HL Deb 16 June 1999 vol 602 cc348-61

("—(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations for the purpose of prohibiting, in relation to any employment matter, discrimination by an employer against another person on grounds specified in the regulations.

(2) In subsection (1) "employment matter" includes—

  1. (a) the offer or refusal of employment;
  2. (b) the termination of employment;
  3. (c) terms and conditions of employment;
  4. (d) the provision of training or skills development opportunities;
  5. (e) promotion and career progression.

(3) Regulations under subsection (1) may—

  1. (a) specify the types of action, or failure to take action, which are to be taken to constitute discrimination for the purpose of this section;
  2. (b) confer jurisdiction (including exclusive jurisdiction) on employment tribunals and on the Employment Appeal Tribunal in relation to cases brought under this section;
  3. (c) provide for penalties to be imposed or, as the case may he, compensation to be awarded in respect of offences committed under paragraph (a) above.

(4) No regulations shall be made under this section unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.")

The noble Lord said: This is the third and final amendment we are proposing from these Benches, very much along the lines of the other two amendments. I do not want to delay the Committee. I make one very simple point on the case as to why we believe legislative power should be taken by the Government at this stage. I have set out the two examples of age discrimination and sexual orientation.

I say in reply to the Government's likely response that I would anticipate that were legislation in any of these areas to be brought before the Committee for approval as primary legislation, there would be one short clause to say that the Government should take power to legislate in the following areas in accordance with Schedule 1. Schedule 1 would set out a resolution of the kind I am suggesting here. I doubt whether those who argue that primary legislation would need to be brought back to the House would actually get any primary legislation different from the clause I am suggesting here. On that basis, I beg to move the amendment.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

I shall be brief. The amendment urges the Government to take a power to prohibit discrimination on the basis of whatever grounds the Secretary of State may specify in regulations. It is puzzling to have such a broad and unfocused power proposed, particularly when the Government have been criticised for taking much more specific powers where we were clear about what they would be used for.

As noble Lords will know, discrimination in employment—this is to repeat a point—is largely a matter for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. However, the DTI has responsibility for some aspects; for example, discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership or non-membership. If noble Lords have in mind further specific situations where there is clear evidence that individuals are suffering unjustified discrimination in employment, the Government of course would he happy to consider them. We would not wish to have such sweeping powers as are proposed in the amendment.

If there are specific problems of discrimination, for example, on grounds of age, sexual orientation or protection for whistle-blowers, we should debate them, discuss the policy options and then decide whether to act and, if so, how. Legislation is not the only option. as we have shown on age discrimination, but it may he appropriate, as on whistle-blowers. However, it would be wrong to take powers without having the slightest idea about how they might be used. I do not think that would be a good precedent; I hope therefore that the amendment will be withdrawn.

Lord Monson

Before the noble Lord sits down, I wonder whether I might try to help solve the puzzlement which he refers to. It has been established statistically that good-looking people, be they male or female, have much better employment prospects and have much higher lifetime salaries than those who are physically less favoured. This is a fact, established, I understand, both in the United States and in this country. I suspect that that is probably one of the discriminatory aspects which the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, had in mind.

Lord Razzall

That is undoubtedly the case, as everybody looking around this Chamber would testify. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Schedule 5 [Unfair Dismissal of Striking Workers]:

[Amendment No. 274 not moved.]

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton moved Amendment No. 275:

Page 73, line 40, at end insert— ("() It shall be for the employer to prove that the dismissal is not unfair by virtue of the reasons set out in subsection (4), (5) or (6).").

The noble Lord said: There are various ways of protecting workers against dismissal. There is of course no more serious fate that can overcome someone than to be improperly dismissed. Two of those ways may be said to be the following. The first concerns a law which permits the employer to dismiss an employee by reason of the employee taking industrial action. The Committee will remember that we had some discussion about the nature of different forms of industrial action on an earlier amendment. I mentioned dismissal where the worker is taking part in industrial action as being a further area which needed definition and consideration.

In the area of dismissal for industrial action a legal system may look at it by saying that the employer may dismiss an employee by reason of the activity of the employee, either for industrial action generally or in some cases for out-and-out strike action, or a mixture of these. That I would call the subjective procedure. Alternatively, there is the objective procedure where an employee may be dismissed at the time of taking industrial action. Curiously enough, our system, looked at as a whole, has permitted the employer to dismiss, or rather to find that the industrial tribunal, or the employment tribunal as I must now call it, has no jurisdiction in the matter if the employee is dismissed at the time of the industrial action, where he is one of a minority, or not the whole number, with his colleagues, in taking the action.

There is a case for an objective test; that is to say, where the employee is taking industrial action at the time the employer is found to commit a wrong or, in our system, to make an unfair dismissal. I would point out that despite the increase in the limits of the compensation that can be claimed, this is not a very strong remedy. The remedy, other than a very large amount of compensation, does not usually compare with the loss of the job where the unfair dismissal has occurred.

Many commentators have argued that the subjective test produces great difficulty for the employee. This is not a case which can be compared with dismissal for maternity or pregnancy reasons, and so on. I make no attempt at trying to compare those dismissal grounds. But where a dismissal has taken place and the test is whether or not the employer can be shown to have dismissed an employee by reason of participation in industrial action, the employee is in very great difficulty. The cases which illustrate the situation very clearly—for once, I shall not cite them to your Lordships—are those in which it is alleged that the employer has dismissed the employee by reason of participation in trade union matters. That would be much improved by this Bill.

However, in the cases that have occurred, until now it has been shown to be difficult for the employee to know what the employer's reason is. Therefore the objective test, whether or not the employer has dismissed the employee during the course of industrial action, in participation of which the complainant stands, is one which is simpler. In effect it puts a very heavy burden on the employer. Nevertheless it can be found in a number of western European systems.

Weighing the matter in the way I have described, my noble friends and I felt that it would be absurd to seek to shift from the subjective system to the objective system. Goodness knows what agreements and deals that would cause to be upset. Also, it would hardly be a sensible amendment to the Bill because the Bill is based upon the subjective system: where the employer dismisses by reason of the industrial action. I shall not read to the Committee the remainder of the section. That is the nub of the matter. We did not think it right to move amendments to change that.

However, we believe that we should find a reasonable balance between the two systems. I assert that industrial action is a right of workers provided they go through the necessary procedures. But, given that, a half-way balance should be found. That half-way balance would be to put the burden of proof on the employer that the dismissal was not unfair in terms of sub-paragraphs (4), (5) and (6). Sub-paragraph (4) applies to the first eight weeks. It would not be that onerous a proof. But if he wishes to prove that the dismissal was not by virtue of industrial action taken by the employee, he can prove that. The employer will have all the facts within his knowledge.

I do not whether I am attracting the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon. I do not aim my argument at her. She will have considered whether she supports the amendment. As usual, I aim my rather slender argument at my noble friends on the Front Bench. What is the argument for not putting the burden of proof on the employer? It is a half-way house system. If the employer is clear that he has not dismissed by reason of industrial action, why will he not give evidence to show that? That is easy for him; it is not difficult. It is difficult for the employee who is dismissed to do so.

The strength of my argument to my noble friends on the Front Bench is that the burden of proving the reason for his action is put upon he who should prove the matter. If the employer cannot do that, it is clear that the employee should be able to convince the employment tribunal of the first part of his case.

I hope that my noble friends on the Front Bench—I say this in comradely friendship—will not simply read me a transcript which was organised before my argument was put. I see my noble friend looks confident that his transcript will meet the arguments I have put forward. There is a case here. The provision will stop injustice to employees who have been dismissed during the course of industrial action, or afterwards by victimisation. The employer will be guilty of unfair dismissal only when he cannot show clearly on the burden of proof that that was not the reason for his action. I beg to move.

7.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My noble friend has given me a difficult task. He has told me that I cannot read my speaking notes. However, he has helped by saying that his arguments are slender. I shall have to steer a path between those as best I can.

This is the first amendment to be debated on Schedule 5. I think that it is necessary to remind the Committee that the proposed amendment refers to dismissal after the period of eight weeks into industrial action. The Bill provides that dismissal within the first eight weeks of industrial action is automatically unfair dismissal. Therefore we must consider the situation after eight weeks in that light.

Our proposals give employees the right to claim unfair dismissal if they are dismissed after the first eight weeks of industrial action and the employer has failed to take reasonable procedural steps to resolve the dispute.

As with most unfair dismissal claims the tribunal will be asked to determine whether in the circumstances the employer acted reasonably. In his amendment my noble friend seeks to place the burden of proof on employers to show that the dismissal of strikers is fair if taking place after the first eight weeks. It will be the responsibility of the tribunal to make the finding having heard all the evidence and having considered all the circumstances. The amendment seeks to place the burden of proof on the employer. But—I believe that this is the crux of the matter for my noble friend—the way in which the Bill has been drafted means that the new Section 238A will be construed as one with Part X of the Employment Rights Act, including Section 98 which places the burden on the employer to show the reason for dismissal and that the reason was a permissible one. It will be for the tribunal to determine whether that reason was the true one and whether his action was reasonable. It will also be for the tribunal to decide whether the employer took all reasonable steps. The Government consider it unnecessary and inappropriate to make special provision for these purposes.

In assessing whether employers have taken sufficient action to resolve a dispute, the tribunal will be asked to consider whether respect was shown for dispute procedures, whether reasonable steps were followed to reopen negotiations after the action began, and whether reasonable steps had been taken to involve ACAS or other third parties in helping to resolve the dispute through conciliation or mediation. The tribunals will be able to draw on direct hard evidence of the behaviour of the parties before reaching a decision. There should be relatively little difficulty for the tribunal to establish what steps have or have not taken place. What is more, the legislation has been drafted to ensure that the onus is placed on the behaviour of both parties. I am sure that noble Lords on both sides of the Committee will agree that that is the right approach. If dismissals are to be avoided, and clearly they should be the last resort, both sides must be encouraged to find a settlement. The legislation specifically states that tribunals must equally take into particular account whether the union has made or accepted overtures to resolve the dispute.

In view of the way in which this legislation is read in with the Employment Rights Act, I hope that my noble friend will not think it appropriate to press his amendment.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton

My noble friend knows well that it is not our intention to press any of the amendments that we move today. On the other hand, I was a little unhappy about the nature of his argument—I shall not call it slender. Of course I agree that new Section 238A forms part of Part X of the Employment Rights Act. It is true that the employment tribunals must look for the true reason of the dismissal. There will be conciliation, I agree. There will be a situation where legal dismissal is the last resort. Those points which he made, with respect, do not go to my amendment.

However, when my noble friend says that the employment tribunals will have little difficulty in deciding the matter, that raises the crucial issue. Most people who have been to a tribunal or any other court know that the case is often won or lost, first, according to where the burden of proof lies in fact and in law; and, secondly, how easy it will be to obtain facts for the complainant before the tribunal or court so that it can make its decision on the full argument.

There is no full discovery procedure and even if there were, I would not change my argument. It rests on a simple point which my noble friend, with great respect, did not meet. It is very different when a complainant asks a tribunal for a remedy against a defendant whose reason you have to prove. Let us take my noble friend as the complainant who has to prove to the tribunal that my noble friend on his right, who was his employer, had got rid of him by reason of any situation you like. Certainly, where he got rid of him by reason of industrial action my noble friend will not know where to turn, although he will be quite certain that he was pushed. He will talk to his colleagues in the shop who will know that he was pushed out. If he is a militant, it is highly likely that he will be pushed out.

How will the complainant prove that? It is rare for the subjective test to be easily proved in a case where the defendant does not have to go to the burden of proof. I appreciate that it is difficult for my noble friend to take all these matters away and come back on Report when we shall hear many new things, but I ask him to look at this again. It goes to the matter of justice by complainants who are forced to prove someone else's reason.

When it is a serious matter, such as the loss of a job, surely it should be the other way around. The employer can say that he was dismissed because he was slow at the work and he can show that. He may say, "He was no good at this, that and the other". That is the end of the case under my amendment, as under any other. But where it is a question of the complainant needing to show that he was dismissed by reason of the industrial action, surely we should shift the normal burden. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Collective agreements: detriment and dismissal]:

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 276:

Page 8, line 20, at end insert— ("(4) The payment of higher wages or higher rates of pay or overtime or the payment of any signing on or other bonuses or the provision of other benefits having a monetary value to other workers employed by the same employer shall not constitute a detriment to any worker not receiving the same or similar payments or benefits within the meaning of subsection (1)(a) of this section so long as—

  1. (a) there is no inhibition in the contract of employment of the worker receiving the same from being the member of any trade union, and
  2. (b) the said payments of higher wages or rates of pay or overtime or bonuses or the provision of other benefits are in accordance with the terms of a contract of employment and reasonably relate to services provided by the worker under that contract,
and paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to this Act and sections 146 and 148(3) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 shall be construed accordingly.")

The noble Baroness said: This amendment is designed to implement statements made by the Government in paragraph 4.20 of their White Paper, Fairness at Work, reinforced by Annex 1, paragraph 8, of the same White Paper, both of which I should like to quote. In paragraph 4.20, the Government state: As under existing law, individual employees will continue to have the right, should they wish, to agree terms with their employer.".

That seems plain enough. But just to make it clearer, the Government state in Annex 1: The terms of agreements resulting from collective bargaining are normally incorporated into individual employees' contracts either explicitly or by custom and practice and thus set the minimum terms and conditions for all employees in the bargaining unit".

The minimum terms, my Lords.

The annex goes on: Under the existing law an employee and an employer can agree different terms if they wish. Since the current law works well, the Government sees no reason to change it".

That is equally plain, but changing the law is precisely what Clause 15 is intended to do, as the Government admit in paragraphs 110 and 111 of the Explanatory Notes.

The issue in this clause arises from the landmark 1995 decision by noble and learned Members of your Lordships' House in the cases of Associated Newspapers Limited v. Wilson and Associated British Ports v. Palmer and Others. A decision of the Court of Appeal was overruled by their Lordships, who held that not paying the same wages to an employee who declined to sign an individual contract was not action against those who did. In other words, not doing something was not action.

Their Lordships ruled that not doing something was an omission which was not prohibited by the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, as amended. In paragraphs 4.24 and 4.25 of the White Paper, contradicting what they had said only four paragraphs previously about the rights of employers and employees to agree their own terms, and in contradiction of the statement in Annex 1 which I have quoted, the Government stated: The Government therefore propose to make it unlawful to discriminate by omission on the grounds of trade union membership, non-membership or activities.".

The White Paper, at paragraph 4.25, makes it clear that the intention would be to overrule or reverse the law as determined by this House and the two cases to which I have referred. Paragraphs 110 and 112 of the Explanatory Notes make it equally clear that that is the intention. Clause 15(1) as drafted does not spell out in precise words what the Government are getting at. And the Secretary of State is seeking powers in subsection (2)(a) to make regulations in what the Bill refers to as "specified classes of cases" without openly saying what the Government currently have in mind.

During the Second Reading in your Lordships' House on 10th May, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, when winding up for the Government, said that, employers and employees will remain free as they are now, and I emphasise the words "free as they are now", to conclude individual contracts if they wish to, even where collective bargaining arrangements exist. We have no intention of changing that and the Bill does not do so.".—[Official Report, 10/5/99; col. 1045.]

That is exactly what the Bill does do. As the law currently stands, following the two rulings in the Associated Newspapers and Associated British Ports cases, an employer is permitted to give an inducement to an employee not to sign a collective agreement because that is not a positive detriment against an employee who will not enter into a personal contract.

As the Bill stands, an employee who does not receive the inducement because he does not sign a personal contract could now claim that he has suffered a detriment. That is despite the fact that the employee who does not accept the collective agreement will also be offering something in return, apart from not signing the collective agreement. He might be willing to work more flexible hours, to have more flexible working arrangements, more flexibility in multi-tasking or whatever. The Government are now proposing that the signatories to the collective agreement shall receive the extra benefits in return for nothing.

In Committee in the other place, the Minister for Small Firms, Trade and Industry, admitted talking about an employee who had refused to sign a personal contract, stating: The employee may … think that it is unreasonable of the employer to … give the employee a pay rise, but that is the employer's right.".

We agree with that. An employer and an employee should always be free to make their own bargain. Where there is a collective agreement affecting the firm, as the Government state in the White Paper, those should be the minimum terms. We believe that an employer should be fully entitled to pay more to employees who do what an employer considers to be more valuable to him.

The Minister in the other place agreed that the Government would look at the clause again. As they have not done so, we have tabled the amendment to clarify the point beyond any possible ambiguity. I invite Members of the Committee to look at my carefully drafted amendment. It relates only to a benefit in the form of extra money—and just money. It makes clear that a different rate of pay between those who sign an individual contract as distinct from a collective one, and those who decline to sign such a personal contract, is not to be treated as a detriment.

There are two important conditions. The first is that the individual contract must not inhibit the worker from nevertheless joining the union, and, secondly, that the additional payments and benefits shall be a contractual right of the employee and not merely something at the discretion of the employer. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Bridge of Harwich, pointed out in the lead judgment in two cases that a union is able to offer its members what he described as, other and important valuable services", apart from the collective negotiating facilities over their terms and conditions of employment. Indeed, they can and do. In return for a small weekly subscription, some unions offer cheaper car, holiday and medical insurance, cheaper mortgages, representations in disputes with their employer and discounts on a whole range of goods and services.

This amendment does not prevent the employee from enjoying those and any other benefits as a member of any union which he chooses. But the point is that in a Bill which the Secretary of State described in the other place at col. 130 on 9th February 1999 as containing measures for a partnership based on rights matched by responsibilities, it must be right that if unions are entitled to offer workers all sorts of inducements to join a union, then an employer should be entitled to offer employees an inducement to accept different terms of employment from that negotiated in the collective agreement.

That is especially so when those different terms will be such as to enable the employer to receive greater benefits from the efforts of the worker. As I said, those may be in the form of multi-skilling, flexibility over duties, hours of work and so on. What the amendment does not do, apart from not preventing an employee from being a member of the union, is that it does not permit an employer to refuse to promote the dissenting worker on those grounds; it does not permit an employer to give the dissenting employee all the worst tasks or worst places of work in the premises. It does not permit the employer to harass or wrongly dismiss the dissenting worker. It does not permit the employer to take any other sanctions against the dissenting worker. All those wrongful things, and any others that he can think of, can be legislated against by the Secretary of State under paragraph 2. It does not permit the employer to give and withhold any extra contractual benefits capriciously or arbitrarily. There is to be no discretion. There can be no question of the worker being forced to sign an individual contract, which is what the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, suggested might happen. He is not forced to take the inducement of extra money in his pocket. The worker who enters into an individual contract is to receive that as part of his contractual rights.

The amendment merely entitled the employer to continue to pay the dissenting worker the wages that the union had already negotiated as being fair and reasonable for the job. The clause as drawn is intended to do the opposite of what the Government paid lip service to in part of the White Paper and in the ministerial speeches to both Houses, which I have quoted; namely, the freedom of employer and employee to negotiate between themselves whatever terms they think fit.

It has another sinister effect. By compelling an employee to accept a collective bargain against his will and in that way increase the power of the union over him, the Government are attempting to reintroduce the closed shop by the back door. I repeat that this would reintroduce the closed shop by the back door. That is something which the Labour Party promised it would not do. This amendment simply ensures that workers enjoy one of the most fundamental of employment rights; namely, to negotiate their own individual pay if they can strike a better bargain with their employer, possibly by being more flexible than an entrenched egalitarian position of a union. I beg to move.

7.30 p.m.

Lord Crickhowell

My name is to the amendment. I do riot intend to repeat what I said on Second Reading or the interest that I declared then. I thought I had then received an encouraging response from the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and I hope that I shall hear an encouraging response to the amendment.

The simple point I want to make is that we are talking about the good industrial relations which have existed in the ports industry over the past eight or nine years, in marked contrast to the shambles which existed before then. Those relations are good and are a transformation from the past. I hope that by their response to the amendment, the Government will ensure that those good industrial relations can continue.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I sincerely congratulate the noble Baroness both on the care which she has clearly taken in drafting the amendment and on the evident passion with which she moved it.

I think that I can assure her that we can achieve substantially the objectives which she wishes to achieve. As my noble friend Lord Simon explained in his letter of 10th May, in response to the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation, the Government hoped to replace the power in Clause 15 with a substantive provision and we hoped to bring forward an amendment in Committee. The noble Baroness referred to that in her speech. I am sorry that we have not been able to do so, but I am confident that we shall be able to produce an amendment on Report which will, in a sense, go further than that of the noble Baroness because, instead of adding to the regulatory power, which is what her amendment does, it will produce a substantive content in Clause 15 instead of a purely regulatory power.

I assure the noble Baroness that our substantive proposal will address the point that she is getting at with this amendment. I should like to be clear on this point. I can give her more information about what our amendment will provide than we have been able to give in the past when we have given only indications. Workers should be protected against detriment or dismissal for refusing to give up the terms of the collective agreement which applied to them. That has not changed. But as I made clear on Second Reading, the existing law allows employers and employees to conclude contracts on terms which differ from collective agreements. I do not have the attention of the noble Baroness.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

The Minister should know and be certain that I am listening to every word that he says.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

In the White Paper, we promised that that would continue. Obviously, in order to do so, we must be clear that the fact that one worker benefits from better terms under an individual contract does not constitute detriment for those who remain covered by the collective agreement. However, it will not be permissible for employers to offer better terms on condition that workers leave or do not join a trade union. That would be contrary not only to this Government's intention but contrary also to Section 146 of the 1992 Act.

The noble Baroness referred to the Wilson and Palmer case. There is the possibility of some misunderstanding in that regard. The majority of the Judicial Committee said that offering different terms did not constitute discrimination on grounds of TU membership in the cases of Wilson and Palmer. The employer's intention was to change bargaining arrangements and not to deter trade union membership. The noble Baroness must not confuse those two issues. We are ensuring that an omission intended to deter trade union membership will be unlawful, but we shall maintain the right to change bargaining arrangements where there is no intention to prevent or deter union membership.

I repeat our apologies that we have not been able to produce the substantive amendment which we wished to introduce in Committee. I wish to respond also to the noble Baroness's claim that we are introducing the closed shop by the back door. That simply is not the case. The closed shop is about compelling people to be union members. Nothing in this Bill affects the right of people to choose whether or not to join a union. Many non-members of unions are covered by collective agreements now. Equally, many trade unionists currently work in places where there is no collective bargaining. I think it could be said that most members of the Government are in that position. No doubt that will continue to be the case. Recognition has nothing to do with the closed shop.

Despite those two misunderstandings between us, I hope that with the assurances and details I have given about the substantive amendment which we propose to introduce on Report, the noble Baroness will realise that we intend to introduce something which is along the lines of what the noble Baroness wants, but it will be more effective by being on the face of the Bill rather than by being a constraint in regulations. On that basis, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord McCarthy

Before the noble Lord sits down, I wonder whether he realises how much he is worrying some of us? The amendment moved by the noble Baroness would reinforce all the discriminatory aspects of the Ullswater amendment. It would make it even simpler for employers not to make threats but to offer bribes, the object of which is to induce people to leave the union and to fragment recognition and collective bargaining. That was the object of the Ullswater amendment and it is the object of this amendment. If the Government say at this point that they want to go even further, I am very worried.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I make it clear that I have not announced a change of policy; I have spelt out in more detail what has already been said by Michael Wills in another place and what I said at an earlier stage of the Bill. We have always said that there is a role for individual contracts but that the use of individual contracts or discriminatory provisions in contracts either to discourage trade union membership or to make trade union membership impossible was not acceptable. There is no change in policy here. We are spelling out in a little detail, but not of course the full detail, the way in which we propose to fulfil the undertakings we made at earlier stages of the Bill.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

I repeat that I believe this to be a closed shop through the back door, simply because all that is left for employers and employees to negotiate, apart from union rights, is the matter of extra pay, flexible hours and so on. If that is taken away, there is no purpose at all. There would be no reason why anybody should negotiate with an employer because there would be nothing to achieve.

I listened carefully to what the Minister said. I accept that the Government would have come back with something but have not been able to do so. Knowing how passionately I felt about the matter, I believe they should have dealt with it quicker. However, bearing in mind the comments of the noble Lord, Lord McCarthy, I believe that it may not come back in a way that would be suitable for us. I feel I must test the opinion of the House. It is always open to the Government, if they feel they can bring back something better, to deal with it in that way.

7.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 276) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 98; Not-Contents, 78.

Division No. 1
Aldington, L. Effingham, E.
Anelay of St. Johns, B. Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Annaly, L. Elton, L.
Arran, E Ferrers, E.
Astor, V. Fookes. B.
Astor of Hever, L. Gardner of Parkes, B.
Attlee, E. Garel-Jones, L.
Bathurst, E. Geddes, L.
Berners, B. Glenarthur, L.
Biffen, L. Glentoran, L.
Blaker, L. Harding of Petherton, L.
Blatch, B. Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Hayhoe, L.
Bridgeman, V. Henley, h. [Teller]
Burnham, J. [Teller.] Higgins, L.
Byford, B. Hogg, B.
Cadman, L. HolmPatrick, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Home, E.
Carnock, L. Howe, E.
Clark of Kempston, L. Howell of Guildford, L.
Coleraine, L. Kimball, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. Kingsland, L.
Courtown, E. Lauderdale, E.
Cranborne, V. Leigh, L.
Crickhowell, L. Liverpool, E.
Cross, V. Luke, L.
Dartmouth, E. Lyell, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Denham, L. Mancroft, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V
Mayhew of Twysden, L. Roberts of Conwy, L.
Mersey, V. Rotherwick, L.
Miller of Hendon, B. Rowallan, L.
Monro of Langholm, L. Ryder of Wensum, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L. St John of Fawsley, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L. Saltoun of Abemethy, Ly
Montgomery of Alamein, V. Seccombe, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Sharples, B.
Munster, E. Shrewsbury, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Stewartby, L.
Naseby, L. Strathclyde. L.
Northbrook, L. Tebbit, L.
Northesk, E. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Norton of Louth, L. Torrington, V.
Nunburnholme, L. Tugendhat, L.
O'Cathain, B. Westbury, L.
Onslow of Woking, L. Wise, L.
Rawlings, B. Wynford, L
Renton, L. Young, B.
Acton, L. Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Ahmed, L. Hughes of Woodside, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Alli, L. Islwyn, L.
Amos, B. Janner of Braunstone, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Kennet, L.
Bach, L. Lockwood, B.
Barnett, L. Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. McCarthy, L.
Blease, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Bragg, L. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Brookman, L. McNair, L.
Burlison, L. Mar and Kellie, E.
Carlisle, E. Meston, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.] Milner of Leeds, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. Mishcon, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Monkswell, L.
Crawley, B. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Davies of Coity. L. Pitkeathley, B.
Davies of Oldham, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Desai, L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Dholakia, L. Razzall, L.
Dixon, L. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Dormand of Easington, L. Rogers of Riverside, L.
Dubs, L. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Evans of Watford, L. Sewel, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B Shore of Stepney, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L. Simon, V.
Goodhart, L. Simon of Highbury, L.
Goudie, B. Strabolgi, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Grenfell, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Hacking, L. Thurso, V.
Hampton, L. Tordoff, L.
Hardy of Wath, L. Walpole, L
Harris of Greenwich, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Harris of Haringey, L. Whitty, L.
Haskel, L. Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale

My Lords, I beg to move that the House be now resumed. In moving this Motion I suggest that the Committee stage on this Bill be resumed not before 8.50 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.