Trade Union Dues (Collection)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st May 1947.

Alert me about debates like this

Major Roberts:

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that the National Coal Board are asking their officials and colliery clerks to do work in the National Coal Board's time with regard to stoppages from men's pay on behalf of the contribution to the funds of the National Union of Mineworkers and, particularly, with regard to payments of the union political levy; and what steps he is taking to see that his political activity by the National Coal Board is stopped.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Before nationalisation, it was the practice in some areas for trade union dues to be deducted from miners' pay. This was done under agreements entered into by the former owners of the mines. No doubt, the National Coal Board are continuing the practice. I do not think that any question of political activity arises.

Major Roberts:

The practice is continuing on a large scale. Is the Minister aware that the Coal Board is called the National Coal Board and that there are a large number of people in this nation who do not like to have anything to do with a Socialist political levy? Will he see either that it is the National Coal Board or else change it to the Socialist Coal Board?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

As I pointed out, this practice was in operation under private ownership. All that we have done is to continue the practice. So far as I know, the miners are not complaining and I do not see why the hon. and gallant Member should.

Major Roberts:

The taxpayers of this country are going to pay something like 200 million for these rights, and ought they not to have some say in the matter?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

The mineworkers are the only persons concerned in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The contributions are deducted from their pay and obviously they are the persons concerned. Ought it not to be left to them to state a grievance if they have one?

Photo of Mr George Wallace Mr George Wallace , Chislehurst

Is the Minister aware that the taxpayer will benefit from contented miners?

Photo of Mr William Foster Mr William Foster , Wigan

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that in these cases where trade union contributions are deducted through the colliery office, the miners themselves pay a percentage out of the contributions for the services rendered?

Major Roberts:

Is the Minister aware that the people who are objecting are the clerks of the National Coal Board who do not like to have to do this work?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

If the clerks have a complaint to make, they have a recognised trade union, and perhaps they would prefer to make their complaints through that union rather than through the hon. and gallant Member.