HC Deb 06 June 1989 vol 154 cc144-66
Mr. Nicholls

I beg to move amendment No. 30, in page 9, line 10, after 'out', insert `(i)'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may discuss Government amendments Nos. 31 to 34.

Mr. Nicholls

Amendments Nos. 30 to 34 are purely technical and in no way change the underlying purpose of the clause. That said, they fall into two distinct categories. Amendments Nos. 33 and 34 remedy a defect in the drafting of section 32 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978. The need to put forward the amendments arises out of a recent Court of Appeal decision in the case of Adlington v. British Bakeries (Northern) Limited. The case was decided during the Committee stage and was referred to by the hon. Member for Preston (Mrs. Wise).

The purpose of clause 10 is to remove the anomoly in section 27 of the 1978 Act, which was revealed in the 1982 Court of Appeal case of Beal and Others v Beecham. The amendments seek not to change the purpose of the clause, but to amend the law to remove that anomaly. The clause does not alter the law in any other respect.

Mr. Strang

The Minister will recall our discussions in Committee on a clause to which we take great exception. I am not wholly convinced that the amendments are entirely technical and I wish to probe the matter a little further, especially on amendment No. 31.

The issue has a long history going back to the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, which was introduced by the Labour Government. Section 27 of that Act clearly laid down the circumstances under which an employee could have paid time off for legitimate trade union activities. There was some opposition to that legislation from the Conservative party. I say "some" because in those days the Tories' extreme attitude towards the trade union movement was not fully manifest.

During those debates a number of hon. Members sought to limit the circumstances under which people could have paid time off. The position is clear because an ACAS code of practice, which was envisaged in the Act, defines the duties for which trade union officials can have paid time off. They include:

  1. "(a) collective bargaining with the appropriate level of management;
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  3. (b) informing constituents about negotiations or consultations with management;
  4. (c) meetings with other lay officials or with full-time union officers on matters which are concerned with industrial relations between his or her employer and any associated employer and their employees;
  5. (d) interviews with and on behalf of constituents on grievance and discipline matters concerning them and their employer;
  6. (e) appearing on behalf of constituents before an outside official body, such as an industrial tribunal, which is dealing with an industrial relations matter concerning the employer; and
  7. (f) explanations to new employees whom he or she will represent of the role of the union in the workplace industrial relations structure."
It is our view that the ACAS code of practice, amplified by various court cases, lays down a reasonable legislative framework determining when a trade unionist should be entitled to time off paid for by his employer. We take exception to the clause because it seeks to change all that. It seeks to remove the applicability of the ACAS code of practice and to insert a new definition of the circumstances in which a trade union official would be entitled to time off, namely, the definition in the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.

It is symptomatic of the Government's whole approach to these matters that the definition which is to be operative is the definition of a trade dispute. Time and time again we have to remind Government Members that, contrary to the impression that they and the organs of the press that support them give, full-time trade union officials spend 95 to 99 per cent. of their time not in seeking to encourage people to withdraw their labour but in seeking to avoid disputes and secure agreements. Often their intervention has the effect of preventing people from coming out on strike or taking industrial action.

The vast bulk of their time is spent on helping the process of industrial relations which means helping to avoid disputes and breakdowns in relations between management and workers. Generally it is only a small fraction of their time that is involved in strikes and other forms of industrial action. It is sad that the Government should seek to revert to the definition of a trade dispute to lay down the conditions that have to be fulfilled for a worker to have paid time off for trade union activities.

It was made clear in Committee how restrictive the provision will be. For example, under present legislation, if a national trade union such as the Amalgamated Engineering Union organised a conference on the car industry, provided the conference was about industrial relations and other aspects of the industry, it could reasonably expect that all its members who were active in the car industry, where there was an agreement between the AEU and the company, would be entitled to paid time off to attend the conference. So it would not matter whether the AEU convenor was based at the Rover Cowley plant or at the Nissan Washington plant; the same criteria would apply. In the example that I have given the convenor would be entitled to paid time off.

What the legislation does is alter that position and it creates a situation where, whether the trade union convenor will have paid time off will depend on the actual collective agreement that is in force between the trade union and the employer at the particular plant or company in question. Therefore, I believe it to be the case that, if there is a rather restrictive agreement between Nissan and the AEU, one could find that a convenor at the Nissan plant would not be entitled to paid time off, but a convenor at the Rover plant, where there is a more traditional type of agreement, would be. That was one of the points that came out in Committee.

12.45 am

One of the most incredible justifications for that change in the legislation was to give employers greater certainty. The implication was that there was a certain ambiguity in the current legislation as to when a trade unionist was entitled to paid time off. However, it does the very opposite, as my example illustrates. Instead of there being a uniformity across the board, as applies at present and is basically laid down by the ACAS code of practice to which I have referred, we shall be moving into a situation where the entitlement to paid time off will vary, not according to the nature of the event—for example, a conference or training school—that the trade union official wants to attend, but according to the nature of the collective agreement between the employer and the trade unionist.

It must be pointed out that the Government completely failed to sustain their case that that would lead to a position of greater clarity and predictability for employers in relation to paid time off for trade unionists. It must further be said that the first indication that we received of the Government's intention in that area goes way back to the White Paper, "Building Businesses…not Barriers". That sought to imply that that requirement, which goes back to the Employment Protection Act 1975, was something of a burden on employers. That being so, Ministers have still not made the slightest attempt to describe that burden on or cost to employers. There is no suggestion of any quantification of those.

No one has sought to indicate what the average financial cost or burden in any year is to any particular employer, whether large or small. Indeed, I do not believe that any hon. Member on either side of the House really believes that the entitlement to paid time off by trade union officials, as it operates in this country at present, is in any way a disadvantage or some sort of burden to employers, which makes our firms less competitive than those elsewhere.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the exact reverse would he the truth? If the arrangement for paid time off is left to individual collective agreements between a trade union branch and an employer, it will surely lead to accusations of disparities between agreements—as to employers giving time off or not, as the case may be, to go to the sort of conference mentioned by my hon. Friend—which will in turn lead to more pressure for negotiations to allow time off to reach parity with other sections of the industry. That in itself could lead to an industrial dispute about the very legislation that the Government are proposing to introduce. A national agreement laid down and applying, through statute and national convention, across the board is obviously a way of avoiding disputes between sections of an industry, whereas the Government's proposals are a recipe for conflict.

Mr. Strang

I do not have the slightest doubt that the situation will develop in that way. Codes of practice and case law make people's position clear. It is not clear in this measure. There will be opposition by employees when they find that they are no longer entitled to paid time off.

Paid time off will be determined by collective agreement, but there are collective agreements and collective agreements. Some, such as the one between the trade unions and the Ford Motor company, are almost comparable to legislation, so well-honed are they. They are clear-cut and precise. But many other collective agreements fall a long way short of that and whether there is time off to undertake a particular activity is open to interpretation.

Disagreement and disharmony will be promoted when a trade union has one interpretation of a collective agreement and the employer has another. We can rest assured that the employer will interpret it as meaning that the official is not entitled to paid time off while the trade union will take the opposite view. The union's rational response will be to bring pressure to bear on the employer to achieve that paid time off. Notwithstanding what is included in the collective agreement, it is always possible to negotiate a supplementary agreement providing specificaly for paid time off for a particular purpose. There will be a clear incentive for workers to bring pressure to bear on employers—perhaps even embarking upon industrial action—to negotiate a supplementary agreement to give paid time off to attend the kind of conference that I have mentioned.

Surely most reasonable people recognise that it is in industry's interests that managers and trade union officials are well educated. Some trade union officials are involved in just certain matters—for example, national pay negotiations—but even people without experience in the workplace know that shop stewards play a pivotal role. Consequently, it must be in the interests of large, complex operations that those people have an opportunity to be as well-educated and well-informed as possible. Of course they should be well-informed about industrial relations and negotiating procedures, but they should also have the widest opportunity to educate themselves about their industry and to widen their horizons.

In Committee, I asked whether a trade union convenor would be entitled to paid time off to attend a conference on the implications for his industry of the single European market in 1992. We did not get an answer. It is clear that often convenors will not be entitled to paid time off. Of course, it will be possible to negotiate an agreement to achieve that, but the Government are backward in the way in which they have enacted legislation to restrict the scope for working people to attend courses and broaden their education.

No one seriously suggests that British industry gravely under-performs, that our output has been greatly reduced or that our productivity has been adversely affected because too many trade unionists have been getting paid time off to attend various courses—far from it. I suspect that not only Opposition Members but many managers and employers would argue that industry would operate more efficiently if more active trade unionists had more opportunities to participate in conferences on education and so on. That would broaden their understanding and enable them to become more knowledgeable not only about industrial relations and negotiating procedures but the nature of their industry's market.

The measure has not been justified by the Government. Certainly, as I have indicated, the two main arguments put forward by the Government, have not been substantiated. They have not produced any evidence to show that the current requirement is a burden to industry. It is nonsense to argue, as they have done, that the changes will bring greater certainty.

We are talking about a large number of people and a range of courses. In 1989, 60,000 shop stewards and trade union representatives will go on training courses arranged by their union or the Trades Union Congress. The trade unions and the TUC spend £6.5 million on training, of which 25 per cent. is grant-aided by the Government.

I am not suggesting that the new legislation will mean that participants on every course organised by the TUC or the unions will not be entitled to paid time off. That does not apply to health and safety representatives: they are governed by separate regulations and there is no restriction on their entitlement to paid time off for trade union activities.

A large number of courses are attended by thousands of trade unionists every year. In the main they are attended on the basis of paid time off. In those circumstances it is wholly reprehensible for the Government to enact a measure which will limit the opportunity for some, not all, trade unionists, to participate in the courses.

The Minister argued that the amendments were technical. I would appreciate greater clarification of that argument. Amendment No. 31 deals with a paragraph that is to be substituted in the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978. The words to be removed are: any matters specified in section 29(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 and the words to be inserted are: negotiations with the employer that are related to or connected with any matters which fall within section 29(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

That is not technical in the way that the word is normally used in the context of amendments. It changes the Bill so that the courts will interpret it differently from the way in which they would if it remained unamended.

I seek Government guidance on this matter because when I was studying it I was not sure whether the change would marginally improve the position for the trade unions and us. I thought that the phrase related to or connected with went wider than the wording any matter specified in section 29(1)". If my view was correct, it would mean that that was not a major change but would slightly improve the position. I say "slightly" because such a change would be only marginal and would in no way mitigate the enormity of the amendment, which—as we explained at some length in Committee—we consider an absolute outrage. It cannot be justified on the ground that, as the Government claim, it will help business. It is clear from the inadequacy of the Government's attempts to justify the amendment that it is born out of their continuing vendetta against the trade union movement.

1 am

The amendment is intended to undermine and weaken the trade unions. It is the product of an era when the Government believed that there were votes to be had from portraying the unions as the opponents—the enemies—of real progress. I am not sure whether they still believe that votes can be won on that ticket; I suspect that their own polls will tell them that such votes are becoming fewer and fewer, and that the unions are more popular now than they have been for decades. The idea that they are somehow responsible for the major problems facing the nation—inflation, mass unemployment and a huge balance of payments gap—is nonsense.

I would like to think that, whatever the Government's political motivation, the extent to which they can be encouraged to implement vindictive legislation on the basis that it will win votes is being reduced. This, however, is another element in the saga of legislation aimed at attacking the legitimate trade union movement. We got another whiff of the Government's attitude at the weekend, when the Secretary of State made some reference to introducing future legislation to deal with unofficial action. That was bound to receive some coverage in the light of the unofficial action on the London Underground, but the idea that action can be taken to prevent people from striking unofficially is hardly sustainable.

Do the Government intend to introduce legislation to fine or otherwise penalise the unions? That is nonsense, because unofficial action, by definition, is action taken in defiance of trade union instructions. Will they seek to imprison the organisers of such action? In the case of the London Underground action, it is extremely unlikely that they would ever find the organisers. Even against the background of, for instance, the action that the Government took over GCHQ to undermine basic human liberties relating to the right to engage in trade union activity, it is hard to believe that they would legislate for people to be locked up simply because they sought to withdraw their labour. Whether or not the Secretary of State was serious, I suspect that, when they examine the proposal, the Government will find it impracticable.

What is disturbing, however, is that the Government still seem to be considering legislation to trammel and restrict trade union activities further. All the evidence—including much of the evidence obtained by the Government on the consultative documents issued in connection with the Bill—has asked them not to take such action.

In respect of a Bill debated in the last Session, the extent to which representations were made by the Confederation of British Industry, the British Institute of Management and the Institute of Personnel Management, implying and sometimes explicitly arguing that the Government had gone more than far enough, was remarkable. That was the view even of organisations that supported the Government when they first enacted employment legislation on being returned to power.

The idea that the Government can further attack trade union rights is wholly indefensible. I do not believe that it has many supporters. It represents simply a continuation of the Government's policy of attacking and undermining trade union activity. That does not reduce union disputes. It must be clear even to the Government that the main reason for the reduction in industrial disputes is mass unemployment. Because of its scale, the average worker feels lucky to have a job and in those circumstances is not in a position to withdraw his labour. However, in some areas—and particularly London—there is not only full employment but employers are finding it hard to recruit. As a consequence, the unions' bargaining power is enhanced and there is a prospect of industrial action. The situation is exacerbated by the sharp rise in the cost of living.

We bitterly resent clause 10. I ask the Minister to answer my question relating to amendment No. 31, as I am genuinely uncertain as to its true effect. I cannot regard it as a technical amendment. The Minister referred to a recent case that was cited in the Standing Committee, and he may have been implying that the amendment would ensure the same outcome. If that is so, I regard the amendment as purely technical. Perhaps the Minister will explain precisely the implications of amendment No. 31.

Mr. Harry Barnes

We are debating important matters relating to time off for trade union duties and for involvement in training. I prefer to talk about the opportunities for education. Trade unionists do not have to be taught by rote, but need to understand difficult and complex situations in which different views, values and arguments must be taken into account.

The question must be asked whether we are here dealing with purely technical amendments or with something considerably more significant. The changes made in Committee and the defeats that Labour suffered there were certainly significant.

At least four pieces of legislation must be carefully examined. They are the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, the amendment in Committee which referred the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 to the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, and the amendments now before the House, which can be interpreted in many different ways and certainly need clarifying. The original Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 stated that trade unionists should be allowed time off

  1. "(a) to carry out those duties of his as such an official which are concerned with industrial relations between his employer and any associated employer, and their employees; or
  2. (b) to undergo training in aspects of industrial relations which is—
    1. (i) relevant to the carrying out of those duties; and
    2. (ii) approved by the Trades Union Congress or by the independent trade union of which he is an official."
That is being destroyed and specific measures were introduced in Committee stating that those provisions should be available only for matters involving trade disputes as defined in the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974. However, it was argued that other items could be involved in recognition agreements which might still be debated.

The hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee), who answered the debate in Committee, was quite insistent that recognition agreements were of vast importance and significance. In a 22-minute speech, during which there were eight interventions, he managed to mention recognition agreements 11 times and said: We agree that, in principle, training of trade union officials is a good thing. In our view, trained shop stewards are better than untrained shop stewards". He continued: Clause 10 is not inconsistent with that view in any way. All it states is that the employers' obligation to allow paid time off for training and other trade union duties must be governed by the terms of the recognition agreement with the trade union. What is unreasonable about that?"—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 28 February 1989; c. 354.] The amendments might destroy the possibility of the recognition agreement being taken into account. Our argument in Committee was that the recognition agreement would be undermined in regard to time off for trade union duties by clause 10 which would alter the legal framework in which trade unions could negotiate. The Government did not take that view. They believe that negotiations have nothing to do with power relationships in industry and that two good-natured people chatting together can sort things out.

What does amendment No. 32 mean? It introduces a fresh provision about other training and educational duties that could be involved. It states: (i) any other duties of his, as such an official, which are concerned with the performance, on behalf of employees of the employer, of any functions that are related to or connected with any matters falling within that provision and that the employer has agreed may be so performed by the trade union; The second part of the amendment seems to refer to recognition agreements. But to what does the first part refer? Why do we need fresh language now? Is there a legal possibility that the second part of the amendment would be tied in with the words "falling within that provision" to clause 10(a)(i), which refers to section 29 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act? Is it possible that, although a matter was included within a recognition agreement, the employer could disobey that recognition agreement because the agreement on time off for trade union studies exceeded the provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act? If my interpretation is correct, if flies in the face of what we were told 11 times in Committee by the hon. Member for Pendle.

1.15 am

In Committee, the Minister said that health and safety provision would not be affected, but amendment No. 32 might affect it. It says: any other duties of his, as such an official, which are concerned with negotiations with an employer that are related to or connected with any matters falling within section 29(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.

The words that are related to connected or with any matters throw the matter wide open and make an improvement. Are negotiations with an employer possible negotiations under the appropriate section of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act or are they actual negotiations, which will depend on power relationships within an industry and may be highly restrictive, given the other trade union legislation that has been passed in recent years? Clause 10(a)(i) may be highly restrictive, and may add to the problem with clause 10(a)(ii) if it is interpreted in the way that I suggested earlier.

There is much need for time off for trade union duties and education. The Bill, which is of much interest to trade unionists, young people, women who may have to work in a pit and disabled people, may exclude from discussion matters such as time off for trade union duties, terms of employment, the allocation of work duties, matters of discipline, membership of a trade union, facilities for trade union officials and machinery for negotiation. A legal interpretation of the Bill might restrict such activity.

I should like more detail of the Bill's provisions and why the amendments are necessary. To argue that they are technical and that therefore we need not worry too much about them does not carry much weight because other measures described in Committee as technical which were opposed by Labour Members produced serious problems for working people.

Mr. McCartney

I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for your kind remarks about my recent illness. I hope to prove that I am back to full fitness as I catch your eye again and again. That is not a threat.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

It is a promise.

Mr. McCartney

You said it, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The clause is important. We are trying to elicit from the Government the true intention behind their proposals. In his detailed analysis, my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) clearly showed that in practice on the shop floor it is vitally important that trade unions are able to use legislation when their legal rights are challenged. That applies particularly in industries where trade unions are in a weak position, not necessarily because of low membership but because of the way in which that membership is situated in particular industries and the relationship between employees and the companies in those industries.

It is important that legislation does not create further imbalances which reduce the ability of working people to join a trade union and to make recognition of that union effective by the way in which an employer provides resources and facilities, such as time off, for the trade union representatives to carry out their duties.

As a former shop steward, I have always taken the view that it is paramount in good industrial relations that an employer recognises the work of trade unions in the workplace and the way in which they can make a positive contribution to the development of the company and, in the day-to-day management of a company, their contribution in terms of developing strategies and improvements in work force techniques, the development and use of new technology, and the way in which relationships and communications can be improved in an industrial setting.

All that can be done only by the active co-operation and involvement of trade unions. Where that co-operation is sought, it can be effective only when trade unions have the right to ensure that their contribution is underpinned by time off and other resources.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) said, in Committee the Minister said that all those matters were covered by recognition agreements. That is significant, because recognition agreements are central to whether trade unionists have any rights under current legislation.

For example, the first part of clause 10 says: In section 27(1) of the 1978 Act (duty of employer to permit employee who is an official of an independent trade union recognised by employer to take time off to carry out certain trade union duties) That recognition is vital to whether a trade unionist can, in reality, effectively carry out his or her work on behalf of the trade union and the work force.

The reality is that under the Government ACAS, in its handbook for small firms, says that there is no statutory obligation on the employer to recognise the trade union. An employer who refuses to recognise a trade union undermines completely what the Minister said, because it, follows from that that there is no recognition of statutory rights.

Again, hedging its bets and advising on representation rights, on page 57 of the handbook, ACAS says: Sometimes employers do not think there is enough strength of feeling for trade unions within the workforce to justify full recognition. We all recognise that as the first excuse by employers to prevent trade unions being recognised.

It goes on: Instead they may agree to representation rights which do not provide for full negotiations with the employer but entitle members to be represented by their union individually eg, in disciplinary cases or if the employee has a grievance". Here we are talking about a situation where an employer may give certain rights, but there is no full recognition agreement. That agreement does not, therefore, meet the test set out by the Minister in Committee because it does not deal with facilities, training and time off. If the trade union does not accept that, the result is no union recognition.

In giving an example of what can happen, I will not name the company because the individual concerned is still employed, albeit tenuously, by the firm. I wrote to the Minister some time ago about this case and received an unsatisfactory reply, in which I was sent a leaflet about the employment of disabled workers, was reminded that an employer did not have to recognise a trade union and was told that the Government could not intervene.

My example involves a woman who was employed by a company which was taken over by a large retail organisation. The original employer had employed her under the provisions for employing disabled workers; the lady in question has suffered from major disabilities since birth. The original employer recognised trade unions and the value of employing disabled people. Following the takeover, the new employers informed the trade unions concerned that the company would no longer recognise unions in negotiation proceedings and would not offer the right of representation to individual employees.

The new company told the employees in the company in Wigan which had been taken over that working arrangements would be changed in a significant way. For example, the girl in the example I am giving had been employed as an assistant at a cash desk. Her job description was changed and she was to become a sales person with a weekly and monthly sales target to reach. Her disabilities were such that she was unable to reach those targets and she became liable to disciplinary proceedings by the company.

The company told her that it would not recognise her trade union and attempted through harassment to discipline her because, as I say, her disabilities prevented her from selling sufficient television sets, video recorders and other machines to the public.

When I wrote to the company pointing out the previous arrangements and claiming that the young lady should at least have the right to be represented by the trade union concerned at a disciplinary hearing, I was told that, because there was no recognition agreement, it had no requirement to allow her to be represented. However, the company said that it would allow her to have present a friend who was not employed by the company.

At that stage I wrote to the Minister claiming that that was unsatisfactory, with the harassment of a disabled person whose statutory rights were being undermined. The Minister washed his hands of the whole affair. He turned a blind eye and would not intervene, even though a major national company was harassing a disabled worker because it was claimed that she was not reaching sales targets.

It is in such cases, where partial agreements exist or where no agreement exists, that the rights of trade unions to represent individuals are undermined. In Committee, the Minister said that all would be well so long as there was an agreement. I have shown that employers who do not want to provide facilities for trade unionists just do not make agreements or they restrict such agreements as they are prepared to make. The Government amendments represent further restrictions on agreements, which will be interpreted in such a way that the rights that unions have to represent their members will be further eroded.

1.30 am

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) raised the issue of 1992, which is vital to all trade unionists in the United Kingdom. I will use an example here too from my own constituency.

Heinz is one of the major employers in Wigan and we have a good relationship with it as a company. This example is not an indication of what Heinz may or may not do in the sense of the many policy statements that have been issued, but it shows what could happen after 1992 unless the Government give some clear guidelines to employers such as Heinz.

Currently Heinz has two factories in the United Kingdom and has acquired over a number of years factories in Portugal, Spain, Holland and Italy. The factory in Wigan, which is the largest manufacturing base in Europe, is the area for the production of baby foods —where a controversy has recently been raging—baked beans, ravioli and the like. The factory at Harlesden in north London produces pastas, such as spaghetti, Weight Watchers and other such lines and pickles. In 1992 these units could be in competition with factories in Europe. For example, the factory in Holland has almost the same production capacity as that in Wigan and a very similar product range.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is coming to the amendment before us, which deals with time off for trade unionists.

Mr. McCartney

That is precisely the point that I want to make about 1992, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The production capacity of the factories in Spain, Italy and Portugal is such that it could lead to significant changes by switching production from the United Kingdom to the European sector, as has happened with the Ford Motor company and other companies in the engineering industry. Come 1992, will there be obligations and rights for trade unionists in Britain to sit down with their counterparts in Europe to discuss the implications of 1992, the overall level of production in Heinz as a company, the role of each of the production bases in Europe and the benefits or otherwise of switching production between factories?

Unless there are statutory rights as between factories, the rights of workers after 1992 in this sector of the food industry will be radically undermined even if the employer is a decent employer, so it is vital that there is a clear indication from the Minister that he is not going to rely on the so-called recognition agreements, because in many instances they will not be agreed between employers and trade unionists, but will set down specifically the right of workers to have their trade union recognised and specify that minimum standards must be provided for the trade union to operate on behalf of its members.

That brings me to an issue on bargaining and training. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Patnick) want to intervene? I know he is a champagne lout—

Madam Deputy Speaker


Mr. McCartney

The hon. Gentleman needs your protection from these remarks, Madam Deputy Speaker; he is very sensitive. I do not want to take the time of hon. Gentlemen if they want to make a positive contribution to the debate, as I am genuinely attempting to do.

On the issue of training, in terms of both bargaining and health and safety, many instances of a breakdown between employers and employees are the result of inadequate consultation over the bargaining system and the rights of employees within that system in terms of their being specifically involved in bargaining and of how those systems are refined in the sense of interpreting them. It happens both in terms of those specifically involved in bargaining and how those bargaining systems are refined in the sense of interpreting them, which involves the general work force, and in interpreting bargaining representation.

Good employers—and there are many in the United Kingdom—prefer to provide the opportunity to ensure that where bargaining arrangements exist, the trade unions involved in them are training to ensure that they have an absolute knowledge and grasp of the bargaining procedures and that they also understand and are involved in how decisions are transmitted to the work force. The Minister has not responded positively to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang). He has not said that there must be specific protection in the Bill for training on bargaining agreements. The same is true of health and safety and other matters. Unless the Minister becomes more positive, the Opposition can continue only with the clear understanding that this Government use employment legislation to weaken the rights of trade unionists and employees, and do so specifically to change the balance of power in industry and to weaken and undermine the ability of employees to negotiate. In doing that, rather than protecting and enhancing industrial relations, they are undermining industrial relations.

Mr. Michael Welsh (Doncaster, North)

It is of great importance to industrial relations that workers are educated about them. The average age of people working for British Coal is about 34. The chairman of British Coal has said that he will welcome the opportunity to give courses to educate young people in trade unions in industrial relations and collective bargaining. I believe that you would welcome that, Madam Deputy Speaker, although the Government will not.

Mr. McCartney

My hon. Friend is right. I welcome the fact that British Coal has recognised the error of its ways in previous years and is now attempting to improve the ability to communicate and the involvement of trade unions.

Another area in which I would welcome a greater degree of training and involvement of trade unions and employees is in negotiations and discussions on pension provisions. Here again, it is vital in the bargaining procedures and in the recognition agreement, by which the Minister lays great store, that there is clear recognition of the need for time off with pay for employees' representatives to be involved in the negotiations on pension provisions for employees. That is vital, given the changes in legislation in recent years about rights in connection with pensions and the ability of employers and employees to switch pensions between companies and divisions of individual companies. Unless employers recognise the need for time off for training and involvement in the negotiations and administration of pension schemes, employees will again be at a distinct disadvantage.

Mr. Harry Barnes

The Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 has now been altered as a result of the changes that took place in Committee. The position now is that the definition of trade disputes will determine what it is that employees are allowed to be educated about. There are seven categories in the 1974 Act, but none of them makes any direct reference to pensions being a possible item under discussion. It would have to be argued that terms and conditions of employment, which are one category under the Act, should be considered. It is possible that, within law, the terms and conditions of employment do not include pensions because they are not directly part of working, but are a benefit that people receive when they have left work.

Mr. McCartney

My hon. Friend is right. He referred earlier to the Minister's remarks in Committee, and to the great store that the hon. Gentleman set by recognition agreements. If a recognition agreement is all that an employee can rely upon in his relations with his employer, it must include his absolute right to involvement in the determination and administration of any pension scheme that the company may operate independently of, or in conjunction with, other companies. That right must be included if the recognition agreement is to mean anything.

We must also consider what would happen under the Bill as amended if an employee who was up on a disciplinary charge were sacked by the company and went to a tribunal. Let us suppose that the shop steward wants to represent that employee against the company. Would the amendment prevent a shop steward or workplace representative from having time off with pay to act on behalf of the employee?

Mr. Cryer

The brutal new law passed by the set of savages who are in government at the moment removes benefit for 26 weeks. Because of that, employers often send representatives to tribunals dealing with cases amounting, in effect, to cases of unfair dismissal, to claim that the employee has been fairly dismissed and was in breach of some disciplinary procedure or other. That allows employers to disbar employees from 26 weeks' benefit. If the worker does not have the right to similar representation, the employer can make a one-sided case, in which the worker comes off worse. My hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) is making an important point.

Mr. McCartney

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, but my worries go even further. Even if an employer refuses to allow a shop steward to represent an employee who has been dismissed or disciplined, that employee should still have the right to call on fellow workers as witnesses in any disciplinary proceedings. Will the Minister give a commitment that employees will be given time off with pay to act as witnesses on behalf of the disciplined employee or employees? If not, it can be argued that significant changes are afoot in trade unionists' right to representation.

What happens if a trade union representative proposes to represent an employee at a Department of Social Security appeal tribunal concerning the payment of a benefit in respect of an absence resulting from an industrial accident or injury? An employee who has sustained an accident at work may have been excluded from claiming a number of benefits for which he is, in fact, eligible, and he may ask for his trade union representative to represent him at the tribunal. There is a direct correlation between the accident at work and the employee's right to claim the benefit and his workplace trade union representative therefore has a right to represent him. In such circumstances, is it not fair and right that the employer should allow that trade union representative time off with pay to represent the employee at the tribunal? It is not at all clear whether the amendment would undermine that basic principle.

I know that a number of my hon. Friends wish to participate in the debate. Let me finish, therefore, by asking the Minister a specific question about the rights of disabled workers, particularly in respect of recognition. Does he agree that it is about time that the Department of Employment made it clear that there is a duty on major employers to make provision for disabled people in the workplace? Where there is evidence that the rights of those disabled people have been undermined, should not the Department take it upon itself to ensure that that state of affairs does not continue?

1.45 am

It would be absolute nonsense and a sham if the Department were to issue leaflets telling employers of the need to recognise the rights of the disabled in the workplace while at the same time the Minister writes to Members of Parliament saying that if employers undermine existing rights it is nothing to do with the Department, but a matter between the employer and the employee. Have we really reached the stage when the disabled can be so flagrantly disregarded by the Government and their position so undermined that there is harassment to get rid of disabled employees? That is wholly unacceptable. I hope that the Minister will assure us that he will take steps to strengthen the rights of the disabled in the workplace.

Mr. Cryer

It often strikes me that Tories are much more interested in machinery than in people. If, for example, an employer wished to introduce new machinery, there would be long discussions in the board room, new training provision and assessments of the machines' output, the installation costs and the degree of protection for the machinery—most of it imported under the Tory Government. Yet the Government rarely understand that there must be the same degree of scrutiny and education on behalf of the employees.

This nation's most important asset is its people. The relationship of people to machines and to each other is a continuing process of negotiation in industrial relations. If people are to be allowed to retain their dignity, they must operate within independent trade unions. The Government love the trade unions to operate anywhere other than in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister dances with delight about the trade union movement in Poland—not because she is concerned with trade unions or, indeed, anyone in particular in Poland, but because she thinks that any movement among the people in Poland must inevitably lead to the breakdown of the system so that private enterprise capitalism and the enterprise culture can be instituted.

The right hon. Lady claims concern for the trade unions. We are members of a party that sprang from a trade union movement, that came into being because the factor of production called labour—a collection of people —demanded dignity and the right to participate, at the very least, in the productive processes. I work to make labour superior to capital. I hate the process in which the owners of capital dictate to labour in that list of the fact ors of production. However, because that process exists, I seek to give working men and women—labour—an opportunity to exercise some dignity. Time off for trade union activities is part of that pattern of preserving human dignity.

Tory Members know that the board rooms where most of them spent many years are not tatty or badly ventilated. The directors make sure that they are well furnished, well lit and well ventilated, so that discussions can be held in quiet circumstances. If they concede reasonable canteen conditions for the workers, it is sometimes done with enthusiasm but sometimes with an ill grace.

The clause and the amendments are trying to take away some established rights that have been built up over the years for trade unions to participate in a limited range of activities, with time off from work with pay. As I mentioned in an intervention to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang), who made a good, comprehensive speech, the proposal, which will mean that the terms and conditions for time off with pay will depend on local collective agreements, is a formula for further conflict.

If a national code of conduct is produced by ACAS or another reputable organisation, it has the imprimatur of a code of guidance even though it may not be legally enforceable. There would be standard terms and conditions for time off for each factory. Therefore, if there was a meeting of trade unionists to reach a collective understanding, there would not be an argument about why Fred Smith or Charles Jones, convenors from the factory in Birmingham, Norwich or Nelson, were not there because their employer would not give them time off. Otherwise, argument might start about why A should be given time off and B should not, and why C should get only half the time necessary for the discussion on training or whatever. Inevitably there would be pressure from the workpeople and from the individuals themselves, or perhaps from the individuals to start with, spreading to the work force, who would say that their representatives should have the same rights as representatives of other firms doing the same sort of work and seeking the same sort of training.

A union might organise a conference on 1992. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Lord Young of Graffham, did not start the campaign on 1992—with glossy pamphlets and massive public expenditure—in a back street. As I recall, he set it off with a series of breakfasts, all paid for by the taxpayer, for industrialists. He thought that he would give industrialists a chance to chat together about it. But if an employer decides that a trade unionist is not to be allowed to attend a conference on 1992, that will be the sole decision of the employer.

Amendment No. 32 refers to any other duties of his, as such an official, which are concerned with the performance, on behalf of employees of the employer, of any functions that are related to or connected with any matters falling within that provision and that the employer has agreed may be so performed by the trade union". The phrase "the employer has agreed" means that it will be a unilateral decision. I do not think that that is right. The best arrangements in a workplace are made by collective discussion and agreement.

The unilateral decision of the employer will apply to an activity that might well cover the obsession of the current Government advertising campaign with the wonderful benefits of 1992. The textile unions might want to organise a conference on burden-sharing arrangements for textile imports by 1992 after the renegotiation of the existing multi-fibre arrangement. That would be a legitimate discussion because it would be a matter about which both the employers and the employees in the textile industry would be very much concerned. The discussion could be about other things, such as the high interest rates created by the Government's economic policies, short-time working, loss of jobs or lack of investment.

However, under these proposals, in the textile industry, for example, Courtaulds may have a collective agreement that allows its shop stewards time off, but another firm, such as Bulmer and Lumb or Benson and Turner in my constituency, might say, "We do not think that you should have time off." Therefore, a conflict will arise. The trade union movement will naturally attempt to obtain standard terms and conditions for every one of the organised workplaces, and it is only right that it should do so. It would be unjust if there was a disparity in attendance at such a conference as I have outlined, where the discussion would concern the future of the textile industry, which is still important to northern areas, such as Yorkshire and Lancashire. The Minister's proposal to alter the Bill, which is not a very fruitful Bill in any event, is, therefore, likely to cause conflict.

Mr. McCartney

Will my hon. Friend consider the situation whereby employees are now having to consider involvement in competitive tendering in the Health Service and in local government services? It is necessary for them to be involved for the first time in the tendering procedure and their ability to be so involved is linked to their ability to have paid time off to secure the right education and background to develop ideas for submitting tenders, for checking tenders and for validation of tenders. I know already of situations where trade unionists are being told that they will not be allowed paid time off for such activity. Will my hon. Friend indicate whether he believes that the amendment will undermine that position even further?

Mr. Cryer

Clearly, if there was a trade union conference called about those circumstances, in which the aim of the trade unions would be almost certainly to secure tenders and to obtain jobs for their members, paid time off should be allowed. We must remember that the background to the discussions is not a deep underlying antagonism of the trade union movement to capitalism and all its works, but the aim of protecting its members, to preserve jobs and, indeed, to improve the efficiency of the enterprise in which its members work. There are many examples where trade unions have entered into agreements on productivity arrangements. For example, in the textile industry, three-shift working, changes in staffing, the flexibility of staff and the introduction of new machinery have all been accepted because the trade unions have been co-operative. As a matter of interest, many thousands of textile workers who lost their jobs did not have the co-operation of their employers, which they so richly deserved.

My point is that the trade unionists may well wish to go to a conference, because they see a conference about public procurement as an important means of securing the future viability of the factory in which they are working. However, under amendment No. 32 it would be entirely up to the employer as to whether they would be allowed to go or not, which is wrong.

There are many moves which will vitally affect jobs in our country. For example, there is the public procurement directive of the EEC, in which it states that tenders of public bodies will have to be put out to the whole of the Common Market. That could be a threatening provision for jobs in the United Kingdom, which has a massive balance of payments deficit. If the directive is introduced without safeguards, the proportion of our public procurement trade from non-member states could rocket from its present level of 2 per cent. of £4 billion. The trade union movement would hold meetings at weekends and outside working hours, but inevitably part of the working week would have to be used. I am talking about activities which fall within the amendment and which would be mounted because of concern by trade unions for their members' jobs.

2 am

It is wrong that the employer should have the sole decision-making capacity. As my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) said, trade unions need to be independent so that they cannot be suborned or silenced when representing their members at disciplinary hearings. An employer may say, "I will not give you time off to represent a trade union member in a case appealing against my decision." In all fairness, that must happen. An industrial or social security tribunal hears evidence from both sides. The outcome of discussions that take place before a tribunal hearing is not a matter for the employer.

It is similar to a plaintiff in court being denied representation when a defendant has representation. Everyone would say, "That is unjust." Under this legislation, a one-sided case can be presented by an employer, who can afford to employ a solicitor. Industrial tribunals have been legalised away from the basic formality that they were established to provide—not by workers but by employers, who obtained and paid for the services of solicitors and barristers. That is one reason why the right of trade union officials to time off should be made clear. That would provide the justice that most people recognise as important in a court of law and in social and industrial tribunals.

Mr. Bob Clay (Sunderland, North)

Will my hon. Friend cast his mind back to the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) on the role of trade unions in discussions on local authority privatisations? Apart from local authority privatisations being forced through Parliament by the Government, a growing number of management and employee buy-outs are taking place, encouraged by the Government. Has it occurred to my hon. Friend that in many ways the Government's proposal operates against their competition policies? Management could use the discretion that they will have if the amendment is passed to discriminate between one employee or management buy-out and another. Sometimes trade union officials would be allowed time off to develop business plans and prepare buy-outs and sometimes they would not. That would be not merely unfair but corrupt.

Mr. Cryer

My hon. Friend is right. In a sense, it would amount to insider dealing, with employers using their position under apparently unconnected legislation to manipulate decisions and keep trade unionists out of one set of negotiations while allowing them to participate in another. That is an important point, because yet again the decision-making apparatus is in the hands of the owners of capital, while labour is, in every sense, at their mercy. Many important moves are taking place in legislation due to the Government's decisions.

For example, it would be reasonable for employees of the National Health Service to have time off to discuss the takeover of the cleaning services. I have an exact case in point. Trade unions were, as it were, privatised by an organisation called Taylor Plan. Employees to whom a wage award had been made during their period of service found that, if they left service before the payment was handed over, Taylor Plan refused to make the payment. That happened to employees who worked when the award was negotiated and when it was operative, but had not been paid out because of delays in computer programming, the post or whatever excuse the administration produced.

If people are struggling from week to week to meet payments for rates, electricity and gas, and are driven to get electricity tokens from the Yorkshire electricity board to feed their electricity meters because they are scrimping and saving week by week, a back payment is important. It is essential that their trade union representatives should be able to participate in discussions to ensure that collective agreements on privatisation are at least equal to those agreements that they have already negotiated with the public authority.

The Government produce the change in circumstances because, by the back-door privatisation of the Health Service, they require health authorities to sell off their cleaning and other services. They did it first to cleaners and are now trying to do it to doctors, from whom, I am delighted to say, they are encountering enormous resistance, and to local authorities. Therefore, there are more reasons why trade unions need the opportunity to discuss the changes taking place in working practices, ownership and negotiations which arise solely out of the mad theological doctrines of the gangsters who currently govern our nation, but whose time, I am happy to say, is running out. It is important to clarify the trade unions' position.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East, and no doubt the Minister, would say that different rules affect health and safety at work. Time off is allowed for health and safety at work matters but is in the process of becoming highly qualified for other matters. I wonder why. Is it because, with health and safety at work, there is a clear link between the loss of hours of work and industrial injury, and, therefore, it is sensible, even to the class warriors of the Right wing in the Government, to give time off to discuss health and safety at work to prevent a loss of hours? However, the relationship between time off and industrial relations, and the panoply of associated ideas, is not quite so plain.

Good industrial relations spring from the confidence of two sections of industry, employers and workers, in each other. If employer and employees are bickering over who is to have time off in every circumstance, week after week, it erodes that confidence. It reduces morale on both sides, leading almost inevitably to a lowering of productivity, and is entirely counter-productive. I should have thought that the rationale for allowing time off to cover health and safety provisions should apply across the board.

As I have said before in the House, it is difficult to examine the statistics relating to industrial injury and those relating to strike action because the Government have removed from the 1984 statistics those relating to time lost through injuries requiring three or more days off work. If the Minister examines those statistics, however, he will find that in any average year more days are lost through industrial injury than through strike action. The Government should cast aside their shibboleth that trade unionists are always organising strikes, and look at the reality in industry: that trade unionists want to protect their members' jobs, want a wide range of interests to be associated with those jobs and want an educated and confident work force in a factory where some mutual trust and confidence exists. The Government's qualification for time off will not produce that.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) pointed out, the Government have provided no assessment or calculation as a basis for that qualification. Although I was not on the Committee, I understand that there, too, no information was produced to enable the Government to point to a lowering of productivity or an increase in industrial disputes as a result of the existing legislation and code of practice. If that is the case—as I firmly believe—it is another instance of the blind prejudice of a Government who provide the mm and women working in the diminished number of factories still remaining with the best example of class warriors. It is the Government who want to attack organised working men and women, and to diminish their aims of dignity and parity with the owners of capital.

I have no doubt that the Government will proceed with their amendments, but we shall still have won the arguments, and the arguments here will be transferred to the factories. The Government amendments are a first-class formula for disputes between employer and employee, and for a lowering in morale, tone and output wherever the new rules apply.

Mr. Nicholls

Running through the debate has been the theme that the Government amendments are not technical, and I accept that that is a justifiable concern on which I shall try to satisfy the House.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) put his finger on it when he talked about the way in which the system should operate, and when he said that the purposes for which people would be able to take paid leave would be determined by the existing collective agreement. I think that the implication was that the matter should be left to the common sense of employers and employees alike, without Government interference. For all I know, that may have been the intent of those who drafted the 1978 Act, but in practice it worked out in precisely the opposite way.

2.15 am

It became clear at a relatively early stage, and certainly in the Court of Appeal case of Beale and others v. Beecham Group Ltd., not that unions were able to reach agreement with an employer as to the matters for which an employee would be entitled to paid leave but that the matter went further than that. The effect of the Court of Appeal's decision in the Beale case was that, once there was recognition of collective bargaining, it became virtually impossible for the employer to say, "I did not mean collective bargaining in its entirety but particular aspects of collective bargaining." Once there was recognition of agreement on collective bargaining, it meant whatever the union wanted it to mean. Clearly use was being made of the original purposes of the 1978 Act, which was far too wide, and the Government felt that that scenario should be addressed.

In the context of the Bill, the Government introduced clause 10 whose purpose—despite the inevitably complex drafting—is easy enough to understand in layman's terms, even if the lawyers are not always satisfied. Its purpose is to ensure that employers will have only to provide paid leave for matters that they recognise in respect of the unions concerned. That is why clause 10 was originally drafted in the way that it was.

However, even while the Bill was in Committee, and as clause 10 itself was being debated, the Court of Appeal made a good attempt, as it turned out, to address the problem that Beale brought to prominence. It did so in the case of Adlington v. British Bakeries. The rationale was that, even in respect of an item covered by a recognition agreement, and notwithstanding the dictum in the Beale case, there should still be a degree of proximity between what was being claimed in relation to paid time off and actual negotiations. The Adlington case introduced the concept not only of theoretical recognition but proximity to actual negotiations. In the context of that decision, the Court of Appeal addressed the same problem that the Government attempted to address with clause 10.

At that stage, parliamentary counsel clearly had to examine the drafting of clause 10 and decide whether it needed adjusting in the light of Adlington; or, in layman's terms, to see whether any useful ingredient in the Adlington case had not been taken into account in clause 10. Parliamentary counsel reached the conclusion that the concept of proximity was useful and one that clause 10 alone would not address. It was with a view to retaining that concept of proximity that the amendments now before the House were devised.

Amendments Nos. 30 to 34 fall into two distinct groups. Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 32, within the intention of clause 10, preserve the proximity concept contained in Adlington, whereas amendments Nos. 33 and 34 deal with a different matter entirely.

The hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) raised the issue of associated employers, and in doing so he identified the purpose of amendments Nos. 33 and 34. Incidentally, I correctly described amendments Nos. 30 to 34 as technical because they are, in the sense that, once one accepts the purpose of clause 10—which I realise Opposition Members do not—and the fusing of the proximity concept with Adlington, the amendments become a purely technical exercise, but in the way of these things, it is not a simple one. They are technical amendments to that extent.

Amendments Nos. 33 and 34 take the opportunity to remedy a defect in the drafting of section 32 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978. The irony is that that defect would have been apparent on the face of the 1978 Act. Section 32 sets out the definition of the term "recognised" as it applies to independent trade unions for the purposes of sections 27 to 31(a)—the time-off provisions. Amendment No. 31 would amend section 32 of the 1978 Act because the definition of "recognised" is redundant and has been so since 1978, because "recognised" means recognised by an employer or two or more associated employers". But sections 27(1) and 28(2) of the 1978 Act to which the definition applies speak of "an employer" and an independent trade union recognised by him". So the reference in the statutory definition to "associated employers" is clearly otiose, and this is a good opportunity to remove it. That is the purpose of amendments Nos. 33 and 34.

Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 32 would preserve the proximity concept in Adlington. Notwithstanding that, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East asked me specifically about amendment No. 32.

I reiterate that the purpose of clause 10 is to give a right to time off for duties which are connected not with negotiations but with the performance of other functions such as representation through a grievance procedure which the employer has agreed to allow the union to perform. Amendments Nos. 31 and 32 are connected. They both seek to ensure that that proximity concept is retained.

I appreciate that the amendments are not easy amendments, but I assure the House that all they do is ensure that clause 10 stands, while at the same time clearing up an anomaly in the 1978 Act and making sure that the concept of proximity is retained.

In all fairness, the point made by the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) needs to be addressed. In effect, the hon. Gentleman was saying that he had spotted what the clause was all about. He did not refer to paid time off, although that is what we are debating, but he disapproved of the fact that the employer should decide and he suspected that that is what the clause is all about. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He spotted precisely what the clause is all about. Despite the words that the lawyers choose for us, the principle is simple enough. If the employer is expected to give paid time off for matters for which he has recognised the union, it is right that it should be only for those matters for which he has recognised the union. The employer has decided to recognise the union for those purposes, so it is complete nonsense that, merely because an employer recognises a union for one purpose, he should suddenly find that in practice he is obliged to pay for some other purpose.

The underlying purpose of clause 10 and the amendments is to ensure that, if an employer recognises a union for a particular purpose, that is the purpose for which paid time off is given. Ultimately the employer pays the wages. I am not hiding it from the hon. Gentleman that the employer should be entitled to say to the trade union, I recognise you for this purpose; therefore, you are entitled to paid time off. I do not recognise you for that purpose; therefore, you are not. When I moved the amendments formally I said that they were technical. They are technical. At the same time I accept that they are complex, but I trust that, even at this hour, I have given the House some elucidation. We shall find out in a moment or two whether I have given any comfort.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 103, Noes 30.

Division No. 226] [2.24 am
Alexander, Richard Lilley, Peter
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Amos, Alan Lye Sir Nicholas
Arbuthnot, James Maclean, David
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) McLoughlin, Patrick
Ashby, David Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Batiste, Spencer Maude, Hon Francis
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Bevan, David Gilroy Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Boswell, Tim Meyer, Sir Anthony
Bottomley, Peter Mills, Iain
Brazier, Julian Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Bright, Graham Mitchell, Sir David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Moss, Malcolm
Chapman, Sydney Moynihan, Hon Colin
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Neubert, Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Nicholls, Patrick
Davis, David (Boothferry) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Devlin, Tim Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Dorrell, Stephen Norris, Steve
Durant, Tony Paice, James
Favell, Tony Patnick, Irvine
Fishburn, John Dudley Raffan, Keith
Forth, Eric Redwood, John
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Freeman, Roger Ryder, Richard
French, Douglas Sackville, Hon Tom
Garel-Jones, Tristan Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Gill, Christopher Shaw, David (Dover)
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Gregory, Conal Shersby, Michael
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Stevens, Lewis
Hague, William Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Hanley, Jeremy Summerson, Hugo
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Harris, David Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Hawkins, Christopher Thurnham, Peter
Heddle, John Trippier, David
Hind, Kenneth Trotter, Neville
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Twinn, Dr Ian
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Waller, Gary
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Irvine, Michael Watts, John
Jack, Michael Wells, Bowen
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Widdecombe, Ann
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Wood, Timothy
Kirkhope, Timothy
Knapman, Roger Tellers for the Ayes:
Knowles, Michael Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory and
Lee, John (Pendle) Mr. Michael Fallon.
Lightbown, David
Alton, David Battle, John
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Buckley, George J.
Barron, Kevin Clay, Bob
Clelland, David Nellist, Dave
Cryer, Bob Redmond, Martin
Cunliffe, Lawrence Richardson, Jo
Dixon, Don Skinner, Dennis
Foster, Derek Strang, Gavin
Godman, Dr Norman A. Wallace, James
Home Robertson, John Wareing, Robert N.
Howells, Geraint Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Illsley, Eric Wise, Mrs Audrey
Kennedy, Charles
Kirkwood, Archy Tellers for the Noes:
McCartney, Ian Mrs. Llin Golding and
McKay, Allen (Barnsley West) Mr. Frank Haynes.
Meale, Alan

Question accordingly agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 31, in page 9, line 11, leave out from 'with' to 'section' in line 12 and insert `negotiations with the employer that are related to or connected with any matters which fall within'. No. 32, in page 9, leave out lines 15 to 17 and insert— '(ii) any other duties of his, as such an official, which are concerned with the performance, on behalf of employees of the employer, of any functions that are related to or connected with any matters falling within that provision and that the employer has agreed may be so performed by the trade union;'.—[Mr. Lee.]

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