§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. John Smith (Cities of London and Westminster)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I submit that the Bill is out of order for four reasons, each of which is by itself conclusive. As the House is aware, this Measure has had a chequered career so far. It has been introduced more than once as a public Bill, which is what it should be, but without success. Next it was introduced as a Private Bill and then as a Scottish Provisional Order. But it was then ruled, under the 1936 Act, thatit raises questions of public policy of such novelty and importance …1671 that it could not proceed as a Scottish Provisional Order. Now Erskine May, on page 873, states:… there are four principles which have been followed in determining that a Private Bill should not be allowed to proceed as such, but should be introduced as a Public Bill. These are as follows:(1)"—and this is the first and presumably therefore the most important reason given by Erskine May—That public policy is affected.It has already been ruled by the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means here that this Bill… raises questions of public policy of … novelty and importance …".That has already been ruled and is no longer, therefore, a matter of opinion. I therefore submit that the Bill cannot proceed.
Secondly, Erskine May goes on to give another reason for not allowing a Private Bill to proceed, namely, that:… though partly of a private nature has as its main object a public matter.I submit that in the light of the Ruling I have just mentioned, this principle also knocks out the Bill.
But, even if it does not, the evidence that this is a public matter is before our eyes. The Foremen's Society is a Scottish Society. Would so many hon. Members dare to intervene if this were a private, local Scottish matter? We all know what happens when an English Member speaks on Scottish matters. Of course this is a public matter, otherwise most of us would not be here; otherwise this Measure would not have been introduced more than once already as a public Bill—indeed, on one occasion as a public Bill by a right hon. Gentleman who is now a Cabinet Minister and therefore, one must suppose, a responsible person. It is surely sophistry to claim at this stage that it is not a public matter.
Next, it happens that, some years ago, before I became a Member of this House, I, as Treasurer of the National Association of Almshouses, helped to promote a private Bill for the benefit of our members; and your predecessor ruled as follows:… the Bill is promoted by an Association on behalf of its members, the number of whom 1672 is not fixed. … The Bill therefore is one of general application. … I am therefore ruling that … this Bill is not proper to proceed as a Private Bill, and it must be withdrawn."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd February, 1959; Vol. 600, c. 787]That Ruling applies word for word to the present case. That was an association, this is an association. That was on behalf of its members, this is on behalf of its members; the number of members of that Association was not fixed, the number of members of this Association is not fixed. What possible distinction can be drawn between the two cases?
I make it clear that I do not speak out of pique, because the objectives of the Bill I sought to introduce in 1959 were later effected, quite properly, by a Public Bill, as the objectives of this Bill may well he effected later by a Public Bill.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, your predecessor also ruled the Almshouses Bill out of Order…. on the ground of public policy in that it extends the powers … of an indefinite number of trust funds …"—the trust funds which were, or might be in future, members of my Association. This Bill also extends powers of an indefinite number of members. Indeed, that is its only purpose—to extend the powers of its members to include membership of the Foremen's Society. Surely it is settled that a body promoting a Bill cannot legislate on behalf of its members.
As we all know, the way in which this place works is delicate and mysterious; it depends for its success, and even survival, on a very complicated and sophisticated web of rules and usages. I beg of you, Mr. Speaker, not to tear that web by allowing what has already been ruled to be a public matter, introduced, correctly but unsuccessfully, more than once as a Public Bill, to be pushed through Parliament as a Private Bill. It will be a precedent that none of us wants and which we should all regret.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I begin, may I say that the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. John Smith) may assume that the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Ways and Means is aware of the passages in Erskine May which decide the distinction between Private and Public Bills and had these things in his mind when he decided earlier 1673 in the year that this Bill should be regarded as a Private Bill and when he put it down for Second Reading tonight.
This is a substituted Bill, there having been a Scottish Provisional Order with the same object in respect of which, under the terms of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1936, the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means of the House of Commons reported on 25th June, 1968, in a Ruling which the hon. Gentleman half quoted, that it related to matters outside Scotland:… to such an extent and raised questions of in public policy of such novelty and importance …that it should be dealt with by Private Bill and not by a Provisional Order. The present Bill was brought in as a result of that report.
It remains to consider whether the substituted Bill affects public policy to such an extent that it should be proceeded with as a public Bill. The principles governing this are set out in Eskine May in page 873, some of which the hon. Gentleman has just quoted, and a study of these reveals no reasons why the Bill should not be a Private Bill.
Although the Bill deals with an important public issue, it is confined in its effects to the members of two private organisations. In this respect, it is very different from, for example, the public Bill, entitled "Friendly Societies (Membership of Trade Unions) Bill", introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) on 3rd June, 1964—presumably the Cabinet Minister to whom the hon. Gentleman was referring.
The hon. Gentleman has suggested that this Bill is similar to the National Association of Almshouses (Investment) Bill which my predecessor ruled, on 23rd February, 1959, to raise such matters of public policy and to be of such general application that it should not be allowed to proceed as a Private Bill. The 1959 Bill applied to all existing and future members of the National Association of Almshouses, and there were no precedents for a Private Bill applying to unnamed and unspecified bodies. Nor was there any precedent for an association of that 1674 kind promoting a Bill on behalf of its own members.
None of these considerations appears to me to apply in relation to this Bill which is confined to specific, named and private organisations. I therefore consider that the Bill might properly be dealt with as a Private Bill, and had I not done so I would have informed the House accordingly on 16th July, when the Bill first came before the House for Second Reading.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I rise to introduce this Private Bill very conscious of the fact that I am, so to speak, the flag carrier for my union—the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs, and that this honour should more properly belong to other union colleagues in the House who have been here much longer than I and who have attempted on a number of previous occasions to bring to a successful conclusion the legislation proposed in the Bill. I refer particularly to my right hon. Friends the present Prime Minister and the present Chief Secretary and also to other long-serving A.S.S.E.T. members of Parliament such as my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Aston (Mr. Julius Silverman) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), both of whom will, I am glad to say, be seeking to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, after I have finished.
The job of introducing the Measure falls to me, not because of any seniority I possess in this honourable House, but because unlike them, and no doubt for my sins, I happen to be both a sponsored Member of Parliament and a National Executive member of the Union, the latter of which attributes I share with my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) who, to his great disappointment, cannot be present for tonight's debate. I mention this only in case it should be necessary or desirable for my interest in this legislation to be declared.
As I have said, the Bill has a long history. The most recent attempt to put an end to certain iniquitous anti-trade union rules of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society was in June, 1964, 1675 when my right hon. Friend the present Chief Secretary introduced as a Private Member's Bill his Friendly Societies (Membership of Trade Unions) Bill, which sought to invalidate the rules of any friendly society discriminating against members of trade unions. With no prospect of even a neutral attitude by the then Conservative Government, the Bill died the death.
More recently still, an attempt was made by A.S.S.E.T., one of the two unions which merged to form the A.S.T.M.S. in January of this year, to introduce last Autumn a Bill with this present title. The Petition for this first Bill was lodged on the normal date for lodging Petitions for Private Bills—in other words, in November, 1967. The F. & S.M.B.S. not only petitioned against the Bill but also raised the issue that, since its registered office was in Scotland, the Union should have proceeded by way of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1936. The union's view was that, since the registered office of A.S.S.E.T. was in England and the majority of its members were resident in England and Wales and the majority of F. & S.M.B.S. members were also resident in England and Wales or carried on business there, the Union—A.S.S.E.T.—should be allowed to proceed by way of a Private Bill rather than by seeking a Provisional Order under Scottish procedure.
The F. & S.M.B.S. then took the technical point that Section 1(4) of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1936, had not been complied with in that the union should have either sought permission prior to the presentation of the Petition to proceed by way of a Private Bill, or alternatively should have proceeded by way of Scottish Provisional Order.
This view was upheld by the Chairman of Ways and Means and was readily accepted by my union, which then, in March of this year, submitted to the Secretary of State for Scotland in the name of the newly merged Union, A.S.T.M.S., which had come into existence two months earlier, a draft Provisional Order. Under the powers entrusted to him, the Chairman of Ways 1676 and Means subsequently ruled that the Provisional Order raised matters which ought more properly to be dealt with by Private Bill and therefore the Bill before the House tonight—a substituted Bill, Sir, as you reminded us—was introduced.
This Bill is identical with the draft Provisional Order but differs from the earlier No. 1 Bill in that it has been promoted by the newly merged union, A.S.T.M.S., not A.S.S.E.T., and also in that there are several small changes in the wording of the Preamble. Otherwise, in essence the two Bills are identical.
I apologise to the House for this wearisome piece of legal history, but since this is, in a sense, an historical occasion, being, so far as we know, the very first time that a trade union has been prepared to go to the very great trouble and expense of promoting a Private Bill, I thought it as well that the path by which we have arrived at this moment of decision should be made reasonably clear to the House. So much by way of introduction.
The question hon. Members may well ask is—why has my union thought this matter to be of sufficient importance to go to all this trouble and expense to try to nullify those provisions in the rules of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society that we find so offensive?
Perhaps at this stage I should say a word or two about this Society. The F. & S.M.B.S. is a body which was founded in 1899 and which comprises on the one hand employers in the engineering and shipbuilding industries—so-called contributory members—and, on the other, ordinary members recruited mainly from men and women in supervisory or management grades of industry. Each side at present pays a contribution of 2s. 6d. a week, and in return the ordinary members receive small sickness and retirement benefits. Membership of the Society is about 64,000 and apparently its accumulated funds at present are close to £17 million.
So far everything in the garden is lovely, so to speak. Now we come to something which must make most fair-minded people begin to question just how genuinely friendly this so-called friendly society really is, at least to those 1677 who happen not to share the antedeluvian political and industrial views of many of its contributory or employer members.
I refer to the Society's notorious Rule 7, which I would call the joker in the pack, except that its effect on the lives and livelihoods of many decent men and women is far from a joke. Under Rule 7 an ordinary member who at the date of his admission to the Society is a member of a trade union, whether registered or unregistered, is required to resign forthwith from the said trade union. Moreover, an ordinary member who, after admission to the Society, joins any trade union is required immediately to resign from the Society, and any ordinary member who refuses so to do under Rule 7 not only ceases to have any claims on the funds of the Society but also forfeits any right for return of contributions he may have paid and, indeed is liable to make good to the Society any funds "improperly" received by him.
In addition, under the Society's Rule 11 the offending member can also be expelled. In case the House should think that this is an unlikely happening, I point out that in 1966 three members of my union were expelled by the Society in this way, despite strong representations made by my union on their behalf.
Therefore, any ordinary member who has the temerity to join a trade union is in danger of losing all his contributions to the Society which, if the member has belonged to the Society for a lengthy period, could represent a very considerable sum of money. Even more importantly, this pernicious provision can only act as a very powerful disincentive to joining a trade union, particularly for middle aged men contemplating retirement within, say, 10 years or so.
There is another highly dubious aspect to this matter, as a number of my union's industrial officials can testify. Very often the local representative of the F. & S.M.B.S. in a particular firm is a member of the personnel management and when my union has commenced union organisation among eligible personnel in a particular firm pressure is frequently put upon our members to leave the union. We have evidence that the F. & S.M.B.S. have been given facilities to interview staff individually on the firm's premises in order to persuade them 1678 to remain in the Society and thus abandon the prospect of union membership.
Worse than that, we also have evidence that many firms make it known to people seeking promotion that they are expected to join the F. & S.M.B.S. Obviously, a refusal to do so is likely to incur the considerable displeasure of their employer and may well result in the loss of the contemplated promotion.
In the light of these somewhat un-savoury facts, it is clear to me and to my union that, though the F. & S.M.B.S. is ostensibly a friendly society, the main reason it is supported by the more reactionary elements in British industry is its anti-trade union rule. That fact, on occasion, has been openly and freely admitted. By the retention of this rule, the various so-called contributory or employer members are able to exercise such an influence upon relatively defenceless people that the term "industrial blackmail" immediately springs to mind.
Happily, the highly critical view that my union and I take about these practices is not confined to us. The International Labour Office, in a number of conventions ratified over the years by British Governments, has gone firmly on record against the kind of industrial blackmail embodied in the notorious Rule 7 of the F. and S.M.B.S. To give one example, Convention 98, Article 1 says in Part (1):Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment.It goes on:(2) Such protection shall apply more particularly in respect of acts calculated to (a) make the employment of a worker subject to the condition that he shall not join a union or shall relinquish trade union membership; or, (b) cause the dismissal of or otherwise prejudice a worker by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours.Only the most prejudiced of men would deny that the anti-trade union rules of the F. and S.M.B.S. offend both the spirit and the intention of this I.L.O. Convention.
Support for our view comes also from a somewhat surprising quarter, namely, the National Board for Prices and Incomes, which was asked to report on the pay and conditions in the engineering 1679 industry of supervisory, clerical and technical workers. In its report of December, 1967, the Board had this to say:To help with the rationalisation of pay structures for staff workers, we felt that there must be a considerable improvement in both the formal and informal relations between the employers and the staff unions. This is made clear by the fact that, at domestic level, the employers do not formally recognise union staff representatives while many still support the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society—an organisation considered by the unions to be designed to provide a financial incentive for employees not to become, or cease to be, union members.Among its immediate recommendations, the Board stated:Employers should reconsider their attitude towards the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society.It is perhaps gilding the lily to add that there is also the dignified but enormously weighty verdict of the Royal Commission, in the Donovan Report published only last June. Referring to the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society, it says in paragraph 252:In our view it is quite foreign to the purposes of a Friendly Society that it should prescribe in its rules that no one can be a member, and draw benefits, if he is a trade unionist. If the State's policy is to encourage collective bargaining through the medium of representative trade unions, since this is in the public interest, then such a rule as Rule 7 is contrary to the public interest. The contract between the Society and its members is not, of course, a contract of employment; and it would go far beyond what is necessary to deal with this particular problem if the law were to enact that such stipulations in all contracts were void. It should be sufficient in our view to provide that no Friendly Society should have such a rule, and we so recommend.
As one of my hon. Friends says, unanimously.
Owing to the limitations on what can be done by a Private Bill, it was not possible in the Bill before the House to provide that the F. and S.M.B.S. should not discriminate against any trade unionists. All that we can do at this stage is to provide that it shall not discriminate against A.S.T.M.S. members. However, I am authorised to say on behalf of my union that, if the Bill is given a Second Reading, my union will immediately take all possible preliminary steps to see to it that, if the Bill becomes law, the rules 1680 of the Society are altered so as to admit all trade unionists. Therefore, we shall approach both the employer members and the ordinary members to work out the details of how the rules may be changed to admit all trade unionists, should Parliament pass the Bill.
If the House gives the Bill a Second Reading, we shall regard it as a mandate from the Commons to set on foot at once discussions so that the rules can be altered in the way indicated and all trade unionists admitted on an equal footing.
Although this contest between the F. and S.M.B.S. and my union has been both prolonged and hard fought, my colleagues and I do not regard this as a war to the death between two inevitably opposed bodies. It is our view that, once these offending provisions are removed, there is nothing to stop our Association and the F. and S.M.B.S. sharing a bed together, if I may use that expression. As we see it, the attributes of our respective organisations are complementary rather than competitive. We offer the best trade union service in Britain, but not friendly society benefits. The Society offers friendly society benefits, but no trade union service.
It is our hope and desire that, from the consummation of this unlikely but not unattractive partnership, there will be born at least one lusty offspring in the shape of greatly improved industrial relations in this all-important sector of industry.
I commend the Bill to the House.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. May I announce that I have not selected the Amendment in the names of the hon. Members for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) and Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor)? That will not affect the debate. The view for which the Amendment is a conventional euphemism will, I suspect, creep into the debate.
§ 7.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)
We have all been impressed by the eloquence of the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) and the way in which he has presented his case. However, I have not been convinced by it.
To my mind, three points stand out from the rest of what he said. The first 1681 is his amazing act as a member and supported of A.S.T.M.S. to quote a reference from the National Board for Prices and Incomes in support of his case. It may be the first time that this has happened.
The second point which was interesting was that he spent most of the time attacking these so-called vindictive rules—[Interruption.]. He said—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Taylor
The hon. Gentleman spent most of his speech attacking the rules. He said that Rules 7 and 11 were vicious and vindictive and should be scrapped. He did not say where they originated and how they had come to be continued. They were not made by vicious and vindictive employers, but by members of the Society. They could have been scrapped yesterday, and they could be scrapped tomorrow if the members so decided. I suggest to hon. Gentlemen opposite that this is not a matter of rules having been manufactured from outside. They were made by the members of the Society, and they could be removed tomorrow without difficulty, should the members of the Society wish to do so.
The part of his speech which worried me a great deal was when he indicated that he was authorised by A.S.T.M.S. to say that, if the Bill became law, the rules would be changed within the Society generally and not just for A.S.T.M.S., the implication being that in the event of the rules going, A.S.T.M.S. would be in a proposition to do what many of us consider that the Bill is designed to do; that is, to make a take-over bid for a friendly society which, as the hon. Gentleman says, has assets of £16 or £17 million. The fact that he put this point and said that the rules would be changed generally confirms what some people have suspected for a long time.
The Bill is the culmination of a vindictive vendetta by A.S.T.M.S. against a friendly society of non-trade unionists who are employed as supervisors in industry—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I hope that my activities in industry and in this House can free me from the accusation of being anti-trade union—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] However, that is not 1682 the issue which we are discussing. What is before us is the issue of individual liberty. I oppose the Bill because, while I believe that every man has the right, voluntarily and of his own decision, to join a trade union, equally he has the right not to joint a trade union. There is surely the same right available to non-trade unionists to organise themselves as there is to trade unionists.
The hon. Member for Feltham spoke about the pressure exercised by employers by making accommodation available to the F.S.M.B.S. when interviewing an employee. Looking at the history of industiral relations over the last three or four years, I think that to call this pressure, in the context of the activities of some trade unions, is a bit thick.
For many years there has been a campaign on the part of A.S.S.E.T. and other unions to organise supervisory grades in industry. Very strong pressures in some instances have been exercised on foremen to join a union. In the Clyde shipyards, where I worked before coming to this House, about six years ago foremen in a particular skilled trade were advised that if they did not join the staff register of the union—which was not A.S.S.E.T.—they would be deprived of employment in the event of having to return to the tools. In other instances which have been reported to me, but of which I have no personal experience, men on the shop floor have refused to work with a foreman who is not a union member.
So there are pressures, and there has been a long campaign. But many foremen, whether hon. Members opposite like it or not, do not wish to join a trade union. Many take the view that the position of foreman makes them part of the management team and that their loyalties should not come in conflict with management in the event of a labour dispute. Some hon. Members opposite may sincerely disagree, some may disagree violently, but I doubt whether they could deny that these feelings exist among a substantial number of foremen.
My view and experience is that the transfer from the shop floor to the supervisory grade is the most difficult transfer to negotiate successfully in the industrial hierarchy. It is not an easy task to be "one of the boys" one day and a supervisor the next. It is possible that some firms have been backward in providing 1683 suitable or adequate training to equip men for this step up in industry. Certainly some progress has been made. Courses in colleges like Chester, which is associated with Strathclyde University—
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the modern shipbuilding yard, as emphasised by the one to which he has referred, now the Fairfield division of the U.C.S., the idea and the ideal is to make everyone from the manager right down to the man in the shop a member of the team to create the team spirit throughout the whole of the shipbuilding industry?
§ Mr. Taylor
I am aware that this is the intention. I am also aware that there has been organisation of the foremen in the Clyde shipyards. However, it is fair to point out to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), who takes such a great interest in shipbuilding matters and fights so well for the shipyards, that six years ago this was preceded by a campaign, on the part of the union which the hon. Gentleman knows so well, in which foremen in several skilled trades were told: "If you do not join the union staff register you will not get back to the tools in the event of losing your position." I think that the hon. Gentleman knows this.
§ Mr. Taylor
I was saying that some advance has been made. Courses in colleges like Chester, which is associated with Strathclyde University, have given foremen the knowledge and, more important, the confidence to take on the new responsibilities of supervision. Good and confident foremen are an integral part of successful industry, and I believe that money spent on high salaries for foremen is a greater contribution to productivity than productivity agreements or piecework schemes.
§ Mr. Taylor
I agree. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.
1684 The most appropriate relationship for a foreman to have with his management—this is relevant to the Bill—is as an individual; not as part of a union group. This is my view. Many disagree and feel that the only way to achieve the right rewards for foremen is to have a strong union to negotiate on their behalf. This is the feeling of those who have promoted the Bill.
This is the great debate and battle in industry which has been fought for years between A.S.S.E.T. and members of the F.S.M.B.S. Quite frankly, it is a battle which A.S.S.E.T., up till now, has failed to win.
The latest figures are that over the past six years 21,000 supervisors have applied to join the F.S.M.B.S. That is 21,000 new applications in six years. In the last four years the massive campaign by A.S.S.E.T. has resulted in only 4,000 members of the F.S.M.B.S. leaving to join the union. But—and I hope right hon. and hon. Members will note this—while only 4,000 have left to join A.S.S.E.T., in the same four years, according to the figures made available to me—I am subject to correction, but I understand them to be right—2,500 A.S.S.E.T. members have resigned from the union to join the Staff Society, and 100 former F.S.M.B.S. members who had left to join A.S.S.E.T. have returned to the F.S.M.B.S. fold like prodigal sons.
Having failed in its campaign, A.S.S.E.T. now asks Parliament to win the battle for it by means of parliamentary legislation. This, I think, is absolutely wrong. Apparently its persuasive powers and pressures have been inadequate, so it is now asking Parliament to do the job which it is unable to do.
The Bill, of course, provides an opening, as the hon. Member for Feltham admitted, for A.S.S.E.T. which will not be available to other unions. If the Bill succeeds there will undoubtedly be a squalid and comprehensive drive to sweep all foremen into A.S.S.E.T. in accordance with the 100 per cent. union membership policy to which A.S.S.E.T. is, I understand, committed. I wonder whether the more thoughtful supporters of the Bill feel that this will create the best atmosphere for a successful trade union. The strength of the trade union movement is voluntary participation. When men are drummed into membership against their 1685 better judgment that certainly cannot get the best out of trade unionism.
My own view is that the widening gap, which I foresaw when I was employed in labour relations on the Clyde, between the union officials and the shop floor membership and the neglect and disregard, in many instances, of shop floor interests and problems, stems from the creeping compulsory trade unionism which is moving through industry and the emergence of closed shops.
There are clearly two points of view about how best to serve the interests of foremen and industry. I feel that the right people to make this decision are the foreman themselves. Instead of carrying out this vindictive campaign and using Parliament to bludgeon through its point of view, A.S.S.E.T. should surely be using its resources to peacefully persuade foremen that it is in their interests to join.
But where is the evidence that members of the F.S.M.B.S. want to change their rules and join A.S.S.E.T.? It was interesting that the hon. Member for Feltham did not give us any indication of letters, secret messages and mass meetings in which members of the F.S.M.B.S. said: "Please take away this terrible rule. We desperately want to join A.S.S.E.T."
§ Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)
The hon. Gentleman has quoted the figure. He said that 2,000 members of A.S.S.E.T. have joined the F.S.M.B.S. and thereby were compelled to resign from A.S.S.E.T.
§ Mr. Taylor
I think that it proves the reverse. I said that 2,500 men have voluntarily left A.S.S.E.T. in the last four years to join the F.S.M.B.S. That shows clearly that 2,500 men have made their own decision that they prefer to be in the Society rather than in A.S.S.E.T. But I admit that 4,000 have left the Society to join A.S.S.E.T. There are conflicting views, which we accept. The relevant point is: where is the evidence that those who have decided to stay in the F.S.M.B.S. want to have these rules changed and want to join A.S.S.E.T.?
I do not doubt for one moment that if the Bill is passed most of the foremen will join A.S.S.E.T. Those of us who 1686 are not children in industrial relations know what goes on and the pressures which can be applied. We have seen the fate of the lonely martyrs of the shop floor who have taken an individual point of view.
But there is better proof than this, even if right hon. and hon. Members opposite do not accept this particular point of view, which I believe to be correct. The fact is that a rule which offends A.S.S.E.T. could be changed tomorrow, and could have been changed yesterday, if the foremen wished it. Have they been deprived of this opportunity? The last time a decision was taken on this issue was in 1963, at a meeting attended by 210 delegates representing members of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society. These were ordinary members, not the employers' contributors. They were there to decide whether to keep the rule, and perhaps even extend it a little to cover up a technical evasion which was discovered in circumstances outlined by the hon. Member for Feltham.
Was there a unanimous vote to scrap the rule? Was there a close division? Was there strong feeling about it? These delegates voted unanimously to maintain the rule and to strengthen it to prevent technical evasion. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may laugh, they may think that this is nonsense, but it is a fact.
If hon. Gentlemen have any doubts about what I am saying, where is their evidence that thousands of men among these 63,000 people want this rule scrapped and want to join A.S.S.E.T.? I think that they have an obligation to show that there is a vast campaign for this change. I think that if there had been this feeling we should have seen outside the House today, and perhaps even within it, a goodly number of people, and we would have received representations along those lines.
I come now, to another key issue. What right has Parliament to deny any friendly society the right to make its own rules about membership and eligibility? A.S.S.E.T. maintains that it can do a better job for foremen than they can do for themselves as non-trade unionists. Where is the evidence for that? Presumably hon. Gentlemen opposite would not have put forward that claim unless they believed it to be in the best interests 1687 of the foremen. What evidence is there that salaries paid to A.S.S.E.T. foremen are higher than those paid to people who negotiate privately, and that their conditions of service are better? I believe that this is a matter for individual decision.
In my constituency I have only one large factory. It has a splendid record of progress, profitability, and labour relations. Most of the foremen, not all, of course, have decided to leave the Society and join A.S.S.E.T. They are, of course, entitled to make their own decision, and they have made what they regard as the right one. I uphold their right to withdraw from the Society and to join A.S.S.E.T., but to do that they must have been impressed by approaches from the union's local executive, and by the union's activities in the West of Scotland. Surely this is how it should be? A union, by its activities and by persuasion, should recruit members on the basis of competition.
Some serious allegations have been made by A.S.S.E.T., and these have been referred to obliquely today by the hon. Member for Feltham. They have been made in publications, in letters, and in documents. First, it has been maintained that the Society is in breach of the I.L.O. Conventions. The Donovan Report referred to this, but did not support that view. I agree that in the opinion of the hon. Member for Feltham and others this might be the case, but it is not something which has been accepted by authoritative bodies, on my reading of the Donovan Report. The Report does not support the view that the existence of the Society and its rules are a breach of the I.L.O. Conventions.
Secondly, it is alleged that foremen have been "dragooned into joining". The phrase used in a letter written by A.S.S.E.T. in reply to the Society on 15th September, 1966 was that men have been "dragooned into joining". This is a serious allegation. Where is the evidence of men having been dragooned into joining? If that was the situation, would not the Society have a 100 per cent. membership in several factories? Would not that be the situation if men were being forced to join, if enormous pressure was being exercised on them by employers? If that were happening, we 1688 would see what we find in well organised trade union shops, namely, 100 per cent. membership. I know of no factory in Scotland where the Society has a 100 per cent. membership. I suggest that if there was the kind of pressure which has been alleged the Society would have a 100 per cent. membership in a large number of factories.
Thirdly, it is contended that the financial benefits from joining bribe men away from their better interest, which is to join A.S.S.E.T. The contribution referred to by the hon. Member for Feltham of 5s. a week is shared equally. Is the hon. Gentleman seriously suggesting that men's souls have been, are being, and will be bought for half a crown a week, or 5s. a week, or whatever the figure may be?
Fourthly, it is objected that the Society is given facilities on firms' premises to explain the benefits of membership. This is a ludicrous complaint when we consider the facilities which, in some circumstances, are quite rightly given to unions to hold meetings of shop stewards and members, and also the practice of some firms of collecting trade union dues, which is as forceful a pressure as one can find.
Apart from that, there are two technical aspects of the Bill to which I think hon. Members should object, even though they do not share my views. I am referring to the merits of the Bill itself. Why should we legislate on one recommendation of the Donovan Report before any other part of it has been approved in a White Paper? Hon. Gentlemen opposite may feel strongly about this issue, but I am sure they will accept that a better way of doing the job, if it has to be done, is by means of general legislation which will not confer any special privileges on members of A.S.S.E.T. as opposed to members of other trade unions.
We have had the Donovan Report, and we are now waiting for the White Paper. I wonder whether the Government are prepared to legislate in accordance with the Report? If they have no intention of doing so, perhaps they are using this Private Bill as a way of escaping their obligations to bring forward general legislation of this kind. If the Government do intend to legislate on this matter, it will be a better way of doing the job than by means of a Private Bill.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mr. Harold Walker)
Perhaps I might make it clear to the House and to the hon. Gentleman that the Government disclaim responsibility for the promotion of the Bill. It would be improper for the Government to be involved in promoting it.
§ Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)
Is it not surprising that at the eleventh hour and fifty-nine and three-quarters of a minute to the end of the Session the Government have given time for the Bill to be presented?
§ Mr. Harold Walker
On a point of order. Mr. Deputy Speaker, is not this a reflection on the Chairman of Ways and Means who has acted within the provision of the Standing Order? Surely this is a matter for him?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
I think that I can give the House guidance on this matter. It is the responsibility of the Chairman of Ways and Means to provide time for business of this sort.
§ Mr. Taylor rose—
§ Mr. Roy Roebuck (Harrow, East)
On a point of order. Is it not the custom when an hon. Member has fallen so gravely into error as the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page) has—
§ Mr. Taylor
Hon. Gentlemen opposite are being unkind to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page). They should accept that at four o'clock this afternoon I was approached by an hon. Gentleman opposite who asked whether I was prepared to pair with him for tonight's debate. I explained that I was not, but it led me to believe, perhaps unfairly, that a Whip had been issued for tonight. The point is that if a Whip was issued on this matter it would show that the Government, as opposed to individual Members, were giving their support to the Measure.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Does not my hon. Friend think that we may exonerate the Government in this case, and that this is probably a trade union Whip?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. It would be in the best interests of hon. Members if we were to come to the Bill.
§ Mr. Taylor
I suggest that if a majority of hon. Members opposite insist on this legislation going through the right way would be to include it in the Government's general legislation. Let me explain the point to the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), to whom I have been explaining many things this week. If we proceed by way of a Private Bill in this instance we are making special provisions for members of A.S.S.E.T. which are not available to the members of other trade unions. This legislation should be introduced by means of a Public Bill but all the indications are, bearing in mind the relatively small number of hon. Members on this side of the House compared with the substantial number of hon. Members opposite, that this Bill will go through.
This will be a black day for industry, I counsel the supporters of the Bill to think again. Let them remember that there is no legal, moral or financial obstacle—or any obstacle at all—to prevent members of the Foremen and Staffs Mutual Benefit Society changing the rules if they desire. There has been no indication that they wish to do so.
We must also remember that some hon. Members opposite have spent their lives fighting for freedom of organisation for trade unions. Let them remember that that freedom and liberty also implies the right of members who do not wish to join a trade union not to do so.
§ Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
Does not the hon. Member realise that in the modern industrial conditions in which we live his advocacy of non-union foremen, or anyone else in industry enjoying the benefits of the fruits of trade union negotiations is quite wrong and quite foreign to trade union thinking?
§ Mr. Taylor
I am sorry to have to disagree again with the hon. Member. I was engaged in labour relations for five years before I came to the House and 1691 my understanding is that whereas a nonunion engineer is affected by negotiations on the part of his union there is no union that negotiates for a non-union foreman; his wages are adjusted by private arrangements with his employer, or by way of general recommendations by the employers' associations.
I appeal to hon. Members opposite to realise what they are doing. They are ensuring that the wrong approach is being made to this problem. If hon. Members opposite felt that there trade unions were so good and had so much to offer, the right approach would be to urge a voluntary approach in order to try peacefully to persuade men to join. This is not what will happen. In a democracy those who do not wish to join a trade union and feel that it is in the interests of industry that foremen should not be organised in trade unions should be free to exercise their rights and enjoy this basic freedom.
That freedom will be lost if the Bill goes through. It is a bad Bill. It will have an adverse effect, and I hope that hon. Members opposite will rethink their case and that the House will reject this Measure.
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Albert Booth (Barrow-in-Furness)
I welcome the opportunity to speak following the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcarth (Mr. Edward M. Taylor). Ho has contended that the supporters of the Bill must show the House that there is an overwhelming demand among the membership of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society for the right to join a trade union. I submit that this is a totally ludicrous proposition. I further submit that it is for the opponents of the Bill to show that any man should be denied the right to make a free and unfettered choice whether or not he should be a union member, without any financial pressure or inducement being placed upon him.
The F.S.M.B.S. has operated from the days when foremen were distinguished by their bowler hats and workmen by their cloth caps. From then until now the only people allowed into membership have been those who have been prepared to sell their industrial past or birthright, namely, the right to be members of trade unions. Is it not surprising that there 1692 is no demand from within the membership of the Society for the right to join a trade union? One might as well expect, from the Temperance League, an overwhelming demand for the right to an extension of licensing hours.
I should declare an interest in this matter. I am a member of the Draughtsmen and Allied Technicians Association. Many people whom the F.S.M.B.S. have tried to recruit are draughtsmen. They have not had an overwhelming success in this operation, I am glad to say. Nevertheless, it is behoven to me, on behalf of D.A.T.A. to congraulate the A.S.T.M.S.—formerly A.S.S.E.T.—on bringing the Bill before the House tonight. I congratulate the Society on using legal means to achieve its end, which I would have thought hon. Members opposite would condone. When members of a trade union use methods which stray even half-a-thou either side of proper procedural forms they are quick to criticise. The A.S.T.M.S. has used a legal method to secure the interests of its membership, and I add, with a touch of envy, that I wish my union had been first in the field in this way.
I can think of no better way to express the views of D.A.T.A. about the F.S.M.B.S. than to quote from the Association's evidence to the Royal Commission on Trade Unions. In paragraph 42 it says:D.A.T.A. has no hesitation in stating that this organisation, F.S.M.B.S., is an antiunion body, sponsored and financed by a number of employers. The continued existence of the anti-union clause in its constitution is a disgrace to industry … D.A.T.A. has fought it vigorously and, fortunately, except in one or two backward firms, the F.S.M.B.S. has recruited only a very small minority of draughtsmen.The hon. Member for Cathcart may disagree with this contention, but I consider D.A.T.A. to be a fair-minded body, and I would not want my quote from its evidence to be thought to be taken out of context. I must therefore go one step further in quoting from its evidence. It goes on to say thatthere are many engineering employers who do not seek to persuade their staff to join the F.S.M B.S. and who, in private conversation, will condemn as a social anachronism the antiunion clause in its constitution.This is a fair summary of the current position in the industry.
1693 We must remember that the ratio of white collar workers to boiler-suit wearers in industry is increasing, and that it is important to place no impediment in the way of white-collar trade unionism. The increase in white-collar jobs is particularly noticeable in the engineering industry.
Among the firms known to have been contributory members of F.S.M.B.S. are many famous names in the engineering industry, including Rolls-Royce Ltd., British Motor Corporation Ltd., Cammell Laird Ltd., Vickers Armstrong Engineers and Vauxhall Motors Ltd. We are, therefore, dealing not with a trifling problem. In practical terms we are dealing with a very important sector of the engineering industry.
The weekly contributions which are made by ordinary members and by contributory members of the F.S.M.B.S. are not laid down in their rules, although it is normal for half to be paid by the employer and half by the employee. It is, therefore, open to an employer to increase his share of the contribution in order to offset the attraction of trade union membership.
Although the benefits of membership of the F.S.M.B.S. are ostensibly ordinary friendly society benefits, I believe that the main reason for the support of this Society by many firms lies precisely in its anti-trade union clauses. It is relatively easy for a firm to make it known to those seeking promotion that it is expected of them that they will join the F.S.M.B.S. Once promoted, these people will understandably be reluctant to join a staff union even if that union has negotiating rights on their behalf and even if their employers have been party to a procedure agreement according to that trade union the right to represent these men. Trade unionism is, therefore, accepted by the employers on the one hand and undermined on the other hand.
The F.S.M.B.S. go further in this anti-trade union activity in that they maintain an employment department. This is to assist their ordinary members to obtain employment. I contend that this is nothing more than a black-leg agency activity. What it does, in effect, to use modern Parliamentary terms, is to give a copper-bottomed guarantee to an 1694 employer that a man he is taking on is a non-trade unionist. That is a despicable activity.
I should not be so worried about the anti-union clauses of this Society if there were any signs that they were being modified in any way. I believe that the contrary is the situation. In fact, the anti-trade union Rule No. 7 was amended in 1963 to strengthen its anti-trade union effect.
§ Mr. Booth
By the Society.
We are asked by the hon. Member for Cathcart why we wish to do this before we implement the Donovan Report. Why not wait for Donovan, he asks. I want to tell him why. When we discuss Donovan we shall be discussing modern, important problems of employee-employer relationship and trade union-employer relationship. We want to have behind us this anachronism which we are discussing tonight. We want to take this festering sore off the limb so that we can deal with more sophisticated treatment for more sophisticated, modern and up-to-date problems.
We are holding this debate in Human Rights Year. It would be totally appropriate for the House to pass a Measure which gave the 64,000 ordinary members of the F.S.M.B.S. the right to join a trade union and to participate in the determination of their wages and conditions in a manner befitting citizens of a democratic country.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Mr. Speaker has ruled that the Bill is technically in order, but that leaves open the question whether, on the merits, it is a proper use of this procedure. I put it in that way because the promoters of the Bill—I will call them A.S.S.E.T., because I do not keep up-to-date with these changes in initials—have brought themselves inside the rules of order by putting forward a Preamble which is disingenuous humbug—a thoroughly dishonest document.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) is no longer 1695 here. He must realise, or he ought to realise, that the Bill is in order in spite of his speech. If his speech had been incorporated in the Bill, the Chairman of Ways and Means could never have passed it under the Private Bill Rule. The hon. Member for Feltham said that if the Bill were given a Second Reading, his union—A.S.S.E.T.—would treat it as a mandate from the Commons to obtain a rule in the Society which would admit all union members. The allegation upon which the Preamble is founded—that the existence of this rule in the Society's constitution represents a hardship on members of A.S.S.E.T.—is a lot of nonsense. What the rule does is to disincline some people from joining A.S.S.E.T., which is a very different matter which would not, of course, found a Private Member's Bill.
I express those views not only in the hope of perhaps inducing some thoughts among hon. Members opposite but also in the belief, which may or may not be right, that if the Bill is given a Second Reading and is carried over to the next Session, and is sent to a Private Bill Committee, it will be found that they have a procedure of proving a Preamble, and that if they were to find that the Preamble was a dishonest Preamble, the Bill would be reported back to the House.
The hon. Member for Feltham came quickly to the point when he said that his Union's objection to the Society and their justification of the Bill was that Rule 7 of the Society's constitution was a disincentive to joining a union. He left it there as though it were a self-evident argument in favour of the Bill. Had he remained in the Chamber I should have asked him what his attitude would be to the practices of his own union and of D.A.T.A. which are incentives to join a union. I know of some. Indeed, many of us can remember Rookes v. Barnard. Some of us remember the agreements which have been reached between such unions as D.A.T.A. and A.S.S.E.T. and such companies as Rolls-Royce and English Electric, and many others—agreements which are not merely incentives but are coercive. Where do hon. Members opposite stand on that? It is easy to be a champion of freedom in one's own cause, but those who use the argument of freedom, as it has been used in 1696 this debate, ought to know that freedom is for opponents as well as for oneself.
Of course, people should have a right to join a union, but is it not monstrous that a Private Bill should be promoted to destroy a Society of people who do not want to be members of a union? Is it to be unlawful and forbidden in this country to form a society of non-unionists? That is the whole purpose of the Bill.
The Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations reported, in paragraph 252, as the hon. Member for Feltham said, that in the view of the Commissioners it should be provided that no friendly society should have such a rule as is here under consideration—and they so recommended. That is a proposal—that no friendly society should have such a rule—that would require a public Bill.
Since I believe that there is only one friendly society that has this rule, of course A.S.S.E.T. has decided that it could wriggle through the rules of order of this House by promoting a Private Bill ascertaining in its preamble that its members suffer disadvantage, and so try to procure a change in the general law by this procedural device.
My only comment on this point is that this Measure comes before the House for Second Reading on the last night of the Session and will be followed immediately it is given its Second Reading by a Motion to carry it forward to the next Session of Parliament. Is there a precedent for such a thing happening in the long history of this House? I wonder. Would even a genuine Private Bill which is about the sort of things that Private Bills are about—the construction of roads, railways, and so on; the things for which such Measures are intended—be given a Second Reading on the night before Prorogation and have a special Motion to carry it forward to the next Session of Parliament?
What is the justification for this procedure? I do not wish to anticipate the next debate—I hope that there will not be one—but I suggest that it is to save the litigants the costs which they would incur and throw away. No costs have been incurred and will be thrown away on this Bill. There is the drafting of the Bill, of course, but the same Measure 1697 may be introduced in the next Session. These costs are not thrown away. The representational costs have not begun. Thus, I ask what is the justification for this gross abuse of the procedure of the House on a night when everybody knows that there will be so few hon. Members here—that is, except those who, out of special interest, read the Private Business of the House? How many hon. Gentlemen opposite are here because they are sponsored members of trade unions? Most of them are. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman who proposed the Second Reading declared that he was.
§ Mr. Bell
I would think it unlikely that any trade union would sponsor the hon. Gentleman.
Some of my hon. Friends have detected this quite extraordinary and unexpected procedure. If the Bill goes through tonight, it will go through in the presence of a handful of hon. Members, most of them being specially interested by virtue of their membership of trade unions which are involved in this private dispute, and that is not good for the reputation of Parliament.
Let us consider what the Bill is about and strip it of all the humbug which has been elevated around it by the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) and the hon. Member for Feltham. It is just a straightforward bit of union buccaneering — [Interruption.] — an attempt to strike at a rival through a Parliamentary Bill. Nobody can dispute that. Everybody knows that the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society is a non-union body and represents the attitudes and views of those who do not think that foremen, supervisory staffs and so on should be unionists. Whether they are right or wrong does not matter a row of pins. The question is whether there should be a law against it. Perhaps I should ask whether there should be a Private Bill against it.
1698 Some hon. Members may come here only somewhat committed tonight, but this Measure is more important than it looks on the surface; otherwise I should not be here. I am here to question the principle involved and I have no vested interest to declare. I regard this as a bad use of Parliamentary procedure and a gross infringement of the proper principles which should inform our legislative activities.
If a union can win members, good luck to it. If it cannot, then to make it illegal to stay out of that union by a parliamentary Measure—which is, in effect, what is being done here—is a disgraceful operation. Although only a few hon. Members are present tonight, I hope that there will be some record of this matter in public tomorrow so that the people of this country may know what sort of skulduddery was indulged in in this manner at this stage of the Session.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)
The hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) adduced an argument which was not worthy of him or his party.
§ Mr. Orme
The hon. and learned Gentleman challenged the basic parliamentary right of introducing a Private Bill. In many ways this is an historic occasion, for this is the first time that a major trade union has introduced such a Bill.
As hon. Gentlemen opposite are aware, Bills of this character—Private Bills—have been introduced in this House for many years, back to before the time when records of the daily procedures were kept. They date back to the days of Edward VI, and in days gone by they ranked in priority with public and Government Bills. This mechanism was built up in many instances to protect vested interests. However, as soon as a trade union tries to use this privilege which Parliament has created—a privilege which hon. Gentlemen opposite have never criticised; in the years since I have been an hon. Member I cannot recall them criticising the Private Bill procedure—hon. Gentlemen opposite immediately say that it is out of court and not an appropriate procedure for a trade union.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
Of course, much of what the hon. Gentleman is saying is right, but if he could show that the promoters of the Bills about which he is speaking had a vested interest he would be in a better position. There is only a contingent interest, and that makes this case disgraceful.
§ Mr. Orme
My hon. Friends have been declaring their interests as they have spoken. I am pleased to say that probably all of them are trade unionists, and some of them are sponsored by trade unions. They are interests which are open for all to see. I wish I could say that of the interests of all hon. Members of this House.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor rose—
§ Mr. Orme
I wish to declare my interest in that I am a sponsored member of the A.E.F. I am pleased tonight, in that capacity, to support A.S.T.M.S. in its endeavour to alter this anti-trade union rule. All trade unionists must feel aggrieved at this section in the rules of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society. It is basically anti-trade union and this is what the argument is all about. The argument centres around a small rule, but a fundamental principle in the rules of this Society. We are speaking of an organisation which is not a trade union. It is interesting to note that hon. Gentlemen opposite have not tried to pretend that it is a genuine trade union. It is a friendly society the subscriptions to which are paid largely by employers and partly by members.
The organisation of assets make very interesting reading. I belong to the A.E.F. which has a membership of over 1 million, a subscription of 2s. 3d. for skilled members, and assets of about £18 million. This other organisation has 54,000 members, so-called, and assets of nearly £17 million. It would be interesting to know where that finance has come from.
Reference has been made to the meeting of members of this Society in 1963 to alter the rules. It has been said from the other side of the Chamber that that 1700 meeting was called to tighten up evasions present in the rules. Let me say what that little tightening up escapade really was. The purpose was to add the words… shall immediately resign from the Society and that he shall cease to have any claim on the funds of the Society either by way of benefits or return of contributions or premiums or any part thereof or otherwise.These vicious and empty words were not added in 1922 or in the early part of the century, but in 1963.
When my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary introduced a Private Member's Bill in 1964 he had a letter from the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) stating categorically and clearly that the Conservative Party was opposed to any form of anti-trade union legislation. That statement was read out in this House in 1964, and we have a right to ask where the Conservative Party stands today.
We have been told that here are workers leaving the shop floor, as it were, and going into management and into the foremen's society—changing sides in industry, so to speak, and leaving the type of life and employment they had enjoyed before. This is a very archaic old-fashioned way of looking at modern industry. The changes that are taking place in industry today are such and so vast that the old conception of foreman that we knew is rapidly disappearing. New types of supervisory staffs are emerging in modern industry. I believe that as we move into a period of industrial take-overs, amalgamations and rationalisation, all levels of people in industry need the protection of a proper trade union.
I should like to illustrate this point by a small example. A short time ago, a firm in the area where I live was taken over. The first thing that happened in that firm was that the supervisory staff, from the general manager to the majority of the foremen, were sacked without any pension or warning. The manager and the major supervisory staff—the superintendents and foremen—were given virtually a week's notice. Some of those men were members of my own organisation, and are still members of the trade union branch of which I am proud to be president at the present time.
1701 I want to make quite clear the position of the unions in regard to this organisation. This is what the Amalgamated Engineering Union submitted in evidence to the Royal Commission—it is to be found in page 946 of the Minutes of Evidence:Many of our members reach far beyond the range defined in the 1941 Agreement …It goes on to say:In times not so far distant, firms encouraged membership, so far as their Supervisory Staff was concerned of the Foremen's Mutual Benefit Society. And, although this encouragement is less pronounced today than in the past, the fact remains that certain firms still lay this down as a condition for a workman taking over a supervisory position, making membership of the Foreman's Mutual Benefit Society obligatory. This would. in itself, require a renunciation of Trade Union membership.Again, in Research Paper No. 6, on Trade Union Growth and Recognition, George Sayers Bain makes the point that certain employers' organisations, and particularly the engineering employers' organisation, are in many aspects reactionary in this regard and still openly insist oil foremen and supervisory staffs joining the Foremen's Mutual Benefit Society and resigning from their own organisation. Time will not allow me to read it, but the evidence is there and has been quoted by Donovan.
It is important to note that the Donovan Report also makes it crystal clear that as we move into the period of more and more white collar workers, organisation is in the interests not only of the members within industry but of the industry itself. Many firms which have rejected this archaic method of forcing members into the Foremen's Mutual Benefit Society have found the benefit of those people being members of D.A.T.A. and the A.S.T.M.S. It is not in any way against their interests.
I cannot speak on behalf of my union, because I do not represent them here in a formal sense but, as an A.E.U. member, I fully support this proper Parliamentary use of the Private Member's Bill procedure. I hope that this Measure gets a Second Reading, and that we shall see an end of this obnoxious Clause 7 and give people within industry the right to belong to the trade union they choose.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
I came to the debate to learn and to listen to the case to be put forward by the trade union movement. I am not anti-trade union. Throughout my industrial life and now in my political life I have supported a strong trade union movement. I ought to declare a vested interest to which the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) referred. I am a member of a company which was one of the early members of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society and I have attended many occasions when I have met members of the Society throughout Sheffield who have shown none of the hostility one way or another which has been expressed in the House of Commons tonight.
I intervene in the debate because I have asked myself, as many people in management and elsewhere are asking, what Parliament is up to at the end of the Session. What is the Government's view? We have had an assurance from the Government that they have no view, as this is a Private Bill. Why should there he a procedure in the House which allows the Bill to be presented to Parliament on the day before Parliament is prorogued? The answers which have been given will not satisfy many people and, although I have to respect the decision of the Chairman of Ways and Means, I believe that those who are piloting the Bill will do so in such a way that they will offend many who would otherwise be their friends.
§ Mr. Christopher Norwood (Norwich, South)
On a point of order. Is it not true that, this being a Private Bill, the custom and practice is that it can continue after the current Session? In that case, is not the hon. Gentleman's point invalid?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Any Private Bill requires a Motion to carry it over from one Session to another and there is, of course, a Motion on the Order Paper to do that.
§ Mr. Osborn
If this is to be the trend and the Bill reaches the Statute Book, I ask hon. Members to consider what will be its consequences. At the moment, there is no way of protecting the 60,000 members of the Society from, let us say, an outside take-over. The fact that this 1703 is Human Rights Year has been mentioned, but do not the members of this Society have some rights which the House of Commons ought not completely to ignore?
I wish to discuss the activities of the Society in the City of Sheffield. Of course, it deals with superannuation and benefits for sickness, as it does throughout the country. In the Sheffield district on 30th September, 1968, there were 2,493 members, representing 106 firms. The Sheffield district is therefore one of the largest in the country and whatever happens tonight and whatever happens as a consequence of the passage of the Bill will have a major effect on the lives of those 2,500 people.
I had not been closely associated with the activities of the Society in Sheffield and I would be the first to admit that there are now graduated pension schemes, and of course in the last 50 or 60 years company pension schemes have been introduced, so that perhaps some of the Society's original objectives have been blurred and may need to be redefined. But that is no justification for redefining them in self defence when there is a take-over, if I may describe it as that, of the Society if the Bill is passed.
Hon. Members have cited examples of industrial blackmail on the part of the Society. This is news to me, but if it exists in the modern age, it cannot be allowed to continue.
Reference has also been made to the problem of the blue collar worker versus the white collar worker. It is only some two years ago that I attended a conference following a study carried out by the Duke of Edinburgh's Study Conferences. Most of those taking part had been young managers and members of trade unions. This study was about the changing status of the white-collar worker as such.
Mention has been made of the problem of when a man is promoted from the shop floor to junior supervision and management. It is my view, based on my experience when I was in active management, that a man once he becomes a manager ought to identify himself with management, because unless junior managers and, even more, senior managers feel that they are part of 1704 management, how on earth can they manage'? This applies whether the industry is in the private or the public sector.
The problem is admittedly one of communication which must come down from top management to shop floor. But there must be a feed-back through junior management as well. Hon. Members are surely not suggesting that there is no need to encourage a man to begin to disociate himself from a shop floor once he has been promoted off the shop floor.
I ask: where are we going? Is it proposed that the managing director of any industry, as a result of this should ultimately become a member of a trade union? If he is a member of a trade union, the same as that operating in his factory, who is in charge of the company? Are there to be no employers? What is the new structure which will result from this? This Private Bill opens the door to amazing changes within industry. I am well aware that there are changes—
§ Mr. Peter Mahon (Preston, South)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that thousands of people in management are members, and have been for many years, of trade unions?
§ Mr. Osborn
I am, of course, aware that many people are members of trade unions. A Private Bill is not the time to be discussing the road down which we are going. This is going on inevitably, whatever Parliament says, but such a Bill as this is not a vehicle to push this forward, without having thought of the consequences.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot use a point of order to take part in the debate.
§ Mr. Osborn
What will happen now? I have been present at many seminars at which trade unions and management have taken part in discussions on this subject. I do not think that the dialogue is concluded and I do not think that those taking part in that dialogue wish it to be changed now by a Bill of this type.
It has been said that industry has changed dramatically, not just in the last 50 years, but the last 10 years. We 1705 have a new grade of worker—the white collar workers—whose numbers are increasing. I remember that at one conference I attended, this was brought out by a reference to a skilled machine shop operator who was regarded as "shop floor" yet his daughter, who could be a comptometer operator, would be regarded as "staff". She would have all the status that went with staff grade, but why greater status than her father?
I would be the first to welcome the reorientation which is going on to improve industrial relations, reorientation of the definition of staff and worker. This is something that will happen and which I welcome. We cannot stop it. I intervene only to express my concern that this issue is being decided in a private Bill. I am glad that the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) has resumed his seat, because he put his case very well, and, if he had been here when I began my observations, he would have heard me say that I came here to learn the case. I have been very interested in his arguments and wish to understand his point of view. I hope that he will accede to that.
I am not happy that the procedure being used, which is perfectly legal and has been endorsed by the Chairman of Ways and Means, will prove as satisfactory to the country. I regret that this has come forward before we can discuss the Donovan Report. The hon. Member quoted from paragraph 252 of that Report which said:In our view, it is quite foreign to the purposes of a Friendly Society that it should prescribe in its rules that no one can be a member and draw benefits if he is a trade unionist.He excluded some of the previous paragraphs which I would like to read. Paragraph 249 points out:The Society answers that its benefits are an alternative, not an addition, to those of a trade union; that many foremen and staff do not want to join a union 'because of the possibility of a division of loyalty in times of dissension between the management they represent and the unions'.This was implied.
Paragraph 250 of the Donovan Report reads:We have already examined and rejected the view that trade unionism is inappropriate for white-collar workers, whether managers or not.1706 I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree with that.Where managerial staff are organised at present, appropriate arrangements can be made—as is done in the civil service and nationalised industries—to prevent any conflict of loyalties.This is where the dialogue must continue. There may be an immense conflict of loyalties which can lead to great difficulties within factories and the trade unions. I accept that change is going on.
The Donovan Report continues:Where supervisors are concerned a new procedure agreement for the shipbuilding industry which came into force in August 1967 points one way out of the difficulty: it provides that supervisors below head foremen should be encouraged to retain membership of their original trade union …
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)
The hon. Gentleman said that he came to the debate to learn. I think that he has still a long way to go in that respect. The dialogue is not about whether it is advisable that supervisory and managerial staff in industry should join a union, but whether they should be free to do so.
§ Mr. Osborn
I accept that. If they are free to do so, and if beyond a certain level they are free to join a trade union, that involves the question of structure of management, which is as much a problem within the nationalised industries and elsewhere, and it goes outside this Bill.
§ Mr. Norwood
In the hon. Gentleman's view, is a man free to join a trade union if it costs him a direct financial penalty? Is not that a sanction?
§ Mr. Osborn
I do not want to go into the question about whether a man may join a union if he wishes to do so, which has been dealt with in the Donovan Report in a big way. A closed shop does not provide freedom. There are companies which do not except trade unionism. This is a problem which must be resolved, but not by means of a Private Bill.
Paragraph 251 of the Donovan Report begins:This does not however inevitably lead to the conclusion that the trade unions' complaint must be upheld.The hon. Member for Feltham did not include that, and he must not say that 1707 Donovan has dealt with this question. It is left open in the Donovan Report, and it still has to be reviewed.
I have intervened in the debate because I am convinced that this is not a matter which should be decided by trade unionists outside the 60,000 people who are members of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society. If the Bill goes through, 60,000 members of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society will be in an entirely new relationship with which they will have had nothing to do because it will have happened through the medium of an outside agency. The hon. Member for Feltham shakes his head. That is how it appears to me. If the Bill is rushed through Parliament because of the support of the trade unions, I wonder what the consequences of it will be.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mr. Harold Walker)
I wish to make one of the briefest of interventions. I have been provoked by a remark of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) at the outset of his reasonable and moderate speech into doing something that I might otherwise have avoided, namely, involving myself in this private battle.
The hon. Gentleman said that the Government had no views on the subject-matter of this debate. The Government do not say that. They say that they do not wish at this stage to commit themselves to a view, and that is a different matter. Obviously we have a view on the Donovan Report. I say what I have said to the House on several occasions, and that is that the Government are consulting the T.U.C., the C.B.I. and the nationalised industries about the recommendations of the Royal Commission and hope to publish a White Paper before the end of the year. It would be prejudging the outcome of those consultations if the Government reached a decision at this stage on the recommendation about the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society.
But whether or not the present Bill succeeds, the Government will consider carefully whether or not the considerations of public interest advanced by the Royal Commission justify legislation in 1708 the more general term which the Royal Commission recommends. Certainly, the Government understand the feelings which have given rise to this Private Bill and will take them, as well as the views of the Royal Commission, fully into account in reaching their decision.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)
The remarkably moderate speech of the Under-Secretary is likely to do very little to satisfy his hon. Friends behind him.
§ Mr. Page
His hon. Friends are here tonight—even his hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck), who is a great one for interjecting when seated—to try to drive through a Bill which they consider to be extremely important. The Government seem to be adopting a posture of armed neutrality, but with more neutrality than they have arms.
The Under-Secretary is, I think, absolutely right in saying that we have waited three or four years for Donovan, so why should the Government or the House now be expected to take a view on one detailed aspect of the Donovan Report? We have been waiting for Donovan on unconstitutional strikes, on industrial relations and on a new system of industrial courts to settle industrial disputes. Why should the Government suddenly go out of their way to support, or not support—because the Under-Secretary is clear in his neutrality—the objects of the Bill tonight?
The Donovan Commission was almost equally neutral in its findings in paragraph 252. Having expressed disapproval, it did not think that this was a sufficiently important matter about which to legislate.
All I would say to the Under-Secretary and to hon. Members opposite is that this is an important subject which the House should discuss. We are awaiting the White Paper. We are to examine it and dissect it. It seems strange—my hon. Friends and I find it almost inexplicable—that at the last moment of this Parliamentary Session a reason should be found for this detailed Bill.
There is a strong argument for saying that if a man wishes to join a trade union he should be allowed to do so. Our 1709 Conservative policy has laid the foundations for saying that when we come back to office, if a majority of employees in a company wish to join a trade union, that union should be recognised.
Equally, if any hon. Member accepts the view that a man or woman should be allowed to join a trade union with rules which at present are very flexible, I cannot see why that man or woman should not be allowed to join a friendly society or other organisation with equally flexible rules.
The Bill tries to change the rules of a certain friendly society. What I think is surprising, considering all the large numbers of trade unions, which have their rules, which may or may not be misunderstood by the public at large, is that no effort is being made to change those rules, and it would be interesting to hear from a e Under-Secretary of State whether he feels that when the White Paper comes out new regulations for the vetting or registration of trade union rules will be included in the Government's forward look at their trade union thinking for the future.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I am following what the hon. Member says about the rights of a member of a union to transfer to a friendly society, but I wonder whether he would reconcile that with the following passage of what, I admit, is in many ways a useful and constructive document, the Tory policy document, "Fair Deal at Work", which, on page 25, states, as one of the recommendations:Those who are already members of a union should not be required to transfer to another
§ Mr. Page
That is at the bottom of page 25:Those who are already members of a union should not be required to transfer to another".It is surely a question that the rules of a union or friendly society must stand on equal terms, on the basis of the argument which the hon. Gentleman has presented.
I have no argument with what the hon. Gentleman said tonight. All that my hon. Friends and I feel is that it is strange, to say the least, that at this 1710 advanced moment the Bill is being brought forward, a Bill which seems to try to circumscribe, in advance of the decisions which are to be made by the Government in their White Paper, and confirmed, or not, by the House, after Donovan, whether the rules of the friendly society which we are discussing tonight should or should not be changed.
I myself feel that this is an inappropriate moment for this rather small and detailed aspect to be discussed, and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State's hon. Friends will accept from him the sensible, neutral view that this matter should be discussed in the context of Donovan as a whole. We are looking forward to discussing that because it has immense possibiilties for us all.
I hope that hon. Members opposite will take the bigger view rather than just the parochial view and accept what, I think, is the Under-Secretary's recommendation, that the discussion tonight should be considered useful in the context of Donovan, but that they should follow his lead and not press to a Division this Bill, which is presented on a very factional basis.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)
The House desires to come to a conclusion on this Bill. Therefore I shall not detain hon. Members for any length of time. I will just say, in relation to what the hon. Member for Harrow West (Mr. John Page) said, that this Bill does not arise from Donovan. This has a long history starting long before the Donovan Commission came into operation. This struggle has gone on for very many years. The Bill does not arise from Donovan but is a culmination, I hope, of a struggle which has taken place against a number of antediluvian firms applying anti-trade union practices. We pray Donovan in aid, it is true, but in precisely the same way we prayed in aid the Report of the Prices and Incomes Board.
Therefore, the question of waiting until the whole of Donovan is debated and legislated upon does not arise. The Government are right to say that this is an issue which has been pending for a long time, that the House is entitled to come to a view tonight one way or the other and that the decision should not be delayed any further.
1711 Having listened to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) and others, I am still awaiting the justification for the remarkable and anachronistic clauses 7 and 11 in the rules of this Society. Why are they there? We do not know. There seems to be an attempt completely to misrepresent the objectives in the Bill or to misunderstand it. The Bill does not impose on anyone the obligation to join a trade union.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
Does it not make it illegal for a society of non-trade unionists to remain a society of non-trade unionists? That is what the Bill is about.
§ Mr. Silverman
It alters the Society's rules. It does not make any member of the Society who desires to remain a non-trade unionist join a trade union. That is the point. It is no use hon. Members opposite pretending otherwise. The Bill is not an attack on anyone's liberty. Indeed, it is an enlargement of people's liberty to join a trade union without a penal sanction.
§ Mr. Edward M. Taylor
From the hon. Gentleman's long experience, which I respect, can he give a guarantee that, in his opinion, in the event of these rules being removed no one will be forced to join a trade union?
§ Mr. Silverman
I am dealing with the Bill and not with the question of forcing people to join a trade union. It does not force anyone to join a trade union. If a man desires to remain a non-trade unionist, nothing in the Bill makes him join a trade union. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent the purpose of the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman suggested that the Bill provides a financial disincentive only. Every penalty is a financial disincentive. A court fine is a financial disincentive. It is a euphemistic way of saying that one is penalising trade unionists for being trade unionists. That is precisely the point we are objecting to.
The hon. Gentleman also suggested that we want to destroy the Society. There is nothing in the Bill that would do so. It is, after all, a friendly society whose sole function is to distribute benefits among its members. If that is so, why should it be inconsistent with trade unionism? Why should it be impossible 1712 for people to be members of both? We suggest that, in substance, this is simply a device by certain employers—and not a democratic device—to discourage trade unionism in a certain section of industry.
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) rather gave the game away when he propounded the philosophy that managerial staffs should be part of management and should not be members of a trade union—that there should be confrontation between management and supervisory staffs on the one hand and manual workers on the other. Some of us, and most employers, believe that that is an outdated philosophy. We believe that it is possible for supervisory staffs conscientiously to perform their duties to management without any question of confrontation and at the same time to be members of a trade union which negotiates their conditions. In that respect our philosophy is very different from that propounded by the hon. Member for Hallam.
§ Mr. J. H. Osborn
Where would it end? Has the managing director of every company to be a member of a trade union?
§ Mr. Silverman
Why not, if he wants to join? I assure the hon. Gentleman that the union of which I am a member—not a sponsored member—invites managers to join. Many people in high executive positions join unions. I see no objection to this. We believe that the old idea that supervisory staff and draughtsmen are simply an extension of management and that there is a division between them and the blue-collar worker is wrong in principle, bad for industry, and against public policy. I therefore hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
I intervene because I believe that it will meet the convenience of the House if I do so now. I shall be brief for the same reason.
It has been suggested that the House should not reach a decision this evening because we have not had the advice of either Front Bench. This is a good reason for the House to take the initiative and reach a decision. Both Front Benches have had the same opportunities as we 1713 have had to discuss and examine the Donovan Report. Therefore, hon Members should be able to take their own decision and express their opinions individually. We may be setting a very good precedent tonight in taking this Opportunity to reach a decision, without the guidance of the Front Benches, on an issue which, although it affects only the membership of this union, is undoubtedly a matter of wider public importance.
We are concerned with two rules of a friendly society which are discriminatory against trade unionism. It can be argued—indeed, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) so argued—that, if discrimination is prevented, somebody's freedom and independence are interfered with. This is true. If we had been arguing this matter 50 or 60 years ago, the hon. Gentleman would have had much more support on his own side. He knows full well that he represents a tiny fraction of his party now when he seeks to justify discrimination against trade unionism. This is what we are concerned about.
We must look to what guidance we have. We have the two Conventions of the International Labour Office. We have the National Board for Prices and Incomes, which may appeal to some hon. Members and not to others. We have the fair wages resolution, which is the view of the House. Now we have the
§ Report of the Donovan Commission, which was the body to which the parties to this dispute referred their dispute. They argued the case before the Commission. The Commission decided unanimously that this was a discriminatory practice which was against the public interest and against public policy.
§ That is all that the House is being asked to decide tonight. The exercise of this discrimination—this is why we are discussing this under the Private Bill procedure—is greatly to the prejudice of the members of one trade union. The House should have no hesitation in affirming overwhelmingly that this is a practice which should cease. It is not an interference with the rights of the friendly society. It is an interference with the action of the friendly society in discriminating against people who wish to be members of trade unions.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
As there are no Members seeking to speak, the hon. Member may regard that as superfluous.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 125, Noes 9.1715
|Division No. 312.]||AYES||[9.6 p.m.|
|Archer, Peter||Finch, Harold||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McBride, Neil|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Ford, Ben||MacDermot, Niall|
|Beaney, Alan||Forrester, John||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Freeson, Reginald||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgton)||Gourlay, Harry||Mackie, John|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Booth, Albert||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Gregory, Arnold||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Brooks, Edwin||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Manuel, Archie|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Carmichael, Neil||Harper, Joseph||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Coe, Denis||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Coleman, Donald||Hattersley, Roy||Millan, Bruce|
|Concannon, J. D.||Heffer, Eric S.||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hilton, W. S.||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hooley, Frank|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Howie, W.||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Dell, Edmund||Huckfield, Leslie||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Dewar, Donald||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Newens, Stan|
|Doig, Peter||Hunter, Adam||Norwood, Christopher|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Cwyneth (Exeter)||Hynd, John||O'Malley, Brian|
|Dunwoody, Or. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Jeger,Mrs,Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Eadie, Alex||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull. W.)||Orme, Stanley|
|Ellis, John||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Kenyon, Clifford||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Skeffington, Arthur||Whitaker, Ben|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Slater, Joseph||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Pentland, Norman||Small, William||Whitlock, William|
|Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Snow, Julian||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire W.)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.||Swingler, Stephen||Williams, Mrs. Shirey (Hitchin)|
|Roebuck, Roy||Tinn, James||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Urwin, T. W.||Winnick, David|
|Ryan, John||Wallace, George|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford S.)||Watkins, David (Consett)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Short, Mrs. Renée(W'hampton,N.E.)||Weitzman, David||Mr. James Dickens and|
|Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Mr. Peter Jackson.|
|Bell, Ronald||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Biffen, John||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington||Mr. John Osborn and|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Smith, John (London & W'minster)||M. Edward M. Taylor.|
|Monro, Hector||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
Bill accordingly read a Second time and referred to the Examiners.
Ordered, That the Promoters of the Foremen and Staff Mutual Benefit Society (Application of Rules) etc. (No. 2) Bill shall have leave to suspend Proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further Proceedings and that all fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;
Ordered, That on the third day on which the House sits in the next Session the Bill shall be presented to the House;
Ordered, That there shall be deposited with the Bill a Declaration signed by the Agents for the Bill, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as Bill presented to this House, in the present Session;
Ordered, That the Bill shall be laid upon the Table of the House by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office on the next meeting of the House after the day on which the Bill has been presented, and when so laid, shall be read the first and second time (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read) and shall stand referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills;
Ordered, That any petition presented in the present Session against the Bill shall stand referred to the Committee to whom the Bill may be committed in the next Session;
Ordered, That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any Proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;
Ordered, That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.—[The Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means.]
[To be communicated to the Lords.]