HC Deb 10 February 1976 vol 905 cc253-382

Order for Second Reading read.

4.17 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Michael Foot)

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

Mr. Speaker

I have not selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Liberal Party and his hon. Friends.

Mr. Foot

In moving the Second Reading of the Bill, and before I come to any attempt to describe its details, perhaps I may comment on the general background. It is necessary to do so particularly in view of the misrepresentation, as I regard it, of what the Bill seeks to achieve. The misrepresentation has been spread in many quarters.

I sometimes think that it would be helpful if many of the editors of our great newspapers paid a little more attention to their own industrial correspondents, because I believe that if they were to do so they might have a better knowledge of what was happening in industry generally. In particular, it would be advantageous as a background to the Bill if most of the editors in Fleet Street who have been denouncing it so fiercely would read the excellent book which was written by Mr. David Wilson, industrial correspondent of the Observer, who died so tragically some months ago and who wrote what was in my opinion a very fine book on this whole subject. It would be very helpful for the rest of Fleet Street and for this House if what he reported were to be taken into account, as well as the wild exaggerations and misconceptions which have been spread by the editors of most of the newspapers in discussing the Bill.

Perhaps I may say to my hon. Friends on this side of the House especially that believe all of them will agree with me that the Labour Party has a very fine tradition in respect of legislation about the docks. Almost all, if not all, the great reforms affecting the dock industry have been carried by Labour Ministers or Labour Governments, and this Bill seeks to sustain that tradition. Indeed, there has been a familiar pattern about dock legislation and difficulties in the docks, if I may describe it in that way, in the sense that what has happened over many decades has been that inquiries or bodies of citizens in the country generally have made proposals for reform. Those have been advocated and arguments have been presented in their favour up and down the country.

Then when commissions have reported or bodies have presented their views, Conservative Governments of one character or another have put the information and the proposals in the pigeon-holes in the offices. There has followed a few years later, or perhaps at an even shorter interval, the inevitable industrial explosion which derives from not seeking to solve these problems in time. A Labour Government have then had to clear up the mess. That is the procedure, which I can justify by reference to what has happened in the docks many times. It is that point in the historical cycle that we have now reached.

What we propose in the Bill is a constructive measure to deal with a problem which it is impossible for the House or the country to shirk. In March 1974, when we came to office, it was already immediately apparent that we should have to take action of some kind. That was apparent from what had happened in the previous three or four years, when we had had two of the biggest dock strikes in our history—indeed, two of the only three comprehensive national dock strikes we have ever had.

If that evidence had not been sufficient to persuade us that action had to be taken, there was the extremely damaging unofficial action at the beginning of last year. By then we were preparing our legislative proposals, and the end of that strike was partly produced by the fact that we had proposals to bring forward. But no one in the situation of 1974 could have concluded that nothing should be done.

What we did first of all when we examined last year the problems in 1974 was to seek to see whether the problems could be tackled by the 1946 Act. We sought carefully over many weeks and months, in discussions with interested bodies, to see whether we could solve the problem with no fresh legislation. But the more we looked at it the more we were drawn to the conclusion that that would be a hopeless course. We based our actions then on an examination of reports about this industry over a number of years.

In particular, we took as one starting place for our action, as we were not merely entitled but had a duty to do, the Report of Lord Devlin, who inquired into the operation of the 1946 Act in the mid-1950s. I have previously quoted to the House what is said on page 18 of that Report, which is extremely important and emphasises the whole principle. But I emphasise it all the more strongly because the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) has made it clear in the last few days that he is not merely critical of our proposed extension of the Dock Labour Scheme but thinks that the whole scheme is now long since out of date. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That is the official view of the Opposition now, I understand, which makes it all the more necessary for me to quote to the House what was said by Lord Devlin, whose evidence after all should not be dismissed too readily by any hon. Member.

This was what Lord Devlin said in 1956—

Mr. Jonathan Aitken (Thanet, East)

A long while ago.

Mr. Foot

Yes, but I will come to the most up-to-date reports for the hon. Gentleman in a moment. But it is no good dismissing what Lord Devlin said then, because in 1956 the same claim was made that the Dock Labour Scheme was long since out of date. It was that very question with which Lord Devlin dealt. If hon. Member would listen to the views of Lord Devlin, I should be obliged. He should not be dismissed out of hand quite so readily. I know that his views on the matter have not been printed in The Times or any other of our so-called responsible newspapers in recent days, but I should like to quote his views. [Interruption.] I know that it is distasteful for Conservative Members to hear about these questions, but they will none the less have to hear them.

Mr. Edmond Bulmer (Kidderminster)

This was 20 years ago.

Mr. Foot

If hon. Members will listen, I shall be grateful. They should pay a little more respect to Lord Devlin's views. He said: The fact is that, if the Scheme expired, the first and most urgent task for all concerned would be to devise another one with all the essential features of the original". So Lord Devlin is not exactly saying that it was all out of date.

Lord Devlin went on: The Scheme must now be regarded as part of the structure of the industry. It is no use threatening to destroy common property; threats of this sort act as an irritant and disturb the minds of moderate men without deterring the extreme. It is important to note that the Employers' proposals are not at all aimed at the destruction of the Scheme. They have since 1941 always accepted the necessity for it; their proposal is simply that they, and not the Board, should run it. That is not exactly a commendable proposal, and Lord Devlin himself was not prepared to support it.

It is proper for us to start from that cleavage of principle. Lord Devlin and those who inquired with him then believed not merely that the scheme was a proper one to sustain but said clearly "If you abandon it, you will have to look around to devise another sort of scheme which serves the same kind of purpose" The rest of his Report underlined how impossible he thought it was to accept the employers' claim that they should run the whole scheme and that the whole principle of joint direction which was deeply embedded in the scheme should be abandoned.

Hon. Members have said that that Report was published a long time ago, so let us come a little more up to date. The Devlin reforms, essential and important though they were, did not deal with the whole situation because those which were put into operation in 1967 or thereabouts and which largely ended the casualisation in the industry were important and far-reaching but were carried through at that time—I am not blaming anyone—without recognition in the Report which came forward of all the technological changes which were then going strongly forward in the industry.

Within a few years of the decasualisation schemes being put into operation in the mid-60s or slightly later, it became more and more evident that there was a serious weakness in the whole way in which the scheme operated. That weakness turned on the absence of any effective and proper definition of dock work. Therefore, another inquiry was set up by the Department of Employment, headed by a well-known QC, Sir Peter Bristow.

That Committee eventually came forward with proposals for trying to deal with this problem and for producing a definition of dock work which would be workable and acceptable. Its Report made clear some of the difficulties, describing how originally there were long delays in the appeals relating to what was and was not dock work. The matter had to be settled through legal machinery and it took many months. Even when that long process had been partly overcome, Sir Peter Bristow underlined that, in his opinion and that of his Committee, the reference of these questions to the courts and eventually to the House of Lords was not a sensible way of settling the industrial question of what constituted dock work.

Therefore, just before 1970 the Bristow Committee produced proposals which were available to the incoming Conservative Government. How seriously the new Government looked at the Bristow proposals I cannot tell, but certainly they put them back in the pigeon-hole very quickly and abandoned the idea of taking any steps on the basis of that Report. Indeed, they were so busy, no doubt, on other industrial matters, like the Industrial Relations Act 1971, that they did not have time to apply their minds to what Sir Peter Bristow and his Committee considered the urgent question of what should be done about dock work and the whole of the problems with which this Bill seeks to deal.

Those problems should have been faced in 1970 and 1971. If they had been faced then, it is likely that the two great strikes of 1970 and 1972 and the strike in 1975 could have been avoided.

If anyone wants any evidence about that, the latest report that we have on the subject is the Report by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, produced following the strike at the beginning of last year. That Report underlined how urgent it was that legislation should come forward. It said that part of the frustration in the docks was due to the length of time it was taking for legislation to be introduced. It emphasised all that I am saying about the Bristow Report and the expectations which had been aroused but never fulfilled. Nobody, in the face of that evidence, has the slightest ground for saying that it is not right for us to go ahead with legislation on the subject.

Mr. Patrick Mayhew (Royal Tunbridge Wells)

Did not the Bristow Committee consist exclusively of representatives of employers of registered dock labour and registered dock workers?

Mr. Foot

The Bristow Report represented employers and workers, and no doubt it also represented Sir Peter Bristow himself, who was an eminent QC.

The complaint is that the Committee made recommendations that some people did not like, but there are often complaints when one makes recommendations which are not liked. No one should dismiss what the Committee proposed, any more than people should dismiss the fundamental principle which was laid down originally by Lord Devlin, and which we think still stands, whatever the Opposition may think.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

Many workers who are members of unions other than the Transport and General Workers' Union are worried in case they are likely to be engulfed in the scheme. I am totally in favour of the scheme, but they must be given an assurance that they will not be poached, taken over or engulfed in unions to which they do not wish to belong.

Mr. Foot

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I have never had a different attitude about that. There never has been an intention to infringe the rights of other trade unionists. My hon. Friends have naturally expressed the views of their own unions and those of other unions concerned. I believe that we shall be able to pursue a common approach on the matter. It is because of that approach that we have the full agreement of the General Council of the TUC on the way in which we are proceeding. I think that all my hon. Friends will be satisfied with what I have to say on that account.

Mr. Thomas Torney (Bradford, South)

When workers who are members of unions other than the TGWU leave a warehouse within the five-mile radius will they have to be replaced by registered dockers? If so, does my right hon. Friend not agree that unions like my own, USDAW, will ultimately be wiped out in areas where they have organised for many years. [Interruption.] I hope that my hon. Friends will let my right hon. Friend answer.

Mr. Foot

My hon. Friend is fully entitled to put that question. I shall say something more about it later, because it fits into a later part of my remarks. These are precisely some of the questions which were raised in our discussions following the publication of the consultative document, the purpose of which was to enable us to settle those matters. I am sure that my hon. Friend will be satisfied by the solutions we have secured.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

With whom have consultations taken place? Can the Minister explain why, for example, he refused to meet representatives of trade unions from Dagenham about whom I wrote to him asking him to meet them?

Mr. Foot

The hon. Gentleman has raised that matter before. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State and I have met about 40 deputations. We have not refused to meet people to discuss the matter, whether they were critical of what we proposed or not.

The representations to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service show that the spokesmen for the TGWU transport section were eager that the scheme should go ahead. Of course they wanted safeguards, and we understand that. The safeguards we have given will deal with the situation. It is not true that we have refused consultation with large numbers of people who have to come to see us.

Mr. James Prior (Lowestoft)

Why did the right hon. Gentleman tell me, when I wrote to him asking him to see certain shop stewards and trade union officials representing large interests throughout London, that he wanted only to see leaders of unions and therefore would not see them? The right hon. Gentleman should not be allowed to get away with the sort of statement he has just made.

Mr. Foot

The right hon. Gentleman has misconceived the situation entirely. I should like to see the letter to which he refers. It is absolutely false to say that we have refused to meet deputations on the subject. We have met dozens of special deputations. I am prepared to seek to publish in the Official Report the full list of the bodies and different associations which we have met and from which we have had representations. The right hon. Gentleman could then see whether I am justified in what I have said.

I now turn to the details of the Bill. I hope that my description of it will be of assistance in showing how it is to operate. I begin with the National Dock Labour Board, which has the central rôle in the legislation. At present it is established under the 1967 scheme and is responsible only for the administration of that scheme. Clause 1 provides for the dissolution of the present Board and its reconstitution as a statutory corporation consisting of a chairman, vice-chairman and 12 other members.

Clause 3 makes provision for the finances of the new Board's constitution and administration, for the transfer of functions and property from the old Board to the new. Under the Bill, the board will not only administer the new scheme but will be concerned with the classification of work as dock work—under Clauses 6, 7, 8 and 9—and also, more generally, it will keep under review developments affecting the performance of dock work—under Clause 2. These added functions can be carried out only by a body with detailed knowledge of the industry.

Of course the Board must discharge, and must be seen to discharge, its duties fairly. We reject the idea that the two sides of the industry at present represented on the Board would act only in their own narrow interests and would carry out their statutory responsibilities without regard to the specific requirements in the Bill or to any broader considerations.

However, to be sure that the Board takes fully into account the views of those performing work which could, under the procedures of the Bill, in the future be classified as dock work, Clause 1(4) provides for four Board members and the chairman and vice-chairman to be appointed only after consultation with the TUC and CBI as well as the National Joint Council for the Port Industry. In making the appointment the Government hope to ensure that the two members appointed for the employers' side have the full confidence of those employers' organisations not presently represented which felt that they had an immediate concern. The same applies to the two trade union members.

Clause 4(1) of the Bill requires the Secretary of State to prepare a new scheme, which under Clause 5(2) is to be framed with a view

  1. "(a) to securing stability of employment for dock workers and the creation and maintenance of a permanent labour force of a size and composition appropriate for the efficient performance of dock work; and
  2. (b) to securing that, wherever the Scheme is in force and subject only to such exceptions as it may provide, dock work is done by registered dock workers and not otherwise."
In doing so we shall be carrying out the requirements of the International Labour Organisation Convention. I shall not read out the details of the convention, although I hope that no apologies are required, certainly on this side of the House, for ensuring that we carry out such conventions.

It is necessary to refer to the application of the existing scheme in order to remove some anxieties which may exist in some quarters.

There should also not be any argument about Clause 6 of the Bill, which seeks to ensure that all work currently performed as "dock work" under the 1967 scheme is classified in future as dock work for the purposes of the Bill and the new scheme to be made under the new arrangements. Because the present scheme definitions of dock work in each port were drafted in war-time conditions and were based upon the wording of prewar industrial agreement, the actual local definitions are a maze of illogical complexities and often difficult to interpret. As we said in those provisions, we wish to ensure that no worker shall imagine that existing rights will be taken away because of the operation of the scheme.

I turn to one aspect of the matter which has given rise to considerable controversy. We have already referred to the Bristow Report but I do so again when considering the cargo-handling zone. The Bill provides that specified work, which falls within the defined description of work under Part I of Schedule III and is not specifically excluded under Part II, may be classified as dock work if it is performed in the cargo-handling zone. Under Clause 5(3), the cargo-handling zone comprises everywhere five miles from the sea or from a major inland waterway.

A major question during the consultations was why there should be a limit of five miles. Hon. Gentleman may laugh, but the first indication of the five-mile limit arose in the Bristow Report, so it did not emerge from the sinister brain of a Minister in a Labour Government. However, there are further arguments. First, the work of dock workers stems primarily from the unloading and loading of goods from sea-going ships but has also in many ports been concerned with ancillary operations connected with the movement, storing and handling of these goods. When the Bristow Committee in 1970 looked at the question of the definition of dock work in London, it recommended a five-mile limit.

However, secondly, work up to five miles from port boundaries has been accepted as "dock work" and the employers concerned have voluntarily bcome registered and licensed to employ registered dock workers. Those employers were, of course, responding to the voluntary efforts to secure jobs for registered dock workers in the way recommended by the Aldington-Jones Committee. At that time the proposals were warmly welcomed by the Opposition. At that time the Opposition specifically agreed that existing workers at the Aintree terminal should be registered as dock workers even though that terminal was well outside the port of Liverpool.

Therefore, the proposal for the five-mile corridor does no more than take account of the fact that previous attempts to solve the problems of the changing nature of dock work have led to registered dockers working well outside the port. That is the fact of the matter. It was recognised by the previous Conservative Government, and I do not understand why such alarm should have been raised on the matter.

There has been considerable misrepresentation about the extension of the cargo, handling zone. I should like to put the matter right. The Bill allows for the possibility of the Secretary of State seeking the views of the National Dock Labour Board as to whether the cargo-handling zone should be extended. This power is necessary to ensure that for the future account can be taken of developments in the performance of dock work. For example, that could be because of furthers technological developments or further changes in the pattern of trade or in the structure of the industry. It would be wrong to say that for the next 25 years, which is the length of time since the last Act, all dock work will be performed within the cargo-handling zone.

Therefore, the Bill sets out procedures to ensure that all concerned can make their views known about any proposals by allowing at least 40 days for persons interested to make representations to the Board. In the light of the Board's report the Secretary of State would, if he thought it appropriate, be able to make an order extending the zone but only after that order had been approved in draft by both Houses of Parliament.

Therefore, Parliament would be required to debate whether such a proposal was justified. Indeed, all the proposals that we make in the Bill are subject to the decision of the Minister who is responsible and who is answerable to Parliament. That is the better way to settle these matters. It is much better than seeking to transfer to the courts matters which are of industrial complication. Our experience of dock work being settled by appeals to the House of Lords has led us to the view that that is not a satisfactory way to deal with the matter.

I turn to the non-scheme port arrangements. Clause 7 is intended to deal with non-scheme ports. In the consultative document "Dockwork", published last March and on which the Bill is based, the Government reiterated their view that they considered that the Dock Labour Scheme should apply wherever significant third-party loading and unloading operations were carried out. Whilst we recognised that the introduction of the scheme could cause problems at some non-scheme ports, it is our general view that it could give rise to major difficulties both now and in the future if the scheme were not extended to substantially all third-party loading and unloading.

The consultative document pointed out that the expansion of some ports not covered by the original scheme because they were previously very small had made it impossible to take an overall view of labour requirements and had led to un-fairness in the sharing of the costs and benefits involved in change in the industry. This does not, however, mean that the scheme would automatically be extended to all small ports, irrespective of the amount of trade or the regularity of traffic.

Clause 7 of the Bill requires all those, apart from most nationalised industries, undertaking third-party loading or unloading of ships within a specified period to notify the National Dock Labour Board. The National Dock Labour Board would then have to decide whether to recommend that the work should be classified as dock work—that is, brought within the new Dock Labour Scheme. In doing so, it would be required to consider whether the work was such that those employed on it needed training aptitudes and experience the same as, or similar to, those of registered dock workers, and also whether it required for its efficient performance the engagement of a permanent labour force. Thus very small ports where satisfactory arrangements could not be devised to sustain a permanent labour force, however small, would not be brought within the scheme.

If the Board made a recommendation that work at a particular port should be covered by the scheme, it would still be open for representations to be made to the Secretary of State about the Board's recommendations. At that stage these representations would be considered very carefully and, where relevant, account would be taken of the likely effect on the operation of the port, and also the possible implications for the employment situation in the area concerned.

I should like to refer to other extensions of the scheme. The main point that I want to emphasise—it needs to be emphasised because it is part of the misunderstanding which has given rise to the misrepresentations—is that there will be no question of the Bill automatically extending the scheme to all work which is potentially within the scope of the Bill. Instead, under Clause 8 and Schedule 4, constitutional and orderly procedures are established to enable extension where this is appropriate.

In the case of cargo-handling work other than loading or unloading of seagoing ships under Clause 7, it would be entirely for the National Dock Labour Board to decide whether or not to propose to the Secretary of State that the work should be classified as dock work. It would have to do this in two stages. At the first stage, both the employer and the trade unions concerned would have to be informed that the Board had the possibility of classifying the work in mind and would have the opportunity to make representations to the Board.

The Board would then be required to consider whether there were prima facie grounds for recommending classification of the work as dock work. It would be able to decide that there were such grounds—except in the case of casual work—only if it seemed to the Board (a) that the work was done in substitution for work previously done by registered dock workers, or (b) that the work required training, aptitudes and experience the same as or similar to those of registered dock workers.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Foot

If the hon. Gentleman will permit me to conclude this part of my speech, I shall gladly give way to him.

If the Board decided that there were such grounds, this alone would not enable it to recommend classification of the work as dock work. It would be required, having informed the employers, trade unions and others interested and sought further representations from them, to consider whether in terms of efficiency, manpower utilisation, job classification and the likely effect on industrial relations, so far as both the work under consideration and dock work generally were concerned, it would be generally sensible to classify the work as dock work. In the case of food storage, the Board would also have to consult the Minister of Agriculture before deciding to make recommendations.

If the Board then decided to recommend classification to the Secretary of State, he would be required to consider whether this procedure had been adequately complied with and could, if he considered it necessary, ask the Board to look further at the matter. He would also, if he considered that there were labour relations questions involved, seek the advice of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service on these. Only then would an order extending the scheme be put to Parliament for approval.

Therefore, what the Bill seeks to do is to set out procedures to enable the scheme to be extended in situations where this made sense.

Mr. Ridley

I am sure that the House will be grateful to me for interrupting the right hon. Gentleman in his reading out of all that stuff. However, will he say why it is not proposed to consult the workers in any non-scheme port or area of non-dock work rather than the trade unions? Surely it is the workers who matter, and not the trade unions.

Mr. Foot

if the hon. Gentleman had been listening a little more carefully to what I have been reading and if he had studied the matter a little more carefully, he would appreciate that we have provisions for discussion of all the matters with workers in the dock industry and other workers concerned. The fullest possible provision is made for consultations with them. I am sure that it will be a great load off the hon. Gentleman's mind to learn that we have made such detailed provision for such careful consultation.

I come to what I have said previously to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). Perhaps I am dealing with the point that he has already made to me. I want to comment on how the extension would work in practice. In spite of the detailed procedures and safeguards, there are still considerable genuine anxieties in some quarters about the practical effect of the changes. I emphasise again that it is the actual individual application of the scheme which is the significant procedure; the wider legal scope has to be defined—as we have defined it in the Bill—to make these applications possible.

It is on those aspects of some of the matters that we have had consultations with the TUC and with several individual unions on the subject. As a result of those discussions we have agreed—although we believe that it confirms what was in the Bill already, and certainly confirms the intention of the Bill—that long-established warehousing, storage, packaging and cold storage operations, which are not related directly to work transferred from the docks and which are not connected with port operations, would most certainly not be classified as dock work and, therefore, subject to the new scheme. Maintenance personnel and other port service grades such as dock gatemen who have no direct relationship with cargo-handling are excluded from the Bill. I hope that this will satisfy my hon. Friend in advance.

We have had, as I have said, close consultations, as we promised we would, with those who would be affected, particularly the trade unions concerned. It is as a result of those consultations that we have had this exchange of letters and the discussions on these particular matters. What I have said is that when we come to the Committee stage, in order to make these matters clearer, more certain and more gratifying to my hon. Friend and others who wish to see these matters clarified further, if we can do this better by amendments we shall be glad to do so. However, the intention was the same as we have provided in the Bill. We believe that if representations are made to us for securing it better by amendments, we shall be glad to do so. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept the undertakings in that sense, just as the representatives of the union of which he is a distinguished member have already accepted them, as other representatives have also done.

Mr. Barney Hayhoe (Brentford and Isleworth)

What the Secretary of State is saying is very important, because it confirms what Mr. Jack Jones said in an interview, of which I have a report, on 19th November last year. The words were practically identical with the words that Jack Jones used on that occasion, when he said that Long-established warehousing, storage, packaging and cold storage operations…are not likely to be included in the extension of the Dock Labour Scheme. Are we to understand that the Secretary of State is saying that they will definitely be excluded by amendments to the legislation? There must be absolute clarity about this.

Mr. Foot

I understand the desire for clarity and the hon. Gentleman's disinterested desire for clarity. I am only too eager to satisfy him. If he had heard what I said a few minutes ago, he would have heard that I said that they would not be included in the scheme. I also said that I believed that the Bill as it stood made that clear. However, I repeat that if further amendments are required in order to secure that certainty is established in such cases, we shall be perfectly prepared to have amendments for that purpose. However, although that is the situation, it is not a reason for misrepresenting the whole Bill, as has been the case in many quarters. This has always been our intention, and I underline that.

The Bill provides safeguards for those employed on work which is classified as dock work. Briefly, under Clause 10, they would first be placed on an "extension register", where they would, under Clause 12, retain all their existing statutory employment protection, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed, and, after a period which would vary from case to case would, if still doing the work, go on to the main register—that is, become fully registered dock workers.

That provision fulfils the undertaking which was given long ago by myself in reply to a Written Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) way back in July last year, when I said, I am aware that anxieties are being expressed by some employees who fear that they might lose their jobs. Their continued employment will, however, be safeguarded by our proposals for legislation and it is no part of our intention that their jobs should be put at risk."—[Official Report, 22nd July 1975: Vol. 896, c. 128.] That has always been the Government's intention. That is what we have in the Bill, as we believe. If further amendments are required for the purpose, we shall certainly be prepared to examine them. However, I repeat that the suggestions that workers will be pushed out of their jobs—in the kind of extravagant language used by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft—are grossly misleading. If the right hon. Member for Lowestoft were believed—I am happy to believe that he will not be—it would cause great difficulties and ructions in dockland.

Mr. Torney

I apologise again for intervening in my right hon. Friend's speech, but I should like him to clarify one matter. He mentioned cold storage. I am sure he is aware that in many cold stores 80 per cent. of the goods are home-produced. Will the Dock Labour Scheme be extended to them when only 20 per cent. of the goods are imported?

Mr. Foot

If my hon. Friend reads the Bill he will discover the cases where it will and will not apply. I believe that almost all my hon. Friend's fears are groundess. However, if his fears remain, one of the purposes of the Committee stage in the House of Commons is to clarify the points of concern. We shall seek to do so.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Foot

I have given way a great deal and I do not propose to give way again, because it is perfectly proper that other hon. Members should take part in the debate.

Any responsible Government faced with the situation in the docks over the past three or four years would have had to prepare action. Indeed, 1970 is a critical date. At that time the then Conservative Government pushed the Bristow Report back into the pigeon-hole but, according to a report in The Times, they were preparing a new committee of inquiry to look into the whole matter. That inquiry was never set up. However, there was an inquiry following the serious strikes. An investigation was carried out by the Jones-Aldington Committee and many of its recommendations were along the same lines as our proposals, although many of them were never implemented.

The reason why this is a matter of great importance was clear the other day when I received a deputation from the CBI, whose representatives expressed great anxiety and concern about this matter. I asked them what was their alternative. It was that we should set up an inquiry. I do not know whether they visited the Government of the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) in 1970 and asked them why they did not set up an inquiry, but that was the time to do it, especially if the Government of the day were tearing up the Bristow Report, or, at any rate, abandoning it. However, although the Conservatives ditched the Bristow Report they made its author a judge. I suppose that that was compensation. He was certainly a most distinguished lawyer.

The Conservative Government did not take proper account of the Bristow Report, and that was partly why we had two massive dock strikes. That is what we had to take into account and that is why we have to try to solve the problem. It is no good saying now that the way to solve the problem is to have another inquiry. That is even more true when the suggestion comes from those who disregarded the inquiries which have been carried out. I have been made extremely aware of that situation from my visits to dockland during the past year or so. I asked the dockers what they thought about another inquiry. They said "Heavens!" I am sure that in response to the suggestion of another inquiry to settle this problem we would get a horse laugh from London to Liverpool, to Lowestoft and to Loch Lomond. A more ridiculous proposition could not be made.

The Government have made up their minds that we shall not have another inquiry. We have had consultations with all the people concerned, but eventually Governments have to make a choice on these matters. The obligation upon us was made all the greater because one of the most famous inquiries which took place, in 1920, reported that the evil system of casual labour in the docks should be torn up by the roots. It did not end for 47 years. What is the use now of another inquiry? The Government say that we should make up our minds to solve the problem and that we have a right to talk about industrial relations.

The right hon. Member for Sidcup was let off very lightly in these matters for years when he was Prime Minister. He smiles now but he could not smile when he had the biggest dock strike, the worst industrial relations and more days lost in industrial disputes under his premiership than in any time in British history. In the docks the situation was perhaps worst of all.

We are determined to solve the problems which the Conservatives did not attempt to solve. That is why this House should give a Second Reading to the Bill.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

The Question is, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I call Mr. James Prior.

Mr. John Stonehouse (Walsall, North)

May I ask the Minister a question?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I have proposed the Question. I call Mr. James Prior.

Mr. Stonehouse

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My right hon. Friend gave way to me.

Mr. Foot

If my right hon. Friend wishes to speak, I shall be glad to give way to him as long as the right hon. Member for Lowestoft will accept my apologies.

Mr. Stonehouse

I have listened carefully to every word of the Minister's speech. Although we have had clear explanations about the conditions for dock workers and the need to protect them and the other trade unionists who might be involved in the Bill, we have not heard the Secretary of State refer at any stage during his speech to the interests, especially the long-term interests, of the consumers. Is there any justification for the Bill in terms of securing better efficiency in marketing, and will it reduce prices to the consumer?

Mr. Foot

Yes, I believe that one of the best contributions we can make to assist the position of the consumer—I am as concerned about this matter as is any hon. Member—is to improve industrial relations in the docks. I do not accept, and I am sure my right hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Stone-house) will not accept—at least, I hope he will not accept—the wild accusations which have been bred in many quarters about great additions to cost and so on. That is a lot of scaremongering nonsense which could be based solidly only on the ground that dockers' conditions are far better than those of other workers. That is not so. Their wages and so on are not superior in many cases to those of many other workers. This point has never been properly argued. It is part of the "scare" against the Bill.

We have a right to speak to the country on this subject because we are establishing better industrial relations. It takes a long time and requires patience. It also requires a Government who will make up their mind and not shirk the issues which face the country.

5.8 p.m.

Mr. James Prior (Lowestoft)

I sometimes find it hard to make up my mind whether the right hon. Gentleman is better when he is reading or when he is simply getting back into his old form of blabber. He certainly ended his speech on the subject of labour relations with a blethering attack on the Conservative Party which was totally unjustified. If the right hon. Gentleman does not recognise what has improved the strike record in British industry so much in the past few months, he does not recognise anything. Perhaps he does not even know the figures of unemployment and the fear of unemployment throughout the country at present which make people far more concerned about keeping their jobs than about anything else.

It would be far better if the right hon. Gentleman did less attacking of my right hon. and hon. Friends on this subject and paid more attention to trying to get extra jobs. I shall seek to show during the course of my speech that the right hon. Gentleman's efforts will do nothing but destroy jobs and create further unemployment.

The right hon. Gentleman has made a certain amount of play to his hon. Friends about what actually is the cargo-handling area and what will be affected by the Bill. He said that if the Government had not got it right they would discuss it in Committee and try to remedy the faults. However, he did not give any proper assurance to his hon. Friends. If all those warehouses and cold stores about which there are considerable worries are excluded from the Bill, there is no purpose in having the Bill because it will not achieve what the dockers want. What the dockers are interested in, as we all know, is getting extra jobs. If those extra jobs are not available from the cold stores and the warehouses, the dockers are being conned. If, on the other hand, as I suspect, the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to write proper safeguards into the Bill, in the way that his hon. Friends are asking, his hon. Friends are being conned, as are a great many people in the warehousing and cold storage industries. We shall therefore need to examine much more fully the right hon. Gentleman's words and what he intends to do in Committee.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke about going down to the docks. It is a pity that on his visits there he did not talk to people other than dockers. If he had taken the trouble to talk to shop stewards and local union officials in the warehousing, cold storage and road transport industries, he might have got a very different picture from the one he presented this afternoon. It is little short of a scandal that the right hon. Gentleman has been down and talked to the blue and the white unions but that on no occasion has he talked to any of the other people at dock level who are concerned with this measure.

As for his consultations, I know that a lot of people have been to see him. But he has not listened and he certainly has not acted on anything they have told him. I do not remember in the time that I have been in this House a Bill which has aroused more anger and more annoyance. There is opposition to it within the unions and within the Labour Party, and it is opposed by every other single interest concerned with the commerce or industry of the country.

We notice that the Bill should have come up for Second Reading before Christmas but that it was put off. We have heard about the negotiations, the nods and the winks given behind the scenes, designed to get Labour Members into the Lobby or the unions into line behind the Bill. That was a thoroughly disreputable way of handling the Bill and the Secretary of State, who claims to be a great parliamentarian, has fallen down sadly on his responsibilities.

The dockers are a proud and independent lot. They are given to much abuse and to much abusing. I have done my share of it in the House, and I am prepared to say that in the last debate on dockland I quoted some figures which were wrong. The comparison I used between London and the Continent was wrong and I should like to apologise to the dockers. Our dockers have good and bad records. We are all concerned to improve throughput and efficiency and to keep our ports free from strife—

Mr. Ernest Fernyhough (Jarrow)

The right hon. Gentleman said that he wanted to apologise for having given the wrong figures in the last debate. Will he now give the right figures?

Mr. Prior

No, because that would not be relevant to the debate. I will not go into that this afternoon. The figures were given to me in good faith and I used them in good faith. They dealt with the tonnage handled by a gang in London compared with tonnage handled by a gang in Antwerp, and they reflected unfairly on the British dockers.

We need to understand the past and the emotions and prejudices of the dockers if we are to look forward to the better days we all want. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the book called "Dockers" by Mr. David Wilson who, sadly, died a few months ago. I commend the book to any hon. Member because it is a good and fair record of the dock industry. There is a verse in it from a character called Patchy, of Liverpool, which sums up pretty accurately the emotions of the dockers and the way they have felt about their conditions. It reads: Forty years I've served you without a word of thanks, Sweated, toiled the whole long day in freighters, barges, tanks, You've made millions from my body, even Deakin can't deny, And all I get when I am old is Die, you—,die. I am leaving out one of the words because I heard Mr. Speaker say this afternoon that he did not like swear words being used. That gives some indication of the strong feelings which exist in the docks.

In the last 20 years, with the end of decasualisation and with dockers becoming a well-paid and privileged group, through technological change, chiefly by the development of the container, the number of dockers has about halved. At the moment there is perhaps a surplus of 5,000 dockers, and that number is likely to increase by another 3,000 to 4,000 by the end of the decade. While the numbers of dockers has been falling, about 100,000 jobs have been lost in distribution and transport, many of them in the dock area. The figures I have seen suggested for the period 1961–71 show that as many as 21,000 jobs were lost in the industry in Poplar and Stepney alone. So there has been a decline not just in the docks but in the areas surrounding the docks too.

Two great issues are involved which were mentioned by the Secretary of State. First, the dockers are the only group of workers who have absolute registration. This registration is jealously guarded and handed down and has sought to preserve dockers' jobs in a rapidly changing environment. No other group has enjoyed this concept, which is quite plainly out of date. Railway drivers cannot claim that when their jobs go they can become bus drivers; farm workers in the same position would not claim to become tractor drivers. But now the dockers can claim other people's work if they lose their own jobs. This is bound to lead to trouble because it involves the definition of dock work. Already this has been a source of discontent. Whatever the new authority or the Secretary of State may decide, if this Bill is passed the problems of definition will still be there.

The changes and the modernisation in industry have been immense. The ship owners discovered that since a ship spends 60 per cent. of its time in port it would pay them to spend far more money on port handling arrangements, and that is what has been happening. The use of the container enables one man to do the work of 10. It enables work to be done miles away from the docks. It leads to the creation of container ports away from the traditional docks, and there are many logical reasons for that. Convenience, lack of congestion and modern warehousing have all led to the move away from the traditional dock. With this continuing change the clock cannot be put back, and it would be wrong to try to do that.

That is the underlying reason why this is a bad Bill. At best it would provide but a temporary respite from the inexorable pressure which the dockers will face. The bitterness they will feel when they know they have been conned makes it all the more undesirable to proceed with the Bill. That is one of the reasons why there should be a proper governmental inquiry into the docks.

The truth is that there has not been an inquiry since the Devlin Report of 1966–67. The other inquiries have been unofficial and not of great depth. The inquiries undertaken by Bristow, Jones-Aldington and ACAS have dealt either with specific docks or have not been impartial. We now require an impartial inquiry. Conditions in the docks are quiet, trade is slack and unemployment is a vista which the dockers deeply fear. I believe that this is a moment when an impartial inquiry could get at all the facts.

When the Secretary of State said that in 1967 Devlin took the view that the Dock Labour Scheme would continue, I think he was underestimating the enormous changes that there would have to be in the succeeding 10 years. We have a major and fundamental objection to the Bill because we believe that the whole idea of dock work being a registered title, along with an extension of the dock scheme, must be wrong in present circumstances.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, whatever changes there may have been and whatever changes there may be, there will be conventional cargoes to handle for some time to come, and changes in the arrival of ships? Therefore, dock work will have to even out the peaks and slumps in the arrival of ships, making some scheme necessary with the inherent characteristics of that which is now before us.

Mr. Prior

I shall turn to that point later. I do not doubt that there will have to be some proper arrangements for employment which is not casual. I am absolutely certain about that.

We are now setting up the extension register. What happens if part of an establishment—for example 25 per cent.—is deemed to be dock work and there is a situation in which some members of the establishment are on the extension register, some members are moving on to the main register and there are others who are not on any register, being straightforward union members? There may well be some who will be waiting to know whether they should go on to the register. I do not believe that we can run industrial relations in that way. It is bound to create strife.

How can we have men working in one warehouse who are on the full dock register, being paid and contracted for under the conditions of that register, when there are others under the extension register who are waiting to know whether they will go on to the full register and others, who are perhaps members of the General and Municipal Workers' Union or USDAW, who are being organised under totally different sets of conditions and rules? There may well be others who are in none of those categories. There may well be four categories of men working in the same warehouse. I do not believe that we shall ever achieve industrial peace in those circumstances.

We are also faced with the problem that there will be some dockers who have left the register and gone into the cold stores and warehouses and who will come back on to the extension register under the new definition of dock work, and then on to the permanent register, having received compensation for leaving the register, at great expense to employers and the country. Will they return to the register? I do not believe that that is in any way a possible solution. Conflict and strife are bound to be inherent in that situation. Immediate past experience of trying to introduce registered dockers into container depots has been extremely unhappy.

One of my reasons for not liking the scheme is that I do not believe that the Jones-Aldington proposals, however well intended, can work in the present dock situation. We know that the objective of the dockers, whether they be white or blue, is to get into such places as container depots and to take work away from tuners. The "blue" union wrote in The Port on 4th June 1975: Some method must be found to put registered men into these places and to phase out the men currently employed there. Let us not be under any illusions about their intentions.

Labour Members who are sponsored by trade unions and who know the facts will be deluding themselves if they do not recognise the dockers' intentions. Certainly the warehousemen realise their intentions. Mr. Brian Dooley, á shop steward of the Transport and General Workers' Union, has said: If this becomes law, there will not enough policemen in the whole of Essex prevent us stopping the dockers coming here and taking our jobs. The workers of this area will unite to stop them by hook by crook. I do not think that union leaders or the right hon. Gentleman have considered carefully enough the strong objections that exist among other groups of workers about dockers taking away their jobs. The dockers went into Chobham Farm and pushed out those who were already there. That was totally contrary to the Jones-Aldington proposals. They pushed them out and they are now doing what they term menial jobs. This has so aroused the anger of other workers that on this occasion they will not put up with it.

Mr. Ron Thomas (Bristol, North-West)


Mr. Prior

No. I shall give way presently to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott).

There has been a terrible underestimate of the industrial problems that this measure will cause. It will not bring peace to the docks. In fact, it could bring about an outbreak of war such as we had this time last year. That trouble was caused by the dockers trying to push their way into container depots and cold stores.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

The right hon. Gentleman has honestly admitted that he made a mistake when he last spoke about the docks, and he is in danger of making the same mistake again. When talking about registered workers we are concerned not only with dockers but with other workers such as seamen and fishermen. There are twice as many seamen and fishermen as dock workers under the registration scheme.

The right hon. Gentleman says that he does not think men can work in ware- houses under different forms of registration. This is already happening in my contituency, where people doing the stuffing and stripping work, by agreement, are in different categories of work. They are doing the stuffing and stripping and they are getting the dock worker's rate. It is not the dockers who are doing that work, even though the dockers have seen their labour force reduced greatly. The dock rate of pay has been negotiated. That is what the dockers have requested. They have not taken other people's jobs. They are working quite happily and there are good industrial relations.

Mr. Prior

The hon. Gentleman's experience is not that which is shared by the majority of union men now working in container depots and cold stores. They know what will happen. They know that there will be enormous pressure to push them out of their jobs. They know that the manning levels and restrictive practices which are part of the dockers' stock in trade will result in costs increasing and jobs being lost altogether. They are not prepared to see that happen. They are right to represent to their unions that they will not put up with that sort of situation. I hope that they continue to fight.

It would have been very easy for the Opposition to whip up support on this issue. In fact, we have not done so. If the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends had been in a similar position, they would have been taking a very different view. They know that only too well.

Mr. Antony Buck (Colchester)

Does my right hon. Friend accept that there is one category of dockers who are very much against the Bill—namely, those employed in the small ports? The dockers employed in Colchester realise that those who come under the scheme will be put out of business, thus creating unemployment. The dockers in the small ports are very much against what the Government are proposing.

Mr. Prior

I agree with my hon. and learned Friend. It is bad enough that the scheme should be extended to a five-mile corridor and beyond, but what is worse is the proposal to take over a great many ports and to bring them under the scheme, which is not what the dockers or anybody connected with those ports require.

My hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) sent me details about the proposals for Montrose, including a resolution passed unanimously by the dockers in his constituency to the effect that they did not want to become registered dockers under the scheme. They also point to the extra cost that will be incurred if the scheme is extended to non-scheme ports and they emphasise that those extra costs will have the effect of pricing us out of the market and causing further unemployment.

We strongly object to a proposal which in order to deal with 357 casual dockers out of a total of about 3,000 employed in non-scheme ports, and comprising only 1 per cent. of the total of all registered dockers, will have the effects I have out-lined. This is another reason why we regard this as a disastrous Bill. In any case, the Minister has powers to extend the scheme to non-scheme ports if he so wishes. Why does he not forget this wretched Bill and proceed via the provisions of the 1946 Act?

Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that if the scheme is adopted the port of Perth will close? This will mean that goods and fertilisers will become infinitely more expensive. Will not this contravene the Government's policy of trying to keep down food prices?

Mr. Prior

I agree with my hon. and learned Friend. We all know that costs will rise enormously. The British Importers Confederation says that the figure will be as high as £150 million. But we do not need to go in for conjecture because we can compare the costs of running a cold store run under dock labour and a store outside the dock labour area. The figures are available and we can obtain an exact comparison.

The average figure in the country as a whole outside the dock scheme is £6 per ton for goods in and out of cold store. In cold stores within the dock area and run under dock labour the figure is £12 per ton—exactly double. The present figure at Southampton is £11.25, whereas at Liverpool Alexandra Dock the figure is £6.30—in other words, it is almost half as expensive within the scheme as outside it. The housewives will pay the price and the dockers will call the tune.

It is absolute hypocrisy for the Labour Government to allow the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection to say in this House that she is seeking to reduce prices when she knows that the Bill is bound to increase them. The right hon. Lady has been given the facts by all those connected with the food industry. She knows what will happen. But the Government's only answer is to suggest that this measure will bring industrial peace to dockland.

If we examine the record of strikes between 1964 and 1970, we do not get the impression that the Labour Government have done any better than anybody else.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Robert Mellish)

The right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) put forward figures that we know can be dubious. He has just thrown out some more figures which have been heavily cheered by his hon. Friends, but which, on investigation after this debate, may once again prove to be "phoney". I ask the right hon. Gentleman a straight question. Since he has given figures of cold stores under the scheme, will he now give the figures for the Union Cold Stores—the epitome of private enterprise owned by the Vestry combine and operated under a registered scheme? What are the figures there? If he does not know them, why does he not know them?

Mr. Prior

On many occasions I have been given figures and have been specifically asked not to give their source. One of the sad things about representations made during the passage of the Bill by union members and also by others is that they are often offered with the comment "Please do not quote me because one does not know what this will mean for our families or our businesses". Therefore, I am not prepared to state from where my figures come. However, if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury wants to know, I shall make certain that he is informed by the people who have given them to me. They are absolutely stark, accurate figures.

Mr. Mellish


Mr. Prior

I have not given way to the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Mellish


Mr. Speaker

Order. I am surprised at the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. We all know the rules. If a right hon. or hon. Member who is in possession of the Floor does not give way, others must resume their seats.

Mr. Prior

When I have done the House the courtesy of apologising for certain figures I was given in good faith, I think that Government Ministers should at least have the decency to accept that apology. [Interruption.] The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury does not even have the courtesy to take that step now. I have no intention of giving way to him again.

It is not surprising that the hostility to the Bill shown by employers and employees alike will dry up investment. No firm will incur capital expenditure in any cargo-handling zone. This can be extended by order anywhere. No work will go on in a warehouse or cold storage while uncertainty exists. We all know that the dockers will constantly urge extensions to the scheme. Once they know that the scheme can be extended, they will press the National Dock Labour Board to make extensions to the scheme. Stores within the EEC will move in to take advantage of any shortfall in accommodation that we cannot provide. Already the Northern European ports are beginning to expand because they think that they will be able to take up the trade that we are likely to lose.

We must bear in mind that a great increase in trade in recent years has taken place because of the roll-on roll-off system. It is curious that the NUR roll-on roll-off ports are excluded from the Bill. Why? Why have they not been brought within the scheme? There must be only one explanation—namely, that the NUR has proved too strong for the Government and has been left out, whereas USDAW and the General and Municipal Workers' Union have been brought in. Why have those ports not been left outside the scheme in the same way as the NUR ports have been excluded? [An HON. MEMBER: "Because of their contribution to Labour funds."] It may well be through their contributions to Labour funds.

Mr. Julian Ridsdale (Harwich)

I welcome the fact that British Railway ports are excluded from the scheme, but is my right hon. Friend aware that many of the smaller ports, especially those near the railway ports, will feel unjustly treated because they have not been dealt with in the same way?

Mr. Prior

I agree with my hon. Friend. I do not blame Colchester and other ports for feeling angry at what has happened. There is no logic or excuse for the present situation.

Those ports were left out of the original take-over bid because they were regarded as passenger ports and not commercial ports. But they have developed very successfully as roll-on roll-off ports, and if there is any logic in the scheme they should be included.

Capital for expansion and development will be concentrated overseas, so the scheme will discourage employment and investment at home. The Secretary of State has seen the unemployment figures double since he took office. The Bill will not help employment. In fact, it will do exactly the reverse.

The right way to look at these matters is to consider dock labour and the ports together. Statutory ports control three-quarters of the dock force and there is no problem there. The National Dock Labour Board is merely sitting in the middle between another statutory authority and the men. There ought to be a proper inquiry to see how we can bring the ports and the dockers together in a new situation to avoid some of the problems confronting us at the moment.

The whole atmosphere has changed since decasualisation of the docks between 1965 and 1967. We now have legislation on unfair dismissals and redundancy as well as the Employment Protection Act. The situation for dockers is different now. There is a surplus of dockers and the problem needs to be dealt with sensibly and reasonably. The right way would be a freeze on the register, with new, selective severance schemes.

We must remove the strife from dockland. I do not believe that the Secre- tary of State's measures will bring any peace. By extending the register, he is fanning the dying embers of a scheme which has outlived its usefulness. It would be better by far for the contribution from the Government and employers and the co-operation of the dockers themselves, many of whom are fed up with past conflicts and have no wish for more, to be directed towards achieving a better set-up. The whole country would then benefit.

The Bill is part of the price of the social contract. It is the Secretary of State's anti-social contract. There is no peace in the Bill, only trouble and disillusionment. It adds one more weight to the burden which is dragging our nation down. The Government deserve to be defeated tonight. Pray God they get their deserts.

5.43 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Delargy (Thurrock)

In one sense we have already voted on this Bill. At the conclusion of the debate on the Queen's Speech there was a Liberal amendment opposing any extension of the Dock Labour Scheme. Behind the Liberals in the Lobby that night were all the other Opposition parties—the Tories, the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and the Unionists. There is a mixed bag if you like. [Interruption.] I represent the most important cargo dock in the country and the second largest terminal port in Europe. I have been associated with the work of dockers for nearly 30 years.

Why was there this unusual unity among Opposition parties and the great enthusiasm to defeat a Bill which had not even been published at that time? It is partly explained by a very astute propaganda campaign against dockers. Opposition to this Bill is not merely opposition to the Government. It is also opposition to the dockers and I shall prove it.

This campaign was initiated by an organisation called the Aims for Freedom and Enterprise. It is certainly enterprising, though one could recommend certain other aims to it, one of which would be the pursuit of truth. I have a pamphlet issued by this organisation. It is anonymous, which is not surprising because no one would want to claim responsibility for this miserable little tract. No one with any knowledge of the docks would be taken in by it, but it is the basis of everything one reads in the newspapers against the Bill. It was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) though he did not tell us he was quoting from it.

Mr. Cyril Smith

It has been quoted widely in the Press.

Mr. Delargy

The whole campaign stated here. The pamphlet was sent to hon. Members in good time for the vote on the Liberal amendment. It gave them four or five days to acquaint themselves with spurious arguments to use against the Government's proposals. A copy was sent to every hon. Member, every newspaper and many other institutions and people. It is still being quoted today. It is not a very good pamphlet. In fact, of all the wild and crashing accusations of thought I have ever encountered, it is the worst. It is a string of allegations such as those we have just heard front the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lowestoft. There is no evidence or proof of any of these allegations and accusations. All the accusations are anonymous.

The opening sentence of the document reads: Outside the gates the ominous cry went up; The dockers are coming'. What an appalling statement. It speaks of dockers as if they were some armed terrorists descending on a defenceless village.

On the next page it says: Britain's 32,416 registered dockers are the most feared group of workers in the country. Feared by whom?

The pamphlet goes on to accuse dockers of causing conflict, thieving, skiving, violence, being paid for work they have not done and overmanning—just the statements we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lowestoft, with the same lack of evidence or proof. That is the sort of argument we constantly hear.

When the anonymous author of this pamphlet tries to substantiate his statements, he reminds me once again of the right hon. Gentleman, who quotes figures but is under some secrecy of the confessional not to say from where the figures come. I do not know why he should be so coy. There is no confidentiality about supplying figures to Opposition spokesmen for parliamentary debates. What is wrong with giving sources?

A similar absence of sources is apparent in the pamphlet. For example, in speaking of the "uncertainty of the Bill" the following phrases are used: "as one director said", "a warehouse manager reports", "a third manager recounts", "a warehouse director says", "a director reports", "a manager adds"; and so it goes on. That is all extremely interesting, but one suspects that the anonymous author of the pamphlet is a liar. One suspects that he is making up these quotations, unless he is under the same sacramental obligation of secrecy as is the right hon. Member for Lowestoft not to disclose his sources. The pamphlet is a long diatribe against British working men, more vicious than anything I have read in my life time.

I detect in the attitude and the speech made by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft undertones of that same disregard for dockers. Opposition members will not say so openly in the House, but one knows that this is what they feel.

When I spoke earlier about the unanimous opposition to the proposals—which had not then been published—I asked why there should be such opposition. Hardly any Opposition member knows anything about docks or has ever met a docker. Yet we have had this determined attack on the Bill. As we heard in the television broadcast last night made by the right hon. Gentleman, the Bill has been attacked more than has any other Bill presented during this Session.

Mr. Aitken

The hon. Gentleman is talking arrant nonsense. A large number of hon. Members on the Opposition Benches, of whom I happen to be one, have dockers in their constituencies, have regular contact with them and know just as much as the hon. Gentleman claims to know what they are thinking.

Mr. Delargy

That may be so. I do not know the hon. Gentleman's constituency or how many dockers he has in his constituency, but it is a fair bet that none of them voted for him.

I was touched to hear the right hon. Member for Lowestoft speak in defence of the unions. Two years ago tonight we were fighting a General Election. That election was fought on one main slogan—

Mr. Prior

"Back to Work with Labour".

Mr. Delargy

Precisely, but the issue on which the General Election was called—it was not Labour which called it but the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath)—was an attack upon the unions. Throughout the land Tory candidates were saying "The question is, who governs this country, the TUC or Parliament?" Yet now the Opposition are posing as the shining champions of trade unionism. That is remarkable. It adds to the gaiety of nations, but it is not serious politics.

There are many positive reasons why the Bill should receive our support. Many have already been given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and others will be given during the debate. I conclude by giving a negative reason why the Bill should receive our support. During all the discussions on the consultative document and since the Bill has been published, in all the controversies in the newspapers and elsewhere, I have not heard one valid, convincing argument against it. Certainly, we did not hear any good argument against it from the right hon. Member for Lowestoft. I am glad that the Bill will receive a Second Reading tonight.

5.56 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth Baker (St. Marylebone)

The hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) speaks with profound knowledge of the dock industry and of dockers, and the House always listens to him with respect. From time to time he falls into the error of believing that only hon. Members who represent dock-working seats or who have a background of the dock industry should speak in the House on matters concerning the docks, but what happens in the docks affects us all, whichever constituency we represent and from whatever part of the country we come. The hon. Gentleman's speech was depressing. The only policy being put forward by the hon. Gentleman and the Government is the Bill, and this does not measure up to the problems of this great but declining industry. The problem is that it is a classically declining industry. On the Continent, with new ports and new invest- ment the dock industry is an expanding industry. In Holland there are new training schemes for young men who want to go into the industry. Yet what do we do? We respond in the most negative and defensive way by digging in. I hope that the Bill will not receive a Second Reading. If it does, we shall take one more step towards a museum economy.

It is well known that Mr. Jack Jones has been one of the proponents of the Bill. Many different motives have been attributed to him, but I believe that his motivation is very simple. He has witnessed the rapid decline of the industry in which he started his working life. When Mr. Jack Jones started as a docker more than 125,000 people were employed in the dock industry. By the end of the war, by 1947, the number had fallen to 80,000. The last published figure is for December 1974, when there were 34,000 registered dockers. When the December 1975 figures are published, the number will probably be 30,000 or 31,000. The Dock Labour Board recognises that in that number there are probably 5,000 for whom there are not jobs. That is the measure of the problem.

I am the director of a company that has a distribution network, and it comes into everyday contact with the Dock Labour Board and dockers, with whom its relationship is harmonious. People who have been concerned in the industry like this have seen it decline more quickly than any other industry in Britain.

What should be the response to a problem of this sort, the regeneration of British industry? The response should certainly not be to dig in and build more barricades. The response, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) said in his speech, ought to be to look not just at dock labour but at the whole problem of the ports and dock labour. We cannot just look at the dockers and not be concerned with where they work, the capitalisation of the ports, the need to give a stimulus to those ports which are expanding, and possibly helping to phase out those ports which the patterns of trade have left high and dry. I believe, therefore, that the Government should have a complete review, so that they can get a complete picture of both the reorganisation of the ports and, indeed, of dock labour.

In that review we have to ask the fundamental question which my right hon. Friend posed this evening: is the Dock Labour Scheme any longer needed or relevant? The Secretary of State for Employment said clearly "Yes". It was clearly needed in 1947; it was needed in the 1960s to see the end of the casual system of labour; but is it really needed today? After the Employment Protection Act, which has changed the position of many workers, is it any longer necessary to create a special type of protection for this group of workers? I am sure that that is the question many people in the country are asking.

However we respond to this enormous, massive, industrial change in this industry, and a rapidly declining industry at that, I am sure the solution is not to create a dockers' corridor by pushing back the waterfront. If we do that we shall be pushing back the restrictive practices of the waterfront five miles into the hinterland. It is not a Right-wing Tory view that there are restrictive practices. It has been well documented in the Rochdale Report, in the Devlin Committee Report, and lovingly by none other than Jack Dash in his book.

I cannot believe that the way to progress is to create this dockers' corridor. It is as if we were trying to solve a problem of the printing industry, another industry bedevilled by restrictive practices, by telling all provincial newspapers to adopt Fleet Street manning levels tomorrow. That would put virtually every provincial newspaper into the same difficulty as the main national newspapers.

By using this device of the dockers' corridor the Government have got into a complete muddle. The Government said "Five miles from the sea", so the parliamentary draftsman said "If you say that, you will have to define the sea." Therefore, for the first time in any parliamentary Bill in the whole of our history, we have a definition of the sea. In Clause 4(4) the parliamentary draftsmen have come up with the definition that 'the sea' includes any area submerged at mean high water". Dr. Johnson did it rather better. He said that the sea is the water opposed to the land; anything rough and tempestuous". Certainly there is no doubt that the passage of the Bill, and its application if it is passed—I think there will be a long constitutional process at the end of this Bill—will lead to rough and tempestuous conclusions.

The hon. Member for Thurrock said that he had not heard one good reason against the Bill. One powerful reason, and the gravest objection, is that the Bill is likely to increase demarcation disputes in the dockers' corridor. This, as the House well knows, has been one of the areas which have created a great deal of dispute in our dockland. There are disputes as to who does what, who lifts off, who puts it on the trolley, who pushes it into the warehouse and handles it out of the warehouse. It was Ernest Bevin who recognised this. The demarcation disputes have gone on continuously and are still going on today in the ports. They have caused enormous trouble for the Transport and General Workers' Union in sorting them out. Ernest Bevin said that for this very reason organising in the docks was enough to break the heart of any trade union official. Therefore I believe that all the difficulties of definition, and disputes about who does what, will be intensified.

I do not believe that the Secretary of State this afternoon, in trying to appease the USDAW members, the NUR or the General and Municipal Workers, gave any assurance that was worth while. He said that in Committee, if it is necessary to put in other checks and balances to increase the area of exemptions, this will be done. I ask him to give one clear undertaking. As a result of this Bill, with the creation of a dockers' corridor, and allowing dockers the right to take jobs in the corridor, will the Minister give the undertaking that no one presently employed will be made redundant? That provision could be put into the Bill in Committee. That is the test of the Secretary of State's guarantee. If, in a situation like this, a warehouseman is made redundant in the dockers' corridor, he will not get redundancy pay. He only gets it if the job is eliminated—not if the job is continued and somebody else does it.

The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Albert Booth)

In view of the undertaking for which the hon. Gentleman has asked, is he able to point to any provision in the Bill that would enable the Dock Labour Board to make anyone redundant in warehouses, cold storage depots or any other depots in order to make a job for a registered dock worker? The hon. Gentleman's whole point is based on a misconception of the Bill.

Mr. Baker

I ask the right hon. Memmer to realise that this sort of demarcation dispute is going on virtually daily in ports at this moment, and it is left to those who make freely negotiated local arrangements to resolve the problem. The Bill is creating a statutory right which does not at present exist. My contention is that this is bound to lead to demarcation disputes. The jobs will be defined in the Bill, and then the dockers will demand them, after they have been defined.

One of the basic misconceptions behind the Government's thinking on the Bill is that, with the decline of job opportunities in the docks, the jobs have moved into the hinterland. The reality, as we all know from containerisation and roll-on/roll-off, is that the jobs have physically and literally disappeared altogether. That is what the Government ought to recognise.

Turning very briefly to the future—one does not wish just to be negative—I believe that two things are necessary. First, I think that the part of the Jones-Aldington proposals about special severance should be resurrected. In the last six months of 1972 and the first two months of 1973, as hon. Members will recollect, there were introduced special severance terms whereby dockers could get about £4,000, paid for by the Government. In fact, 8,389 dockers took advantage of that scheme, at a cost of £30 million. I believe that was a wise and realistic proposal introduced by the previous Conservative Government, and that another scheme like that is needed in order to face the reality of the overstocked register.

Secondly on the positive side I make this suggestion. Let the Transport and General Workers' Union devise arrangements whereby jobs could be reclassified as dockers' work. But this should be done locally, and freely negotiated within the union. There is joint consultative machi- nery for this, as the Secretary of State for Employment pointed out. It goes on every day, and quite satisfactorily. Let this be done by voluntary agreement rather than by statute. The Secretary of State has spent a great deal of time since February 1974 in telling us that the law has no role at all in industrial relations, yet he is using the law to interfere in a very delicate area of industrial relations. Therefore, my suggestion is that the various parts of the Transport and General Workers' Union should be allowed to make their own arrangements voluntarily as to what should be defined as port work. This would make the Labour movement responsible, as the Labour movement should be, for defining workers' rights and deciding their role.

The industry is declining. It is a classic case of a rapidly declining industry. We do not face reality in this sort of situation by trying to extend the practices that have been associated with that decline into other parts of industry and other areas of the country. If we do that tonight, and if the Bill becomes an Act and is implemented, we are certainly on the way to a museum economy.

6.10 p.m.

Mr. Eddie Loyden (Liverpool, Garston)

I want to come back to the purpose of the Bill, because it appears to me that much of what has been said by Opposition Members has strayed far away from the intention and spirit of the Bill. In order to do that, it is necessary to establish, first, whether the Bill is necessary and, secondly, if it is, what are the reasons for it.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that the intention of the Bill was to offer greater security of employment to dock workers and, with it, to bring peace to the industry. As a member of the National Committee of the Docks Section of the Transport and General Workers' Union—I do not declare an interest, because I am not a registered dock worker; I am one of the ancillary workers who are generally imagined to be the arch-enemies of registered dock workers—I became acquainted with the major problem which developed from the 1960s.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) was right to object to the remarks made by Aims of Industry about the Bill. The misrepresentations, and in some cases absolute lies, have been designed to strike fear into the hearts of workers about their jobs and their security. The suggestion is that the Bill constitutes a threat to the employment of people in warehousing and cold storage.

It has also been said that the Bill is intended to offer further protection to dock workers and to strengthen their opposition to the technological change which has taken place in their industry. We have heard a great deal about demarcation disputes an the docks. I know of none. Any disputes which exist between the various sections have been created by employers who have moved out of the docks industry, despite their assurances to the unions that they had no such intention, and set up their businesses outside the docks.

There is another factor involved here. We have to remember that we are, in the end, talking about men—the people who work in the docks industry. No mention has been made by Opposition Members of the security of employment of dock workers or of the contribution they have made to the country's economy in peace and in war. The Opposition talk is cold, clinical terms about a declining industry and about the need for fewer and fewer people in the industry. I worked in the industry for 29 years. I can tell the story of the decline of the British docks industry, and I can assure the House that it has nothing to do with registered dock workers.

Just over a decade ago the port of Liverpool employed 15,500 registered dock workers. Today that port employs 7,000 registered dock workers. During the same earlier period the port of London employed about 28,000 registered dock workers. Today the number is down to 11,000. Just on 40,000 or over 50 per cent. of the jobs have gone from the docks industry. That is the reality of the situation, and it is the essence of the problems of dock workers. No one on the Oposition Benches can discard responsibility for considering the dock worker when these dramatic changes have taken place in the industry.

The fact that the labour force of registered dock workers has been reduced by more than 50 per cent. is an indication that technological changes—roll-on/roll-off, containerisation, palletisation, bulk handling and the rest—have been accepted by dock workers as part of the modernisation of the industry. What the dock worker is not prepared to accept—and in my view he is completely justified—is that people who have made their profits over the years inside the docks industry and, in the process, milked the ports dry of profit should decide to fold their tents, leave the ports and seek greener pastures outside. In doing so, they affect the security of dock workers and put in danger the very docks industry itself.

Without the docks industry based on the National Dock Labour Board our docks would have been in tremendous difficulty for the past 30 or 40 years. The National Dock Labour Board created the first sense of organisation in the industry, and we should pay credit to its architect, Ernest Bevin. The experience which motivated him was not technological change in the industry. Ernest Bevin knew the way that dock workers lived and the conditions in which they worked, and he saw it as one of his rôles to end once and for all the almost animalistic method which people had in those days of hiring dock labour.

At that time, it was considered by Sir Albert Booth that £1 14s. a week was sufficient for a worker to keep his wife and family. When he was asked by Ernest Bevin whether he would be prepared to keep his own family on that amount, he replied "No, of course not. But do not blame me. Blame the system." That is an indication of the attitude of mind prevailing at that time. I am afraid that it still prevails today among Opposition Members. The words may have changed, but the basic argument of the Opposition today is their objection to the National Dock Labour Board. That underlies all the opposition to the Bill.

The National Dock Labour Board secured for dock workers a situation which gave them some degree of security of employment. It removed the casual nature of their employment. Since then the docks have gone through a number of dramatic changes. At one time, all that a docker needed to go to work was a hook which he could buy for 3s. 6d. in a cellar shop along the dock road. On the quay was a hand bogie for his use. Today, men are driving straddle loaders and side loaders and using other equipment worth possibly £100,000 or £200,000. These are the men who, the Opposition say, are resisting change.

No objection has ever been raised by the unions to the door-to-door container system whereby manufacturers deliver their goods to the docks in containers which are stuffed at the point of production. The objection of the dockers is that dubious employers have set up bases in the highways and by-ways around dockland under working conditions which would be unacceptable to dock workers and other trade unionists. These bases receive cargoes from various sources which normally would come to the docks to be stuffed and loaded; they carry out this operation in their depots. When a dock worker waiting at Liverpool for wagons to come in sees containers going over his head and into the hold of a ship, he begins to ask where his work is and what he is supposed to be doing. He naturally feels alarmed about the future of his job and his employment security.

When this began, at the same time the temporary register in London was growing and we saw the beginnings of the pincer movement by employers in an attempt to split the unions over the National Dock Labour Board. The increase in the temporary register meant that men were receiving back pay but were unable to work when the very work that they were supposed to be doing in dockland was being moved elsewhere. Those who argue about consumer protection ought to realise that in such a situation the consumer is paying twice. He is paying dock workers who have no work, and he is also paying those who are doing the work in other places.

It was at that time, prior to 1972, that the dock workers decided that they were going to do something about their employment situation and their future. This was not an argument about pay. It was an argument about the preservation of jobs and, more important, the new generation of jobs that would be lost to the docks for ever. I do not accept the argument of Opposition Members in the sense that the docks are a declining industry. It is a changing industry, and one of the reasons for many of the problems that have emerged today is that there has been no central control over what has been happening.

Ports like Merseyside and London, where huge capital investment programmes of £40 million to £50 million have been carried out, are left unused while we have allowed other ports in the United Kingdom to create new capacity in other parts of the country. That is the economics of insanity. These traditional ports have been left almost derelict. This folly follows a certain pattern as far as the capitalist economy is concerned, because, as we know in the North, there is nothing new in leaving obsolescence behind and creeping off to better things. The whole of industry in the North was left in that state from the Industrial Revolution onwards.

In that sense, therefore, nobody yet knows what changes may take place in Committee, but the Bill sets out clearly to bring back to the dock industry the security and the job opportunities that have been lost to it by the most vicious and ruthless methods. The argument about jobs being taken over by dock workers ought to be nailed here and now. It has never been mentioned, in the Jones-Aldington Report or in any of the reports seen since, that the intention of the Bill was a physical take-over by registered dock workers of work being performed by other workers at this time. That is in the imagination of those who will use any argument at all to contest and oppose the Bill.

The policy of the TGWU and the joint unions concerned was to extend registration. That is the approach they have had from the very outset, not to take over jobs but to seek to register jobs where they have gone out of dockland and have been taken away as employment opportunities.

What we are talking about, therefore, is creating a new generation of jobs for the docks industry. Obviously, while the Bill will not deal with all the problems existing in the docks industry, I believe that in practice, if its spirit and intention are carried out, it will bring about a situation where we can, first of all, remove from the minds of those who have them these misconceived ideas about what the Bill means and it will be welcomed ultimately by other workers. It is welcomed by some of the workers who have been referred to today, because conditions in these places were improved from the time that registered dock workers went in. No reasonable worker would resent that kind of intervention in his working life.

I believe that the Bill takes a first step towards looking at our port transport industry in a realistic way and towards seeing that industry is given a real opportunity of competing with the European ports. Incidentally, argument has been made here about the efficiency of European ports. I did not hear mention of the amount of cross-subsidisation that occurs in European ports, to which they are alleged to be opposed. I believe that the Bill will be a first step towards creating sufficient confidence in the minds of dock workers and others to enable what I hope will be the next step to be taken, allowing the whole of the ports and dock industry to be brought into public ownership, which will mean in the future a really efficient, prosperous and thriving port and transport industry.

6.25 p.m.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

We have all listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden). Clearly, the speech that he has made comes from a deep knowledge of the docks and long experience of them. I am not exactly sure that his speech was concerned with the brotherhood of all workers as opposed to a section of the workers, but perhaps as I go on I may be able to develop that particular criticism, if it was one, of his speech.

May I assure the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) that my secretary has full instructions to put into the waste-paper basket anything that comes to me from Aims of Industry. I never read anything that comes from that organisation, and if the document mentioned were sent to me—I cannot deny that it was—I would like to assure the hon. Member that I certainly never read it and certainly would never think of it. The hon. Member spoke of it as being an attack on dock workers. I see it as a defence of workers. I see it is a defence of consumers, not as an attack on dockers.

I consider the Bill to be the most undesirable, doctrinaire piece of legislation brought before the House by the present Government. I agree with one newspaper which this morning called it a "rotten" Bill, because it is a rotten Bill. Earlier, the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) intervened and talked of "stuffing and stripping". I thought that that was advice which he was giving the Government about the Bill, because that is what they ought to do with it—strip it and stuff it. It is a Bill which is divisive not only on party lines—I accept that that is not particularly important—but on trade union lines, not merely as between different unions but within unions. If the Secretary of State doubts what I say, I can give him petitions signed by shop stewards of the TGWU, signed in one case by a branch secretary of that union. I am perfectly prepared to produce these. My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) this morning received a petition from his constituency and I see that the first signature on it is followed by "Shop Steward, TGWU". It is dated 6th February.

It is no use pretending that all trade unionists are united behind the Bill, because they are not. Frankly, I doubt whether any of the assurances given by the Secretary of State this afternoon are likely to satisfy their anxieties. If the Government go on with the Bill, we must become suspicious of why they are doing so. What is the motivation? We all know that Mr. Jack Jones is docker-oriented. We know that he has assisted the Government very considerably and—if I may say so as one who voted for it—to his credit, on the wages policy. One can only wonder whether the Bill is a kind of reward for service rendered. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Thurrock for having pointed this out, and I can assure him that had he not done so, I certainly would have done, because I feel that it was to the credit of my party that it was a Liberal amendment to the Queen's Speech on this matter that registered the views of so many Members of the House.

I believe that if the piece of legislation now before the House proceeds it can only lead to higher dock levies, greater bureaucracy, more unemployment and a lack of security for thousands of workers. There was a time when Labour supported the workers, but it now appears that it is not the party of the workers but is the party of the dock workers. I suggest to the Government that they ought to have regard to the opinion of the wider cross-section of workers which has been expressed to them.

I should have been much happier if, during his negotiations, the Secretary of State had been willing to meet representatives of organised groups of workers who had collected to oppose the Bill but who were not themselves dockers. I have a letter from the Minister on file declining to meet such a group. Not only did I try to appeal to him to meet them—I thought that I might give him a word of advice that it might be in the Government's own interests—but he was not prepared to do so.

Still trying to be brief myself, I wrote to Mr. Jack Jones to ask whether he would meet me so that I could convey to him the views expressed to me by many of his members. He cleverly shifted out of meeting me and did not even offer another officer of the union in his place. I am prepared to produce the correspondence if necessary.

I am not talking about six days or six weeks since: this was before June last year, when I was desperately striving to understand what the Bill was all about because of the many representations that I had been getting. I was impressed not by those from employers but by those from trade unionists, many of whom I have met.

On Saturday last, which was certainly after the Bill had been published, I happened to be in Grimsby for another purpose. I arrived at 3 p.m. and within two hours there were five shop stewards in my hotel room. I understand that they have already made representations to the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland). I have seen the correspondence. I had to agree with the line he was taking—that they could not expect a member of the Cabinet to vote against the Government—but that does not alter the fact that the Secretary of State has had correspondence with his right hon. Friend on this matter and that the workers of Grimsby have expressed grave doubts to their Member.

I am fascinated by the ambiguity of the Government in industrial relations. It is not long since we had long debates about editorial rights and the freedom of the Press. Then, the Secretary of State argued that such things were better not settled by legislation but that the more we could keep industrial relations out of the courts the better. Today, he says that the reason for the Bill is the bad record of industrial relations, which should be put right legislatively. It is ambiguous of him to argue one way about one section of industry but another way about the docks.

Mr. Foot

I do not think that there is any inconsistency. During the discussions on all these matters we have said that, although the law has its place, it should be carefully considered in each instance. Since, however, the hon. Gentleman is giving all these sinister reasons for the introduction of the Bill, would he comment on the ACAS Report which urgently said that legislation should be brought forward as speedily as possible? Is he aware that that Report went into all the problems of the strike and recorded the desire not only of the dockers but of other sections of the Transport and General Workers' Union that we should proceed with legislation?

Mr. Smith

Yes, but not this particular piece of legislation.

Mr. Foot

May I make it clear? The hon. Gentleman will see in paragraph 57 of the ACAS Report the statement that the representatives of the other sections of the TGWU felt that the Government should speedily introduce the legislation to bring all British courts into the registration scheme and clearly define dock work. That is what we are doing. The Report went on, on that basis, to urge that we should have legislation. I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman would comment on that?

Mr. Smith

Of course, there are other unions involved than the TGWU—the GMWU, USDAW, the Association of Clerical Workers and the EAUW. But the leaders of some of those unions are ignoring the views coming up to them from their rank and file.

Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)


Mr. Smith

Yes, that is a fact. I shall deal with the Minister's intervention later.

The main aim of the Bill is to extend the definition of dock work. I am willing to be guided, since I may not know enough about it, but I am surprised to see that one activity is the identification, checking and recording of goods. That has never struck me as dock work particularly.

Mr. Spearing

I think that that illustrates something of the ignorance of many hon. Members opposite. The unloading of conventional cargo involves not just transfer of goods but sorting to mark, sorting bills of lading, storage under certain conditions and collection together of goods for onward delivery. It is a total operation additional to the physical movement of goods.

Mr. Smith

As I said, I am prepared to be guided by Labour Members as to what is traditional dock work, but if I were interpreting such a provision I should think that that was traditional clerical work.

Mr. Spearing

That is where the hon. Member would be wrong.

Mr. Smith

I am not arguing with the hon. Gentleman; I accept his assurance that that is traditional dock work.

A distance of five miles from ports has been specified. But what worries many people, including me, is Clause 4(5) of the Bill, which allows the Secretary of State to extend the distance even unilaterally. I hope that we will hear tonight how he proposes to use that power. Is there a limit to the distance by which he would extend it? Will it be used on the basis of what is clone rather than the place concerned? This is a very dangerous clause. I know that the Minister has to come to the House and so on, but he will have considerable powers.

Everybody knows that the Cabinet dictates what happens here. As long as he has a majority of the boys behind him and can get it through the Cabinet, the Secretary of State is all right. Some of us are not very impressed with the idea that the Secretary of State always comes up with the suggestion that the House must decide as though this were some great democratic institution where every hon. Member voted just as he liked, irrespective of what his party told him and what his Cabinet wanted to do. I hope that the Minister will tell us how far he proposes to extend the scheme and on what basis.

Clause 2 extends the activities and responsibilities of the National Dock Labour Board. Presumably that carries with it the present rights to require firms to employ labour that they do not need. That is a major problem with ports in the scheme at present. It is certainly something that worries employers considerably.

I have heard and accept many of the reasons given by the hon. Member for Garston for the reduced size of the labour force on the docks. I agree with much of what he said, but it should be clear that there is another reason—that many of the docks in the scheme are now uneconomic in terms of consumer prices compared with ports that do not have to operate the scheme. [Interruption.] It is no good hon. Members dissenting. That is a statement of fact.

I toured the London Docks recently and found them to be a scene of dereliction. It was tragic to see brand new warehouses which had never been used standing idle and wharves with no one on them or using them.

I accept some of the arguments about technological change, but one of the reasons is that people who import to this country have found it easier, cheaper and more reliable to bring their goods in through foreign ports. In the debate on the Queen's Speech, the Leader of the Liberal Party referred to the tea industry. One Labour Member challenged his figures. The port charges at Rotterdam are £10.56 per ton compared with £13.21 per ton in London. Whatever the reasons for this—it may be possible to argue a perfectly logical case for its being cheaper to unload in Rotterdam than in London—it is a fact, and so long as it is people will use the port of Rotterdam rather than London.

I concede that that fact is not entirely attributable to the dock scheme, but some of it is, because employers are being asked to take on labour that they do not want. The wages they pay have to be reflected in the prices they charge. That is one of the problems of the scheme and the way in which it is operating.

Mr. Ivor Clemitson (Luton, East)


Mr. Smith

It is no good the hon. Gentleman shouting through his beard. He must face facts and not make cheap political jibes such as that. The fact is that it is cheaper to unload a ton of tea in Rotterdam than it is in London. One of the reasons is that employers are being asked to pay wages to a hell of a lot of men whom they do not need.

Mr. Spearing

I have the tea charges with me. The dock charges in London are £10.33 a ton and in Rotterdam they are £11.11 a ton. But the ship owners make a surcharge in London of £3.50.

Mr. Smith

I, too, have the figures supplied to the hon. Gentleman, and from the same source. I wrote to the hon. Gentleman giving him the source of my information. I understand that he visited the company concerned after I had given him the address.

Mr. Spearing

I did not visit the company.

Mr. Smith

I accept that, but certainly the hon. Gentleman was in touch with the company and my information was that he was going to visit it. Perhaps he cancelled the visit. On my information, the port of London charges £13.21 a ton and Rotterdam £10.56. Our source of information is the same. I am prepared to let the hon. Gentleman see a copy of a letter which I have.

To what conclusions do we come? First, we conclude that no reasonable case has been made for extending the scope of the 1967 scheme. Secondly, there are deep and genuine fears among thousands of ordinary, decent workers among loyal trade unionists, loyal members of recognised, TUC-affiliated trade unions. I am talking not of tens or scores of workers but of thousands, who have a real fear for the continuation of their jobs under the scheme.

I hope that the Minister of State, for whom I have a deep personal respect, will do his best to alleviate those fears. Fear of unemployment is a terrible thing. Many of the people I have seen, particu- larly in Dagenham, were trade unionists who had experienced the port of London dock scheme. They were not talking from 100 miles away about something going on in London.

The branch secretary of the TGWU picked me up outside the House in his car and drove me to Dagenham and back to meet his fellow workers. His brother was the chairman of the Dock Labour Scheme. What he said about how dockers got jobs under the scheme was revealing, but because I have no evidence I shall say no more than that. It is certain that thousands of workers, thousands of trade unionists, branch secretaries and shop stewards are deeply concerned about their jobs under the scheme. The Government can run and run and burke, but that is a fact and something with which the Government will have to contend. The people concerned are entitled to an answer. Many of them pay the political levy.

Thirdly, the extension of the system of registered dock work will lead to vastly increased costs. The Minister challenged that, but I have a document, dated 9th February, on which I place no particular importance but which represents the views of about 3,500 importers out of a total of 5,000. The importers' main conclusions are that import costs will rise by 5 per cent. or £150 million a year. These increased costs will be passed on to the consumer.

I have not argued about concentrating all food supplies in the hands of a few militants. That is not a vital argument. It could be used about the power workers and all sorts of people. But the House is right to have some regard for the consumers. The evidence, which is not disputed, is that the consumer will be faced with higher costs.

Fourthly, I am worried by the ability of the Secretary of State to declare vast areas of the country dock zones. Fifthly, small ports will be faced with huge increases in costs for no logical reason.

We recognise the Bill for what it is—a gross irrelevance in the present economic situation. It is a belated Christmas present to Mr. Jones. It is a piece of idiotic nonsense which should be committed to where I commit all documents from Aims of Industry—the waste-paper basket. My hon. Friends and I shall vote against it.

6.48 p.m.

Mr. Iain MacCormick (Argyll)

Anyone who has had even a scanty look at the popular Press in the last few days must have imagined that today we should have a great debate on a tremendous issue. I have been disappointed so far, chiefly by the contribution from the Secretary of State, whose speech bore no comparison with some others that he has made. His tenor was of shame of what he had to say. His answers to interventions from both sides of the House amounted to a smoke screen of evasion which added to the impression I had previously.

Most hon. Members felt that this was an issue on which the Government would stake their existence. How absurd for them to choose this issue! I do not share the Government's ideological background. I do not approve of what is generally accepted as Socialist ideology, but I should have admired the Government more if they had chosen to take a stand on their ideological background rather than on this issue.

The Bill cannot be immediately indentified with what I have always imagined to be the Labour Party's ideology. Concorde-like, it has crashed through the ideological barrier, and the Government have led us into a wonderful new ground where, it is thought, it is not the working class or trade unionists that count, but where a particular brand of trade unionism is evidently at present to be favoured. They have arranged to fight their last battle and have drawn themselves into a strong band. In the last ditch they will not fight for the interests of the whole country or of all workers but, in their quasi-Socialist stronghold, they will find a Nirvana where the dock worker is king and where no one else really counts.

From the Scottish National Party's point of view we must point out exactly how the Bill will affect people of all types and classes and members of all trade unions throughout the United Kingdom, particularly those in Scotland. It is not long since we debated the whole principle of devolution. It is probably true to say that many hon. Members who spoke in favour of devolution spoke of the general sins of omission of the Westminster Government. They referred to all the time that has been lost over the question of Scottish legislation. They may even have picked on specific subjects where laws should have been made for Scotland, but such laws have not been passed due to lack of time.

I go further than that. The Bill makes the point that we must go further. Not only have the Westminster Government been guilty of sins of omission, but they have also been guilty of sins of commission in relation to Scotland. Had this wretched and iniquitous measure been on the statute book before the debate on devolution took place, many hon. Members would have raised the question of how the Westminster Government could make a positive mistake about the government of Scotland. That can be backed up solidly by the facts and the differences which exist between the Scottish economy—the Scottish situation—and that south of the border. The very introduction of the Bill as a measure affecting the United Kingdom as a whole is an example of how a kind of doctrinaire adherence to the concept of a rigidly unitary State can harm interests of communities north of the border.

I turn to some examples which illustrate that. The first that comes to mind and which I know also applies to parts of England is that of the small ports. The big battalions of the various sections of the union movement, and, evidently, the Secretary of State, consign the small ports into the outer darkness. However, in a Scottish context they are of vital importance to the communities which they serve. I shall not take up the House's time by citing every example, but a good example are the islands in the West and North of Scotland. We are not speaking of people who have a choice between a small port nearby or a larger port farther away, because in such communities there are only small ports, and every item imported by these communities and sent out must go via those ports.

My party seeks an assurance that this measure will not apply to such small ports. In particular there is the port of Stornoway, which lies in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart). Stornoway is a good example, because it serves an island community of upwards of 20,000 people. Among those who run that port is the last Provost of Stornoway, who is a member of the Labour Party. He told me that the Bill would increase the running costs of that port by at least £25,000 a year and that if there were a change in the method by which goods were brought in to the community the cost would be even higher. It would mean that it would no longer be possible to bring goods in by conventional cargo steamer but the more expensive roll-on/roll-off vehicular ferry method would have to be used.

The Secretary of State for Employment may look puzzled and irritable, but the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is a member of the same Government, recognised this situation only a few months ago when he refused to allow the shipping company to withdrawn its ordinary conventional cargo steamer service because that service saved money for the community. All hon. Members appreciate the penalties of living in such remote island communities, so it is not necessary for me to rehearse the problems. If this iniquitous measure is passed it will not only increase the penalties of living in those remote communities, such as, Stornoway and Lewis, but it will also increase the penalties of living in the other islands in the west which are served by conventional cargo steamer, and in the Orkneys and Shetlands. I should deprecate that.

That also applies with equal force to other small ports on the mainland of Scotland. The right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) referred to Montrose and the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) mentioned Perth, both of which depend to some extent on casual labour in the summer time. Is it not better that those people should be gainfully employed in the dock of Montrose rather than be a charge on unemployment and social security benefits? It is an odd social Nirvana if this is the kind of situation which the Dock Work Regulation Bill is designed to bring about.

Another important aspect is how the Bill will affect the fishing industry in Scotland and in other parts of the United Kingdom. The fishing industry is not safe from the Bill. There are exceptions. Schedule 3, Part II, says: The ordinary work of those forming the crew of a fishing vessel; the unloading of fishing vessels which either—

  1. (a) are less than 25 metres in length and are not ordinarily at sea for more than six days at a time; or
  2. 308
  3. (b) are of that length or greater, and are not ordinarily at sea for more than three days at a time."
Is that the kind of arbitrary limit that we should impose on the fishing industry The Secretary of State will know that Mr. Stewart, the President of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, wrote to him and made this point. We are talking mainly of the Scottish inshore fishing fleet and of a situation where developments are taking place all the time. Are we to restrict the growth of fishing boats to a length of 25 metres simply because of this ridiculous Bill? Are we to become, as the Secretary of State has become, latter-day Luddites opposed to any kind of technological advance simply to satisfy the wishes of a certain small group of trade unionists? I do not think so.

The President of the Scottish Fisher men's Association said that the inshore fishermen are not employees in the normal sense. He said that they are share owners in their boats and in their catches. He said: The consequences of this is that the members of the crew who unload the fish are the owners of the fish. Surely they are entitled to unload their own fish? We have not yet achieved the Utopian State where only members of the gardeners' union may plant potatoes in one's garden or only members of the shoeblacks' union may polish one's shoes. Even the lawyers allow a citizen to conduct his own case in the courts…". That makes the point admirably clear.

I ask the Government to give us a categoric assurance tonight that there will be no interference in any fishing port with the traditional practices which are natural for the fishing industry and which every fisherman, not only in Scotland but, I am sure, in England and other parts of the United Kingdom, is most keen indeed to maintain.

Another aspect which I had thought of dwelling upon to some extent is the food industry. In Scotland the food industry is to a great extent comparable in its recent development with that industry in other parts of the United Kingdom. In recent years there has been the development of the deep freeze and cold storage side of the industry. However, I find that the Bill is rather odd in respect of Scotland from that point of view. Representatives of the cold storage industry in Scotland tell me that the cold stores in Scotland are in the main located at Conon Bridge, Inverness, the Moray Firth, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Aberdeen, Montrose, Dundee, and so on—well within five miles of the sea. That means that virtually the whole of the cold storage industry in Scotland will be covered by this wretched Bill, with the consequence of higher cost and the possibility of industrial trouble to which other hon. Members have referred.

I do not intend to continue at length. However, in conclusion I must say that it strikes me with great force that this matter ought not to be one of these awful ghastly party matters, Left-wing versus Right-wing. I began by saying that this matter in any case goes much further, from the Labour Party's point of view, than the simple ideological Left versus Right battle. The Government have crashed through that barrier long ago with this measure. I ask those Labour Members who represent seats in Scotland—[Hon. Members: "Where are they?"] Indeed, where are they? I had welcomed the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Brown), and I see that the Lord Advocate is present as well. I ask them and their absent colleagues whether this measure really relates to conditions in Scotland. Is it relevant? [Interruption.] I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) is making his presence felt, or rather heard. Do Labour Members think that this measure is relevant to the Scottish situation? If, at the very worst, the Bill is passed, surely at a later stage, in Committee, we can make sure that Scotland is excised from the Bill altogether.

The second group I should like to mention are those Labour Members who are sponsored by trade unions other than the Transport and General Workers' Union. The Bill is also not related to all of the membership of the Transport and General Workers' Union, as has been pointed out by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith). Clearly, the interests of various union members are threatened by the Bill, not only now but also right into the future. From that point of view I ask Labour Members to oppose the Bill.

To the rest of Labour Members, who may not think that they have much involved in this issue, I say, for good- ness' sake let common sense prevail, and if they want to fight a last-ditch battle, let them fight it on better ground than that on which they have chosen to fight this battle.

7.4 p.m.

Mr. Ted Leadbitter (Hartlepool)

The hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. MacCormick) ended his speech on a note of which the House would be wise to remind itself. Let us approach this matter from a commonsense point of view. I do not think that it is right on Second Reading of a Bill to allow the heat that may be generated to displace the reason that is required in order to examine its objectives and purposes, or, indeed to recall its origins. There is no political gain to be achieved by assuming a large amount of protest on television and in the national Press before Second Reading by the Opposition, which now asserts a more muted sound.

The House must ask itself a simple but nevertheless fundamental question. Has the Bill been prepared in a more leisurely and more careful fashion than any previous measure since Devlin some decades ago? I should have thought that it would be quite clear, particularly after the damaging strikes during the period when the Opposition were in power, that we have spent a considerable time in preparing the Bill and in already carrying out a great deal of consultation.

Much play has been made by the Opposition—we understand the reason for it—about divisions and difficulties within and between unions on this matter. That was an acceptable observation from the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith). However, that is the very reason why we had the discussions. That is the reason why doubts and worries about employment affecting other unions had to be discussed.

As Chairman of the Ports Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party, I am very glad to be able to say that we have been working for some years now on the very principle of consultation, discussion and negotiation. I am not associated with any particular political grouping within the House. When I make that observation I hope that the House will pay me the compliment of accepting that I represent what might be called a moderate approach to these matters. I assure the House that where there have been difficulties and worries—as there must be in a House of Commons—there has been the greatest haste to get near to the areas where consultation is necessary. The result has been that in this case, only a matter of two or three weeks ago, the TUC Transport Industries Committee expressed unanimous support—that is the word, "unanimous"—for the Second Reading of the Bill. The signatories to the Press release included 12 unions.

That is not to say, of course, that having made that commitment, of unanimous agreement, that all the difficulties divisions and worries will disappear. Indeed, any kind of legislation before the House is bound to affect the consumer or the public as a working population in some particular way. Therefore, it is not a new, or, as the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) attempted to imply, nasty piece of legislation which has introduced concern and worry for the first time. That is not so. It was because we saw that any kind of change in the regulation of dock work would be bound to affect people other than dockers that consultation had to be the keynote of our approach. Indeed, the consultative document was issued in March of last year and now we are discussing the matter on Second Reading in February of this year. That is not an indication of undue haste.

The other aspect of the Bill which the House should bear in mind is that it is about the first time in any legislation affecting docks and dock workers that there has been put into a Bill enabling powers, purely and simply, and not legislative powers placing upon the industry or certain people a fail accompli situation, a take-it-or-leave-it situation.

The first job of the new National Dock Labour Board will be to deal with the 80 ports which are within the present scheme and to give the Secretary of State information which will help him to devise a new scheme. It will not be able to deal with the other 59 ports outside the scheme, because it will have plenty to do during that period.

As the Secretary of State has made clear, Clause 8 and the definitions in Schedule 4 put an onus upon the industry, the National Dock Labour Board, the trade union movement, the Secretary of State and the CBI to submit recommendations only on the basis of merit. Even those recommendations will be determined in the end by Parliament. In my view, that is a guarantee that the problem will not be approached in a manner which is dictatorial and that there will be a reasonable approach.

Nevertheless, the House must bear in mind that this industry has suffered enough from the uncertainty of employment. In less than 30 years the dock labour force has decreased by more than half from 78,458 to about 34,480. In the past six months the labour force has fallen by about 2,000. Those are the type of dramatic figures which impinge upon the mind of every dock worker the need to ask Parliament for the working conditions which most working people, especially those in the professions, enjoy.

In my view, it is not wrong for the dock workers to ask for their working conditions to be reviewed. It is only reasonable for the Government to approach this matter slowly and carefully, so that it will be determined by consultation and the processes of recommendation. As the Secretary of State said, if there are objections to a recommendation he can send it back for further discussion. This is different from the language of the right hon. Member for Lowestoft, whose record in employment matters and industrial relations was, to say the least, dismal, unsatisfactory and contrary to the national interest between 1970 and 1974.

Let us consider how the Bill affects the non-scheme ports. There are only 59 ports big enough to come within the first general consideration of the scheme. In those ports there are about 2,910 workers who are cargo handling. Of those, about 2,700 are dealing with only third party traffic and a great number of them are in the nationalised industries which are not affected by the Bill. Therefore, we are not talking about a large number of men or a large increase in costs of the kind which some hon. Members have said will affect the consumer. We are dealing with a small number of men in comparison with the present labour force of 32,000 in the scheme ports.

When considering how I should approach the Bill and whether I should give full marks to the Government, I considered to what extent my contribution should try to establish public confidence. During the past few days we have had no contribution to that end from the Opposition. We appreciate the difficulty of arriving at a definition of dock work which will give confidence to those whose jobs may now be affected by the Bill. We must make it abundantly clear that we recognise their problem.

I have had discussions with many bodies—employer as well as employee organisations. I am satisfied that after discussing the matter with me they were fairly well satisfied that the problem was being approached with a sense of responsibility.

Many hon. Members believe that the matter might well have been dealt with better if running concurrent with this Bill there was a Bill on port reorganisation. In that way we would have been able to see more clearly how the two forms of development could be harmonised in such a way as to meet the national interest arising from increasing competition from foreign ports such as Rotterdam, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Rochdale.

When we discuss port reorganisation or labour in the ports, we always look forward to the mention by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft of the famous port of Felixstowe. It is noticeable that today he has not said a word about Felixstowe. Not so many months ago he was rampaging against the Labour Government over their intentions for Felixstowe.

I read in the Press that Felixstowe, after all its prognostications about nationalisation, had stated publicly that its application to proceed towards nationalisation was on the basis of a willing seller dealing with a willing buyer.

At that time Felixstowe was the so-called gem of private enterprise. I do not dispute that. However, after the making of its application to the British Transport Docks Board to become nationalised, the willingness of the workers at Felixstowe to come within the scheme was often questioned by the right hon. Member for Lowestoft. During the past few months the workers at Felixstowe and the unions have voluntarily made it abundantly clear that they want to be in the scheme.

The argument which the right hon. Gentleman had put against our proposal for the port was whipped right out of his hand. The port of Felixstowe is marching into nationalisation and the men are demanding to be in the scheme. Therefore, without that great pillar of support which the right hon. Gentleman once thought he had, and over which he used to charge the Labour Government with being difficult about the development of the scheme and the port reorganisation, he is left naked, defenceless and obviously cold and angry.

I am satisfied with the assurances by my right hon. Friend about what will happen in Standing Committee. He has accepted that there will be amendments to the Bill. The trade union movement has agreed to suggest possible amendments. In a Press release on 21st January the TUC said of the 12 unions concerned: It was agreed that in order to ensure that the language of the Bill adequately covers the points which have for some time been understood and agreed by all the unions, the Minister will be asked to consider some drafting amendments for the Committee stage. As Chairman of the House of Commons Ports Committee I am satisfied with my right hon. Friend's assurances that he will accept an amendment and will initiate others. In view of that, we can support the Bill. I believe that its flexibility is adequate to enable Opposition Members, particularly those with port interests, not to vote against the Bill simply because the right hon. Member for Lowestoft has got himself into a pickle.

7.21 p.m.

Mr. Leon Brittan (Cleveland and Whitby)

The history of civilisation was once described as the transition from status to contract. As civilisation developed, men's relationships with each other changed from a situation in which rights and position were determined by the status in which a man found himself—such as slavery—to one in which agreements were freely entered into. In this Bill the move is in the reverse direction, from contract to status, and that is the central objection to the Bill.

The central feature of the scheme is one in which a unique status is given to dock workers. Unique privileges and unique protection, which are dependent neither upon a contractual relationship nor upon an agreement between them and their employers, are extended to them by a Government scheme which makes them virtually unsackable. The objection to that is not jealousy in the face of privileges enjoyed by the dock workers but rather that the giving of that unique status is unfair to other employees in the rest of industry. It is extending to one small section in the working community a position which no one else in industry or the professions could dream of enjoying. That is surely wrong in principle.

Such protection should be extended in the way the Government have suggested only if it is necessary in order to confer substantial benefits elsewhere which outweigh the fundamental objection to such a privileged status. Does the Bill produce such fundamental benefits? I submit that it does exactly the opposite.

There has been reference to the effect on costs and to the estimate, which is unchallenged, by the British Importers Confederation, with its variegated membership, that the effect of the Bill would be to increase costs by 5 per cent. to a not inconsiderable total of £150 million. That figure was not simply plucked out of the blue. It is based upon examples produced by the confederation. One concerned a London warehouse which was not employing registered dock labour and in which, for a case of canned fruit or vegetables the cost of receiving, housing and redelivering to a van was 6.6p. The same operation using a wharf employing registered dock labour would cost 24p per case. That is a tremendous difference and is a good illustration of the effect of extending the scheme.

What about efficiency? The very fact that costs will go up shows that efficiency will go down. It is apparent why. The reason is not accidental or malevolent. It is that in the past—and there is no reason to believe that things will change in the future—with the scheme inflexibility has been a byword and restrictive practices have been commonplace.

We all know and can cite examples of how the inefficiency arises. Registered labour insists on one gang for loading, another for unloading, two men for examination and another man as a sampler. The effect of this on a small wharf in the London area is that nine men would be needed under the scheme whereas six could do the work otherwise. The wages bill in that sort of situation would go up from £330 to £495, and to that must be added £56.92p for the 11½ per cent. levy. Therefore, if costs are to go up and efficiency is to come down, what is the compensating benefit to the objection in principle to the extension of this privilege? Is it improved labour relations? That is the justification which has been presented to us for all the damage which will be done. There is no evidence that labour relations are one jot or tittle better in the scheme ports than the non-scheme ports, and such evidence as exists points in the opposite direction.

To introduce, as the scheme does, a third party between employer and employee is contrary to all the accepted good principles of industrial relations. By so closely involving the unions with the operation of the scheme, as has been the case up to now, there is a very real danger that they will lose touch with their men and take the blame for management. That has frequently happened in the past. One of the reasons for so much of the industrial dispute in the docks since the war is not the difficulty of dock workers but precisely that with a union-run scheme the dock workers felt that the union was no longer representing their interests, as it would have done if it had not been engaged in management.

There are great fears—it is no use trying to shirk them—that dockers will take jobs away from those currently working in storage areas. I listened carefully to the Secretary of State's assurances. I do not believe that any of the ordinary working people who consulted some of us could possibly be satisfied with those assurances or that they could rely upon them for the safety of their jobs. I hey would not doubt the Secretary of State's honesty. The trouble is that the assurances were so vague.

The Secretary of State referred to long-established warehouses which would not come within the scheme. But when is a warehouse long-established? How long must it have existed before it can remain free of the Secretary of State's tentacles? The right hon. Gentleman ducked one question. Even if it is right that the dockers will not take jobs from the cold-storage workers, what happens when vacancies for those jobs arise? Will only the dockers be employed to fill them? That was the USDAW worry. It was the worry that was not answered.

When considering a central objection to the Bill—namely, the worry that one worker will have his job taken by another—it is not good enough for the Secretary of State or the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter) to say that the matter will be taken care of, if necessary, by amendments made in Committee. This is a matter which has caused deep anxiety among working people. If it is not resolved satisfactorily at this stage, that alone is sufficient reason for the Bill not to have a Second Reading.

The purpose of the scheme is defined in Clause 5(2)(a) as securing stability of employment for dock workers and the creation and maintenance of a permanent labour force of a size and composition appropriate for the efficient performance of dock work". But will the scheme and its extension have that effect? What will be the result of the introduction of the five-mile corridor? Those who have deliberately set up their operations outside the docks will leapfrog the five-mile limit and set up in business a short distance behind it. That will mean that the Secretary of State will say that, because people have found it cheaper and more efficient to operate outside the five-mile corridor, the corridor had better be extended back another five miles, and so on and so forth. Is that the way to achieve stability of employment? Is that the way to improve industrial relations?

Another question which has not been answered is what will happen if the cold-storage concerns close down. By the time that the Government have finished, many of them will have closed down. Will those who have been working in cold-storage plants, and who are registered for the first time under the scheme, be entitled to go to the ports and demand a job? What will happen about that? I do not believe that the dock workers would welcome that approach. Is this a recipe for improved industrial relations? Mr. Norman Douglas, of the British Shippers Council, spoke the truth last month when he said: You cannot create employment by moving a shortage of jobs from the ship's side to the warehouse any more than you can make yourself richer by moving your overdraft from one hank to another If costs increase, efficiency diminishes and labour relations are not improved, and if the fundamental principle of giving a unique privilege and status is undesirable it is hardly surprising that the opposition to the Bill is as vehement as it has shown itself to be. There is remarkable unanimity in the opposition to the Bill.

It is interesting that my constituency is flanked on one side by the Tees and Hartlepool Pool Authority, the large port consisting principally of Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, where many of my constituents work. Within my constituency there is the small port of Whitby. It is fair to say that neither port is run by private enterprise, both being public in one sense or another. However, those concerned in the operation of those ports are unanimous for different reasons in regarding the Bill in its present form as unacceptable.

Mr. Leadbitter

That is an untrue imputation.I spoke for the creation of the Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority in 1967. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not misleading the House deliberately when he makes such a statement. I can assure him that all the dock workers in the Tees and Hartlepool port who are already in the scheme wish to stay in the scheme. They would rebut his suggestion. The hon. Gentleman is saying that from the employers' side there are reasoned objections which he wants to be taken into account in the Bill. I have his letter.

Mr. Brittan

I have the letter as well. We can compare notes. We can see whether it is the same letter. The point I made with great care is that the people running the ports—it is not private enterprise—have grave objections to the Bill in its present form. That is the true position. There is strong objection from those who are concerned with the running of the port at Whitby—namely, the local authority.

Whitby is a good example of a small port. It is not only Scotland that will suffer. What will happen in a part such as Whitby? The answer is that costs will increase and charges to users will increase. Users will be driven elsewhere. Will the regular dock workers at Whitby be any better off as a result of the extention of the scheme? The answer is clearly "No". They already enjoy the same rates of pay, the same holiday pay and the same pensions and bonuses as if they were in the scheme.

What about the casual workers? Will they be any better off? At present they are employed when the harbour is particularly busy. If they are registered, the result will be that costs will soar and it will become prohibitively expensive for cargo to be handled at Whitby. If they are not registered and they are excluded from work even when their labour is necessary, the situation will be exactly as the hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. MacCormick) said in the case of the small Scottish ports. In that event the casual workers will be out of a job. When the harbour is busy, registered workers will have to be brought in from a long way away regardless of the extra costs and delays that will be involved.

What will be the effect upon the services that can be provided by a port such as Whitby? At present, 700-ton ships can be turned round in four hours. That service will no longer be available. The port is bound to decline. Sooner or later even the registered jobs will be in jeopardy. Presumably it is for the benefit of those holding those jobs that the Bill is proposed. The implementation of the scheme would be a disaster for a port such as Whitby and a disaster for countless other small ports throughout the country which are providing an efficient and valuable service for the surrounding areas. Those ports will be destroyed as a hostage to dogma.

Why is the Bill being introduced? Why do we have to have it when it will cause increased inefficiency and the destruction of the small ports? The answer is that it is the product of a squalid political deal between the Secretary of State and Mr. Jack Jones. It has nothing to do with industrial efficiency or industrial relations. It is the purchase of political support by the gift of monopoly. There is nothing new in that. The Bill is merely one of the most blatant examples of one of the oldest and worst traditions of cowardly government. It is a direct descendant of the disreputable land-dealing with robber barons and the granting of tobacco and cotton monopolies by weak Governments to eighteenth century mercantilists.

Since the days of Simon de Montfort the House of Commons has ranged itself against such unfair political favouritism. For six centuries the need to grant political favours unrelated to the needs of the nation has been the hallmark of weak government. The State monopoly is the typical device of those who are unable to govern by the strength of reason and argument, those who must instead resort to the sale of favours to supporters.

Tonight we shall not be voting for or against a new measure designed to solve a particular economic problem. We shall be voting on the eternal question of the morality of government, the price to be paid to outside interests in return for services rendered. That price is far too high for this House to be prepared to pay it, and for that reason the Bill should be defeated.

7.39 p.m.

Mr. Sydney Tierney (Birmingham, Yardley)

Whatever the facts and whatever the fears, whatever the fiction and whatever the fantasies generated by the Bill, most of my hon. Friends regard the Bill as a genuine attempt by my right hon. Friend to update and improve, in the light of modern requirements, the National Dock Labour Board, which exists by virtue of the Dock Workers Employment Scheme of 1967.

We all know and understand that economic and industrial developments have affected the performance and classification of dock work and that change is called for. The Bill will give powers and responsibilities to the Board to keep under review economic and industrial developments which affect, or are likely to affect, the performance of work that qualifies as dock work. The powers will effect changes where necessary, will develop good industrial relations, will seek to improve co-operation between dock employers and dock workers, and will improve efficiency. The powers will adjust the strength and disposition of the labour force in the docks and will lead to an examination of methods of recruitment and training. I am using as a background document a statement made by the Transport and General Workers' Union on the subject of dock work. Is not such a procedure better than constant strikes, bullying or threats, which can only cause complete destruction and ill feeling?

In almost any other situation I believe that the objectives I have related would be accepted as reasonable and desirable. I am sure that they would be welcomed by reasonable people. However, there has been strong reaction and near hysteria about the contents of the Bill, according to some, our food supplies are in peril, for it is feared that the dockers will place a stranglehold on a situation involving an industrial dispute.

In recent months we have observed that neither dockers nor miners have a monopoly of bloody-mindedness. There are other powerful sections, not amateurs when it comes to exercising a stranglehold on the nation. We must place our hope and trust in their good sense and co-operation. We can do no more and no less with the dockers or anybody else. I think that point should be emphasised.

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) spoke of freedom and enterprise. Had he read the Aims document rather than put it in the waste-paper basket, perhaps he would have carried out a "stuffing and stripping" job. Having listened to the hon. Gentleman's judgment arrived at following one visit to Dagenham, I find the hon. Gentleman reminds me of a subscriber to that very organisation. Aims for Freedom of Enterprise has been ensuring that some shop stewards have freedom of speech and has given their remarks maximum publicity.

It was right for my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) to explain the situation in his area because Aims has sought to make claims about public statements made by shop stewards. Aims has claimed that shop stewards have said that the new scheme will produce conflict, theft, skiving and overmanning. No doubt we could find a few shop stewards who would be glad to pass their own judgment on Aims. But perhaps we should not go into that. That kind of public activity is scurrilous and troublemaking and helps nobody.

My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden) made an excellent speech and said that scant regard had been paid to the fact that dock workers have played an important rôle in this country.

As with most pieces of legislation some areas of application are easy to define and fairly clear and straightforward—and that applies to the present Bill. The proposed extension of the dock area bringing in new establishments, the argument over the definition of "dock work", and the question of the point at which a work operation amounts to dock work bring in a host of marginal considerations. It is the lack of clarity and understanding about the effect the Bill will have on these marginal situations that arouses emotions and leads to misunderstandings and conflict.

In January the TUC Transport Industries Committee gave support to the Bill, but sought to ensure that the language of the Bill adequately covered the points which have been understood and agreed by various unions. Consequently, the Minister will be asked to consider amendments on these lines in Committee. A number of unions, including USDAW, were represented on that committee which saw the need to reduce the possibility of inter-union conflict, and achieved a great measure of success.

I wish to declare an interest as a member of USDAW, which for many years has had members in warehousing, food manufacture, storage and packaging, cold stores, tea and coffee warehouses and many other work places. Most of those establishments in which our members work are well within five miles from a port, river or canal, and thousands of our members have had union-company agreements covering their conditions of labour. Those agreements have existed for a long time. Their employment has not been considered to be detrimental to dock workers, and industrial relations have been reasonable over the years. Naturally, many of our members seek some understanding of the scope of the Bill. However, in face of those fears and apprehensions, the contribution made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment earlier in the debate was fair and helpful and I am prepared to trust him on the assurances he gave.

I should like to put on record what some of the Bill's provisions will mean in terms of practical application in work places in which my members are employed. Perhaps I may give an example which may help to allay fears. I am thinking of a cold store within five miles of a port, and certainly within a cargo-handling area, covering about 100 workers. About 60 per cent. of food held in that store comes from the home market. That figure could rise or fall depending on the situation. About 40 per cent. of the food held in that store comprises fish and meat taken off boats, and again that figure could rise or fall according to variable conditions. Some 20 per cent. of the workers engaged in that store carry out dock transport operations. Loaders and drivers handle 40 per cent. of food held in that store. I wish to emphasise that the percentage figures could rise or fall depending on the work in the port. The food holdings in that store could come from London, Liverpool or Felixstowe.

The work force in that store is made up of members of four different unions. The drivers and loaders are members of the Transport and General Workers' Union; the warehousemen, packers and porters are USDAW members; the maintenance men are members of the AUEW; and the office workers are members of APEX.

There are a number of questions I wish to put to the Minister, and I hope that he will deal with them in his reply. Could the loading and carrying of 40 per cent. of food held in that store, having come straight off a boat, be classified under the Bill as "dock work"? If only 20 per cent. of the work force is employed in handling that work, could that number be placed on the register? Thirdly, what will happen to the rest of the work force in that store? Fourthly, if one union has a greater number of members than another union in the same store will it be interpreted as the patch of the one union rather than the other in their operations in that store?

These are some of the questions causing concern to trade unions. I understand from my right hon. Friend's assurances in opening the debate that such fears are groundless, but I hope he will confirm that the kind of operation to which I have referred is not work directly transferred from the docks, is not connected with port operations and is not intended to be included in the scheme.

7.51 p.m.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher (Edinburgh, North)

The financial effects stated in the Bill are modest by the present Government's usual standards, and the Dock Labour Board's borrowings are related essentially to the cost of a further rundown of the dock labour force. But this apparent financial modesty flies in the face of the enormous real cost of the Bill and the Government's policy of appeasement towards dock workers in the big ports.

This legislation makes certain dockers a privileged class of worker and must be seen in broader financial terms—for instance, in the cost of industrial disputes in smaller ports and warehouses which will inevitably follow. There will also inevitably be a reduction in productivity and efficiency and a loss of trade in the smaller ports. Other hon. Members have already mentioned the increased cost of food and other items which will result from the Bill.

If those costs are compared with the redundancy costs of reducing the dock labour force to a realistic level, the financial enormity of the Government's proposals can be seen. Even this Government should know that jobs cannot be created where they do not exist, except perhaps in Government Departments. All that this protective legislation can do is to provide privileged employment for one man and the spectre of unemployment for another.

If the Bill were just a financial folly, it would be bad enough. But it is an extension of privilege as a reward not for effort but for militancy and blackmail. If this is not so, why is this legislation being applied only to dockers in the big ports? Why is there no legislation for a form of registered car worker so that men made redundant by Chrysler or British Leyland can be placed in jobs at present held by garage workers? The prospect of unemployment for car workers, railway men and steel men is just as real as for dockers in the big ports but not as well cushioned.

The hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) claimed that a deliberate campaign was being waged against dockers. This is not so. The dockers who wield power in this country are the militants in London and Liverpool, and they are not typical of dockers in other parts of Great Britain. People are naturally afraid that if these militants are given control of food storage and distribution warehouses their power to hold the country to ransom will be greatly increased.

Mr. Iain Sproat (Aberdeen, South)

A very good example of what my hon. Friend is saying can be seen now in the port of Aberdeen. With the fishing industry in the worst crisis this century, fish porters are saying that, unless they are given a share of the wages that would have been paid to men made redundant at the end of last year, they will refuse to work. Does my hon. Friend agree that this is an example of what we all fear might spread?

Mr. Fletcher

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for highlighting the issue with that relevant and topical case, which brings home the dangers of the sort of dispute which this legislation is bound to encourage.

These are factors that Labour Members ignore at the peril of their constituents. They should remember that they represent their constituents here and not the big unions who give them orders. They may have forgotten that the small ports deal not only with Europe and Scandinavia but also with other parts of the British Isles, particularly the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland. If work is disrupted by disputes at these ports and costs rise, as they must under the Bill, this will hit hardest in the islands where prices are already highest and wages lowest compared with the rest of the United Kingdom.

I make no apology for mentioning again in the debate the small port of Montrose, if only because people on both sides of the industry there have taken the trouble to put their case to hon. Members. I have a letter from a stevedoring firm which illustrates the point.

The firm in question requires 40 dock labourers during the summer months and 70 in the winter. The 40 are full-time employees of the company, enjoying the fullest benefits, and the additional 30 men taken on in the winter are on a supplementary register and assist in the movement of agricultural goods, which depend on Montrose as their outlet to the export markets. During the summer these men work in other industries with a high seasonal labour requirement. If this legislation goes through, the harbour of Montrose will require a full-time force of 70 dock labourers and the increased cost will be £75,000 a year—equivalent to 40p per ton of cargo handled.

That is the sort of sheer financial folly in this legislation which we are trying to make clear to the Government. The aim of the Bill is appeasement, yet it will bring only dispute and destruction. The Secretary of State is helpless to change the course of this privilege Bill—it has been set by his trade union masters—but we are free to exercise our judgment in the national interest, and that will take us all into the "No" Lobby.

7.58 p.m.

Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)

I hope that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher) will forgive me if I do not follow him in his discourse except to say that he used the most shocking language. For a long time at school I was puzzled to find out the meaning of the word "hyperbole". But just listen to this, Mr. Deputy Speaker—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

Order. I know the meaning of the word.

Mr. Johnson

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, North talked about privileged employment for one man and the spectre of unemployment for another. He spoke of blackmail and, in an apparent reference to myself and my hon. Friends for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Tierney) and Hartlepool (Mr. Leadbitter), who are all sponsored members of large and powerful unions, he mentioned our trade union "masters". We are accused of belonging to big unions which give the Government their marching orders. The right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) had his share of bombast and we heard bombast in speech after speech. I wish that so many Opposition Members did not think simply in terms of black and white. This is not a perfect Bill—no one is kidding me about that—

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

The point of comparison here is the amount of time which Labour Members spent consulting trade unions on the Bill compared with the amount of time they spent consulting their constituents, who are the consumers and will have to pay the price of this legislation.

Mr. Johnson

I have consulted my constituents. On Saturday mornings there have been processions of constituents at my surgery. Most of them have been in favour of the Bill and some have been against. I wish to put to the Minister of State some of the anxieties that have been expressed to me.

Several unions, including the General and Municipal Workers' Union—to which I belong—the National Union of Public Employees and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, have expressed anxieties about the Bill. Why should we be so mealy-mouthed as not to be able to say that to our own comrades, our own Ministers? Conversely, why are the Opposition so hypocritical as to shirk what they know to be the facts of life and to give us again this well-trodden path of bombast, saying that the Bill is no good?

The Secretary of State gave some verbal assurances about which I should like to ask the Minister of State one or two questions. There is no doubt that the Bill could affect certain workers in wholesaling, warehousing, coal storage, single-user ports, retailing operations, packaging operations and so on. The single-user port has been adequately dealt with in the Bill. My union has raised some of these matters and my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool, in a very gilded speech, referred to the consultation that had been undertaken.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, North talked of consultations. Is he not a democrat like me? Does he not believe that the Government should consult the parties which will be affected by legislation? Surely he does not object to consultation with the TUC and large unions. Does he deny that we should be able to talk to Ministers and discuss the guts of the Bill?

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

indicated dissent.

Mr. Johnson

I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman shake his head. What he said did not exactly sound like that.

Although some of us may have misgivings about certain parts of the Bill, we are in favour of stabilisation of dock work. Anyone who does not believe in that is mad. We also believe in the improvement of industrial relations in the docks. Anyone who does not believe that is half-witted. We believe that the Bill aims to do those things.

Our anxieties relate not to the Bill and its principle but to certain fringe workers who could be affected by it and to the security of employment. Statements have been made by the Secretary of State, and we are satisfied that those verbal assurances mean what they say. Our anxieties relate to workers in long-established warehousing, storage, packaging and cold-store operations not related to work directly transferred from the dock.

In Hull there are several warehouses and cold stores, including Birds Eye, which do not come under the Bill. That work does not come from the dock. I understand that many hon. Members have received an emotional leaflet on behalf of the tenants of Smithfield. The unions involved, including my own, consider that these workers are presumed to be excluded, but the exclusion provided for in paragraph 10 of Schedule 3 does not clearly exclude warehousing and wholesaling. That must be made explicit. I hope that it will be done in Committee.

We are concerned that equal weight should be placed on the views of unions and management in effected schemes. We are sometimes worried that the National Dock Labour Board is the be-all and end-all and that the unions are merely "called in". We believe that the unions should have much more status and that the initiative should not always be left to the NDLB, as it seems to be left in the text of the Bill. The Bill leaves significant powers with the Secretary of State and the NDLB. That discretion is a little too wide. The Secretary of State gave assurances that these anxieties will be overcome. We look to the Committee stage to assess the viability of these assurances. It is clear that the principle of the Bill should be supported, and I hope that ways and means will be found to overcome these anxieties.

Perhaps I may now say something nice to the Minister. The Bill enables me and my colleagues in Hull to achieve something we have wanted since the days of Ernie Bevin. With a deputation of officials and lay members of my union, I came to see the Minister of State about fish dockers. They wished to be looked after a little better. Unfortunately they have been under the suzerainty of the vessel owners in Hull, and we had the devil's own task to get out of the owners what the workers wanted. I believe that where workers are employed at this moment by non-scheme employers and are essentially doing dock work—loading fish off a vessel from Iceland on to the dock at Hull is just as much dock work as loading bananas, timber or sugar—they should come into this category.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), who is alongside me, knows exactly what I am saying. These men—we call them "bobbers"—do similar work to that of other dockers. There is nothing distinctive or unique about their work. It is clearly to their advantage that they should come within the scheme. My first look at Clause 7 of the Bill seemed to indicate that it would provide for their inclusion. If the Minister of State is able to confirm their inclusion at the end of his speech, it will give enormous happiness to hundreds of dockers and their families in Hull who for years have fought about this question.

The main area of concern is with the extension of the NDLB jurisdiction to a five-mile cargo-handling zone, and perhaps beyond, according to Clause 4(5). There is some concern among our members about the effects of the scheme on established warehousing operations. It was agreed, I understand, at the TUC Transport Industries Committee on 4th November that these activities should not be included in the extension of the Dock Labour Scheme.

The apprehension of our members is well founded. Unless we alter the text, as I assume we shall, by way of amendment in Committee, the workers to whom I have referred will be excluded. On the contrary, Part II of Schedule 3 specifically includes work in connection with warehousing, sorting, weighing, movement and lighterage. These will be classified, I understand, as dock work. This gives some concern over some of our members' existing jobs in the sense that they may—again I am qualifying it—be in danger of take-over.

I listened carefully to the Secretary of State and feel much better than I did an hour or two ago. I tell those hon. Gentlemen opposite with somewhat sarcastic and sneering visages that I have faith in my colleagues in the Cabinet and believe what they say. If I did not, I should not be sitting behind them and voting, as I shall tonight, for the Bill.

Mr. Peter Rees (Dover and Deal)

Since the hon. Gentleman has directed his attention at me, perhaps he could ask his right hon. Friend the Minister of State to deal with the dilemma from which his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State flinched. If there is to be an incorporation into the registered dock labour force of all those working in the cargo-handling zone, this will provide no security for the existing members' registered force. If, on the other hand, they are not to be incorporated, the assurances which the Secretary of State gave earlier in the debate are really not worth the hot air expelled into the Chamber in uttering them. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will concentrate on that dilemma, because it should be exercising him and his constituents.

Mr. Johnson

Since I am not the Minister, I shall not attempt to answer the question but will leave it to the Minister as I have faith in my colleagues in my party. Obviously, by definition, the hon. and learned Member for Dover and Deal (Mr. Rees) cannot share that faith. But life is subjective. The hon. and learned Member has his opinion about this matter, and I dare say the Minister of State will take note of what he has said and perhaps say something about it towards the end of his winding-up speech.

I hope I have indicated to the Minister that there are these legitimate anxieties, and I should be a humbug if I did not, from these Benches behind him, state the feeling of the people who come to my surgery and whom I have met in the course of meetings, deputations and delegations. There have been deputations to the House, as the Minister knows, of officials from my union and others with lay members alongside them. I am sure that when the Minister winds up he will pay some attention to what I have said and make some comment on it.

The majority of the anxieties originally expressed over the proposals in the consultative document have been met in the wording of the Bill, but there are still some lacunae and I hope that they will be dealt with in Committee. The provision for consultation with parties seems to be inadequate and I ask the Minister to look again at the text of the Bill in that respect. It needs to be modified to allow equal status to all parties concerned.

I conclude by repeating, for the benefit of some doubters on the Opposition side, that I believe in the principle of the Bill. It will stablilise conditions in the docks and will, in my view, with those amendments, give a square deal to those in other unions which were a little anxious a few weeks ago.

8.18 p.m.

Mr. Robert Hicks (Bodmin)

I wish to concentrate my remarks on the effects that the provisions of the Bill will have on two industries, agriculture and food, but first I should like to make one or two more general observations.

I find it particularly disturbing that during the Secretary of State's opening remarks he paid so little attention to the existing 59 non-scheme ports. As the Secretary of State will know from his West Country connections, we have many of these in that part of the world, in particular at Teignmouth and Exmouth. They all play a most useful part in the local economy, providing a service which no one else can fulfil. The fact that they are totally disregarded clearly illustrates that the concept "big means better is winning its way with the Minister at the present time.

My second general point relates to the cost of implementing these proposals, the effect they will have on the efficiency of those associated occupational activities which we have discussed this afternoon, and, in the ultimate, the effect they will have on the price the consumer has to pay.

I should also, in passing, like to make the point that, in my view, because the dock industry has undergone such massive industrial change in recent years, it is wrong for the Government to try to isolate the problems of our ports and harbours in general from the question of the definition of dock labour. By trying to separate these two issues, the Government have missed an opportunity to formulate a meaningful, progressive programme for our ports and harbours in the future.

As has been said already, the present Dock Labour Scheme was introduced in 1967. We now have some 32,000 registered dockers who are placed in a very special position amongst their fellow British workers. This Bill envisages the extension of the system to all ports, the hinterlands within the five-mile corridor, and along inland waterways. This, in spite of what has been said earlier this afternoon, means that this geographical extension will be accompanied by an occupational extension. Nothing that the Minister said in answering his hon. Friends earlier convinces me otherwise at this stage. Therefore, as I understand the position, with certain exceptions which are already set out in the Bill, this will embrace in the future practically anyone handling imported goods or those destined for export, not only in the ports but also in warehouses, cold stores and other distribution depots and installations within five miles of the coast or estuary.

In addition, there is the very worrying reserve power that any other location within the United Kingdom could at some future date be designated as a cargo-handling zone. These proposals clearly contain far-reaching implications which will affect not only those engaged in these activities at present but also the country as a whole. Therefore, we are entitled to ask why these proposals are being introduced.

The Bill defines the purposes of the scheme as being to secure stability of employment for dock workers and to ensure that dock work is carried out only by dock workers. There may be other motivations, but the final effect will be to find new openings for the existing surplus dock labour, which means compelling employers to engage dock labour for a whole range of additional activities at the expense of existing employees belonging maybe to other unions but engaged in the same activities.

I believe that this will have damaging effects not only from the labour relations aspect which has been mentioned, not only from the point of view of over-maiming, not only in terms of restrictive practices, which certainly applicable here, but also from the point of view of efficiency and costs and the consequential effect that these factors will have on the prices paid by the consumer.

I want, therefore, to refer to this in the context of agriculture and food, bearing in mind the overhanging problems of industrial relations which no one can pretend have been good in the docks industry in the past. Far be it from me to suggest gloom and despair, but it is causing genuine concern to people in the country, who are asking what alternative means there would be to keep going the country's food supplies in the event of industrial action. In the past this has been done through the non-scheme ports, as a result of reserve stocks of raw materials of all kinds in warehouses, and thanks to large quantities of food in cold stores, but, as I interpret the position, these options would be denied to the consumer and to the farmer in the future, thus enabling this one section of the community to impose its will on the rest of the nation.

Do not the Government realise that, in the event of an emergency, if these alternative sources of supply were not available, their proposals could have a disastrous effect on British farms, on pig production, poultry production and egg production?

Mr. Foot

Oh, God.

Mr. Hicks

The Secretary of State may well say "Oh, God". He represents Ebbw Vale. He may not have any farms in his constituency, but I can assure him that in the area which I represent and which he was obliged to leave in 1955 these matters that I am bringing to the attention of the House really concern people. The Government's proposals could have an adverse affect on the whole livestock sector of British farming.

The same is true of the consumer, bearing in mind that 50 per cent. of our food is imported. The Secretary of State has not denied that there will be an increase in costs. This will most certainly mean that the housewife will have to face rising prices. Our food distribution network is a highly integrated and efficient industry, and it is very cost conscious. I appre- ciate that it is difficult to estimate the increase in costs which would result if these proposals were implemented in full, but there is no doubt that there will be additional financial burdens for the consumer to bear.

I believe that, later this evening, the House will appreciate readily that these are both undesirable and unnecessary. Both the producer and the consumer of food will be affected adversely by these proposals. They are totally irrelevant to the nation's requirement. Above ail, they provide a framework which could be very damaging to our country in the future. For those reasons, they must be opposed.

8.25 p.m.

Mr. Ron Thomas (Bristol, North-West)

I apologise to the House for not having been able to listen to the whole of this debate. I have spent some time upstairs in the Standing Committee considering the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. Of course, we had some horror stories about that Bill, but we would have to go a long way to find the equivalent of the horror stories that we have read in the Press of late and that we have heard today about the present Bill.

We have been told about a group of workers who have been described as "masters in inflexibility". We have heard about the development and the retention of restrictive practices. We have been told that some of us are being dictated to by a very large union, presumably the Transport and General Workers' Union. Last November, in looking at this piece of legislation, the Daily Telegraph talked about the dockers having the nation by the throat". Yet, if we look at the numbers employed in the docks industry, the first striking feature is that over the last decade, according to the National Ports Council, the number of registered dock workers has fallen from 64,000 to 34,000. It has been cut by half. If that is because of inflexibility, restrictive practices and a massive, powerful union, heaven help the rest of us.

That is the position, and, again according to the report of the National Ports Council, there were 54,672 registered dockers in 1968 and by 1974 there were 34,600. That is a cut of about 40 per cent., and although these statistics are not completely comparable the total tonnage over that period increased by 13 per cent. We are told that this is a powerful union dictating to people which are able to keep inflexibility and restrictive practices, holding the nation by the throat, and goodness knows what else.

My right hon. Friend quite rightly referred to the history of this industry. I represent Bristol, North-West, which contains Avonmouth. Having tried to spend some time studying the docks industry I would add something to what my right hon. Friend has said. He spoke of attempts to bring in legislation over a long period of time. I would sum up this industry in terms of employers who have consistently evaded their responsibilities, and have done so irrespective of what has happened in attempts to get them to heed their responsibilities. We have had report after report and we have had some good pieces of legislation from this House, but many employers have evaded, either completely or partly, their responsibilities. People who have been in this House for a long time have tried to lay down what those responsibilities ought to be, but after they have done so employers have evaded their responsibilities to workers who still work in appalling and ofter dangerous conditions.

I can remember not so long ago going down to the "Pen" in the Port of Avonmouth on many occasions where 1,500 dockers were standing around and employers came out and selected some of them and said "I will take you, but not yon. I will take you, but not you because you were injured some time ago, so no work for you." It was like a[...] cattle market.

This was still going on until quite recently when we had the decasualisation proposals. We have had reports like those of Devlin and Bristow and the setting up of the National Dock Labour Board and decasualisation. We have had the Jones-Aldington Report and legislation. In my judgment this is an extension of that, and given the modern conditions it is absolutely essential.

We have seen the reaction of many companies faced with the kind of legislation that this House has tried to bring in to prevent the appalling conditions and the appalling spectacle of dockers being taken on or not taken on in this way. Many of these are powerful multinational companies. We remember that, at a time when the dockers were put in prison, it was suggested that the employer concerned was a little firm which had been built up by one man; but it was then discovered that it was a large multinational company with an empire stretching from the Argentine to Brazil and elsewhere. That is the kind of story which is put out when these multinational companies try to evade their responsibilities. They have set up facilities outside the docks. That is what this is all about.

We have heard a great deal in this debate about the efficient utilisation of economic resources. My dockers tell me that within the area of Avonmouth thousands of pounds have been spent on warehouses outside the docks by these multinational firms which are part of the oligopolistic type shipping lines, like Corrie's, Bibby and Union Cold Store. They have spent thousands of pounds in economic resources building warehouses and so on while existing warehouses and cold stores on the docks are standing empty and idle. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because they want cheaper labour. They are not prepared to meet the kind of requirements and responsibilities that are laid down by the National Dock Labour Board. In fact, if it were possible these firms would build their warehouses in South Korea or somewhere like that. That is exactly the same kind of situation.

While they are doing that, 70 per cent. of dockers are sent home because there is no work. Dockers in Avonmouth are not attempting to claim other people's jobs, but view this only in terms of jobs which are quite clearly related to cargo being taken off and put on ships. In my judgment, Schedule 3 lays this out quite clearly in its definition of cargo and work which may be classified as dock work. It lays out quite clearly what the Government are seeking to do.

I very much support this piece of legislation. As for this image of thousands of dockers descending on these warehouses to take away jobs from other people, there are only 34,000 dockers left. If they continue to leave the industry or to retire at the present rate for very much longer there will be none left, so how many are we talking about? I understand from statistics of the National Ports Council that about 10,000 of the 34,000 are over the age of 50. Many are coming towards retirement—and yet it is said they are to come in their thousands to take over other people's jobs. To say that is really a nonsense. It is completely divorced from reality.

I support the National Dock Labour Scheme because, although, in my view, it does not go far enough, it is an important extension of industrial democracy. I know that the five-mile zone can be extended. If I were framing the Bill, I would define dock work and I should not care in what part of the country it might be. I have had representations from employers who say "We will go along with it, but it is unfair that we should be put in that position while another employer who has moved 20 miles down the road is not." I welcome the Bill and I hope that before long we shall be giving a Second Reading to a Bill to take all the ports into public ownership.

8.36 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Mayhew (Royal Tunbridge Wells)

The hon. member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Thomas) speaks with knowledge of the docks from his own constituency interest, which always commands support, certainly from me. He has at last come out into the open and placed before us the true reason for the Bill—that dockers who have lost work should be able to pursue it and oblige the importers, the warehouse owners and the cold-store companies to employ them, although the economics of international competition have obliged those importers and employers to move from the docks, where they would no doubt have been glad to continue to use existing installations.

If it is openly stated that the object of the Bill is to enable dockers to pursue work which their own restrictive practices have helped to make uneconomic at the docks, at least we know where we stand. When the Secretary of State explained the Bill, however, he shied away from the logical consequences. He said that no one would lose his job as a result of the extended operation of the Dock Labour Scheme. But then the right hon. Gentleman was unable to explain how it would advantage the registered dock worker. If no one is to lose his job, how is the dock worker to regain employment which he has lost? That is the dilemma of any Minister supporting the Bill who is reluctant, understandably, to come out so frankly with the real reason for it.

The sensible approach lies in a remark by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Baker), who in an excellent speech said that we cannot consider the problems of the docks in isolation. When we legislate for this industry, we are not seeking to regulate an Indian reservation the affairs of which are of interest only to a select few. This industry effects every other industry and person in the country.

I was disturbed that the Secretary of State gave no indication of having considered even the interests of anyone but the dock workers or of any other industry, let alone how the interests of those other people and industries would be advantaged. I am not surprised, because the Bill is concerned only with the interests of dock workers. Clause 5 sets it out in black and white that the main concern is the greater stability of employment in the docks and the extension of registerd dock working to all appropriate work.

So far as I know, nobody who is not a dock worker is in favour of the Bill. Is there a cold-storage operator in the zones to be affected who will welcome it? Is there a haulage operator who will welcome it? Is there a chamber of commerce, a trade association or a consumers' organisation which has said that it welcomes this measure? I believe that there is none. Lest I should be thought to be taking a one-sided view, can it be said that every trade union welcomes the Bill? From the reservations, doubts and grumbles we have heard, however muted, from the Government Benches, we know that the answer is "No".

The truth is that there are many people who see in the Bill the seeds of future conflict. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) said, it is a measure which is intended to increase the power and the privilege of one sector of the work force.

Mr. Foot

Has the right hon, and learned Gentleman read the Report by ACAS on the strike at the beginning of last year, in which it recommended early legislation?

Mr. Mayhew

I agree that ACAS recommended early legislation, but it did not recommend this legislation. I am saying that there is no evidence that anybody concerned with the operation of industry or with consumers' interests has welcomed the legislation. Instead, it is seen to contain the makings of increased privilege for a body which is at present uniquely privileged in the industrial scene. I understand why that privilege was introduced, and I respect the concern that hon. Members who represent dock constituencies have demonstrated. We should not forget historic inequities, injustices and hardships which in Victorian days and more recently have obtained in the dock industry. But the rest of us have to move on and cope with a modern England.

I want to see recognition of the continuing problems in the docks and recognition that there is declining work for those working in the docks, but I want different methods of dealing with the problems. The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West asked why the industry had declined from about 60,000 workers to 34,000 in the last 10 years. Those figures may not be exact but they point to a decline, which has happened largely because about £60 million has been rightly spent on paying people to leave the industry.

Mr. Ron Thomas

I was not posing that question. I was saying "If the labour force is cut by half when a group of workers are said to using restrictive practices, and to have the nation by the throat, and when they belong to powerful trade unions, heaven help them if they had a weak trade union!"

Mr. Mayhew

I know that that is what the hon. Gentleman was saying. I do not put my opposition to the Bill on the stranglehold argument. The facts show that if sufficient monetary inducement is offered people will leave the industry. In 1974 75,000 man-days were lost through strikes in the docks and in 1973 160,000 man-days were lost. Every time there is a strike exports are lost, delivery dates are not met, good will is lost and the country's interests are endangered.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Thanet, West)

A major reason for all the dock workers being held in contempt is the colossal number of thefts which take place from docks. There are so many thefts that after a few days of being on strike the dockers have to go back to work.

Mr. Mayhew

My hon. and learned Friend has a constituency knowledge of ports that I shall not seek to emulate.

As my hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone said, we have to examine the problems of the dock industry in the context of the interests of the country as a whole. When consumers experience increased prices, the Government should realise that there will be increased inflation. Industrialists realise that there will be greater difficulties in industrial relations and greater increases in prices.

The problem of the docks cannot be solved by extending the industry's unique privilege. An alternative exists. That alternative has already resulted in the expenditure of £60 million, which was properly spent, in order to diminish a surplus dock labour force. That is what we should be doing instead of paying off election debts by introducing this monstrous and highly damaging Bill.

9.46 p.m.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

We have heard a great deal of rubbish spoken in this Chamber tonight. It is incumbent on me to disprove some of the points that have been made by hon. Members who have no experience of dock work. I doubt whether they have ever visited a dock. If, like the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), who is not present, they visited and saw an empty space, they have not understood the economics or the reason for that situation coming about, they have believed what has been printed in the Press and they have put it down to the plague of the country, namely, unions and strikes. That is not the position. Hon. Members do not have to take my word for it. It has constantly been made clear by Government spokesmen and by several hon. Members that inquiries have investigated many of the issues, examined the causes and have recommended that legislation is the answer to regulating and bringing some form of stability to the industry.

When people speak, as hon. Members have done today, of the causes for the decline in the industry, it reflects their lack of adequate knowledge. I have worked as a docker in New Zealand and for 10 years I was a seaman. Therefore, I have spent a considerable time around the waterfronts of this country and in other parts of the world. The problems of the dockers, which relate to technology, changes and cheaper costs, are similar to those which face every country in the world.

We have to find an industrial solution to the real problem which faces dockers and their industry. Not only do they face technological change but they also face the real basic motivation of the capitalist system, namely, that the employer has sought to find a cheaper source of labour. That is not unique to dockers. It applies to seamen and to every other form of worker. The difference is that some workers are in a stronger position to resist that pressure and others are in a considerably weaker position.

I welcome the Bill wholeheartedly. However, it provides only half the solution. The Bill should have been one to nationalise the docks. The problem is that we have always sought to reorganise the docks piecemeal and we have not implemented a comprehensive solution to the problem. That is part of the criticism I make of the Opposition's position tonight.

This legislation not only affects the workers involved but it extends their rights and industrial democracy. This industry is the one industry in which there has been a fifty-fifty arrangement because workers have had equal rights with employers over their conditions. It has not been easy for the employers to have their way over matters affecting the docks because there has been this fifty-fifty arrangement which gave equal powers and negotiating strengths. That is one of the factors which are being resisted by Conservative Members when they oppose the Bill.

Before passing on to other matters, I might add that I hope that the Secretary of State will bear in mind and press upon other Departments that we should not allow any private cavorting by private companies to take over at Felixstowe. It is essential that that system comes within the public system.

It has been said today that there are not any workers who are demanding to come into this scheme. From my experience in Hull I know that there are, indeed, workers who are demanding this. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Johnson) has mentioned this. The bobbers in Hull have been demanding that they should be part of the National Dock Labour Scheme. There are building workers who want a registration scheme because it will advance their conditions of work. That is solely why they want it. It means extra cost, but that is what it is about.

That is the continual conflict between those who want a cheaper cost and the trade unions which attempt to get a fair price for what their members offer. Twice as many seamen from my area are in a registration scheme. Fishermen are also now going into and want a statutory registration scheme. Therefore, it is not right to say that workers do not want to come under some kind of registration. If it improves their power and position and conditions of work, clearly most workers will want that.

There are workers who are concerned quite a lot by the publicity that has blown up about whether the Bill is a threat to their jobs. I shall come to that matter. However, when I hear an Opposition Member say that he is concerned about the unfair advantages that dockers have and that they should not advance as a vanguard of better conditions for workers, it seems that what the Opposition are saying is that we should all level down. When it comes to the maintenance of privilege in private education, apparently one cannot bring the privileged into the comprehensive education system because we all ought to be levelled up. There is a contradiction there. What this means is that one privilege is better than another but the privilege of private education is considerably more acceptable than the privilege of a docker, in this case, or a worker generally to advance his working conditions.

As I have said, since 1920 the inquiries have advocated the ending of casualisation. Devlin made it clear, as did the recent reports such as the ACAS-Bristow Report and the Aldington-Jones Report. I was surprised to hear the Opposition Front Bench spokesman saying that these were not impartial inquiries and that he wanted an impartial inquiry now. I must say to him that one of the plagues of this industry is the uncertainty that more and more inquiries have produced. We have had inquiry after inquiry but no action whatsoever. The uncertainty that this has introduced into the industry was a major contributory factor to the disputes in 1972. That factor was aided by the development of the off-the-dock estates into container areas and small wharves. This played a major part in my area.

The main charges levelled by the Opposition against the Bill are in two broad categories. Because of the lack of time I shall not go into them at length. The first is that the Bill will not develop an efficient system and that costs will increase. I am bound to say to the Opposition that there is a second contradiction in their arguments. It is not only technology that has led industry to move from the dock estate. It is largely the fact of the cheaper costs that exist outside it—but just outside the gate, and not in the centre of other areas. The dockers do not dispute the matter of the distribution of some traffic if it is moved into Leeds, for instance, but they are highly resentful if it moves just outside the dock gate to obtain cheap labour, because this causes redundancies. It causes resentment and considerable industrial relations problems.

In my area, Hull, we have seen developed the unregistered Humberside wharves, 21 of them. That is a major concentration in the Humberside area. It has been attracted there by the fact that cheap labour is provided there. However, the social conditions are far below the standard that other dockers enjoy. There is no sick pay in many cases, and safety conditions are far worse than those which exist in registered docks. Labour is cheap and is working many hours. Hon. Members do not have to take my word for that. They can look at the report of the inquiry by the National Ports Council set up by the previous Government to look into the conditions of the wharves. To a certain extent, therefore, there is some hypocrisy in that argument.

I come to another aspect of the subject of costs and efficiency. The Opposition, when in power—and my own Government—believed in the financial obligation of the nationalised industries, that is, that they would have to pay a certain rate of return over a certain period. The Opposition take it much further. They believe that we should impose a heavy financial discipline on the docks because that is the way to introduce modernisation. They want to see a high return on capital investment. The difficulty is that £35 million has been spent by the nationalised industries in modernising the Humber port with container cranes—which are necessary for trade—huge wharves and new docks. The problem is that a great deal of traffic has diverted past the port of Hull. Nearly 2 million tons has been lost. To Hull that means a lot of lost income.

There are financial obligations. As the costs go up, so also do the charges to meet the higher interest rates. Thus the port has less revenue. The smaller wharves are in a better economic position to compete because they are not members of the scheme. With a few thousand pounds' investment they have been able to get cheap labour and cheap advantages. Even if the labour costs were equal, the scheme ports could not compete. It would mean the dissipation of all the port development. Dockers become highly resentful when they see millions of tons of traffic going to the smaller wharves run by hauliers who want to bypass the system and who have economic advantages in their favour. The dockers ask what will be done about it.

Although we pressed in Opposition in debate after debate, the then Government were not prepared to deal with the situation. Therefore, in 1972 the dockers took their own action in the dispute over the wharves. I joined them on the picket lines because it was right to stop the development of the smaller wharves—the third-party wharves—and I hope that that will eventually come about. It is clearly part of any nationalisation programme.

There will be many effects if the port of Hull declines. The effects will be felt by the railway workers, the lorry drivers, the shipbuilding workers and all the industries associated with our port economy. Those people will fight not only for their work but for the whole economic development of, in this case, an area with high unemployment. When the Conservative Government refused to take action, the dockers took the only action they knew—and effectively—to achieve their ends.

The matter of costs was made clear by my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) in an exchange which he had with the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) about tea. The point was made that there was a 10 to 15 per cent. difference in costs between Rotterdam and the United Kingdom. The hon. Gentleman admitted that it was the freight system, the conference system that imposed the charges, which made the difference. If we are concerned about costs, we should attack the conference system which creates the extra cost. The hon. Gentleman concentrates his attack only on the labour system and its costs.

I should like to quote the example of a firm of timber merchants in Hull. It complained that it was having to put £1 on the cost of timber from a Russian ship because it would take longer to unload. It said that the dockers were sitting down and not working. I investigated the circumstances. The lorry driver who was taken on to move the wood was from a small-time firm obviously offering a cheap service. However, he did not have enough stillages to take the timber from the ship. When the dockers had filled one they had to wait for the next.

What are they expected to do? Of course they sat down. However, the charge went up to £1. The price went up not because the dockers sat down but because a petty haulage lorry driver did not have enough capital to develop his business. The employer did not look at the situation in that way. He blamed the dockers.

I should like to refer to the claim that the Bill threatens jobs. The assurances given by the Secretary of State are sufficient. After the struggle in 1972, the dockers and the lorry drivers were at odds. I had to address many angry lorry drivers who felt that their jobs were being threatened. They got together under a union official called Jack Ashwell and they formed a committee. It consisted of dockers, lorry drivers and employers. There were two employers and four workers, and it decided how the work of stripping and stuffing should be dealt with. Even though the number of dockers in Hull has been reduced from 6,000 to 2,000 in the last 10 years, the dock workers did not insist that the work in the warehouses should be given to them. They simply asked that the workers doing the job should be given the dock rate of pay.

One hon. Member asked whether the system would work. In one warehouse in Hull some men are paid the dock rate and others are paid another rate, but they are working amicably together. I welcome the Bill as an advance, but we impatiently await the nationalisation of the ports.

9.1 p.m.

Mr. Barney Hayhoe (Brentford and Isleworth)

The last argument produced by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) was a cogent case against the Bill. He said that in his constituency problems which had arisen had been solved by collective arrangements between the people concerned. There is no need for a law to deal with the situation which he precisely described. That is part of our argument against the Bill.

The debate has been characterised by Labour Members looking backwards and fighting, once again, the battles of yesteryear, whereas my hon. Friends have been looking forward to the problems of tomorrow in a vital industry which has been affected by technological change. I had intended to say that the debate had shown not a single wholehearted supporter of the Bill, but then that case was ruined by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East, and now I must say that there has been only one wholehearted supporter who seeks to attach no conditions to the Bill. Even the Secretary of State in introducing it seemed to devote most of his speech to talking about amendments and giving assurances, but we had much more talk than commitment from him.

We accept that there are problems in the docks. It is an industry of declining job opportunities, opportunities which have been the victim of technological change such as containerisation, roll-on/roll-off, palletisation and bulk loading and unloading. It has a past history of casual labour and of unfairness and injustice. This past history has combined with increasing fears about job security and stability.

Of course the dock industry is very important. As a country we live and survive by exports and imports. Labour Members have sought to turn our opposition to the Bill into a general attack on the ports and those who work in them. That is a gross misrepresentation of our case. We believe that the Bill is an irrelevant absurdity, and that it will prove wasteful and costly to the consumer. It will be divisive of working people, and it is dangerous for the community and for the nation.

It must rank high in the all-time list of unwanted legislation. The lack of enthusiasm displayed by even the most loyal Government supporters was notable, and the Bill is not wanted by many unions and probably not by most workers. As far as I am aware, the TUC has not come out with any great enthusiasm for the Bill. It is not wanted by those who use the ports—for example, the General Council of British Shipping, the British Ports Association, the Grain and Feed Trade Association, which is important to the livestock industry, the British Importers Confederation, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the British Chamber of Commerce. The Food and Drink Industry Council and the National Cold Storage Federation are extremely worried. In some of the speeches of Labour Members there has been a reflection of that concern. Practically everyone who has seen and studied the Bill is against it, with the exception of those most intimately involved in the union sense—for example, members of the Transport and General Workers' Union and Jack Jones.

An interesting matter which has emerged from the debate has been the way in which the consultative process has continued. We have had the curious example of consultation that appeared to take place but which did not. A consultative document was issued in March 1975. It followed other investigations and consultations. Even then it was clear that the Government were off course in their approach to these matters. In paragraph 6 of the consultative document it was written: The consultations have not produced evidence which the Government can accept as showing that the present scheme"— that is, the Dock Labour Scheme— has of itself adversely affected industrial relations or efficiency. That is curious Civil Service-type language to be found in a consultative document. I suspect that if the bureaucrats had not been allowed to get at it the truth would have been seen that experience and consultations had produced strong and powerful evidence that the Dock Labour Scheme had adversely affected both industrial relations and efficiency, and that only the Government, with perhaps their mentors in the Transport and General Workers' Union, were unable to recognise and accept the facts and realities of the situation.

Let us consider two further passages from the consultative document. In paragraph 21 it is made quite clear that there is to be a defined limit of five miles with no exceptions. Let us compare that commitment with the curious wording in Clause 4(3), (4) and (5). In subsection (3) the five-mile limit is established. In subsection (4) we find the curious definition of the sea referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Baker). There is the indication in subsection (5) that the five-mile limit can be extended without limit—for example, 10 miles, 15 miles or 20 miles. If that is not good enough, the Secretary of State can, in certain circumstances, designate any area, however large or however small, and wherever it is in the country, as being a cargo-handling area. One of the key parts of the consultative document imposed a clear limitation on the Dock Labour Scheme.

What happened to the consultation with the vast majority of interests which have been worried about the five-mile limit? What has happened to the procedure for dealing with disputes? It was made clear in paragraph 31 of the consultative document that there was a rôle for the Central Arbitration Committee of ACAS. The Bill leaves all that out. It is left to the Secretary of State to act or not to act on the advice of the Dock Labour Board. The option is left to the right hon. Gentleman. He is permitted either to accept or to reject each recommendation.

At the end of the day it will be the Secretary of State's decision. He has only to come to this House to seek an affirmative resolution to implement what he requires. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is wrong with that?"] It is a very important matter. It is very different from dealing with a situation by the much longer legislative procedure, which allows a greater degree of examination.

I turn to the question of enabling powers. We regard this as a dangerous precedent. Hard-line Socialists and Marxists have always hankered after enabling legislation. They envisage a simple Bill so that Ministers can proceed by order. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House flirted with this idea in the recent procedure debate. Now we have the Secretary of State for Employment revealing his true colours. Obviously he much prefers to move in that direction. We disagree fundamentally with that approach to important matters.

The Secretary of State has ignored the overwhelming opposition to his proposals. That became clear following the publication of the consultative document, but the situation has been made substantially worse because the Bill has not met any of the criticisms made by most of the interested parties.

Why has the Secretary of State acted in such an arbitrary and dictatorial fashion? To find the answer we must look to the issue of Port of 8th October 1975. We were told that the Secretary of State broke away from his party's conference at Blackpool to meet the working party of the National Dock Group of the Transport and General Workers' Union. He was able to make clear to that body that on this occasion there would be no loopholes through which employers could escape. It was understood that the Secretary of State was prepared to extend the scheme to all inland depots, whether within the five-mile corridor along major estuaries, or outside, and that he would take the scheme as far as manufacturers' premises if he found companies setting up their own groupage depots to escape the use of registered depots.

That is the kind of negotiation and consultation that took place. The Secretary of State worked out a deal to satisfy the representatives of that working party and it made things that much worse for everybody else. What a revealing light has been thrown on the activities of a right hon. Gentleman who used to be thought of as a great parliamentarian. It has been done in smoke-filled backrooms. [An HON. MEMBER: "It has been no secret."] It has been secret because, so far as I know, there was no formal statement. This was not held up to the light of Parliament. What an utter and total farce the Secretary of State for Employment has made of the consultative process.

The right hon. Gentleman said that he relied a good deal on ACAS. He has tried to argue that he was doing nothing odd or strange, but was merely following what was set out in the Devlin Report and other inquiries, such as the Bristow Report and the Report of ACAS.

We must beware when the Secretary of State summarises quotations from official documents. He is obviously very strongly in favour of the ACAS report because he has quoted it not only in his speech, but in interventions. The report says: It is not for us to say how the legislation should be changed—that is a matter for Government. ACAS rightly opts out of the details of legislation and makes no recommendation of the kind which, the Secretary of State says, so clearly indicates that ACAS is right behind all that is in the Bill. The report goes on: Government, having brought forward its proposals for legislation relating to registered dockwork, should make every effort to give these proposals legal effect within the minimum period possible. What ACAS is actually saying is that there should not a be a long period of delay with proposals on the table. No comment is made about the merit of the proposals. I hope the Secretary of State will read over his words and see whether they justify the claims he has been making.

Mr. Foot

I have never said that ACAS accepted the proposals we were making. It did not have our proposals at that stage. What I said, in repudiation of all the arguments from the Opposition, was that ACAS had said it was absolutely urgent that there should be legislation on this question. The Opposition have been pressing throughout the debate for an inquiry instead of legislation. ACAS, which was the last organisation to inquire into this matter, has repudiated everything said by the Opposition today.

Mr. Hayhoe

I advise the Secretary of State to read the recommendations again. They do not say what he claims. ACAS recommends that once legislation has been tabled the period of uncertainty should not be prolonged. That is very different from the Secretary of State's gross misrepresentation. We are getting fed up with the Secretary of State. In debate after debate he misrepresents factual information.

The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Thomas) spoke appreciatively of the Dock Labour Board and the scheme, saying that it was one of the best examples of industrial democracy in action. He does the cause of industrial democracy a great disservice. Many of us believe that moves towards industrial democracy and greater participation and involvement of everybody in industry will be helpful for our economy, but many people would be put off if they thought the target of hon. Members opposite was the organisation we now see in the Dock Labour Board and the scheme.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East said the scheme was good for industrial democracy because it showed there were equal rights between employers and workers. We cannot dissent from that, but it is interesting and symptomatic of the views of the hon. Member and his hon. Friends that they always talk of rights and never of responsibilities. If industrial democracy is to work there must be a sharing of rights and responsibilities within industry.

This Bill is wasteful and costly. It will increase costs and reduce flexibility. How can the Government ignore the overwhelming evidence of those most concerned? There is an enormous number of documents, which I am sure Ministers and hon. Members have seen, clearly indicating that the Bill, if fully implemented, will raise costs. No Government supporter has argued that costs will come down and that the Bill will lead to more efficient operation. Not one Government supporter is prepared to argue that the Government proposals will improve flexibility. They are prepared to try to pull the wool over people's eyes a great deal of the time, but not even they would attempt such a monstrous misrepresentation of reality, because they know that the Bill will increase costs and reduce efficiency.

Sir Anthony Meyer (Flint, West)

Has my hon. Friend also noticed that the Whips could not dredge up a member of the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru to speak in favour of the Bill?

Mr. Hayhoe

It might be unwise to draw attention to the Whips' difficulties.

We also believe that the Bill is a divisive Bill. It sets one worker against another. It vastly extends areas of potential disagreement and provides a fertile ground for industrial disputes. For example, let us take a depot or cold store in which a General and Municipal Workers' Union closed shop is in operation. Let us assume that all the procedures go through and the extension register procedure is applied. A vacancy occurs and someone is drafted in from the main register. What happens if that person is a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union? That question must be answered. The position could be reversed where there is a T & GWU closed shop. Not all dockers are members of the T & GWU. In the Secretary of State's constituency there are General and Municipal Workers' Union men in the docks. What happens in those circumstances? We deserve answers to these questions, which were put to the Secretary of State and not answered.

What about the problems of the first-and second-class workers implicit in the whole concept of main and extension registers? Workers on the main register have total job security, but a worker on the extension register by Clause 5(5) is expressly prohibited from having job security built in as it applies to men on the main register. Why should dockers on the main register be singled out for such special treatment? I suppose that we had the answer from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East, who made clear that once these extensions have been agreed there will be demands that the procedures be extended for others. Will the result be that members of trade unions with political leverage on the Labour Government will get for themselves the privileged conditions rightly available under the Dock Labour Scheme in days gone by but in modern days more questionable? Are these procedures to be extended right across the board?

Mr. Heffer


Mr. Hayhoe

The hon. Gentleman has not been in for the debate. I would certainly give way to hon. Members who have taken the trouble to be present and to participate in the debate.

Mr. Spearing


Mr. Hayhoe

The hon. Gentleman was present for part of the time. I shall give way to him.

Mr. Spearing

Will the hon. Gentleman answer the question I put to his right hon. Friend at the beginning of the debate? Are the Opposition saying that the present scheme is unsatisfactory, and is it their policy to change it irrespective of the extension proposed in the Bill?

Mr. Hayhoe

What we said clearly—

Mr. Heffer

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Gentleman cannot get away with that one. He said that I was not in the Chamber during the whole debate and he is perfectly correct. He is aware that hon. Members have to attend Committee meetings—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

Order. The hon. Member must know that is not a point of order.

Mr. Hayhoe

I understand that the hon. Gentleman was appearing on television. Therefore, we see where his priorities lie.

We argue that this Bill is also dangerous because, if all the extensions are made, it can give the dockers a stranglehold over the whole community. I have in mind the control of food supplies. This could be affected by an extended Dock Labour Scheme, and could be very damaging indeed to our country.

What possible purpose is there at this time in the Government extending the industrial leverage of a particular group of workers who at least over the years have shown themselves not to be in the van from the viewpoint of militancy and irresponsibility?

As to the question which the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) asked me a moment ago, my right hon Friend made it absolutely clear that we believe it would be right, bearing in mind the particular problems that exist, for there to be an urgent inquiry into these matters. The last impartial major inquiry into the whole problem of the docks was held very many years ago, and conditions have changed very much since then. We would all be the better for the recommendations of an impartial inquiry.

What was the Secretary of State's main argument about this Bill? It was that it did not really mean what it said, and certainly did not mean what some of his supporters thought it meant. The Secretary of State said, in effect, "Do not worry. Trust us. We shall not let you down. You can amend the Bill later in Standing Committee." That was the Secretary of State's message to the Benches behind him. I thought that the Government Back Benchers were easily satisfied. Indeed, I was embarrassed for them in their eagerness to scoop up the crumbs given them by the Secretary of State.

We do not accept these assurances. We remember the assurances we have had from the Secretary of State in the past. We remember the Secretary of State's assurance that he would not be presiding over mass unemployment, yet that is what he is doing. We had his assurance that there would be legislation to deal with independent appeals against arbitrary exclusion or expulsion from trade unions. He now asserts with a loud voice and little conviction that he did not make such a commitment, but the record is clear and damaging, despite his efforts to grub among the small print to discover the odd weasel word in an attempt to provide himself with a loop-hole. The fact is that the currency of the right hon. Gentleman's assurances has been debased. His parliamentary coinage is counterfeit. We do not trust him. Why has he not withdrawn the Bill and reintroduced it in an amended form?

The Bill is a devious, divisive and dangerous measure. It does not deserve a Second Reading. Let Parliament, by our vote tonight, defeat and bury this miserable Bill.

9.28 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Albert Booth)

The basic aim of the Bill is to introduce a new Dock Labour Scheme and a modern definition of "dock work".

The debate has been very revealing of the position of the Conservative Party. We knew before the debate started that it was opposed to the Bill. We knew that it was critical of the existing Dock Labour Scheme. What we did not know is that the Conservatives are totally opposed to the existing Dock Labour Scheme and therefore, presumably, in favour of its abolition.

We were not made aware before today of the importance that the Conservatives attached to having an urgent inquiry into the position of Britain's docks. It may be due to some defect in my listening rather than in the expositions of Opposition Members, but I am not clear whether they want the urgent inquiry before they abolish the dock work regulation scheme or afterwards. But, since they insist that this inquiry should be impartial, I find it difficult to understand how they can reconcile the desirability of an impartial inquiry with the desirability of abolishing the Dock Labour Scheme. However, such is their position.

If it were the case that the Government wished merely to extend the existing dock work scheme, we should not have had to introduce this legislation. We have powers under the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act 1946 which would enable us to extend the present scheme to those ports which are currently non-scheme ports. The reason why we are proposing not to use those powers but to bring in a new scheme is to be found in the technological developments in cargo handling which have taken place since the existing scheme was introduced, in the changes in shipping practices which have taken place and in the numerous decisions which have been taken on the legal definition of "dock work" which have changed the scheme and, if anything, made it less appropriate to modern conditions.

I believe that it is the failure of the many attempts which have been made by the Transport and General Workers' Union to use existing statutory machinery which has led to many dock workers believing that there is no solution within the existing machinery to the serious problems of the ports. Of the 18 inquiries which have been undertaken and the legal appeals which have been held to try to establish a statutory right to dock work, 17 have resulted in there being a narrowing rather than a widening of the definition of "dock work" at a time when it was obvious to any impartial observer of the industry that the area in which the traditional work of cargo handling was being done was being extended considerably.

Delay by the Government and by Parliament in bringing forward the legislation that we are now considering can, in my view, only worsen the difficulties of dock employment and the commercial difficulties facing many port authorities.

From the introduction of the present scheme in 1947 up to the present date, it is acknowledged by those who have studied the matter, including a number of hon. Members who have spoken today, that there has been an enormous drop in the number of registered dock workers. There has been a drop from 73,000 registered dockers to 32,000, a reduction of 56 per cent. in the registered dock labour force.

Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)

What does that prove?

Mr. Booth

If the hon. Gentleman wants a straight answer, it proves that the claims of his right hon. and hon. Friends who say that holding a registered dock worker's card guarantees a job for life are absolute nonsense and no part of a reasonable debate on this subject.

In London the number of registered dock workers has dropped from more than 25,000 to fewer than 10,000. In Liverpool, it has dropped from 17,000 to 7,500. On the Clyde the number of registered dock workers has fallen to fewer than 20 per cent. of the number employed in 1947. It is worth noting in passing that the Clyde has a very good industrial relations record in its docks. I question whether it would have been possible to achieve that sort of reduction in the labour forces in other industries. But it has been accomplished within the registered scheme ports. It is only the South Coast ports which show any increase in registered deck labour workers.

I believe, therefore, that we should drop this pretence that, somehow, there is a special protection embodied in the law which puts the registered dock worker in an unassailable position whereby he can carry on working for life in this industry whilst others bear the brunt of technological change. That bears no relationship to the true position.

Mr. Brittan

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many dock workers in the scheme have been compulsorily made redundant?

Mr. Booth

Under the current working arrangements, none is being compulsorily made redundant. I contend that that is one of the reasons for the success of the scheme.

Mr. MacCormick

Will the right hon. Gentleman give some estimate of how many other workers would be made redundant if the Bill were passed?

Mr. Booth

I shall certainly come to that issue, because it is central to many of the questions raised, but if hon. Members who take such delight in my answer really believe that one would make men redundant on that scale compulsorily and still have a tolerable industrial relations situation in the dock areas of this country, they do not understand the situation. The existing scheme sought to employ the very characteristics of dock work which bring about such rapid changes in labour requirements and can cause such movements in labour demand. Therefore, we must bear this in mind in considering the Bill.

Had that drop in employment which has taken place in the docks, and which, I hope, is now acknowledged, arisen solely from the combined effects of the improved productivity that has been achieved and from changes in shipping practice—[Interruption.] Would the hon. Gentleman care to make that remark on his feet? I take it that, since he is not prepared to get up and say it, he will not mind my indicating to the House that his sedentary remarks were, if I understood them correctly, intended to indicate that the decrease in requirements for dock labour has not been achieved by improved productivity.

Mr. William Clark (Croydon, South)

The right hon. Gentleman has said there was an increase in productivity in the ports. Will he give some figures.

Mr. Booth

Yes, certainly, I shall come to figures of improvements in the ports because that is part of my case. I am saying at this stage that if the whole of the drop in labour requirements in Britain's ports had come about solely from the combined effect of improved productivity and changes in shipping practice, the dockers would have accepted that. They would have accepted redundancy in the way that other British workers accept it.

The reason why the dockers are not accepting redundancy on this scale without seeking changes in legislation is that they are seeing work which in the past has been done by them being transferred in certain cases to premises very near the quayside, very near the traditional place where they have practised their job. The House can best consider this by an analogy. Perhaps hon. Members who represent constituencies with large engineering works will tell me what effect would be of a major engineering employer saying "I am going to introduce new machinery for one of my manufacturing processes, not in my current works but in an empty warehouse up the road, and I will not give jobs to my current workers but will employ others there". That kind of redundancy would be regarded as intolerable. This would be true of any industry. It is this factor more than any other which has caused this difficulty in the ports.

Mr. MacCormick

Is that in any way an excuse for importing this ridiculous scheme over hundreds of miles across the sea to the port of Stornoway in the Western Isles?

Mr. Booth

That has no relevance to this question. We are giving very careful consideration to the position of small ports, and there is nothing in the Bill which requires my right hon. Friend to extend the scheme to every small port in the country. In fact, we are examining and continuing to examine a number of small ports to take account of their special situation. We concede that it would not make sense to lay down the Dock Labour Scheme for a port which employs two or three workers for one day a month or a fortnight to do a bit of unloading from a ship. That is not the purport or the meaning of the scheme.

Mr. Brittan

Does it or does it not remain Government policy to implement the Bill so as to extend the scheme to all ports where there is a permanent work force?

Mr. Booth

What we have said and what we made clear in the consultative document is that it will be extended to all significant areas of third-party cargo handling. The existence of a permanent work force in a port is only one of the tests. It is certainly one of the things which would indicate whether there was some significant third-party cargo handling going on, as against a port which did not have a permanent work force, but I cannot attach any more importance than that to the hon. Gentleman's question.

Where the development of the new technologies of handling, particularly the introduction of containers, has resulted in work being moved to inland depots, that has been accepted by dockers as a valid reason why there should be a rundown in the registered dock labour force. If we apply the same tests to this industry as one would apply to other industries, we find broadly the same reactions to redundancy on this scale. Any means of enabling those who are redundant in one part of the industry to fill vacancies which arise in others must have important implications for recruitment, negotiation procedures and industrial relations. That is why what we are proposing as a means of enabling a new scheme to be introduced must be subject to careful checks and safeguards, some of which my right hon. Friend has described.

The first and most important is that, before a new scheme can be introduced at all, it has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. Till that is done, no Dock Labour Scheme areas can be designated under Clause 4(2).

Second, the procedures for recommendation under Clause 8 and Schedule 4 require the National Dock Labour Board, before it investigates any premises with a view to extending the scheme to them and classifying work in them, first to contact the employer, then to contact the unions concerned, to listen to their representations.

Before it goes ahead it has to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State to give 28 days' notice of its proposals, including proposals for classifying work. The Board must provide a second notice for that purpose and must again enable employers and unions to make representations, which would have to be conveyed to the Secretary of State. First, because of the sensitivity which rightly exists on these points, the Board, as the Bill makes clear, has to indicate where it is recommending work to be classified, the extent to which workers whose jobs are affected will be subject to transfer on to the extension register or subsequently on to the main register.

When the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) describes those on the extension register as second-class citizens without the protections of those on the main register, he should bear in mind the purpose of an extension register and of requiring a recommendation of the Board as to the period for which the register should exist.

It is no part of the Government's intention to create first- and second-class citizens in the dock industry. The purpose of having a period of extension register is that the necessary adjustments can be made and discussions take place to ensure that with a complete transfer of all those concerned to the register there are propertly regulated negotiating arrangements established. It will also ensure that unions and employers have time to work out between themselves the way in which they wish to make any changes—if any—in negotiation and procedure arrangements and to take account of the fact that the workers are becoming registered dock workers.

Mr. Hayhoe

What about the union point I raised—the question of what happens when the registered person on the main register belongs to a different union from that of the closed shop operating at the place of the extension register? What are the necessary changes and conditions, and what is the time envisaged for transferring from the extension to the main register?

Mr. Booth

It is for the Board to recommend the period of time. I personally think that there should not be a long period of transition register. The people I have spoken to in the ports, and trade union officials in Glasgow, are thinking in terms of two years. I cannot bind the Board to take a similar view on the period of extension register. There will be cases, including some of the more complex ones raised by my hon. Friends, where workers will have to make up their minds through their union machinery whether they wish to continue the existing basis of union representation or whether to have a joint representation in their new place of employment. They will also have to decide whether to seek arrangements which would mean that people coming into the scheme would transfer to unions already in the plant. These are arrangements which must be worked out.

My hon. Friends have posed a number of questions which fall under two broad headings. The first of the headings, which goes to the root of the genuine concern about the Bill's proposals, concerns requests for an assurance that the legislation will not create redundancies among non-dockers employed by importers of meats and other foodstuffs. I emphasise my right hon. Friend's statement that all workers directly affected by the extension of the scheme covered by an order under Clause 11 will be placed on the extension register where they will retain all their existing statutory safeguards against redundancy and their other employment protections. The trade unions concerned have accepted that our intention is that existing employees should not be sacked and replaced by registered dock workers. If the Bill can be improved in Committee to make that intention clearer, more readily understood and accepted, that is what we shall seek to achieve.

I have also been asked for an assurance that the legislation will not create monopoly conditions for members of particular unions. I understand that my hon. Friends are concerned about the dock workers' section of the T & GWU in this respect. It is not the Government's intention in the Bill to influence the decisions of employees about their trade union membership. That is a matter for them.

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire. South-West)


Mr. Booth

I shall give way in a moment.

It is not the case, as some of the hon. Members who are dedicated to misrepresenting the Bill have stated, that any part of the scheme or customs and practices allowed under the scheme mean that registered dock workers can only be members of the T & GWU. Registered dock workers are already represented—

Mr. Cormack


Mr. Booth

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.

In some areas registered dock workers are already represented by unions other than the Transport and General Workers' Union. The TUC and the unions affiliated to it accept that the question of trade union membership is a matter for the unions and should not be covered by this legislation.

Mr. Cormack

The right hon. Gentleman is speaking at great length about intentions. Intentions and legislation are often very different things. Will he explain how he will ensure that these laudable intentions become the law of the land?

Mr. Booth

The machinery of the Bill must match the intentions. That is why the Bill proposes to open up the membership of the National Dock Labour Board. It wants to include employers, other than those presently represented, and unionists, other than those who are already represented. The machinery for the examination of the scheme allows representations on a much wider basis than had previously been the case. It is the intention that the National Dock Labour Scheme of the future will take account of the wider areas in which transport work is done.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney) asked about the position of those employed in warehouses and cold-storage depots who are members of other unions. I hope that I have succeeded in assuring him that a decision to classify work in a warehouse or cold-storage depot does not result in any requirement to change union membership. It would not in any way preclude members from being represented by their unions. However, it carries with it the possibility that unions which cover an existing membership at a place to which the scheme might be extended can be represented at discussions with the local dock labour board. The Bill also opens up the possibility of other unions being represented on the National Dock Labour Board.

Mr. James Johnson

Is the Minister assuring the House that if there is any dubiety about this he will accept amendments in Committee?

Mr. Booth

I am giving the House the assurance that in an examination of any of those areas which may be classified as "dock work" as a result of the Bill and particularly Clause 8 of the Bill we shall seek to ensure that unions and employers participate fully in representations at all stages. We shall also seek to ensure that nothing in the legislation will preclude those employees from working in areas which may be classified, and from retaining their representations and their union membership for the purpose of continuing to represent them when they are on the transition register or in a later position.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Johnson) expressed two other doubts. One was about the power which the Bill gives to the Secretary of State and the National Dock Labour Board. The National Dock Labour Board will be extended to reflect the wider considerations in the Bill. The Bill imposes much greater restrictions on the Secretary of State than any other piece of legislation of this size. It requires him to submit to the affirmative resolution procedure an order on the Board's borrowing limit, the whole of the new Dock Labour Scheme, any order to extend cargo-handling zones, orders amending the new scheme and orders classifying or declassifying. All that is subject to the control of the House. Therefore, we are sensitive to the importance of the issue and of the House being able to judge on these matters before the scheme is extended. It is important to understand that although the significance of the scheme is grave, so is its intention and practice to involve further employers, trade unions and this House in an involvement and a control such as this House has not had previously.

Mr. MacCormick


Mr. Booth

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will excuse me and will not regard me as being discourteous if I do not give way. There are one or two arguments that I want to answer.

It is an important part of the criticisms that have been made about the Bill today that it is suggested by the opponents of the Bill that if non-scheme ports become scheme ports their costs will rise and they will be priced out of the market. That is their argument. I can answer that most succinctly by pointing to the increased cargoes which have been attained by the scheme ports over the period from 1969 to 1974. If hon. Members care to check the records, they will find that over that period Tees and Hartlepool increased its tonnage of cargo by 23.5 per cent., Port Talbot by 43 per cent., Goole by 43 per cent., Boston by 56 per cent., Great Yarmouth by 74 per cent. and—I know that this will endear the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) to my argument—the scheme port of Lowestoft increased its cargo tonnage by 53 per cent. Immingham increased its tonnage by 106 per cent. and Southampton did so by 122 per cent.

It seems to me, therefore, that, if the costs of scheme ports are high, this has not prevented them advancing in competition with other ports. I believe that these allegations of high costs for the scheme are based upon misconception of the scheme and the Bill. Neither the Bill nor the scheme impose either wage rates for dockers or earnings levels.

Under the present scheme rates of pay and conditions are determined not by the National Dock Labour Board but by local agreement and through a national joint industrial council. These are the things which control the wages. Under this system, pay varies considerably between one scheme port and another, and in small ports rates for comparable work throughout the port are very often negotiated, while in larger ports such as London and Liverpool it is quite common to find a whole number of company agreements determining dockers' pay.

Mr. MacCormick

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Booth

No, I have given way to the hon. Gentleman once.

The hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth said that the consultative document made it clear that there would be a five-mile limit but that there was no hint in that of the extension. I ask him to read paragraph 30 of that document, which makes it absolutely clear that the Secretary of State may ask the Board—

Mr. MacCormick


Mr. Speaker


Mr. Booth

I assure the House that my right hon. Friend and I have talked to shop stewards of a great many unions other than the Transport and General Workers' Union, and to unions other than dock workers' unions. I have spoken to shop stewards in cold stores and to

shop stewards at warehouses. What I find is that what they are saying is not what the Opposition are saying tonight.

A new scheme is needed. It is needed to face the challenge and to end frustration and suffering under the limitations of the present scheme. It is needed to recognise an ILO convention and to involve more unions and employees.

In that spirit, therefore, I commend the Bill to the House.

Mr. Cormack

This has been the biggest load of rubbish that we have ever been subjected to. A Minister of the Crown advocating—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Walter Harrison (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household)

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

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House divided: Ayes 312, Noes 305.

Division No. 57.] AYES [10.0 p.m
Abse, Leo Clemitson, Ivor Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)
Allaun, Frank Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Anderson, Donald Cohen, Stanley Evans, John (Newton)
Archer, Peter Coleman, Donald Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Armstrong, Ernest Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Faulds, Andrew
Ashley, Jack Concannon, J. D. Fernyhough, Rt Hn E.
Ashton, Joe Conlan, Bernard Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)
Atkinson, Norman Corbett, Robin Flannery, Martin
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Fletcher, Raymond (llkeston)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Crawshaw, Richard Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bates, Alf Cronin, John Ford, Ben
Bean, R. E. Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Forrester, John
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cryer, Bob Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Bidwell, Sydney Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Freeson, Reginald
Bishop, E. S. Dalyell, Tam Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davidson, Arthur Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Boardman, H. Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) George, Bruce
Booth, Albert Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Gilbert, Dr John
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Davies, Ifor (Gower) Ginsburg, David
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Davies, Cliaron[...] (Hackney C) Golding, John
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Deakins, Eric Gould, Bryan
Bradley, Tom Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Gourlay, Harry
Bray, Dr Jeremy de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Graham, Ted
Broughton, Sir Alfred Delargy, Hugh Grant, George (Morpeth)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Grant, John (Islington C)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Dempsey, James Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Doig, Peter Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Buchan, Norman Dormand, J. D. Hardy, Peter
Buchanan, Richard Douglas-Mann, Bruce Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Duffy, A. E. P. Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Dunn, James A. Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunnett, Jack Hatton, Frank
Campbell, Ian Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Hayman, Mrs Helene
Canavan, Dennis Eadie, Alex Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cant, R. B. Edge, Geoff Heffer, Eric S.
Carmichael, Neil Edwards, Robert (Woiv SE) Hooley, Frank
Carter, Ray Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Horam, John
Carter-Jones, Lewis Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Cartwright, John English, Michael Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Ennals, David Huckfield, Les
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Meacher, Michael Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Mendelson, John Sillars, James
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mikardo, Ian Silverman, Julius
Hunter, Adam Millan, Bruce Skinner, Dennis
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Small, William
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Snape, Peter
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Molloy, William Spearing, Nigel
Janner, Greville Moonman, Eric Spriggs, Leslie
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Stallard, A. W.
Jeger, Mrs Lena Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Stoddart, David
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Moyle, Roland Stott, Roger
John, Brynmor Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Strang, Gavin
Johnson, James (Hull West) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Newens, Stanley Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Noble, Mike Swain, Thomas
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Oakes, Gordon Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Ogden, Eric Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Judd, Frank O'Halloran, Michael Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Kaufman, Gerald O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Kelley, Richard Orbach, Maurice Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Kerr, Russell Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Tierney, Sydney
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Ovenden, John Tinn, James
Kinnock, Neil Owen, Dr David Tomlinson, John
Lambie, David Padley, Walter Tomney, Frank
Lamborn, Harry Palmer, Arthur Torney, Tom
Lamond, James Park, George Tuck, Raphael
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Parker, John Urwin, T. W.
Leadbitter, Ted Parry, Robert Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Lee, John Pavitt, Laurie Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Peart, Rt Hon Fred Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Lever, Rt Hon Harold Pendry, Tom Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Perry, Ernest Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Phipps, Dr Colin Ward, Michael
Lipton, Marcus Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Watkins, David
Litterick, Tom Prescott, John Watkinson, John
Loyden, Eddie Price, C. (Lewisham W) Weetch, Ken
Luard, Evan Price, William (Rugby) Weitzman, David
Lyon, Alexander (York) Radice, Giles Wellbeloved, James
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Richardson, Miss Jo White, James (Pollok)
McCartney, Hugh Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitehead, Phillip
McElhone, Frank Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Whitlock, William
MacFarquhar, Roderick Robertson, John (Paisley) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Roderick, Caerwyn Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Mackenzie, Gregor Rodgers, George (Chorley) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Mackintosh, John P. Rodgers, William (Stockton) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Maclennan, Robert Rooker, J. W. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Roper, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
McNamara, Kevin Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Madden, Max Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Magee, Bryan Rowlands, Ted Wise, Mrs Audrey
Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh) Sandelson, Neville Woodall, Alec
Mahon, Simon Sedgemore, Brian Woof, Robert
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Selby, Harry Wrigglesworth, Ian
Marks, Kenneth Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Young, David (Bolton E)
Marquand, David Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Shore, Rt Hon Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Mr. James Hamilton and
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Mr. Joseph Harper.
Maynard, Miss Joan
Adley, Robert Boscawen, Hon Robert Chalker, Mrs Lynda
Aitken, Jonathan Bottomley, Peter Channon, Paul
Alison, Michael Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Churchill, W. S.
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)
Arnold, Tom Bradford, Rev Robert Clark, William (Croydon S)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Braine, Sir Bernard Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Awdry, Daniel Brittan, Leon Clegg, Walter
Bain, Mrs Margaret Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Cockcroft, John
Baker, Kenneth Brotherton, Michael Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)
Banks, Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Cope, John
Bell, Ronald Bryan, Sir Paul Cordle, John H.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Buchanan-Smith, Alick Cormack, Patrick
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Buck, Antony Corrie, John
Benyon, W. Budgen, Nick Costain, A. P.
Berry, Hon Anthony Bulmer, Esmond Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)
Biffen, John Burden, F. A. Crawford, Douglas
Biggs-Davison, John Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Critchley, Julian
Blaker, Peter Carlisle, Mark Crouch, David
Body, Richard Carson, John Crowder, F. P.
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Kaberry, Sir Donald Reid, George
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Kershaw, Anthony Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kilfedder, James Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Drayson, Burnaby Kimball, Marcus Ridley, Hon Nicholas
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ridsdale, Julian
Dunlop, John King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rifkind, Malcolm
Durant, Tony Kirk, Peter Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Dykes, Hugh Kitson, Sir Timothy Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Knight, Mrs Jill Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Knox, David Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Elliott, Sir William Lamont, Norman Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Emery, Peter Lane, David Ross, William (Londonderry)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Langford-Holt, Sir John Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Latham, Michael (Melton) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Eyre, Reginald Lawrence, Ivan Royle, Sir Anthony
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lawson, Nigel Sainsbury, Tim
Fairgrieve, Russell Lester, Jim (Beeston) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Farr, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Scott, Nicholas
Fell, Anthony Lloyd, Ian Scott-Hopkins, James
Finsberg, Geoffrey Loveridge, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Luce, Richard Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) McAdden, Sir Stephen Shelton, William (Streatham)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles MacCormick, Iain Shepherd, Colin
Fookes, Miss Janet McCrindle, Robert Shersby, Michael
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) McCusker, H. Silvester, Fred
Fox, Marcus Macfarlane, Neil Sims, Roger
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) MacGregor, John Sinclair, Sir George
Freud, Clement Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Skeet, T. H. H.
Fry, Peter McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Smith, Cyril (Rochda1e)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Madel, David Speed, Keith
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spence, John
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Marten, Neil Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mates, Michael Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Glyn, Dr Alan Mather, Carol Sproat, Iain
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Maude, Angus Stainton, Keith
Goodhart, Philip Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Stanbrook, Ivor
Goodhew, Victor Mawby, Ray Stanley, John
Goodlad, Alastair Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Gorst, John Mayhew, Patrick Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Mills, Peter Stokes, John
Gray, Hamish Miscampbell, Norman Stonehouse, Rt Hon John
Griffiths, Eldon Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stradling Thomas, J.
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Moate, Roger Tapsell, Peter
Grist, Ian Molyneaux, James Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Grylls, Michael Monro, Hector Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Hall, Sir John Montgomery, Fergus Tebbit, Norman
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moore, John (Croydon C) Temple-Morris, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Hampson, Dr Keith Morgan, Geraint Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Hannam, John Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Thompson, George
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Townsend, Cyril D.
Hastings, Stephen Mudd, David Trotter Neville
Havers, Sir Michael Neave, Airey Tugendhat, Christopher
Hawkins, Paul Nelson, Anthony van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hayhoe, Barney Neubert, Michael Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Newton, Tony Viggers, Peter
Henderson, Douglas Normanton, Tom Wainwright, Richard (Colne[...] V)
Heseltine, Michael Nott, John Wakeham, John
Hicks, Robert Onslow, Cranley Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Higgins, Terence L. Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Holland, Philip Osborn, John Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Hooson, Emlyn Page, John (Harrow West) Wall, Patrick
Hordern, Peter Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Walters, Dennis
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Paisley, Rev Ian Warren, Kenneth
Howell, David (Guildford) Pardoe, John Watt, Hamish
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pattie, Geoffrey Weatherill, Bernard
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Penhaligon, David Wells, John
Hunt, John Percival, Ian Welsh, Andrew
Hurd, Douglas Peyton, Rt Hon John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Hutchison, Michael Clark Pink, R. Bonner Wiggin, Jerry
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
James, David Price, David (Eastleigh) Winterton, Nicholas
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Prior, Rt Hon James Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Jessel, Toby Pym, Rt Hon Francis Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Raison, Timothy Younger, Hon George
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rathbone, Tim
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jopling, Michael Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Mr. Cecil Parkinson and
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rees-Davis, W. R. Mr. Spencer Le Marchant.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 312, Noes 304.

Division No. 58. AYES 10.16 p.m
Abse, Leo Eadie, Alex Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Allaun, Frank Edge, Geoff Leadbitter, Ted
Anderson, Donald Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lee, John
Archer, Peter Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Armstrong, Ernest Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Ashley, Jack English, Michael Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Ashton, Joe Ennals, David Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Lipton, Marcus
Atkinson, Norman Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Litterick, Tom
Bagier, Gordon A. [...] Evans, John (Newton) Loyden, Eddie
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Luard, Evan
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Faulds, Andrew Lyon, Alexander (York)
Bates, Alf Fernyhough, Rt Hn E. Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Bean, R. E. Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mabon, Dr J. Dickson
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) McCartney, Hugh
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Flannery, Martin McElhone, Frank
Bidwell, Sydney Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) MacFarquhar, Roderick
Bishop, E. S. Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mackenzie, Gregor
Boardman, H. Ford, Ben Mackintosh, John P.
Booth, Albert Forrester, John Maclennan, Robert
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) McNamara, Kevin
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Freeson, Reginald Madden, Max
Bradley, Tom Garrett, John (Norwich S) Magee, Bryan
Bray, Dr Jeremy Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)
Broughton, Sir Alfred George, Bruce Mahon, Simon
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Gilbert, Dr John Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Ginsburg, David Marks, Kenneth
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Golding, John Marquand, David
Buchan, Norman Gould, Bryan Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Buchanan, Richard Gourlay, Harry Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Graham, Ted Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Grant, George (Morpeth) Maynard, Miss Joan
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Grant, John (Islington C) Meacher, Michael
Campbell, Ian Grocott, Bruce Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Canavan, Dennis Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Mendelson, John
Cant, R. B. Hardy, Peter Mikardo, Ian
Carmichael, Neil Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Millan, Bruce
Carter, Ray Hart, Rt Hon Judith Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Cartwright, John Hatton, Frank Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hayman, Mrs Helene Molloy, William
Clemitson, Ivor Healey, Rt Hon Denis Moonman, Eric
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cohen, Stanley Hooley, Frank Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Coleman, Donald Horam, John Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Moyle, Roland
Concannon, J. D. Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Conlan, Bernard Huckfield, Les Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Newens, Stanley
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Mark (Durham) Noble, Mike
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Oakes, Gordon
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Ogden, Eric
Crawshaw, Richard Hunter, Adam O'Halloran, Michael
Cronin, John Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Orbach, Maurice
Cryer, Bob Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Ovenden, John
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Janner, Greville Owen, Dr David
Dalyell, Tam Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Padley, Walter
Davidson, Arthur Jeger, Mrs Lena Palmer, Arthur
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Park, George
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Parker, John
Davies, Ifor (Gower) John, Brynmor Parry, Robert
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)[...] Johnson, James (Hull West) Pavitt, Laurie
Deakins, Eric Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Peart, Rt Hon Fred
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Pendry, Tom
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Jones, Barry (East Flint) Perry, Ernest
Delargy, Hugh Jones, Dan (Burnley) Phipps, Dr Colin
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Judd, Frank Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Dempsey, James Kaufman, Gerald Prescott, John
Doig, Peter Kelley, Richard Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Dormand, J. D. Kerr, Russell Price, William (Rugby)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Kilroy-Silk, Robert Radice, Giles
Duffy, A. E. P. Kinnock, Neil Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Dunn, James A. Lambie, David Richardson, Miss Jo
Dunnett, Jack Lamborn, Harry Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lamond, James Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Robertson, John (Paisley)
Roderick, Caerwyn Stallard, A. W. Watkins, David
Rodgers, George (Chorley) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Watkinson, John
Rodgers, William (Stockton) Stoddart, David Weetch, Ken
Rooker, J. W. Stott, Roger Weitzman, David
Roper, John Strang, Gavin Wellbeloved, James
Rose, Paul B. Strauss, Rt Hon G. R. White, Frank R. (Bury)
Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley White, James (Pollok)
Rowlands, Ted Swain, Thomas Whitehead, Phillip
Sandelson, Neville Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Whitlock, William
Sedgemore, Brian Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Selby, Harry Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E) Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Tierney, Sydney Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Tinn, James Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Tomlinson, John Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Tomney, Frank Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Torney, Tom Wise, Mrs Audrey
Sillars, James Tuck, Raphael Woodall, Alec
Silverman, Julius Urwin, T. W. Woof, Robert
Skinner, Dennis Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. Wrigglesworth, Ian
Small, William Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V) Young, David (Bolton E)
Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Snape, Peter Walker, Harold (Doncaster) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Spearing, Nigel Walker, Terry (Kingswood) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Spriggs, Leslie Ward, Michael Mr. James Hamilton.
Adley, Robert Crowder, F. P. Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss
Aitken, Jonathan Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Hastings, Stephen
Alison, Michael Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Havers, Sir Michael
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Dodsworth, Geoffrey Hawkins, Paul
Arnold, Tom Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hayhoe, Barney
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Drayson, Burnaby Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Awdry, Daniel du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Henderson, Douglas
Bain, Mrs Margaret Dunlop, John Heseltine, Michael
Baker, Kenneth Durant, Tony Hicks, Robert
Banks, Robert Dykes, Hugh Higgins, Terence L.
Bell, Ronald Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Holland, Philip
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hooson, Emlyn
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Elliott, Sir William Hordern, Peter
Benyon, W. Emery, Peter Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Berry, Hon Anthony Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Howell, David (Guildford)
Biffen, John Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Biggs-Davison, John Eyre, Reginald Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Blaker, Peter Fairbairn, Nicholas Hunt, John
Body, Richard Fairgrieve, Russell Hurd, Douglas
Boscawen, Hon Robert Farr, John Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bottomley, Peter Fell, Anthony Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Finsberg, Geoffrey James, David
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Fisher, Sir Nigel Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)
Bradford, Rev Robert Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Jessel, Toby
Braine, Sir Bernard Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Brittan, Leon Fookes, Miss Janet Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Brotherton, Michael Fox, Marcus Jopling, Michael
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Bryan, Sir Paul Freud, Clement Kaberry, Sir Donald
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Fry, Peter Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Buck, Antony Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Kershaw, Anthony
Budges, Nick Gardiner, George (Reigate) Kilfedder, James
Bulmer, Esmond Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Kimball, Marcus
Burden, F. A. Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) King, Evelyn (South Dorset)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Carlisle, Mark Glyn, Dr Alan Kirk, Peter
Carson, John Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Kitson, Sir Timothy
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Goodhart, Philip Knight, Mrs Jill
Channon, Paul Goodhew, Victor Knox, David
Churchill, W. S. Goodlad, Alastair Lamont, Norman
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sution) Gorst, John Lane, David
Clark, William (Croydon S) Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Latham, Michael (Melton)
Clegg, Walter Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Lawrence, Ivan
Cockcroft, John Gray, Hamish Lawson, Nigel
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Griffiths, Eldon Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Cope, John Grimond, Rt Hon J. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cordle, John H. Grist, Ian Lloyd, Ian
Cormack, Patrick Grylls, Michael Loveridge, John
Corrie, John Hall, Sir John Luce, Richard
Costain, A. P. Hall-Davis, A. G. F. McAdden, Sir Stephen
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) MacCormick, Iain
Crawford, Douglas Hampson, Dr Keith McCrindle, Robert
Critchley, Julian Hannam, John McCusker, H.
Crouch, David Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Macfarlane, Neil
MacGregor, John Pink, R. Bonner Stanbrook, Ivor
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Stanley, John
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Price, David (Eastleigh) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Prior, Rt Hon James Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Madel, David Pym, Rt Hon Francis Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Raison, Timothy Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Marten, Neil Rathbone, Tim Stokes, John
Mates, Michael Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter Stradling Thomas, J.
Mather, Carol Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Tapsell, Peter
Maude, Angus Rees-Davies, W. R. Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Reid, George Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Mawby, Ray Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Tebbit, Norman
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Temple-Morris, Peter
Mayhew, Patrick Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Meyer, Sir Anthony Ridley, Hon Nicholas Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Ridsdale, Julian Thompson, George
Mills, Peter Rifkind, Malcolm Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Miscampbell, Norman Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Townsend, Cyril D.
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Trotter Neville
Moate, Roger Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Tugendhat, Christopher
Molyneaux, James Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Monro, Hector Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Montgomery, Fergus Ross, William (Londonderry) Viggers, Peter
Moore, John (Croydon C) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Wakeham, John
Morgan, Geraint Royle, Sir Anthony Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Sainsbury, Tim Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Morrison, Charles (Devizes) St. John-Stevas, Norman Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Scott, Nicholas Wall, Patrick
Mudd, David Scott-Hopkins, James Walters, Dennis
Neave, Airey Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Warren, Kenneth
Nelson, Anthony Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Watt, Hamish
Neubert, Michael Shelton, William (Streatham) Weatherill, Bernard
Newton, Tony Shepherd, Colin Wells, John
Normanton, Tom Shersby, Michael Welsh, Andrew
Nott, John Silvester, Fred Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Onslow, Cranley Sims, Roger Wiggin, Jerry
Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Sinclair, Sir George Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Osborn, John Skeet, T. H. H. Winterton, Nicholas
Page, John (Harrow West) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Paisley, Rev Ian Speed, Keith Younger, Hon George
Pardoe, John Spence, John
Pattie, Geoffrey Spicer, Jim (W Dorset) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Penhaligon, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcester) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Percival, Ian Sproat, Iain Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Peyton, Rt Hon John Stainton, Keith

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee

of the whole House.—[Mr. Humphrey Atkins]:—

The House divided: Ayes, 303; Noes 312.

Division No. 59.] AYES [10.31 p.m.
Adley, Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)
Aitken, Jonathan Bryan, Sir Paul Dean, Paul (N Somerset)
Alison, Michael Buchanan-Smith, Alick Dodsworth, Geoffrey
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Buck, Antony Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Arnold, Tom Budgen, Nick Drayson, Burnaby
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Bulmer, Esmond du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Awdry, Daniel Burden, F. A. Dunlop, John
Bain, Mrs Margaret Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Durant, Tony
Baker, Kenneth Carlisle, Mark Dykes, Hugh
Banks, Robert Carson, John Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Bell, Ronald Chalker, Mrs Lynda Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Channon, Paul Elliott, Sir William
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Churchill, W. S. Emery, Peter
Benyon, W. Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)
Berry, Hon Anthony Clark, William (Croydon S) Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)
Biffen, John Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Eyre, Reginald
Biggs-Davison, John Clegg, Walter Fairbairn, Nicholas
Blaker, Peter Cockcroft, John Fairgrieve, Russell
Body, Richard Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Farr, John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Cope, John Fell, Anthony
Bottomley, Peter Cordle, John H. Finsberg, Geoffrey
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Cormack, Patrick Fisher, Sir Nigel
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Corrie, John Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Bradford, Rev Robert Costain, A. P. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Braine, Sir Bernard Crawford, Douglas Fookes, Miss Janet
Brittan, Leon Critchley, Julian Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Crouch, David Fox, Marcus
Brotherton, Michael Crowder, F. P. Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Freud, Clement Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Fry, Peter Lloyd, Ian Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Loveridge, John Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Luce, Richard Ross, William (Londonderry)
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) McAdden, Sir Stephen Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) MacCormick, Iain Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) McCrindle, Robert Royle, Sir Anthony
Glyn, Dr Alan McCusker, H. Sainsbury, Tim
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Macfarlane, Neil St. John-Stevas, Norman
Goodhart, Philip MacGregor, John Scott, Nicholas
Goodhew, Victor Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Scott-Hopkins, James
Goodlad, Alastair McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gorst, John McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Madel, David Shelton, William (Streatham)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Shepherd, Colin
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Marten, Neil Shersby, Michael
Gray, Hamish Mates, Michael Silvester, Fred
Griffiths, Eldon Mather, Carol Sims, Roger
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Maude, Angus Sinclair, Sir George
Grist, Ian Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Skeet, T. H. H.
Grylls, Michael Mawby, Ray Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Hall, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mayhew, Patrick Speed, Keith
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Meyer, Sir Anthony Spence, John
Hampson, Dr Keith Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Hannam, John Mills, Peter Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Miscampbell, Norman Sproat, Iain
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stainton, Keith
Hastings, Stephen Moate, Roger Stanbrook, Ivor
Havers, Sir Michael Molyneaux, James Stanley, John
Hawkins, Paul Monro, Hector Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Hayhoe, Barney Montgomery, Fergus Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Moore, John (Croydon C) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Henderson, Douglas More, Jasper (Ludlow) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Heseltine, Michael Morgan, Geraint Stokes, John
Hicks, Robert Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Stradling Thomas, J.
Higgins, Terence L. Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Tapsell, Peter
Holland, Philip Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Hooson, Emlyn Mudd, David Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Hordern, Peter Neave, Airey Tebbit, Norman
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Nelson, Anthony Temple-Morris, Peter
Howell, David (Guildford) Neubert, Michael Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Newton, Tony Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Normanton, Tom Thompson, George
Hunt, John Nott, John Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Hurd, Douglas Onslow, Cranley Townsend, Cyril D.
Hutchison, Michael Clark Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Trotter Neville
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Osborn, John Tugendhat, Christopher
James, David Page, John (Harrow West) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Jessel, Toby Paisley, Rev Ian Viggers, Peter
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Pardoe, John Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Pattie, Geoffrey Wakeham, John
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Penhaligon, David Welder, David (Clitheroe)
Jopling, Michael Percival, Ian Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Peyton, Rt Hon John Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Kaberry, Sir Donald Pink, R. Bonner Wall, Patrick
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Walters, Dennis
Kershaw, Anthony Price, David (Eastleigh) Warren, Kenneth
Kilfedder, James Prior, Rt Hon James Watt, Hamish
Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt Hon Francis Weatherill, Bernard
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Raison, Timothy Wells, John
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rathbone, Tim Welsh, Andrew
Kirk, Peter Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Kitson, Sir Timothy Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Wiggin, Jerry
Knight, Mrs Jill Rees-Davies, W. R. Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Knox, David Reid, George Winterton, Nicholas
Lamont, Norman Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Lane, David Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Younger, Hon George
Latham, Michael (Melton) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Lawrence, Ivan Ridsdale, Julian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lawson, Nigel Rifkind, Malcolm Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Abse, Leo Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood
Allaun, Frank Atkinson, Norman Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)
Anderson, Donald Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bidwell, Sydney
Archer, Peter Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Bishop, E. S.
Armstrong, Ernest Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Blenkinsop, Arthur
Ashley, Jack Bates, Alf Boardman, H.
Ashton, Joe Bean, R. E. Booth, Albert
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Gilbert, Dr John Maynard, Miss Joan
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Ginsburg, David Meacher, Michael
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Golding, John Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Bradley, Tom Gould, Bryan Mendelson, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Gourlay, Harry Mikardo, Ian
Broughton, Sir Alfred Graham, Ted Millan, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Grant, George (Morpeth) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Grant, John (Islington C) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Grocott, Bruce Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Buchan, Norman Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Molloy, William
Buchanan, Richard Hardy, Peter Moonman, Eric
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. Cardiff SE) Hart, Rt Hon Judith Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Campbell, Ian Hatton, Frank Moyle, Roland
Canavan, Dennis Hayman, Mrs Helene Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Cant, R. B. Healey, Rt Hon Denis Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Carmichael, Neil Heffer, Eric S. Newens, Stanley
Carter, Ray Hooley, Frank Noble, Mike
Carter-Jones, Lewis Horam, John Oakes, Gordon
Cartwright, John Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Ogden, Eric
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) O'Halloran, Michael
Clemitson, Ivor Huckfield, Les O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Orbach, Maurice
Cohen, Stanley Hughes, Mark (Durham) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Ovenden, John
Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Hughes, Roy (Newport) Owen, Dr David
Concannon, J. D. Hunter, Adam Padley, Walter
Conlan, Bernard Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Palmer, Arthur
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Park, George
Corbett, Robin Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Parker, John
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Parry, Robert
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Janner, Greville Pavitt, Laurie
Crawshaw, Richard Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Peart, Rt Hon Fred
Cronin, John Jegar, Mrs Lena Pendry, Tom
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Perry, Ernest
Cryer, Bob Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Phipps, Dr Colin
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) John, Brynmor Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Johnson, James (Hull West) Prescott, John
Dalyell, Tam Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Davidson, Arthur Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Price, William (Rugby)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Radice, Giles
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Judd, Frank Richardson, Miss Jo
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Kaufman, Gerald Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Deakins, Eric Kelley, Richard Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Kerr, Russell Robertson, John (Paisley)
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Kilroy-Silk, Robert Roderick, Caerwyn
Delargy, Hugh Kinnock, Neil Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Dell Rt Hon Edmund Lambie, David Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Dempsey, James Lamborn, Harry Rooker, J. W.
Doig, Peter Lamond, James Roper, John
Dormand, J. D. Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Rose, Paul B.
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Leadbitter, Ted Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lee, John Rowlands, Ted
Dunn, James A. Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sandelson, Neville
Dunnett, Jack Lever, Rt Hon Harold Sedgemore, Brian
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Selby, Harry
Eadie, Alex Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Edge, Geoff Lipton, Marcus Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Litterick, Tom Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Loyden, Eddie Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Luard, Evan Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
English, Michael Lyon, Alexander (York) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Ennals, David Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Sillars, James
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McCartney, Hugh Silverman, Julius
Evans, John (Newton) McElhone, Frank Skinner, Dennis
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) MacFarquhar, Roderick Small, William
Faulds, Andrew McGuire, Michael (Ince) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Fernyhough, Rt Hn E. Mackenzie, Gregor Snape, Peter
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackintosh, John P. Spearing, Nigel
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Maclennan, Robert Spriggs, Leslie
Flannery, Martin McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Stallard, A. W.
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McNamara, Kevin Stewart, Rt Hon M. Fulham
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Madden, Max Stoddart, David
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Magee, Bryan Stott, Roger
Ford, Ben Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh) Strang, Gavin
Forrester, John Mahon, Simon Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Mallalieu, J. P. W. Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Marks, Kenneth Swain, Thomas
Freeson, Reginald Marquand, David Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
George, Bruce Mason, Rt Hon Roy Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Tierney, Sydney Watkins, David Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Tinn, James Watkinson, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Tomlinson, John Weetch, Ken Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Tomney, Frank Weitzman, David Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Torney, Tom Wellbeloved, James Wise, Mrs Audrey
Tuck, Raphael White, Frank R. (Bury) Woodall, Alec
Urwin, T. W. White, James (Pollok) Woof, Robert
Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. Whitehead, Phillip Wrigglesworth, Ian
Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V) Whitlock, William Young, David (Bolton E)
Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Williams, Alan (Swansea W) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Walker, Terry (Kingswood) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Ward, Michael Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford) Mr. James Hamilton
Question accordingly negatived.
Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 40 (Committal of Bills).