Essential Work Order (Misconduct Clause).

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered the resolution from the Barr and Strouds, Anniesland, Shop stewards committee, sent to him by the hon. Member for West Fife, on the question of the deletion of the misconduct clause of the Essential Work Order; and what steps is he proposing to take?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The copy of this resolution, which I have had, was sent to me by the shop stewards' committee. A reply has been sent stating that I am not prepared to deprive the employer of his right to dismiss for serious misconduct, but that the Essential Work (General Provisions) Order is being amended so as to provide that arrears of wages are to be paid to a worker dismissed on the ground of serious misconduct if he appeals successfully to an appeal board and the National Service officer directs the employer to re-instate him.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is the Minister aware that this particular clause is being used by employers on the slightest pretext to get rid of men whom they consider undesirable, and will he tell us why there are always penalising clauses against employees, but not against employers?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The number of cases of misconduct happens to be very few. I would point out that this is the first time I have ever known where in industry a right of legal appeal against dismissal has been established. It has been freely used by workmen up and down the country, and it is appreciated by them. As I have stated in my reply, I have carried it a stage further, so that when the appeal is won the employer is liable for wrongful dismissal and for payment of wages. What more could be done?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I must point out that there are 102 Questions standing on the Order Paper.