Ballots on Industrial Action Affecting Different Places of Work

Orders of the Day — Employment Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 10th February 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East 4:45 pm, 10th February 1988

I beg to move amendment No. 12, in page 20, line 6, leave out clause 16.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

With this, it will be convenient to take the following: Government amendment No. 22.

Amendment No. 13, in clause 17, page 21, line 33, at end insert 'including such provisions as may be necessary to ensure that a union conducting a ballot under section 11 of the 1984 Act does not create an artificial balloting constituency for the purposes of securing a particular result in that ballot.'.

6 pm

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

When he replied to the debate in Committee, the Under-Secretary of State agreed with me that this was one of the most important clauses in the Bill. Is it not reprehensible that the Green Paper did not refer to it? No notice was given to the trade union movement that this further imposition was to be included in this anti-trade union Bill. Was it not also remarkable that, on Second Reading, the Secretary of State did not refer to this important clause? That shows the contempt which the Government have shown for the trade union movement and their indifference to the position of many employers who are concerned about and opposed to the clause.

The Under-Secretary of State, who is a legal expert, agreed in Committee that this is a complex clause. Perhaps I can illustrate that by quoting an explanation which I obtained in a letter from the Minister of State when I wrote to him about this clause in November last year. The clause is about ballots and about the balloting constituency with which trade unions will have to comply if they are to have a ballot which will give them immunity in tort for industrial action.

In his letter, the Minister said: Ballots where the union properly gives entitlement to vote to all of its members (ie. the "balloting constituency" consists of all its members) will not be affected at all by the provisions of clause 16. Nor will any ballot be affected where the union properly gives entitlement to vote

  1. (a) to all of its members employed by one employer, or by each of a number of employers taken together; or
  2. (b) all of its members employed in one particular occupational description or grade or each of a number of descriptions or grades taken together; or
  3. (c) to all of its members employed by one particular employer (or each of a number of employers taken together) in a particular occupational description or grade (or each of a number of descriptions or grades taken together).
There will also be other cases involving more complex permutations of membership and employment by particular employers in which the balloting constituency will not mean that separate ballots have to be held in order to preserve immunity. That is how the Minister of State responded in part to my letter. This is a valid point. Surely we should be putting on the statute book industrial relations legislation which people clearly understand. For example, in a dispute such as that involving the National Union of Seamen, if the union takes legal advice, it should receive an answer in which the solicitor or the QC has some confidence. That will increase the prospects, when an employer takes legal advice from another individual, of the two sets of advice coinciding. That is a desirable prospect for industrial relations.

The clause is unacceptable, because legal experts disagree about what it means. It is not good enough for Ministers always to duck out of this, as they did in Committee, by saying that it is a matter for the courts. We want to be clear about what it means before the Bill goes on to the statute book, so that workers, trade unions, managers and employers recognise the requirements which must be met in respect of the balloting process. The clause is about ballots and about democracy. That is why it is an important clause. It concerns the ballots which will be taken to determine whether, for example, workers at the Ford Motor Company can come out on strike in circumstances which prevent their union's funds from being sequestered. That is an important element of the Bill.

Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen , Nottingham North

One reason why the Government may not understand the full implications of their legislation is that it was introduced at a late stage and was not even in the Green Paper. It is not good industrial relations law, and it gives rise to some political venom from the Secretary of State for Employment who brought with him all his prejudices from his previous post as Secretary of State for Social Services—where, as I understand it, he had a had time as a result of selective strikes. Perhaps that is why this clause, more than any other in the Bill, is a complete botch.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

It is interesting to note that a number of correspondents at the time believed that it related to that, although Ministers denied in Committee that that was the intention of the clause.

The democracy issue is fundamental to this Bill, to these amendments and to the Government's approach to industrial relations. The 1984 Act, which requires a trade union to ballot its members and to obtain a majority before it can take authorised industrial action without being subject to legal challenge, is a fundamental ingredient of industrial relations legislation. The Government argue that they had to intervene to impose these legislative requirements because a substantial number of strikes were not in response to the genuine aspirations of workers or trade unionists. They claim that those strikes were a consequence of hot-headed, militant trade union leaders dragging people out on strike and contributing to poor industrial relations and the loss of many working days.

Conservative Members will not be making too much of that point in the context of the current industrial strife. There has already been a reference to the day of action in north-west England about the state of the Health Service. Is it being suggested that, on that day of action, trade unions such as NUPE and COHSE are pulling out those nurses and workers against their will? Most hon. Members will understand what the role of most of those officials has been today. They have created the programme. They have created the situation in which the workers can take that action in a way that minimises the risk of serious hardship to their patients. That is the constructive role which most trade union officials will have been taking, in practice, today in respect of industrial action in the Health Service.

I referred to that point on Monday. In the seamen's dispute, the leadership is urging workers involved in selective action to resume working. It is not a question of the officials trying to bring the workers out on strike. It is a question of the determination or otherwise of the seamen themselves.

The same point applies to the Ford strike. The Secretary of State was brought here to answer a private notice question on Monday. His first point was that, although this was potentially an enormously important strike for the British economy, it had nothing to do with the Government. Indeed, he appeared to resent the fact that he had to appear before this House, but he admitted that the trade union officials had recommended the amended offer which was negotiated last Sunday. No one can suggest that the trade unionists at Ford are being pulled out on strike against their will.

If the Ford dispute is settled in an orderly way—it is in the interests of the trade unions and of the Ford Motor Company to do so—it will be settled on the basis of a negotiated settlement between the unions and the Ford Motor Company. Anything which the Government, or anyone else, might seek to do to create anarchy and to encourage workers to go back to work, when there is an official dispute, is more likely to prolong the dispute than help to secure a solution.

The clause is important. By imposing a further requirement on top of the Trade Union Act 1984, it will make the position worse rather than better. Why have the Government brought it forward in the first place? When challenged in Committee, the Minister said that they were worried that section 11 of the 1984 Act was defective because unions might create artificial balloting constituencies to get a majority in a strike ballot. In other words, they might put two groups of workers together, one militant and one not, to get an overall majority for a strike and thus get the moderate group of workers into a dispute with their employer.

Some of us wondered how the Government discovered the problem of artificial balloting constituencies. We asked for examples. In Committee, we eventually dragged out half an example. We demonstrated that it did not make the case for the clause. We are aware that, in its submission, the Institute of Personnel Management suggested that it was a possibility. I wonder. Is it because of what the IPM has said could happen that civil servants decided to put such a monstrous and damaging industrial relations proposal to the Ministers?

The Government did not know whether the problem was real and needed to be addressed in legislation or whether it existed purely in the minds of certain individuals who were scrutinising industrial relations legislation. It is as though a college of cardinals had met to discuss the number of angels who could congregate on a pinhead and decided to frame the result in legislation. The result is a clause that can only damage industrial relations.

As it stands, clause 16 amends sections 10 and 11 of the Trade Union Act 1984. Section 10 obliges a union, if it is to be immune from action in tort, to hold a ballot and achieve a majority vote before an industrial dispute can take place. Section 11 defines the constituency of trade union members who must be able to vote in such a ballot. In particular, section 11 (1)(a) requires that entitlement to vote be given to all members of the relevant union, who it is reasonable at the time of the ballot for the union to believe will be called upon in the … industrial action to … breach … or interfere with the performance of their contract of employment". The Bill goes on to state that the ballot should not be extended to any other workers. That is simple and clear. The Government are seeking to enact a change in the legislation, which of course moves away from that. Clause 16 will become section 11(1)(1A) and (1B) of the 1984 Act. Section 11(1A) subdivides balloting constituencies that fall within section 11 as a whole, thereby placing further restrictions on unions.

In general, ballots will not lead to immunity in tort unless they satisfy the further and, frankly, ridiculous requirement that each workplace affected by industrial action has been balloted and a majority obtained in each one. That is absurd, to put it mildly. The Government, as under clause 3, seem happy to impose on unions requirements that make an absolute mockery of democracy.

In practice, exemptions from the requirement will be crucial. In Committee, we pressed the Ministers to find out just how far the terms "occupational description" and "grade" would go and just what sort of constituency would be covered. When will an aggregate ballot be allowed? Obviously, the force of our argument persuaded the Ministers that the exceptions were not wide enough. That is why they came back with the amendment, full of vague talk about factors and reasonable beliefs.

Faced with the original form of clause 16, Opposition Members were baffled—more important, so were the unions and employers. The Engineering Employers Federation made that clear to me in a letter that I quoted in Committee.

6.15 pm

It is not good enough for the Government to bring forward legislation of this nature and tell us that it is up to the courts. We have looked at the Government's amendment. We do not believe that it will contribute in any way to solving the problem. All that will now be required is for a union to believe that all balloted members have some factor, not necessarily common to all, that marks them off from other workers employed by the same employer, and which is not a consequence of their place of work. That would allow artificial balloting constituencies to occur in certain circumstances.

I shall give an example in the fantasy terms that Conservative Members might understand. In a factory with two moderate Labour-voting supervisors and 10 readers of Socialist Worker who share a certain machine in a production process but who have the same grade and occupational description as 1,000 Tory party supporters elsewhere in the plant, a Machiavellian union could ballot the 10 militants and two supervisors on a wholly spurious grievance and bring the plant to a halt. Under the Bill as it previously stood, that would not have been allowed. Under the Government's amendment, it could happen.

Opposition Members have moved their own amendment. If the Government are determined to do something along these lines, the sensible approach would be to delete the clause and to lay down the objective of avoiding artificial balloting constituencies. We support that remark. We do not see this as a problem. Of course we recognise that artificial balloting constituencies are not created. If the objective is to prevent that, surely it would be sensible to approach the matter with a code of practice.

We reject clause 16 and the amendments, because no problem needs to be addressed. We have not heard any evidence or justification from the Government. We reject it because it is complicated, and we do not believe that is in the interests of the House or the country to put industrial relations legislation on the statute book that, frankly, most people cannot understand. We are opposed to it because it will not only be ineffective but will worsen industrial relations. Rather than improve the legislative framework within which managers, employers and workers go about their daily affairs, it will make it worse.

Photo of Sir John Cope Sir John Cope , Northavon

I am not quite sure whether I exaggerate when I say that it seemed to me that both sides of the Committee moved at least a little nearer to one another in the course of the extensive debates on the clause. The result of the debates, as the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) said, is that we redrafted part of the clause in the direction—the hon. Gentleman did not seem to accept it—that Opposition Members and others outside wish. From some of the hon. Gentleman's comments and from amendment No. 13, it seems that Opposition Members have moved far enough at least to recognise the possibility of a problem occurring. The hon. Gentleman said that Opposition Members support the objective of removing artificial constituencies. That is the main purpose of the clause as a whole.

In Committee, we promised to consider whether it was possible to amend the clause to enable an aggregate ballot of members employed at different places of work if they were in the same bargaining unit or bargaining group. We pointed out that, although the terms "bargaining unit" and "bargaining group" are well understood in general parlance, they are not easy to write into legislation. That is why we propose the definition in the amendment. It retains the general intended effect of clause 16, but I hope it will go some way to meet the concerns expressed in Committee in favour of a greater element of flexibility.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East mentioned vague talk about factors. I describe that as flexibility, which is necessary in this matter. I was interested to hear him complain that he thought that the clause as amended would still allow some artificial balloting constituencies to be created in certain circumstances. In other words, he was complaining that we were not putting enough protection into the Bill.

However, the amendment will enable a union to hold a single aggregated ballot covering members employed at different places of work, if all the members of a union who are accorded entitlement to vote and who are employed by the same employer have a factor or factors in common. That is the way of defining the bargaining unit, among other things.

The factor or factors in common must relate to their terms or conditions of employment, or occupational description, and a factor must not be one common to any other member employed by the same employer who is not accorded entitlement to vote. When, and only when, other members of the union employed by the same employer or employers are not in the balloting constituency and are not being given the opportunity to vote, members of the constituency should not have a factor in common merely because they work in the same place or places. They cannot be left out merely because of where they work.

The amendment does not affect the ability of unions—provided by the clause as it stands — to aggregate ballot votes across groups or employers, provided that the conditions of the new subsection are met for the groups within the balloting constituency.

I accept what the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East said in Committee — we accepted it there — about the desirability of understandable legislation, but it is my experience, derived from much legislation—by no means exclusively to do with industrial relations or trade unions —that understandable legislation is difficult to achieve.

I respond more to what the hon. Gentleman said about the importance of legislation being certain. That is not quite the way he put it, but it lay behind what he said. Certain legislation is not always understandable legislation; it means that we must use legal language, and what sometimes seems convoluted language, accurately to define the concept we are getting at, which can sometimes be described more easily in homely terms when we are not writing legislation. Nevertheless, I should like to feel that the Opposition at least think we have gone some way to meeting the concerns expressed in Committee about the bargaining unit, while continuing to address the problem to which outside observers have drawn attention.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Blaenau Gwent

Some of the clauses may be described as designed to inflict injury on the trade union movement and to interfere with its operations. Others may be described as the "adding insult to injury" clauses, which may not be so offensive in their operation, but are designed to irritate, confuse and cause general disruption for trade unions who are carrying out their business.

I discussed some of the previous clauses with the Minister on Monday, and he complained that I had referred to some of them as having the apparent objective of extending balloting in certain areas. He asked what was wrong with that. We know the answer to that: these matters should be left to the trade unions, and it is insulting that the Minister should propose a Bill to teach the trade unions how to run ballots. They have been doing that for generations, building up their different organisations and traditions for dealing with these matters. That is why the clauses are insulting. The Government are forcing all unions to use the same methods of operation, despite their different traditions.

Clause 16 is different, and a different intention lay behind it in the first place. I was interested to hear that it was not included in the Green Paper and that the Government did not even take the trouble—or have the knowledge—to want to introduce it then. That makes us doubly suspicious, as it did my hon. Friends in Committee.

The Government came forward with fresh proposals to try to deal with the matter. It would have been much better if the Government had accepted the advice of my hon. Friends and knocked out clause 16. The Government's intention was clearly not to assist the trade union movement.

Instead, the Government have produced a clause that they say is extremely convoluted. I am sure that those of us who follow these matters closely will have understood exactly what the Minister was saying. There was no confusion or doubt about that after he sat down. But even he, who had studied the matter carefully and been skilfully briefed by the people in the Department of Employment—no one knows better than I how skilful they are—had to admit at the end of his speech that the clause was still convoluted.

Two sets of people, who are not specially qualified, will have to deal with this convoluted legislation and decide whether a strike is legitimate. The first set are the ordinary workers trying to work out what they can do in particular circumstances. I am not blaming them—usually they know trade union law a great deal better than junior Ministers or anyone else. They have had practice in dealing with it, and have some idea of what it means. I confess to having no faith in the second set of people: Her Majesty's judges. They will get at the legislation even before workers can operate the new law.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) referred to the strike that almost took place among the seamen. That action is strictly relevant to this matter, because, presumably, the 1984 Act was clear. It was not as convoluted as this clause. What happened is a revelation of the way in which this shoddy sort of legislation operates. The general secretary of the National Union of Seamen has considerable experience of these matters and has engaged, with some considerable success, in industrial action. Perhaps that is why the Government wanted fresh legislation—to make it more difficult for that union to operate.

When the general secretary and the executive committee of the National Union of Seamen arrived at their view on the present legislation a few weeks ago, they thought that the action they were going to take would be fully within the 1984 law. So did many of their legal advisers. However, when they went to court, they received a different verdict and had to take a different view of their position. The National Union of Seamen, like other unions, wants to abide by the law. We hate it. It is unfair, monstrous and unjust, and it threatens to confiscate that union's funds on a huge scale, but the union has to abide by it.

As I came to the House this afternoon I listened to what the judge said in this matter. I do not know whether the general secretary was present. He and his associates have, in the past few days, done their best to observe the present convoluted law. They hate it, but they have done their best to implement it.

The judge told the seamen's representative today that it seemed that the general secretary still has some clout. Judges should try to use more restrained language. To sink into the vernacular is not the proper thing for respectable members of the judicial bench. Whether the general secretary will have any clout after this legislation comes into force and minorities are given an abslolute right to disobey the majority view on a ballot is another matter. I should be interested to hear the views of Her Majesty's judges on that matter.

6.30 pm

The judge thought that the NUS had enough clout to tell its members that it would be disobeying the law in certain circumstances. It would not have such clout if it was deprived of effective disciplinary powers inside the union, as it will be under this legislation.

What happened to the seamen is relevant to the Bill because it will weaken the power of trade union general secretaries to ensure that their members obey the law and to use their position under the law to advance their interests. Clause 16, in its amended convoluted form, as the Minister has described it, or in any other form, will make it more difficult for the NUS in particular to know whether the constituency in which it is asked to have a ballot covers all the areas, and there will be even more confusion in the case of some other unions. When the Minister replies, I shall be happy to hear what will be the application of clause 16, if it remains in the Bill, in a situation such as that recently experienced by the NUS.

It is fascinating to be discussing the Government's amendments to the Trade Union Act 1984 and the previous measures that they have introduced at the very moment when we are having illustration after illustration of the unworkability of the previous legislation. In the example that I have just given of the NUS there was gross confusion about the law.

The Ford strike is the latest in a series of examples, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East referred, where the law is certainly not operating as the Government intended. Surely the Government never intended to ensure that trade union negotiators should be so deprived of their powers to negotiate that, in the Transport and General Workers Union case in the courts, even when it was thought that there was a possibility of a negotiation, the Government's legislation robbed them of the operation of a ballot.

We are seeing the frustration of the feelings of people on the picket line throughout Britain. There is a report in The Independent today of what was said on the Ford picket line by one of the leaders of the Transport and General Workers Union. Talking of the Prime Minister, she says: She's getting stuffed by her own legislation. The cost to the country is huge.

Partly as a result of that legislation, we have had to have the dribble of legislation, of which the Bill is another example. The Government find that some of the chinks that they thought had been closed have not been, so they must discover some other way of closing them. Then the Government discover some legal loophole or convoluted openings that have been left, so they have to come along with legislation such as this.

Perhaps the explanation for the major clause in the Bill about giving minorities rights which the majorities should have had, which is causing such confusion, is that the rest of the Bill is such trivial nonsense. My hon. Friends were forced into hour upon hour of discussion in Committee.

There is not the slightest guarantee that this Bill will be better than the previous three or four. All of them have been produced for the wrong motives and all have failed to go through the procedure that we always followed for industrial legislation. We always attempted to discuss matters with the people who knew something about them, whether it was the employers or the unions. We even set up some organisations in which employers and unions were represented, precisely so that we should be able to obtain that information properly. In other parts of the Bill the Government are seeking to undermine that balance. That does not give rise to any confidence about what the Government will do in future.

The Government did not trouble to consult anybody. They did not know the exact evil with which they were trying to deal. They were pushed into Committee with no attempt to discuss the Bill with anybody. Nobody jogged the Government's elbow and said that they might have put some reference into the Green Paper. Now, at the last moment, the Minister comes along to say that he is sorry, but he too thinks that the clause is convoluted.

The Government should take away this convoluted clause. I use the most moderate language that I possibly can. It would be best if the Government took away the Bill, but at least they should take away some of the clauses that have not been examined properly. They should have the courtesy to discuss them with the people who know something about them.

It is a wonderful irony that the Government started out with the idea that one of the main things that they would do was to injure and impale the trade union movement on their legislation. They thought that it was wonderfully popular and that they could carry it further and further. They have now overreached themselves and my prophecy is that more and more, as trade unions recover their strength, power and cohesion—the Ford strike and the seamen's strike are only two instances—they will expose the shoddiness and shame of the Government's legislation.

It would be a splendid beginning to the learning of wisdom in the face of what is happening at Ford's and in the seamen's strike if, for the first time in the Bill's passage through the House, the Government were to make a concession. I am shocked to hear that in all the discussions in Committee not one concession was made. The Government seem to think that they know it all. They thought that they knew so much about the trade union movement that they would not even concede one matter. That is a shocking way in which to try to deal with industrial relations in Britain.

The Government will pay, because those relations will become more and more embittered and the people who will be responsible are the successive Ministers at the Department of Employment. I am sad to say that, because there was a time when the Department of Employment used its best endeavours—to use a phrase—to try to obtain industrial peace and decent industrial relations. But that cannot be said of this Bill, the Government or the Minister involved.

Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen , Nottingham North

First, I welcome the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) who was absent from much of the Committee stage due to illness. It is a pleasure to see him in the Chamber, and I hope that he will soon he fully recovered. It may be some consolation to him that his brief contribution probably was more than the aggregate of about nine Conservative Back Benchers in three months' service on the Committee.

The Government were allowed every possible opportunity to present practical examples of how clause 16 would affect real industrial relations. Indeed, there was even a break at the weekend in which we thought that Ministers might dare to decide what would he the effects of the Bill in particular circumstances. Opposition Members without exception pressed the Government for specific examples in every possible form, shape, structure and convolution to assist Ministers to come to terms with their own legislation. However, that was not possible at any stage.

I put one question to the Minister tonight. If he cares to listen to the debate, he should listen to this question. If there is a national ballot that is not successful, will trade unions be in a position to ballot particular workplaces and call out those workplaces on strike, having failed to secure a majority nationally? I hope that the Minister can answer that question this evening.

The Government do not know what they want from the clause. There are deeper implications in not knowing the purpose of the clause. If it is cloudy and unclear to the Government, clearly it will be difficult for trade unions to know what will happen. The suspense with which they will carry out their day-to-day activities will rest heavily upon them.

I should like to repeat a brief story that I mentioned in Committee. When the great fast bowler Freddie Trueman was asked about all the variations in his style of bowling, he said, "I just run up and bowl it. If I don't know where the bugger is going to be how can the bugger at the other end know"—

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. the hon. Gentleman should not use such unparliamentary language.

Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen , Nottingham North

That was a quotation from Freddie Trueman's autobiography. The person—if I may clean up Mr. Truman's language—at the other end who does not know where the ball is going, whether it will be swinging out, swinging in, a dipper, a yorker or a bouncer, is the trade unionist. The trade unions will be at the other end of the wicket when the legislation is hurled down on them. They will not know its effect because the Government themselves do not know the effect. That theme runs right through clause 16.

Even today, the clause does not contain an adequate definition of such items such as workplace, occupation and grade. The Government themselves do not know what their own clause means and they cannot give practical examples of how the clause will affect real trade unionists out in the country. The only honourable course would be for the Government to withdraw the clause and start again.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau, Gwent (Mr. Foot) reminded the House that we voted against clause 16 in Committee. We wanted the clause to be removed. My right hon. Friend, with his great experience of these matters, fully understands the impact of the Bill and previous Tory Acts which attempt to undermine trade unions, and will have an adverse effect on industrial relations in Britain.

In view of what the Minister said, perhaps inadvertently, I must emphasise that Opposition Members do not see a problem that requires legislation. We do not see a problem that requires the Bill. Clause 16 will make things worse, and the Government's amendment will make them worse still. We are moving from a bad scenario to a worse one.

If a trade union created an artificial balloting constituency, by lumping together a certain group of workers with another group of workers in a wholly unjustifiable way in order to obtain a particular outcome in the ballot—an outcome in favour of industrial action—our view would be that that was bad trade unionism. A trade union would not get away with that.

6.45 pm

That is why there are no examples. Trade unionists are not so stupid. If the leadership of a trade union such as the CPSA—and this clause has a great bearing on the Civil Service—or any other trade union—it could apply to the TGWU in relation to the Ford plants — did not ballot all its members, the members themselves would consider that to be unfair. If there is to be a requirement for a ballot on the statute book as in the 1984 Act, the correct approach is to sustain the wording in the 1984 Act, because it is clear. It puts the requirement on the union to ballot those workers who are its members whom it may call out on strike. That is very clear. That is why it corresponds with the bargaining unit, and that is why it is consistent in that sense. Although we do not support the 1984 Act, it is consistent with collective agreements and the prevailing situation in regard to the public sector and throughout many industries.

I conclude by making it absolutely clear that the Opposition are totally opposed to the Government. We are entirely opposed to the clause. We tabled our amendment because, as the Opposition, we are trying to minimise the damage that the Bill will impose. We accept that we may not defeat the Bill, so we must try to alter it in a way that reduces its impact and the damage that it will do to industrial relations legislation. That is why we shall vote for our amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 219, Noes 269.

Division No. 176][6.47 pm
AYES
Abbott, Ms DianeBermingham, Gerald
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Blair, Tony
Allen, GrahamBlunkett, David
Anderson, DonaldBoateng, Paul
Archer, Rt Hon PeterBoyes, Roland
Armstrong, Ms HilaryBray, Dr Jeremy
Ashdown, PaddyBrown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Ashley, Rt Hon JackBrown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Ashton, JoeBrown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Buchan, Norman
Barron, KevinBuckley, George
Battle, JohnCallaghan, Jim
Beckett, MargaretCampbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Beith, A. J.Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Bell, StuartCanavan, Dennis
Benn, Rt Hon TonyCarlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Leighton, Ron
Clay, BobLewis, Terry
Clelland, DavidLitherland, Robert
Clwyd, Mrs AnnLivingstone, Ken
Cohen, HarryLivsey, Richard
Coleman, DonaldLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Cook, Robin (Livingston)McAllion, John
Corbett, RobinMcAvoy, Tom
Corbyn, JeremyMcCartney, Ian
Cousins, JimMacdonald, Calum
Crowther, StanMcFall, John
Cummings, J.McGrady, E. K.
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cunningham, Dr JohnMcKelvey, William
Dalyell, TamMcLeish, Henry
Darling, AlastairMcNamara, Kevin
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)McTaggart, Bob
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)Madden, Max
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)Mahon, Mrs Alice
Dewar, DonaldMarek, Dr John
Dixon, DonMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Dobson, FrankMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Doran, FrankMartin, Michael (Springburn)
Duffy, A. E. P.Martlew, Eric
Dunnachie, JamesMaxton, John
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMeacher, Michael
Eastham, KenMeale, Alan
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Michael, Alun
Fearn, RonaldMichie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Fisher, MarkMillan, Rt Hon Bruce
Flannery, MartinMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Flynn, PaulMoonie, Dr Lewis
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMorgan, Rhodri
Foster, DerekMorley, Elliott
Foulkes, GeorgeMorris, Rt Hon A (W'shawe)
Fraser, JohnMorris, Rt Hon J (Aberavon)
Fyfe, Mrs MariaMowlam, Marjorie
Galbraith, SamuelMullin, Chris
Garrett, John (Norwich South)Murphy, Paul
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)Nellist, Dave
Godman, Dr Norman A.Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Gordon, Ms MildredO'Brien, William
Gould, BryanO'Neill, Martin
Graham, ThomasOrme, Rt Hon Stanley
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)Parry, Robert
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)Patchett, Terry
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)Pendry, Tom
Grocott, BrucePike, Peter
Hardy, PeterPowell, Ray (Ogmore)
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyPrescott, John
Healey, Rt Hon DenisPrimarolo, Ms Dawn
Heffer, Eric S.Quin, Ms Joyce
Henderson, DouglasRadice, Giles
Hinchliffe, DavidRees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Reid, John
Holland, StuartRichardson, Ms Jo
Home Robertson, JohnRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Hood, JamesRobinson, Geoffrey
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)Rogers, Allan
Howells, GeraintRooker, Jeff
Hoyle, DougRoss, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hughes, John (Coventry NE)Rowlands, Ted
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Ruddock, Ms Joan
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)Salmond, Alex
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)Sedgemore, Brian
Illsley, EricSheerman, Barry
Ingram, AdamSheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Janner, GrevilleShore, Rt Hon Peter
John, BrynmorShort, Clare
Johnston, Sir RussellSkinner, Dennis
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilSnape, Peter
Kirkwood, ArchySoley, Clive
Lambie, DavidSteel, Rt Hon David
Lamond, JamesSteinberg, Gerald
Stott, RogerWigley, Dafydd
Strang, GavinWilliams, Rt Hon A. J.
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)Wilson, Brian
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)Winnick, David
Turner, DennisWise, Mrs Audrey
Vaz, KeithWorthington, Anthony
Wall, PatWray, James
Wallace, JamesYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Walley, Ms Joan
Warden, Gareth (Gower)Tellers for the Ayes:
Wareing, Robert N.Mrs. Llin Golding and
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)Mr. Frank Haynes.
Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
NOES
Adley, RobertDavis, David (Boothferry)
Aitken, JonathanDay, Stephen
Allason, RupertDevlin, Tim
Amess, DavidDickens, Geoffrey
Amos, AlanDicks, Terry
Arbuthnot, JamesDorrell, Stephen
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Dover, Den
Aspinwall, JackDunn, Bob
Atkins, RobertDurant, Tony
Atkinson, DavidEmery, Sir Peter
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Evennett, David
Baldry, TonyFairbairn, Nicholas
Batiste, SpencerFallon, Michael
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyFarr, Sir John
Bellingham, HenryFavell, Tony
Bendall, VivianFenner, Dame Peggy
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Benyon,W.Forman, Nigel
Bevan, David GilroyForth, Eric
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnFowler, Rt Hon Norman
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnFox, Sir Marcus
Blackburn, Dr John G.Franks, Cecil
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterFrench, Douglas
Bonsor, Sir NicholasFry, Peter
Boscawen, Hon RobertGale, Roger
Boswell, TimGardiner, George
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)Gill, Christopher
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Glyn, Dr Alan
Bowis, JohnGoodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesGorman, Mrs Teresa
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardGorst, John
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGow, Ian
Brazier, JulianGower, Sir Raymond
Bright, GrahamGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonGreenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Greenway, John (Rydale)
Buck, Sir AntonyGregory, Conal
Budgen, NicholasGriffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Burns, SimonGriffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Butcher, JohnGrist, Ian
Butler, ChrisGround, Patrick
Butterfill, JohnGrylls, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hampson, Dr Keith
Carrington, MatthewHanley, Jeremy
Carttiss, MichaelHannam, John
Cash, WilliamHargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Chapman, SydneyHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Chope, ChristopherHarris, David
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)Hawkins, Christopher
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)Hayes, Jerry
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Colvin, MichaelHayward, Robert
Conway, DerekHeathcoat-Amory, David
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Heddle, John
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Cope, JohnHill, James
Cormack, PatrickHind, Kenneth
Couchman, JamesHogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Cran, JamesHolt, Richard
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHordern, Sir Peter
Curry, DavidHoward, Michael
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hunt, David (Wirral W)Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hunter, AndrewRoe, Mrs Marion
Irvine, MichaelRossi, Sir Hugh
Irving, CharlesRost, Peter
Jack, MichaelRowe, Andrew
Janman, TimothyRumbold, Mrs Angela
Jessel, TobyRyder, Richard
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Jones, Robert B (Herts W)Sayeed, Jonathan
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineShaw, David (Dover)
Key, RobertShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Kilfedder, JamesShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Shelton, William (Streatham)
Kirkhope, TimothyShephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Knapman, RogerShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Knowles, MichaelShersby, Michael
Lang, IanSims, Roger
Latham, MichaelSkeet, Sir Trevor
Lawrence, IvanSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkSoames, Hon Nicholas
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Speller, Tony
Lilley, PeterSquire, Robin
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Stanbrook, Ivor
McCrindle, RobertSteen, Anthony
Macfarlane, Sir NeilStern, Michael
McLoughlin, PatrickStevens, Lewis
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Madel, DavidStewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Malins, HumfreyStewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Mans, KeithSumberg, David
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Summerson, Hugo
Mawhinney, Dr BrianTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Mills, IainTaylor, John M (Solihull)
Miscampbell, NormanTebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)Temple-Morris, Peter
Monro, Sir HectorThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Montgomery, Sir FergusThornton, Malcolm
Moore, Rt Hon JohnThurnham, Peter
Morris, M (N'hampton S)Townend, John (Bridlington)
Morrison, Hon Sir CharlesTredinnick, David
Moss, MalcolmTrippier, David
Mudd, DavidTrotter, Neville
Neale, GerrardTwinn, Dr Ian
Nelson, AnthonyVaughan, Sir Gerard
Neubert, MichaelWaddington, Rt Hon David
Newton, Rt Hon TonyWakeham, Rt Hon John
Nicholls, PatrickWaldegrave, Hon William
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Walden, George
Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyWaller, Gary
Page, RichardWardle, C. (Bexhill)
Paice, JamesWatts, John
Patnick, IrvineWells, Bowen
Patten, John (Oxford W)Wheeler, John
Pawsey, JamesWhitney, Ray
Peacock, Mrs ElizabethWiddecombe, Miss Ann
Porter, Barry (Wirral S)Wiggin, Jerry
Porter, David (Waveney)Wilshire, David
Portillo, MichaelWinterton, Mrs Ann
Powell, William (Corby)Winterton, Nicholas
Price, Sir DavidWolfson, Mark
Raffan, KeithWood, Timothy
Raison, Rt Hon TimothyWoodcock, Mike
Rathbone, TimYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Redwood, John
Renton, TimTellers for the Noes:
Rhodes James, RobertMr. David Lightbown and
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonMr. David Maclean.
Riddick, Graham

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment made: No. 22, in page 20, leave out lines 29 to 38 and insert— `(b) that there is, in relation to each of the members of the union, who is accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot, some factor (whether or not the same factor) which—

  1. (i) relates to the terms or conditions of that member's employment or to the occupational description which is applicable to that member in his employment;
  2. (ii) is a factor which that member has in common with some or all of the other members of the union who are accorded that entitlement and have the same employer as that member; and
  3. (iii) in a case where there are individuals employed by that employer who are members of the union but are not accorded that entitlement, is neither a factor which that member has in common with any of those individuals nor a factor which individuals employed by that employer have in common as a consequence of having the same place of work;'.—[Mr. Nicholls.]