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Understandably, the issue of tips and how they relate to the minimum wage was raised by a number of colleagues. I strongly agree with the view of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform that tipping is an important issue. I want to assure hon. Members that we are looking carefully at finding a solution. I, like so many others
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who have spoken, feel that when a tip is given to a waiter in a restaurant or catering establishment, that tip should go to the waiter or waitress and not to the boss or the national company involved.

Mr. Russell Brown: In view of the fact that the Minister is saying that the Department is considering the subject, even at this early stage—although some of us believe that it is somewhat late in coming—can the Department make it known to those out there who are abusing the system that their days are numbered?

Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made his views clear and we have had direct contact with the hospitality industry about that important issue.

In addition to cracking down on the underpayment of agency workers, we determined that they should be properly protected from abuse. The Bill will allow an appropriate sanction to deal with the small minority of agencies that deliberately flout the law. No business should be allowed to get away with unfairly undercutting legitimate operators by underpaying workers or exploiting vulnerable agency staff. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation, a key industry body, said:

I turn to dispute regulation. I listened carefully to the remarks of the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mrs. Dorries) on the subject. Alongside tougher enforcement the Bill promotes greater flexibility and reduces burdens on business. The hon. Lady asked me directly whether the Bill reduces regulation. Equally directly, I say yes it does. The reforms to workplace dispute resolution contained in clauses 1 to 7 will encourage employers and employees to find ways that make sense to them to sort out their disputes. In place of rigid statutory requirements that cost employers more than £100 million a year, the ACAS code on discipline and grievance will provide guidance both to employers and employees on the principles of natural justice that enable disputes to be resolved effectively.

Our reforms enable ACAS conciliation to be even more effective by removing time limitations on when the service can offer help to parties in dispute. To support ACAS, we are investing up to £37 million over the next three years to promote more early conciliation and to improve the ACAS advice line. That will help many people to resolve disputes without the stress and expense of a tribunal hearing.

My hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran spoke about trade union law, and the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker)—a fellow member of the trade union Unite—spoke movingly of his experience of harassment by the foul BNP. All of us who heard his speech were impressed by it. Clause 18 is the only clause in the Bill which deals with trade union law. It appears in the Bill because we are obliged as a matter of policy to amend our law as soon as possible to comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. In other words, it is not an option for us to do nothing and leave the law as it is.

It was predictable that the clause would attract a lot of attention in our debate. The same happened when the Bill was debated in the other place. As Members
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know, the clause, as originally drafted, provoked great concern from both sides of that House, including from Lord Morris of Handsworth, former general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union. We amended the clause to deal with those concerns. The amendments were heavily influenced by the views expressed by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Clause 18 deals with the way that the law balances conflicting human rights—philosophically and legally a difficult and complex matter—principally the rights of freedom of association and the right to freedom of political belief. This is difficult territory, and involves some delicate judgments.

Paul Farrelly: I recognise that the territory is difficult, but does my hon. Friend recognise that the TUC still has some concerns about the drafting that has come from the House of Lords? It is concerned that unions are still over-regulated in that respect, so will my hon. Friend be amenable to sensible amendments in Committee?

Malcolm Wicks: We know of the TUC’s concerns and no doubt those matters will be discussed in Committee.

Clause 18 aims to strike a new balance in the law relating to exclusion and expulsion from trade unions on grounds of political party membership. The net effect is to create greater freedom for trade unions to set and apply their own membership rules. However, that greater freedom is qualified by the creation of safeguards to prevent potential abuse. We believe that those safeguards are workable, clear and fully compatible with the way that trade unions run their internal affairs. The safeguards should not, therefore, give rise to mischievous litigation, as the TUC fears. We are also clear that the clause will ensure compliance with the European Court’s judgment.

Mr. Walker: I agree that people have the right to be members of the BNP; but likewise, unions must have the right to tell members of the BNP, “You are not going to be part of our organisation.”

Malcolm Wicks: Absolutely right; I agree with the hon. Gentleman. We are concerned that removing reference to former membership of a political party would provide an avenue by which individuals with extreme political views could infiltrate a trade union. For example, a BNP member could resign his or her party membership on learning of the union’s intention to expel him or her, only to rejoin once the threat of expulsion had passed. The process could continue indefinitely, thus imposing considerable administrative costs on the union and undermining its rights, as determined by the European courts.

Lorely Burt: I understand the point that the Minister is making about trade unions and people who have been past members of an organisation that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of a trade union. However, as I understand the Bill, if someone had been a member of such an organisation in years past, that would prevent them from ever joining a trade union. I find that a little worrying. I do not know what the answer is, and I wonder whether the Minister has an idea.

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Malcolm Wicks: I understand the point, but there will be safeguards to ensure that that eventuality does not arise, and common sense will apply. I would also trust in the good sense of a trade union if someone wanted to join who had been a member of one those parties 20 years ago when he or she was a 17-year-old.

The hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) made a thoughtful speech, drawing on his own experience, and asked about the tripartite nature of tribunals. I simply but sincerely want to assure him about the Government’s commitment to the three-member panel in all cases where the reasonableness of behaviour is an important element of the tribunal’s consideration. Parliament has accepted for many years the case for tribunal chairs to sit alone in certain jurisdictions where that is not a key concern. I hope that we can reassure the hon. Gentleman on that point.

I turn, towards the end of this address—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] I am encouraged to go further, but I will try to draw my remarks to a conclusion. Again, I return to the speech made by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire. She talked about her early experience of being supported by her trade union—the Royal College of Nursing—so that, in those dark days, she was able to eat. Nevertheless, she now seems rather sceptical about the legislation that supports the rights of female employees. She did so on the basis of over-burdens, but I noted her concerns. Many hon. Members would say that of course we need to get the balance right, but such things constitute one of the great developments in this country, alongside the move back towards full employment that we have seen.

Let us not forget that employment is still at a record level in Great Britain. That includes a great advance in female employment, with proper balances, so that people can have the right work-life and work-family balances. An interesting statistic shows that that is now being accepted by women and many employers: the proportion of mothers who change their employer when returning to work has fallen dramatically from 41 per cent. in 2002 to only 14 per cent. in 2007. That shows an acceptance by both the employer and the employee that we are getting the balance right, and it shows that more and more employers are doing the sensible thing of welcoming back, not just for legal reasons, valued female members of staff after they have had their babies.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington said that the Bill should give time-off rights to union environmental representatives. As the Minister for Energy, I am aware of that, but this is a fairly new development. The TUC has received support from the union modernisation fund for that purpose.

John McDonnell: Will the Minister give way?

Malcolm Wicks: No, I do not think so.

I might not have been able to cover all the detailed points that hon. Members have raised because, sadly, time has not allowed me to do so. However, I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

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employment bill [lords] (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 83A(7) (Programme motions),

The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 122.
Division No. 263]
[8.50 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, rh Andy
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Pearson, Ian

Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Dan
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Dave Watts and
Siobhain McDonagh

Afriyie, Adam
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam

Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howell, John
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Scott, Mr. Lee
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Spink, Bob
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Noes:

Angela Watkinson and
Mr. Richard Benyon
Question accordingly agreed to.
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