Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Industrial Disputes (Arbitration)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Minister of Labour what consideration he has given to the desirability of legislation to consolidate the law relating to arbitration in industrial disputes.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The only general legislation on this subject consists of two short Acts; the Conciliation Act of 1896 and the Industrial Courts Act of 1919, and in addition there is the Industrial Disputes Order of 1951. The two Acts do not, in my opinion, require consolidation, and, as I have already informed the House, the future of the Industrial Disputes Order is being discussed with both sides of industry.

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the confusion which exists as to the precise procedure whereby arbitration can be called into play when a recommendation is made by a Whitley Council which requires approval or otherwise by a Minister?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I should not have thought, after the discussions we have had, that that matter is in particular doubt, and I do not think that the point my hon. Friend has in mind would be helped by the consolidation of the legislation which already exists, consisting of two very short Acts which are quite convenient in that form.

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North

asked the Minister of Labour what consideration he has given to the desirability of legislation to put upon arbitration tribunals a duty to have regard to the economic interests of the general public, in the light of the advice of the Council on Prices, Productivity, and Incomes, when making awards in industrial wage disputes.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I should not want, in advance of the Council's report, to express a view on the best way of giving effect to any suggestions the Council may make.

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the public interest is indeed a factor which should be borne in mind by arbitration tribunals and courts in making their awards?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

It has always been made clear by Chancellors of the Exchequer, including, of course, the present holder of that office, that they consider that those who arbitrate should have regard to a number of matters, of which the one my hon. Friend mentions is clearly one.

Mr. J. T. Price:

With respect to what the Minister has just said, which we all understand, how can it be said that any judicial tribunal can function equitably if, in fact, the scales are loaded against it before it begins to examine the evidence? Can it be said in truth that a judicial tribunal should be given any kind of instruction or guidance from outside when it is sitting in the capacity of judge?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

There is no particular detailed instruction given, but it is clearly right that there are general considerations which should be borne in mind.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelli

The Minister referred to the fact that he was waiting for the Report of the Council. Is this Council being asked to consider the form and content of all arbitration proceedings? What relation has that to this new Council?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

No, Sir; no instructions have been given to the Council beyond the terms of reference with which the House is familiar.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

As it is pertinent to the point, may I ask my right hon. Friend how the negotiation between employers and employed on the question of the amendment of the Industrial Disputes Order is getting on? It has been a long time.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, it has been a long time, and I am aware of my hon. Friend's particular interest in certain bodies which might be brought within the scope of a new Order. I hope that we can make our final proposals known to the country fairly soon.