HC Deb 29 July 1971 vol 822 cc814-66

Lords Amendment: No. 21, in page 9, line 18, after "application" insert "(a)".

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we are to take the following Lords Amendments:

No. 22, in page 9, line 22, after ("ineffective") insert: ("or (b) such a question, although not yet in dispute, is likely to become the subject of a dispute if an agency shop agreement is made in pursuance of the application, and would in that event be likely, until settled, to make that agreement ineffective").

No. 23, in page 9, line 23, after ("Court") insert: ("and to the trade union, trade unions, joint negotiating panel or employer who made the application").

The Solicitor-General

As a result of the severance which I announced in the last debate, these Amendments now arise before we reach No. 24 and No. 284, and the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) may reach that point when we come to it. I doubt whether the hon. Member ever actually relaxes, but he can relax comparatively for a moment or two.

These three Amendments are linked. They are Amendments to Clause 11 and involve requiring the C.I.R. to postpone the holding of a ballot on an agency shop agreement in rather more extended circumstances than the Clause did originally. As Clause 11(1) stood, when a ballot for an agency shop agreement had been requested and it appeared to the C.I.R. that there was in dispute an underlying question about a matter of recognition, the C.I.R. was required to report to that effect to the court and not to proceed with the ballot until the recognition dispute had been disposed of.

The Amendments require the C.I.R. to behave in exactly the same way if it appears to it that, although a recognition question has not yet actually broken out into dispute, it is likely to do so if an agency shop agreement is made as wide as is proposed. This to some extent meets the point made by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton). It would be pointless to make use of the machinery for deciding whether workers to be covered by the agreement wished to have an agency shop until one was clear about the proper scope of the agreement. The Amendments enable the C.I.R. to anticipate such a point arising and to ask, "What is the point of having this agency shop ballot until we are clear whether the workers concerned will wear the proposal that they should be represented by this union?" They extend the situation in which the C.I.R. may postpone the ballot in that way.

Amendment No. 23 is designed to meet a slightly different matter. If the C.I.R. reaches that kind of conclusion and is proposing to report to the court that a ballot is likely to be ineffective on that point, it should report at the same time to the trade union, or trade unions' joint panel, or the employer, making the application so that everyone knows that for the moment the matter is being postponed.

I hope that that explains the underlying issue about which the hon. Member for Bassetlaw was concerned and the effect of the three Amendments.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

From what the Solicitor-General was saying it seems that the Commission for Industrial Relations will be able to substitute its own judgment for the judgment of trade unions about whether it is worth going ahead with an agency shop agreement. The Amendments, taken in conjunction with the other provisions necessary to obtain an agency shop agreement, remind one of the lines of Christopher Marlowe: My men like satyrs grazing on the lawns, Shall with their goat-feet dance an antic hay. This is another antic hay which must be danced by the trade union before it can get what is now enjoyed by many trade unions and endorsed by many employers and working well.

5.0 p.m.

This is another twist to the quadrille to be deuced by trade unions so that they may get something which is a little like the present 100 per cent. membership. We have heard from time to time about "Alice in Wonderland." This method is yet another delaying tactic to prevent a union from getting an agency shop. If the Solicitor-General had to translate the lines from Lewis Carroll: Will you walk a little faster" said a whiting to a snail, There's a porpoise just close behind us, and he's treading on my tail". he would translate it as: If a question arises as to whether the porpoise is about to tread on the whiting, it will have a sharp request to withdraw from the dance until that dispute is settled. That is the ridicule which is being brought upon this operation.

The Solicitor-General

Would the hon. Gentleman not acknowledge that this is the purpose of the exercise? Suppose a large union makes a claim for an agency shop and there is a small union whose claim to represent the workers in the shop has not yet been disposed of. If the C.I.R. saw that by going ahead with the agency shop ballot it would be excluding the small union—[Interruption.]—where a recognition dispute was likely to arise—

Mr. Orme

The Government are creating the dispute.

The Solicitor-General

No, the dispute is there, underlying it. If the C.I.R. was satisfied that if it turned to the small union and said, like the Red Queen, "Off with his head !" the dispute would go underground and burst out again, then it would be entitled to defer the ballot. It is not creating a difficult situation, it is enabling the C.I.R. to avoid a difficulty which would otherwise be inevitable.

Mr. Fraser

It seems that it is creating a situation whereby a premium is placed upon a trade union dispute. It might not be a trade union which is creating the likelihood of a dispute, it might be an employer who has decided that under certain circumstances if he encourages a group of people in the works to make a separate recognition application it would delay the application to the Court for an agency shop.

I must take issue with my hon. Friends who say that this Bill is a lawyers' paradise. Practising lawyers do not like difficult law and difficult procedures. They would prefer simplified procedures because their experience is that when there are complicated procedures, such as those involved in discharging restrictive covenants, people do not use them. When there is a dispute about a restrictive covenant in property law the procedure is usually so complicated that people choose to take out an insurance policy, ignoring the lawyers altogether.

This is not Amendment 22, it is "Catch 22". Anyone who knows about "Catch 22" knows that it is about Yosarian who wants to get out of the American Air Force and the only ground upon which he can get out is that of madness. "Catch 22" is that if he applies to get out he must be sane. This is how the Bill operates.

I can see the agency shop scene. It starts with the Minister telling a trade union, "I want strong and responsible trade unions" and the trade union saying, "We are a strong and responsible trade union, we have 100 per cent. closed shop and we want to continue operating that way, so we have no quarrel." "Ah !", says the Minister, 'There's a catch. You are not a trade union because trade unions are what I choose to call trade unions. You have to be registered under the Act, you have got to go through the hoop." The unions says, "Reluctantly we have become a trade union and now we will use the strength which we have, which is equal to the employers' strength and we will have a strike to get 100 per cent. closed shop." "Ah !" says the Minister, "there's a catch. You cannot do that because that would be an unfair industrial practice, because it might restrict someone's right under Section 5." The union says, "Fair enough, our members are so incensed by this situation that they will withdraw their labour, in breach of their contracts of employment." "Ah, Catch 22", says the Minister. I have amended the definition of a strike and even if you give up your work it still amounts to a strike." So the union says, "We'll do what you say, we'll apply to the Court for an agency shop." "Ah!" says the Minister, "you cannot do that, there is a catch. First you have got to be a recognised trade union and if the employer refuses to recognise you you have to go through the first procedure for recognition before you can make an application to have an agency shop." The union says, "We have done that already and we will now make an application to get something approximating to what we had in the first place as a responsible trade union—our 100 per cent. shop." "Ah," says the Minister, "Catch 22. There is likely to be a dispute as to whether someone will raise a recognition issue." That is the situation. We are in the realm of fantasy.

Mr. Harold Walker

May I offer a quotation which I threw across the Committee a few minutes ago: Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!

Mr. Fraser

I agree. This has become legal fantasy, a legal quadrille. Let us get back to first principles.

An Industrial Relations Bill is based upon improving industrial relations. Let us compare the procedure in the Bill with the basic recommendations in Donovan which was that we ought to have a speedy settlement of disputes. Does anyone imagine that the procedure set out here, terminating with Amendment No. 22 will lead to a speedy settlement of disputes? Donovan recommended that we should reduce the multiplicity of unions and it is clear that we will have better industrial relations when there are fewer unions dealing with employers. Once again a premium is being placed upon creating a situation where there is likely to be a recognition dispute. I can imagine the situation which might arise with a small group of workers over an agency dispute. They might get some advice from the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward). She may say to her few "professional engineers", "Look, you can wreck this thing, you can raise the likelihood—you do not have to make an application—of there being a dispute and tell the C.I.R. and the matter will be put off." If hon. Members opposite believe the Minister when he says that this will improve industrial relations they are severely mistaken. This is a case of the bland leading the blind. We on this side are not blind to the problems that will be created. Let us contrast one case already dealt with by the Commission for Industcial Relations—the recognition dispute at B.S.R. Kilbride—which was solved by the intervention of the C.I.R. I do not think it was an agency shop problem. The C.I.R. intervened after a long and bitter struggle and, without the necessity of court intervention, was able to solve the dispute. Compare that as it operates at the moment on a voluntary basis, with the procedure outlined here and it will be seen that this is sheer Lewis Carroll madness.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Robert Carr)

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that if private parties are willing there is nothing to stop that happening again. This is when the parties will not use the simple procedure.

Mr. Fraser

This is where the Minister is mistaken. At the moment, parties can voluntarily agree on recognition procedures. Let us look at the Kilbride case. There the union had to strike to achieve recognition. Under these provisions they cannot strike to achieve recognition or to set up an agency shop. The Minister is encouraging employers to resist the approaches of the trade unions to get an agency shop. At the moment if there is no voluntary agreement, it comes to a trial of strength, and the union can come out on strike. But under the Bill they cannot. Under those circumstances the Minister is putting pressure upon the employer to resist the demands of the trade union for the agency shop—to make it possible for him to do so through this intricate legal procedure— and is thereby delaying agreement being reached—going back to the Kilbride case —which is the right way to do it.

Mr. Carr

I am sure that the hon. Member is not intentionally misleading the House. We are providing an alternative means of pressure for the union in a case such as that which he has mentioned. In that case, because of the lack of any machinery such as this, a union felt it necessary to call a strike as the only means of applying pressure. The object of the Bill and the other forms of machinery that have been set up is to provide an alternative to industrial warfare for solving disputes that cannot be solved in other ways.

Mr. Fraser

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will answer me by way of intervention. Is he now saying that a trade union can come out on strike to achieve an agency shop?

Mr. Carr

No. I am sure that I have made it clear that if they cannot persuade the employer, instead of having to come out on strike, or feel that they have to come out on strike because there is no other effective machinery, the Bill provides machinery other than industrial warfare by which they can exert pressure.

Mr. Fraser

The right hon. Gentleman should answer the question directly. I agree that he is creating some kind of machinery, but he is saying to the trade unions, "In future, you cannot come out on strike to achieve an agency shop". That is the correct interpretation, is it not?

Mr. Carr

Of course—and is not it a good thing for the whole of the community, as well as for employees and for the prosperity of the firm concerned, that we should first have to try peaceful means —provided those peaceful means are available—before striking and doing all the damage that is caused by a strike.

Mr. Fraser

I agree that we ought to achieve machinery that leads to the peaceful settlement of disputes. Most people would endorse that. Our quarrel is not with that objective. Of course it is better to have a peaceful means of settling disputes. That is why my right hon. Friend set up the Commission for Industrial Relations. What we object to is the long, elaborate, intricate procedure that has to take place before the Industrial Court, as an alternative to being able to come out on strike.

The Solicitor-General

Does not the hon. Member understand the three-fold pattern? On the one hand, the parties can go, quite voluntarily—as they can now—to the Commission for Industrial Relations. Secondly, they can go through this machinery to get the dispute resolved as an alternative to strike action. The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) says that that involves delay, but delay is a small price to pay for the peaceful resolution of a dispute without unnecessary resort to industrial action.

Mr. Fraser

I conclude by repeating two things. The Government are saying, "We are removing the right to put pressure on employers. The only sanction that a trade union has is to take the employer to court". The burden of my argument is that that sanction is not a very credible one when it can be frustrated by Catch 22; when it can be frustrated by the method of the ballot, which we shall come to later; when it can be frustrated by a whole series of things—frustrated even by a union's not being registered as a trade union.

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the operation of the York Agreement over the years heavily underlines his point?

Mr. Fraser

I agree entirely that the possibility of settling disputes speedily is lost. We are creating delay. All my experience leads me to believe that by creating this complicated and delaying procedure we are likely to throw up a whole series of disputes, leading to people having a contempt for the law. That is why we reject the Amendment.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. James Tinn (Cleveland)

The Amendment at least shows that the Government are becoming aware of the complexity of the field of industrial relations with which they are dealing— the question of relations between trade unions. To that extent, perhaps, the Amendment is to be welcomed, although the provisions that the Government are seeking to insert show a continued ignorance of the methods that the trade union movement has evolved to deal with these situations.

I speak as a member of the National Union of Blast Furnacemen—a minority union among the production workers in the steel industry. We have heard little about that industry in our debates; perhaps I should take some responsibility for that. The way in which the steel industry has evolved has meant that in various parts of the country potential conflicts exist between my union—the blast furnacemen—and the largest union of production workers, the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation.

The pattern that has grown up is quite illogical. In one part of the country my union will organise a group of workers, such as the locomotive drivers who take the iron from the blast furnaces to the steel melting shops; in another part of the country the other union may do so. To that extent the Government may feel that the provisions they are seeking to insert will give some protection to a minority union like mine, against the eventuality of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation seeking to obtain an agency shop that would exclude the rights for all or some of the categories of worker that my union has previously represented.

I appreciate the difficulty. I accept that possibility. My point is that the very development of the movement has created that problem. But, similarly, the movement has developed its way of dealing with such problems. Our customary procedures, along the lines of the Bridlington Agreement—using the mechanisms provided by the T.U.C.—have been invaluable in the past, and have been very speedy and effective for resolving the conflicts which have arisen from time to time between our respective unions, to their mutual satisfaction.

I am disturbed and unhappy about the kind of legalistic procedure that is now being instituted. I do not think that it will contribute to the peaceful solution of such difficulties as I have mentioned. They have almost invariably been solved peacefully in the past, but they will now be subjected to delay.

The Solicitor-General

I acknowledge that that is a real point, but does not the hon. Gentleman also acknowledge that the Bill leaves it free to the parties to continue as they have done, in the steel industry, for example, to resolve this kind of dispute through the T.U.C. by voluntary means in whatever way they like? In some situations, such as that of the white-collar recognition dispute two or three years back, the dispute has not proved capable of resolution by the T.U.C., and this machinery is now available as the next stage—as an alternative—if voluntary means fail. There is nothing in the world to prevent unions continuing to use voluntary means to resolve disputes, exactly as they have done up till now.

Mr. Tinn

I welcome the Solicitor-General's intervention. I should like to feel that his assurance will work out in practice. If it does, he will have met my point to a considerable degree. But I do not share his confidence that it will work out in that way. I am registering my concern that far from contributing to industrial peace, in an industry like mine, which has been remarkably free from dispute, it may well do the reverse.

Mr. Orme

I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) who, in a most witty speech, demolished the Solicitor-General's case. Where, on the second day of our consideration of the Lords Amendments, he found his literary form, I just do not know, but he certainly has a capacity for it and he put the case very clearly indeed. The "Catch-22" analysis was absolutely perfect in the circumstances.

The Solicitor-General and the Secretary of State keep saying that the normal negotiations will not be affected, but the point is that there are all sorts of difficulties in industry, and we gave some examples of them yesterday. For instance, the Toolmakers' Society within the engineering industry is not recognised by the T.U.C., and there is the Newcastle situation, and the problem of employees in insurance—and in banking, where there is conflict between a union recognised by the T.U.C and a company union. Such a union would be able to wreak havoc by preventing the setting up of an agency shop or normal negotiations or by delaying matters almost indefinitely.

The Solicitor-General has not answered the point made from this side that his proposal will have a detrimental effect on industrial relations as we know them because it will openly encourage the very sort of thing we are talking about—delays and disputes between organisations. The T.U.C. has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to get rid of inter-union disputes. While it is agreed they have occurred, and will occur from time to time, they have been greatly reduced by the T.U.C and by its disputes committee in encouraging amalgamations. This proposal will not help that. There will be the problem of a major union in the T.U.C., and unregistered, and some small organisation which will be registered and which will claim to be representative of people at a plant and do so, perhaps, with the encouragement of the employers. This is one of the realities of life and it will be encouraged by the Government's proposal. Does the hon. Member want to interrupt me?

Mr. Adam Butler (Bosworth)

I apologise for intervening from a sedentary position. I was trying to point out to the hon. Member that the obvious solution to his dilemma is for the unions concerned to remain registered.

Mr. Orme

Yes, but there could be a situation in which there would be two registered unions, one recognised by the T.U.C. and one outside its confines. I am thinking of organisations which can spring up overnight, and to which encouragement is given, and where sectional interests are pursued. The technical section of my own union, the A.E.U., is having this trouble at the moment with labour-only sub-contractors and craftsmen who, perhaps for selfish reasons, like tax avoidance, are on short time. They are young and are not worried about sickness and security. Of course, when anything does go wrong they realise the problems and they come running back to the shelter of the castle walls. However, these are difficulties with which the trade union movement is dealing day in and day out. It only needs one or two employers to encourage such situations and we are in a real difficulty.

The Solicitor-General has yet to explain to the House how these disputes will be resolved within the terms of his own Bill. There will be delay in recognition of an agency shop in the hope that somebody will resolve the difficulty legally. If there is a conflict between a recognised trade union within the T.U.C. and a union which is a company union or outside the confines of the T.U.C., the only way it will be resolved will be by the employer playing one off against the other. The employer will take sides with the one and play it off against the other.

I hope that my hon. Friends will vote against both these Lords Amendments.

Mr. Ashton

What we really need in order to understand the Bill are some instances of disputes which have occurred in the past and of how this Bill, had it been in existence, could have been used to resolve them. That is the one thing the Government have not done—shown how the Bill could have resolved disputes. We have been given not one single instance by any Government spokesman or by any Member on the Government side.

I, too, would like to refer to the Tyne-side dispute and Parsons. We have never heard the point answered by the Government. It is a situation known as "U.K.A.P.E."—the United Kingdom Association of Professional Engineers, a non-strike, small, élitiste union of professional engineers, the top people, the cream responsible for running things. We in the Draughtsmen and Allied Technicians Association have always said that members of the U.K.A.P.E. are eligible to join our union and that we would welcome them, but our members, being democratic and following democratic decisions, sometimes want to take part in industrial disputes, and very often the professional engineers do not want to do so, and very often U.K.A.P.E. is encouraged by the employers.

Under the Bill D.A.TA. may apply for an agency shop. D.A.T.A. represents some 95 per cent. to 96 per cent. of the people in the industry and it will get an agency shop; the people in U.K.A.P.E., the professional engineers, knowing D.A.T.A. will get an agency shop, will be in a very difficult position and not be able to demand any rights of recognition at all for the 1 per cent. of non-strike people. So we shall have a situation under the Bill that U.K.A.P.E. members can come along to the management and say, "If you do not recognise U.K.A.P.E. we shall look for other jobs." Those are key people in very high positions and they can exert a great deal of pressure on management simply by saying, "If this is to be a closed shop, if we are to abide by the rules of D.A.T.A. and we have to subscribe to it or pay charitable contributions, we will look for other jobs."

The employer would then be justified in going to the Industrial Court and saying, "I shall be denuded of my chief engineers and professional experts. I shall not accept a ballot." One or another of the U.K.A.P.E. men may be in a key position, a critical job, in a factory. The employer would then be able to say, under the terms of Clause 11 and the Lords Amendment, that the agreement made with D.A.T.A. would be "ineffective" because he would be losing the cream of his executive staff who would be going to look for other jobs, unless U.K.A.P.E. were allowed to run things. Those people are very much in the minority in terms of numbers, but they can exert a great deal of pressure out of all proportion to their members, and they could render a ballot ineffective, despite the fact that the members of D.A.T.A. were overwhelmingly in favour of an agreement. That would be a case of U.K.A.P.E., the professional, non-striking union, putting in the thin edge of the wedge.

Two years ago there was a major strike at Parsons because of this. The strike cost my union a lot of money, it lost the firm many orders and caused much distress. If this part of the Bill would stop these strikes, there might be some value in it, but it will not, it will tend to make matters worse. Because there was a strike at Parsons, every other firm in the engineering industry made an analysis of the situation and then declared that they were not too keen on U.K.A.P.E. They stopped pushing the idea of an elitist union because they realised it was better for the elitist engineers to be in the existing engineering union.

5.30 p.m.

My white collar union has now joined with the union of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), which is a blue collar union, because it is to the advantage of everyone that all workers in the engineering industry should be in the same union. This not only gives them more strength but solves problems of recruiting, helps to stop disputes and encourages mutual help.

The Clause does not cater for minority interests. It encourages minority interests to cause the maximum amount of disturbance, and leaves the door wide open to the fragmentation of unions. In Pilkingtons the men tried to form a breakaway union, and this caused a great deal of disruption in the General and Municipal Workers' Union, but in view of the shortage of time I will not go into this. Will the Minister come forward with case studies of recent strikes and point out how they could have been avoided by the provision of this Bill?

Mr. James Lamond (Oldham, East)

I should like to supplement the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton), who is a colleague of mine in the Draughtsmen and Allied Technicians' Association. If a union is told that to proceed with a ballot would mean a dispute between two unions in a firm, does the Minister believe that an organisation such as U.K.A.P.E. would have any interest in getting together with D.A.T.A. through the auspices of the T.U.C. and settling the dispute so that a ballot can be held?

I was pleased to hear the Minister give recognition to the work the T.U.C. has done in settling disputes before they reached strike level. But neither the T.U.C. nor any other agency could resolve a dispute between two bodies one of which was resolutely against coming to an agreement with the other. Unlike hon. Gentlemen opposite, I have not found all employers to be responsible. Many employers would welcome this opportunity to encourage small unions so that a dispute could be reported and no further attempt be made to resolve the difficulty.

The Minister speaks of deferring the ballot, but how long does he think a ballot should be deferred to allow what could be a small minority of workers to come to their senses and recognise that their interest lies within a larger union?

Mrs. Castle

The whole House enormously enjoyed the brilliant speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) who stung the right hon. Gentleman to rise in a desperate attempt to convince the House that the elaborate apparatus of these Clauses was a simple alternative to strikes.

I am the first to agree with the right hon. Gentleman that a civilised society should be able to find an alternative to strike action when unions seek to enjoy the simple, basic right of combination, organisation and recognition by an employer. The right hon. Gentleman would have done far more to avoid recognition strikes if he had drawn up a Bill which reflected a passionate belief in trade unionism and which, instead of discouraging, had encouraged trade unionism and the recognition of unions. He would have done a great deal more if he had produced a code of industrial practice which set out as a head piece of its philosophy, as the Donovan Report did, that in a modern society a sane employer of course recognises trade unions and encourages trade unionism. We are still waiting for that kind of lead from the right hon. Gentleman.

Instead, we have this apparatus which he tells us is a simple alternative means of settling recognition disputes and therefore avoiding strikes. But the more we study it, the more we realise that we are exchanging a simple situation under which if unions want recognition they can organise and use their collective strength against the employer to secure it. The right hon. Gentleman knows that very often the existence of that collective strength and the threat to use it brings many an employer to his senses and solves the problem.

Unions are now being told that they are to be deprived of the use of that collective strength which has been the simplest and most effective means yet of securing recognition. They will not, in exchange, be given what Donovan wanted them to be given and what I wanted them to be given—a straightforward right to recognition on the recommendation of the C.I.R. That has gone, and in its place a labyrinth of procedures has to be gone through when the employer is unwilling to recognise a union.

Our starting point should be the denunciation by this House of employers who are unwilling to recognise trade unions. They are pre-Donovan, almost pre-Ark, and should be denounced as such. If an employer is unwilling to recognise a union, the union cannot take action against him. Instead, it must first apply to the industrial court for an agency shop. The industrial court refers the application to the C.I.R. and the C.I.R. has to hold a ballot to produce a majority which, even in the amended form we shall be discussing later, is a denial of democracy. If the union does not obtain the majority which the Government lay down, there can be no agency shop for two years. The union right has

totally disappeared. Even if the union wins the ballot and the agency shop is established after two years, it is constantly at risk from any dissident group or any group of non-unionists, and once again the majority ballot has to be faced.

The Amendment introduces a new and more elaborate impediment, a new delay. Now even the application to the C.I.R. and the Industrial Court can be delayed —not only if there is already a question in dispute, but if there is likely to be.

This is the last proof that this is not a Bill to smooth the path of industrial relations. It is a Bill produced by a Government which have got lost in their own legal tangle. The more they elaborate the Bill, the more nonsenses are created; and we then have to have more legal elaboration to deal with those nonsenses. This is why we shall divide the House on both these Amendments.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment: —

The House divided: Ayes 284. Noes 253.

Division No. 443.] AYES [5.41 p.m.
Adley, Robert Carlisle, Mark Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Alison Michaet (Barkston Ash) Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Fookes, Miss Janet
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Channon, Paul Foster, Sir John
Amery, Rt Hn. Julian Chapman, Sydney Fowler, Norman
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Chichester-Clark, R. Fox, Marcus
Aster, John Churchill, W. S. Fraser, Rt.Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)
Atkins, Humphrey Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fry, Peter
Awdry, Daniel Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Clegg, Walter Gardner, Edward
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Cockeram, Eric Gibson-Watt, David
Balniel, Lord Cooke, Robert Glyn, Dr. Aian
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Coombs, Derek Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Batsford, Brian Cooper, A. E. Goodhart, Philip
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Goodhew, Victor
Bell, Ronald Cormack, Patrick Gorst, John
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Costain, A. P. Gower, Raymond
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Critchley, Julian Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Benyon, W. Crouch, David Gray, Hamish
Berry, Hn. Anthony Crowder, F. P. Green, Aian
Biffen, John Curran, Charles Grieve, Percy
Biggs-Davison, John d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Blaker, Peter d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen.James Grylls, Michael
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Dean, Paul Gummer, Selwyn
Body, Richard Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Gurden, Harold
Boscawen, Robert Digby, Simon Wingfield Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Bossom, Sir Clive Dixon, Piers Halt, John (Wycombe)
Bowden, Andrew Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Braine, Bernard Dykes, Hugh Hannam, John (Exeter)
Bray, Ronald Eden, Sir John Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Brewis, John Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Haselhurst, Alan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hastings, Stephen
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Emery, Peter Havers, Michael
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Eyre, Reginald Hawkins, Paul
Bryan, Paul Farr, John Hay, John
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Fell, Anthony Heseltine, Michael
Buck, Antony Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Hicks, Robert
Bullus, Sir Eric Fidler, Michael Higgins, Terence L.
Burden, F. A. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Hiley, Joseph
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Moate, Roger Simeons, Charles
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Molyneaux, James Sinclair, Sir George
Holland, Philip Money, Ernle Skeet, T. H. H.
Holt, Miss Mary Monks, Mrs. Connie Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hordern, Peter Monro, Hector Soref, Harold
Hornby, Richard Montgomery, Fergus Speed, Keith
Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia More, Jasper Spence, John
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Sproat, lain
Howell, David (Guildford) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stanbrook, Ivor
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Steel, David
Hunt, John Mudd, David Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Murton, Oscar Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Iremonger, T. L. Nabarro, Sir Gerald Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
James, David Neave, Airey Stokes, John
Jessel, Toby Nicholls, Sir Harmar Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Normanton, Tom Sutcliffe, John
Jopling, Michael Nott, John Tapsell, Peter
Kaberry, Sir Donald Onslow, Cranley Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Kershaw, Anthony Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Kilfedder, James Osborn, John Tebbit, Norman
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Kinsey, J. R. Page, Graham (Crosby) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Kirk, Peter Page, John (Harrow, W.) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Knox, David Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lane, David Peel, John Tilney, John
Langford-Holt, Sir John Percival, Ian Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Trew, Peter
Le Marchant, Spencer Pike, Miss Mervyn Tugendhat, Christopher
Lloyd, Lan (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Pink, R. Bonner Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Longden, Gilbert Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch van Straubenzee, W. R.
Loveridge, John Price, David (Eastleigh) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Luce, R. N. Proudfoot, Wilfred Vickers, Dame Joan
McAdden, Sir Stephen Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
MacArthur, Ian Quennell, Miss J. M. Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
McCrindle, R. A. Raison, Timothy Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
McLaren, Martin Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Walters, Dennis
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Redmond, Robert Ward, Dame Irene
McMaster, Stanley Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Warren, Kenneth
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Rees, Peter (Dover) Weatherill, Bernard
McNair-Wilson, Michael Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John (Maidstone)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David White, Roger (Gravesend)
Maddan, Martin Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Madel, David Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
Maginnis, John E. Ridsdale, Julian Wilkinson, John
Marten, Neil Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Mather, Carol Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Maude, Angus Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Woodnutt, Mark
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Rost, Peter Worsley, Marcus
Mawby, Ray Russell, Sir Ronald Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Younger, Hn. George
Meyer, Sir Anthony Scott, Nicholas
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Scott-Hopkins, James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Miscampbell, Norman Sharples, Richard Mr. Hugh Rossi and
Mitchell, Lt. -Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W.) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Mr. Tim Fortescue.
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Albu, Austen Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Davies, Denzil (Lianelly)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Buchan, Norman Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Allen, Scholefield Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'bum) Davies, Ifor (Cower)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Butler Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Armstrong, Ernest Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)
Ashley, Jack Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)
Ashton, Joe Carmichael, Neil Deakins, Eric
Atkinson, Norman Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Delargy, H. J.
Barnes, Michael Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Dempsey, James
Barnett, Joel Cohen, Stanley Doig, Peter
Beaney, Aian Coleman, Donald Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Concannon, J. D. Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgton) Conlan, Bernard Driberg, Tom
Bidwell, Sydney Corbet, Mrs. Freda Duffy, A. E. P.
Bishop, E. S. Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Dunnett, Jack
Blenkinsop, Arthur Crawshaw, Richard Eadie, Alex
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Cronin, John Edelman, Maurice
Booth, Albert Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arhur Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) Edwards, William (Merioneth)
Bradley, Tom Dalyell, Tam Ellis, Tom
Brown, Bob (N'c't1e-upon-Tyne, W.) Darling, Rt. Hn. Georgs English, Michael
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Davidson, Arthur Evans, Fred
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Richard, Ivor
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham. N.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roberts, Rt. Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Foot. Michael Lipton, Marcus Robertson, John (Paisley)
Ford, Ben Lomas, Kenneth Roderick, Caewryn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Forrester, John Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Fraser, John (Norwood) McBride, Neil Roper, John
Freeson, Reginald McCann, John Rose, Paul B.
Galpern, Sir Myer McCartney, Hugh Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Garrett, W. E. McElhone, Frank Sandelson, Neville
Gilbert, Dr. John McGuire, Michael Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Ginsburg, David Mackenzie, Gregor Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mackie, John Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Gourlay, Harry Maclennan, Robert Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Grant, George (Morpeth) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) McNamara, J. Kevin Silverman, Julius
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Skinner, Dennis
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Small, William
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marks, Kenneth Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marquand, David Spearing, Nigel
Handing, William Marsden, F. Spriggs, Leslie
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Stallard, A. W.
Hardy, Peter Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Harper, Joseph Meacher, Michael Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mendelson, John Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Millan, Bruce Strang, Gavin
Heffer, Eric S. Miller, Dr. M. S. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Hilton, W. S. Milne, Edward (Blyth) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Horam, John Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Taverne, Dick
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Molloy, William Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Huckfield, Leslie Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Hughes, Rt. Hn.Cledwyn (Anglesey) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Tinn, James
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Tomney, Frank
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Moyle, Roland Torney, Tom
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Tuck, Raphael
Hunter, Adam Murray, Ronald King Urwin, T. W.
Irvin, Rt. Hn.Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Ogden, Eric Varley, Eric G.
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas O'Halloran, Michael Wainwright, Edwin
Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras, S.) O'Malley, Brian Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Oram, Bert Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
John, Brynmor Orme, Stanley Wallace, George
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Watkins, David
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Padley, Walter Weitzman, David
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Paget, R. T. Wellbeloved, James
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Palmer, Arthur wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Whitehead, Phillip
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Parker, John (Dagenham) Whitlock, William
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Judd, Frank Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Williams, ALan (Swansea, W.)
Kaufman, Gerald Pendry, Tom Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Kelley, Richard Pentland, Norman Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Kerr, Russell Perry, Ernest G. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Kinnock, Neil Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Lambie, David Prescott, John Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Lamond, James Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Woof, Robert
Latham, Arthur Probert, Arthur
Lawson, George Reed, D. (Sedgefield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Leadbitter, Ted Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Mr. John Golding and
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Rhodes, Geoffrey Mr. James A. Dunn.
Leonard, Dick

Lords Amendment: No. 22 in page 9, line 22, after "ineffective" insert: or (b) such a question, although not yet in dispute, is likely to become the subject of a dispute if an agency shop agreement is made in pursuance of the application, and would

in that event be likely, until settled, to make that agreement ineffective".

Motion made, and Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment: —

The House divided: Ayes 283, Noes 255.

Division No. 444.] AYES [5.50 p.m.
Adley, Robert Atkins, Humphrey Batsford, Brian
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Awdry, Daniel Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Bainiel, Lord Benyon, W.
Astor, John Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Berry, Hn. Anthony
Biffen, John Gurden, Harold Mudd, David
Biggs-Davison, John Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Murton, Oscar
Blaker, Peter Hall, John (Wycombe) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Neave, Airy
Body, Richard Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Boscawen, Robert Hannam, John (Exeter) Normanton, Tom
Bossom, Sir Clive Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Nott, John
Bowden, Andrew Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Onslow, Cranley
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Haselhurst, ALan Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Braine, Bernard Hastings, Stephen Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bray, Ronald Havers, Michael Osborn, John
Brewis, John Hawkins, Paul Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hay, John Page, Graham (Crosby)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Heseltine, Michael Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hicks, Robert Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Higgins, Terence L. Peel, John
Bryan, Paul Hiley, Joseph Percival, Ian
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Buck, Antony Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Bullus, Sir Eric Holland, Philip Pink, R. Bonner
Burden, F. A. Holt, Miss Mary Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hordern, Peter Price, David (Eatleigh)
Carlisle, Mark Hornby, Richard Proudfoot, Wilfred
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Pym, Rt. Hn. Francls
Channon, Paul Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Chapman, Sydney Howell, David (Guildford) Raison, Timothy
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Churchill, W. S. Hunt, John Redmond, Robert
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Iremonger, T. L. Rees, Peter (Dover)
Cockeram, Eric James, David Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooke, Robert Jessell, Toby Renten, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Coombs, Derek Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cooper, A. E. Jopling, Michael Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Cormack, Patrick Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Costain, A. P. Kershaw, Anthony Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Critchley, Julian Kilfedder, James Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Crouch, David King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Crowder, F. P. Kinsey, J. R. Rost, Peter
Curran, Charles Kirk, Peter Russell, Sir Ronald
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Knox, David Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
d'Avigdor-Coldsmid, Maj.-Gen.James Lane, David Scott, Nicholas
Dean, Paul Langford-Holt, Sir John Scott-Hopkins, James
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sharples, Richard
Digby, Simon Wingfield Le Marchant, Spencer Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dixon, Piers Lewis, Kenneth (RutLand) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Lloyd, Lan (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Simeons, Charles
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Longden, Gilbert Sinclair, Sir George
Dykes, Hugh Loveridge, John Skeet, T. H. H.
Eden, Sir John Luce, R. N. Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) McAdden, Sir Stephen Soref, Harold
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) MacArthur, Ian Spence, John
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) McCrindle, R. A. Sproat, lain
Emery, Peter McLaren, Martin Stanbrook, Ivor
Eyre, Reginald Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Steel, David
Fell, Anthony McMaster, Stanley Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Fenner, Mr. Peggy MacmilLan, Maurice (Farnham) Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Fidler, Michael McNair-Wilson, Michael Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Stokes, John
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Maddan, Martin Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Fookes, Miss Janet Madel, David Sutcliffe, John
Fortescue, Tim Maginnis, John E. Tapsell, Peter
Foster, Sir John Marten, Neil Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fowler, Norman Mather, Carol Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Fox, Marcus Maude, Angus Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Tebbit, Norman
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Gardner, Edward Meyer, Sir Anthony Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Gibson-Watt, David Mills, Peter (Torrington) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Glyn, Dr. ALan Miscampbell, Norman Tilney, John
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Mitchell, Lt.Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Goodhart, Philip Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Trew, Peter
Goodhew, Victor Moate, Roger Tugendhat, Christopher
Gorst, John Molyneaux, James Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Gower, Raymond Money, Ernle van Straubenzee, W. R.
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Monks, Mrs. Connie Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Gray, Hamish Monro, Hector Vickers, Dame Joan
Green, Alan Montgomery, Fergus Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Grieve, Percy More, Jasper Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Grylls, Michael Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Walters, Dennis
Gummer, Selwyn Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Ward, Dame Irene Wiggin, Jerry Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Warren, Kenneth Wilkinson, John Younger, Hn. George
weatherill, Bernard Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Wells, John (Maidstone) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
White, Roger (Gravesend) Woodnutt, Mark Mr. Keith Speed and
Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William Worsley, Marcus Mr. Walter Clegg.
Albu, Austen Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackenzie, Gregor
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mackie, John
Allen, scholefield Foot, Michael Maclennan, Robert
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Ford, Ben McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Armstrong, Ernest Forrester, John McNamara, J. Kevin
Ashley, Jack Fraser, John (Norwood) Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Ashton, Joe Freeson, Reginald Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Atkinson, Norman Galpern, Sir Myer Marks, Kenneth
Bagier, Cordon A. T. Garrett, W. E. Marquand, David
Barnes, Michael Gilbert, Dr. John Marsden, F.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Ginsburg, David Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Barnett, Joel Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Beaney, Alan Gourlay, Harry Meacher, Michael
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Grant, George (Morpeth) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mendelson, John
Bidwell, Sydney Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Millan, Bruce
Bishop, E. S. Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, ltchen)
Booth, Albert Hamling, William Molloy, William
Bottemley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hannan, William (C'gow, Maryhill) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Bradley, Tom Hardy, Peter Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Harper, Joseph Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Moyle, Roland
Buchan, Norman Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Buchanan. Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Heffer, Eric S. Mulley, Ronald King
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hilton, W. S. Ogden, Eric
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Horam, John O'Halloran, Michael
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas O'Malley, Brian
Carmichael, Neil Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oram, Bert
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Huckfield, Leslie Orme, Stanley
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Castle, Rt Hn. Barbara Hughes, Mark (Durham) Padley, Walter
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Paget, R. T.
Cohen, Stanley Hughes, Roy (Newport) Palmer, Arthur
Coleman, Donald Hunter, Adam Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Concannon, J. D. Irvine, Rt. Hn.Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Conlan, Bernard Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, Mrs.Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras, S.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, c.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Pendry, Tom
Crawshaw, Richard Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Pentland, Norman
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Perry, Ernest G.
Crosland, Rt. Hit. Anthony Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Prescott, John
Dalyell, Tam Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Probert, Arthur
Davidson. Arthur Jones, Dan (Burnley) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Gwvnoro (Carmarthen) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Richard, Ivor
Davies, S. O. (Merthvr Tydvil) Judd, Frank Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Kaufman, Gerald Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Kelley, Richard Robertson, John (Paisley)
Deakins, Eric Kerr, Russell Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kinnock, Neil Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Delargy, H. J. Lambie, David Roper, John
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lamond, James Rose, Paul B.
Dempsey, James Latham, Arthur Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Doig, Peter Lawson, George Sandelson, Neville
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Leadbitter, Ted Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Driberg, Tom Leonard, Dick Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Dunnett, Jack Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Eadie, Alex Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Silverman, Julius
Edelman, Maurice Lipton, Marcus Skinner, Dennis
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lomas, Kenneth Small, William
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Ellis, Tom McBride, Neil Spearing, Nigel
English, Michael McCann, John Spriggs, Leslie
Evans, Fred McCartney, Hugh Stallard, A. W.
Faulds, Andrew McElhone, Frank Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. McGuire, Michael Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Urwin, T. W. Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Varley, Eric G. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Strang, Gavin Wainwright, Edwin Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Taverne, Dick Wallace, George Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff, w.) Watkins, David Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Weitzman, David Woof, Robert
Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.) Wellbeloved, James
Tinn, James wells, William (Walsall, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Tomney, Frank Whitehead, Phillip Mr. James A. Dunn and
Torney, Tom Whitlock, William Mr. John Golding.
Tuck, Raphael

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.

Lords Amendment No. 24: In page 9, line 38, at end insert: ("or rights corresponding to negotiating rights")

6 p.m.

Mr. R. Carr

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

I understand that it will meet the convenience of the House if with Lords Amendment No. 24 we take Lords Amendment No. 284: In page 120, line 17, at end insert new Clause M—Power to limit certain provisions of Act to major undertakings).

Mr. Carr

I agree that it will be convenient to take Lords Amendment No. 284 with Lords Amendment No. 24.

I think that I need say nothing about Lords Amendment No. 24 as the point has been discussed earlier. I will, therefore, move straight to Lords Amendment No. 284. The new Clause embodied in the Amendment is designed to enable the Secretary of State to phase the coming into operation of certain provisions of the Bill relating to firms of a certain size. The object is to avoid overwhelming the National Industrial Relations Court and the Commission on Industrial Relations with a flood of applications in the early days.

Subsection (2) contains the provisions covered by this regulation-making power. They are provisions for an application to the court for an agency shop ballot, provided in Clauses 10(2) and 13; application to the Court for remedial action where a procedure agreement is either nonexistent or defective, provided in Clauses 35 and 41; application to the Court for reference to the Commission on Industrial Relations of questions relating to the recognition of a sole bargaining agent, provided in Clause 43; application to the Court with a view to withdrawal of recognition, provided in Clause 49; and complaint to the Court of failure to disclose information, provided in Clause 98(1).

Those are the provisions which, in the proposed new Clause, give the Secretary of State power to regulate, by Order, the various provisions which apply, according to the size of an undertaking.

I wish to make a number of other points clear. Subsection (3) provides, in effect, that, having made the original Order, subsequent Orders may only reduce, not increase, the minimum number which has been specified. A Secretary of State would be prevented from removing from companies the right to these provisions which they already enjoy. The sole purpose is to fix the number of applications to the C.I.R. and the Court at a level which we believe will be manageable. As soon as that has been achieved, we shall be in a position to lower the threshold. The Secretary of State does not have power to raise the threshold.

Subsection (4) provides that the Orders shall be subject to affirmative Resolution in both Houses of Parliament. Therefore, the power can be used only after positive approval by this House and another place.

The reason for the Amendment is our concern that the Court and the Commission should not in the early days of the operation of this legislation be overwhelmed by a large number of applications under the provisions specified in subsection (2). It is bound to be a matter of guesswork what the case-load will be; but, in order to build up the caseload under these provisions at a manageable rate, we concluded that the best course would be to take the powers contained in the new Clause to limit applications initially to firms above a certain size. When it becomes clear that the danger of overloading at any level is past, the Secretary of State will progressively be able to reduce the threshold to permit applications by smaller firms. I assure the House that this is the sole purpose of the new Clause.

It will be my intention to make all the provisions in the Bill available as widely and as quickly as possible. For the sake of good order, I believe that it is right to have this controlling mechanism over the number of cases and applications which may come forward and then to release that as we judge what the volume of applications will be. I hope that I have made it clear that that is the sole purpose of the new Clause.

Mr. Rose

For convenience, Lords Amendment No. 284 has been linked with Lords Amendment No. 24. The only thing that they have in common is that, to some extent, they both affect Clause 10. Other than that, they have nothing in common. However, the right hon. Gentleman has accepted that this is the only way, given the guillotine, that we on this side of the House can be sure of having time to debate this particularly important Lords Amendment.

I do not know whether I should warn the Government in advance, but it seems that the wide-sweeping powers given to the Secretary of State in the new Clause allow for the virtual repeal of large sections of the Bill in the likely event of the early election of a Labour Government. This would allow us to take action in advance of the repeal of the Bill, to which we all look forward. This may be classified information—I may be in breach of the official Labour secrets act —but I think that the right hon. Gentleman ought to realise how wide-sweeping the new Clause. If only for that reason, one might be tempted to welcome it with loud applause, but there are serious reservations, and a good deal of explanation to be given by the right hon. Gentleman, when he talks about it being designed to phase the coming into operation of various provisions of the Bill.

During the debate in another place Lord Stow Hill said: If I read the Amendment correctly, there is nothing in it to limit the operation of this order to a transitional or specified time. If I have correctly understood its purpose, I imagine that a strict constitutionalist like the learned and noble Lord the Lord Chancellor would be disposed to agree with me that this is a sort of provision that we should accept only with great hesitation. He went on to say: If that is the case, surely it would be right to say that these powers, by statutory order, should not be exercised after say, a period of one year, eighteen months or two years."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, l0th June, 1971; Vol. 320, c. 4856.] I cannot accept what the right hon. Gentleman says, whatever his intention may be. That does not seem to be the effect of the Amendment as it has been drafted.

I think that the Amendment reveals a number of weaknesses in the Government's case and I propose to pinpoint three fundamental ones. First, the Government are clearly concerned, to use the right hon. Gentleman's words, "to avoid overwhelming the National Industrial Relations Court and the C.I.R. with a flood of applications". The right hon. Gentleman is worried about a flood of damaging and irrelevant complaints to a body which is ill-equipped to deal with the delicate fabric of industrial relations. He knows, and he must now acknowledge, the worst fears of this side of the House, that it will be the less enlightened employer, the old-fashioned employer, perhaps the antediluvian employer, who will take advantage of the Bill to make complaints to the Industrial Court. I have a shrewd suspicion that it is with that in mind that the right hon. Gentleman has reserved these powers, because they were not in the original Bill. There must be some good reason for their inclusion now, and the right hon. Gentleman confesses to this fear of overloading the N.I.R.C. and the C.I.R.

The second weakness that it reveals is that there are apparently some magic figures. We heard a remarkably witty speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), in which he quoted from "Alice-in-Wonderland". We had "Catch 22", and now we seem to be going into the realms of bingo, because the magic figure in the Order is not known, and it will not be known, and below that magic figure, in certain respects, the Bill will not apply.

The third criticism follows from that, that the magic figure itself may change, so that what is a magic figure one day will not be a magic figure on another, although it can change in only one direction, increasingly to bring within the ambit of the Bill those very sections of industry, those very employers, which the right hon. Gentleman is loth to include ab initio because he knows that the danger of including them is they are precisely the kind of employers who could wreck good industrial relations by overwhelming the court with a flood of applications.

A number of questions arise on this, and perhaps later on the right hon. Gentleman will deal with the matter in greater detail. So far, he has treated this as though it were a minor debate. This is a major debate of widespread importance, and the right hon. Gentleman has a number of questions to answer.

First, the right hon. Gentleman must tell the House what he has in mind as the criterion for the numbers in an establishment which it is proposed to examine when the Bill comes into operation. What figure has he in mind as the minimum appropriate for specific industries?

Second, when does the right hon. Gentleman expect that that will be changed? Third, can he give us some indication of what he has in mind about the Clauses that are to be exempted. I should not say infinite, but certainly there is a large permutation of possibilities with regard to numbers on the one hand and Clauses on the other. One does not need to be an expert in filling in football pools to know that a large permutation is possible here.

6.15 p.m.

Who is to benefit from the right hon. Gentleman's magnificent gift to the trade union movement, as he seems to term the Bill? If the Bill is so beneficial, why exclude anyone from its benefits? It is said that the Bill will bring industrial peace, and yet the right hon. Gentleman feels that the benefits of this Measure ought not to be given to everyone. It seems unfair that some sections of industry are to be excluded from this wonderful Bill. It is a curious commentary on the Government's confidence in their own Measure, and although I accept that a draft Order must first be laid before the House, there is always the disadvantage with this sort of procedure that, by delegating the power, when the ultimate Order comes before the House—and I agree that it is subject to the affirmative Resolution procedure —one is not able to amend it in the way that one is able to amend a Bill in Committee and on Report.

The provisions apply over an astonishingly broad field and give wide powers to the Secretary of State to exempt or to include, in an arbitrary fashion, whole sections of workers from various areas of industry, according to the size of the enterprise. The quotation which I read to the House from Lord Stow Hill's speech undermines the contention that this is no more than a phasing in.

I now propose to deal individually with the Clauses to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. The first is Clause 10(2). As the right hon. Gentleman said, this Clause covers an application by a trade union, a joint negotiating panel or an employer to the industrial court for an agency shop agreement, and the hostility of this side of the House was expressed only too well yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) and many others. There is no doubt where we stand on the agency shop issue. We reject the damaging effect of substituting the agency shop for the closed shop principle. If the agency shop is so beneficial, it is odd that there is this provision in the Bill. Why make it possible to deny the benefits of the agency shop to unspecified sections of industry by means of this machinery? Does it mean that the Government have doubts about the effect on the stability of industry, and particularly the smaller establishments, of the agency shop principle?

If that is not the case, why have any exemptions at all? There is more than a little concern on the part of the Government, having heard the cogent arguments of my hon. Friends who understand the day-to-day workings of industry, about the disruptive effect of denying the right of representation by the union of their choice to many workers, which in effect is what the agency shop will mean.

I do not want to reopen the whole question of the agency shop. I should probably stray beyond the bounds of order if I were to do so. But I should like an explanation of how the right hon. Gentleman intends to use the powers given by the Amendment in relation to Clauses 13 and 10(2), because the two go together. Clause 13 refers to the possible exception of the application for a ballot, and it follows naturally from Clause 10(2). Basically the same questions apply.

The Amendment applies also to Clause 35, and this, surely is fundamental to the Bill. During the Second Reading, in Committee and on Report there was bitter opposition from this side of the House because we were opposed to what we referred to as the fictitious agreement clauses. I welcome the fact that it would appear again, even if veiled and disguised, that the Government have woken up to the danger of trying to impose fictitious procedural agreements upon unions against their wishes and, what is more, adding insult to injury by asking them to monitor or police them.

I hope that the Secretary of State will use this power to apply the Clause to Clause 35 to exempt all enterprises with less than 100,000 employees, because then in one fell swoop he would be doing away with the principle, which is enshrined in the Bill, which I as a lawyer find the most objectionable, although I recognise that many of my hon. Friends will find other Clauses which they will choose as their prize for being objectionable.

If the fictitious agreement procedure is good for Henry Ford—we all know what is good for Henry Ford—why is it not good for Joe Bloggs who runs a small workshop in my constituency? The Government say that it is necessary. Why is it more necessary for some than for others?

I rather suspect that what is happening is that the Government are now recoiling from the results of their own decision to ride roughshod over this most delicate field of industrial relations, and perhaps we are witnessing—I put it no higher than this—a suppressed desire to repent before it is too late in respect of enforced proceedings.

The Amendment similarly applies to Clause 41 which extends in turn The provisions of section 35 to 40 of this Act … to a composite unit".

The same observations must apply. [Interruption.] I think that I heard one of my hon. Friends mutter, "What are Sections 35 to 40?" This is typical of the labyrinthine nature of this legislation. It is worse than the Hampton Court Maze. We have to indulge in the most remarkable exercise of cross-references. For a Bill dealing with industrial relations, a Bill which is supposed to be intelligible to ordinary people in industry who are not trained lawyers, I find the whole structure remarkable.

Clauses 35 to 40, which are the paving of the way for the fictitious agreement which culminates in the final imposition of the fictitious agreement, are extended to the composite unit by Clause 41. One could go on all day in this way.

I should have thought that this was precisely the area where the Government would have wished to apply the power, if at all.

I again ask: if this provision is so beneficial, why allow it to be excluded from those who, the Government hope, will benefit the most? I find the Government's whole position on this entirely illogical.

The Amendment applies also to Clause 43 which is entitled— Application to Industrial Court for reference as to recognition of sole bargaining agent.

Again it seems that the Government are turning their backs on the abyss of the agency shop. I do not blame them for for that, in view of what we have heard in these debates. Why do it in this administrative manner with these imposed exceptions by Order? I should have thought that the manner of dealing with this would be for the Government to acknowledge here and now that the agency shop in its entirety should be scrapped, it is entirely inappropriate to British industrial relations and has no place in a Bill dealing with them.

I think, though, that the Amendment, because it gives us opportunities when we become the Government to take advantage in this manner, poses a dilemma for this side of the House. We cannot oppose the Amendment in its entirety, because it allows for some mitigation at least with regard to smaller, and then smaller and smaller, units, of some of the most offensive parts of the Bill.

Clause 49, which must follow logically —I admit the Secretary of State's logic here—is headed— Application to Industrial Court with a view to withdrawal of recognition.

In theory it would be possible to apply the Clause to Clause 49 alone. If it were applied in isolation, it could ossify an existing agency shop if it were invoked after an agency shop had been created. Let us assume that an agency shop had been created under the Bill and that then the Government invoked the power. If they invoked it merely in relation to Clause 49, this would negative the intention of the Bill. I hope that it is not the Secretary of State's intention that it will be used in that way, but he knows that, whatever his intention is, it could be used in that way. This is another example of shoddy drafting, because it would seem to me that Clause 49 ought to be referred to only after the original Clause was covered by the Amendment. I should therefore like an assurance from the Secretary of State that there is no intention of using the Clause in that way.

The Amendment applies, finally, to Clause 91(1)(b)—again the usual labyrinth that we have come to expect in the Bill. This refers to the contravention of the duty under Clause 54 to disclose information to trade union officials and representatives. In this case again there is a danger that, if this were to be taken in isolation, the application of the Amendment to Clause 98(1)(b) protects only employers, and it will protect employers below a certain size—as yet we do not know what size that will be —from the duties and obligations imposed by Clause 54(1). Those duties are to provide information without which the trade union representatives would be, to a material extent, impeded in conducting collective bargaining. This also concerns information which the employer ought to disclose in accordance with good relations and good industrial practice.

Lord Gardiner said this about the matter: This is simply stopping the employees of the small man from getting information from him at all. I should have thought that Clause 98(1)(b) perhaps stands in a rather different case. I am only a little surprised by it all because I was not envisaging people going to the Industrial Court. I think they would all go to the industrial tribunal, but no similar provision is made for that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 10th June, 1971; c. 487.]

I think that the very appropriate remarks of Lord Gardiner, although I came to an independent conclusion of my own accord, are correct, that invoking the Amendment in relation to Clause 98(1)(b) would be damaging to the small man in respect of his getting information, which is one of the very few positive features which we on this side accept.

Mr. Harold Walker

I wonder whether my hon. Friend has noted that there is already a restriction in Clause 55 about the size of the undertaking. Does it not strike my hon. Friend as odd that there should be this further restriction, all of which tends to go against what we were led to believe was one of the constructive and beneficial aspects of the Bill, namely, the requirement to disclose information?

Mr. Rose

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. I noted what seemed to me to be a duplication. I think my hon. Friend will agree that it is a duplication of two Clauses which allow for precisely the same thing. I did not want to expand the point at great length because we ourselves have an Amendment dealing with this very matter when it arises on the other Clause.

It seems that there are now two ways in which the smaller employer may be exempted from the obligation to provide certain items of information. This provision was in a Bill with which my hon. Friend was connected when he was at the Department, and I know that my hon. Friend was particularly concerned about the question of the right to information. As this is one of the few aspects of the Bill which are constructive and which we were prepared to accept in that spirit, we should have an explanation.

Finally, although the Amendment may be for administrative convenience, it makes no sense. There is no logic in the application of what are supposed to be deeply held principles on the other side of the House. The principles are being applied to some employers but not to others. It seems to allow a quite arbitrary power. Since in all but one of these cases the arbitrary power can only diminish the generally harmful effects of the Bill, we on this side of the House will not oppose it, although we find it a very strange Amendment indeed. To my mind, an Amendment of this kind is calculated to bring the Bill into even more ridicule and contempt, if that is possible, than the ridicule and contempt in which it is now held not only by hon. Members on this side of the House but by the trade union movement.

6.30 p.m.

If I have taken some time to speak on this Amendment it is because I believe this Clause underlines the fundamental fallacies over the whole range of items in a Bill which is entirely damaging, although it may be used to mitigate some of the damaging effects of this Bill, and it is for that reason that we do not oppose it. Nevertheless it helps to underline the fact that this Bill is unnecessary.

I only wish the right hon. Gentleman would apply this provision to all enterprises below a very large figure. Then we would be able to get rid of some of the most offensive aspects of the Bill.

Mr. Ashton

This is a remarkable Amendment. We have often heard the Secretary of State refer to the Bill as a highway code. Yet we have a situation in which the Government bring in an Amendment because the courts will not be able to handle the volume of work which the right hon. Gentleman expects to exist when the Bill becomes law. Suppose we had a highway code, 15 paragraphs of which related to speeding and drunken driving; the right hon. Gentleman would have power to ignore those offences from a certain date because the courts could not handle them. In the case of many other Bills we have had this initial volume of problems, but never have we had this situation in which the Minister has had the power to say "We shall ignore these problems. The courts will not handle them because there are too many."

Is this to be the situation in relation to the Government's White Paper on rents, when rent officers will be snowed under with applications for fair rents? Will the Secretary of State say, "This will not apply to certain houses"? This gives the right hon. Gentleman a tremendous amount of power. I do not say that the power will be abused, but justice ought to be seen to be done. There is no justice in saying that these cases will not be handled because the courts will not find it possible to do so. If the courts cannot handle these cases immediately, obviously we need more courts.

Amendment No. 284 states: The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument provide that the Industrial Court shall not entertain any application …".

That is a definite statement. If it had said that the Secretary of State had power to delay an application for three months because of the volume of work or that the Secretary of State would give priority to certain cases, we would understand. But it is not a question of delaying for three months after which, the Government having got rid of the problems at Fords, at the docks and at Halewood, they would be in a position to deal with the cases which had been delayed. The Amendment does not say that at all. It says that the Industrial Court shall not entertain this sort of dispute because the courts will be overloaded. This is a dangerous situation to get into.

A firm may employ only 50 men and, therefore, it would be regarded as a small firm. But it might be a chain link firm supplying a tiny component for the motor car industry. About two years ago there was a firm, Girlings, in which there was an argument as to who was going to turn a handle; it involved seven men, but it affected thousands. If it be that in a case involving a firm like Girlings, in which perhaps 100 people work, the Secretary of State had the power to refer the matter back so that the application would not be entertained at all, what sort of situation would we be in?

Amendment No. 284 says: No order shall be made under this section unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament. It does not say that the Resolution has to be debated. We have many instances in this House of a Prayer being put on the Order Paper against a Statutory Instrument. It happens frequently. I understand that two or three years ago when a Prayer was entered against a Statutory Instrument or an Order, it automatically had to be debated in this Chamber—for instance, the matter of judges' pay.

Mr. R. Carr

The hon. Gentleman misunderstands the Amendment. It says that a draft of the Order has to be approved by a Resolution. There is no question of having to pray against an Order. The Order has to be subject to affirmative Resolution of both Houses. There is no question of its getting through without debate.

Mr. Ashton

I am glad to have the Minister's assurance on that point. The fact remains that if some of us in this House cannot understand it, there must be many people on the shop floor who are in a far worse state.

The heaviest burden will arise in connection with unfair dismissals. The right hon. Gentleman never mentioned this at all. If there is to be a backlog clogging the courts it will arise from unfair dismissals, when everybody will think that he is being victimised and sacked by the boss because of his trade union activities.

The right hon. Gentleman's reference to such matters as the withdrawal of recognition and disclosure of information is very important. Because a factory employs only 60 people, are we to say that they shall not have the information given to them if the factory is going to be closed down? There are many examples where the closure of a factory affecting 100 people may not be of major importance to a place the size of Birmingham or London, but in a small mining town the dismissal of 100 people could be a very major event indeed. If people were to say "We are going on strike because of a merger and because of these redundancies, and we shall strike unless somebody comes forward with information", they would be justified in taking this sort of industrial action. Yet under the right hon. Gentleman's proposals in the Amendment he would have the power to say "This is not important. The courts are already bogged down with cases involving Fords and the conditions at the docks and, therefore, it will not be possible for the union to make an application to the court for disclosure of information."

I am making a very serious allegation, and I do so because the information that we have had is not comprehensive. Some of us are rather suspicious that in certain cases—as we have seen this afternoon in relation to the Upper Clyde shipyards— we shall get no information whatever from the management. Matters of major importance may affect our trade unions and yet apparently we shall not be able to get a hearing at the court because, although there is no way of blocking the application going to the court, the excuse will be made that the courts are overburdened with work.

It is not good enough to bring in legislation to which we are opposed and then to say that the channels of protest embodied in the legislation will not apply to certain categories of firms because not enough people work there. If the Minister says this is a highway code, it should be treated as a highway code. It should apply to everybody from the date of its operation, whether a person is riding a bicycle or is driving a heavy lorry.

In the mid-'sixties we had a fair rent system under which rent officers, courts and other machinery were available to everyone who wished to apply for assistance. I admit there was a great deal of pressure at times, but at least people knew that they could have their cases heard. If it was possible then, it should be possible under this Measure. In other words, if special courts are being established, they should be applicable to and at the disposal of everybody from the moment the Bill becomes law.

Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)

The Secretary of State was less than fair to the House in not giving the slightest explanation of why he has chosen certain parts of the Bill to be deferred for the time being as distinct from other parts, which will come into effect as soon as the Measure becomes law.

While I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman will reply in greater detail, it was unfair of him to expect us to have this debate without a proper explanation of his reasons for taking this step. He has left us very much in the dark. We in Lancashire are becoming used to a bit of fast bowling in the dark in our cricket matches these days, but we cannot sustain an intelligent debate on this subject unless we are given far more information.

The right hon. Gentleman has always insisted that when the Bill becomes an Act it will not have an immediate effect on industrial relations. But he has all along claimed that its long-term effects will be beneficial. We are left asking for how long we must wait for those beneficial effects. Apparently we will have to wait a considerable time, but the length of that time nobody seems to know.

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that he is not being fair to the Prime Minister either? Last weekend the Prime Minister claimed that the contents of this Measure had already had a huge effect on the dimunition of days lost through strikes. Indeed, he said that the Chancellor's third Budget would not have been possible but for this Bill. Do we take it that the Prime Minister knew nothing about this latest proposal of the Secretary of State and that the Chancellor will withdraw the measures in his mini-Budget?

Frankly, if there was any relevance in what the Prime Minister said, and I have serious doubts about that, that relevance has now disappeared. In this connection, is the Prime Minister aware that many of the Opposition Amendments which the Secretary of State refused to accept when the Bill was going through its Committee and Report stages were nothing like as drastic in their effect as this one?

Mr. John Fraser

I am sure that my right hon. Friend would not wish to misrepresent either the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State, who have never spoken of the number of days lost through strikes having been reduced. They never speak of "strikes" but of "stoppages".

Mr. Lee

I accept that.

As I have said previously, this Bill will not have much effect on large firms which, by and large, have their own code of conduct. I recall that we even cancelled out the effects of the York Memorandum; we would not entertain such nonsense for many years. Any large firm with proper negotiating arrangements will never entertain this Measure but will use its own internal negotiating arrangements.

If there are areas of industry which might be affected by the Bill, I assume that they are not to have the so-called benefits of the parts of the Measure which are now going into abeyance. It seems, therefore, that even before the Bill becomes law the right hon. Gentleman is going back on at least two-thirds of the claims that he and his colleagues have been making about the effects that this legislation will ultimately have.

6.45 p.m.

We must conclude, therefore, that the firms which will be for the most part affected by the Bill—this is according to what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier—will be the smaller ones, which are being held back from making application. Thus, we are left wondering what this exercise is all about. I would be surprised, in any event, if many applications were received from those firms which are to be deferred.

We must consider Clause 98(1)(b), which will prevent small employers from giving the information on which their employees will rely for negotiating purposes. These will be the very firms from which this information will be needed. As I said, we in the bigger firms have our own ways of ensuring that we have the necessary information. We have facilities to obtain the information we need. I am left wondering whether the Prime Minister was aware that his right hon. Friend—

Mr. Orme

Speak of the devil.

Mr. Lee

My words must have struck home. The Prime Minister has joined us. To avoid tedious repetition, I will summarise the few remarks I made about him. I said that he was undoubtedly misled before making his speech in which he said that the third attempt at a Budget, the so-called mini-Budget, in nine months had been made possible only because of the provisions of this Bill.

I was wondering whether the right hon. Gentleman had been misled or whether we could now expect the Chancellor to withdraw the contents of his mini-Budget, bearing in mind that we have been told that many of the provisions in the Bill are not to be enforced for a time that is yet to be specified. No doubt the Prime Minister will be making another speech this weekend saying that when he made his earlier remarks he was in complete ignorance of what his colleagues were planning behind his back.

It seems that the firms which, for the time being, will be excluded—

Mr. Orme

The Prime Minister is leaving.

Mr. Lee

I thank my hon. Friend for keeping me informed of the Prime Minister's movements. I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to prepare the speech which I suggested he should make.

Mr. Heffer

My right hon. Friend is mistaken. The right hon. Gentleman is much more likely to be sailing round the coast next weekend than making speeches on this subject.

Mr. Lee

My hon. Friend must be fair. The right hon. Gentleman occasionally takes time off from that exercise.

I would have thought that if the Secretary of State really believed in his Bill, he would be doing precisely the opposite to what he is doing now. I do not believe in the Bill, though I am all in favour of employers giving information to their employees. We campaigned for this for years. I could understand the position if the right hon. Gentleman had said that no firm over, say, 500 employees would have these benefits for a period of time. But to say the opposite and to rob people in smaller firms by not enabling them to have this information seems to make a nonsense of a great deal of what he has said during the passage of the Bill.

I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to put a figure to the time factor. We have had no undertaking from him. We do not even know his thinking in this respect. Is he thinking in terms of weeks, months or years, or on what kind of basis must we calculate? What kind of thing must the firms calculate upon? If I were on the management side of one of the smaller firms, I would begin to wonder where I stood.

We know that many smaller employers are genuinely trying to get into line on negotiating techniques. My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) made a point about the enormous importance of small firms which undertake subcontracting and other work for bigger firms. We know that great industries can be held up by disputes in very small firms upon which they depend for essential components. If there is a dispute in one of those smaller firms, we know how it snowballs and eventually many thousands of people can be laid off because of the lack of components. I am surprised that in this matter the right hon. Gentleman is differentiating between smaller and larger firms. He knows well from his knowledge of industry that one cannot these days differentiate between the firm which has 100 or 200 people and a bigger firm when there is this interconnection of the final product for which the bigger firm is responsible.

When all this becomes more widely known, there will be misunderstanding and amazement. Industry knows that the Government are trying to get the Bill on to the Statute Book within a week or so from now. They have said so. The truncated remains which will be operative after these Amendments have been made to the Bill will affect a very large proportion of the smaller firms. It should not be forgotten that the party opposite are always telling us that industry still depends upon the small firms. Small employers have been swotting up the Bill or have had their legal advisers explaining it to them. Some of them, indeed, had the benefit of the Solicitor-General's advice on the matter. They have based themselves on the fact that the Bill would become an Act before the House goes into recess. Now, they learn that although it will soon become an Act, large and important parts of it will not apply to them until a later date which is unknown to them.

There has already been great confusion in industry in consequence, not only among trade unions, but among employers, Now, we are to have this added impost upon a large section of employers. Had we on this side moved Amendments of this sort—I think we did, but they were rejected out of hand—they would certainly have been described as wrecking Amendments. I am not complaining that the right hon. Gentleman is having second thoughts on large parts of the Bill—I wish he had had second thoughts before he introduced it—but as he has come a little nearer to what we and the Trades Union Congress have been saying, the logical consequence of what he has said is that he should, at the very least, defer the operation of the Bill until the whole of it becomes operative. It would please my right hon. and hon. Friends and me far more, however, if he would follow the logic of what he is doing one stage further and withdraw the Bill altogether.

Mr. John Fraser

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us the numbers involved in applying the orders. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Frederick Lee) has said, the Minister badly wants the Bill within the next seven days. He expects it to receive Royal Assent next week. If that is so, he must have an idea when he will bring the different parts of the Bill into operation. I doubt whether we shall reach the last Clause of the Bill, which deals with the time when its different parts are to be brought into operation, but I should like the Minister to say during this debate what dates he has in mind for bringing in the different parts of the Bill. His powers in this respect are far-reaching. He has the power by Statutory Instrument even to change the provisions of his Bill. He ought to tell us when he proposes to bring its various provisions into effect.

Under the powers that the right hon. Gentleman wants under the Amendment, presumably the Court may operate without any limitation as to numbers and later he can introduce a restriction concerning the numbers. After that, he can gradually bring down the number even further. The restrictions on applications to the Industrial Court will relate mainly to claims for an agency shop and claims for recognition.

The right hon. Gentleman told us on an earlier Amendment that it would be an unfair industrial practice to go on strike to seek an agency shop because he said, the right would exist to make a peaceful application to the National Industrial Relations Court. If, however, people are debarred from applying to the Court because they are members of an undertaking which, because of its size, the court will not entertain, they have neither right nor remedy. In these circumstances, they could commit an unfair industrial practice. They could be mulcted for damages but, at the same time, they cannot make their application to the Court. It would be interesting, therefore, to know whether the disability parts of the Bill concerning unfair industrial practices will be removed in respect of employees who do not even have the remedy of applying to the Industrial Court.

Thirdly, there is a problem of achieving social justice and equality for people who work in small undertakings. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will recognise—perhaps not on this Bill, but he is Minister of Employment—that low pay and poor conditions of employment often relate to very small undertakings. He knows that wages councils often apply in areas where trade unions cannot organise strongly and where even the law has to create a kind of agency shop with minimum conditions of employment and minimum remuneration.

There is a real problem in redressing the balance of power between those who work in large undertakings, where there are powerfully organised unions which get a good deal for the workers, and people who work in small undertakings, where union organisation is difficult and, consequence, low pay can be—although not always—a feature of their employment. It would be a mistake to leave small undertakings of that kind out of account, because they are often the places where social justice needs to be done and where strengthening of the trade union movement is badly needed to achieve social justice.

One of the purposes of the wages council regulation provisions can be removed where the Minister is satisfied that there is strong trade union representation. It should be the job of any Minister of Employment to encourage trade union representation and organisation and to encourage union sponsorship of minimum conditions of employment in small undertakings which often suffer from low pay, suppression and repression by employers.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not fall into the error, although he will fall into other errors, of thinking that large undertakings can be allowed to go ahead but that these rights should not extend to small undertakings.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Harold Walker

I do not wish to detain the House much longer but we have had a rather full debate, as is quite proper, and the House is reluctant, without full explanations, to give to a Minister enabling powers of so far-reaching a nature in such an extremely important Measure as this.

I have two questions which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will answer. My hon. Friends have largely confined their remarks to the exclusion, if only temporarily, of certain parts of the Bill from the N.I.R.C. The right hon. Gentleman said that the purpose was to prevent both the N.I.R.C. and the C.I.R. from being overwhelmed by the initial case load, and I can see his problem. Can he indicate what the future capacity of the C.I.R. will be, particularly taking into account its present imbalance and weakness arising from the refusal of the unions to participate in its work because of the introduction of this Bill? The introduction of the Bill has had a crippling effect on the C.I.R., of which we once had, quite legitimately, such bright hopes. Indeed, in a short time, it had justified those hopes.

Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman has obviously been selective in picking out certain provisions in the Bill which will be temporarily restricted from the operations of the N.I.R.C. and the C.I.R. What criteria did he use in determining them? He seems to have selected some while leaving others fully exposed.

Mr. R. Carr

By leave of the House, I will try to deal with some of the points raised, beginning with the closely connected questions put by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker). He asked me to indicate the future capacity of the C.I.R. Its capacity to do a certain volume of work is not affected by the regrettable and, I believe, totally misguided decision of the T.U.C. so far to advise its member unions not to allow any of their members to serve upon it. I have already appointed the chairman and deputy chairman designate of the C.I.R. in its new form, and I intend to appoint other members as soon as possible. There will be plenty of room left within the maximum membership permissible for the day, which I hope will not be long delayed, when the unions decide to let their members serve on it and their membership to participate, therefore, in the fullest sense.

The size of the C.I.R. and its staffing will enable it to play a full part in tackling the volume of work. I agree that, to get the most out of the organisation for the good of the country, and above all for the good of the trade union membership, it will benefit from trade union membership. The sooner that happens, the better it will be for everyone, not least for the 10 million trade union members throughout the country.

The capacity will be related to the complexity of the tasks which the C.I.R. is to undertake. But that, of course, is difficult to forecast. We are moving into new procedures. They are certainly complicated. We believe that the complication is necessary, although no doubt that is a matter of debate. But because they are new and complicated, it is difficult not only to judge the number of cases which will come before the C.I.R. but how long each will take and the volume of work which each will require.

Secondly, the provisions selected in the Amendment have been chosen because they are, by and large, possibly without exception, ones which will involve the C.I.R. It is the overloading of the C.I.R. that I am most concerned to avoid. I believe that it is in the interests of all that I should do so.

I do not know whether I please or disappoint hon. Members opposite in saying that the Amendment is not a means of delaying the implementation of the Bill but a means of expediting it. There is nothing in the Bill at the moment which would prevent the Secretary of State from delaying the bringing into force of any provision in the Bill as long as he chose. The Amendment is an instrument to enable the delay period to be shorter than would otherwise be necessary, because if the Secretary of State can implement in stages and not be faced with the prospect of all or nothing, he can make a start on implementation more quickly than if it is an all-or-nothing provision. I must be sure that the machinery is sufficiently well established and worked in to be able to cope with the load which the C.I.R. will eventually get from everyone. Thus, if I have greater flexibility in being able to say that, to begin with, this provision will only apply to firms above a certain size, I can introduce the procedure in stages rather than have to wait until there is an all-or-nothing situation.

Mr. Rose

Therefore, in this Amendment, does the right hon. Gentleman feel that he would be able to delay to a less extent the implementation of these Clauses? If that is the case, I am sure that my hon. Friends would be strongly tempted and would decide to vote against the Amendment.

Mr. Carr

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman frightens me very much by that. I regard the Amendment as enabling me to speed up rather than delay the implementation of the Bill.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

It can be used to expedite, as my right hon. Friend has said, but it can also be used to delay if he is inclined. Surely it is a matter of the glass being half full or half empty. It might save a vote if he said that it could be used to delay as well.

Mr. Carr

I would rather run the terrible risk of a Division than create any suggestion that there is any intention on our part to delay the implementation of any part of this Bill. As I have said, it is our intention to make all the provisions of the Bill available as widely as possible and as quickly as possible because we believe this to be good for all sizes of undertakings. I am sorry to disappoint hon. Members opposite, particularly the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose), but we are not having second thoughts. We are not renegging in any way—quite the contrary.

Listening to some of the speeches of hon. Members opposite, realising that we were told at the beginning that the Opposition apparently did not wish to oppose the Amendment, and recalling all we heard, yesterday and today, about the urgent need to get to the really important things, I have wondered exactly how serious hon. Members opposite are. The artificiality, the triviality, the inconsistency, the unnecessary prolongation of long arguments by hon. Members opposite bear all the stamp of a party which does not know what to say next and is deliberately trying to play out time.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

I take the right hon. Gentleman's point but I do not agree. Yesterday, I dealt exclusively with an Amendment which was extremely important to my union, the National Union of Seamen. The right hon. Gentleman refused to give an answer to it. Even when I asked him why he had not given an answer, he still refused to give me one. That is an unproductive way to debate Amendments.

Mr. Ashton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like your advice, Mr. Speaker. We are taking Lords Amendment No. 24 and Lords Amendment No. 284. Could the Division on the latter take place tonight and not on Wednesday night?

Mr. Speaker

The Division on No. 284 cannot take place until we reach that Amendment, and that will be after we have disposed of those before it.

Mr. Ashton

But we may discuss it now?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, hon. Members may discuss it with Amendment No. 24.

Mr. Carr

I do not know the matters to which the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) was referring. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General was discussing the matter with the hon. Gentleman, but I was not myself concerned. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I was in the House for the great majority of yesterday, but he made the speech which he has mentioned at a time when I was not in the Chamber, and I am therefore not sure about the points he was making, but I know that they did not concern the Amendment which we are now debating.

The remarks which I have just made were directed at speeches about these Amendments and not to other Amendments which may have been discussed earlier. The inconsistency was marked. What is it about which the Opposition complain? That I am proposing to apply these powers, or that I am not? They keep saying that these powers are objectionable, that they are all bad, and yet they complain because in the first place I shall apply them only to larger companies and take some time before getting to the smaller companies. I should have thought that if they regarded the powers as bad, they would want me to be as slow as I could.

Mr. Rose

If that is the right hon. Gentleman's intention, why does he not include a time limit? If he inserted a time limit of one year or two years, or whatever, one would accept his argument, but without a time limit he knows that five years from now he would have the power to exempt a whole number of Clauses from operation. What we are saying is that there is a basic inconsistency in his argument. As I said earlier, why is what is good for a large company not good for a small company when it is the small companies in particular that need help in industrial relations?

Mr. Carr

I know that the hon. Gentleman is not as stupid as he appears to be wishing to make out at the moment. I have said several times that it is good in our view for all companies of all sizes. I want to make all the provisions of the Bill available as widely as possible as quickly as possible. There is no time limit in the Amendment, because if I knew how long it would take, what the case load would be in advance, I should not have to have these flexible powers; powers could be written in. It is because nobody can forecast that it is right to have flexibility.

We will start by making these provisions available to companies above a certain size. [Interruption.] With due respect to the hon. Member for Don-caster and to the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr), who, as usual, talks from a sitting position, we must start from the top and work down, because the largest numbers of companies are of the smallest size. I want the Bill to be available to the smaller companies as quickly as possible, but we must start with the fewer and work down to the broader base of the pyramid, to the larger numbers, as quickly as we can manage.

Mr. Orme

It is a political decision.

Mr. Carr

The hon. Member, speaking from a sitting position, says that it is a political decision. That shows the inconsistency of hon. Members opposite. When a decision is left in the hands of courts, they say that it is wrong and that it should be taken not by the courts, but as a political decision. Whenever it is left in the hands of the Government and Parliament, that is to say, it is a political decision, they say that that is wrong, and that it should be somebody else's decision. No matter what one says, they say it is wrong. One of the great features of all these debates is that whereas the Opposition are very good at saying what they believe to be wrong, they never, never, say what they would do and never, never, give a positive suggestion. They are completely destructive.

Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)

Could we leave it to the employers and trade unions?

Mr. Carr

That is what we have been doing for a very long time. It was because in certain areas of our industry that was failing in its old form to such a large extent that the Labour Party when in power itself introduced legislation, itself introduce the White Paper "In Place of Strife", although we know that it did not go on with it and we know how much the country has suffered because it did not go on with it.

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)


Mr. Carr

No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Kerr

But I am standing now.

Mr. Carr

The hon. Gentleman cannot, by occasionally rising to his feet, suddenly acquire the right to make me give way.

Mr. Prescott

Lie down.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Carr

It is the Government's intention to make all these provisions available as widely and as quickly as possible. It would not be serving the interests of those who wish to make use of the provisions to allow an enormous waiting list to pile up.

Therefore, we believe that we should start gradually and, as we see the case load that builds up, and as soon as we see that it is manageable at one threshold of size of company, and I assure the House that the original threshold will be measured in hundreds and not thousands, we shall bring in another Order—and amending Orders can only reduce the threshold and not increase it—and make all the provisions available to a larger number of smaller companies. As soon as we see that the caseload is manageable at that lower threshold, we shall bring in a further Order and reduce it again. It is the purpose of the Government and our firm intention to make all these provisions available to everybody as quickly as possible.

Mr. Rose

In the past the Secretary of State as always argued the case on the basis that there would be very few cases when there would be recourse to the courts. He is now saying that he expects a flood of cases of such magnitude that he has to have sweeping powers of this kind to make exemptions over a period. What does he have in mind? Is he saying that there will be such a volume of cases before the courts that this provision will be necessary? If not, will he explain why is it necessary? Would he please say whether he intends to use some of these powers in isolation, or only across the board?

Mr. Carr

The hon. Gentleman is a little difficult to make understand today. This provision is not because I expect vast numbers of cases. What I am saying is that I cannot forecast, and nor, I think, can anybody forecast. I do not believe that a vast number of applications will be made, but it is important to make sure that when applications come forward, the capacity of the institution is such that it can cope with applications with reasonable despatch. It would not be a good thing to have long waiting lists and long delays. I believe that the new institutions, new procedures and new laws are much better, and in the interests of the whole country should be introduced as quickly as possible, but gradually and under control. When I can see the rate at which the applications come forward in respect of the first threshold I can judge how to reduce that threshold. That is the orderly and sensible way to proceed.

Mr. Russell Kerr

May we have the Minister's thinking clear on the matter? Does he or does he not agree that most of the problems, pro rata, occur in the smaller firms rather than the bigger ones, who have learned better ways?

Mr. Carr

Anyone who has studied the history of industrial disputes in this country in recent years will have found that most of the serious troubles—where the ordinary voluntary arrangements have unfortunately failed to find a solution— have cropped up in the larger companies. On the whole it is in the larger companies that the most intractable disputes have occurred.

Mr. Orme

That is why the right hon. Gentleman wants to attack the unions.

Mr. Carr

If the hon. Member will consider some of the most intractable disputes that have arisen—the while collar recognition problem was one, and it occurred in its most acute form in the steel industry—he will realise that they arose in the big organisations and not the little ones. It is wrong to imagine that the sort of problems with which these provisions are designed to deal occur most frequently and in their most intractable form in the smaller companies.

Mr. Ashton

On building sites.

Mr. Carr

The hon. Members says "On building sites". They are the sort of building sites where large firms and not small firms are engaged. The submission that the major trouble occurs in small firms is not justified.

Nevertheless, I want the provisions to be available to firms of all sizes as quickly as possible. I repeat that it is our intention to make them available to all sizes of firms as quickly as possible, and to reduce the threshold limit. These are not arbitarary powers; they require affirmative Resolutions of each House. Each Order can only increase the number of firms to which these powers are available, the Amendment specifically excludes the possibility of decreasing them.

I fear that hon. Members opposite will be disappointed if they believe that they can use these provisions to repeal the Act bit by bit, one day—which I feel will never come about.

I commend the Amendment. It is sensible for good order, and it is in the interests of those who will want to use these procedures to make sure that there will not be long waiting periods, but we must introduce them gradually, in the way provided for in the Amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

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