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Clause 2. — References of Questions to the Board

Part of Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr Roger Cooke Mr Roger Cooke , Twickenham 12:00 am, 9th August 1966

The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) is right. There are restrictive practices in the legal and medical professions and others, but they are controlled by Act of Parliament and based on a reasonable division of labour. Also, they come into force only after a man has taken an examination, whether as a doctor or a lawyer, to differentiate him from unqualified people. That is the true reason for the divisions of labour in the professions and in industry. But this practice becomes intolerable in industry in such cases as the failure of an electric light bulb, when only an electrician is allowed to put in another bulb.

Another example could be that of a steel works in the middle of the night, when some ordinary defect occurs in the cooling system of a furnace. The tap could be mended by the turn of a spanner, but the whole steel works is held up for an hour or two until someone has sent for a plumber to deal with the matter. The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) is right. These things ought to be put right by management, pay arrangements and so on.

There is an example of a restrictive practice today in my constituency which ought to be reported to the Prices and Incomes Board. In the Twickenham film studios, a man has been properly working as a scene painter and is a member of the National Association of Theatrical and Kinematograph Employees. He has had a anion ticket for some time, but has now been told that he must also become a member of the Amalgamated Society of Decorators and Painters. The union has said that its members will go on strike unless he joins. He has been told by his employers that he must go. He has been given the sack and is now picketing the film studios asking for reinstatement. I would call that a restrictive practice and the sort of thing which is holding up our effort. This man was already a member of a union, with a union ticket, working peacefully, and was asked out of the blue to join another union and because he did not do so, the employers had to give way. That is why I think this sort of thing should be within the process of the Bill.