§ 4.10 p.m.
§ LORD LAWSONrose to draw attention to the Seventh Report of the International Labour Organisation to the United Nations, 1953; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I. beg to move the Motion which stands on the Order Paper in my name. The Report to which the Motion relates is not exactly a bedside book. It runs to something over 400 pages, and it deals with matters of very great interest to this nation and to the other nations who are members of this Organisation. There are some sixty six nations which are members of the I.L.O., about two-thirds of them European and (he rest largely Asian. Your Lordships may be interested to know that this is the first time since the end of the war that the Annual Report of the I.L.O. has been considered by your Lordships' House. It is perhaps still more remarkable, when one remembers the long and heated, and sometimes acrimonious, debates on the I.L.O. on past occasions, that, apart from a short debate on the Adjournment in another place, this is the first time that the Report has been considered by Parliament As a member of the governing body of the in Geneva, and Chairman of what was called the 408 Committee, which dealt with the reports received from the various countries, I had to face great difficulties in the past. I think the absence of debate in Parliament is due to the fact that the deep changes in the wages and conditions of the workers have almost removed this Report from the area of controversy. Nevertheless, as I have watched events internationally in the field of industry and labour, I felt it necessary that this Report should be considered, and so I put down the Motion which is now before your Lordships.
§ I hope that your Lordships will forgive me if for a few moments I turn to the historical growth of the movement which led to the establishment of the International Labour Office—as it was then called. I remember, as most noble Lords of my age will remember, the time when, at the end of the First World War, the late Lloyd George made the anouncement that an International Labour Office was to be established as part of the Treaty of Peace. I remember the thrill with 699 which I heard that announcement. As one who has taken considerable interest in industrial affairs and their impact on other countries, few things have given me greater pleasure than that announcement. From the earliest days of the nineteenth century, when the development of industry began to impress itself upon the people of this country and of other countries in Europe, men of every Party and of every class became concerned about the impact of poor conditions of labour upon those countries which had better standards for their workpeople. As Robert Owen said at a conference on the Continent, he did his best to improve conditions of his workmen and increased the price of his goods, but he saw other countries which took advantage of that and placed him at a disadvantage in doing business. Over the nineteenth century it became clear that the existence of poor wages and low social standards anywhere in the world menaced the better working and social conditions and higher wages that might exist anywhere else. So, stage by stage, the trade unions, Liberals and Conservatives, men in every class, struggled for a general betterment of working conditions in all countries alike. I recall that the late J. W. Hill, who represented Durham, was an enthusiast— some talked of him as almost a "crank "— on this question. The late Mr. Arthur Henderson, father of my noble friend Lord Henderson, was perhaps one of the most valiant figures in this movement. He played no mean part in helping to bring this organisation to life.
§ While it was one thing to hold conferences of voluntary bodies in support of this idea, it was quite another to find a way to make the organisation sound and effective. One country, at least, thought that all they had to do, when the I.L.O. was finally established, was to have a law passed through the Organisation; that the law would apply to the whole world, and that would be the end of it. But things in the early twentieth century had so developed throughout the world of industry that something of a practical nature had to be done. It was travelling uncharted country in the experience of mankind. Finally, the way out was found by deciding on a convention, something on the lines of a treaty, between the different countries. Any subject— hours of labour 700 conditions in factories, on the land, or in the mines— could be dealt with under the convention; and if a country ratified the convention then it had to give reports from time to time about how it was operating it. The snag of it all was that if a country did not ratify, then it need not report, which made it rather a one-sided business. I have had the experience, as a Government representative of this country, of being bombarded in the I.L.O. Conference by people who had not accepted the convention. I have also had the experience of sitting as Chairman of the 408 Committee listening to reports which were enthusiastic and good to listen to, but which were more eloquent than factual.
But when the I.L.O. came under the League of Nations it was clearly recognised that the convention method was limited and had this defect of being one-sided. Under the new régime there was added to the convention a provision that if a recommendation was made by the Conference in certain circumstances all countries who were members had to operate that recommendation and give reports upon it, irrespective of whether or not they ratified it. There is one thing I should like to say to the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, who is to reply upon this particular matter. I am astonished to find that the reports on either the conventions or the recommendations are not very regular. I have here what is called the Provisional Record of the 36th Session of Geneva. It is the report of a committee that was set up to inquire into why the reports were not coming in as they ought to. On the first page it says:
While the position is not so unsatisfactory in the case of the annual reports, most of which have now been received, there has been little improvement as regards reports on un-ratified conventions and recommendations. Ever since 1949, when these reports were requested by the governing body for the first time, only about half of the number due have actually been received from year to year.
§ That is very bad indeed. I mention it only to lead up to another proposal I want to make upon this matter, because it seems to me that things are not going as they ought to in regard to the reports on these two important items of conventions and recommendations.
§ Further alterations were made when the I.L.O. came under the United Nations, and good changes they were, too. There 701 was what is called the regional conference: that is an important gathering sometimes dealing with technical matters of the various trades, sometimes with social matters, sometimes with the age at which children should be allowed to work, and sometimes with general social standards. In addition, there are what are called advisory social gatherings, with sometimes five or six members representing the I.L.O., who meet the representatives of labour, employers and Governments in the countries concerned. If anyone takes the trouble to read the report he will find a good deal that is heartening and encouraging in reference to the efforts to build bridges between one country and another, between East and West, and on social and industrial matters. The Director General and, indeed, the governing body of the I.L.O., are perturbed about the fact that they have had to cut out so much necessary work because of the lack of finance. From pages 1 to 9 instances are given of, say, a European conference cut out, a Near East conference cut out and a conference upon such a worthy subject as rehabilitation, which was asked for, I think, by Denmark, cut out. I will not give details about the other two, but I should think that if the International Labour Organisation has interest in one thing which is important, it is certainly the rehabilitation of men and women who, for various reasons, are recovering from injuries and need to be retrained for either their own trade or some other trade.
§ I wish to remind your Lordships' House that at all these conferences there are employers' representatives (and it has been my lot to know some very fine men among them), in addition to those who represent the trade unions. I hope that the Government are not among those who wish either to reduce or to stabilise expenditure upon work of this kind. In a regional conference, for instance, there are representatives of the employers, the workers and the Governments, and apart from their work in dealing with technical matters, I know of no more ideal method of reaching friendship between the countries than through conferences of this kind. I will not spend any time over the technical committees, but I wish to say that my experience at the I.L.O. as for about two years the Government representative convinced me that there is no more effective method of ensuring 702 that the reporting of conventions, recommendations,. or any useful information we want will be factual and solid than by treating the I.L.O. as we treat industry in this country— that is, by having skilled inspectors who can see at first hand where there is anything wrong.
§ In that respect, I wish to propose that the Government should recommend to the International Labour Organisation at an early stage that there should be a corps of trained inspectors who can visit countries and return with information as to conditions which are prevailing. I do not care which country it is. If it is some country which is closing its doors, if it is a member of this Organisation, then its factories, mines and workshops should be subject to investigation, just as are ours by our inspectors, and should, if necessary, be dealt with by the inspectors. For instance, take Japan. I do not wish to raise again a controversy which has been raised recently, but this matter has been in my mind for many years. I understand that changes have taken place in Japan in respect of employment, wages and a good many other things. I hope that is so. But has Japan, for instance, accepted the Minimum Age for Children Convention? Has she accepted the minimum hours? We are not exactly clear upon this score.
§ We had not too good a record in the early part of the nineteenth century. That was rather a bad patch in our social history. But there is this to be said for us: we were the first to have experience of this new thing called industry— factories, mines and workshops— and there was no previous experience to help us. Now we know how devastating can be the effect of long hours in factories or workshops upon children of tender years. Some of us have been round the world a little and seen things which would cause deep indignation here. It is all very well for the smaller, undeveloped countries, some of them just striking out; I would not say a single word which would make their work any more difficult. But Japan is one of the great nations in industry. It may be that her industry will hear the light of day and he open to investigation. At any rate, whether it be her or any of the other great nations who are members of the I.L.O., I believe it is time that there were skilled investigators 703 or inspectors attached to the I.L.O. in order that we might have some sure and certain knowledge of what was going on in some of these countries which have been fully developed since the I.L.O. started.
§ I do not wish to take up any more time except to say that, though I may appear to have been rather critical, I do not forget the fine work of the I.L.O., particularly in the years since the war and, indeed, since the beginning of the International Labour Office. I do not wish to say a single word which would give the impression that I am anything but enthusiastic about the work of the I.L.O. When one considers that the representatives from the employers, workers and Governments of sixty-six countries pool their great experience and link country with country in order to deal with the deep problems of industry; that they meet at regular intervals and give freely of their experience, then one realises that the world owes these men and women a deep debt of gratitude for their work. If there is anything that we can do to help in one of the greatest tasks to which mankind has been called, then nothing should be allowed to hinder that work, which is of the greatest importance, not only to the world of industry but also to the world which longs for co-operation and understanding among the peoples of the earth. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 4.41 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, this is the first occasion on which I have had the honour of speaking in your Lordships' House, and I am sure that you will be good enough to extend to me the indulgence customarily shown to the inexperienced. As the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, has reminded us, those of us who shared the enthusiasm and idealism which prevailed at the time of the birth of the League of Nations will always have a special affection for the International Labour Office— the only part of the organisation then set up which still retains substantially its original character. The International Labour Office is an organisation set up to work for peace by peaceful means. It has never relied upon policies of sanctions, either economic or military, and the only means upon which 704 it can count for the enforcement of its decisions is the force of enlightened public opinion.
If we are realistic, we may doubt the adequacy of the prescription of universal peace written into the original constitution of the I.L.O. and reaffirmed in the Declaration of Philadelphia on the conclusion of the Second World War; but we can have no doubts about the urgent necessity of improved standards of living for large groups of the human family. Nor can we doubt that the removal of social injustices is properly linked with the attainment of a state of peace. But I think we should be very concerned that in the pursuit of the practical policies which the I.L.O. initiates; the objective of securing peace— the very raison d'être of its existence and labours— is never for one moment lost sight of. It is very easy to lose sight of an end or an aim through over-preoccupation with the means by which it is sought to achieve it. To the I.L.O., even such good objectives as the removal of poverty, or of concern over the uneven pace of development in different parts of the world, must not become a satisfying aim.
In reading this Report which your Lordships are considering to-day, I confess to some feeling of uneasiness on this account. There is reference after reference to the necessity for increased productivity to raise living standards. I think we should do well to watch carefully this urge for more productivity without any discrimination or qualification. Production for destruction may increase wealth— at any rate for a time— but such production is far from promoting the end of peace. It is bad enough when individuals lose sight of this possibility, but it is infinitely more deplorable and dangerous if Governments get involved in efforts to stimulate production without any regard to the purposes which the increased production may serve. I know that it is extremely difficult to make distinctions, and that it is generally true that what man can use for beneficent purposes he can equally well use for destructive purposes. But I think that some note of warning should be sounded, lest the good intentions of this Organisation be frustrated and turned to purposes repugnant to its declared aim.
705 There is a field of service where there can be no doubt of its high purpose. Turkey recently asked for advice on the reorganisation and expansion of its nursing service. It is to the credit of this country that this advice was given, through the British Council, but that is the sort of service to which I should like to see greater attention paid under the Technical Assistance Programme. There is another aspect of this problem which I think we should keep in mind. In the field of progress we are coming to realise more clearly that there is, at best, a very small and a very slow overall advance. We find so often that progress in one field is accompanied by a recession in another field; that advances, for instance, in the field of medical science in prolonging life bring new problems in the field of nutrition; that the payment of better wages in one area may create trouble from or in an adjacent area. There are many such examples which will readily occur to the minds of your Lordships where beneficial work in one field is a stimulant to misery in another.
There is one aim so closely related to the aim of peace to which I have already referred that I feel that it, too, must be regarded as of overriding importance, amid all the good intentions and good works of an organisation such as the I L.O.—I refer, of course, to the freedom of every human being. Under the auspices of the I.L.O. very important investigations have been made into the desirable minima of social security benefits and into the conditions of migrant workers, particularly in what we have came to call the undeveloped territories. It is only too possible, in enthusiasm over such projects— in themselves entirely beneficial—to lose sight of the overriding need of the human spirit for freedom. Even in countries which do not profess a totalitarian outlook we find creeping in the imposition of obligations in return for material benefits. We cannot view without some concern an increasing insistence by Governments that they are entitled to require from their citizens the obligation to work. If their citizens fall down on this obligation, or if they fall to perform it to the satisfaction of some official— and we know how the exercise of power is apt to breed in officials s tendency to tyranny— we are already along the road to some form of Govern- 706 ment direction, or even forced labour.So may be smothered the deeply— rooted aspirations of humanity for freedom and for work in conditions of freedom.
In addition to saying that I would wish that the International Labour Organisation placed a renewed and even greater emphasis upon these two great aims of peace and freedom, there are two other suggestions which I should like to make for your Lordships' consideration. As you know, the International Labour Organisation has its own Constitution, with its own separate membership, and its own budget. There should, perhaps, be no such great difficulties in securing universal membership as have been apparent in the United Nations Organisation. In November last, the Soviet Government expressed a desire for membership of the International Labour Organisation. It is true that they raised an objection to one of the articles of the Constitution, and to the proportion of representation from worker associations. I think the Constitution has been amended two or three times since 1920, so there is no rigidity in this matter, provided that there is agreement among members. The good offices of some of the countries associated with Soviet Russia who are members might, I suggest, be invoked to persuade Soviet Russia to assume membership on the same basis as themselves. I am sure there will he general agreement in this House that, Soviet Russia having expressed this desire for membership, the matter should not be allowed to rest.
The other suggestion is one which I should like Her Majesty's Government to consider carefully. The Reports, particularly the Reports on Forced Labour, Migrant Workers and Indigenous Peoples, have provided a great deal of information about conditions in under-developed territories. As the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, has said, the devoted staff of the dose eve our thanks for the efforts they have made in bringing to our notice this information on the many problems of those territories, but the territories are so vast and so varied that it is impossible to try to legislate for them as a whole. It is true that the French, with their preference for tidy solutions, have adopted a labour code for their overseas territories, but many of the regulations in it, I understand, 707 have not yet been introduced, and the variety of conditions in different territories in the French Union has been recognised in the exceptions which are permitted. I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied with the facilities which exist in the different areas under the control of the Colonial Office for consultation between the local Government, the indigenous population and the local industries— who, if the real costs of production are not to be disguised, must carry the burden of the proper protection of the labour they employ— and with the cooperation given by those three parties to the International Labour Organisation; and, further, whether Her Majesty's Government feel that there is a really satisfactory and effective link with this international agency.
I believe that some more steps are necessary to reduce to manageable proportions the particular problems of differing areas. As the second largest contributor to the cost of this Organisation, we in this country have a special duty to see that its work is as effective as possible. There is at present, many will feel, something of an air of unreality and ineffectiveness in its work. It is surely not without significance that the number of ratifications, to which the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, has referred, by the territories of or administered by the countries most progressively minded in the advocacy of co-operation between management and labour has been very small. To-day, what happens in one part of the world affects quickly and directly those who live in another part. In consequence, so much has to be known and taken into account. The work of the I.L.O. will he most useful if it does not become overwhelmed by the immensity of the tasks that it tackles. And this, I suggest, can be avoided only if it has full co-operation locally in the different regions which make up the world which is its field of operation.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, it falls to me to offer congratulations on behalf of all quarters in the House to the noble Lord who has just spoken. I am sure we have all listened with great pleasure and interest to his maiden 708 speech. I hope we shall be hearing his voice frequently, now that he has "broken the ice," for I am sure he will have useful contributions to make to our discussions.
We are all indebted to my noble friend Lord Lawson for initiating this debate in order to draw attention to the International Labour Organisation and the vitally important work for which it is responsible. He told us that this is the first Parliamentary discussion on this subject that has taken place for several years. That. I think, is a surprising and regrettable fact. I hope that in future the Annual Report of the I.L.O. to the United Nations will be made the occasion for a special debate in your Lordships' House, because this is one of the best means of focusing public attention and building up an informed and supporting public opinion on matters which directly concern the whole body of our working population, for low standards in one country can be a menace to the higher standards in another. My noble friend, who speaks with special knowledge and authority on labour and industrial matters" referred to the early history of the I.L.O. and paid a well-deserved tribute to its work. He also stressed the hampering effects of inadequate financial resources, and when he discussed the I.L.O. conventions he pointed to the desirability of having a corps of trained inspectors to assist in ensuring that ratifying States do in fact give proper effect to them in practice. I hope Her Majesty's Government will look with sympathy at that suggestion.
Let me go back to the beginning for a moment. The declared purpose of the I.L.O.— the noble Lord who preceded me made a brief reference to it— when it was established within the framework of the League of Nations was deliberately associated with the achievement of universal peace. It is well to recall the terms in which this purpose was stated, because the work of the I.L.O. is as relevant to the circumstances and conditions of our troubled times as it was in its origins and has been over the whole period of its development and operation. It was declared in the preamble of the I.L.O.s principles that universal peacecan be established only if it is based on social justice.709 It went on to say thatconditions of labour exist involving such hardship, injustice and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently needed.I do not think that anyone would deny that such a description of the situation which called the I.L.O. into existence thirty-five years ago is equally true of the world to-day.
Nations are faced with grave economic and social problems as well as deep political troubles, following the Second World War. We have to take increasing account of the social and human implications of the rise of nationalism in Asia and Africa. There is the urgent need of the under-developed areas for extensive practical aid in a variety of forms. If the I.L.O. had not already been in existence, there would have been an irresistible need for its creation. It is therefore of first importance that its constructive activities and practical efforts should not be discouraged or fettered; on the contrary, it should be enabled to the fullest extent possible to continue with its positive work which has already had notable results in many countries.
As we all know, there have been great and fundamental changes in the relations of nations, and in the machinery of international co-operation, since the aims and purposes of the I.L.O. were formulated. The League of Nations has been replaced by the United Nations, which has set up its own multiple organisations, among them the Economic and Social Council which, to some extent, perhaps, overlaps the activities of the I.L.O. But the I.L.O. is now one of the inter-governmental specialised agencies, and we on this side of the House believe that the I.L.O. has a vitally important responsibility and a variety of functions to perform— as it has consistently carried them on for more than a generation now— and no development in international relations has taken place which, in our view, can justify any curtailment of the I.L.O.'s activities or of its organisation or methods of work. It is important, I think, to stress the fact that the I.L.O., with its sixty-six member countries, is unique in its form and functions. It is the only international body with a Tripartite structure, being representative of Governments, employers and workers. It will be readily 710 understood, therefore, that the British trade unions and the International Free Trade Union Movement, which represents tens of millions of workers in different countries,, are deeply concerned that nothing shall be done to impair the successful functioning of the I.L.O., and want to see the continued development of its fruitful activities.
I am not going to attempt to summarise the results of the work in the year covered by the Annual Report to which the Motion refers. As my noble friend has already said, that Report, together with its informative appendices, occupies nearly 450 pages. What I am concerned to emphasise is that the guiding principle of all the activities has been to seek to bring into existence by its own well-tried methods international minimum standards of social and industrial life. As has been stated, those methods are to give effect through its general annual conferences to conventions, recommendations and resolutions. My noble friend has dealt with the follow-up action by Governments, both by wit), of ratification and implementation, and by annual reports to the I.L.O., and I will not go over the ground again. But it is in the field of industrial conditions and relationships that the work of the I.L.O. has been a potent influence directed towards the establishment of minimum standards of life and labour. Conventions dealing with such varied problems as protection of wages, equal pay, hours of work, rest periods, employment services, the work of children and juveniles at night, maternity protection, and many ether problems of our time, have been ratified by a majority of the member States.
For a decade— that is, since the I.L.O. Conference in Philadelphia in 1944— the I.L.O. activities have been pointed towards the development of programmes among the nations to achieve full employment, to raise living standards, to develop methods of dealing with employment problems, the training of workers, the transfer of labour, migration, the safeguarding and extension of the principles of collective bargaining, and the improvement of management-and-labour relations in the practice of co-operative activities, particularly in the raising of the standards of productivity.
In my opinion, no one can reasonably contend that the I L O., having regard 711 to the wide-ranging activities in which it is engaged, is excessively endowed with financial resources. My noble friend Lord Lawson devoted a part of his speech to the financial position of the I.L.O., and I will therefore make my remarks quite brief. Any curtailment of the work of the I.L.O. as a consequence of inadequate financial provision would be deplorable. In our view, the present financial resources of the I.L.O. are insufficient. It has to work on a basis of priorities, and, as the Report indicates and my noble friend specified, many important projects which it is desirable for the I.L.O. to undertake have had to be postponed. We on this side of the House would regard with dismay the possibility of the I.L.O. having also to cut down its staff, as appears to be the wish of some people.
We have an uneasy feeling that there are influences at work directed towards restrictions upon the organisation, policy and methods of the I.L.O. These do not take the form simply of an economy campaign directed against the I.L.O. staffing organisation and administration. There has been a propaganda in some quarters which would have the effect of transforming the International Labour Conference from its present status as a quasi-legislative body engaged in framing conventions and recommendations, into something like an international forum of discussion. Since the inception of the I.L.O. 103 conventions have been adopted on a wide variety of subjects. These conventions have attracted over 1,400 ratifications, the United Kingdom being one of the member states with the highest number of ratifications to its credit. My Lords, it is generally agreed that these standards have greatly influenced industrial legislation and practice. It would be a serious, retrograde step to abandon the convention-making machinery and function of the I.L.O., and it is one that would, I am sure, he resolutely opposed both by the British trade unions and by the International Free Trade Union Movement. In our view, it is of the highest importance that the formulation and adoption of international standards should continue in the future, as in the past, to be a major function of the International Labour Conference.
There are some other parts of the machinery of the I.L.O.— namely, the industrial committees— which have been 712 under attack from the employers' side. We feel uneasy about suggestions that have been made about the functioning of these industrial committees— one of them being a proposal that the separate countries should pay all the expenses of their delegations to industrial committee meetings, which would mean their transfer from the I.L.O. to the respective Governments, and would probably have the effect that Governments in distant countries would decide to send no delegates. After all, those participating in a particular industry are most likely to know where the troubles lie and the particular direction in which solutions may be sought.
I would remind the House that it was the late Ernest Bevin who saw that the problems of particular industries could best be handled by representatives of the industries themselves, in industrial committees specially constituted for that purpose. We attach importance to those industrial committees, as we do also to the Maritime Session of the I.L.O. and the permanent Agricultural Committee of the I.L.O. The Maritime Conference has just brought to a conclusion some very important discussions on the welfare of Asian seafarers. In the autumn of last year, under I.L.O. auspices, there was a conference at Colombo of, I think, twelve Asian countries; and after ten days' discussion that conference reached agreed conclusions on such questions as the recruitment and employment of Asian seafarers in the industry, legislation dealing with maritime affairs in Asian countries, and the development of representative organisations among Asian seafarers and ship-owners.
Discussion on these matters intimately affecting the well-being of all Asian seafarers was all the more significant because, of course, the conference, as with all other I.L.O. conferences, was on a tripartite basis. The workers' representatives were much encouraged, one gathers from their report, by the measure of agreement reached— in particular on the necessity of promoting machinery for collective bargaining and consultation between ship-owners, seafarers and Governments. Collective bargaining in that area is less effective than it should be, because few responsible organisations exist on either side, and the conference, 713 therefore, recommended that the Governing Body should draw the attention of all Asian maritime States to the desirability of fostering and recognising the formation of representative organisations within the shipping industry. The conference also urged Governments to consult regularly with such stable and representative organisations on all matters concerning the drafting and application of laws for maritime labour. It recognised the need for associating such organisations, so far as possible, with Government maritime institutions dealing with flatters in which ship-owners and seafarers have a common interest.
It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the importance of agreements on such matters as these, affecting, as they do, all the maritime nations, but particularly our own, since our Merchant Navy employs a considerable number of Asian seamen. No other body than the I.L.O. exists which could have called into being such a gathering as the Asian Seafarers' Conference, and guided it to such conclusions as were reached on the application of the principles of free association and trade union organisation of Asian seamen; on the recruitment of Asian seamen; on the provision of a reasonable freedom of choice for ship-owners in the selection of crews and for seafarers in the choice of ships; and upon the development of better and more extended welfare arrangements in Asian ports. I mention the work of this particular conference in order to emphasise the far-reaching significance of such I.L.O machinery as its Maritime Session and its industrial committees. These committees, in coal mining, inland transport, iron and steel, metal trades, textile building, civil engineering and public works, petroleum and the chemical industries, are doing valuable and, indeed, dispensable work in concentrating on problems of human relations in these industries, and upon the problem of maintaining high and improving standards of productivity and employment. It seems to us on this side of the House that all possible support should be given to the industrial committees, and that any proposal which would weaken them in their important work should be discouraged and opposed by Her Majesty's Government.
714 My Lords, when we speak of aid to the under-developed countries, it is frequently said that the policy of the advanced industrial nations is to help those areas to help themselves. We on these Benches regard as an essential factor in lifting the under-developed areas to higher standards of social and economic well-being a strong and free trade union movement. It is an important part of the I.L.O.'s activities to help in the development of such movements. In 1948, the Freedom of Association Convention was adopted, laying down the fundamental guarantees which workers and employers organisations should have. In 1949, a second convention was adopted specifying the measures which ratifying Governments should undertake to ensure the free exercise of the right to organise and to collective bargaining. In 1950, 1951, and 1952, the conference adopted recommendations on collective agreements and conciliation and arbitration, collective bargaining machinery and co-operation at plant level. These standards have had a good influence, and the work has been a valuable contribution in this most vital. field.
Here again, however, the standards need supplementing by effective practical action. A recognition of this fact was the establishment of a fact-finding and conciliation commission. Its object is to provide international facilities for the impartial examination, in an atmosphere free from political prejudice of any kind, or of propaganda in any interest whatsoever, of alleged violations of trade union rights. The complaints received and the action taken upon them by a committee of the governing body show how important such action can be. I think the fact that Appendix 5 of the Report runs to 220 pages, and is devoted to this question of freedom of association, shows the importance which the Governing Body of the I.L.O. attaches to it.
There are other matters of importance to which one might usefully refer. I will, however, say only this in conclusion. Over a long period of years the I.L.O. has been consistently working out a longterm social policy, by methods of counsel and common agreement among Governments, employers, and organised bodies of work people. I commend to your Lordships a study of its Seventh 715 Annual Report to the United Nations. It is a veritable compendium of international social, economic and industrial problems. It contains a vast amount of encouraging evidence of the progress that is being made towards the attainment of the basic objectives of the I.L.O. in building up high standards in the world generally and in equalising, by a process of up-grading, the conditions of employment and welfare, though, of course, a great deal still remains to be done. The aims of the I.L.O. and its well-tried methods should command our support, and our support in my view entails resistance to any proposal which would have the effect of weakening or curtailing the I.L.O. in any respect.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, I had not intended to take part in this debate, but I am moved to do so for a few minutes by two considerations. The first is a desire to join in congratulating my noble friend Lord Grantchester, who has to-day made his maiden speech. I know he devotes his life largely to the promotion of organisations that aim at the spreading of a wise spirit of internationalism in the world, and I am not surprised that he should have chosen to make his first speech on a question such as this, relating to the International Labour Organisation. I feel sure that if he will take an active part in the work of your Lordship's House, we shall benefit by his wide knowledge and the deep sincerity of his interests. The other reason why I am rising to speak is that I think it is desirable that the world should know that your Lordships' House, and all quarters of it, do take an interest in the I.L.O. What is being said to-day will be noted by those who are interested in the subject in the Parliaments of those other countries— sixty-six of them— which are members of the I.L.O. We are grateful, therefore, to the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, for his initiative in bringing this matter for the first time before your Lordships' House.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who has made a particularly well-informed speech of a comprehensive character, as his speeches always are, said he would go back to the foundation of the I.L.O. thirty-four years ago, but I can go back 716 well beyond that, to its antenatal history, for the first beginnings of what is now so great an organisation, widespread all over the world, was in the early years of the present century, when voluntary organisations in various countries, but particularly in this country and in France, laid the foundations of a new international organisation. It was realised by progressive-minded people in most countries that the advance in the welfare of the working classes and the improvement of the conditions of labour must depend to a great extent on international co-operation, for any country that took the lead would be liable to be, and indeed was, affected by competition from other nations whose conditions of labour were at a much lower standard. Of course, it is a great mistake to think that cheap labour always means low costs. It is not so, as the best paid labour is the most efficient, and it is often the case that the cost of production is lower in countries with high wages than in countries which are not so advanced industrially and economically. But still, the fact remains that there are many cases in which progressive movements in one country are handicapped by the fact that that country's trade rivals are not proceeding in the same direction and to the same extent.
That was realised here and in France and elsewhere, and for some years efforts were made to prepare the ground for the signing of an international convention. When the Campbell-Bannerman Government was formed and I was appointed to the office now held by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd— that of Under-Secretary for the Home Office— I found that all preparations had been made for the first international conference of this character to be held. It was planned to be held in Berne in 1906. As a young Under-Secretary I had the honour of being appointed the head of the British delegation, most of the other delegations being composed only of officials of various departments. There were before that conference two proposals. One was a general international convention to regulate the night work of women in factories. Our own code was very good, as things went at that time, and it was effectively administered, but in many other countries there were no regulations at all or they were of an inadequate character. The second proposal related to a terrible disease 717 which afflicted workers in the matchmaking industry. This disease was necrosis of the jaw, or, as it was popularly known, "phossy jaw." It was well established that this was due to the use of white phosphors, which was not essential to the making of matches but which for various reasons was more easily employed by manufacturers. It was decided that we should propose that that should be completely prohibited in all countries.
The conference met and we had friendly discussions, lasting for a few weeks; and we signed there and then a convention for regulating the night work of women. I have the great pleasure of thinking that my signature is attached to that primal document in this field. At the same time we drafted in all its details a convention for the abolition of the use of white phosphorus. That required fuller confirmation by Governments before it was actually signed, but that confirmation was given and the convention was signed, white phosphorus was prohibited, and the disease necrosis of the jaw completely disappeared. That is a sample from the beginning of the kind of work that has been done during all the intervening decades. We have been told by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that more than 100 conventions have been signed and that these have received from the various nations more than 1,000 ratifications. That is the present situation, on which I cannot speak, for I have not been able to keep in touch with the work. I would only join with the noble Lord and other speakers in expressing the deep interest which I feel sure will be felt by the House as a whole in this great movement. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will give the all the support in their power, for I am sure that in doing so they will fulfil the desires of the whole House.
§ 5.30 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, has paid an eloquent tribute to the achievements of the International Labour Organisation, a tribute which has been echoed by every speaker in this debate, not least by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. I should like to take this opportunity of saying how pleased we are 'to have heard him for the first time in this House and how much we hope we shall hear him often in the future. I do not think anybody who has 718 made the least study of the work of the I.L.O. can possibly fail to endorse whole-heartedly what noble Lords have said. Various speakers have referred back to their memories of the early days of the I.L.O., and the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, has been able to go back even further and tell us some interesting stories of what happened before the I.L.O. was started. What struck me, looking at the I.L.O. and its history, was this. After the First World War there was a revulsion against the carnage and misery that had taken place, and a new determination to build a better world— a world not merely better for everybody to live in but one in which a second cataclysm, such as mankind had just experienced, would be impossible. As a result, as your Lordships will remember, a number of new international organisations were set up, of which the I.L.O. was one. It is a sad commentary on the fallibility of human institutions, and on the frailty of human endeavour, that these great ideals have been so imperfectly realised; that a Second World 'War was not avoided; and that— perhaps most important— of all these organisations that were set up in 1919, with such high purpose and in such great hope, the I.L.O. is, I believe, the only survivor.
In 1945 we once again saw the same hopes, the same ideals, the same optimism and the same varied crop of new international organisations. Since 1945, we have also experienced many of the same difficulties and setbacks which we experienced in the 'thirties. Certainly it has been my experience— and I dare say that it has been the experience of your Lordships also— that some people are beginning to wonder once again whether these new international organisations are likely to be more effective in building a better and a more peaceful world than a their predecessors, which failed so signally in the past. To those who are sceptical in this way I would point to the achievements of the over the last thirty years; they must, I suggest, be food for the most serious reflection. Admittedly, these achievements have taken place in a limited field, but the point is that within that limited fled the I.L.O. have had the same difficulties to contend with as any other international organisation; and perhaps the greatest difficulty of all has been that it has had to operate without any 719 sanction or power to compel of any kind whatsoever. That is the one thing which in all our experience, I believe, has been the great handicap of international organisations as a whole.
Reference has been made to the "tripartite" structure of the I.L.O. I believe that it has been said, quite rightly, that this makes it unique among official international organisations. It has been suggested— and I entirely agree— that this tripartite structure has been a great success. Although it is an organisation of States, it has representatives not only of Governments but also of employers and workers' organisations from those States. The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, said that he had met several employers at these conferences, and that he had found them to be not bad chaps. Perhaps some of the employers thought that some of the workers were not bad chaps, too— and they may even have thought that some of the politicians were not bad chaps. That, I suggest, is a consolidating and strengthening factor, and it may well have had something to do with the success of this organisation. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, suggested that an attack was being made on the industrial committees and the tripartite organisation. I was not quite clear where the attack was coming from, but if he says that there have been attacks, then I accept it. All I can say this evening is this— and I should like to emphasise it: that, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, we are convinced of the importance of the tripartite structure, and also of the industrial committees. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, mentioned the Asian Maritime Conference. That is one example of the useful work that the committees do. We should resist any effort to sabotage the industrial committees of the I.L.O., or any effort to impair the tripartite structure of the organisation.
The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said that there was an impression of unreality and ineffectiveness in the work of the Organisation. As with any international organisation, we must not expect quite so much from it as we should of a national organisation, because of the much greater difficulties with which it has to contend. Certainly it is difficult to measure statistically the work of the 720 International Labour Organisation in the alleviation of human misery and the promotion of social progress. The noble Lord listed some of the conventions that have been signed, and of the recommendations made. All those, of course are an indication of its work, but it is not possible to measure it statistically, and it is easy to say that it might have done more. However, I should like to state here and now that, compared with any other international organisation I have known, during the thirty-five years of its existence the I.L.O. has had a most impressive record of sustained and concrete action designed to improve the lot of the working people of the world. I feel that any impartial student must come to the same conclusion.
Noble Lords opposite, and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, who I know has had a great deal to do with this Organisation, have much greater knowledge of the work of the I.L.O. than I have, and although there is much that could be said about the details of the work of the Organisation, I do not propose to waste your Lordships' time by discussing them this afternoon. Its work is well known, and I do not think it is necessary for me to go into it. I will merely reaffirm that, in the opinion of the Government, all that has been said about the value of the work of the I.L.O. is true. That is why successive British Governments have supported the Organisation, not merely for what it has done, or for what it is doing, but, more important, for what they hope it will do in the future.
Before I leave the actual work of the I.L.O. and its membership, may I deal with a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, about Russia and about the Colonial territories of the British Commonwealth. So far as the Soviet Union are concerned— as the noble Lord is probably aware— they can assume membership of the I.L.O. at any time they like, purely and simply by accepting the provisions of the Constitution. The situation at the present time is that they have said they would do so but, perhaps not entirely uncharacteristically, have immediately made several reservations. As there is no provision in the Constitution for making reservations, the situation is that either the reservations must be withdrawn or the Soviet Republic 721 cannot be a member. I can say no more than that. Nobody can force Russia to become a member of the I.L.O., and everybody else has managed somehow to accept membership without any reservations.
As far as the Colonial territories are concerned, there are already arrangements for consultation by the Government with the Governments of Colonial territories. These are undertaken through the Secretary of State for the Colonies and particulars of conventions, for example, are given to the Governments of those territories for their consideration. There is close touch between them and the Colonial Office. The noble Lord is probably aware that representatives of non-metropolitan countries are from time to time in the delegations sent to the I.L.O. conferences. I hope he will be satisfied that, so far as it is possible, the Colonies are brought into line with our general policy on the I.L.O.
The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, made the point— and I think it has been endorsed by others— that we all wish to see an extension of the ideals and standards which are preached by the I.L.O., for two reasons. One is obviously because we believe that their general acceptance by all nations would add much to the sum of human happiness and the raising of the standard of life. But perhaps there is a glimmer of self-interest in it as well, because those nations like ourselves who try to maintain these standards and ideals realise that, to a certain extent, they are undermined by the operations of those countries who do not and who are able, by accepting lower standards, to under-cut their rivals in the markets of the world. Like all generalisations, that is only partly true. I do not think anybody would suggest that even the operations of the I.L.O. would finally iron out the differences between ourselves and Japan. We cannot live on a bowlful of rice a day. The Japanese can, and are quite happy to do so. We need lots of warm clothes, particularly at the present time; the Japanese may not. There are climatic conditions which we cannot alter and which even the I.L.O. cannot alter. But there is a great deal in the raising of standards which can be done to avoid unfair competition and to raise the standard of living throughout the world.
722 Obviously, that is something which we should all wish to see achieved, for both the reasons I have given.
The noble Lord, Lord Lawson, asked me various questions about Japan. He asked me some in your Lordships' House, this afternoon, and he gave me notice of a rather wider group of questions to which I have the information but which would take a long time to supply to your Lordships. Therefore, if he will forgive me, I will not give hire an account of the position in Japan in respect to the working conditions and living standards as a whole, but I will give him that information afterwards. I will deal with five questions about conditions in Japan which are more specific and which I can answer in a shorter space of time. The noble Lord asked me, first, what was the minimum age for children in industry. The Ordinance on Labour Standards for Women and Minors, passed on October 31, 1947, laid down the age of fifteen years as the minimum for employment in industry. In December, 1947, minors in employment under fifteen years of age numbered 9,266, but are stated to have been under the protection of the law inasmuch as their employment has been in light work, in spare hours after school, of a type which was not injurious to their health. The next question the noble Lord asked was: What are Me maximum hours for children in industry? Workers under eighteen years of age are conditioned to a working day of eight hours, a forty-eight hour working week, and one day's holiday per week. Night work and underground work are prohibited.
The third question the noble Lord asked was: What ire the maximum working hours for men and women? The Labour Standards Law, promulgated on April 7, 1947, established a working-day of eight hours a forty-eight hour week and one day's holiday per week for adult workers of both sexes. Women may not be employed on night-work or underground mining, or work on their normal rest-day. Overtime may be worked by agreement with the trade union and subject to the approval of the factory inspectorate. If the employer and the majority of his employees agree that overtime should be worked, a formal written notification to the factory inspectorate is sufficient.
723 The fourth question put by the noble Lord was: Have the Japanese a factory inspectorate? That is answered by the last question— there is a factory inspectorate. Labour standards offices have been established in various parts of Japan, and inspectors and other necessary officials are installed. The labour standards inspector is authorised to inspect places of work, dormitories and other attached buildings, to examine records and documents, and to question employers and workpeople. The inspectorate in matters relating to the employment of women and minors is advised by the Director of the Women's and Minors' Bureau of the Ministry of Labour, under the supervision and direction of the Minister of Labour. During the period January-December, 1950, the inspectorate paid 338,000-odd inspection visits. I do not think the rest of these statistics are of particular interest, and I will give them to the noble Lord afterwards if he wishes to have them. The noble Lord will see that conditions in Japan have undoubtedly greatly improved since before the war. As he will remember, they left the I.L.O. in 1940 but rejoined in 1951. So much for the Japanese position, about which the noble Lord specifically inquired.
I understand his interest and that of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, to see an extension of the Organisation's work, and equally to see that, so far as possible, the standards which it prescribes are generally in force. On the other hand, however, I am bound to tell both noble Lords that I see considerable difficulties in the suggestions which they have made for achieving this object. They both suggested that the main difficulty, to start off with, was lack of finance. The noble Lord. Lord Henderson, said that curtailment would be disastrous; that the present resources were inadequate; and he deplored the fact that there was a system of priorities. I will say a word about the system of priorities in a moment.
§ LORD HENDERSON
I did not deplore the fact that there was a system of priorities. What I said was that there was a system of priorities which meant the exclusion of certain other projects which they should undertake.
I beg the noble Lord's pardon; I did not wish to misrepresent him. First, let us consider what money 724 the I.L.O. has at the present time. The budgets have risen from a total of just under 3,000,000 dollars in 1946 to 6,311,000 dollars in 1954, which is a fair increase. There was a fairly steady increase until 1952. Since then, there has not been much change, one way or the other. All I say to the noble Lord as a start is that, although it may not be all that could be desired, a budget of 6,311,000 dollars should provide the I.L.O. with fairly substantial financial resources which should enable it to maintain a high level of activity on its non-operational side, even if it does not permit it to undertake all the projects in which it might usefully engage.
The noble Lord talked about priorities. I am afraid that for all of us priorities are a necessity in life. For example, I could usefully employ a Rolls Royce, but at the moment that is a very low priority so far as I am concerned; I cannot afford it, and there are various other priorities which I feel have to come much higher, such as paying the rent, and so on. I think it must be accepted that in every organisation, however much we may desire something, there must be priorities. There must be distinction between what is necessary and essential and what is desirable and not so essential, and I do not think noble Lords can expect the I.L.O. to differ from any other organisation or any other individuals. Individuals and nations are in some ways alike. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, suggested that there was some sort of conspiracy to curtail the advance of I.L.O. He said there was talk about the cutting down of finance— I was not clear in what direction, but perhaps I misunderstood the noble Lord.
§ LORD HENDERSON
Yes. I said that there were suggestions for cutting down the staff and the adminisration— not finance.
If the noble Lord will give me further details I will see what I can find out about that matter. I was certainly not aware of it, and that is not at all what Her Majesty's Government have in view. I admit that many valuable and desirable objects could be undertaken immediately which at the moment have to be postponed or turned down, but I am not entirely convinced that the mere spending of money will achieve what we have in view. However much money you 725 spend, there is still no sanction except a moral one to compel any recalcitrant nation to amend its ways; and, in any case, we must face up to the economic facts of the situation. We cannot get away from the fact that the Governments which contribute are in most instances faced with serious economic difficulties. Particularly nowadays, when it is a matter of spending more dollars, many of these nations, far from wishing to increase their overseas expenditure, are in most instances trying to find methods of reducing it. I think the noble Lord admitted that this difficulty did exist. He knows of it only too well.
We have to bear in mind that I.L.O. is not the only international organisation whose work these countries are trying to promote. Take our own case. We are spending at present, purely on international organisations, a very great amount of money. Included in this is a large number of dollars, but, if I may put the whole amount in sterling, it amounts to £3,589,000 a year. That is a considerable sum of money; and in the light of these figures I suggest that it would be difficult for this or any other Government to make any substantial increase at present in its total contributions to international organisations.
The noble Lord may feel— we all have our own particular and favourite project— that, of all the international organisations, I.L.O. is the one most worthy of support; and that perhaps more money should be diverted from other organisations and spent on I.L.O. That may or may not be so: I am not going to argue the point with him. The difficulty is that in nearly all cases we are committed to our contributions; and even if there were general agreement on such a point of view, the scope for switching money in this way would be small indeed. Even if we ourselves were prepared to find more money (and as the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said, after the United States we are already the largest contributors) it is extremely doubtful whether other nations would be prepared to follow our lead. Therefore I say with regret that any substantial increase in the funds available is very unlikely to be possible at the present time— I cannot of course speak for the future. On the other hand, I will certainly give Lord Henderson this assurance: that although the Govern- 726 ment obviously feel bound to scrutinise very carefully the annual budget proposals they will also endeavour not to take such action as would impair the progress of the Organisation's work; they will endeavour to provide adequate resources for the essential aims and purposes of I.L.O. I am not suggesting that they are going to give less even for some one particular project; I am saying simply, "No substantial extension" I say that because the noble Lord talked of inspection, and that is a very substantial extension. I do not think that, on any financial grounds, that would be possible.
I will deal now with this question of an international corps of labour inspectors. I expect the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, is aware that this is not the first time that such a proposition has been put forward. In 1946, when the Conference was considering a number of amendments to the I.L.O. Constitution, this matter was considered, and was rejected by the conference as being neither politically possible nor practically feasible. The difficulties to-day are no less great than they were in 1946. Very briefly I will try to tell the noble Lord what those difficulties are. First, it is a fact that Governments are very jealous of their sovereignty and we must accept the fact that few would be prepared, even in regard to ratified conventions, to agree to the presence on their soil of foreign inspectors, visiting Government offices, factories and other similar places, with the object of seeing that effect was being given to those conventions. I do not believe that most countries would accept such a situation. I am not saying whether it is right or wrong I am merely stating what I believe to be a fact.
The next thing is the actual and practical difficulties which exist, from a purely technical and practical point of view, in setting up such a corps. It would be prohibitively expensive. It is easy but fallacious to think in terms of an international inspectorate as a parallel to a national system. Our own experience shows that in any system of inspection the men concerned roust be possessed of specialist knowledge. There must be factory inspectors, wages inspectors and so on, all having specialised knowledge; one set of inspectors could not cover the whole field of labour problems. One 727 could not, I think, expect one inspector to cover the whole range of labour relations. Moreover, one man could not cover one country; it would need dozens for each aspect of the labour relations in each country. In any case, the progress of ratification between countries is very uneven— so uneven that it would give rise to administrative problems of the greatest difficulty.
Then again, we are up against this vexed question of enforcement. How is it possible to make the activities of international inspectors effective? The I.L.O. Constitution provides no sanction against countries which default in their obligations in regard to ratified conventions. The only sanction is the moral pressure which comes through requiring Governments to submit annual reports on the application of conventions which they have ratified. I quite see Lord Lawson's point, and I wish to show him the true state of affairs. He said that some of these reports were more eloquent than factual. I do not know how far that goes, or haw much evidence he has, but I am prepared to accept that in some cases that may be so. The noble Lord also said that these reports were not regular. I will deal with that point while I am dealing with the reports in general.
I understand the situation is that Governments are not required to render reports on all conventions which they have not ratified. Certain conventions are selected each year for report. On conventions which Governments have ratified, they are required to render an annual report. I understand that there is a general improvement in the rendering of reports but that there is still room for further improvement, particularly as regards reports on unratified conventions but also on other conventions. On unratified conventions I understand there is no obligation to send in a report, unless they have been selected for that purpose. In any case, I accept that what the noble Lord says may be true, and I see the force of his argument that independent reports by international inspectors would guarantee that the truth would be clearly brought out. I think his point is that that would bring international moral pressure, and provide a firm basis on which to work.
728 He might equally argue, and I think he did, that the activities of inspectors would provide a stimulus at a national level in the direction of full conformity with ratified conventions. I think there may well be something in the argument. On the other hand, I want to put it to the noble Lord whether he does not think that these purposes are almost equally well served by the provisions of the I.L.O. Constitution, under which Governments have an obligation to communicate to the organisations most representative of employers and workers in their countries copies of their reports on ratified conventions. That provision was not put in by accident. The object of that provision is that those organisations, whose interests are vitally affected by the whole work of the I.L.O., should be able to play their full part in ensuring that the obligations assumed by Governments in ratifying the conventions are, in fact, being fulfilled. The importance of the opportunity thus given has been stressed on a number of occasions by the International Labour Conference itself.
I wonder whether the noble Lord would not agree that that is still the answer to this problem, because I cannot believe that if anybody has flagrantly disregarded the terms of a convention which has been ratified, the employers' and workers' organisations would not have something to say about it at the conference. The main object is that it should be exposed and that the truth should come out. I am not at all sure whether that is not a sufficient safeguard. Because the Conference rejected an international corps of inspectors, I do not want to suggest for a moment that it rejected, or that anybody rejected, the importance of inspection at a national level. The conference itself adopted an important convention on labour inspection, and the widespread ratification of this convention which provides for the maintenance of labour inspection in industrial places of work ought, I think, to lead to a greater degree of practical conformity with the obligations of ratified conventions all round. We hope so. Surely, the right answer is: inspection on a national level, but reports to the workers' and employers' organisations on the international level. I believe that that would really meet the noble Lord's point 729 I think I have answered most of the questions that I was asked. I realise that I have not satisfied the noble Lord, Lord Lawson— I did not expect to— but I hope that he will consider again the practical difficulties involved in the suggestions that he has put forward. I hope, finally, that he will not think that, merely because I cannot agree to these suggestions, that indicates any Luke-warmness or lack of enthusiasm on the part of Her Majesty's Government for the I.L.O., because I can assure him that nothing is further from the truth. We have always given it every support, and as long as the present Government are in power, at any rate— and I know that the Opposition would feel the same— the Organisation will always continue to receive that support.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ LORD LAWSON
My Lords, it would be interesting to continue this debate, particularly after the noble Lord's answer, but I shall not take more than a few minutes. I have somewhat of a conscience about having raised this matter to-day, because it is not exactly in the Line of business of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd. However, he has got down to his job and has dealt thoroughly with the subject. I appreciate, too, the guarantee that he has given, that the tripartite nature of the I.L.O. will not be interfered with, and his assurances about the industrial committees and a good many other things for which my noble friend Lord Henderson asked. It is upon this matter of inspections that I am tempted to speak at more length than I shall. The I.L.O. is now a body of very great authority, and anyone who watches modern industry must know that, if there is any hope of controlling the destinies of mankind, it is by getting proper control of industry. There is the root of the whole business. The I.L.O. is building up, in no fewer than sixty-six countries, a big body of law deeply affecting almost every part of the 730 world. How can it give any guarantee that that law is thoroughly carried out unless it has the expert people to investigate and give an assurance— namely, a body of inspectors?
I was pleased, for instance, to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, had to say about the appointment of inspectorates in Japan, and a good many more things. With the knowledge that the world has of Japanese conditions generally before the last war, will there be any guarantee that they are more than paper statements? I do not want to cry "stinking fish" to the Japanese Government: they may be making a really big effort to give effect to new conditions for the workers, and particularly for the children, but I confess that I shall be interested to see how that works out. But I should want some guarantee of skilled men, representative of the best opinion in the I.L.O. and representative of the best European countries. I am bound to say that, although I am pleased to hear the statement, I did not know they had inspectorates. I hope that they prove effective. I have nothing further to say, except to thank the House for its kindly consideration of this matter and, not least the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, for the contribution lie made in his maiden speech.I should also like to thank one whom I think I may call my own friend— Lord Henderson— who has made a valuable contribution. I would also thank the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, for the answer that he has given. Whilst it has not satisfied me, I think the debate has certainly justified the Motion that was put down. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes past six o'clock.