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4 Nov 2008 : Column 181

On the first issue of unfair dismissal and detriment during an industrial dispute, some of us might live in different worlds, but in my constituency and across the country people have been sacked unfairly on a number of occasions. They do not feel that they have the appropriate protections. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Rob Marris) made a point about international law and ILO conventions, and yes, we are in breach of them. We have consistently been in breach of them. Various international reports, which I listed earlier, have emphasised that point. We no longer have the standards of industrial and trade union rights in this country that apply across the rest of Europe. I was simply seeking to ensure that there would at least be a power for reinstatement. My right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) raised the issue of reinstatement and said that in some instances that would be detrimental to the individual. Under new clause 1, that would have happened only if the complainant wished to be reinstated. It offered flexibility, so that there would be the right to secure one’s job again.

I am also disappointed that there has been no movement on balloting. I acknowledged that the Government have taken steps on two occasions, in 1999 and 2004. We have cited example after example to show that in practice those steps have not enabled the democratic wishes of trade unionists undertaking a ballot to enable action to take place on the majority vote. The flexibility that we thought that we secured when I supported the Government in 1999 and 2004 is not being applied by the courts. We have given example after example of that.

An example was given that involved the buses. It is not just about employers having a duty to provide information in ballots. New clause 2 would place a duty on the employer “reasonably to co-operate generally” with a trade union while it engages in balloting action to test the wishes of its members. I do not believe that we have had an acceptable answer that demonstrates that the Government would even consider a timetable for addressing the practical problems that trade unions experience in this country.

We gave example after example of what agency workers have done to undermine industrial relations in this country. Let me give an example from my constituency. Before a dispute even took place, the employer, Gate Gourmet, went out and recruited agency workers and then herded my constituents into a shed and gave them three minutes to decide whether they would accept reduced wages and conditions. If they decided not to do so, they were replaced by agency workers. We are seeking to prevent such undermining. It does not just affect those individuals who are in dispute, but sours the industrial relations climate of this country.

We are appealing for some movement from the Government. The Minister said that he had received representations, but I was hoping that the Government would consider them seriously and that, after consultation, they would come forward with proposals to tackle the concrete problems of industrial relations and trade union rights in this country. I bitterly regret that they have not done so.

On that basis, and to save time this evening, I shall be happy to withdraw new clause 1. However, I wish to press new clause 2 on balloting procedures to a Division.

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 182

New Clause 2

Employer’s duties in relation to industrial action ballots

“The following section is inserted after section 226C of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992—

“226D Employer’s duties in relation to industrial action ballots

(1) It is the duty of an employer reasonably to co-operate generally, in connection with a ballot conducted or proposed for the purposes of section 226, with the trade union (or unions) and the person appointed to conduct the ballot.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), it is the duty of an employer to supply to a trade union in good time information reasonably requested by the trade union for the purposes of establishing the names, addresses, categories and workplaces of those members whom it wishes to ballot for the purposes of section 226.”.’.— [John McDonnell.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 53, Noes 408.
Division No. 309]
[7 pm


Burden, Richard
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Cook, Frank
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Davies, Mr. Dai
Drew, Mr. David
Etherington, Bill
Fisher, Mark
Flynn, Paul
Galloway, Mr. George
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Havard, Mr. Dai
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Jackson, Glenda
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Jones, Lynne
Leech, Mr. John
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Mackinlay, Andrew
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
McCafferty, Chris
McDonnell, John
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Price, Adam
Prosser, Gwyn
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Stewart, Ian
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Williams, Hywel
Winnick, Mr. David
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Andrew Dismore and
David Taylor

Afriyie, Adam
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Amess, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony

Balls, rh Ed
Barker, Gregory
Barlow, Ms Celia
Baron, Mr. John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Browne, rh Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Butterfill, Sir John
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chapman, Ben
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Conway, Derek
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curry, rh Mr. David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Dowd, Jim
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Gilroy, Linda
Goodman, Helen
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harvey, Nick

Hayes, Mr. John
Healey, John
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hendry, Charles
Heppell, Mr. John
Herbert, Nick
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. David
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Key, Robert
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lepper, David
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Loughton, Tim
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Main, Anne
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Martlew, Mr. Eric
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Mercer, Patrick
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Sandra
Ottaway, Richard
Owen, Albert
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pearson, Ian
Penning, Mike
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prisk, Mr. Mark

Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Randall, Mr. John
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, Mr. Alan
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, John
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Seabeck, Alison
Selous, Andrew
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Thurso, John
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Ussher, Kitty
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Jeremy
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Mark Tami and
Steve McCabe
Question accordingly negatived.
4 Nov 2008 : Column 183

4 Nov 2008 : Column 184

4 Nov 2008 : Column 185

New Clause 4

Time off for Workplace environmental representatives

‘(1) The Employment Act 2002 (c.22) is amended as follows—

(2) After section 43 there is inserted—

“43A Workplace Environmental Representatives

(1) An employer shall permit an employee of his who is—

(a) a member of an independent trade union recognised by the employer, and

4 Nov 2008 : Column 186

(b) a workplace environmental representative of the trade union, to take reasonable time off during his working hours for any of the following purposes.

(2) The purposes are—

(a) carrying out any of the following activities—

(i) promoting environmentally sustainable workplace initiatives and practices,

(ii) carrying out environmental audits,

(iii) being consulted on workplace environmental policies, practices and management systems,

(iv) carrying out environmental risk assessments,

(b) consulting the employer about carrying out any such activities,

(c) preparing for any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b).

(3) Subsection (1) only applies if—

(a) the trade union has given the employer notice in writing that the employee is a workplace environmental representative of the trade union, and

(b) the training condition is met in relation to him.

(4) The training condition is met if—

(a) the employee has undergone sufficient training to enable him to carry on the activities mentioned in subsection (2), and the trade union has given the employer notice in writing of that fact,

(b) the trade union has in the last six months given the employer notice in writing that the employee will be undergoing such training, or

(c) within six months of the trade union giving the employer notice in writing that the employee will be undergoing such training, the employee has done so, and the trade union has given the employer notice of that fact.

(5) Only one notice under subsection (4)(b) may be given in respect of any one employee.

(6) References in subsection (4) to sufficient training to carry out the activities mentioned in subsection (2) are to training that is sufficient for those purposes having regard to any relevant provision of a Code of Practice issued by ACAS or the Secretary of State.

(7) If an employer is required to permit an employee to take time off under subsection (1), he shall also permit the employee to take time off during his working hours for the following purposes—

(a) undergoing training which is relevant to his functions as a workplace environmental representative, and

(b) where the trade union has in the last six months given the employer notice under subsection (4)(b) in relation to the employee, undergoing such training as is mentioned in subsection (4)(a).

(8) The amount of time off which an employee is to be permitted to take under this section and the purposes for which, the occasions on which and any conditions subject to which time off may be so taken are those that are reasonable in all the circumstances having regard to any relevant provision of a Code of Practice issued by ACAS or the Secretary of State.

(9) An employee may present a complaint to an employment tribunal that his employer has failed to permit him to take time off as required by this section.

(10) References in subsection (2) to environmental audits and environmental risk assessments are to environmental audits and environmental risk assessments that are sufficient for those purposes having regard to any relevant provision of a Code of Practice issued by ACAS or the Secretary of State.

(11) In subsection (2)(a), the reference to qualifying members of the trade union is to members of the trade union—

(a) who are employees of the employer of a description in respect of which the union is recognised by the employer, and

(b) in relation to whom it is the function of the workplace environmental representative to act as such.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 187

(12) For the purposes of this section, a person is a workplace environmental representative of a trade union if he is appointed or elected as such in accordance with its rules.’”’.— [John McDonnell.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: new clause 6— Right not to be excluded or expelled from union: repeal—

‘In the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52) sections 174 to 177 (which make provision about the right to membership of trade union) are repealed.’.

Amendment No. 3, page 17, line 7, leave out clause 19.

Amendment No. 10, in clause 19, page 18, line 15, at end add—

‘(4) In section 177 (interpretation and other supplementary provision), after subsection (2) there is inserted—

“(2A) For the purposes of section 174 an individual will only be considered to be a member of a political party if for the 12 months prior to the date of an individual’s application for membership of the trade union or at any point thereafter that individual is registered with the political party as a member.”’.

Amendment No. 11, page 18, line 15, clause 19, at end add—

‘(4) In section 177 (interpretation and other supplementary provision), after subsection (2) there is inserted—

“(2A) For the purposes of section 174 a group will be considered to be a political party only where it has been registered with the Electoral Commission under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41) or any foreign equivalent, and the party at the time of the individual’s application for membership of the trade union remains on such a register.”’.

Amendment No. 2, in schedule, page 21, line 21, at end add—

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