HC Deb 15 May 1918 vol 106 cc383-4W

asked the Minister of Labour what is the position of clerks and others similarly employed under the interim Report issued by Mr. Whitley's Committee on Reconstruction; will it be necessary for them to form trades unions in order to obtain representation on the industrial councils proposed to be set up; and can they, if recognised as trades organisations under the Committee scheme, still maintain their positions as friendly societies, or will associations of such professional workers be put on the same basis as trades unions?


The proposals of the first Whitley Report contemplate the establishment of joint industrial councils, consisting exclusively of representatives of organisations of workpeople on the one hand and of employers on the other. If in any industry clerks or other similar workers constitute a considerable element, it will be open to them through their organisations to ask for representation upon any council which may be formed in the industry. The constitution of, and the allocation of, representation upon an industrial council are matters primarily for the existing organisations in the industry to determine by agreement amongst themselves, and the Ministry of Labour would not necessarily be approached by any council until it had reached the stage of seeking recognition by the Government. The Ministry would, of course, then require to be satisfied that every important organised section of the industry was represented on the council. Participation by an organisation of clerks, or any other class of employés in the formation of an industrial council, would not affect the position of the organisation as a friendly society or in any other way necessarily alter its status or work.