HC Deb 25 October 1982 vol 29 cc785-800


Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 4, line 6, at end insert (7A) In any case where neither subsection (4) nor subsection (7) has the effect of displacing subsection (3) and the employee—

  1. (a)holds qualifications which are relevant to the employment in question;
  2. (b)is subject to a written code which governs the conduct of those persons who hold those qualifications; and
  3. (c)has—
    1. (i)been expelled from a trade union for refusing to take part in a strike or other industrial action, or
    2. (ii)refused to become, or remain, a member of a trade union,
subsection (3) shall not apply if the reason (or, if more than one, the principal reason) for his refusal was, in a case falling within paragraph (c)(i), that his taking the action in question would be in breach of the code, or in a case falling within paragraph (c)(ii), that if he became, or as the case may be remained, a member he would be required to take part in a strike, or other industrial action, which would be in breach of that code.

Mr. Waddington

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

The amendment makes it unfair to dismiss an employee for non-membership of a union in a closed shop if, first, he holds qualifications that are relevant to his employment, secondly, he is subject to a written code that governs the conduct of people who hold those qualifications, and, thirdly, he has been expelled or has resigned from or refused to join a union because of a conflict between his code of conduct and industrial action that is called for by his union.

The amendment is drafted so that it bites only where neither the existing protection for conscientious objectors to union membership nor the existing protection for people who are unreasonably expelled from their union is relevant.

The Government introduced the amendment on Report in another place as a result of widespread anxiety that this type of protection should be provided for professional employees who work in a closed shop and who would be in an impossible position if their membership of a trade union involved them in industrial action contrary to their professional code of conduct. Concern was expressed on both sides, particularly by Lord Howie of Troon for the Opposition. There was almost universal welcome for the amendment.

I hope that Opposition Members will not argue that professional employees are not entitled to this type of protection. The spread of the closed shop, which the previous Government encouraged, introduced compulsory union membership in many areas of employment where it had not previously existed. As a result, professional employees, especially in local authorities and nationalised industries, have become increasingly vulnerable to enforced trade union membership, which in turn may place them with an actual or potential conflict of loyalties between a professional code of ethics and their union's instruction to take industrial action.

If, in those circumstances, the professional employee decides to put his code of ethics first by, for example, continuing to provide safety cover if he is an engineer, he must be protected against dismissal if his refusal to strike leads to his being expelled from his union.

7.15 pm

It is no use Opposition Members saying that such a thing cannot happen. It happened to Mr. Partington, an engineer employed by Scottish Gas, who was expelled for not taking part in a strike although he had been told by his employers to provide emergency cover and ensure public safety.

There is a narrower legal point whether the Bill and existing legislation would provide such protection without the amendment. There may be room for argument about that. The view that sufficient protection already exists was not shared by many of those who spoke in another place, including some Opposition noble Lords. They pressed us to put the matter beyond doubt. This is essentially a belt and braces exercise. Such employees may already be protected by the Bill as it is drafted. It may be, therefore, that no one will ever need to use the new clause because he will be able to get all the protection that he needs under the conscience clause in the Bill. Nevertheless, there will be provision in case of need. In these matters, it is far better to be safe than sorry.

Mr. Harold Walker

I shall not invite my right hon. and hon. Friends to oppose the amendment. However, that does not mean that we have no reservations about it. I cannot extend a warm welcome to it, but I shall not ask the House to oppose it.

It is a bit much the Under-Secretary of State saying that it is no use Opposition Members saying that this sort of thing cannot happen. He should wait to hear what we have to say. I am not sure what is meant by a professional employee. This sort of thing could happen to any employee, not merely those with professional qualifiactions.

I understand the point about the possibility—the Minister has cited an example—of a conflict between the requirements imposed on an employee by his trade union and the code of conduct to which he subscribes. I wish that the Government would give equal consideration to the conflict that can also arise between the instructions of an employer and the employee's code of conduct. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will not say that that cannot happen. It can, especially to members of the National Union of Journalists who have such a code of conduct.

I have one other reservation about the amendment. I am doubtful about legislation that discriminates between one type of employee and another. As drafted, the amendment could apply to any group of workers who have a code of conduct.

The 1980 Act produced a code of practice on closed shop agreements and arrangements. We are now once again discussing amendments relevant to clause 2, which is one of the important clauses dealing with the closed shop.

I heard last week on the parliamentary grapevine, if I may so put it, that the Department—I do not know whether it was Ministers or officials—had been briefing journalists about possible changes in the code of practice. Indeed, the game was given away at Department of Employment Question Time last Tuesday when a Conservative Back Bencher referred to changes in the code of practice and when they would come before the House.

Apparently there are to be changes. Last week I tabled a question to which I received the following written answer from the Secretary of State today: Consideration of the Employment Bill makes this an appropriate time to re-examine the code and consider what changes should be made. I therefore intend, in accordance with section 3 of the Employment Act 1980, to consult the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and then to publish the draft of a revised text as a basis for consultation with all interested parties. Thereafter I shall lay a draft of a revised code before Parliament for approval. There is, however, interaction between the provisions of the Bill and the provisions of the code of practice. Any changes in the contents of the code will be highly relevant to our discussion of the Lords amendments. We should have been told what changes the Secretary of State had in mind so that we could take account of them in our proceedings. I am happy to give way if the Secretary of State wishes to intervene.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Norman Tebbit)

As some of the changes are very recent, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that it would have been difficult for us to begin to consult or to conclude our consultations in any sensible way before now. He must know that there was no chance of our being able to do that.

Mr. Walker

Yes, I understand. If the Secretary o0f State says that I have been misled or have misunderstood, I will readily accept that. However, I began by saying that I had heard that journalists had been briefed last week about the possible changes, and it seems that some Conservative Back Benchers have also been told what the changes may be. Instead of telling certain selected people in smoke-filled rooms in this hole and corner fashion, the Secretary of State, if he has things to tell, should tell them openly in the House. Let him give us some idea of what the changes are so that we may take them into account in framing our attitude to the Lords amendments. Perhaps he will tell us something now about what the changes are, when we may see them and what the timetable may be for his bringing them before the House.

Mr. Waddington

I am sure that the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) knows that a fairly involved procedure must be followed before a new code can come into existence. He will certainly recall that ACAS must be consulted. We must then consider what is proposed by ACAS. There must then be further consultation before final proposals are put before the House by the Secretary of State. Therefore, I cannot help the right hon. Gentleman if he is asking me to tell him how long that process will take, any more than I can possibly tell him what final proposals will be put before the House. They will depend on what comes out of the consultation process. What is absolutely certain, as the right hon. Gentleman must know, is that one cannot even begin the process of consultation with a view to revising the code until one has finalised the Bill. The Bill has to be enacted. One then gets to work on the code. I should have thought that that was fairly plain.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendment: No.3, in page 4, line 6, at end insert— (7B) For the purposes of subsections (3)(c) and (6)(c), where votes in a ballot may be cast on more than one day, the ballot shall be treated as held on the last of those days.

Mr. Waddington

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker(Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 7.

Mr. Waddington

These are somewhat technical amendments. I hope that I shall not need to detain the House for long.

The amendments concern the closed shop balloting provisions in the Bill and in particular the period of time over which a ballot is held. It has always been the Government's intention that the closed shop ballots provided for in the Bill should not necessarily have to take place in a single day. We have always recognised that in certain industries it may prove very difficult to hold a ballot among employees of larger companies within that time scale. It was brought to the Government's attention, however, that the Bill as drafted might have given rise to doubt as to whether a closed shop ballot held over more than one day would be valid for the purposes of the closed shop balloting clauses in the Bill. That is because the original Bill referred in new sections 58(6)(c) and 58A(3) to the "the day" on which the ballot was held.

The purpose of the amendments is simply to remove any possible doubt in that regard. They provide explicitly that a closed shop ballot may be held over a period longer than one day and they make it clear that, in the case of a ballot held over more than one day, the last day is the day that matters for calculating the five-year period and also the day that matters with regard to the right of non-union employees in new closed shops to remain non-members under new section 58(6)(c).

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 4, in page 4, line 25, at end insert— (10A) Where the reason, or one of the reasons, for the dismissal of an employee was—

  1. (a)his refusal, or proposed refusal, to comply with a requirement (whether or not imposed by his contract of employment or in writing) that, in the event of his failure to become or his ceasing to remain a member of any trade union or of one of a number of particular trade unions, he must make one or more payments; or
  2. (b)his objection, or proposed objection (however expressed), to the operation of a provision (whether or not forming part of his contract of employment or in writing) under which, in the event mentioned in paragraph (a), his employer is entitled to deduct one or more sums from the remuneration payable to him in respect of his employment;
that reason shall be treated as falling within subsections (1)(c)and (3)(b).

The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Michael Alison)

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 8 and 12.

Mr. Alison

The amendments are related. They are designed to close a possible loophole in the Bill which might have enabled an employer to evade liability for unfair dismissal by arguing that the reason for dismissing an employee in a closed shop situation was not that the employee was not a union member but that he failed to make a payment in lieu of union membership. The amendments also give an employee a remedy if his employer seeks without the employee's consent forcibly to deduct money from the employee's wages or salary as payment in lieu.

A consistent principle lies behind all three amendments. It is that where an employee has a right not to belong to a trade union—this right clearly flows from clauses 2 and 5 and is a fundamental part of the Bill—he should also have what is in a sense a lesser, but a naturally consequential, right not to be forced to make a payment in lieu of trade union membership.

I shall deal briefly with the detail of the three amendments. Amendment No. 4 provides that dismissal for not complying with a requirement to make a payment in lieu or for objecting to an employer deducting such a payment from an employee's pay against the will of the employee is to be regarded as dismissal for non-membership of a union, whether that be fair or unfair. That means that such indirect forms of effective dismissal, as it were, will carry the enhanced compensation which would naturally flow from clause 2 of the Bill as originally drafted.

Amendment No. 8 is consequential upon amendment No. 4. It provides that where an employee is unfairly dismissed for failing to make a payment in lieu of trade union membership the fact that he may have breached a contractual undertaking in failing to comply with a requirement for such payment or has objected to payment being made for him or on his behalf is not to be regarded by an industrial tribunal as conduct making it just and equitable to reduce his award of compensation.

7.30 pm

Amendment No. 12 is also consequential on amendment No. 4 and makes it clear that any compulsory deduction from an employee in lieu of union membership amounts to action short of dismissal taken against him by the employer from which he is protected by the Bill. It is relevant here to note that compulsory deductions might not necessarily be paid to a charity and it could be part of the deal between the union and an employer that payments go to the union in lieu of membership fees.

The charity option or "agency shop" arrangement is not ruled out by the amendments. If a closed shop agreement is endorsed by an 80 per cent. or 85 per cent. majority—whichever is relevant—and an option is offered as an alternative to membership, but is refused in an endorsed closed shop, the dismissal will be fair. It does not in any way interfere with or inhibit a voluntarily agreed or arranged system for paying money to charity.

Mr. Harold Walker

I regret that the House and the Minister will not find me as co-operative and helpful on this matter as I was on the previous issue. The Minister has not advanced any justifications for this significant change in the Bill that left the House to go to the other place. It would have been helpful if we had been told whether the Government had had any consultations with anybody outside Parliament and in industry on this matter. It would also have been helpful if, instead of making generalised justifications, he had given us some specific examples, such as the deals with unions to which he alluded. Examples may exist—though I know of none and have never come across them in my fairly lengthy experience—of unions entering into arrangements where someone could be exempt from closed shop requirements if a contribution were made that eventually found its way back to the union.

The amendment is unwise and unnecessary. We have not argued in favour of closed shops, but have consistently said that where closed shops are operated and where union membership agreements apply in industry, the law and the courts are unsuitable instruments for their regulation. Much the better way is to leave such matters to the common sense, experience and judgment of those who are involved in the day-to-day management of industrial relations. None the less, I have said on many occasions that union membership agreements should be applied in a flexible and tolerant way.

By the amendments the Government are removing the last bit of flexibility that might have remained in the operation and application of closed shops. The provisions go well beyond even those of the 1971 Act, which recognised the free rider problem in the good conduct of industrial relations.

We must recognise that even those hon. Members who have had much direct experience in industrial relations have not done so recently. We have considered it more appropriate to quote the voices of those who have day-to-day involvement in such industrial matters. One of the voices that has been quoted in the house has been that of Mr. Dennis Landau, the chief executive of the Co-operative Wholesale Society. If his association with the Labour Party makes that seem inappropriate, let me say that he was previously the managing director of Cadbury Schweppes Foods Limited.

On 3 February Dennis Landau wrote an article which was headed:

Creating industrial chaos out of order". That is what he suggested the Bill would do. He referred to the large amount of compensation now available under the Bill and said: Employers could, of course, merely ignore the non-compliers, but this is simply likely to encourage others and lead to erosion of trade union membership. As in the first situation described, this erosion takes us back to all the dangers of refusal by the trade unionists to work with the 'free riders'. These are proposals for creating chaos out of order. Closed shop agreements are not merely a soft management option for tidiness and convenience at the expense of personal liberty. the stability obtained benefits employers and employees alike. Trade unions become more effective and the employees have a greater voice in those decisions affecting their working lives. If there are good relations with trade unions, special arrangements can always be made for the very occasional genuine conscientious objector. That is the voice of Mr. Dennis Landau who is not a trade union leader or even a spokesman of a publicly owned industry but the former managing director of Cadbury Schweppes Foods Limited—a man with enormous experience in such matters. That view also corresponds with my experience as a shop steward and a chairman of shop stewards. Rather than enjoy, at the expense of their fellow workers, the terms and conditions of employment won by the unions, which they object to joining for a variety of reasons, people can understand and accept the obligation on them to put their money in the kitty even if it goes to a nominated charity and not to the trade union.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

I have been a branch secretary and there is a society of such people. The Minister will put the unfortunate branch secretary in an invidious position. He could accept something gratuitously but it would be illegal. He would not dare to accept it. A situation could arise where a branch secretary could take that money and, over a period of time, not being able to pay it into the union funds, he could put it in his pocket, forget all about it and at some later stage there could be a controversy about its being paid illegally to the union. If the Minister wants the Bill to go through in a legal pattern he should not sponsor that part of the Bill.

Mr. Walker

Doubtless the Minister will have taken account of that point. I am bound to say that when I hear the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary denouncing evil, malicious wicked trade union officers, I often think of my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones). He has spent a lifetime as a trade union official, both lay and full time, and one more difficult to reconcile with the description of trade union officials that we hear from Conservative Members I could never imagine. It would do the Minister much good to listen to my hon. Friend, who exudes charm, wit, courtesy and compassion, to see whether he can fit him into his picture of trade union officials.

Unlike Lord Carr, the Secretary of State has not only aligned himself with the free riders, but is dangling before them the golden carrot of the bonus of up to £30,000 for being a non-unionist—those whom the General Council of British Shipping referred to as unscrupulous rapacious seafarers who might seek to take advantage of the bounty that is available.

Perhaps the most important point is that there must be many occasions where there have been long and protracted discussions, perhaps even industrial action, that have been resolved by persuading someone, in the circumstances that the amendment seeks to deal with, to make a payment to charity. That has become the established and accepted practice, creating stable industrial relations. That may now be put at risk because the provisions will apply not merely to future but to existing cases. Someone who has happily reconciled himself to working with his workmates on the basis that instead of paying money to the union he pays it to charity will now risk the disruption of stable industrial relations. He will have placed before him the incentive of compensation and the fact that the Secretary of State is sanctifying the disruption that he might cause. I ask the House to reject the amendment.

Mr. Alison

With the leave of the House, I shall reply to the debate. The right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) has put me at a great disadvantage in one sense, because he invoked his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones). If I ever have to fall, guilty, into the hands of justice, there is no one into whose hands I would rather fall than those of the hon. Member for Burnley.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster asked about the origin of the amendments. They resulted from the receipt by one of the relevant associations of a draft agreement on trade union membership for manual workers, which had been introduced by Nottinghamshire county council to cover new employees taken on from 1 January 1982. The hon. Gentleman might be interested in the details of that draft agreement. It required a new employee either to be a member of one of the specified unions within eight weeks of his employment, or, after eight weeks, to contribute to an agreed charity a sum equivalent to union membership. The agreement laid down that, where the employee complied with neither of those alternatives, the council would have the right to deduct a sum equivalent to union membership from the employee's salary and to pay it direct to a charity. New employees had to sign a form of undertaking, agreeing to accept all the terms of the union membership agreement before their appointment.

The agreement highlighted two possible loopholes in the Bill as originally drafted, to which I have referred. First, there was no certainty that an employee who had been dismissed for failing to pay money to a charity as an alternative to union membership would succeed in a claim that he had been unfairly dismissed because of his non-membership of the union. It could be argued that he had been unfairly dismissed merely for his failure to fulfil his contractual undertaking. That is exactly what we are trying to put right. If he did not succeed, he would at least not be entitled to the enhanced compensation in the Bill and, at worst, his dismissal might have been found fair under the normal unfair dismissal test of reasonableness, and so on.

Secondly, it highlighted the loophole that an employee probably had no legal redress. I agree that the case is hypothetical, but we must always consider the possibilities. It is probably true that an employee would have no legal redress if his employer, under the terms of a Nottinghamshire type agreement, simply deducted money from his salary in lieu of union membership and proceeded to pay it to a union or charity. Therefore, the provision seeks to close that loophole. It is not a draconian measure, but a weaker version of the protection given in clause 2 to the individual who contracted to join a union before joining the firm, subsequently failed to do so, left the union or failed to maintain his membership. From the point of view of those strongly in favour of the closed shop, the provision closes a loophole but is weaker than that contained in clause 2.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster quoted Mr. Dennis Landau. He no doubt did so because he is one of the very few employers who take that line. However, the CBI is on record as saying that the Bill as a whole has got it just about right. I believe that it is rather more representative of the employers than Mr. Landau. Since introducing the amendment in the other place, we have not received any representations against it from any employer or employers' association.

7.45 pm
Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Ealing, Southall)

I have not participated much in the debates on the Government's amorphous Employment Bill. We regard it as an anti-trade union Bill. When it comes to industrial relations, it has an air of unreality about it. I listened carefully to the Minister and to my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) and I am glad that the House is to divide. It will highlight the fact that the Government have not got the Bill right and are unlikely to do so.

It is all very well for the CBI to reflect on the Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones) said, we always thought it a bit crackpot—given the background and history of industrial relations—that payment should be made to charity. I remember when a Jehovah's witness was carried by London bus workers, who were otherwise all members of the Transport and General Workers Union. They did not pillory the man or send him to Coventry, but had a deep respect for his religious feelings, just as I respect the Minister's well-known religious feelings.

The workers' representatives do much more than merely talk to employers about wages and general conditions. I have some experience of the railway industry. I was a local shop steward, or local departmental committee representative, as we were called. When a non-unionist from another depot said that he had torn up his card because he had fallen out with the local branch secretary, we made it clear that we wanted him to be one of us. If he had told us that he did not want to be one of us because he did not like us or the local branch secretary, he would have been required to prove it. We had in our hands such matters as the holiday roster and the shift working rosters. We could see to it that his life was a misery because he had refused to be one of us.

If someone did not wish to belong to a union because he had deeply held religious convictions or conscientious objections, and if he said, for example, that he put all his faith in God to provide for him and his family, it would be different. The average, decent British worker who makes up our trade union movement will carry such people. My hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) has experience of the print industry, which runs a closed shop par excellence. Those involved are a bit scared of the proposed changes. My hon. Friend has great experience and I have heard him tell the Government, time and again, that the Bill will not work. It will not work when the vast majority of workers in any plant or print shop decide that it will not work. That is the essence of the issue.

The Government will push the workers into acting illegally, but when they twig the full meaning of the Tebbit Bill—as it is known in the trade union movement—they will find all sorts of ingenious ways of getting round its provisions, including the silly business of the conscientious objector. They are fighting for their families and for their standard of living, and they regard such silly, sideline activities, which are not in the guts of the Bill, as ridiculous.

Those workers see the Bill as the thin end of the wedge and as an instrument that seeks to destroy the movement that they have cherished for so many years. They could stop work any time they liked. They could stop work because they did not like someone who was not in their union. They could walk out of the gate, and when the employer complained that they were striking they could deny it and could give various excuses for taking time off. Trade union leaders have plainly spelt out such things.

I have far more respect for the Minister than I have for most Conservative Members, particularly those involved with the Department of Employment. I am sure that the Minister realises in his heart of hearts the truth of my remarks. One can take a horse to water, but one cannot make it drink.

The Bill will help to dig the Government's grave when the general election comes. If the provisions have time to bite before the next general election, and if there are stupid, foolish upheavals in the workshop and in industry as a result of these crazy propsals, we shall see the end of this Government, which is long overdue.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

I intervene on behalf of the seafaring industry in which I have a particular interest, and which is in a special position. The Bill has been through Committee and through the House of Lords, yet no special substantial changes have taken place to mitigate the charge that the Bill is out to destroy the seafaring unions as well as the rest of the trade union movement. What distinguishes the previous Tory Administration from the present Administration is that when the former attempted to outlaw the closed shop principle they found that there were great difficulties with regard to seafarers, as indeed with actors, and that they would need to change their basic approach to the principle of the right not to belong to the union, being equal to the right to belong to a union. I made that point on Second reading and I wish to pursue the matter with regard to seafaring and the amendments to clause 5.

I deal first with compensation. It is no coincidence that the shipowners are extremely concerned about those who may become known as the bounty hunters—those who, because of the peculiarities of the seafaring industry, can seek a considerable amount of money for, all of a sudden, not wishing to belong to a union. I give as an example the seafarer who joins a ship in some other port of the world, many miles from the United Kingdom. There might be considerable difficulties in communicating with that place. That is why we give captains on such ships considerable power to ensure that their orders are obeyed which can have criminal consequences for industrial relations incidents quite different from any other form of industrial set up.

Certain practices pursued in the shipping industry are not pursued with the best of justice in mind. Some shipowners have tried to board vessels by using all types of physical violence. I cite as an example what happened some years ago with the "Globtik Venus". In such cases people are hired to undermine the traditional work practices on board the ship or to remove a crew that is in dispute with the owners or captain. Such men are hired and flown out to achieve the objectives of certain owners.

Let us consider the argument that leads to the possibility of an award of compensation by a tribunal. A man arrives on a vessel on the other side of the world and decides that he no longer wishes to belong to the union, or, having previously said that he would join the union, decides that he does not like the captain or the convener and for one reason or other does not wish to join the union.

Those considerations would have to be taken into account if action were taken, presumably by the owner, to return the man to the United Kingdom, when a tribunal would consider what compensation he was to receive. The circumstances surrounding the man's decision whether to join a union is material evidence in considering whether the Bill facilitates anti-trade union activity or seeks, as the Government want us to believe, to strengthen trade unions and the right of the individual to decide whether to belong to a union.

The argument about whether a man should be able to decide not to belong to a union because of a conscientious objection has been dealt with in previous legislation and is generally recognised in the trade union movement. It is recognised in the trade union movement that if one does not want to belong to a trade union it is possible, particularly where a closed shop exists, to pay the equivalent amount to charity. In a dispute on the other side of the world where a man decides that he does not want to belong to a union, an owner at least has the opportunity, as a compromise, to ask the man whether he will agree to his union dues being paid to the charity.

That is one way to deal with a difficult position, but in the maritime industry if the man decides, when he joins the ship, that he no longer wishes to join the union, for whatever reason, and the men on the ship refuse to sail the ship because he is a non-unionist—that is a legitimate argument to deploy—such a ship could be held up on the other side of the world. The owner wishes to get his ship to sea and both parties to the dispute are becoming more aggrieved about it and the men refuse to sail.

The crew realise that if that man holds to his position and goes to a tribunal, he is likely to receive compensation of up to £30,000. If a man wants to make a killing he can simply go abroad and agree to join a ship. He does not say that he might have disagreements about union matters, but he arrives abroad and decides to go for the bullseye, which is £30,000 in compensation. He could not care a damn about whether he belongs to the union. He simply wants to get a better reward than he would be likely to get if he served on that ship for three years. That is a consideration and an incentive that might cause a considerable amount of disagreement.

In such circumstances, the captain may order the crew to sail the ship. If the men refuse to obey the captain's order, they face a charge of committing a criminal offence. That is the law that we impose on seamen at their place of work. Those who exercise their right to remain in the union and say to the person who refuses to join that they did not want to work with him are coerced by the law. The man who caused the problem is in for a killing and could make £30,000 in compensation.

Mr. Alison

The hon. Gentleman will realise that all the difficulties that he has described can be averted if a ballot is held when the closed shop is approved. Furthermore, even if it is not approved the tribunals have the right to reduce—indeed, to eliminate entirely—compensation if it is thought that there is a bounty hunter who is simply trying to wreck the system.

Mr. Prescott

I refer the Minister to hearings of tribunals because clearly he has not had a great deal of experience of seeing how tribunals deal with people who are sacked for belonging to a union and people who are sacked for not belonging to a union. The two groups are treated considerably differently both in attitude and in compensation. He can ascertain that fact for himself.

I did not think that the Minister would advance the argument about the ballot, because it does not stand up with regard to seafaring. During the Falklands war our seamen could not receive mail for five weeks. Therefore, when men are all over the world an 80 per cent. or 90 per cent. share of the ballot is impossible to achieve in any time slot, even if one allowed two years.

I shall give the Minister an example of that. One can assume that on matters of wages every seaman will take an interest in whether he takes part in a ballot but we have not been able, even with nearly two-month balloting, to get more than 15 per cent. participation, because most men receive their mail in different parts of the world.

To offer the argument of the ballot as protection against injustice flies in face of the evidence. At least the previous Tory Administration recognised the difficulties of the seafarers and changed the law fundamentally to accommodate them, even though I opposed what they were doing in that sense.

The present Government do not recognise the difficulties, and to use the ballot in those circumstances makes it clear that the Government are determined to break the trade unions wherever they can. One can show it more easily with seafarer 3, but I think that the law, the rules and the attitude of the Government are applicable to all the trade union movement and not just to seafarers.

Mr. Dan Jones

I take the view, and I say it with respect, that the Minister has not been firmly and correctly advised about the Bill. I shall mention only one aspect of the consequences of the Bill. I am referring to the terms of compensation, a subject with which I have dealt for many years.

I repeat my clam—I challenge any member of the Conservative Party to examine it and prove that I am not speaking the truth.—that the Minister has not been correctly advised on the form of the Bill. I regret that I was not in the House when the Bill was presented.

I am talking about workers' compensation. All who examine what is happening in the courts today know that when a case is taken to court it is always supported by a team of established barristers, but no union will take a case—

It being Eight o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order this day, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

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

The House divided: Ayes 292, Noes 222.

Division No. 321] [8 pm
Adley, Robert Alton, David
Alexander, Richard Amery, Rt Hon Julian
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Ancram, Michael
Aspinwall, Jack Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles
Atkins, Rt Hon H.(S'thorne) Forman, Nigel
Atkins, Robert(Preston N) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) Fox, Marcus
Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone) Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Freud, Clement
Banks, Robert Fry, Peter
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Beith, A. J. Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Bendall, Vivian Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Glyn, Dr Alan
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Goodhart, Sir Philip
Best, Keith Goodhew, Sir Victor
Bevan, David Gilroy Goodlad, Alastair
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gorst, John
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Gow, Ian
Blackburn, John Gower, Sir Raymond
Blaker, Peter Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Body, Richard Gray, Hamish
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Grieve, Percy
Boscawen, Hon Robert Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds)
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Bowden, Andrew Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Grist, Ian
Braine, Sir Bernard Grylls, Michael
Brinton, Tim Gummer, John Selwyn
Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon Hamilton, Hon A.
Brooke, Hon Peter Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Brotherton, Michael Hannam, John
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Haselhurst, Alan
Browne, John (Winchester) Hastings, Stephen
Bruce-Gardyne, John Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Bryan, Sir Paul Hawkins, Sir Paul
Buck, Antony Hawksley, Warren
Budgen, Nick Henderson, Barry
Bulmer, Esmond Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Burden, Sir Frederick Hicks, Robert
Butcher, John Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Hill, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n ) Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Hooson, Tom
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Hordern, Peter
Chapman, Sydney Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'Idf'd)
Churchill, W. S. Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Hunt, David (Wirral)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Irvine, Bryant Godman
Clegg, Sir Walter Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Cockeram, Eric Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Colvin, Michael Jessel, Toby
Cope, John Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Corrie, John Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Costain, Sir Albert Kaberry, Sir Donald
Cranborne, Viscount Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Crouch, David Kimball, Sir Marcus
Dickens, Geoffrey King, Rt Hon Tom
Dorrell, Stephen Kitson, Sir Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Knight, Mrs Jill
Dover, Denshore Knox, David
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lamont, Norman
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Lang, Ian
Durant, Tony Latham, Michael
Dykes, Hugh Lawrence, Ivan
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Lee, John
Eggar, Tim Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Elliott, Sir William Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Emery, Sir Peter Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Eyre, Reginald Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fairgrieve, Sir Russell Loveridge, John
Faith, Mrs Sheila Luce, Richard
Farr, John Lyell, Nicholas
Fell, Sir Anthony McCrindle, Robert
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Macfarlane, Neil
Finsberg, Geoffrey MacGregor, John
Fisher, Sir Nigel MacKay, John (Argyll)
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
McQuarrie, Albert St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Major, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Marland, Paul Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Marlow, Antony Shelton, William (Streatham)
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Mates, Michael Shepherd, Richard
Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus Shersby, Michael
Mawby, Ray Silvester, Fred
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Sims, Roger
Mayhew, Patrick Skeet, T. H. H.
Mellor, David Smith, Dudley
Meyer, Sir Anthony Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Mills, lain (Meriden) Speed, Keith
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Speller, Tony
Miscampbell, Norman Spence, John
Moate, Roger Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Monro, Sir Hector Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Montgomery, Fergus Squire, Robin
Moore, John Stainton, Keith
Morgan, Geraint Stanbrook, Ivor
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Stanley, John
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Mudd, David Stokes, John
Murphy, Christopher Stradling Thomas, J.
Myles, David Tapsell, Peter
Neale, Gerrard Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Needham, Richard Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Nelson, Anthony Temple-Morris, Peter
Neubert, Michael Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Onslow, Cranley Thompson, Donald
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S. Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Page, John (Harrow, West) Thornton, Malcolm
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Parris, Matthew Trippier, David
Patten, Christopher (Bath) van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Patten, John (Oxford) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Pattie, Geoffrey Viggers, Peter
Pawsey, James Waddington, David
Penhaligon, David Wakeham, John
Percival, Sir Ian Waldegrave, Hon William
Peyton, Rt Hon John Walker, B. (Perth )
Pink, R. Bonner Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Pollock, Alexander Waller, Gary
Porter, Barry Walters, Dennis
Price, Sir David (Eastleigh) Ward, John
Prior, Rt Hon James Warren, Kenneth
Proctor, K. Harvey Watson, John
Rath bone, Tim Wells, Bowen
Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Renton, Tim Wheeler, John
Rhodes James, Robert Whitney, Raymond
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wickenden, Keith
Ridley, Hon Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Williams, D.(Montgomery)
Rifkind, Malcolm Winterton, Nicholas
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Wolfson, Mark
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Rossi, Hugh Tellers for the Ayes:
Rost, Peter Mr. Anthony Berry and
Royle, Sir Anthony Mr. Carol Mather.
Abse, Leo Bidwell, Sydney
Adams, Allen Booth, Rt Hon Albert
Allaun, Frank Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Anderson, Donald Bottomley, Rt Hon A.(M'b'ro)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Bray, Dr Jeremy
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Brown, Hugh D. (Proven)
Ashton, Joe Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Buchan, Norman
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Campbell, Ian
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Campbell-Savours, Dale
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N) Canavan, Dennis
Cant, R. B. Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Carmichael, Neil Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Clarke,Thomas(C'b'dge, A'rie) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Cohen, Stanley Lambie, David
Coleman, Donald Lamond, James
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Leighton, Ronald
Conlan, Bernard Lestor, Miss Joan
Cook, Robin F. Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW)
Cowans, Harry Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill) Litherland, Robert
Crowther, Stan Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Cryer, Bob McCartney, Hugh
Cunliffe, Lawrence McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Dalyell, Tam McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Davidson, Arthur McKelvey, William
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'Ili) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) McMahon, Andrew
Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd) McNamara, Kevin
Deakins, Eric McTaggart, Robert
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Marks, Kenneth
Dewar, Donald Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton)
Dixon, Donald Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Dobson, Frank Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Dormand, Jack Martin, M(G'gow S'burn)
Douglas, Dick Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Dubs, Alfred Maxton, John
Duffy, A. E. P. Maynard, Miss Joan
Dunnett, Jack Meacher, Michael
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Mikardo, Ian
Eadie, Alex Milian, Rt Hon Bruce
Eastham, Ken Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E) Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're) Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
English, Michael Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Morton, George
Evans, John (Newton) Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Ewing, Harry Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Faulds, Andrew Newens, Stanley
Field, Frank Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Fitch, Alan O'Neill, Martin
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Ford, Ben Palmer, Arthur
Forrester, John Park, George
Foster, Derek Parker, John
Foulkes, George Parry, Robert
Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd) Pavitt, Laurie
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Pendry, Tom
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
George, Bruce Prescott, John
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Race, Reg
Golding, John Radice, Giles
Gourlay, Harry Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Graham, Ted Richardson, Jo
Grant, George (Morpeth) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife) Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Hardy, Peter Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Robertson, George
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Rooker, J. W.
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Heffer, Eric S. Rowlands, Ted
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Ryman, John
Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll) Sever, John
Home Robertson, John Sheerman, Barry
Homewood, William Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Hooley, Frank Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Howell, Rt Hon D. Short, Mrs Renée
Hoyle, Douglas Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
Huckfield, Les Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Snape, Peter
Janner, Hon Greville Soley, Clive
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Spearing, Nigel
John, Brynmor Spriggs, Leslie
Johnson, James (Hull West) Stallard, A. W.
Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles) Welsh, Michael
Stoddart, David White, Frank R.
Stott, Roger White, J. (G'gow Pollak)
Strang, Gavin Whitehead, Phillip
Straw, Jack Whitlock, William
Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Wigley, Dafydd
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Thomas, Dafydd (Morioneth) Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)
Thomas, Dr R.(Carmarthen) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H.(H'ton)
Tilley, John Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Tinn, James Winnick, David
Torney, Tom Woodall, Alec
Urwin, Rt Hon Tom Woolmer, Kenneth
Varley, Rt Hon Eric 3. Wright, Sheila
Wardell, Gareth Young, David (Bolton E)
Wainwright, E.(Dearne V)
Walker, Rt Hon H.(C'caster) Tellers for the Noes:
Watkins, David Mr. James Hamilton and
Weetch, Ken Mr. Frank Haynes.

Question accordingly agreed to.

It being after Seven o'clock, MR. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order this day, to put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at Eight o'clock.

Lords amendments Nos. 5 to 14 agreed to.

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