Settlement of Claims as to Recognised Terms or Conditions of Employment

New Clause 9 – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 22nd April 1980.

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'(1) Where a claim is duly reported to the Secretary of State under this section—

  1. (a) that terms or conditions of employment are established in any trade or industry, or section of a trade or industry, either generally or in any district, which have been settled by an agreement or award, and
  2. (b) that the parties to the agreement, or to the proceedings in which the award was made, are or represent organisations of employers and organisations of workers or associations of such organisations, and represent (generally or in the district in question, as the case may be) a substantial proportion of the employers and of the workers in the trade, industry or section, being workers of the description (hereinafter referred to as "the relevant description") to which the agreement or award relates, and
  3. (c) that as respects any worker of the relevant description an employer engaged in the trade, industry or section (or, where the operation of the agreement or award is limited to a district, an employer so engaged in that district), whether represented as afore- saud or not, is not observing the terms or conditions (hereinafter referred to as "the recognised terms or conditions "),
the Secretary of State may take any steps which seem to him expedient to settle, or to secure the use of appropriate machinery to settle, the claim and shall, if the claim is not otherwise settled, refer it to the Central Arbitration Committee.Provided that:
  1. (i) no claim shall be reported under this section as respects workers whose remuneration or minimum remuneration is fixed (otherwise than by the employer, with or without the approval of any other person) in pursuance of any enactment other than this section or in the case of whom provision is made by or under any enactment other than this section for the settlement of questions as to remuneration or minimum remuneration;
  2. (ii) no claim shall be reported under this section as respects terms or conditions fixed as aforesaid.
(2) For the purposes of this section a claim, to be duly reported, must be reported to the Minister in writing by an independent trade union.(3) If on a reference under this section the Committee is satisfied that the claim is well founded, then unless the Court is satisfied that the terms or conditions which the employer is observing are not less favourable than the recognised terms or conditions the Court shall make an award requiring the employer to observe the recognised terms or conditions as respects all workers of the relevant description from time to time employed by him.(4) An award under this section shall have effect as an implied term of the contract of employment, and shall have effect from such date as the Committee Court may determine, being a date not earlier than the date on which, in the opinion of the Committee the employer was first informed of the claim giving rise to the award by the organisation or association which reported the claim to the Minister; and an award under this section shall cease to have effect on the coming into operation of an agreement or award varying or abrogating the recognised terms or conditions.'.—[Mr. John Grant.]

Brought up, and read the First time

Photo of Mr John Grant Mr John Grant , Islington Central

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant God-man Irvine):

With this we may take new clause 12—Amendment of Schedule 11 of the Employment Protection Act 1975:'At the end of paragraph 9 of Schedule 11 to the Employment Protection Act 1975 there shall be inserted the words: "but regard shall not be had to the size and administration resources of the employer's undertaking. and amendment No. 106, in clause 17, page 18, leave out lines 35 to 38.

Photo of Mr John Grant Mr John Grant , Islington Central

We have just concluded a prolonged, and, in many ways, somewhat irrelevant debate which has been far less concerned with industrial relations than with the internal dissensions on the Conservative Benches. It was almost an intrusion into private grief for my right hon. and hon. Friends to intervene in that debate. If it had any relevance to the serious matter of industrial relations, it was to demonstrate the naivety and mischievousness of Conservative Members, who are less concerned with industrial peace and harmony than with the grasping of any stick with which to beat the trade unions—or, as it seems currently, with which to beat the Secretary of State. Their abortive mini-rebellion will doubtless attract the headlines tomorrow. That is a pity, because it will be at the expense of the real issue.

8.15 pm

These new clauses and the amendment bear directly on the life, pay and conditions of hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers, whose position will be markedly worsened unless the Government make concessions, rather than on the basis of an abstract theory.

I shall argue my case not on the basis of the two new clauses but primarily on amendment No. 106. The new clauses provide a fall-back position. New clause 9 takes us back to the position that existed under the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act 1959, but there are some drafting errors in the new clause. New clause 12 is an attempt to clarify a problem that caused a clash of view and certainly a difference of interpretation in Committee.

I shall concentrate on amendment No. 106 which gives the status quo that Labour Members desire. The Bill hits severely at the statutory rights of individual workers, especially at the lower paid and at the most vulnerable, particularly in respect of unfair dismissals, maternity benefits, and in respect of schedule 11. The repeal of schedule 11 appears to be a rather spiteful, if inexplicable, attempt by the Government to hammer away at individual workers' rights. I said "inexplicable", but, as we progress, I shall try to explain why I believe the Government are travelling this particular road.

The Secretary of State is clearly unhappy about the total repeal of the schedule. He was not happy on Second Reading or at the end of the Committee proceedings. After much pressure, and after the total demolition of the flimsy brief that was presented by his hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary—I suspect that there is some difference between their presentations of the case—he admitted that the decision regarding the recognised terms and conditions provisions was one of the most difficult in the Bill. The Opposition were not alone in urging reconsideration. The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham)—he is not in the Chamber now but I hope that he will join us later to make another contribution—urged reconsideration. I know that other Conservative Members have similar doubts and anxieties about this aspect of the Bill.

The Secretary of State said that he had been impressed by the arguments advanced. He mentioned the building trades' employers, who had urged him to retain the first leg of the schedule. He said that he would consider further representations. He gave no undertaking. Indeed, he said that he would give consideration to further representations while maintaining the position that the Government still wanted total abolition. We recognise that in this respect his hands are tied. Undoubtedly a collective decision was taken.

It was not easy for the right hon. Gentleman to publicise his decision to invite further representations. I know that he wrote to the TUC, the CBI and other interested organisations. It will be helpful if he tells us about the further representations that he has received. I am aware that he limited further representations until Tuesday of next week, so time has not yet run out. I am sure that by now he has a fair impression of the way in which the situation is developing.

A number of unions have submitted new pleas in asking for the retention of the schedule. I shall not quote them at length, but I shall refer to two or three of the new pleas that have been entered. I have one from the National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers. It is a copy of the document that was sent to the right hon. Gentleman. That union states: On behalf of the National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers, may I urge you most strongly not to alter the recognition terms … as this would have disruptive effects on NJICs and other negotiating bodies, but to maintain the recognition levels at the present figures.I am sure this would find the support of the employers' organisations concerned and I cannot stress too strongly that any alteration upwards would in our opinion be disruptive in industrial terms. There is a similar letter from the general secretary of the National Union of Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades. There is a letter in a similar vein from the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union. The general secretary of that organisation states: the abolition … will do nothing to improve the economy of the country or industrial relations. On the contrary the proposed change will lead to conflict and confrontation in our industry. The employment and policy committee of the TUC has approved a further letter, which I think the Secretary of State will have received today. It makes it clear that it wishes to maintain the representations that it made previously. It seeks, in par- ticular the retention of the schedule. It is especially concerned about the potential repeal of the first leg. It will be helpful if the right hon. Gentleman or the Under-Secretary of State gives the House rather more detail about the further representations that they have received. Employer organisations may well have been making similar noises in the past week or two.

The new clauses give the House an opportunity to examine in detail the case for and against abolition. I shall not seek to go over all the ground that I covered in Committee in a long speech. We have already discussed consultation and consultative documents.

The so-called consultative document on the issue that is now before us was phoney. The Government gave three options in that document. They suggested total repeal, repeal of the general level provisions and the amendment of the schedule. There was also reference to the fair wages resolution. The plain fact is that the decision had, in effect, been taken. It must have been, because there has been virtually no subsequent support for total abolition. However, following the consultation, that is precisely what is being suggested. It seems that there is a wish to scrap the lot.

Whatever may have been said about its past usage, the schedule is aimed primarily at protecting the low paid. It has been used primarily for that purpose. The Government's decision to get rid of it is nothing short of a declaration that they do not give a damn for the lowest paid, the poorest workers who are often the most poorly organised and the most vulnerable. The change is being proposed after a mere three years' experience of the schedule. That is not a long period in which to take such a fundamental decision.

In Committee we went into a great deal of detail about the various researches that have been conducted, especially by the University of Warwick industrial relations research unit, including an up-to-date analysis of the effect of schedule 11 for the three years from 1977 to 1979. The broad conclusion of that piece of research by those independent analysts was that schedule 11 had been helping to remove pockets of low pay. They pointed out that the abolition of the schedule could exclude significant numbers of employees from the only statutory protection that they have.

The Under-Secretary of State has chosen to quote selectively the findings of the Low Pay Unit when it has suited his case to do so. The unit takes the same view as the University of Warwick unit. It believes that abolition will show a lack of commitment by the Goverment towards the low paid. How right it is. The Government argue that schedule 11 has been used to circumvent pay policy. That is rather odd because they do not have one now. In the past the right hon. Gentleman has expressed considerable interest in that concept. He has now ratted on it. He talks, for example, of self-restaint being enough. We cannot expect him to fight on every front. We have already seen his difficulties this evening. No doubt his time on that issue will come again.

As there is now no overt pay policy for the schedule to circumvent, the question is "Why not give it a run? Why not test it to ascertain the full extent to which it can help tackle the problem of low pay?" It is a problem that is accentuated by cowboy employers undercutting recognised rates. It is a problem that is accentuated still further by a range of Government economic and social policies, especially those flowing from the Treasury.

8.30 pm

The Government claim that the schedule has damaged industrial relations by undermining pay structures and upsetting relativities. They also complain that it has not allowed the Central Arbitration Committee to consider market prospects, profitability and so on. In Committee we had a considerable different of opinion about this. The Warwick university unit carried out an extensive survey and found no evidence for any of these claims. Its independent evidence completely destroys the Government's case.

The evidence is that the schedule has helped industrial relations. Moreover, on the question of profitability, the unit says that the Central Arbitration Committee looks at issues of profitability in reaching its decisions. New Clause 12 seeks to some extent to clarify that position.

The Government probably will not like new clause 12 and perhaps will want to make an alteration of their own to the Bill in that respect. There is no doubt about the position of the Central Arbitration Committee on this. If there were any doubt, the TUC in its latest submission to the Secretary of State, in response to his letter which particularly refers to ability to pay and productivity, makes clear that the CAC looks at these matters when making its decisions. The TUC and many individual unions take the view that without this resort to unilateral arbitration much more use will be made of industrial action, and that there will be many more strikes. Many employers share that view.

There is a strong feeling, too, that, even where it is not used, schedule 11 has helped to develop collective bargaining because the prospect of its use has brought employers to the bargaining table, and that that has been a helpful development. Many of the employers organisations—certainly the Engineering Employers' Federation—deplore the abolition of the recognised terms and conditions provisions. The British Institute of Management would like to see the general provision go, but not the rest. The CBI is divided, but does not favour full-scale repeal. Unless they have a belated change of heart, which I do not think is possible, the building employers, the furniture trade employers and the motor agents have all been against full repeal, as have the TUC and many affiliated unions, the Low Pay Unit and Warwick university. There is a great weight of evidence in that direction.

Only last week Camden community relations council lobbied on the Bill, in particular on the point about schedule 11. It was worried about the position of many London workers in ethnic minority groups working in low pay industries such as hotels, catering and the garment trades, if this protection is removed. The council wants discussions to improve the schedule's scope and does not want to get rid of it. That view is shared by the Low Pay Unit which believes that the schedule could be improved.

If we go up this road we shall be turning the clock back 40 years or more, to the 1930s and beyond. Those who are not working on Government contracts will be unable to claim fair wages with minimum standards. Bad employers will be able to undercut with impunity and good employers will suffer competitive disadvantage. It is a "back to the sweat shop" approach.

I mentioned Government contracts. The consultative document implies that the fair wages resolution may go, too, in due course as a follow-up to this legislation, so that the Government would cease to set even that limited example. I ask for a reply tonight. What is intended? Shall we see the end of the fair wages resolution as well? That question was asked in Committee but no response was received.

It would be idle to pretend that some higher-paid groups did not benefit from the schedule during a pay policy period when the schedule was a useful safety valve. Claims under the schedule were deliberately exempted from the pay policy. It may well be argued that that should not be allowed to happen; that it should not be a benefit, especially to high-paid workers. If that is so, it is a case at the most for amendment, not for abolition, just like the argument about whether the CAC considers that profitability could also be dealt with without striking out the schedule. The argument about profitability needs to be treated with considerable caution. I would not want to encourage the CAC to adopt widely differing standards in dealing with cases. The answer here again is that discussion, and perhaps some form of amendment to the schedule, would be the best way out.

I want to mention briefly the repeal of the Road Haulage Wages Act. That change looks to me like a piece of spite against the Transport and General Workers Union. The consultative document gave no reasons for that abolition, and the Secretary of State gave an unsatisfactory explanation in Committee. When he was challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Crowther) with a first-class example of where there is need to retain the Act, he said he would take up the point later. He has not yet done so and perhaps he will feel able to do so tonight. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham will wish to say something further about that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if he catches your eye.

If the Bill reaches the statute book with no change of heart by the Government on schedule 11, it will be a black day for low-paid workers. In fairness, I believe that that greatly worries the Secretary of State. He cannot pretend that he is bothered about the inflationary effects of the schedule, which is primarily, if not exclusively, aimed at helping the low paid, when settlements for organised workers with industrial muscle are conceded at well over 20 per cent. and the Government virtually pretend that they have not happened.

In those circumstances, it is hypocritical to make the schedule and low-paid workers the scapegoats. I do not believe that the Secretary of State relishes the prospect of being tagged as the man who boosted the new sweat shops and back-street cowboys of the 1980s.

If the right hon. Gentleman insists that the schedule has been unduly inflationary, he should produce some properly researched evidence to that effect. We have evidence to show that the low-paid had gained—that was supplied in the Warwick university study—but all that we know about the overall inflationary consequences, particularly in relation to higher-paid workers, relates to a limited number of carefully selected cases which were referred to in Committee with no statistical, across-the-board back-up.

If the Government believe that the schedule was seriously inflationary and merits the fundamental decision to sweep it away, why has there been no detailed research done or commissioned by the Department of Employment into that aspect? We have had nothing.

We do not want any of the schedule to go. I should welcome genuine discussions between the Government, unions and employers to see whether the schedule's scope to assist the low paid could be improved. If necessary, perhaps there could be discussions on inhibition of its use by higher-paid groups. I do not say that that would be easy, but it would be possible and would be the best way to deal with the matter. If there is a fair case for retaining the general level provisions, as I believe, the case for retaining the recognised terms and conditions provisions is overwhelming.

It is hard to see why the Government have chosen to sweep away the schedule. We have to conclude that it is another battle that the Secretary of State fought, and lost decisively, in the Cabinet. He is stuck with a decision which he knows makes no sense in industrial relations terms and which strikes a damaging blow at low-paid workers.

Presumably the Cabinet majority, obsessed with its laissez-faire approach to such matters, wants to sweep the schedule away with its well-known doctrinaire zeal. The Secretary of State has been told by many trade unions and employers' organisations that abolition would be damaging to industrial relations, would help cowboy employers and might lead to a greater use of the strike weapon. Of course, that is looking into the future. It must be a matter of opinion, but those are well-based opinions of people with a wealth of experience in industrial relations. I know of no significant opinions to the contrary from either the industries expressing particular concern or elsewhere. It has been virtually one-way traffic against the Government position.

It will be scandalous if the Government ignore the weight of evidence and steamroller the change through. It may also be a measure of the Secretary of State's strength or weakness in the Cabinet. He should be opening up an exhaustive review of the whole low-paid area, which daily becomes more urgent as the Government's overall economic and social policies either plunge more people and more families into poverty or leave them on the brink of it.

I hope that we can avoid a vote on the new clause as a consequence of firm assurances that, if not today, at a later stage in the Bill's progress the Secretary of State will make the necessary change. He must have a fair idea by now of the content of the further representations that he will receive, even though the final date for the submission of representations has not yet been reached.

It will certainly not be good enough for the Secretary of State to say that he is still considering the matter.

We all know about his constraints. I have a vision of the Secretary of State leading his gallant band of Wets up to the top of the hill. There they are, quiv- ering with excitement at the prospect of victory when they see this figure coming into their sights—with its Fried-maniacal grin—the Secretary of State for Industry, waving a banner with a picture of the right hon. Lady, the Prime Minister, in that characteristic hectoring, finger-wagging pose, and carrying a slogan saying "You will be very, very sorry."

That prospect, I am sure, would send the Secretary of State and his band into headlong retreat down the hill again, and that would be the end of schedule 11. That is what worries me. Therefore, we want a firm response tonight. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot give it, he cannot expect us simply to take him on trust—not with the back-stabbers that we have already seen tonight lurking behind him.

This clause of the Bill is a disgrace to any society which pretends to care for its worst-off people. The Secretary of State should be big enough tonight to tell the House quite clearly that he will drop it. If he cannot command that much backing from his colleagues—and we know that he really wants that backing—on an issue of great importance to so many low-wage earners and their families, it is highly questionable whether he should be carrying on in the job. Perhaps he should be telling the Prime Minister "I shall do this job in my way or I shall not do it at all."

Photo of Mr Bill Walker Mr Bill Walker , Perth and East Perthshire

I am delighted to have caught your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, this evening on this clause. Before I speak to it, I should first say that I was rather saddened by the introduction given by the hon. Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant), because I am never terribly sure whether I am a Wet or what I am. Not everyone who voted against the Government tonight was necessarily a Wet—or whatever other term one might care to use—and I may well be asked to explain my position to someone else at a later stage.

I am not speaking from abstract theory. I happen to be a fellow of the Institute of Personnel Management. I have been involved in personnel work for most of my adult life, and I have been a director of personnel.

New clause 9, as I read it, deals with recognised terms and conditions. If I understand it correctly, it is based on the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act 1959. Because the present Bill, in clause 17(c), seeks to repeal schedule 11 to the Employment Protection Act 1975, this obviously creates a number of problems within industries which have grown accustomed to living with this kind of legislation.

We ought to look at the history of how we have arrived at this position today. This kind of legislation began during the war. It was wartime legislation which led to the setting up of joint industrial councils and wages councils and produced many voluntary procedures. Voluntary procedures call for a majority of employees and employers to agree on pay and conditions. The new clause, as I read it, seeks to provide a framework within which recognised terms and conditions in an industry will be created. It provides a starting point for local conditions of employment and wages and other factors to be negotiated.

If we repeal schedule 11 to the Employment Protection Act 1975 and put nothing much in its place, we put at risk the national labour agreements which have been painfully won, and which, in the furniture manufacturing industry, of which I have some experience, have produced considerable industrial stability. I thought that on each side of the House we were all trying to find industrial stability. Unfortunately, hon. Members are often more interested in publicity seeking than in stability.

If I understand the position correctly, the Department of Employment has consulted many interested parties on this matter. I also understand that the CBI's industrial relations and wages conditions committee was divided equally on whether schedule 11 should be repealed in its entirety. I further understand that many large firms have indicated that they wish to see schedule 11 repealed in its entirety. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary will take note of the quality of the views that have been expressed, as well as of the quantity. The quality is important. No one who knows how the industry works, would claim that schedule 11 has been a success in every sense, or that all parts of it have been successful. Indeed, parts of schedule 11 are suspect.

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Under the existing provisions, British furniture manufacturers and trade unions can negotiate national labour agreements. Individual furniture manufacturing firms are fully able to negotiate pay and conditions that take account of their circumstances, as long as they are not below the nationally agreed minimum. That is very important. Before the war the industry had a sad history of poor wages. The national labour agreement in the furniture manufacturing industry is not only influential in determining pay and conditions, but is the cornerstone of industrial relations in that industry.

Removal of the type of legislative backing provided in schedule 11 for recognised terms and conditions will undermine the whole painstaking edifice. If schedule 11 is totally repealed, that edifice will be put at risk. It may provide a breeding ground for discontent if some employers take advantage of this, at the expense of the long-term stability of the industry which the establishment of the British furniture trade joint industrial council in 1945 was designed to promote. I suggest that it has succeeded in achieving stability, and that that is important.

My reservations about the clause have been answered. I realise that it is a problem of drafting. I had reservations about the clause as it appeared on the Amendment Paper. New clause 9 does not contain a provision to bring employers as well as unions into the category that may report in writing to the Minister. That is a vital omission. Arrangements in the furniture industry have been successful as a result of co-operation between trade unions and employers.

Subsection (2) might have been better if it had included a provision for independent trade unions and an employers' association to act together and to report in writing to the Minister. That would provide a considerable improvement in drafting and I hope that it will be noted. I hope also that my hon. and learned Friend will confirm that he will consider the issue seriously. We may then look at the possibility of introducing an amendment in another place to take advantage of the benefits contained in former legislation. I do not wish to change the main aims of the present Bill, which I wholeheartedly support. They are needed and required.

When both sides of industry read the Bill they will realise that it is a genuine attempt to improve and assist industrial relations. It is not designed to bash the unions. I say that as a former active trade unionist. An active trade unionist often faces the problem that the parameters in which the individual must work are not clearly defined. Certainly that was the weakness in those trade unions of which I was a member. It is not the job of this House, or of the House of Lords, to tell the unions how to behave. It is our job, and that of the other place, to prepare the conditions so that both sides of industry can work together and reach solutions to Britain's problems.

Photo of Dr Oonagh McDonald Dr Oonagh McDonald , Thurrock

I wish to speak in support of new clause 9 and amendment No. 106. The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) referred to schedule 11 and its history, which he said went back to 1940. In fact, its lineage can be traced back even further, to the first fair wages resolution of 1891. That makes the Government's decision to abolish schedule 11 even more extraordinary. They are not just putting the clock back to the 1930s—that would be bad enough—but they are going back to the dark recesses of the nineteenth century in order to dispose of the schedule, which they have wrongly decided is damaging to industrial relations and does not help the low paid. There is no evidence to support that belief.

If that were the case, one would expect the Government to bring forward their own proposals to help low-paid workers, but that has not happened. They have rejected a schedule which finds its roots in the late nineteenth century. It was introduced then as people became aware slowly that if the Government were to place contracts with private employers they should at least be assured that they were not employing sweated labour, either directly or indirectly. In 1946 people came to realise that not only should the Government be seen to be a good and fair employer insisting on fair wages but that that concept should be extended to the private sector as well. Later this was incorporated in schedule 11 to the Employment Protection Act 1975.

It is extraordinary to find that the Government are now trying to overthrow a long tradition by which people have come to terms with the fact that there is a relevant concept of fair wages and that it should be applied to all workers—in public or private industries, protected or unprotected by trade union membership. It is extraordinary that in the late twentieth century the Government are rejecting that hard-won and long thought out moral view. It would be interesting to hear the Secretary of State's justification for taking such a step and taking us back a century in terms of industrial relations and the wages that people should be paid for work done.

It is even more extraordinary that the Government should propose to abolish this schedule in view of their concern about incentives to work. We hear a great deal about the supplementary benefit and unemployment benefit levels being higher than the wages that some people can earn for a full week's work. The Government have sought to encourage people to take work and for that reason they believe that supplementary benefits and unemployment benefits should be restricted. But they have never looked at the other side of the argument, namely, that we should regard supplementary benefit or family income supplement levels as levels below which wages for a full week's work should not fall. That should be the direction from which the Government should argue if they are really concerned about incentives to work.

The whole notion of FIS and supplementary benefit depends on what a family can be expected to live on and to have their basic needs fulfilled. If that is what is implied by FIS and supplementary benefit levels, surely we should look at wages and ensure that they are sufficiently high to take the wage earner above the relevant benefit. Yet the Government are pursuing that kind of argument and talking about the essential incentives to keep a worker at work rather than encouraging him to turn away from work and to rely on unemployment benefit and supplementary benefit. A Government committed to that sort of view are, at one and the same time, removing a schedule that helped to ensure that some workers at least were taken above supplementary benefit level in terms of their wages for a full week's work.

It is extraordinary that the Government should pursue these two different lines of attack. Their action can be seen only as an attack on low-paid workers. We have here an attempt to remove the only protection possessed by many low-paid workers as they seek to improve their pay and conditions of work. It is a protection that could be improved and extended. At least, in its form in the 1975 Act, it was a useful provision for many workers over the three years since it came into effect in 1977. Even as it stands, however, it is not an adequate provision. I would prefer to see some sort of proper minimum wage legislation, although that is another thorny and difficult issue. I do not propose to pursue it now.

I am anxious to argue for the preservation of schedule 11 and for the Government, through the Secretary of State, to give a commitment that he is prepared to reconsider all that has been said and that he is prepared to retain the schedule. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) rightly emphasised the benefits of schedule 11 for industrial relations. He has rightly drawn attention to employers' associations of many kinds, including the Engineering Employers' Federation, that have argued for its retention. He has referred to a number of trade unions which would find themselves in difficulties without the ability to use schedule 11 to improve the pay and conditions of their workers. My hon. Friend is right to emphasise those aspects.

The fact that companies and unions want to retain the schedule is shown in harder evidence than mere statements made on behalf of those organisations—the hard evidence in terms of its use. Incomes Data Services Ltd., in its analysis of the fair wages resolution awards made in 1978, foundn that of 233 such awards, 42 were made by the company without the union being involved and there were indications of a measure of collusion in some claims. It is clear that companies were as anxious as trade unions to utilise schedule 11 and fair wagese resolutions to avoid the worst effects of pay policy.

It is clear, not merely from the statements of various employers' associations and of unions, that both companies and unions alike not only favoured schedule 11 but were prepared to use it. Their use of it meant that they had two possibilities. One was to avoid unnecessary industrial strife during a period of voluntary pay restraint. It further gave them an opportunity to deal with the anomalies that always arise in a period of incomes policy and to do so without resort to industrial action and all the costs that this imposes on companies. That is an important benefit of schedule 11. It is clear that the schedule was used in this way not only, as I have shown, by the analysis covering 1978, but during the other years when it was in operation.

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That is not the aspect of schedule 11 on which I wish to concentrate. I want to concentrate our attention on the way in which schedule 11 has helped the low paid. The effectiveness of the schedule should be examined in detail. In their original consultative document the Government claimed that many higher-paid groups benefited from the awards made under schedule 11 and that it was not used to abolish pockets of low pay. The Government also claimed that the majority of claims were made in respect of employees who could not be regarded as low paid on any absolute test. The way in which one defines low pay creates a problem. The problem is particularly serious if one introduces the notion of absolute low pay, as opposed to relative low pay.

There are two possibilities. First, one can examine the supplementary benefit level and regard that as the minimum income below which no individual or family should be allowed to fall. One can examine the effects of schedule 11 on low pay in those terms. In 1979–80 that criterion of low pay would involve a wage of about £60 a week. A wage below that could be regarded as a level below which no individual or family should be allowed to fall.

A second possibility is to examine the problem in terms of the average wage or earnings at the lowest decile. If one defines low pay as two-thirds of the average wage, £60 a week is arrived at again. About 3·3 million full-time adult workers earned less than that a week in 1979–80.

Some people argue that many such full-time workers are women. I am not sure of the point of that argument, but I suspect that some people believe that it does not matter if women workers earn less than £60 a week. In the days of the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts no one should make such remarks or think in those terms. To think in such terms is to fail to realise that a full-time worker might be a woman but she might also be single, the head of a single-parent family or the major breadwinner. Many full-time workers might be women but that is irrelevant. We should concentrate on the principle that a wage of less than £60 a week is totally inadequate for a full week's work, however unskilled or menial the task involved.

Let us examine the way in which schedule 11 was used and refer to research by the Warwick university industrial relations unit. That shows that schedule 11 benefited many manual and non-manual earning less than that. For example, their analysis suggests that in 1979 the median earnings of manual claimants under the recognised terms were £58·80 per week. For those claiming under the general terms—those using that particular provision of schedule 11—wages were £56·90 per week and that was in a year in which the new earnings survey showed a median wage of £64·70 per week. That was a more correct figure than the average figure for earnings for full-time work. In other words, as far as manual claimants were concerned, both groups using schedule 11 earned, in some cases, considerably below the median wage of £64·70 for that year.

In the case of non-manual claimants the situation was different. The median earnings for those who claimed under the recognised terms were £103·90 per week and for those who claimed under general terms earnings were £80·50 per week compared with the median for all non-manual employees of £96·40 per week. In that case it appeared that many of the claimants earned more than the median wage, but this was due to the figures being distorted by a special factor, namely, claims by higher grade local authority staff.

The results from 1977 and 1979 confirm a similar analysis carried out for 1978 in which it appeared that schedule 11 was fulfilling one of its objectives which was to help remove pockets of low pay. The 1979 survey confirmed the results of 1978. The figures for 1979 showed that only 8 per cent. of claims from manual workers were on behalf of groups with pre-award earnings that were above the average. The remaining 92 per cent. were below the overall median.

Even among non-manual groups almost three-quarters had average pre-award earnings below the national average. Therefore, if one looks at the survey carried out by the University of Warwick unit it appears that in pretty well every case those who put in the claims under schedule 11 were earning below the average, or median, wages in their respective groups of manual or non-manual earnings. Therefore, it shows that schedule 11 benefited the lower paid. Those results show that many were helped and that pockets of low pay were removed. To my mind, that is the most important feature and purpose of schedule 11.

I want to see not only something that will benefit industrial relations, important though that is, and not only something that will encourage the development of trade unionism—often engaging in claims of this kind encourages the growth of trade unionism and I consider that that is important—but an effective means of dealing with the problem of low pay.

Schedule 11 may not be everything that one could wish in this respect, but it has had an important effect. Many groups of workers have benefited from it. If those workers remain in full-time work and if their earnings are raised above the supplementary benefit level they are given just the kind of incentive to remain in work that the Secretary of State and his Cabinet colleagues want.

If the Secretary of State is anxious that workers should have that incentive, it must be asked over and over again why the Government are doing away with schedule 11. If the Government are serious in their efforts to encourage people to remain in work and not fall back on supplementary benefit or unemployment benefit, this is exactly the kind of legislation that the Government should not only retain but actively try to improve and extend.

Instead of apologising, as undoubtedly the Secretary of State will, for the fact that he cannot, after all, because the Cabinet does not wish it, allow the retention of schedule 11, the right hon. Gentleman should be bringing forward well thought out amendments to improve and make schedule 11 more effective.

I am sick and tired of the kind of arguments that pour forth from Conservative politicians condemning people who have to rely on supplementary or unemployment benefit because, in the vast majority of cases, they have been thrown out of work through redundancy, sickness or disability of one kind or another, their age or the fact that their skills are no longer valuable. I am sick to death of hearing such people castigated as though they were work-shy and were doing everything possible to avoid work. It is absolute nonsense to suggest that, if they could get a few more pence knocked off income tax, that would draw them off unemployment or supplementary benefit in their hordes and back to the labour market.

The startling fact is that more than 3 million people are prepared to do a full week's work for less than £60 a week. That is what politicians ought to be commenting on, especially politicians with large private incomes or assets of their own. The startling fact is that more than 3 million people are prepared to do boring, humdrum, dirty, menial jobs. That is what we should be commenting on, and not just with surprise. Those are the people to whom we should say "You ought not to be doing a full week's work for wages of that kind." Of course, I am mentioning gross pay. I have said nothing about deductions for national insurance or income tax. We should look to those people and say "You should not be working for that kind of wage. Your wage should be above the level that we consider necessary to fulfil the basic needs of an individual or family."

We have hard, concrete evidence of the kind provided by the University of Warwick, to which my hon. Friends referred in Committee. With the kind of commitment to incentives to work, which the Government have repeatedly asserted both within the Chamber and in the media, I am astonished that they are seeking to abolish this schedule. Their commitment should be not to repeal it but to improve and extend it.

What we should hear from a shamefaced Secretary of State is that he is sorry that he ever thought of abolishing schedule 11 and that, before the Bill completes its stages in this House, he will put his civil servants to work on ways of improving and extending the schedule. We should not hear him mouthing words about the need for incentives to work and then taking away from low-paid workers the minimal protection that many of them have.

Photo of Mr Giles Radice Mr Giles Radice , Chester-le-Street

I support new clause 9 because I was not impressed by the arguments advanced in Committee by the Secretary of State and his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. They did not seem able to answer the wide evidence in favour of keeping schedule 11 in some form. I refer to the evidence which has been quoted this evening and which was quoted in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant), who is rapidly becoming a notable expert in this area.

In Committee, I was impressed by the speech made by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needam) in favour of retaining schedule 11. We have heard another similar speech tonight. Indeed, many employers' organisations, as well as the trade union movement, community organisations, the Low Pay Unit and academic organisations of one kind or another, are in favour of keeping schedule 11 in some form.

9.15 pm

The major argument is that about low pay. I am a General and Municipal Workers Union sponsored Member of Parliament, and I am an author on the subject of low pay, but I shall not weary the House tonight on that subject. My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) quoted some of the evidence about low pay. It is true that there are considerable numbers of low-paid workers in all industries, as well as a number of low-paid industries. My hon. Friend quoted evidence, mostly emanating from Warwick university, about how schedule 11 has helped the low-paid workers.

If the Secretary of State had said that he had invented a new policy to help the low paid—perhaps through social security, taxation, minimum wages legislation, or even incomes policy—there might have been a case for saying that, in those circumstances, schedule 11 was redundant. However, that is not what he said. He has not put anything else in its place. He is leaving the low paid without any protection other than that of free collective bargaining, which has not always been the best protection in the past.

On the subject of pay policy, there is something in the argument about the inflationary aspects of schedule 11. However, the Government do not believe in pay policy. The Secretary of State, in the middle of the night, might think "Perhaps I shall have to press for a pay policy or a pay freeze to be introduced in the Autumn". But the fact is that there is not a pay policy. Therefore, the Government can hardly use the argument that schedule 11 is inflationary if they do not believe that pay affects inflation, or if they believe the sort of stuff that is being put out by the Treasury.

We have heard very good speeches from Conservative Members about industrial relations, to which I do not wish to add. They fear that the abolition of schedule 11 could be used to undercut or undermine some of the achievements made by firms. The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) mentioned the furniture industry, but there are other industries such as road haulage and construction. The hon. Gentleman might have mentioned also the organisation of which he is a member, namely, the Institute of Personnel Management. I hope that for all these reasons the Government will say that they will reconsider the case, as they said they would when they heard all the evidence, and that they will now change their minds.

Photo of Mr Edward Fletcher Mr Edward Fletcher , Darlington

I wish to support the case that has been put forward for new clause 9. The matter was debated at great length in Committee. The Secretary of State has had an opportunity since then to consider the points that we put forward.

It is difficult to understand the motivation of the Government in deciding to abolish schedule 11. I can only conclude that it is another spoke in the wheel. The Government intend to use it as part of their policy to curb inflation. I recall that during the Budget statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that it was necessary to widen the gap between people in receipt of social security—the unemployed—and the low-paid worker. As a consequence of that, it was proposed that unemployment pay should increase only by 11 per cent. instead of 16 per cent.

It appears that this is being taken a stage further, so that low-paid workers will lose the protection that they have had hitherto under the clause. For the first time in almost 90 years there will be no statutory provision for the extension of recognised terms and conditions of employment in civil industries. As my right hon. and hon. Friends have said, that has been of great benefit to low-paid workers.

One must reinforce the point that it is in the employers' interests to keep the provision in the 1975 Act intact. As we know, the CBI is equally divided in regard to this proposition. Many employers, particularly reputable ones, want to safeguard their own terms and conditions of employment against attack from unscrupulous rivals who may employ similar labour at lower rates. For example, one can understand an employer in the road haulage industry, who pays good wages to his workers, resenting the appearance of another operator who uses substandard equipment and low-paid workers to undercut the market.

In a sense, the schedule is a protection for employers as well as a protection for lower-paid workers. We have been told that consultation took place before the Government arrived at this decision. One is entitled to ask "Who has been consulted?" My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) read a number of letters from various trade unions indicating that they were against this proposition and asking the Government to reconsider their attitude. We know that the Secretary of State has had no communication from the CBI, but I am sure that representations have been made to him by many employers urging him not to interfere with the schedule in the 1975 Act.

This fair wages measure has a long history. It was first put in resolution form to the House in 1891. It reappeared during the war years as order 1305, together with other legislation. It appeared once again in the 1959 Act, when the Conservatives were in power, and then in the 1975 Act. Therefore, there is a long tradition attached to the creation of machinery and administration which, to some extent, would safeguard the position of low-paid workers.

All that is to be abolished in the name of theory and ideology, not in the name of practical politics, and certainly not at the request of either trade unionists or reputable employers. The proposal has already met with some opposition from Conservative Members. Therefore, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the matter again. I hope that he will consider what was said in Committee and in this debate and will decide that the best interests, not only of the Government but also of lower-paid workers, will be met by continuing the provisions enshrined in the 1975 Act.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

The only organisation, if they can be called that, who take the view that schedule 11 ought to be abolished are the Government. Every other group which has given evidence takes a contrary view. The CBI was apparently split. The TUC is against abolition. The Low Pay Unit takes the view that schedule 11, with all its imperfections, has been of benefit to the low paid. The Institute of Personnel Management also takes the same view, as do many of the Secretary of State's colleagues, as evidenced by the expert speech of the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker). Yet the right hon. Gentleman appears to be persistent in his view that schedule 11 has not fulfilled its purpose, despite the fact that it has only been in operation for three years.

My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) referred in Committee to a letter from the Camden committee for community relations. I received a similar letter, and I should have thought that its evidence was overwhelming. It demonstrated that in industries which are not unionised and which are fragmented—such as the small hotel industry, the catering industry and the garment workers industry, many of which employ ethnic minorities—there is no doubt that schedule 11 is not simply beneficial, but that it is possibly their only protection. They are among the most vulnerable, least protected sections of the community, and they are almost universally low paid. Yet the Government are suggesting, and indeed legislating to secure, that schedule 11 should be abolished. On what evidence are they doing so? They are legislating purely on evidence that was put forward in their discussion documents—that schedule 11 has not fulfilled its purpose. They give no supporting evidence for that claim except that it may have helped people who are not so poorly paid in the course of helping those who are low paid. Those are spurious reasons for ceasing to give protection to people who are in need of protection, particularly at a time of high unemployment.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) made a speech analysing the problems of the low paid. I was astonished to hear my hon. Friend say—I am sure that other hon. Members must have been equally astonished—that 3 million people, many of them women, in Britain earn less than £60 per week. My hon. Friend is right in saying that they should be praised for remaining in work.

Conservative Members—I do not include the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire—have made great play over and over again about abuses of social security, and they have said that it is more profitable not to work than to work. If that is their belief, they should be doing everything possible to encourage people to work. One of the ways of doing that is by ensuring that low-paid workers are given sufficient financial incentive to seek work and to remain in work, rather than to claim social security benefits. But the Government are doing nothing to encourage people to remain in work by removing this protection and benefit from low-paid workers.

I could understand it if the Secretary of State were to produce a master plan for helping low-paid workers. I could understand it if he said that he intended to abolish schedule 11 because a more efficient means of helping low-paid workers had been found which would not be as inflationary as schedule 11, which would not benefit those that it was not intended to benefit, and which may not make such a dent in the non-existent pay policy. But the Government have simply abolished schedule 11, which all expert opinion suggests has been of some benefit—if not of sufficient benefit—to the low paid. Of all the measures in the Bill, this is the pettiest and meanest.

Photo of Mr Stanley Crowther Mr Stanley Crowther , Rotherham 9:30 pm, 22nd April 1980

I was extremely impressed by the speech of the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker). He spoke on the basis of his considerable experience in the furniture industry. I hope that the Secretary of State will pay serious attention to his remarks. The right hon. Gentleman appears not to have paid much attention to what was said in Committee.

At the end of a long debate in Committee I was under the impression that the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to think again. I thought that he had been impressed by some of the Opposition's arguments that he would give the matter further thought and that he would talk to the TUC. I seem to remember him giving an undertaking that he would have discussions with the TUC and possibly return on Report with something to repair some of the damage that would be done by repealing schedule 11 and the Road Haulage Wages Act 1938. I hope that when he replies we shall receive some assurance that the enormous vacuum which is being created will be filled to some extent.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) spoke of the rather lengthy period over which we have had legislation on this subject. The concept of fair wages goes back a long way. It is a centuries-old tradition. It goes back to the days of the Plantagenet kings. There were ordinances to prevent people being forced to work for wages which were lower than those which had been established as the norm for the job. It is a principle that has been enshrined in legislation.

The Government now propose at a stroke to remove the principle. Schedule 11 and the Road Haulage Wages Act are the only two remaining examples. It seems that both items are to disappear from the statute book. Subject to what the right hon. Gentleman said, it seems that nothing will replace them. It is extremely sad to see the Government destroying centuries of tradition and many years of legislation.

In a civilised community it is important that people should not be expected to work in conditions of sweated labour. Are we not a civilised country? Is it not reasonable that we should have some legislation to prevent people from falling into such a trap? I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock has totally convinced the House, even though Conservative Members may not be able to support the Opposition when we divide. I am sure that the case that she presented must have convinced them that schedule 11, or something similar to it, is vital for the protection of low-paid workers.

I am also concerned about those who do not necessarily come into the low-paid category. Surely order in industrial relations is a good thing. Surely some provision of the type that was in schedule 11 is helpful both to the high-paid and the low-paid. If the Bill is enacted in its present form and there is nothing to replace the schedule there is a greater likelihood of industrial disputes developing into strike action when, under the old system, it could possibly have been settled without a strike. The value of schedule 11 has been proved.

Again, we are losing the Road Haulage Wages Act. That is the only other piece of legislation on this subject. Schedule 11 would have taken over the functions of the Road Haulage Wages Act, but schedule 11 is going as well. I mention one recent example of the great value of the Road Haulage Wages Act. In the milk industry, just over a year ago, it was possible for a wages dispute to be settled amicably under the terms of that legislation by the Central Arbitration Committee. That settlement followed a bitter dispute in the road haulage industry when there had been strikes throughout the country. Strikes could have occurred in the milk industry but for the rights of the parties to go to the committee to get the dispute settled.

It takes only a moment's imagination to visualise the terrible consequences of a strike of road haulage workers in the milk industry, with no milk being moved from the farms to the depots or from the depots to the customers. Few dairy farmers have the capacity to keep milk in storage for more than a couple of days. A strike of that nature would be a disaster, but it was averted because of that useful piece of legislation. Now it is about to disappear, together with schedule 11, and it is a tragedy.

I hope that the Secretary of State will be able to tell us that he has given this matter a little more thought and that he will come forward with a proposal to fill this glaring gap in the legislation which will undoubtedly lead to more strikes, not only by low wage-earners. People who are working for companies which have negotiated a good settlement will not stand idly by while someone down the road undercuts their conditions. Of course, they will take action. So from both points of view it is desirable that the fair wages concept should operate.

Photo of Mr William Homewood Mr William Homewood , Kettering

Will my hon. Friend stress an important point which the Government have overlooked? I have had 13 years' experience as a trade union officer and in the past few years schedule 11 has been used on innumerable occasions in the West Midlands to avert disputes and stoppages that would have occurred if it had not been in operation. Much of the Bill is devoted to getting rid of strikes, but getting rid of schedule 11 will increase the likelihood of strikes.

Photo of Mr Stanley Crowther Mr Stanley Crowther , Rotherham

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that expression of support. In view of his long experience as an officer in the trade union movement he is well qualified to speak on that matter.

The whole of the Bill will damage industrial relations. If there is any doubt about that, speaking from the point of view of people who have experience in trade unions, there is no doubt that it will cause vast damage to the general picture of industrial relations. We are trying to repair some of that damage, or at least mitigate it by putting something useful into the gap which has been created by the repeal of schedule 11 and the Road Haulage Wages Act. I hope that we shall hear of some more constructive attitude from the Government Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Ernest Roberts Mr Ernest Roberts , Hackney North and Stoke Newington

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment made the following remark in Committee: Those who support the continuance of the arrangements in schedule 11 have those honourable motives. They want to help those whose pay is lower than that of most other people in the same class of work. I am quite certain of that. … The difference between us is whether we consider that we should rely upon mechanistic solutions, and put our faith in procedures". What was the hon. Gentleman saying? Should we rely on the operation of the fair wages resolution of schedule 11 and endeavour to solve the problems of workers' wages and conditions on the principles already laid down by agreements within industry, or should we rely on their taking action on the basis of their organised strength?

It is being said that workers should not be entitled to wages and conditions generally obtaining unless they are prepared to organise, to go into conflict with employers and to fight for and win those wages and conditions in the traditional way that trade unionists have won them. That will lead to anarchy, conflict, strikes, lock-outs, picketing and all the other developments that the Government say that they want to reduce.

Some workers are badly organised in some industries and in some sections of industries that have some good organisation, but pockets of bad organisation. Those workers need the "mechanistic" support of fair wages and the conditions that generally obtain in the industry in which they work.

In the clothing industry in my constituency there are many home workers who are badly organised and need protection from the rabid exploitation which creates unfair competition for those who are better organised and work for companies that operate proper wages and conditions. Are we to withdraw the protection of schedule 11 from those workers and so undermine the wages and conditions of workers generally in that industry?

Collective bargaining by trade unions has already laid the basis for fair wages and the norm that exists within industry. Having been a national trade union officer in the engineering industry for 20 years, I know that, both nationally and locally, the basis is laid by negotiations that take place at national or district level. But that is the minimum, below which workers are not expected to fall. On that is built the productivity, piecework and other wage bases in the agreements that are expected to be operated as the wages and conditions that should generally obtain within the industry.

Schedule 11 stops the unprincipled employer from undercutting other employers who are paying proper wages and giving proper conditions to their workers. That point was taken up in Committee by the Under-Secretary who said: I can understand why an employers' federation or association would want to ensure that the members of the federation did not face competition from those who did not subscribe to terms and conditions which the federation had negotiated. It is perfectly right that there should be associations, and I am in favour of their being strong. But I am not so much in favour of their being strong as to lead me to support statutory provisions which enable people to have their wages hoisted as a result of negotiations entered into by different people who do not represent them."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 27 March 1980; c. 1663, 1675.] To what theory is the Minister subscribing? Is he subscribing to a theory—which I have long held, incidentally, in the engineering industry—that only those who belong to a trade union and who are organised should receive the increases negotiated by the union? Is he advocating that kind of principle? He obviously is, for he is saying that unless the workers in a particular industry on a particular job have been organised and are party to negotiations, they shall not have the benefits which have been achieved by the organised workers in that industry. If that principle were to be operated in a factory in relation to non-trade unionists who were not party to trade union agreements, so that they did not get the better wages and conditions, it would result in a considerable number of unorganised workers being recruited into unions in this country.

Schedule 11 must be maintained, above all, because it provides a safety net for the poorly paid, for the low paid and for those who are unfortunate enough at this stage to be unorganised.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn 9:45 pm, 22nd April 1980

I ask the Minister to reconsider the Government's decision on this matter. Before I was elected to the House, I was a full-time union officer with the National Union of Public Employees. We recruited mainly in the hospital services and in education, but a small minority of our workers worked for charitable institutions up and down the country. The only way in which I could help the members working in private nursing homes and in private medicine was through schedule 11 to the Employment Protection Act 1975.

There were cases in which highly-skilled people were employed, say, in a nursing home. Sometimes it would be a married couple. The wife would be a skilled nurse and the husband would be the superintendent. No one would blame that couple for saying that they could not go on strike because, if they did so, they would jeopardise the lives of the people in their care.

A great many difficulties arose when I approached the employers. In their way they were good employers, but they had absolutely no idea of what negotiations or industrial relations were about. When it was pointed out to them that a skilled nurse should get more than £20 for a 45-hour week and for working weekends, they would say "Ah, but we give them a flat, we give them free electricity, we allow them to have the produce from the garden", and so on. The only way in which I could make a comparison was to point to a local authority nursing home where the matron had a flat and free electricity, or had some payment made to her in that respect.

Ministers often tell us that they want to look after the workers who do not have the militant power of the large unions. They rightly tell us that those who are loyal to their employers should have their just rewards. They now have a chance to keep schedule 11 in the Act. A large membership benefits from the Whitley Council agreements and from the national joint negotiation agreements.

This type of clause would allow the employer to reach some form of agreement. Employers would welcome legislation that gave guidance and assistance. They do not wish to become bogged down in long, drawn-out negotiations. They are usually small employers, and have other things to do.

I beg the Government to retain schedule 11 because it gives a great deal of help and protection to the weaker sections of our society.

Photo of Mr John Evans Mr John Evans , Newton

As every hon. Member knows—none more than you, Mr. Speaker—the House of Commons is a strange place. We have had a remarkable debate. Tomorrow the media will describe the first part of our proceedings as "high drama". I refer to those on the Back Benches behind the Secretary of State and the hostility with which parts of his speech were met. Such a description cannot be used for the second part of the debate. With one or two honourable exceptions, the Government Back Benches are empty. That is traditional.

Once again we find ourselves discussing the problems of workers who are at the bottom of the pay scale. The Conservative Party always shows a lack of interest about such groups. I hope that when the Division bell rings, Conservative Back Benchers will not troop into the Lobby and ask the Whips which way to vote. I hope that they will have some compassion and thought for the workers for whom they earlier professed great concern.

Opposition Members will recall that we were regaled by the speeches of Conservative Members. One would have thought that they had nothing closer to their hearts than the welfare and well-being of workers in British industry. When we discuss a major issue, the Government Benches are empty. The first part of the debate was a non-starter. The result of that debate was a foregone conclusion. The only event of note was the so-called rebellion of 45 Conservative Members. However, if they had not got wind of the fact that the Opposition planned to vote against those new clauses, I suspect that the rebellion would have been half that size. That is the one thing that came out of that farcical debate.

No doubt the Secretary of State is aware that we are now discussing more important issues. I cannot but return to the words used by the Under-Secretary in Committee. He referred to schedule 11 and said: As the hon. Member for Rotherham has rightly said, provisions of this nature have a long history in this country, but that factor alone is not decisive of the issues before the Committee.In Plantaganet times, to which the hon. Gentleman referred, and in more recent times, if one belonged to, or tried to set up, something of the nature of a trade union one went inside and probably did not come out because it was criminal conspiracy. In view of the attitudes of some of the Secretary of State's colleagues, one would suspect that they might welcome a criminal conspiracy clause for trade union activities being written into the Bill.

The Under-Secretary went on: It remained so until the enlightened Conservative Government of 1875 passed an Act which took it out of the criminal law. Consequently, the Minister responsible received a telegram of congratulations from the newly-formed TUC. It was the last telegram of congratulations from the TUC, but we live in hope!"—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 27 March 1980; c. 1662.] If the Secretary of State wants another telegram from the TUC, I suggest that he accepts our proposal. We guarantee that he will then receive a telegram of congratulations. Whether the Conservative Government of 1875 were enlightened we do not know, but I do not think that anyone would try to suggest that the Conservative Government of 1980 are in any way enlightened.

When one reads this Bill or refers to the reports of the Standing Committee debates, one sees that we tried desperately to suggest that the Government should accept our amendments in order to keep a framework of compassion by retaining schedule 11 in our legislation. However, we got nowhere. The Secretary of State was rather careful in his phraseology, and I hope that he will tell us tonight whether he has had any consultations or views on the retention of the schedule. It is important that the House should appreciate that schedule 11 is an extremely important safety valve in the employment legislation of this country. It is important to recognise that there are various spin-off factors which flow from establishing a rate of pay for a district, for a job or for an organisation.

We make no apologies for making it clear that we seek to help the low paid. The only answer that we had in Standing Committee about the removal of schedule 11 was a passing reference to the restoration of free collective bargaining. We received no other reasonable argument for dispensing with schedule 11. The Under-Secretary admitted that it had a long and honourable history in trade union and labour relations in this country, yet we were simply told that it would fall because it was not necessary in the context of free collective bargaining.

We seek to persuade the Secretary of State that we are talking of pockets of workers—in many cases there are large numbers of them—in a variety of areas where there is very weak trade union organisation. Those workers would have difficulty in establishing a reasonable wage. It helps those people if we have compassionate, far-sighted legislation such as schedule 11 to which the trade unions can refer.

I accept the argument that the Under-Secretary put to the Standing Committee that schedule 11 does not only help the low paid. That is correct. However, the Government should not lose sight of the fact that it is a valuable aid and safety valve for the low paid. I urge hon. Members to recognise that socially this is an extremely useful piece of legislation and even if the Secretary of State sought to amend it so that it would affect only the low paid we would agree with that. But he has not sought to amend it in that way; he is merely sweeping it from the statute book. Will he tell us how its removal will be of any benefit whatever to the low paid?

At Question Time today my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) asked the Secretary of State for Employment to introduce legislation to establish a statutory national minimum wage. The right hon. Gentleman refused. When my hon. Friend attempted to elucidate the arguments in favour of a national minimum wage, particularly with reference to workers in many parts of the public sector, the Secretary of State indicated that he thought that the public sector had done very well in the past four or five years. I do not think that anyone would argue against the Secretary of State about certain elements in the public sector if one is referring to Cabinet Ministers, chief executives of local authorities or principal secretaries—

It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Ordered, That, at this day's sitting, the Employment Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Boscawen.]

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), again considered.

Question again proposed, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Evans:

There are elements within the public sector that have done well. That was not the thrust of my hon. Friend's argument. My hon. Friend was talking about the problem of low pay. If there were any suggestion by the Gov- ernment that they had plans to help the low paid, we would be fascinated by their arguments and support the Secretary of State if he brought forward legislation. The legislation that the Government have produced since, unfortunately, they were elected in May last year constitutes a constant attack on the low paid.

I suggest to the Secretary of State that free collective bargaining by itself will not help the low paid. There are many arguments both for and against free collective bargaining, but no one can seriously argue that free collective bargaining has proved to be of any benefit to the low paid. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his attitude.

I should like to turn briefly to the impact of schedule 11 on higher grades of workers. The schedule proved, during the lifetime of the Labour Government, to be an extremely useful piece of legislation. The Under-Secretary of State inferred on 27 March that schedule 11 was only of any use when there was incomes policy. The hon. and learned Gentleman said: I leave out of account the pay policy argument. We all agree that schedule 11 was used as a means of getting round a statutory pay policy. We do not have a statutory pay policy and I trust that we will not have one again.—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 27 March 1980; c. 1664.] There is a growing feeling in this country that we are not far removed from the reintroduction of pay policy. It will be interesting to see how long before it comes about. I again pose the question that, if a statutory pay policy is imposed on the country, will the Government return schedule 11 to the statute book? In those circumstances, it would prove to be an extremely valuable safety valve. It is not only useful in the context of an incomes policy that is statutorily, voluntarily or rigidly applied. It is an extremely useful form of settling disputes that occur in various parts of the country that could be bitter, prolonged and finish up creating a great deal of anger. It is a useful piece of arbitration.

I should like to give the House a brief example of an occasion when schedule 11 was used to resolve what could have been a long dispute. Many hon. Members will recall the dispute in the shipbuilding industry on Tyneside at the time of the Polish orders. The finishing trades in the shipyard demanded pay comparability with the boilermakers. Many hon. Members had difficulty in understanding the dispute, but the seeds had been sown many years previously. The argument about comparability between the finishing trades and the boilermaking trades had lasted for a long time. In the early 1970s there was a long dispute of some six weeks in which the finishing trades, with which I was concerned, established that they were entitled to wages comparability with the boilermakers. However, as a result of pay policies and the nationalisation which overtook the shipbuilding industry following the Labour Government's Act, the finishing trades on Tyne-side were badly out of step with the boilermakers on Tyneside and with finishing trades in other parts of British Shipbuilders.

Once the dispute began, British Shipbuilders took a hard line, backed by the Labour Government. British Shipbuilders threatened to remove ships from Tyneside. However, the AUEW and other unions used schedule 11. They brought into focus the argument not only that the finishing trades on Tyneside were entitled to parity with the boilermakers but, more importantly, that they were entitled to comparability with the other finishing trades in British Shipbuilders. An awkward and bitter dispute was avoided because of the imposition of schedule 11. Such legislation is useful.

When Governments take office there is always a tendency to sweep away everything that previous Governments of a different colour have enacted. That ap- parently proves their virility to their Back Benchers and shows that they are honouring their manifesto It takes about two and a half years for Governments to recognise that some of their actions in the first flush of office were foolish and stupid. The removal of schedule 11 would be one such foolishness.

It is important to acknowledge that the Government intend to retain ACAS. I was pleased that the Secretary of State was not persuaded by his more reactionary colleagues to get rid of ACAS. It would be of great benefit to many workers, not only to the lower paid, to retain schedule 11. Are the Government proposing to remove schedule 11 and to return to the law of the jungle? The evidence is that those with the most muscle win the day and obtain what they want, often at the expense of those that lack muscle.

We suspect that the Government are still using the paper written by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) in which he outlines where the Government must give way because of the muscle of workers in certain industries, where they might be able to hold the line, and where they might take on workers without fear of defeat. If that is the Government aim, the U-turn will come sooner rather than later.

In Committee the Secretary of State said that he would consider further representations for the retention of schedule 11. I hope that he will give the matter further consideration. We have not been remiss in coming to his assistance. This is one occasion on which he could come to our assistance by retaining schedule 11.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

We have had another interesting debate of importance. I am grateful to hon. Members who have taken part in it.

New clause 9 will restore the provisions of section 8 of the Term and Conditions of Employment Act 1959 and it would allow claims to be made only by independent trade unions. Section 8 allowed claims by employers and unions who were party to the agreement. That Act was repealed by section 98 of the 1975 Act and the provisions of section 8 were replaced by that part of the schedule relating to recognised terms and conditions. Schedule 11 greatly extends the scope of the provisions by the addition of general level provisions.

New clause 12 seems to apply not solely to cases in which the CAC is directing its mind to the offsetting provisions of paragraph 9 but to any schedule 11 case before the CAC. That seems to be in slight contradiction to what the hon. Member for Islington, Central (Mr. Grant) was saying in Committee about the CAC's discretion in determining whether terms and conditions are unfavourable by excluding the specific matters referred to from being taken into account.

Amendment No. 106 has the effect of restoring in their entirely schedule 11 and the remaining parts of the Road Haulage Wages Act 1938. Amendment 110 was not selected but was discussed by my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker). Because it has not been selected, I must not deal with it in detail. What my hon. Friend said was that he felt that the first leg of schedule 11—the recognised terms and conditions leg—should remain part of the schedule. Those are the issues we are discussing.

The Government wish to repeal schedule 11 in its entirety. Our reasons, briefly summarised, are these. First, we believe that the schedule is objectionable in principle since it inhibits individual employers and unions from concluding their own agreements on pay and conditions to suit their particular circumstances, including market forces and a firm's ability to pay. We believe that the schedule weakens the essential link between pay and productivity.

Secondly, the schedule has not, as was intended, acted as a mechanism to eliminate pockets of low pay. When schedule 11 in the Employment Protection Act 1975 was going through Committee the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth), who was Minister of State at the time, said that it was a measure to help the low paid and to extend collective bargaining. The measure has not done that and the TUC is, I believe, the first to admit that that has not been the effect of the recognised terms and conditions part of schedule 11.

I have recently received a letter from the TUC in reply to the further inquiries we have been making. One of the points made in the letter—I should point out that the TUC is in favour of retaining schedule 11—is contained in paragraph 4: The Government's main criticisms of the operation of Schedule 11 were set out in its working paper of September 1979. One Government argument was that while Schedule 11 was aimed at 'pockets of low pay' many higher paid groups have benefited.

The letter goes on: However, low pay as such cannot be remedied by use of the Schedule. Schedule 11 operates to eliminate comparative low pay within industries and not between them, and district rates in specific industries have been the criteria adopted.

We are not going to deal—

Photo of Mr John Grant Mr John Grant , Islington Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman read on?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft 10:15 pm, 22nd April 1980

Perhaps I should read the whole letter. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has a copy. I have only just received one. The letter continues: None the less, research carried out by the SSRC Industrial Relations Research Unit indicates that Schedule 11 has been used to benefit below-average wage earners. The repeal of Schedule 11, wholly or in part, will do nothing to help the low paid: for many employees it is the only form of statutory protection available concerning wages". I think that I have read the appropriate part.

The hon. Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald), in her interesting speech, and the hon. Member for Islington, Central referred to the research unit at Warwick and its statistics which sought to compare what low paid workers were getting as a result of schedule II based on awards from 1977 to 1979.

We have done more work on that matter since the debate in Committee. The IRRU's results suggest that the pay of schedule 11 claimants was in general below average, but that is not the same as establishing that they were low paid. Indeed, there is no agreement about what low pay is. The research unit's sample did not include awards for which sufficient and reliable data were not available. That means that, for example, in 1978 less than half of all employees involved in schedule 11 awards were covered by the analysis. It is likely that awards relating to groups with complicated pay structures, such as the 26,000 BBC employees, will have been excluded. Many higher paid groups have undoubtedly benefited from schedule 11. Indeed, many of the groups in British Shipbuilders, to whom the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans) referred, which benefited from schedule 11 were by no stretch of the imagination low-paid workers. We ought to bear that point in mind, because the criterion of the abolition of schedule 11 has been that it dealt chiefly with lower-paid workers and low pay. However, I do not believe that it has had that effect.

Photo of Dr Oonagh McDonald Dr Oonagh McDonald , Thurrock

The Secretary of State said that his Department has carried out further work on the impact of schedule 11 on low pay. He then went on to say that he had no notion of the definition of "low pay". How was his Department able to carry out further analysis and to discover whether schedule 11 affected low pay without a working definition of "low pay"?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I hope that I did not mislead the hon. Lady. I said that in Committee we were asked about the research unit's work and we were not able to give a reply. I have since asked for more details of what the research unit has done. It is clear from that information that the sample taken by the IRRU was comparatively small and left out many of those who would have been at the top end of the range.

The third point that has led us to believe that we should repeal the schedule is that some awards have disrupted agreed pay structures and undermined established collective bargaining arrangements giving rise to claims by other groups of employees in the same negotiating structure for the preservation of differentials or for comparable treatment. The TUC also acknowledges this point, while arguing that schedule 11 has equally been used by employers and trade unions to help in resolving anomalies.

The last point is that the main use of the schedule in practice—and it has been admitted by Opposition Members—has been as a means of circumventing incomes policy, which is certainly not a use envisaged when the schedule was brought into operation. I do not know the latest number of cases, but they have fallen off considerably since the incomes policy was discontinued. For those reasons, we believe that it is right to abolish the whole of schedule 11.

In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire and to other hon. Members who raised the point with me, may I say that we said in Committee that because of the representations made to us at that time, and because of the debate that we had, we would consult further, without any commitment whatsoever, to see whether more employers or employers' organisations wished to make representations for the continuation of at least the recognised terms and conditions leg of the schedule. Those consultations are continuing.

I wrote to the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry, I answered a question in the House, and there has been some publicity. As a result, we are still receiving a number of views. So far we have received views from the TUC and the CBI. Three or four organisations have written to us in favour of the return of the whole of the schedule, sometimes with amendment. Four or five organisations have written to us in favour of the retention of recognised terms and conditions, and they are mostly employers' associations. About 10 organisations, mostly individual firms, have written to us in favour of total repeal. That is the progress that has been made on the question of further consultation.

I must say to the House that, unless there are very strong reasons which result from the further consultation, the Government will continue with their plan, under the Bill, to abolish schedule 11. Therefore, I should not mislead the Opposition Members tonight as to our intentions. I simply do not believe that the best way to help the low paid, or to help the country out of its difficulties, is simply by having legislation of that nature. The legislation under section 8 of the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act 1959, which is the purpose of new clause 9—although it does not follow it exactly—was used by only 18,000 workers on the subject of claims, and only about 8,000 benefited in the years in which it was in operation. During the period 1959 to 1974 the failure rate for claims appears to have averaged about 50 per cent.

A study by Jeff Latta in the "Industrial Law Journal" in March 1975, entitled "The legal extension of collective bargaining; a study of section 8 of the Terms and Conditions of Employment Act 1959" concluded: The economic effect of section 8 was very small … section 8's effect was minimal and it did not even score as an efficient means of bringing 'undercutting' rogue employers into line. I do not think that new clause 9 would have much effect.

Photo of Mr Giles Radice Mr Giles Radice , Chester-le-Street

Will the Secretary of State say what the Government intend to do about low pay?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I shall try to end on that note.

New clause 9 would broadly restore section 8 with its original limitations. It would appear further to restrict the way in which the provision could be used by limiting access under paragraph 2 to an independent trade union. I do not know whether that is a mistake. It may be an oversight, but it is certainly one that we could not possibly accept if we were thinking of going down that route.

Photo of Mr Bill Walker Mr Bill Walker , Perth and East Perthshire

I drew attention to that omission in my speech and suggested that it was a drafting error. I received the impression from Opposition Members that it was a drafting error.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I was not certain whether that was the impression. In any event, I thought that I ought to draw attention to it.

I do not understand what the hon. Member for Islington, Central is trying to get at in regard to new clause 12. In Committee, my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State had a considerable argument with him about the famous case of Courtaulds at Carrickfergus. My hon. and learned Friend drew attention to the fact that, in being made to accept a schedule 11 award, Courtaulds felt that it had a considerable effect on one of its factories and on the ability of that factory to compete. At that stage, my hon. and learned Friend talked in terms of giving weight to ability to pay only by setting aside to some extent the CAC's obligations to award in line with recognised terms or general level. There is no profitability criterion or any reference to profit in the schedule. That is amply borne out by work which we have done since.

The issues of profitability and employers' ability to pay have been raised only infrequently at schedule 11 hearings, which suggests that in practice they have not had much influence on awards. As I understand it, the new clause would limit the CAC's discretion in determining whether terms and conditions are unfavourable by excluding the specific matters referred to from being taken into account. In other words, it would make it even more difficult than it is at present for matters such as profitability and ability to pay to be given any recognition at all. Therefore, we think that there is a contradiction between what the hon. Gentleman was feeling towards in Committee and what he says in the new clause.

I was asked what we intended to do about the low paid. I do not believe that we can protect the low paid simply by legislation. What will help the low paid more than anything else is a higher level of prosperity and a higher standard of living from the whole of society. That is the only way in which we shall raise the standard of living of the low paid. Like schedule 11, these measures so often tend to act as a wage-push inflator, which has precisely the opposite effect to that of trying to keep down inflation which is the one thing from which the low paid suffer more than any other group.

Both I and the Government believe that unless there is forthcoming evidence, which we have not yet had, from the further consultation which is taking place, we should carry through the abolition of schedule 11 in its entirety. Other countries have been a good deal more successful in raising their standard of living than we have in recent years. I believe that we shall do better if we concentrate on improving productivity rather than on passing legislation which has impeded collective bargaining and has in many ways brought more problems upon the low paid and collective bargaining machinery generally than it has solved.

Photo of Mr John Grant Mr John Grant , Islington Central

This has been an extremely useful debate. In my opening remarks, I said that I did not intend to dwell unduly on the terms of the two new clauses and that it was the amendment which carried the weight of our arguments. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman can rest assured that with regard to new clause 9 there are a couple of drafting deficiencies. However, we were concerned about amendment No. 106, which preserves the status quo so that the recognised terms and conditions provisions and the general provisions of the schedule are maintained intact. All Labour Members who have spoken supported the retention of the schedule in its entirety. The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) was thoughtful and constructive and obviously well researched. She spoke about incentives to low-paid workers and the effect on them of the repeal of the schedule.

10.30 pm

My hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) and Kettering (Mr. Homewood) are former trade union officers, and they both drew on their respective experiences to show that this schedule has been of considerable benefit, not only to low-paid workers, but in resolving and avoiding disputes. The Government constantly say that they wish to achieve that, but it will be thrown away as a consequence of their action.

It would not be sensible for Labour Members to expect much response from the Government to what they say, any more than the trade union movement can expect much response from the Government. Relations and consultation with the trade union must be almost at their lowest ebb. In so far as the Secretary of State occasionally tries to build bridges, his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister constantly blows them up. But if the Secretary of State will not listen to Labour Members or the trade move- ment he should listen hard to what the employers' organisations have been telling him. In respect of this clause, and particularly in respect of the recognised terms and conditions, the employers' organisations have made it clear that they want that part of the schedule retained.

When the Secretary of State gave a breakdown of the responses to his suggestion that further representations should be received, he said that 10 organisations were against total abolition. Apparently those 10 organisations were individual companies. Ten individual companies hardly represent a substantial body of opinion. If the Secretary of State will not listen to the employers' organisations, perhaps he will listen to the fairly few—there are a few—voices from his Back Benches.

In my opening remarks I referred to the speech by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham), who expressed his anxieties in Committee. The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) made a thoughtful and helpful contribution and drew on first-hand industrial relations experience. He was particularly concerned about the furniture industry.

When the Secretary of State replied to the debate, his response was even less convincing than that of the Under-Secretary of State in Committee. He suggested that the schedule had not eliminated pockets of low pay. That contradicts the independent research which I and my hon. Friends quoted earlier. He then quoted a letter from the TUC which he received today, as I did. The quote was intended to be selective, but I then shot his fox because, having received the same letter, I persuaded him to read on. He could have read even further. He could have read the concluding paragraph, which is relevant and which shows the TUC's position. It states: In conclusion, schedule 11 has proved very valuable in providing a measure of minimum protection for the low-paid relative to other comparable employees in the same industry and district. It has supported the operation of establishing negotiating machinery and has been a means of enabling the peaceful resolution of potential disputes over many undoubted pay anomalies. In view of these factors the Government should not proceed with the repeal of schedule 11. Such a move would be difficult to justify and the joint opposition from unions and employers demonstrate their deep concern at the prospect of certain employers undercutting their competitors, and the potential for the exploitation of many employees that the repeal of the schedule will have. That puts the TUC's view clearly and concisely. I do not think that the Secretary of State will find much comfort in quoting anything that the TUC has to say on the issue.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Warwick university industrial relations research unit's work. He said that the Department of Employment had carried out some further study of its own. He said that it was likely that there were certain exclusions from the unit's analysis and that it was based on a small sample. It is so vague to talk of something being "likely". We do not know the basis of the Department's research. There is no published document. We have been given no details. However, the work of an independent unit has been published and it has been widely quoted. All that the right hon. Gentleman can offer is the vague suggestion that a further effort has been made to produce the evidence that we asked for in Committee.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about the disruption of pay structures. I have already given the TUC's view and the various items of independent evidence that suggest that schedule 11 has been helpful to pay structures and to industrial relations generally.

The right hon. Gentleman argued that pay policy had been circumvented. He seemed to suggest that we accepted that the main use of the schedule had been on behalf of higher-paid workers. That has not been suggested by the Opposi-

tion. I said that it would be idle to pretend that it had not been beneficial to some groups of higher-paid workers. I stressed that the primary aim and use of the schedule had been to seek to eliminate—it has eliminated—pockets of low pay.

The right hon. Gentleman suggested that claims under schedule 11 had fallen away since pay policy ended. He should have presented us with the figures. He should not make such vague assertions. We have heard about the further consultations that are taking place and the further representations that are being received. However, it is pretty clear that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to move from his stance. He has sold out on this issue to the hawks in the Cabinet. We know that his own view is that this measure will not be helpful to good industrial relations and that it will strike a blow against low-paid workers, the vulnerable and often poorly organised workers. He has not been able to carry with him his Cabinet colleagues.

Earlier this evening there was a phoney vote. It was preceded by a debate that centred on the Government Benches. We shall divide the House on this issue and it will not be a phoney vote. We shall be voting on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers who will be disadvantaged by the change that the Government propose to make by repealing the schedule.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 232, Noes 309.

Division No. 260]AYES[10.38 pm
Abse, LeoCallaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)
Adams, AllenCampbell, lanDeakins, Eric
Allaun, FrankCampbell-Savours, DaleDean, Joseph (Leeds West)
Anderson, DonaldCanavan, DennisDempsey, James
Archer, Rt Hon PeterCant, R. B.Dewar, Donald
Armstrong, Rt Hon ErnestCarter-Jones, LewisDixon, Donald
Ashley, Rt Hon JackCartwright, JohnDobson, Frank
Ashton, JoeClark, Dr David (South Shields)Dormand, Jack
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Douglas, Dick
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Cohen, StanleyDouglas-Mann, Bruce
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Coleman, DonaldDubs, Alfred
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodConlan, BernardDunnett, Jack
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Cook, Robin F.Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Bidwell, SydneyCowans, HarryEadie, Alex
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertCraigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill)Eastham, Ken
Boothroyd, Miss BettyCrowther, J. S.Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough)Cryer, BobEnglish, Michael
Bradley, TomCunliffe, LawrenceEnnals, Rt Hon David
Bray, Dr JeremyCunningham, George (Islington S)Evans, loan (Aberdare)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)Evans, John (Newton)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Dalyell, TamEwing, Harry
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)Davidson, ArthurFaulds, Andrew
Buchan, NormanDavies, Ifor (Gower)Field, Frank
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)Fitt, Gerard
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)McKay, Allen (Penistone)Sandelson, Neville
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorSever, John
Ford, BenMaclennan, RobertSheerman, Barry
Forrester, JohnMcMahon, AndrewSheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Foster, DerekMcNally, ThomasShore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)
Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)McNamara, KevinShort, Mrs Renée
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldMcWilliam, JohnSilkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Garrett, John (Norwich S)Marks, KennethSilverman, Julius
George, BruceMarshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)Skinner, Dennis
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr JohnMarshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)
Ginsburg, DavidMarshall, Jim (Leicester South)Snape, Peter
Golding, JohnMartin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)Soley, Clive
Gourlay, HarryMason, Rt Hon RoySpearing, Nigel
Graham, TedMaynard, Miss JoanSpriggs, Leslie
Grant, George (Morpeth)Meacher, MichaelStallard, A. W.
Grant, John (Islington C)Mellish, Rt Hon RobertStewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Mikardo, IanStoddart, David
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterMillan, Rt Hon BruceStott, Roger
Hart, Rt Hon Dame JudithMitchell, Austin (Grimsby)Strang, Gavin
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyMitchell, R. C, (Soton, Itchen)Straw, Jack
Haynes, FrankMorris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Healey, Rt Hon DenisMorris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Heffer, Eric S.Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)Morton, GeorgeThomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Home Robertson, JohnMoyle, Rt Hon RolandThomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)
Homewood, WilliamNewens, StanleyThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Hooley, FrankOakes, Rt Hon GordonTilley, John
Horam, JohnOgden, EricTorney, Tom
Huckfield, LesO'Halloran, MichaelVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Hudson Davies, Gwilym EdnyfedO'Neill, MartinWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Hughes, Mark (Durham)Orme, Rt Hon StanleyWalker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)Owen, Rt Hon Dr DavidWatkins, David
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Palmer, ArthurWellbeloved, James
Janner, Hon GrevillePark, GeorgeWelsh, Michael
Jay, Rt Hon DouglasParker, JohnWhite, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Johnson, Walter (Derby South)Parry, RobertWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)Pendry, TomWhitehead, Phillip
Jones, Barry (East Flint)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Whitlock, William
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Prescott, JohnWigley, Dafydd
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldPrice, Christopher (Lewisham West)Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Kilroy-Silk, RobertRace, RegWilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Kinnock, NeilRadice, GilesWilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Lamborn, HarryRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Lamond, JamesRichardson, JoWinnick, David
Leighton, RonaldRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Woodall, Alec
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Woolmer, Kenneth
Lewis, Arthur (Newham North West)Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)Wrigglesworth, Ian
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)Wright, Sheila
Litherland, RobertRobertson, GeorgeYoung, David (Bolton East)
Lofthouse, GeoffreyRobinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J DicksonRodgers, Rt Hon WilliamTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McCartney, HughRooker, J. W.Mr. James Tinn and
McDonald, Dr OonaghRoper, JohnMr. James Hamilton.
McElhone, FrankRyman, John
NOES
Adley, RobertBraine, Sir BernardClegg, Sir Walter
Aitken, JonathanBright, GrahamCockeram, Eric
Alexander, RichardBrinton, TimColvin, Michael
Alison, MichaelBrittan, LeonCope, John
Amery, Rt Hon JulianBrocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherCormack, Patrick
Ancram, MichaelBrooke, Hon PeterCorrie, John
Arnold, TomBrotherton, MichaelCostain, A. P.
Aspinwall, JackBrown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)Critchley, Julian
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Browne, John (Winchester)Crouch, David
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Bruce-Gardyne, JohnDean, Paul (North Somerset)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Bryan, Sir PaulDickens, Geoffrey
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyBuck, AntonyDorrell, Stephen
Bell, Sir RonaldBudgen, NickDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bendall, VivianBulmer, EsmondDover, Denshore
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)Burden, F. A.du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Butcher, JohnDunlop, John
Best, KeithButler, Hon AdamDunn, Robert (Dartford)
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnCadbury, JocelynDurant, Tony
Biggs-Davison, JohnCarlisle, John (Luton West)Dykes, Hugh
Blackburn, JohnCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Blaker, PeterCarlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)
Body, RichardChalker, Mrs LyndaEggar, Timothy
Bonsor, Sir NicholasChannon, PaulElliott, Sir William
Boscawen, Hon RobertChapman, SydneyEyre, Reginald
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)Churchill, W. S.Fairbairn, Nicholas
Bowden, AndrewClark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Fairgrieve, Russell
Boyson, Dr RhooClark, Sir William (Croydon South)Faith, Mrs Sheila
Bradford, RevClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Fell, Anthony
Fenner, Mrs PeggyMacGregor, JohnRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Finsberg, GeoffreyMacKay, John (Argyll)Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Fisher, Sir NigelMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMcNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Rost, Peter
Fookes, Miss JanetMcQuarrie, AlbertRoyle, Sir Anthony
Forman, NigelMadel, DavidSainsbury, Hon Timothy
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanMajor, JohnSt. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Marland, PaulScott, Nicholas
Fraser, Peter (South Angus)Marlow, TonyShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fry, PeterMarshall, Michael (Arundel)Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.Marten, Neil (Banbury)Shelton, William (Streatham)
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Mates, MichaelShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)Mather, CarolShepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)
Garel-Jones, TristanMaude, Rt Hon AngusShersby, Michael
Glyn, Dr AlanMawby, RaySilvester, Fred
Goodhart, PhilipMawhinney, Dr BrianSims, Roger
Goodlad, AlastairMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinSkeet, T. H. H.
Gorst, JohnMayhew, PatrickSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Gow, IanMellor, DavidSpeed, Keith
Gower, Sir RaymondMeyer, Sir AnthonySpeller Tony
Gray, HamishMiller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Spence, John
Greenway, HarryMills, lain (Meriden)Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)Mills, Peter (West Devon)Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Sproat, lain
Grist, IanMoate, RogerSquire, Robin
Grylls, MichaelMolyneaux, JamesStanley, John
Gummer, John SelwynMonro, HectorSteel, Rt Hon David
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)Montgomery, FergusSteen, Anthony
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Moore, JohnStevens, Martin
Hampson, Dr KeithMorgan, GeraintStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hannam, JohnMorris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)Stokes, John
Haselhurst, AlanMorrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)Stradling Thomas, J.
Hastings, StephenMorrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)Tapsell, Peter
Havers, Rt Hon Sir MichaelMurphy, ChristopherTaylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Hawksley, WarrenMyles, DavidTaylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Hayhoe, BarneyNeale, GerrardTebbit, Norman
Henderson, BarryNeedham, RichardTemple-Morris, Peter
Heseltine, Rt Hon MichaelNelson, AnthonyThatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Hicks, RobertNelson, AnthonyThomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Neubert, MichaelThompson, Donald
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)Newton, TonyThorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Holland, Philip (Carlton)Normanton, TomThornton, Malcolm
Hooson, TomNott, Rt Hon JohnTownend, John (Bridlington)
Hordern, PeterOnslow, CranleyTownsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyOppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs SallyTrippier, David
Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)Page, Rt Hon Sir R. GrahamTrotter, Neville
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)van Straubenzee, W. R.
Howells, GeraintParkinson, CecilVaughan, Dr Gerard
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Parris, MatthewViggers, Peter
Hurd, Hon DouglasPatten, Christopher (Bath)Waddington, David
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)Patten, John (Oxford)Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickPattie, GeoffreyWakeham, John
Johnson Smith, GeoffreyPawsey, JamesWaldegrave, Hon William
Jopling, Rt Hon MichaelPenhaligon, DavidWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithPercival, Sir IanWaller, Gary
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPeyton, Rt Hon JohnWalters, Dennis
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElainePink, R. BonnerWard, John
Kilfedder, James A.Pollock, AlexanderWarren, Kenneth
Kimball, MarcusPorter, GeorgeWatson, John
King, Rt Hon TomPowell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)Wells, John (Maidstone)
Kitson, Sir TimothyPrentice, Rt Hon RegWells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Lamont, NormanPrice, David (Eastleigh)Wheeler, John
Lang, IanPrior, Rt Hon JamesWhitelaw, Rt Hon William
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnProctor, K. HarveyWhitney, Raymond
Lawrence, IvanPym, Rt Hon FrancisWickenden, Keith
Lawson, NigelRaison, TimothyWiggin, Jerry
Lee, JohnRathbone, TimWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)Winterton, Nicholas
Lester, Jim (Beeston)Rees-Davies, W. R.Wolfson, Mark
Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)Renton, TimYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Rhodes James, RobertYounger, Rt Hon George
Loveridge, JohnRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Luce, RichardRidley, Hon NicholasTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lyell, NicholasRidsdale, JulianMr. Spencer Le Marchant and
McCusker, H.Rifkind, MalcolmMr. Anthony Berry
Macfarlane, NeilRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey

Question accordingly negatived.