§ Major N. Macpherson
asked the Undersecretary of State for Air on what grounds his Ministry has refused to recognise the trade union formed in 1943 under the name of the Aeronautical Engineers Association for the control of labour conditions in the aircraft maintenance industry; and whether he will now accord official recognition to that organisation.
§ Mr. Strachey
I am sorry that we have taken some time to answer this Question. The subject of employees' representation on the Whitley machinery, under which discussions and negotiations take place on rates of wages and conditions of service for workpeople employed by the Air Ministry, is not a matter in which the Air Ministry can interfere, but is one for the trade unions which are party to the Whitley machinery to determine. The trade unions which have been party to the Whitley machinery under the Air Ministry from its inception and which still represent the great majority of industrial employees throughout Air Ministry establishments, have hitherto been unable to agree to representation being afforded to the Aeronautical Engineers Association which is not affiliated to the T.U.C.
In these circumstances it is not practicable for the Air Ministry to recognise this association for Whitley purposes without prejudicing the whole of the Whitley machinery, which is, in its nature, voluntary in character. It should be stressed that the Whitley system does not interfere with the rights of employees who may not be represented on it to approach the head of their establishment or make representation in writing.