§ Captain PLUGGE
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the fact that 10 years have now elapsed since the passage of the Trade Disputes Act, and that, accordingly, few of the remaining established men of His Majesty's dockyards are members of trade unions, he will consider a complete revision of the existing negotiating machinery between employés and employers as far as these yards are concerned, in order to abolish the present anomaly that whereas a large number of men in the yards are not members of trade unions the only official negotiating machinery is between the Admiralty and a trade union body?
As I informed the hon. and gallant Member on the 9th April last, the Board of Admiralty is not in a position to take any action inconsistent with the agreement between His Majesty's Government and the trade unions for the application of the Whitley Report to Government industrial establishments. Under the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act of 1927 it is still legal for established workmen to belong to trade unions under certain conditions and for all hired workmen (who are in a great majority) to do so.
As I stated in my reply of the 4th March to the hon. and gallant Member, there is no divergence of interests between established men who belong to trade unions and those who do not. There seems to be, therefore, no need for a separate organisation for this particular minority. It is, however, open to any body of workpeople, who are not represented on the Whitley Councils, to make representations to the Board of Admiralty on their conditions of employment, either through their officers or through one or other of the associations approved under the Act of 1927, and in fact full advantage is taken of these facilities.