration as being central, providing it does not involve the use of arbitrary power.

On this question of Clause 64(4)(b), which the hon. Member for Doncaster mentioned earlier, this is a case of the hon. Member's right hand not knowing what his left hand is doing. If he looks at page 2416 of the Amendment Paper he will see an Amendment with my name at the top of it, and the names of his right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and of himself, which seeks to leave out the very words of which he is complaining. When I heard this point made in Committee, I noted it and I inquired why those words were in the Bill. They were certainly never intended to have the sinister implications which were put upon them by hon. Members opposite. When nobody managed to satisfy me that they served any necessary purpose, I decided to move to leave them out. That is why that Amendment is on the Paper and I am very glad to see that the hon. Gentleman is supporting me. We all do these things at times. The hon. Gentleman must have forgotten that he had done so. I certainly make no complaint of it.

I do not believe that the Registrar's power is arbitrary, not only in the sense in which I have just dealt with the point; but in later Clauses—I believe in the 90's—the House will see that the Registrar has no real power of his own to enforce his own decisions. When matters are referred to him, or when he initiates inquiry, if he cannot get voluntary agreement he can only operate by going through either the National Industrial Relations Court or the Industrial Tribunals, according to the nature of the case, and putting his case before the Court or the Tribunal where anybody who objects can argue his case against what the Registrar is seeking to do. Equally, any party has the right of appeal against the Registrar to the National Industrial Relations Court or the Industrial Tribunal as the case may be.

Therefore, I do not believe that this talk about arbitrary power can be seriously sustained. It is because we believe that registration of the kind that I have been talking about is central to the purpose of our Bill, is reasonable, is non-arbitrary, and is something the requirements of which any union in our society can and should easily meet without any trouble at all, that we believe that in order to protect members of unions and to protect the public interest, the particular rights and privileges, including the one which we are talking about in this proposed new Clause, should be confined to registered unions and should not be given to unregistered organisations.

Mr. Dunn (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

Would the right hon. Gentleman answer the question which was put to him about the independent organisations of workers, if they were to combine in registration procedures—namely, three or four organisations or a federation or a confederation? What would be the situation then? It is not covered in this Bill.

Mr. Carr

The privileges that I am talking about are dependent on full registration. If a union or organisation either elects not to register or to deregister, I am afraid—and I must make no secret of this—that it must do so, realising the advantages which it is giving up for its members, both individually and corporately. I believe that that is a matter which organisations of workers—unions—will when the Bill is law think seriously about and decide upon responsibly.

Mr. Dunn

That does not deal with the question I asked. Perhaps I did not express myself as well as I might have done. If several independent trade unions register as a combination—say, as a federation—what situation would they be placed in? This is not covered in the Bill. Could they register an agency or closed shop agreement on a confederated or federated basis?

Mr. Carr

I will be honest with the hon. Gentleman, now that I have understood his question, and say that I should like to consider that. It does not arise on this Amendment, which is about registered versus unregistered organisations. It is a question whether a federation of which all the members are registered can go forward. I would expect that to be the case, but I will confirm that for the hon. Gentleman. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will excuse me from answering now, because it does not arise directly on the Amendment.

I ask the House to reject the Amendments, for the reasons I have given.

Mr. Robert Edwards (Bilston)

The Secretary of State always speaks with a great deal of sweet reasonable, but has he remembered that this Thursday 9 million trade unionists, through their representatives, will be meeting at Croydon and the General Council of the T.U.C. will recommend to the unions that they do not register? The House must ask itself why such a reasonable body of men should make such a recommendation.

It has been said that the rules of debate in the House based on Erskine May were built up over the years arising from trial and error and have become the accepted laws of the House. This is how the laws of trade unions have been built up. For example, my union, which is a medium-sized union of which I am proud to be General Secretary, was founded in 1912 by a modest group of drug workers. Every year since then the rules of the union have been amended arising from experience and trial and error, until the rule book has become the basic constitution of the union. The is true of every trade union.

The same rules cannot be laid down for all trade unions, but this is what registration is leading to. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] This is what the trade union movement suspects. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] As to the closed shop, in a factory a system of job evaluation is established after negotiation. To make job evaluation work everybody in the factory must be in a union, because jobs are allocated based on the work they do. Superannuation benefit is negotiated in an agreement. Everybody must be in the scheme, otherwise it will not work. This is part of the union agreement. A closed shop is needed for that. Registration will abolish the closed shop. Half the members of my union are operating within closed shops. To protect themselves against this legislation, medium-sized unions like mine will amalgamate with bigger unions.

11.30 p.m.

It has been suggested that these rules must be registered because the trade union movement does not have a proper relationship with society. Indeed, I am amazed that this should have been said so frequently by hon. Gentlemen opposite in this debate. But the members of this trade union movement are the people who dig the coal, make the iron and steel, sail our ships, run our hotels and railways and who, if they decided not to act responsibly, could, acting in unity, bring down the Government tomorrow and make industry grind to a halt. This is why my hon. Friends point out that we have the most responsible trade union movement in the world. But the Government are forcing the movement into taking actions which would not have been contemplated a few years ago. For this very reason they will refuse to register.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) spoke of somebody who had come to see him. He was probably a member of the Tory Party—[Interruption]—and he claimed not to have known about an amalgamation of his union. Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the steps which a union must take before an amalgamation can take place? It must produce three documents. They must clearly state what the amalgamation involves, the rules of the union concerned and the details of the organisation with which it is proposed to amalgamate. If the union normally has a postal ballot, those documents must be forwarded to the members in that way. If it is normal for the shop stewards to hand the documents round, then that procedure must be adopted. We cannot accept the sort of propaganda the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne and his hon. Friends put out on this issue.

I urge hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly the Secretary of State, to accept that 9 million organised trade unionists cannot all be wrong, and they are virtually united in opposing these provisions. They detest this legislation because they know that it is designed to undermine the power of the British people and prevent their real incomes keeping pace with rising prices, and giving them a fair share of the national income.

I said that I would speak for about five minutes. I hope I have said enough to make the right hon. Gentleman aware of the strength of feeling that exists among trade unionists over this matter.

Mr. Heffer

I regret that my hon. Friend the Member for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards) kept to his promise to speak for only five minutes because I thoroughly enjoyed his excellent contribution to the debate. Being the general secretary of a trade union, he brings a fund of experience to our discussion.

In referring to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington), the Minister asked us to explain why the trade union movement was opposed to registration under this legislation. My hon. Friends and I have explained why time and again, but no harm is done explaining yet again.

The guiding principles are contained in Clause 61. These will not be accepted because, basically, they mean accepting a State licence to operate as a trade union. This applies not only to trade unions but to organisations of workers. To what do the trade unions object? Let me give one or two examples.

Clause 61(3) reads: Every member of the organisation shall have the right, on giving reasonable notice and complying with any reasonable conditions, to terminate his membership of the organisation at any time. That seems a perfectly reasonable proposition until we realise that he could terminate his membership either before or in the middle of a dispute. At that moment he could decide to leave the trade union organisation and to operate against his fellow trade unionists. What would happen if he did that?

Clause 61(7) reads: No member of the organisation shall be subjected by or on behalf of the organisation to any unfair or unreasonable disciplinary action. He can leave in the middle of a strike and act as a strike breaker. If he then wishes to rejoin the organisation and the trade union does not accept him, it is acting against the provisions of Clause 61(7).

If the strike or irregular action were an unfair industrial practice, the trade union, under Clause 62, could be caught in this way: It shall be an unfair industrial practice for any organisation of workers, or any official of or person acting on behalf of such an organisation. to take or threaten to take any action against any member of the organisation or other person in contravention of the principles set out in section 61 of this Act. I have been asked—to what are the trade unions objecting? They are objecting to the fact that they have to accept these guilding rules which are a direct interference in the internal affairs of trade unions and which will determine which membership they shall have under certain special conditions. That is why, I say to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) and his right hon. Friend, the trade unions object to registration under the Act.

Mr. Tom King

In the subsection which he quoted the hon. Member deliberately omitted the words "with any reasonable conditions ". Why did he deliberately ignore those words—or does he think that the example which he quoted would not be a reasonable condition?

Mr. Heffer

I left nothing out. I read the whole of Clause 61(3). But what are "reasonable conditions" and who is to determine them? We have had debates about what are reasonable conditions.

In most trade unions in this country—in all trade unions of which I have knowledge—there is a system of the continual revision of rules. The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) said that in the rules of the A.E.U. there was provision for the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. That may well be so, but how long has it been in the rules? It has been in the rules, perhaps, since 1910, but almost every year, with various amalgamations and in any case through regular rules revision conferences, the rules are changed. The revisions are put up through the branches to the revision conference. The membership have the revisions returned for them to vote, stating whether they accept the revisions. Certainly they have that opportunity in my union. This is a continuing process. Such a revision occurs every year, every two years, every three years, or every five years, according to the union concerned. The membership determines the rules of a union, and the membership will not be prepared to be told who must be members of a union.

Mr. R. Carr

Is the hon. Member seriously saying that the trade union movement is telling the country that a man shall not be allowed to resign from a union on reasonable conditions for a reasonable purpose? Is that what he is saying? Is that a reasonable attitude, or a reasonable society?

Mr. Heffer

Do not let the right hon. Gentleman ever accuse me of irresponsibility, because one of the most irresponsible men in the country is the right hon. Gentleman [HON MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] He is allowing the country to move into a position in which industrial relations will be deliberately broken down, and that is totally irresponsible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I am answering in my own way; I do not need hon. Members opposite to make my speech for me.

Of course a trade unionist has the right reasonably to decide that he will leave a trade union, but I gave the example of how it would be an interference with the trade union if a man were able to leave in the middle of a strike and, if the union decided to take certain action in relation to readmitting him, again which was regarded as an unfair industrial practice, it would be in trouble. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman holding his headin his hands. He clearly does not undestand what he is doing. He does not understand the real situation with the trade unions.

We do not accept the principles of the new Clause, but if there has to be this

new Clause, an unregistered trade union should have the equal rights with a registered trade union to participation in its so-called benefits. Earlier, my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) accused the Government of using the Clause to put pressure on the unions to register. The right hon. Gentleman said that that was not true and that that was not the objective. If so, he can accept the Amendment in its entirety, but I have a feeling that he will not accept it. Several of his hon. Friends have constantly said that it would be unreasonable for the unregistered trade union to have the rights of a registered trade union.

11.45 p.m.

Clause 63(1)(a) says that we should have "independent organisations of workers ". For me the key word is "independent". "Independence" means three basic things to me. First it means freedom from the State, secondly it means freedom for trade unions to draw up their own rules without the so-called guiding principles embodied in Clause 61. Thirdly it means the right of the trade union movement to exist without outside interference from government agencies or quasi-government agencies. On that basis I hope that my hon. Friends will have mustered in sufficient numbers to carry this Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 243, Noes 289.

Division No. 238.] AYES [11.46 p.m.
Abse, Lee Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Driberg, Tom
Atbu, Austen Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Duffy, A. E. P.
Allaun, Frank (Salton, E.) Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Dunn, James A.
Allen, Scholefield Clark, David (Colne Valley) Dunnett, Jack
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Eadie, Alex
Armstrong, Ernest Cohen, Stanley Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Ashley, Jack Coneannon, J. D. Edwards, William (Merioneth)
Atkinson, Norman Conlan, Bernard Ellis, Tom
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Corbet, Mrs. Freda English, Michael
Barnett, Joel Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Evans, Fred
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fisher,Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)
Bidwell, Sydney Grossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Bishop, E. S. Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Effenkineop, Arthur Dalyeli, Tam Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Davidson, Arthur Foot, Michael
Booth, Albert Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Forrester, John
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Davies, G. Effed (Rhondda, E.) Fraser, John (Norwood)
Bradley, Tom Davies, for (Gower) Galpern, Sir Myer
Brown, Bob (N'e'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Garrett, W. E.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Deakins, Eric Gilbert, Dr. John
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Ginsburg, David
Buchan, Norman Delargy, H. J. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Dell,Rt. Hn. Edmund Gourley, Harry
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Dempsey James Grant, George (Morpeth)
Campbell, I (Dunbartonshire, W.) Doig, Peter Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Cant, R. B. Dormand, J. D. Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Carmichael, Neil Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) McGuire, Michael Roper, John
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mackenzie, Gregor Rose, Paul B.
Hamling, William Mackie, John Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Maclennan, Robert Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Harper, Joseph McNamara, J. Kevin Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) MacPherson, Malcolm Short, Mrs. Renèe (W'hampton,N.E.)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Hattersley, Roy Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Sillars, James
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Marquand, David Silverman, Julius
Heffer, Eric S. Marsh, Ht. Hn. Richard Skinner, Dennis
Horam, John Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Small, William
Houghton,Rt. Hn. Douglas Meacher, Michael Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Spearing, Nigel
Huckfield, Leslie Mendelson, John Spriggs, Leslie
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Millan, Bruce Stallard, A. W.
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Miller, Dr. M. S. Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Molloy, William Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Hunter, Adam Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Strang, Gavin
Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hon Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Janner, Greville Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Swain, Thomas
Jeger,Mrs.Lerta(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.) Moyle, Roland Taverne, Dick
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Thomas, Rtn Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Jenkins,Rt. Hn. Roy (Strecford) Murray, R. K. Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
John, Brynsnor Ogden, Eric Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) O'Halloran, Michael Tinn, James
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) O'Malley, Brian Tomney, Frank
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Oram, Bert Torney, Tom
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Orbach, Maurice Tuck, Raphael
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Orme, Stanley Urwin, T. W.
Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W Ham,S.) Oswald, Thomas Varley, Eric G.
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Wainwright, Edwin
Judd, Frank Palmer, Arthur Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, Ali Saints)
Kaufman, Gerald Parker, John (Dagenham) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Kerr, Russell Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Wallace, George
Kinnock, Neil Pavitt, Laurie Watkins, David
Lambie, David Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Weitzman, David
Latham, Arthur Pendry, Tom Wellbeloved, James
Lawson, George Pentland, Norman Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Leadbitter, Ted Perry, Ernest G. White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Leonard, Dick Prescott, John Whitehead, Phillip
Lester, Miss Joan Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Whitlock, William
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Price, William (Rugby) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Probert, Arthur Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rankin, John Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Lipton, Marcus Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Lomas, Kenneth Rees, Marlyn (Leeds, S.) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Loughlin, Charles Rhodes, Geoffrey Wilson, Rt. H. Harold (Huyton)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Richard, Ivor Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Robert Albert (Normanton) Woof, Robert
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)
McBride, Neil Robertson, John (Paisley) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McCartney, Hugh Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Mr. Donald Coleman and
McElhone, Frank Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Mr. John Golding.
Adley, Robert Brewis, John Critchley, Julian
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Brinton), Sir Tatton Crouch, David
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Crowder, F. P.
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Curran, Charles
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Bryan, Paul Dalkeith, Earl of
Astor, John Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)
Atkins, Humphrey Buck, Antony d'Avigdor-Galdsmid, Sir Henry
Awdry, Daniel Bullus, Sir Eric d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, JamesMaj.-Gen.
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Burden, F. A. Dean, Paul
Balniel, Lord Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Digby, Simon Wingfield
Batsford, Brian Campbell,RtHn.G.(Moray& Nairn) Dodds-Parker, Douglas
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Carlisle, Mark Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec
Bell, Ronald Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Channon, Paul Eden, Sir John
Benyon, W. Chapman, Sydney Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Chataway, Rt. Ho. Christopher Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Biffen John Chichester-Clark, R. Elliott, R. W. (N'e'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)
Biggs-Davison, John Churchill, W. S. Emery, Peter
Blacker, Peter Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Eyre, Reginald
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Farr, John
Body, Richard Cockeram, Eric Fell, Anthony
Boscawen, Robert Cooke, Robert Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Boseom, Sir Clive Coombs, Derek Fidler, Michael
Bowden, Andrew Cooper, A. E. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Maine, Bernard Cormack, Patrick Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bray, Ronald Costain, A. P. Fookes, Miss Janet
Fortescue, Tim Le Merchant, Spencer Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Foster, Sir John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Fowler, Norman Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Ridsdale, Julian
Fox, Marcus Longden, Gilbert Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) Loveridge, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway
Fry, Peter McAdden, Sir Stephen Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. MacArthur, Ian Rossi, Hugh (Hornsby)
Gardner, Edward Mccrindie, R. A. Rost, Peter
Gibson-Watt, David mcLaren, Martin Russell, Sir Ronald
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) McMaster, Stanley Scott, Nicholas
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Scott-Hopkins, James
Goodhart, Philip McNair-Wilson, Michael Sharples, Richard
Goodhew, Victor McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Gorst, John Maddan, Martin Shelton, William (Clapham)
Gower, Raymond Madel, David Simeons, Charles
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maginnis, John E. Sinclair, Sir George
Gray, Hamish Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Skeet, T. H. H.
Green, Alan Marten, Neil Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Grieve, Percy Maude, Angus Soref, Harold
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Moudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Speed, Keith
Grylls, Michael Mawby, Ray Spence, John
Gummer, Selwyn Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sproat, Iain
Gurden, Harold Meyer, Sir Anthony Stainton, Keith
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mills, Peter (Torrington) Stanbrook, Ivor
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Miscampbell, Norman Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mitchell,Lt.Col.G.(Aberdeenshire,W) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Hannam, John (Exeter) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stokes, John
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Monte, Roger Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Molyneaux, James Sutcliffe, John
Haselhurst, Alan Money, Ernie Tapsell, Peter
Hastings, Stephen Monks, Mrs. Connie Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hay, John Monro, Hector Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Hayhoe, Barney Montgomery, Fergus Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Heseltine, Michael More, Jasper Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Hicks, Robert Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Tebbit, Norman
Higgins, Terence L. Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Temple, John M.
Hiley, Joseph Mudd, David Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Murton, Oscar Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Holland, Philip Neave, Alrey Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hooson, Emlyn Nicholls, Sir Harmar Tilney, John
Hordern, Peter Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Hornby, Richard Normanton, Tom Trew, Peter
Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Darne Patricia Nott, John Tugendhat, Christopher
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Onslow, Cranley Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Howell, David (Guildford) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally van Straubenzee, W. R.
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Hunt, John Osborn, John Vickers, Dame Joan
Hutchison, Michael Clark Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Waddington, David
lremonger, T. L. Page, John (Harrow, W.) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
James, David Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Wall, Patrick
Jerkin, Patrick (Woodford) Peel, John Walters, Dennis
Jessel, Toby Percival, Ian Ward, Dame Irene
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Warren, Kenneth
Jopling, Michael Pink, R. Bonner Wells, John (Maidstone)
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pounder, Rafton White, Roger (Gravesend)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Price, David (Eastleigh) Wiggin, Jerry
Kershaw, Anthony Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Wilkinson, John
Kilfedder, James Proudfoot, Wilfred Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Quennell, Miss J. M. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Raison, Timothy Woodnutt, Mark
Kinsey, J. R. Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Worsley, Marcus
Kitson, Timothy Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Younger Hn. George
Knox, David Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Lane, David Rees, Peter (Dover) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Legge-Bourlee, Sir Harry Rees-Davies, W. R. Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Mr. Paul Hawkins.
Mr. Orme

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 22, after ' charity ' insert: 'or other fund approved by the trade union or independent organisation of workers '. This is a difficult time, just before the guillotine falls, to move an Amendment, but we feel that this new Clause pro- viding that a worker may contribute to charity instead of to a union, this "conscience Clause ", involves a great deal of difficulty for trade unions. By this Amendment we seek to provide that the worker should pay to a charity or other fund approved by the trade union or independent organisation of workers". What happens at present in industry is that agreements are made, where conscience clauses arise, so that workers may contribute to funds or organisations -[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may think this is very funny, but we do not. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always on about conscience and the rights of workers. This is what we are, by this Amendment, trying to deal with. Conscience has always been accepted by the trade union movement-[HoN. MEMEBERS: "Oh."] Absolutely. Arrangements can be made by trade unions—I say this to the Minister—so that, when people have conscientious objection contributions can be made to funds agreed by the union. When charities are brought into this issue, one has

to ask who collects the money, who decides on the charity and how it will be arranged. All this will fall on the shop steward, and we believe —

It being Twelve o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) and the Orders [25th January and this day], to put forthwith the Question necessary to complete the proceedings on new Clause (Special provisions for approval of closed shop agreement).

Question put, That the Clause be added to the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 242.

Division No. 238.] AYES [11.46 p.m.
Adley, Robert Crouch, David Hannam, John (Exeter)
Alison, Michael (Bankston Ash) Crowder, F. P. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Curran, Charles Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julion Dalkeith, Earl of Haselhurst, Alan
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Hastings, Stephen
Astor, John d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hay, John
Atkins, Humphrey d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, JamesMaj.-Gen. Hayhoe, Barney
Awdry, Daniel Dean, Paul Heseltine, Michael
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Digby, Simon Wingfield Hicks, Robert
Balniel, Lord Dodds-Parker, Douglas Higgins, Terence L.
Botsford, Brian Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Haley, Joseph
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Bell, Ronald Eden, Sir John Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Holland, Philip
Benyon, W. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hooson, Emilyn
Berry, Hn, Anthony Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Hordern, Peter
Bitten, John Emery, Peter Hornby, Richard
Biggs-Davison, John Eyre, Reginald Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia
Blaker, Peter Farr, John Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Fell Anthony Howell, David (Guildford)
Body,Richard Fenner. Mrs. Peggy Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Boscawen, Robert Fidler, Michael Hunt, John
Bossom, Sir Clive Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bowden, Andrew Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) lremonger, T. L.
Braine, Bernard Fletcher-Cooke, Charles James, David
Bray, Ronald Fookes, Miss Janet Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Brawis, John Fortescue, Tim Jessel, Toby
Brinton, Sir Talton Foster, Sir John Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fowler, Norman Jopling, Michael
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fox, Marcus Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Bryan, Paul. Fraser,Rt. Hn.Hugh(St'word & Stone) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Buchanan-Smith, Atick(Angus,N&M) Fry, Peter Kellett, Mrs, Elaine
Buck, Antony, Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Kershaw, Anthony
Bullus, Sir Eric Gardner, Edward Kilfedder, James
Burden, F. A. Gibson-Watt, David Kimball, Marcus
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Gilmour,Sir John (Fife, E.) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Carlisle, Mark Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Kinsey, J. R.
Carr, Rt..Hn. Robert Goodhart, Philip Kitson, Timothy
Channon, Paul Goodhew, Victor Knox, David
Chapman, Sydney Gorst, John Lane, David
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Gower, Raymond Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Chichester-Clark, R. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Le Merchant, Spencer
Churchill, W. S. Gray, Hamish Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Green, Alan Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Grieve, Percy Longden, Gilbert
Cockeram, Eric Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Loveridge, John
Cooke, Robert Grylls, Michael McAdden, Sir Stephen
Coombs, Derek Gummer, Selwyn MacArthur, Ian
Cooper, A. E. Gurden, Harold McCrindle, R. A.
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Half, Miss Joan (Keighley) McLaren, Martin
Cormack, Patrick Hall, John (Wycombe) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Costain, A. P. Hall-Davis, A. G. P. McMaster, Stanley
Critchley, Julian Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
McNair-Wilson, Michael Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Stokes, John
McNair-Wilson Patrick (NewForest) pink, R. Bonner Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Maddan, Martin Pounder, Rafton Sutcliffe, John
Model, David Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Tapsell, Peter
Maginnis, John E. Price, David (Eastleigh) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Marples, Rt. Hn, Ernest Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Marten, Neil Proudfoot, Wilfred Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Maude, Angus Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Quennell, Miss J. M. Tebbit, Norman
Mawby, Ray Raison, Timothy Temple, John M.
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Meyer, Sir Anthony Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Rees, Peter (Dover) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Miscampbell, Norman Rees-Davies, W. B. Tilney, John
Mitchell,Lt. -Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Trew, Peter
Moate, Roger Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Tugendhat, Christopher
Molyneaux, James Ridsdale, Julian Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Money, Ernle Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Monks, Mrs. Connie Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Monro, Hector Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Vickers, Dame Joan
Montgomery, Fergus Rost, Peter Waddington, David
More, Jasper Russell, Sir Ronald Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. St. John-Stevas, Norman Wall, Patrick
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Walters, Dennis
Mudd, David Scott, Nicholas Ward, Dame Irene
Murton, Oscar Scott-Hopkins, James Warren, Kenneth
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Sharples, Richard Weatherill, Bernard
Neave, Airey Straw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Wells John (Maidstone)
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Shelton, William (Clapham) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Simeon, Charles Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Normanton, Tom Sinclair, Sir George Wiggin, Jerry
Nott, John Skeet, T. H. H. Wilkinson, John
Onslow, Cranley Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Soref, Harold Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Speed, Keith Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Osborn, John Spence, John Woodnutt, Mark
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Sproat, lain Worsley, Marcus
Page, Graham (Crosby) Stainton, Keith Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Stanbrook, Ivor Younger, Hn. George
Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Peel, John Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Mr. Paul Hawkins and
Percival, lan Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Mr. Hugh Rossi.
Abse, Leo Corbet, Mrs. Freda Forrester, John
Albu, Austen Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Fraser, John (Norwood)
Altaun, Frank (Safford, E.) Crawshaw, Richard Gaipern, Sir Myer
Allen, Scholefield Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Garrett, W. E.
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Grossman,Rt. Hn. Richard Gilbert, Dr. John
Armstrong, Ernest Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Ginsburg, David
Ashley, Jack Dallyell, Tam Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Atkinson, Norman Davidson, Arthur Gourley, Harry
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Barnett, Joel Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Benn, Rt. Hn, Anthony Wedgwood Davies, Mor (Gower) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Bidwell, Sydney Deakins, Eric Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Bishop, E. S. de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Delargy, H. J. Hamling, William
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Booth, Albert Dempsey, James Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Doig, Peter Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bradley, Tom Dormand, J. D. Hattersley, Roy
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Driberg, Tom Horam, John
Buchan, Norman Duffy, A. E. P. Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Dunn, James A. Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Dunnett, Jack Huckfield, Leslie
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Eadie, Alex Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Cant, R. B. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Carmichael, Neil Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield) Ellis, Tom Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) English, Michael Hunter, Adam
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Evans, Fred Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Clark, David (Colne valley) Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Janner, Greville
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'hamiLadywood) Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S
Cohen, Stanley Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Coleman, Donald. Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Concannon, J. D. Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) John, Brynmor
Conlan, Bernard Foot, Michael Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Johnson, James (K'ston.on.Hull, W.) Molloy, William Sillars, James
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Silverman, Jullus
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Skinner, Dennis
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Small, William
Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Moyle, Roland Spearing, Nigel
Judd, Frank Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Spriggs, Leslie
Kaufman, Gerald Murray, R. K. Stallard, A. W.
Kerr, Russell Ogden, Eric Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Kinnock, Neil O'Halloran, Michael Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Lamble, David O'Malley, Brian Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Latham, Arthur Oram, Bert Strang, Gavin
Lawson, George Orbach, Maurice Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Leadbitter, Ted Orme, Stanley Swain, Thomas
Leonard, Dick Oswald, Thomas Taverne, Dick
Lester, Miss Joan Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Parker, John (Dagenham) Thompson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Tinn, James
Lipton, Marcus Pavitt, Laurie Tommy, Frank
Lomas, Kenneth Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Torney, Tom
Loughlin, Charles Pendry, Tom Tuck, Raphael
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Pentland, Norman Urwin, T. W.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Perry, Ernest G. Varley, Eric G.
Mabon Dr J. Dickson Prescott, John Wainwright, Edwin
McBride, Neil Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
McCartney, Hugh Price, William (Rugby) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
McElhone, Frank Probert, Arthur Wallace, George
McGuire, Michael Rankin, John Watkins, David
Mackenzie, Gregor Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Weitzman, David
Mackie, John Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wellbeloved, James
Maclennan, Robert Rhodes, Geoffrey Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McNamara, J. Kevin Richard, Ivor White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
MacPherson, Malcolm Roberts, Albert (Nonrnanton) Whitehead, Phillip
Mallalieu, Simon (Bootle) Roberts,Rt. Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon Whitlock, William
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Robertson, John (Pailey) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Marquand, David Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Roper, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Meacher, Michael Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Mendelson, John Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Woof, Robert
Millan, Bruce Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Miller, Dr. M. S. Short, Mrs. Renèe (W'hampton,N.E.) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Mr. John Ghlding.

Clause added to the Bill.

It being after Twelve o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered this day.

    1. cc1147-58
    2. EMPLOYMENT (EDINBURGH) 3,622 words