Orders of the Day — London Passenger Transport Bill. – in the House of Commons on 13th February 1933.
I beg to move, page 79, line 16, to leave out the first word "The," and to insert instead thereof the words:
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the.
Probably the House will remember that in Committee I moved certain Amendments to the Bill which the Attorney-General promised to deal with during the Recess, and to bring up on the Report stage. Negotiations have been on foot, and the result has been the Amendments standing on the Order Paper in my name. It is a change which, I believe, the Government are prepared to accept. I propose in a further Amendment, to add two paragraphs to the Clause. Paragraph (a) deals with a special class, because I believe the conditions of the Bill cannot reasonably be brought into it, and necessitates an addition of this kind. That will refer, chiefly, to people in receipt of salaries of over £360 a year. The other portion of the Amendment deals with those members of the staff of the London County Council, of whom 600 will be transferred, and of whom 545 are members of the County Council Staff Association. Their difficulties in regard to service conditions, and so on, are dealt with by a joint committee of the council and the staff. Without this provision, these men would Rave to join one of the trade unions, in order to get representation on these boards, and so far members of the administrative staff have felt it is not consonant with their office to join a trade union in order to get any redress for the grievances from which they suffer. I do not think it is necessary for me to add any more as I understand the Minister is prepared to deal sympathetically with the Amendment.
The Government are prepared to accept these Amendments. They are the fruit of an agreement between the various parties concerned, and they have the effect that my hon. Friend the Member for Rich- mond (Sir W. Ray) has told the Committee. I think the acceptance of the Amendments will lead to peace and happiness.
I understand from what the hon. Member has just said that he regards this matter as an agreed one. I think he is wrong. This has not been agreed among the parties concerned. The original Clauses in the Bill, after discussion in Committee, were agreed with the unions and other bodies concerned. That was a Parliamentary arrangement which is now being departed from. At the time this matter was discussed in Committee I asked the Attorney-General whether it would be discussed with the trade unions. He told me that it would be, and it has been. But it has not been agreed with the trade unions by any means. I am surprised the hon. Member should tell the House that the trade unions have agreed.
I did not say that the trade unions accepted. I said that the parties concerned were mainly representatives of the London County Council.
The hon. and gallant Member must not say that. Everybody knows that these Clauses were agreed with the trade unions originally. We protested against their alteration and the Attorney-General said that if any question of alteration was undertaken the unions would be consulted, as they were. They naturally thought that before anything was brought up to the House it would be something agreed after consultation. I am anxious that the House should not take it that this has been agreed. I understand that what the hon. Member means is that 540 of the London County Council Staff Association have authorised this Amendment, and agreed to it. Other persons vitally interested in these Clauses have not agreed. If the Government have made up their mind to accept, and have given an undertaking to someone else to accept, it is no use our protesting. I desire, however, to put on record that this is by no means an agreement. There was originally a bargain with the trade unions. They have not been able to agree, and the Government have accepted the other point of view.
I remember the discussion in Committee. The hon. Member for Richmond (Sir W. Ray) and the hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) will remember that I gave assurances that I would endeavour to meet what I thought was the fair case of those servants of the London County Council. I also said that the trade unions would be consulted. It is perhaps putting it a little too high to say that they have agreed. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport thinks he put it a little too high. I may put it in an agreed aspect that, although the railway trade unions were consulted, they dissented or gave a very grudging assent to it—a sort of reluctant acquiescence in something they had no power to prevent. I do not want it to be supposed for a moment that the Government have gone back on any undertaking which was given. We do recognise that the trade unions concerned are not likely to be pleased with what has been done. I think that on reflection they will realise that it would not have been any great assistance to them to have a body of dissatisfied persons, and that the arrangement made may, in course of time, lead the people concerned, or their descendants to cooperate with other people in their unions.
In page 79, line 20, after the word "being," insert the words:
(a) persons who, in accordance with the classification for the time being in force, are comprised within the special class mentioned in the national agreements referred to in the Seventh Schedule to the Railways Act, 1921, or who, if they had been engaged on or in connection with any railway of the board to which any of those agreements applies, would have been so comprised therein; or
In line 27, at the end, insert the words:
(2) The committee, in making schemes under the last preceding section, shall not include in those schemes any persons who immediately before they became officers or servants of the board were members of the London County Council Staff Association, so long as not less than one hundred of such persons as aforesaid, being officers or servants of the board, express their desire to be excluded from those schemes."—[Sir W. Ray.]