HL Deb 24 May 1971 vol 319 cc800-49

4.26 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Drumalbyn.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 72 [Incorporation and vesting of property]:


Page 57, line 2, after (" organisation") insert— (" (a) if it is not already a body corporate")

The noble Baroness said: If it is convenient for the Committee, perhaps with this Amendment we can also consider Amendment No. 263MMM. The purpose of these Amendments is 4o remove a difficulty which might arise if subsection (1) of the clause as it now stands were applied to a body which is already incorporated. The subsection states that upon receipt of a certificate of registration under the Bill an organisation " shall become a body corporate ". However, some organisations which obtain registration under the Bill may already he bodies corporate, either because they are registered under the Companies Act 1948 or have been incorporated by a Private Act of Parliament. Therefore, it would clearly be wrong to refer to such organisations becoming bodies corporate when they have this status already. This Amendment seeks to clarify the Bill, and I commend it to the Committee. I beg to move.


While I do not for a moment oppose either of these two Amendments, I should be most grateful if the noble Baroness would be kind enough to indicate what, in the view of the Government, is the effect of the incorporation of trade unions produced by Clause 72. I know that Clause 72 applies both to organisations of employers and of workers, but the questions I desire to put to the Government relate particularly to the trade unions. I do not know whether the noble Baroness has had an opportunity of looking at the case of Bonsor v. The Musicians' Union, which was decided by this House sitting in its judicial capacity in 1956. In that case, the nature of a trade union and its existence in law was very carefully and thorough considered by this House.

Although there was some difference of view between the noble and learned Lords who took part in the decision in that case, they, I think it would he right to say, all agreed that if you ask what is a trade union, the answer must be that it is simply an association of individuals bound by contract one to the other, the terms of the contract being contained in the documents, primarily the rules of the trade union. I hope I have put that clearly. That is the effect of Bonsor v. The Musicians' Union.

The union is not a corporate body, it is simply an aggregate of individuals. If you ask what are their rights, one as against the other, you have to look to the rules, you have to look at other documents—application forms and so on —to find the answer. They are bound together by a contract contained in those documents. Clause 72 provides that when a certificate of registration is granted that aggregate body of individuals shall become a body corporate. Then there are certain further consequences which follow and which are set out in subsection (3). What is the effect of incorporation upon those rules? If you find that the trade union has become a corporate body, what are the relations as between themselves and as between them and the corporate body which are then brought into being? Do you still look to the rules of the trade union to find them? If that is so, and if the rules become the equivalent or counterpart of the articles of association, or the memorandum of a limited company, what provision of the Bill produces that result? I have not found such a provision. This is not a trick question. I know that to answer this point needs a certain amount of preparation, and I apologise to the noble Baroness for not having given her notice of it. Presumably it is intended that the rules are in some way made as the structure or the skeleton of the corporate body.

If you are talking about a body incorporated by charter, you look at the terms of the charter to see what are the rights against the charter of those who are broadly described as members, and you look at the rules set out in the charter to find out what are their respective rights. I do not find anything analogous to produce that result in the case of the incorported union. This question is one of great practical interest. In the Marshalled List there are two Amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Diamond which would have the effect of incorporating in the structure of the incorporated trade union the limited liability which a limited liability company is invested with under the terms of the Companies Act 1948 and later Acts. What my noble friend seeks to do is limit the liability of the members of the trade union. I shall seek to deploy the case for that when your Lordships come to it. I have paved the way by asking my question, and if the noble Baroness says that it is a matter on which she would like to take advice before she answers me, I shall understand.

4.35 p.m.


It is not easy to debate with Lord Stow Hill, but I have been aware of the particular question he raised, the case of Bonsor v. The Musicians' Union, because that is clearly discussed on page 208 of the Donovan Report. While Lord Morton of Henryton said that the Union was capable of entering into contracts and of being sued as a legal entity, as distinct from its individual members, and Lord Porter took the same view, Lord MacDermott and Lord Somervell did not. They thought that a registered trade union was not a separate juridical person, and that it could be sued in its own name simply because Parliament had, in the result, sanctioned such a course. It was because of the uncertainty of the exact legal status of a trade union that the Donovan Report recommended in paragraph 784 that registered trade unions should have corporate status. This was supported by the Society of Labour Lawyers. It is for this reason that Clause 72 stands as part of the Bill.

So far as the Bill is concerned, any registered trade union would first go on to a provisional register and would then become a registered trade union; and by so doing it would have corporate status. There are various advantages which it could claim. Corporate status would include the right to hold property, to sue and to be sued in the organisation's own name, and there would be protection of the organisation, and its authorised agents, if in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute it either induced or threatened to induce another person to break a contract to which that other person was a party. There are several other examples. So far as the specific rules are concerned, we shall debate this on Clause 73. The trade union has the right to draw up its own rules; it is only for the Registrar to examine the rules to see that they conform with the ordinary concepts of natural justice.


I do not want to continue the debate on this rather technical aspect. I am not trying to take time unnecessarily. From what the noble Baroness has said, I infer that there is no provision in the Bill which would have the effect of automatically making the rules, mutates mutandis, the rules of the corporate body. Therefore I assume that there is no such provision. That produces the result that the union would become an incorporated body, a corporate entity. But if you ask what is the structure of the corporate entity, who governs it, who is liable to look after its finances, who can discipline anybody in accordance with the terms of the corporate body. you will find no answer. You will find nothing except a piece of paper saying that a particular trade union is a corporate body, and you will find nothing to tell you what the rules are.

I do not know whether the correct conclusion I should draw from the latter part of the speech of the noble Baroness is that it will be incumbent on every union, immediately upon incorporation, to scrap its rules, draw them up again with the necessary alterations and specifically, by some process, incorporate them as the rules of the corporate body. If that is so, under what process does it do that? Are there any provisions of the Companies Acts incorporated? There seems to be no process provided in this Bill whereby a union is to be enabled to determine what its rules are to be. There is a gap in the Bill in that respect. That aspect of Clause 72 may require further consideration. It will be difficult to deal with the two Amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Diamond without knowing approximately what the answer to my question is. I am grateful for the answer of the noble Baroness, but it leaves a particular aspect of the problem not wholly covered.


If the noble Lord will look at paragraph 785 of the Donovan Report he will see that it says quite clearly: If trade unions were corporations the contract of membership would be a contract between the union and each member. We see no adverse consequences which might flow from this. Indeed it would seem to correspond more to reality than the present doctrine that the contract is between each member and every other member. And I suppose the Report might have added, " and bound together by the rules ". But the noble Lord has made a very valid point and we shall be glad to look at it carefully in the light of what he said.


The rules could not be a contract between the union and members without more. There would have to be some process which altered the terms of the rules and introduced as a party to them the new corporate being. But I do not take the matter further.


This is a vital point which I cannot hope to deal with as clearly and in such a concise way as my noble friend Lord Stow Hill has done. But, as somebody who has had to deal with the establishment of, say, a small company, I know that one of the things that struck me when I saw the noble Lord's Amendment from the other side of the Committee was this. If a company is incorporated it has the right then to take part in any activities that it puts into the charter. Can it do this, or has it first to go to the Registrar of Unions? The noble Lord has again referred to another clause to make this clear. This is one of the matters which in all sincerity worry us. As the Committee stage of this Bill proceeds, and the Government add provisions here and there to the clauses, or delete this and add that, the Bill becomes more and more complicated and labyrinthine. Had poor old Ariadne been alive, trying to steer a way through the catacombs and provisions of this Bill, she would have got lost in the galleries because she would not have enough string to find her way out to the sunshine—if the noble Lord can follow my figure of speech. This is the difficulty the whole of the legal world is in in dealing with this Bill, as has been proved by the erudite question just put by my noble friend.


May I ask a question? It seems to me, in reading this clause and taking account of the Amendment, that it would be possible for a member of a union to be sued for damages, or what-you-will, if the union itself did not have sufficient funds to pay. I may be wrong on that. On the other hand, there are employers' associations which would be limited organisations, and it seems to me that their members could not be sued if there were damages against them, which is very unlikely.


Perhaps it would be better to discuss this point on the next two Amendments, which are to be moved by the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, because they specifically refer to limited liability which I think was the point in the noble Lord's mind. In reference to the matter raised by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, I should have thought this particular part of the Bill on registration is fairly clear. We shall come to the next clause which deals clearly with rules. What we are discussing now is the question whether on the receipt of a certificate of registration the organisation shall become a body corporate. It is something rather limited in its nature.


We are grateful to the noble Baroness, and indeed to the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, for what they have said in response to the most important issue raised with such clarity by my noble friend Lord Stow Hill. The noble Baroness said, absolutely correctly, that we shall be able to deal more easily with the specific question of limited liability when we come to deal with the next Amendments. But my noble friend Lord Stow Hill has made a point, which I should like to underline, that whatever the noble Baroness, or whoever deals with the next Amendment, tells us will be subject in a certain sense to the answer to this first question, which we have not yet had. I do not therefore want to pursue the matter too far at the present time. It is a most important and, if I may say so, not easy point, and I am most grateful to my noble friend Lord Stow Hill for having raised it in such a clear way.

We shall have to have (and perhaps I am now addressing my remarks specifically to the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn) an answer to this question at a later stage. We are obviously not going to object to the Amendment, because it removes a possible cause of confusion and to that extent is broadly acceptable. But we shall have to come back to the first overall difficulty raised by my noble friend, which will affect what the noble Baroness says with regard to the subsequent Amendments. I am only making that point absolutely clear before we go on to accept the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.45 p.m.

LORD STOW HILL moved Amendment No. 263D: Page 57, line 4, at end insert (" and limited liability ").

The noble Lord said: In a sense we have in part already argued this Amendment, but I should like to take the matter a little further. The Amendment seeks to append to the nature of the registered body limited liability such as attaches to a limited liability company under the Companies Acts. Its object is perfectly clear, and possibly your Lordships might think that while this Amendment is being considered we might consider the next Amendment in the name of my noble friend, which is designed to achieve the same purpose. May I elaborate my argument by asking your Lordships to look at two other clauses? If one looks at Clause 148 one sees there set out the property against which a judgment or an award in an arbitration may be executed. The clause is framed in such a way as to exclude certain property from the ambit of the property which may be used to satisfy a judgment. If your Lordships look at subsection (2)(b) you will see that the property which may be taken in execution does not include any property: belonging to any member of the trade union or employers' association otherwise than jointly or in common with the other members of it ". It seems to me that the effect of that paragraph, when one is considering a judgment or an award, is to exclude any property from liability to be taken in execution other than property which in a broad sense can be said to be the property of the trade union itself.

The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, has just come into the Committee and possibly he would like me to put the point again. The Committee is discussing the Amendment to Clause 72 which reads: Page 57, line 4, at end insert (" and limited liability ")". The clause, as the noble and learned Lord knows, is one which produces the result that when a certificate of registration is granted the trade union becomes a corporate body. That is the effect of this Amendment. Having indicated the objective, I would ask the Committee to go forward and look at Clause 148. The noble and learned Lord will see that, under subsection (2)(b) of Clause 148, where you are talking of a judgment or an award, you cannot execute a judgment against certain property, and you cannot execute it under paragraph (b) against property vested in a member otherwise than jointly and in common with the other members. It would seem to me that the objective of that paragraph is to limit the liability of members, to ensure that an award can be levied only against property jointly held by members as members of the union. That is the case with regard to a judgment.

However, if one goes back to Clause 88 one sees there a provision that the Chief Registrar, if he has reason to think that a trade union is insolvent—the usual definitions, I suppose, being used to decide whether a body is insolvent or not —may present a petition to wind it up. Then, if the petition is successful, the trade union is wound up by the court " in accordance with the Companies Act 1948 ". There is, so far as I can discover in that particular clause, no similar provision limiting liability for debts which have not yet become crystallised in a judgment, to property of the trade union strictly. So far as that clause is concerned the result would seem to be that property of a member held individually and privately by him—if he has been party, for example, to a contract entered into by a trade union to pay the rent or to discharge some other liability—is itself liable. It may be that I am right or wrong in the reading that I am attributing to Clause 88. If I am right, where there is a judgment there would seem to be limited liability; where there is not a judgment and there is a winding up, the debts of the union which have not given rise to an action in court crystallised into a judgment could be enforced against the property of individual members of the union, other than property, or in addition to property, which they hold in common as members of the union; in other words, their private property as distinct from property of the union itself, viewed in the strict sense.

If I am right so far, I am sure that the Committee will agree with me that there is a good deal of uncertainty about this. I would apprehend that it is the intention of the Government that the liability of the trade union should be equivalent to the limited liability of a limited company. I imagine that that is the desire and intention of the Government. It may be that I am wrong about that and that they wish all members to be liable to the full extent of their assets, but I very much hope that is not the case. If it is the desire of the Government that the liability should be limited in that sense, I feel sure that the Ministers on the Front Bench will recognise with me that. to put it at its lowest, there is some measure of obscurity and uncertainty about this. It is at least open to various readings, and I would respectfully submit that it is desirable in the interests of everybody—the many millions of people who are affected by this—that it should be made plain beyond a peradventure where the corporate trade union liability is to be a limited liability, a liability limited to the union's property strictly so viewed, or whether it is to go beyond that.

As has already been said, the argument hinges upon what took place in the course of the discussion on the previous Amendment, but it may be that Ministers feel that they would like to give further consideration to this. I would press upon them that it is highly desirable in the first place that the position should be made plain beyond a peradventure. There should be no uncertainty as to what properly is liable to be taken in extinction of the debts of the union. That is the first proposition that I put before the Committee. Secondly, I would hope that it would be made plain that the trade union's liability should be a limited liability analogous to that of a limited liability company. I beg to move.


I must apologise to the Committee for having been absent when the noble Lord began to speak. I understand that we are discussing Amendments Nos. 263D and 263E, which is somewhat analogous. The broad position of the Government is that we could not accept No. 263D but we would consider the possibility of embodying something on the lines of No. 263E, although not the exact words, by the Report stage if necessary. My present inclination is that it is not necessary to do it, at any rate as regards the liability of individual members, because the general law protects the assets of individual members from liability for the debts of a corporation of this kind.

Therefore, I do not think it is necessary at all, but should it be necessary we will consider it between now and Report stage because it is fully our intention that the assets of individual members should not be liable to be seized in satisfaction, either of a judgment debt or on the winding up of a trade union, except in so far as the rules provide. I hope that that will satisfy the noble Lord.


I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord. It certainly satisfies me, but I do not know whether it satisfies my noble friend Lord Diamond.


I echo the appreciation shown by my noble friend to the noble and learned Lord for what he has said. My own uninformed view was that I had hoped and expected that the Government would say that these words were not necessary. But although they might say that they were not necessary from the legal point of view, I was hoping that they would listen to an argument that might be beneficial for a general understanding of the situation, especially now that the Government have introduced the words " corporate situation ". As soon as one hears that a body has corporate status the thought automatically springs to mind as to whether the intention behind those who give it that status is that it should have limited liability, and it might just be that if it does not, people will have unnecessary anxieties. So I hope the noble and learned Lord will consider that aspect even though he has given me the answer which I hoped he would give me; namely, that these words are possibly not strictly necessary.

Therefore, all I need say at this moment is that I am grateful to my noble friend for having put the matter forward, and repeating what the noble and learned Lord will not have heard (because this was raised on a previous Amendment), that we are still taking the view that until we know a little more about what is meant by the words in Clause 72(1), the organisation shall become a body corporate ". we are taking the view that the matter is somewhat up in the air as to the rules of the corporate body. Possibly the simple answer will be that they are the rules which would have been the rules of the body had it not been made a corporate body. On the other hand, as my noble friend is disposed to have some anxiety about it, it may well be that there is a large gap here, and apart from knowing that it has a common seal and that actions automatically get transferred, we know very little about it, how it is to behave and what the rules of the corporate body are. Therefore that matter is still left open.

I do not think it need affect what the noble and learned Lord has said. I think all I need do is to thank him for what he has said and hope that he will be good enough to consider what I have said about including some words along the lines of Amendment No. 263E, which will give more understanding to those who might seek it. In those circumstances, I am sure that my noble friend would wish to withdraw the Amendment.


I am not quite sure whether it lies with me to withdraw the Amendment, but if so I would certainly desire to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move Amendment No. 263MMM.

Amendment moved—

Page 57, line 4, at end insert— (" or (b) if it is already a body corporate, whether by the name specified in the certificate or by a different name, shall thereafter be a body corporate by the name so specified.")—(Baroness Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 72, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

5.0 p.m.


The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor very kindly indicated when we last met that he was disposed to make a statement with regard to the income tax position of trade unions, and I should be most grateful if he would be so kind as to do so. As the Committee knows, at the moment under the Consolidation Act of 1970, the Income Tax Act and Corporations Act (Section 338), trade unions have certain rights. Section 338 incorporates what used to be Section 440(2) of the Income Tax Act 1952 and Section 26 of the Finance Act 1956. Those rights are very valuable. They confer income tax relief in respect of income of various types, such as dividends and so on. Under the provisions of the 1952 Act they were subject to the limitation that the rules of the union did not assure annuities in excess of £104 a year. But the value of the concession was very greatly increased by the 1956 Act, which provided that what I think are known as the Millard Tucker policies are not to he taken into account in assessing the £104.

Going through the Bill, I apprehend it may be the intention of the Government to provide for the situation in the following way. Only registered unions are entitled to that relief, and under the 1970 Act unions' can only mean unions registered under the 1871 Act; and the last Schedule repeals the 1871 Act. Therefore, prima facie, the result would seem to be that that relief goes. I should be grateful if the noble and. learned Lord the Lord Chancellor would be so kind as to correct me if I am wrong. It may be the intention of the Government not to bring in that repeal until they have been able to restore the relief given in their first Finance Act after the Bill becomes law. It may be that they can defer the repeal under Clause 160 of the Bill; and that may be the answer. I am indeed grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for having said he would be prepared to enlighten us on this to-day.


I think I can help the noble Lord about this matter since he was good enough to give me advance notice of the point he intended to raise. He is quite right in saying that under the law as it stood prior to 1970, that is to say under the Income Tax Act of 1952 and the amending section of the Finance Act 1956, the concession as regards tax was limited to trade unions registered under the Act of 1871. But what I think has perhaps escaped notice is that in the consolidating Statute of 1970, in Section 338, the reference to the Act of 1871 is omitted, with the result that it is " registered trade unions ", in those words and without the reference to 1871, which are entitled to the immunity.

The result is that the immunity will be carried on when this Bill becomes law without further amendment of that section because, either from good luck—which it may be, for all I know—or from prescience on the part of the draftsman that legislation of this kind would be contemplated by one Government or another, the consolidating Act omitted reference to the Act of 1871.

The noble Lord's query led me to ask a further question of the draftsman as to what would happen to the unions on the provisional register, and I think it will be necessary, either when still on the Committee stage or on Report, to thicken up the provision of Clause 160, to which the noble Lord also referred, in order to enable us to make quite sure that the registration provisions do not leave a hiatus. But it is fully the intention of the Government to continue the tax concessions, and it will not be necessary to amend Section 338 of the consolidating Act. It may be necessary to amend Section 160 of this Act so as to provide for the provisional register.


I am extremely grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for what he has said and for his extremely helpful speech. I had noticed that in the 1970 Act the word "registered " appears without there being any linking to the 1871 Act. If I may just put to the noble and learned Lord the point that it may be desirable to make the matter clear in any amending words he proposes to use, it occurred to me to wonder, inasmuch as at the time when the Consolidation Act 1970 was passed clearly " registered " meant registered under the 1871 Act, that automatically the word "registered " when applied to registration under this Act would apply. It seems to me to be arguable that it did not, and to put the matter beyond any argument I respectfully suggest that it would be desirable to insert in Clause 160 of the Bill words which will make the matter absolutely clear. I am extremely grateful to the noble and learned Lord for what he has said.


I did, as a matter of fact, raise this point with the draftsmen and also with the Departments, and the advice I received was that we were all right under Section 338 of the consolidating Act in its present form. But in view of the fact that the noble Lord has raised the point I will ask the question again—hoping to receive the same answer—and it will be looked at before the Bill leaves this House positively one way or another.


I am most grateful for what the noble and learned Lord has said.


The noble and learned Lord said during the course of his remarks that it was the intention of the Government that trade unions should continue to get the benefit of this income tax concession. He said " trade unions " —I am quite sure he meant registered trade unions only. He knows that we shall be coming back to this point on a subsequent Amendment.


There is no misunderstanding about that at all. The noble Lord is quite right.

Clause 72, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 73 [Examination and approval of rules by registrar]:

5.8 p.m.

LORD DIAMOND moved Amendment No. 263F: Page 57, line 19, leave out ("in that").

The noble Lord said: I think it would be helpful and would make for an intelligent discussion of what we are engaged upon if I invited your Lordships to be good enough to accede to my request that the first four Amendments to this clause which stand in my name be discussed together—I do not seek to include the Amendment standing in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn—that is to say, Amendments 263F, G, H and J, because although they could be taken separately they all refer essentially to the same point.

I am in a slight difficulty here because I did not have the privilege of hearing the whole of the debate on Thursday when I was engaged elsewhere; but from a quick reading of part of Hansard I gather that the essential point behind these Amendments was discussed then, and I shall deal with the matter very shortly now in the hope that that is what your Lordships would prefer. What we are here concerned with is first of all a principle, and then the application of the principle. I suppose the fundamental principle we are concerned with is the right of association—a freedom of that order; and in relation to trade unions we would interpret that right as meaning that workers can get together and form their associations and decide how they are going to run them. Of course, for the convenience of their members they must make clear what their rules are so that members joining will know what kind of a body they are joining. Donovan looked at this matter very carefully and, as was discussed on Thursday, he made it quite clear that the freedom of unions to decide their rules should not be interfered with. I do not quote the exact words, but that is the import of what he recommends.

This clause, as it stands, is a clause under which a registrar has to approve rules, and he has to approve detailed rules. The objection to the approval of the detailed rules is twofold. First of all, the union knows best what its own rules should be. It is a number of workers getting together to decide how to manage their own affairs within this association. Secondly, if, as a matter of public policy, it is thought wise that unions, being of the importance they are, should have rules which are sufficiently clear to their members and rules which cover essential points, then you must have some machinery for deciding how that public interest can be satisfied if a union takes a different view and feels that its own rules are already adequate.

Donovan recognised this and said that this is still a matter for the unions, and the best way of helping the unions to frame suitable rules is to give them the freedom to do so in the first place. But if the rules, as they emerge, are not sufficiently clear and do not sufficiently cover matters of public policy and public interest, then the formation and the clarification of the rules should be helped by an appropriate body. The appropriate body is, in fact, a body of trade unionists helped by a lawyer chairman. That is a perfectly simple proposition. There is (a) the right of association—freedom of association, a fundamental liberty; (b) the exercise of that right by unions by their having rules which they make for themselves; and (c), where public policy may be to intervene, assistance to the unions by a body of trade unionists—because trade unionists have the right experience —and that body of trade unionists should be chaired by a lawyer, who would be helpful in directing the consideration of that body in a fruitful way.

That is all within Donovan, and on this side of the Committee we should find all of that acceptable. But that is totally at variance with what is proposed in this clause. What is proposed in this clause is that " the man in Whitehall knows very much best "—the " man in Whitehall " being the Registrar in this case—and that the Registrar shall lay down what the union's rules shall be. Irrespective of the fact that the union may have been in existence for a great number of years and have learnt, through long experience and possibly many difficulties, the best way of framing its rules, it is the Registrar which will lay them down, and the force of law will be behind what the Registrar has to say.

All that is totally unacceptable to us on this side because we do not think that this is the way in which unions will function better (which is what we are all after), and be strengthened—as Donovan recommends, and as the Government said is one of the purposes behind this Bill. Therefore, I move this Amendment, but draw attention to all these other Amendments which seek to leave out the specifying of individual rules, knowing that behind each of these individual rules to be approved by the Registrar the Registrar has the power to insist on his view of what the rules should be. Therefore, I beg to move.


I rise to give support to my noble friend Lord Diamond in moving this Amendment. The more I look at this Bill and try to study its purpose and its intentions, the more I am convinced that, as has already been said by my noble friend, the Government really do believe that they, and they alone, know more about industrial relations than anyone else. So far as the trade unions in this country are concerned, they are to be treated—and I say this with true conviction—as if they were little children.—One would think that they have never been associated as a group of people, organised labour, within this country, working for the benefit of the people and the membership of their respective trade unions. I appreciate that the Secretary of State has within his Department these conciliation officers in senior posts who have been there with successive Ministers since it was the old Ministry of Labour and who, he believes, have studied how organised labour ought to behave on the industrial front in this country. No doubt many hours will have been spent by these people in studying the problems that will arise as a result of these various principles coming into operation. No doubt the Minister in charge of the Bill will be posing questions to the people in his Department on these principles.

The answers to the questions that he was seeking to pose in the drafting of this Bill must have satisfied not only him but the Cabinet of the present Government, or we should not have had this Bill, either in the other place or here. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that it is one of the easiest things in life to be able to sit down and produce a formula by reading a pamphlet, or textbook, on labour relations, without ever having been associated with industry at all, either as an employer of labour or as an employee. Knowledge and practical experience are thrown out of the window as being of no importance and having no validity at all. It is this that disturbs those of us who have come from the industrial arena.

My objection to these particular subsections and the clause itself, is the powers which are to be vested in the person of the Registrar. Here we are to have trade unions which will be required to satisfy a wide-ranging set of conditions laid down—by whom? Laid down in the particular Schedule that is attached to the Bill and by the Registrar.

Unions will be required to have rule's, which have been referred to by my noble friend, Lord Diamond, which raise certain principles. What is basic to a union for its functioning on behalf of its membership may not be obvious to the Registrar and may not fit in with the principles of this Bill. It may be that a trade union, after weeks of consideration and formulation of its rules by dele- gates from branches throughout the country, with legal advisers in attendance, submits the result of those deliberations to the Registrar for his signature and approval. He in turn, after re-examination, may disagree with the rules because, in his opinion, they do not meet with the objects and principles laid down in this Bill. I have sat as a delegate for day after day with members of the legal fraternity drafting rules for my association and I know what these deliberations involve.

Who is to be the arbiter; who is to question the Registrar? Before the rules have been submitted, legal advice will have been taken by the union. Those rules would not be there unless these responsible people with legal knowledge had been present when they were drafted for the association. The question arises, if these wide-ranging conditions do not meet with the demand will this result in the union having to ask its branches to go again over the whole of the ground they have traversed in arriving at their conclusion? This could result in more legal wrangling. It would be as well if this point could be cleared up. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, or whoever is to reply on this Amendment, will do so. I hope that noble Lords on both sides of the Committee will ask themselves when considering these subsections, is the Registrar to be judge and jury in this matter? When I sat in another place we introduced the official who became known as the Ombudsman. Many of us received cases from constituents and were able to contact the Minister concerned. We contacted a Minister before we thought of taking action and submitting a problem to the Ombudsman for investigation. Suppose that we reach a particular position with reference to this Bill and concerning the Registrar, will trade unions be able to contact representatives of another place and ask them to intercede with the Ombudsman against a ruling by the Registrar?

I hope that the noble Lord who seeks to answer the questions raised by my noble friend, Lord Diamond, and the points that I have been citing about the way in which rules are drawn up by trade unions, will be able to give some positive answers so that the unions may know what will be their position. If they have to go back to consult their branches again because the registrar turns down proposed rules, and all the branches connected with the unions then have to supply more information, I wonder what staff will be needed for the new registrar. In adding my contribution to that of my noble friend Lord Diamond, I hope that we may have some positive answers about the powers which will be embraced by the registrar and whether in this case he is to be both judge and jury.

5.27 p.m.


It may be of convenience and I may help the Committee if I intervene to try to dispel some of the misgivings expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Slater. Then, if I may, I will deal with the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Diamond. I think it important to recognise that at the moment the registrar has the rules of the unions which are registered under the Trade Union Act 1871. If the noble Lord, Lord Slater, looks at Clause 76 of this Bill he will see that there has to be a provisional register on to which those unions registered under that Act will be transferred with any others which may apply later. The clause says, in subsection (2): The registrar shall forthwith enter in the provisional register every organisation … The registrar is then given six months in which to scrutinise the rules. Where in his opinion the rules are defective he will draw that point to the attention of the union concerned. So at the moment there is nothing for the unions to do. They will automatically go on to the provisional register. Their rules will then be examined and they will be told if the rules are (to use the words of the Bill, which perhaps are a little sharp) in any way "defective ".

At that stage the union will have to consider whether it wishes to bring its rules into line with what the registrar requires. The registrar, of course, will require only what is in the Bill. Then the union will be able to have the meetings of which the noble Lord, Lord Slater, has spoken. We believe that most unions will have little difficulty in bringing their rules into line with what the Bill requires. They will then forward the amended rules to the registrar, and if he agrees with them that will be the end of the matter. If he does not agree with them it will be open to the registrar to give the union concerned a short time to adjust its rules. If, after that time, the union has still not been able to bring them into line, it will be possible for the registrar to apply to the Court for the cancellation of the registration. I have missed out the vital statement that even before the registrar has decided that the rules are in order he will issue the certificate and at that stage the union will become a body corporate with a common seal. If the union still disagrees with the registrar, then the Court can decide either that the registrar is right or that the union is right; so in no case is the registrar ever the judge, let alone the jury. He is doing an administrative job in comparing the rules of the various unions with what they are intended to contain under Schedule 4, and he is also making certain that they do not offend against the guiding principles in Clause 63. I hope I have made that plain, but at any rate I hope I have made it clear to the noble Lord that the registrar is not going to be the bogey man that he seemed to think.

The Registrar will be constantly in touch with trade unions. I have no doubt. Complaints will be made, and he will no doubt be in very close touch. Let me give the noble Lord an example of what has happened. because he will know of this and it is in my experience. He will be aware that the weights and measures authorities are the enforcement officers under the Trade Descriptions Act. But the weights and measures authorities are able to maintain very good relationships with those people under their supervision. Obviously, if somebody is recalcitrant, or something of that kind, they get across each other; but this is the kind of way we do things in this country, and I do not think he need regard the Registrar as in any way a bogey man. He will become, I think. the friend of the trade unions. He will be intimate with them; and when things go wrong they can be straightened out amicably. The conciliation officers will not come into it at this particular stage, not as between the union and its members. Clause 63 deals with the relationship between the union and its members, and lays down standards to be observed in those relationships.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord for his reply, but he used the word " defective ". You can stretch that word as much as you like: it is like elastic. It seems rather strange for the noble Lord to use that word " defective " when we have already been operating as trade unions under a system of registration and up to the moment there has been no trouble at all. So how can we come into the position whereby we are going to be " defective "? The other thing is this. He talks about these other unions who have not registered: they will not be affected at all, but will be more or less carrying on as they were. That is what I understood from what he had to say.


Before the noble Lord answers that point, perhaps he will help me, because there is a thick fog around. First of all I think the comparison with the weights and measures authorities is not quite a proper one, because the animal or things which are weighed a re not human beings. We are talking about what would happen to a group of human beings. The noble Lord earlier mentioned " every organisation ". Does " every organisation " include unregistered organisations? Because, as I read it. where a union is registered, an unwelcome fellow member who has had the rules and does not like them can initiate an investigation by the Registrar. The Registrar can also initiate an investigation himself, as in the case of a registered union: but if a union is not registered, the person has his remedy before the tribunal. Unless I have misunderstood the situation it seems to me that registered unions are being exposed to more effective threats of disruption than unregistered organisations.


The organisations of workers have the choice: either they can come within the ambit of the Registrar, as a registered trade union, and accept the responsibilities and gain the advantages of a registered trade union, or they can be unregistered organisations of workers, either through cancellation of their position in the provisional register or by indicating that they do not want to be registered trade unions. They have the choice. In the latter case they will then have to comply with the guiding principles in Clause 63, but not with the rules in Schedule 4. They will still be open to complaints by their members if there are contraventions of the guiding principles in Clause 63, and in that case, of course, the complainant will be able to take the complaint to the Industrial Tribunal.


So there is a difference between an unregistered trade union going before the tribunal and a registered trade union going before the Registrar.


Nobody will go before the Registrar, because the Registrar is not a court in any way. If there is a complaint to the Registrar, then he will investigate that complaint and, if necessary, he may then take the complaint either to the Industrial Court or to the Industrial Tribunal, whichever is the more suitable; or, I suppose, he can advise the member of the trade union and the member himself can take i he complaint. But the member need not take the case to the Registrar at all; he can. if he wishes (I am still talking of a member of a registered trade union) take the complaint direct to the Industrial Tribunal. In the same way, a member of an organisation of workers can only take his complaint direct to the Industrial Tribunal.


May I—


May I finish my speech?—because I have not really come to the Amendment yet. But I think probably this is what noble Lords would have wished, because I have been filling in the background to this Part of the Bill. The closing remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Slater, neatly brought me round to the Amendment. The difficulty about the Amendment is this. I quite understand that the word "defective " is an irritant, but the literal interpretation of " defective " is that it falls short of the requirements, either in that the rules have not provisions to cover the matters in Schedule 4 or there is a breach of the guiding principles set out in Clause 63. Now this is what is laid down in the items that the noble Lord wishes to leave out. I understand the noble Lord's attitude to this, but the curiosity of it is that to accept his Amendment would give the Registrar exactly what the noble Lord does not want him to have. It would give him a very wide discretion indeed as to making requirements for the adjustment of the rules of registered trade unions. I am sure the noble Lord does not want that. I take note of his—


And for that reason I gave notice that I proposed to leave out Clause 73.


At the moment, with respect, we are dealing with this particular Amendment. What the noble Lord is really doing is first of all to amputate a limb and then, if he has his way, he is going to exterminate the rest of the carcase.

Perhaps I might say just one or two words in reply to the noble Lord on this, because I appreciate that he was not here the other day when we went into this matter. Inevitably, we are constantly referring to the work of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donovan, but I mentioned here what the Donovan Commission said on the question of the rules and on the position of the Registrar, and I drew attention to paragraph 656, which said: The requirements as to rules … will call for more supervision on the part of the Registrar than in the past. The Registrar already advises unions informally on the drafting and re-drafting of rules, and we hope that this beneficial practice will continue. It will. Then the Report goes on: The possibility exists however that disagreement may at times arise between the Registrar and a trade union as to whether its rules comply with the revised requirements of the law. We think that such disagreements should he referred for settlement by the independent review body whose establishment we propose. The noble Lord was quite right. We went into this point on Thursday, that the review body proposed by the noble and learned Lord and his Commission is not the same as the review body proposed under this Bill. The review body in this case will be the Industrial Court, but frankly, with the assistance of the Registrar we do not think that there will be a great number of cases that will go that far. We believe that when unions know what the Registrar suggests and have deficiencies drawn to their attention, they will rectify them and carry them through their various representative organisations in the constitutional way. So we do not think that this review is likely to arise to any great extent.

I do not think it would be right again to debate the merits of the proposal for two trade unionists with a chairman presiding over them as compared with the Industrial Court, which is quite likely to have somebody with experience. All the members ought to have experience of trade unions ultimately, and two of them will probably have experience from the start. So I stressed the view that I did not think there was a gigantic difference. I pointed out that the touchstone is simply that we think the contents of union rules are a matter of concern to the community as a whole and not to trade unionists alone, whereas noble Lords opposite seem to think that this ought to be a matter of concern only to the trade unions. That is a difference of approach but I think one can narrow it down to that. I am afraid we could not accept these Amendments but I hope I have managed to clarify the situation.


Before the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, replies I wonder whether he will consider whether he ought to withdraw these Amendments. As the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, said, if these Amendments were gratuitously passed it would give the Registrar an unchallenged right to assess the rules of the unions without reference to Clause 63 and Schedule 4. One of the main burdens of our speeches on this side of the Committee is that we should restrict the degree of detailed legal interference with the unions which this Bill seeks to pursue. I take Lord Drumalbyn's point that some subsequent Amendment might alter the circumstances. If, as a manoeuvre, the Government were to accept these Amendments and subsequently we did not get the other Amendments which the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, has in mind, then we should have increased the possibility of detailed interference with the rules of the unions as a result of passing these Amendments. I think this is the wrong way of pursuing our objective. I hope he will consider this point.


As to asking the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, to withdraw these Amendments, I should like to bring to the notice of the House that the rules of the union are drafted with the cooperation of the legal profession. It is not the membership alone but the advice they receive in the first place from the legal profession which assists them to do the job.


I did not understand the point which the noble Lord was driving at. I do not think he was speaking to these Amendments at all during his rather long speech, and I am still puzzled. I have completed what I was going to say and will now sit down.


I have intervened very little in the debates in this Committee, and then usually " agin the Government ". Indeed, I had the unprecedented pleasure the other night of bringing joy to the heart of the noble Lord, Lord Champion—a thing I never hoped to do. But on this occasion I should like to appeal to the Opposition. I believe that their attitude to this clause is quite unduly suspicious and does not take sufficient account of the necessity for dealing with trade union rules. While I was sitting on the Donovan Commission I spent many weary days and nights and weekends in reading the rules of a great number of trade unions. There are many distinguished trade union leaders on the Opposition Benches here who know the rules of their own union pretty well and rather assume that other unions are in as good a state. The result of all my reading was to leave a melancholy picture in my mind.. There are very many unions whose rules urgently need rationalisation and modernisation and their leaders know perfectly well that the machinery for altering the rules within the union is so complicated that they have little hope of bringing those rules up to date, quite apart from the requirements of the public interest.


May I ask a question? Is the machinery for changing the rules so complicated? It is demanded by law that every five years the rules shall be reviewed, and the executive council has the power to deal with it. There may be difficulties in dealing with the rules, but there are no complications.


I say without fear of challenge that there are many union leaders who know quite well that it is impracticable, through the efforts of the union themselves, to get the rules rationalised and brought up to date. Those very leaders, when the dust of this controversy has settled, will be very relieved that there is the liability to have a little friendly nudge from the Registrar of trade unions which will enable them to go to their members and say, " Put your own rules in order or else we shall be in difficulty with the Registrar ". I believe that trade union leaders will live to bless this clause and I think they are very ill advised to oppose it.


It seems a very peculiar argument, particularly the argument just advanced by the noble Lord, and I should like to follow the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Douglas of Barloch, on the complication of the machinery to change rules. The noble Lord, Lord Tangley, may have some instances in his mind about trade union complicated machinery, but that must be in a minority of cases. We should be very interested indeed if the noble Lord would highlight the type of unions in which he says that there is complicated machinery to change the rules. He says it is difficult for a leader of a trade union to change the rules. If this clause is adopted as it is, what change will take place regarding the ability of unions to get a change of rules? Will it be dependent on the Registrar, or on the union rules or machinery they have now for changes to be recommended by any of their members or branches or the executive and for those recommendations to go to the five-yearly or the two-yearly rules revision meeting? Will there be any change in that particular direction? That is the position now.

I cannot see what change will take place except that instead of the rules being drafted and agreed upon by the men who are actually engaged in the project there will be a legal definition attached to it. We accept that, but I think we are entitled to ask why there should be this change. Where is the big upsurge of union indiscipline or anything like that which warrants such a radical change from the voluntary system to the legal system. The Committee are entitled to know why, after the test of a hundred years experience, this radical change can be justified. It is no use saying that it is better that it should be legally binding. In what way? The trade union movement feels extremely unhappy about this.

When we turn, as we shall do later on, to the suggestions made in Schedule 4, I wonder what justification there is for occupying so much Parliamentary time with so many innocuous things that are already accepted by the present Registrar of Friendly Societies in the registration of trade unions. Why make all these changes? Why ultimately bring about two separate organisations—trade unions which are registered and accept the full implications of the Bill, and those which do not? As my noble friend Lord Cooper of Stockton Heath indicated only last week, this is a sort of blackmail which, by means of giving privileges, especially tax concessions, will operate to compel trade unions to register. Many unions, with this in mind, will have to accept this clause in the interests of the shillings paid by the union members in dues, which they do not want to see dissipated.

Then there are the unregistered trade unions. At the moment they are registered bodies of workers and it is difficult to know what definition will be given to these unions. Will they be able to negotiate with the employers and register agreements, even though they do not have the force of law? If they called a strike, would they be subjected to the compensation clause of the Bill? This seems a complete anachronism. I think that we should reject this clause as a whole. The trade union movement and the employers are quite capable of working on a voluntary system and organising industrial relations with the least possible disturbance. In addition to explaining this clause, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, should say why it is so necessary to change customs and traditions which we have had for so long.


If I may, I will reply to the noble Lord, Lord Popplewell, straight away. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, gave the complete answer before the noble Lord spoke. The noble Lord, Lord Tangley, made it clear that while there arc trade unions which have good rules, there are others whose rules fall far short of what they should be. This is exactly what the Donovan Report says in the very first sentence on trade union rules. It says: We have said that it is very desirable that trade union rule books should be clear and unambiguous and that they generally fall far short of a satisfactory standard in these respects. What more justification do we want for doing something about this? But we are not arguing at the present time that something should be done. As I understand the noble Lord, Lord Diamond, we are arguing on the way in which it should be done, and obviously we differ.


We differ fundamentally and profoundly, and it is my view that the Government are acting extremely unwisely in saying that they are going to impose their view in a whole hog manner, when they could get a good deal of what they want in improvement if they would be a little less autocratic and conceited about their knowledge of trade unions, and listen to those who have enormous experience, and also to those who have spent three years investigating the matter and giving us a valuable report. Before I come to deal with the helpful remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, I am compelled to deal with the challenge which the noble Lord threw out on the unwisdom of putting down Amendments. The noble Lord is wasting the time of the Committee in issuing the challenge and having me answer it, because he knows as well as I do that the difficulties of an Opposition are very great. If we want to draw attention to individual points all we can do is to put. down Amendments about them. That is the way we proceed. And if we want to make clear our general attitude there is a facility, which does not exist in another place, of drawing attention to our view about the clause as a whole. That is the simple reason for doing what we did, and I am sorry that the noble Lord thought that it was worth making a point on this.


May I interrupt and say that if I had made that point I think it would have been a bad one. I did not make it.


And if I had said that the noble Lord had made it, I would have been totally in error. I was talking about the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn.


I am sorry. The noble Lord shifted target without my noticing it.


May I interrupt only to say that it is normal to state what the effects are of Amendments taken together. I hope that I had done no more than ask for that. I did not mean to be discourteous.


I was not complaining about discourtesy. The point is a different one. Having got the procedural point out of the way, may I now come to the substance of the matter.


While still on the procedural point, I do not think that the noble Lord has made it clear why these Amendments are down on the Marshalled List. He has just said that we have a method in this House of dealing with these major points on the Question, whether the clause stand part. Why then put these Amendments which, if passed, could not possibly do anything which the noble Lord wants? What is the point of discussing them separately, when every point he has raised could have been discussed on the Question, Whether the clause stand part?


If your Lordships wish me to take up the time of the Committee, which I have been trying very hard to avoid doing, I will explain in detail why each one of these Amendments was separately necessary and what the total effect might have been. The total effect, coupled with other Amendments about the review body and the powers of the Registrar, might have been perfectly satisfactory, and with the benefit of other Amendments we might have returned to exactly the Donovan position. That is the short answer to the noble Lord on the Liberal Benches who intervened. If he wants justification for each individual Amendment separately I shall give it, but I should have thought it was taking up the time of the Committee unnecessarily.


If my noble friend wants an answer, I shall give him one. Take not the slightest note of the Liberal Party.


The noble Lord Diamond has sat down—


I have not given way. I was going to say that I expect the noble Lord is conscious of the fact that it is not my desire to spend too much time on these Amendments.


I am well aware that it is not, but I still do not see why we have spent any time on them at all. If the noble Lord had explained with what other Amendments we could have returned to the position of the Donovan Commission, some of us might have been eager to support him. Some of us might have seen the point of his moving the Amendments. As he has not explained that, we have not.


I must reconcile myself to the fact that in the forthcoming Division I am not going to get the support of the noble Lord or of all the other noble Lords who are sitting with him.

May I turn to the substance of the matter and, in particular, to what the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, said? I hope I was interpreting correctly, in the first place what the Royal Commission said. I do not make a great deal of this point, but I was not aware that there was an objection by the noble Lord, Lord Tangley on this part of the recommendations of the Royal Commission therefore I thought I was supporting entirely what the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, had said, namely, that there was a case for strengthening the review of rules of certain unions. We are dealing with such a large body of unions that what anybody says can be correct about individual unions. There are so many very small unions that I would not attempt to lay down categorically whether their rules are wholly satisfactory or wholly unsatisfactory. There are over 1,000 of them, I believe, and some are extremely small indeed. So I am sure we can quite accurately make comments about the state of some of the rules.

But the general view of the Royal Commission was that: The requirements as to the rules of registered trade unions will henceforth be rather more extensive and will call for more supervision on the part of the registrar than in the past. That I accept. I accept it, and I was seeking to assist the Government to enable it to be done. The Commission very wisely said that there is one way of doing it and that is to continue the healthy practice which has existed in the past of trade unions consulting the Registrar as a friend and getting his advice and, where there was difficulty with the Registrar and where the Registrar needed a little help for doing exactly the thing which the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, said should be done, having an independent body. I hope Lord Tangley appreciates that what I am debating with him now is not the principle but how to give effect to it; how not to go too far and lose out completely but instead to go in gentle stages and make considerable progress. And the way to progress was pointed out by the Royal Commission, of which the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, was a most distinguished member. What they said was —putting it in round terms—to continue the wise course of treating the Registrar as a friend. Do not do anything that puts him in the opposite camp; treat him as a friend. Consult him, and where there is difficulty have an independent review body which is—and I now use these words deliberately—" one of us; not one of them ", a review body consisting of trade unionists but helped, co-ordinated, clarified and directed by having a lawyer chairman. It could even have been the noble Lord Tangley himself, and he would have been very acceptable all round I am sure. That is what the Royal Commission said and I am bound to repeat that I have not noticed anywhere a Minority Report by the noble Lord, Lord Tangley, on that part of the Royal Commission's views. That is what I am putting to the Government. That is the sensible way to go about it.

I go further and I take completely Lord Tangley's point—everyone with experience of government does—that there are times when bodies need to be helped out of their difficulties by the Government taking the responsibility on to itself. I recognise that, and the bodies in question will be grateful at the end of the day. I recognise that, too. But the question is, what is the best way to go about doing that? I have already detailed it and would bore your Lordships'

House by repeating it. The best way to go about it is the way suggested by the Royal Commission. My regret is that the Government are going completely in the opposite direction. It is turning " us " into " them ", and all of us who know that these human relationships are deeply psychological know what an important and foolish step that is. The Registrar is being turned from a friend into somebody else. I think it was my noble friend Lord Bernstein who used the words " appeared before the Registrar ", and the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, picked it up as if it were an incorrect expression. Technically, legally, at the Bar it is incorrect, but in terms of human relations and the understanding that everybody has of what the Registrar is going to be under this Bill it is very correct and very illuminating, and the Government ought to think about it. The Registrar is being turned into one of " them " and the body that is going to help the Registrar. instead of being one of us, namely, trade unionists with a lawyer chairman, is being turned into yet another legal body with one trade unionist out of three.

Now, with respect, every unionist will laugh when you say that that is a trade unionist body. Every trade union officer of great experience knows what happens. So I am saying to the Government that they are going wholly against the reconmendations of Donovan which a wise Government would seek to meet. The noble Lord opposite is closing his mind, too. He has not moved one inch over the weekend since the last debate, and we are bound, therefore, to show our views about this blindness of the way to achieve what we all wish to achieve, in the Division Lobby.

6.9 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 263F) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 58;Not-Contents, 96.

Archibald, L. Champion, L. Garnsworthy, L. [Teller.]
Bacon, Bs. Chorley, L. Henderson, L.
Balogh, L. Collison, L. Hilton of Upton, L.
Bernstein, L. Davies of Leek, L. Jacques, L.
Beswick, L. Diamond, L. Kennet, L.
Blyton, L. Douglass of Cleveland, L. Leatherland, L.
Brockway, L. Energlyn, L. Lee of Asheridge, Bs.
Buckinghamshire, E. Evans of Hungershall, L. Lindgren, L.
Burntwood, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.
Burton of Coventry, Bs. Gardiner, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Longford, E. Rusholme, L. Sorensen, L.
McLeavy, L. Sainsbury, L. Stow Hill, L.
Maelor, L. St. Davids, V. Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]
Moyle, L. Serota, Bs. Summerskill, Bs.
Nunburnholme, L. Shackleton, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Pargiter, L. Shepherd, L. Walston, L.
Plummer, Bs. Shinwell, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Popplewell, L. Slater, L. Williamson, L.
Ritchie-Calder, L. Snow, L. Willis, L.
Royle, L.
Aberdare, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Mancroft, L.
Ailwyn, L. Essex, E. Milverton, L.
Auckland, L. Ferrers, E. Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Balerno, L. Fortescue, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Balfour, E. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Napier and Ettrick, L. [Teller.]
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Northchurch, Bs.
Beauchamp, E. Gray, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Greenway, L. Oakshott, L.
Belstead, L. Grenfell, L. Powis, E.
Berkeley, Bs. Grimston of Westbury, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bessborough, E. Hacking, L. Rochester, Bp.
Boston, L. Hailes, L. Rockley, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Rothermere, V.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Rothes, E.
Burton, L. Hankey, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Chandos, V. Hanworth, V. St. Helens, L.
Clinton, L. Hawke, L. St. Just, L.
Clwyd, L. Henley, L. Selkirk, E.
Coleridge, L. Howard of Glossop, L. Somers, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Stamp, L.
Cornwallis, L. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Strang, L.
Courtown, E. Jessel, L. Stranae of Knokin, Bs.
Cowley, E. Kemsley, V. Suffield, L.
Craigavon, V. Killearn, L. Tangley, L.
Crathorne, I,. Kilmarnock, L. Teviot, L.
Daventry, V. Lauderdale. E. Teynham, L.
Denham, L. Loudoun, C. Thorneycroft, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Dudley, E. Lyell, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Dundee, E. MacAndrew, L. Willingdon, M.
Ebbisham, L. McFadzean, L. Windlesham, L.
Eccles, V. Malmesbury, E. Wolverton, L.
Effingham, E.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

6.17 p.m.

LORD DRUMALBYN moved Amendment. No. 263NNN: Page 58, line 11, leave out subsection (5).

The noble Lord said: The purpose of this Amendment is to leave out subsection (5) of Clause 73 with a view to inserting the subsection in an amended form as a new clause after Clause 91. Noble Lords will see that subsection (5) says: For the purpose of enabling an organisation to alter its rules so as to comply with the requirements of a notice served … the governing body of the organisation shall have power, notwithstanding anything in its rules, to convene and hold general meetings of the organisation at any time. The subsection, as drafted, does not cover all the situations in which an organisa- tion might seek to change its rules to comply with the provisions for registration, and it would not apply to organisations on the provisional register.

The general meeting of an organisation is not always the body with power to change the rules. Many organisations have special bodies for this purpose. Some organisations have rules to limit or prevent successive attempts to change rules and rules of meetings, or to require a specified period to elapse before a proposed change may be reconsidered. As at present drafted, the subsection can be read as giving an organisation power to ignore any requirements relating to procedures for changing rules, and not only those relating to the calling of meetings as was intended. It is not intended, of course, to give them power to ignore any requirements relating to procedures for changing rules, but only those relating to the calling of meetings. I hope that that is an adequate explanation of the reason for leaving out this subsection. We shall of course come to the new clause in due course. I beg to move.

On Question, Whether Clause 73, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?


We cannot let this clause go, because it is unwise: unwise in terms of good government, and offensive to the unions. I gave the reasons on the earlier Amendments why I think that this is so. If the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, wishes to debate the matter further, I am at his service. So far as I am concerned I have now been able to

Aberdare, L. Eccles, V. Malmesbury, E.
Ailwyn, L. Effingham, E. Mancroft, L.
Auckland, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Milverton, L.
Balerno, L. Ferrers, E. Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Balfour, E. Fortescue, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Barnby, L. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Northchurch, Bs.
Beauchamp, E. Gray, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Greenway, L. Oakshott, L.
Belstead, L. Grenfell, L. Powis, E.
Berkeley, Bs. Grimston of Westbury, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bessborough, E. Hacking, L. Rochester, L.Bp.
Boston, L. Hailes, L. Rockley, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Rothermere, V.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Rothes, E.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Hankey, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Burton, L. Hanworth, V. St. Helens, L.
Chandos, V. Hatherton, L. St. Just, L.
Clinton, L. Hawke, L. Selkirk, E.
Clwyd, L. Henley, L. Somers, L.
Coleridge, L. Howard of Glossop, L. Stamp, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Strang, L.
Cornwallis, L. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Cottesloe, L. Jessel, L. Suffield, L.
Courtown, E. Kemsley, V. Teviot, L.
Cowley, E. Killearn, L. Teynham, L.
Craigavon, V. Kilmarnock, L. Thorneycroft, L.
Crathorne, L. Lauderdale, E. Tweedsmuir, L.
Daventry, V. Loudoun, C. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Lucas of Chilworth, L. Vivian, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Lyell, L. Windlesham, L.
Dudley, E. MacAndrew, L. Wolverton, L.
Dundee, E. McFadzean, L.
Archibald, L. Burntwood, L. Henderson, L.
Bacon, Bs. Champion, L. Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.]
Balogh, L. Collison, L. Jacques, L.
Bernstein, L. Diamond, L. Kennet, L.
Beswick, L. Energlyn, L. Leatherland, L.
Blyton, L. Evans of Hungershall, L. Lee of Asheridge, Bs.
Brockway, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Lindgren, L.
Brown, L. Gardiner, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.
Buckinghamshire, E. Garnsworthy, L. [Teller.] Longford, E

read what he said on an earlier occasion when similar points were touched on, and we have exchanged views this afternoon, and I am satisfied that the Government are not opening their eyes or their mind to what the needs of the situation are and to the method by which improvement could take place. The result of pushing far too hard in a far too legalistic way in an unsympathetic surrounding is to drive off the object we are seeking to achieve. I therefore think all we need do now is to register our total disapproval of this clause by voting against it.

6.21 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 73. as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 97;

Not-Contents, 49.

Maelor, L. Sainsbury, L. Stow Hill, L.
Moyle, L. St. Davids, V. Strabolgi, L.
Nunburnholme, L. Shackleton, L. Tayside, L.
Plummer, Bs. Shinwell, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Popplewell, L. Slater, L. Williamson, L.
Ritchie-Calder, L. Snow, L. Willis, L.
Royle, L. Sorensen, L. Wootton of Abinger, Bs
Rusholme, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Clause 73, as amended, agreed to accordingly.

Schedule 4 [Requirements as to rules of trade unions and employers' associations]:

6.30 p.m.

LORD DIAMOND moved Amendment No. 263K: Page 141, line 26, leave out paragraph 1.

The noble Lord said: I think it would be convenient if we could take the following two Amendments together with this one, Nos. 263L and 263M, which make it a more tidy debate. We are now on to the Schedule which specifies the details of the rules of the trade unions and employers' associations which we were considering in general principle under the last clause. One of a group of Amendments which was discussed was an Amendment to leave out this Schedule. Our objections to the Schedule are to the intervention of the Registrar in an excessively detailed way. When I say " excessively ", I mean excessively in relation to the recommendation of the Donovan Commission which went into this question with great care. They recommended that trade union rules should cover certain matters. If the matter had been left there we could have made real progress—specifying not what the rules ought to provide, but just the headings of the rules, the matters which the rules ought to cover. We could have left that in a few words, and the Donovan Report dealt with it in a very few words. That is the first objection: that instead of following along the recommendation of the Donovan Commission and merely dealing with matters which ought to be covered by the rules, and leaving the unions the freedom as recommended by Donovan, to frame their own rules to suit their own circumstances, there is all this detailed paraphernalia. There are several pages of it, 25 paragraphs of specific detail, under which the rules must specify this and must specify the other.

We are opposed to this Schedule and these detailed provisions on that score; and we are also opposed to them because they give excessive power to the Registrar, and to the court behind the Registrar, to impose rules on a body which is entitled, within reason, to make its own rules to fit its own circumstances. It is a free association of human beings for a common purpose, and broadly they ought to be allowed to make their own rules to fit their own circumstances. This is a simple and fundamental liberty, and to the extent that public high policy in any way impinges on that, and requires rules to cover certain points, there would be no difficulty about including that freedom, provided that where disputes arise they can be settled by those who understand and are of the trade union movement. Paragraph I says: … the rules of a trade union or an employers' association must comply with the requirements set out in this Schedule. We object to that. It would be much less objectionable, although not wholly satisfactory, if, instead of saying that, we left it as Donovan said, that the rules of a trade union or employers' association should be framed to cover the various matters which it goes on to describe. There would have then been left out the words at the start of paragraph 2: The rules must specify … If the first Amendment (as I suspect it is) is unacceptable to the Government, then the three Amendments together would give a framework to the kind of philosophy which Donovan proposed, and which I am recommending to the Government.

It is perfectly true that if for every Amendment an Opposition puts down it were then to put down all the consequential Amendments running throughout the Bill to make it a consistent whole, this Marshalled List of Amendments would not be, as it is at present, 28 pages long,. but would be nearer 280 pages long. Therefore we did not think it right to take our own time, the time of the printers, or put the burden on the Committee of making consequential Amendments, either in substance or words, throughout the Bill. It is open to anybody who wishes to do so to say that these Amendments, taken by themselves, will not make a tidy whole if you follow the whole thing through. I thought I would take the opportunity of explaining to the Committee why we thought it right not to inflict this extra burden on your Lordships and on the printers. The first three Amendments to which I have referred hang together. I therefore move the first Amendment formally.

6.35 p.m.


The Donovan Commission used the words " set out ". It said: " set out the subjects to be covered by the rules ". The noble Lord takes exception to the word " specified Sometimes I think he removes " specified " and says, " make provision for ". His main Amendment is to leave out the whole of the first paragraph. The second one is to say that the rules, shall be framed to cover the matters When you have matters of this description, some of them may be covered by " specified ". One could have said: The rules must give the name of the organisation, the address of its principal office, and the objects for which it was established. We are again in the realms of semantics to a large extent. The noble Lord feels that he is being held too tightly down by a particular word. Plainly there are certain things that have to be specified, that have to be given precisely. In other cases it is a matter of making provision for this and that; that is what the Schedule does. Where something has to be specified it has to be given precisely. It could be given in any words that anybody likes to use provided that the words are clear and unambiguous.

Where provision has to be made for this and that the rules can be written exactly as the trade unions want to write them. It is left to the trade union to write their rules as they wish, provided they cover these matters. The noble Lord's phrase, " to cover the matters " is less precise, and it is better to make it quite clear that these are matters with which the rules of a trade union or an employers' association must comply. In other words, certain things have to be specified; the other things have to be covered in the rules. They do not have to be covered in any particular way but, nevertheless, they have to be covered.

The noble Lord did himself rather less than justice in saying that he had not necessarily followed through all his Amendments. Certainly I agree that it is quite reasonable for an Opposition merely to indicate the Amendments they want to make and leave consequential Amendments to be dealt with by the Government, if they are accepted. I believe I understand what he is after in these Amendments because I have put down what his first Amendments, Nos. 263L to S would do. They would wipe out the whole of the paragraph and the Bill would read in this way: Subject to paragraph 24 of this Schedule, the rules of a trade union shall he framed to cover the matters set out in this Schedule:

  1. (a) the name of the organisation, the address of its principal office, and the objects for which it was established and whether the organisation has branches,
  2. (b) the election or appointment and removal of a governing body by whatever name and offices and officials".
I think it ought to be, " officers and officials ". That cuts out everything from paragraph 1 to paragraph 7. That is perfectly comprehensible. That is roughly what the 1871 Act provides, and he is taking us right back a century; whereas the point is that, in order for the Registrar to carry out the functions that we have laid upon him in Clause 73, he must know things specifically. It is no use asking him to investigate unless he knows where the branches are, how many branches there are, and so on. So these matters are in a sense consequential to the duties we have already laid on the Registrar.

There are various ways of doing things. So long as it is quite clear what unions have to do in this regard, I should have thought that Parliament would be achieving its objective. So the Registrar will then be able to carry out his duties, and the unions will be able to comply with their general duty, and the rules will be clear to all concerned—members, outsiders, the Registrar, and for that matter the Government.

6.41 p.m.


Why does the noble Lord persist in repeating that the unions can frame their own rules? He has said this over and over again, ad nauseam, and I am getting just a little tired of it. I have listened to some of the debate this afternoon and this has been the piece de resistance of the Government's philosophy. Let us examine this. If one looks closely at the Schedule under review, one discovers that the unions are specifically, rigidly, with the iron heel, told what kind of rules will satisfy the Registrar. I challenge contradiction on this. If necessary, if it will satisfy noble Lords, I will read out, the whole of the Schedule; but presumably they have read it themselves.

A body of people come together. They are trade unionists they seek to form a union and they are engaged in the process of framing their rules. They have a discussion: they have to establish the name of the organisation, to decide how their officers are to be elected, how far the executive, the supreme body, will control the activities of the branches. They have to decide this, that and the other. This is all covered in the Schedule. It is all there, plain for anyone to see what the Registrar will expect from the union in framing its rules. It may well be that a body of trade unionists come together for the purpose of framing their rules and decide on a certain course of action. The Registrar will expunge every single item with which he appears dissatisfied. What happens then? What is the appeal against the Registrar? I should like to be corrected if I happen to be wrong, but so far as I know there is no appeal against the Registrar's decision. If the union is dissatisfied with the decision of the Registrar about the compilation and temper of the rules, it has no redress whatever. It cannot go to the Commission on Industrial Relations—or can it? If it can, I am open to correction.


May I draw the noble Lord's attention to subsection (3)(b) of Clause 74. The subsection says that where the registrar has not approved the rules, the trade union or employers' association may apply to the Industrial Court for an order—

  1. (a) allowing it a further period for altering its rules …
  2. 842
  3. (b) directing the registrar to approve the rules as already submitted to him ".
So the Registrar can be overruled.


I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, for correcting my apparently erroneous impression. But what does that mean, anyhow? The union must go through the process of applying to the Industrial Court. This means procrastination. How long is it going to take a union to frame its rules, faced with a Registrar who may, be difficult and with an Industrial Court even more difficult than the Registrar? Reference has been made in the course of our deliberations to the Government's philosophy of hamstringing the unions, tying them down, putting shackles on them. This is exactly what is happening. Indeed, in spite of the protestations of members of the Government, including in his very courteous fashion, in somewhat muted tones occasionally, the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn (because the last thing I would accuse him of is any discourtesy in your Lordships' House), one gathers the impression that the Government want to tie the unions down. No nonsense from the unions any longer! Is that the game that is being played? And what do the Government think is going to happen in consequence? That the unions are going to take that lying down? In point of fact, the situation will be an impossible one for any leader of a trade union. I can imagine what the rank and file will say. Talk about suppressing militancy—this encourages militancy! I am bound to say that if I were a member of a trade union and had to face conduct of this kind on the part of the Government—faced with a Registrar; faced with going to the Industrial Court; faced with this and that, not knowing where to turn—I should decide to have nothing more to do with trade unionism at all and would join the philosophical anarchists. That would be the only alternative, much as I should dislike doing that because it would not accord with my temperament at all.

I am surprised that your Lordships allow this sort of thing to go any further. I can understand the need for a Registrar. We have had registration of unions ever since I can remember. It may surprise your Lordships to know that way back in the years 1911 and 1912 I was involved in a rumpus about the registration of a union. It was the National Seamen's and Firemen's Union, which was not a registered union. I had a partial association with that union and then left to join another union; and it was necessary to take legal action, only to discover that because the National Seamen's and Firemen's Union was not registered it had no power to sue us. We could sue it but it could not sue us—which was a very desirable situation for us. So I have some acquaintance with registration. I do not object to registration. Indeed, I said in the course of one of our debates (I think it was last Thursday) that I believed that the unions, generally speaking, will favour registration. If I had anything to do with the union, I would agree about that. But in the circumstances proposed, there is all this pallaver, this pabulum, this leading to procrastination, this tying the unions down hand and foot. I shall be surprised if the unions put up with it.

I know that the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, is not paying the slightest attention to me; his time is occupied by another member of the Government. However, now that he is devoting part of his attention to me, I would beg of him to give this matter further consideration; just see where we are leading to. Although I do not want to indulge in parentheses unduly, it occurs to me to wonder what happens when we go into the Common Market. What is going to happen with this industrial relations business? Are we going to conform to the diktats of M. Pompidou? Are the unions all going to talk French when we go to the Registrar? Is this the sort of thing that will happen? I am very worried about this situation, although the last thing I want to do is to impinge on the time of your Lordships by discussing the Common Market. Nevertheless, I am wondering what is going to happen to this Industrial Relations Bill if it ever becomes an Act of Parliament. In these circumstances, I would beg of my noble friends on the Front Bench to fight this tooth and nail, and if they do I will support them up to the hilt.


I see that in Schedule 4 to the Bill eleven of the para- graphs commence with the words, " The rules must specify …"; six paragraphs say, " The rules must make provision …"—that is 17 paragraphs out of the 25 in the Schedule, and this is a free trade union movement, to which the noble Lord constantly refers. Of course this is not a trade union: this is the qualification of a State licence to allow an organised group of workpeople to band together and if they do not conform to these conditions—" these must specify ", " these must make provision "—a State licence will not even be issued to them. They will just have to be a rabble, an unorganised body of workers, not registered, and what their name will be I do not know.

Of 16 Amendments, only 3 deal with certain narrow points. It is not at all to be wondered at that with 16 Amendments tabled to deal with these particular rules, to allow the State licensed unions to practise, this will not be the only thing to which they will have to conform. They will have to conform to a number of unfair practices contained in other parts of the Bill before they can obtain the State licence to practise.

As I have said before, there is no democratic basis in the mind of the Government in regard to the trade unions of the future. There will be either Communist or Fascist rule. The trade unions will have to observe what an ideological group of people, who know nothing at all about industrial relations, decide is best for them, and the people within industry who are knowledgeable will have to conform to that ideological approach which is totally irrelevant and not calculated to improve industrial relations.


I would agree with the necessity for some rulings to be in existence to ensure that all trade unions were able to conduct their affairs in an orderly manner, but this Schedule goes much too far. The Government would have been so much wiser, if instead of laying down a Schedule which contains, for example, the rules must specify a reasonable charge to be made for the supply of copies of the rules in accordance with Section 86(5) of this Act "— that is really going into enormous detail—the Schedule were to be obliterated and a simple clause put into the Bill, giving power to the T.U.C. to draw up such regulations with reference to the rule books of unions as the T.U.C. felt necessary. In that case one would have had a degree of self-regulation which is completely lacking under this Bill and the degree of detail which is exhibited in Schedule 4.


Does the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, wish to speak before I do?


I do not know that there is a great deal for me to add.


I did not invite the noble Lord to speak, but I did not want to stop him from getting up.


I was merely going to say to the noble Lord, Lord Brown, in regard to the charge to be specified, that a lot of these rules merely follow out what is already contained in the 1871 Act, in which the charge is actually specified. Here we leave the unions latitude to charge what they like for copies of the rules. But the general point surely is simply that this is really a check list for the rules, to show what the rules must contain. In my view it is done with exceptional clarity and that is what is desired by everyone. I do not think that anything here would be left out of the rules by anyone who wanted to work efficiently and in accordance with natural justice. I would have thought that these ought to be quite acceptable, and I would challenge anybody to do it better.


They may be utterly reasonable and utterly proper, but the job could so easily have been done by a body like the T.U.C., which after all is the co-ordinating body of the trade unions and that course would have been psychologically so much wiser on the part of the Government. Psychologically this is a serious blunder that will damage the intentions of the Bill because it has been done in a thoroughly ham-handed way.


In the early days of the Second Reading debate on this Bill noble Lords on the other side of the Committee compared this Bill with the Companies Act. Why did the Government allow the Stock Exchange to have rules and the Take-Over Panel to have rules which are not in the Companies Act?



6.55 p.m.


Perhaps the noble Lord takes the view, which is not unreasonable, that one collective answer is perhaps better than a number of detailed answers to each individual speech. I listened carefully to what he said earlier, and I am sorry to say we are making no progress at all. The noble Lord really does not seek to answer the argument. Where we say two things are different he says they are the same. If he keeps on saying that they are the same then at the Report stage we will put in everything that we propose on the grounds that they are the same as the Government are proposing, and there can be no argument. But of course the noble Lord knows as well as I do that they are very different. What he says is the likely course of events is, with the greatest possible respect. no more important than what I say. Both statements are completely irrelevant when we are considering what is to go into a Bill. The difference arises because, as one of my noble friends pointed out very clearly, there were six or eight references to " specify " alone.

If the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn. will be good enough to look at paragraph 648 of the report of the Royal Commission he will see that it is demonstrated that the current requirements as to the rules of a registered trade union are that they should contain provisions in respect of certain matters, which are listed. In the summary the Commission covers it even more shortly, although a summary is not perhaps completely reliable. I am reading from paragraph 1071. The revised requirements suggested relate to admissions, discipline, disputes between a union and a member, elections and shop stewards ". If the Bill contained a clause saying that this is what these rules ought to cover I do not suppose there would be a great deal of difficulty about it, but what the noble Lord is refusing to recognise is that he is introducing a Schedule of some 25 paragraphs, each one of which lays down in detail, to which he himself has referred, the rules which the organisation must make. and most of which refer to it in totally unnecessary and offensive detail. He is not getting the cooperation of the unions, which I should have thought he would want to seek, in pushing detailed rules and rule-making arrangements down their throats.

He could justify it if he were to say, as he did nearly say on the earlier stage—and I will quote what he actually said at column 601 on May 20. What the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn then said was: Our view is that the trade unions are bodies with immense responsibility; they have risen from small beginnings to immense power, and power carries with it responsibility. Power can be abused, and it is the responsibility of the community, to the individual, to ensure that the power is not abused. That is absolutely right. If the noble Lord's argument is that the rules are inadequate to prevent power being abused and powerful unions are guilty of abuse, so therefore the rules should be much more detailed and should be specified in 25 paragraphs and there should be a Registrar with powers and with an Industrial Court to back him up—if that is what he is saying, then I am bound to ask on what evidence is he saying there is abuse, which is the sole link in his argument, and where is the abuse? Donovan says it does not exist. If the Government say that it does, let them show us where it exists; let them tell us which union is involved, and in what way it has abused its power so that it can no longer be relied upon to make its own rules and to run its own affairs in a responsible way, but has to have rules drawn up for it in full detail, 20 paragraphs long.

That is what I am putting to the noble Lord. If he wants me to read out again that Donovan says there is no abuse, or none that needs to be taken into account, I will do so—it is somewhere in the Report. But Donovan makes it quite clear that, having inquired among 500 individual trade unionists to see whether there was any abuse, the answer came back that out of 500 there were four disgruntled members, two of whom complained—and I am relying on my

memory here—that there had not been enough people in the branch when a decision was taken. That we can all sympathise with, but that is a different issue. Two of the others had a real complaint, out of 500. If you ask me whether there are other places where power is abused to the extent of two out of 500, I would say " yes ". The House of Commons, in a recent example, is one such, and I would say that what the Government are doing here to-day and every day with this Bill, ignoring our arguments, not listening, not taking any steps to meet us at all—that is another way in which power is being abused. Those are two good examples which occur to me immediately.

All I am saying is that the unions are made up of power-seeking men and women: that is life. But there is no justification or evidence for degrading the unions into bodies of people which must have rules made for them and thrust down their throats whether they like them or not. And that is the essence of our case. The Government can meet us by saying for example: " We will scrap the Schedule and we will put in one short paragraph copied directly out of Donovan ". That would be a great step forward, and that would help enormously. Of course it would not specify in detail what each little rule would be. It would not say how much would have to be charged for a book of rules, for example, and it would not say how the problem of inflation under the present Government would be dealt with, because the price to-day would not be the price that would be effective in three months' time. Bearing in mind also that it takes most unions three years to alter their rules, I do not know how one would cope with that. It is another ridiculous example of excessive interference with the liberty of responsible people that we wholly object to; and we are going to vote on it.

7.5 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 263K) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 44; Not-Contents, 97.

Champion, L. Jacques, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Collison, L. Kennet, L. Rusholme, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Leatherland, L. Sainsbury, L.
Diamond, L. Lee of Asheridge, Bs. St. Davids, V.
Energlyn, L. Lindgren, L. Shackleton, L.
Evans of Hungershall, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. [Teller] Shinwell, L.
Gaitskell, Bs. Slater, L.
Gardiner, L. Longford, E. Strabolgi, L.
Garnswoi thy, L. Maelor, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Henderson, L. Milners of Leeds, L. Tayside, L.
Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.] Plummer, Bs. Wells-Pestell, L.
Hughes, L. Popplewell, L. Willis, L.
Aberdare, L. Dundee, E. Mountevans, L.
Ailwyn, L. Eccles, V. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Balerno, L. Effingham, E. Northchurch, Bs.
Balfour, E. Ferrers, E. [Teller.] Nugent of Guildford, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Fortescue, E. Oakshott, L.
Barnby, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Penrhyn, L.
Beauciiamp, E. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Powis, E.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Gowrie, E. Rankeillour, L.
Belstead, L. Gray, L. Reay, L.
Boston, L. Greenway, L. Rockley, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Grenfell, L. Rothermere, V.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Grimston of Westbury, L. Rothes, E.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Hailes, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Burton, L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) St. Helens, L.
Chandos, V. St. Just, L.
Clinton, L. Hankey, L. Sandford, L.
Clwyd, L. Hanworth, V. Selkirk, E.
Coleridge, L. Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Somers, L.
Colyton, L. Hawke, L. Stamp, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Strang, L.
Cornwallis, L. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal) Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Cottesloe, L. Jessel, L. Sudeley, L.
Courtown, E. Kemsley, V. Suffield, L.
Cowley, E. Killearn, L. Teviot, L.
Craigavon, V. Kilmarnock, L. Teynham, L.
Crathorne, L. Latymer, L. Thorneycroft, L.
Crawshaw, L. Lauderdale, E. Tweedsmuir, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Daventry, V. Lyell, L. Vivian, L.
Den ham, L. MacAndrew, L. Wade, L.
Derwent, L. McFadzean, L. Windlesham, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Malmesbury, E. Wolverton, L.
Dudley, E. Milverton, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.


I think it would be for the convenience of noble Lords if we adjourned now for the Scottish busim,ss. I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and on Question. Motion agreed to.