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Baroness Miller of Hendon: The Minister will not be surprised to know that I am disappointed with his response. Incidentally, I am grateful to him for pointing out my mistake in the number needed to start the whole procedure. However, I do not believe that he has dealt with my problems. I have never mentioned in this House that I started my own small business. I had to do this kind of thing, it would never have got off the ground and expanded into three countries. It is only right that I should test the opinion of the House.

4.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 126; Not-Contents, 134.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Annaly, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Bathurst, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Buscombe, B.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnock, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Coleraine, L.
Coleridge, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Davidson, V.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Dundonald, E.
Dunleath, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Fookes, B.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Gormanston, V.
Gray, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.]
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Keyes, L.
Kintore, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lauderdale, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris, L.
Mountevans, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Norfolk, D.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Renwick, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Romney, E.
Rotherwick, L.
St. Davids, V.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strafford, E.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Swansea, L.
Tenby, V.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Weatherill, L.
Westbury, L.
Wharton, B.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bach, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jeger, B.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Laming, L.
Levy, L.
Longford, E.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Thurso, V.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1048

5 p.m.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 19, line 20, at end insert--
("( ) For the purposes of sub-paragraphs (1)(a) and (1)(b) there shall be excluded from the number of persons classified as "workers"--
(a) directors or any company secretary or other officers or manager of a limited company,
(b) shareholders in any private limited company or company whose shares are not quoted on any recognised stock exchange, and
(c) members of a partnership.")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, having considered the argument made by the Government in Committee when they rejected this amendment, I feel that I have no alternative but to bring it to the attention of your Lordships again.

The amendment excludes from the definition of workers the directors, the company secretary and any other persons who are regarded as officers of the company. There can be no logical reason to include such persons in the quorum required to trigger the recognition procedure. That is even true in the case of a small company with, say, three directors and a company secretary, which would represent 20 per cent of the target figure of 21 proposed in the Bill.

8 Jul 1999 : Column 1049

It is equally illogical if the company secretary is, as so often happens, an outside accountant who has nothing to do with the operation of the company, except to sign a couple of forms every year. Logic does not enter the Government's ambitions. The more people, however irrelevant, who can be counted as workers, the greater chance there is for an ambitious trade union organiser to try to reach the magic figure. That is likely to be a two-edged sword because the board of a company that is inclined to resist union recognition would presumably vote against it in the ballot so that the union starts off with an assured X number of votes against it. However, far be it from me to tell the union how to manage to obtain votes!

The amendment refers also to shareholders, specifically in the private company or one that is not quoted on the Stock Exchange. That would be a case where employees have helped to finance the business for which they work by acquiring shares in it. They are, in effect, part owners. They are no different from minority partners in a business which is not a limited company. Even the Government do not consider that individual owners working in their own business are employees for the purposes of the Bill.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, argued that only officers of the company who had a contract of employment were workers for the purposes of the Bill. He went on to say:

    "I am sure that the noble Baroness is not arguing that those who have contracts of employment should be excluded from the head count implied in the cut-off point of 21". I must apologise to the Minister for not having made myself clear on the previous occasion. That was precisely what I was arguing.

The noble Lord has told us on several occasions about his experiences when he was engaged in his own market research business. Perhaps as a director with or without a contract he may have regarded himself as one of the workers. Perhaps as a long-term honorary principal of the London Working Men's College that may possibly have coloured his thinking on the subject. I am sure that he held that position with the greatest of honour.

I said "Working Men's College" and not "Working Persons' College". I cannot resist saying that in view of an amendment that I tabled in Committee on the Greater London Authority Bill.

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