HC Deb 19 April 1951 vol 486 c187W
88. Mr. Hollis

asked the Minister of Education whether he has received the assurances for which he asked from the Durham County Council with regard to their policy concerning the union membership of teachers.

Mr. Tomlinson

Not yet. The authority have asked me to see their representatives, and I give below a copy of my reply:

"18th April, 1951


I am directed by the Minister of Education to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th April and to state that he has noted the terms of the resolution passed by the County Council's Emergency Committee.

In the resolution regret is expressed that the Minister issued the direction contained in his letter without further consultation. The Minister cannot agree that he would have been justified in delaying the issue of directions in order to avert the threat to the education service which had been precipitated by the Authority's action, despite the warnings they had previously been given of the probable consequences of their action. The Minister had specifically warned the Authority in his letter of 22nd November, 1950, and again on 13th December, 1950, when, with the Minister of Health he saw their representatives, that if they persisted in their policy of enforcing union membership a situation might arise in which he would be obliged to take action against them under Section 68.

Since the Authority have not given the Minister the assurance for which he asked in his letter of 3rd April, I am to remind them that the effect of the direction which the Minister has given them is that it is now their statutory duty to refrain from taking any steps to ascertain whether applicants for teaching posts at their disposal are, or intend to become, members of a trade union or professional organisation.

Provided it is the Authority's intention to comply with the direction he has given them, the Minister will be prepared to see their representatives.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) R. N. Heaton."