HC Deb 16 February 1993 vol 219 cc261-2
Mr. McLoughlin

I beg to move amendment No. 29, in page 27, line 22, at beginning insert 'Except as regards persons falling within subsection (2A)'.

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 30, 33, 31, 34, 35, 32 and 36.

Mr. Galbraith

Is it permissible for me to talk about Government amendment No. 33 at this stage, Madam Deputy Speaker?

Madam Deputy Speaker

Yes, that is in order.

Mr. Galbraith

Thank you. I shall not delay the House long. As the Minister will point out, the amendment is one of the concessions that the Government made to the Opposition, following our frequent well-reasoned and eloquent propositions in Committee.

The following issue is at stake: according to the wording in the Bill, when employers are notified of people taking industrial action, is it necessary for them to be informed of the employees' names and addresses? The Minister and I had a long debate on the matter and he agreed to consider it.

As a result of the amendment, the word "identify" has been changed to "ascertain". Of all the amendments that the Minister has given to us, this is the least satisfactory. There is a subtle difference between identify and ascertain. For example, in the House we have to identify the Minister by the area that he represents. Ascertain is similar to identify but leaves the second party with an element of investigation if he wishes to identify the hon. Member concerned. Will it not be necessary to give the employees' names and addresses to the employer if he or she is to ascertain their identities? The amendment does not deal with our worries.

Mr. McLoughlin

I thought that the amendment, which was the result of representations made by the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith), met the requirements requested of us. However, if the hon. Gentleman is concerned, I shall look at the amendment again to ascertain that it meets his requirements.

Mr. Galbraith

Having identified the Minister's generosity, I have been able to ascertain that that is a splendid response and I am happy not to pursue the matter any further.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 30, in page 27, line 27, at end insert—

  1. '(2A) Where a merchant seaman to whom this subsection applies is entitled to vote in the ballot he must, so far as is reasonably practicable—
    1. (a) have a voting paper made available to him while he is on board the ship or is at a place where the ship is;
    2. (b) be given an opportunity to vote while he is on board the ship or is at a place where the ship is.
  2. (2B) Subsection (2A) applies to a merchant seaman who the trade union reasonably believes will, throughout the period during which votes may be cast in the ballot, be employed in a ship either at sea or at a place outside Great Britain.
  3. (2C) In subsections (2A) and (2B) "merchant seaman" means a person whose employment, or the greater part of it, is carried out on board sea-going ships.' —[Mr. Michael Forsyth.]

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