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Lord Wedderburn of Charlton: I am grateful to my noble friend for giving way. What he has just said is of great importance to those of us who have put down amendments to Part II or have points of argument or presentation which rest on matters in Part II. What my noble friend said gives us a certain clue. But it is difficult for those of us who thought that Part II was about voluntary agreements if they turn into something rather more compulsory. Before this afternoon goes very
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I understand the difficulty in which I have placed my noble friend and indeed all of my noble friends. I have been saying something which has not yet been set out precisely in the form of amendments. I have used the phrase "semi voluntary recognition" and I have undermined, if one likes, a substantial element of Part II, which I know is a matter of concern to my noble friend. The answer is, yes, I shall try. When we come to the first amendments which affect Part II, I shall try to say something a little more general about the way in which we see Part II, although it will not be very much more than I have been able to say on the amendments before us.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No, I shall not be moving them. They will have to come forward before the Report stage. We are still working on the detail of some of the amendments. As I think is apparent to anyone who is not as expert as my noble friends are in these matters, this is an incredibly complicated issue. The relationship between statutory recognition and voluntary agreements is, although of great importance in employment relations, very difficult to put into legislation. I am glad to see that my noble friend Lord Wedderburn is nodding in agreement.
Lord McCarthy: I am sorry to intervene again but the position is not clear to me. The noble Lord suggests that we should spend some of our time this afternoon passing Part II when we know it will not survive. It is a Part II that is nothing like the Part II that will come before us when we reach Report. That is a very strange procedure.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I shall try to make it possible for us to spend as little time as possible on Part II by being as explicit as I can about the objective of our amendments to Part II. What I cannot do is put the amendments down--and certainly not in manuscript form this afternoon. I do not think that the Committee would appreciate that.
Perhaps I may return to Amendment No. 73. The Government believe that in this case the law should be exactly the same as where the parties are unable to agree a method following a declaration of recognition; that is, the CAC should impose a legally binding agreement which the parties may then vary or replace, if they wish, by written agreement between them. The amendment would introduce a difference between the procedures in Part I and Part II. In Part II the scope of the legally binding method would be pay, hours and holidays only if the parties had not agreed on some other scope. I have
We said in the White Paper that recognition would at a minimum cover pay, hours and holidays. If the parties are unable to agree the scope and mechanics of bargaining, then the CAC will impose a method which will cover pay, hours and holidays. If that scope does not suit the parties--for example, if they have agreed some different scope--then they can immediately, if they wish, vary the imposed method provided that they agree the changes and make them in writing. So the Bill as drafted allows the parties to achieve the same effect as this amendment, though of course by a different route. On that basis, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Campbell of Alloway: Leaving aside for a moment the valid points made on Part II by the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn--I gather that we shall come to that at a later stage--I wish to associate myself with the reasoning of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. Since I first arrived in the House I seem to have spent the whole of my time on trade union affairs and I have read the Second Reading report of the debate, although I was not present for it. In those days recognition was a distant prospect, and it has now come to life in a reasoned form, providing a fair balance between the employer and the employed.
I cannot see why the amendment is necessary in order to induce a better atmosphere for industrial relations. I listened with respect to the argument of the noble Lord, but he did not point to any specific way in which the industrial climate would be improved. For that reason, and for the reason given by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, I support the Government's rejection of the amendment.
Lord Monkswell: I did not speak in support of my noble friend's amendment when he moved it, partly because I thought he moved it very eloquently but also because I was interested to hear the Government's response. Having listened carefully to their arguments, however, I think that the objective of good industrial relations will not be achieved by the present wording of the Bill but by the amendment.
If an employer is innately antagonistic to trade unions and trade union activity, probably because he has little experience of the way trade unions work, he will use all the mechanisms available to ensure that there is minimal involvement with trade unions and that any involvement is as fragmented as possible, thereby seeking to gain an apparent advantage over the trade unions.
The Bill states that the employer will be able to engage in three different mechanisms: the statutory recognition contained in Part I of Schedule 1, the training requirements of Clause 5 and the imple- mentation of health and safety at work regulations. If
Baroness O'Cathain: The noble Lord, Lord Monkswell, has described industrial relations that pertained 25 years ago. People collaborate these days and there are no battlefields in organisations. The amendment will not improve industrial relations. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and my noble friend that Clause 7 gives flexibility in regard to collective bargaining. Each company will want to negotiate with the unions in different areas. There should be an adult, co-operative relationship, rather than a confrontational relationship. I hope that the Government will persist in rejecting the amendment.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The noble Lord, Lord Monkswell, appears to think that the Bill contradicts the Fairness at Work White Paper which was generally well received both by the CBI and the TUC. I have already quoted page 42 of that paper. The purpose of a statutory minimum for collective bargaining is to encourage negotiation and agreement and to discourage the statutory procedures as far as possible. The statutory procedures are in place, and any employer who denies recognition to his employees on the basis that my noble friend seems to think survives in this legislation will be very unpleasantly surprised because there are 40 pages in Schedule 1 which are designed to ensure that that does not happen. However, that does not remove our determination that as far as possible there will be agreement and that that agreement will be a common agreement on what should constitute collective bargaining.
Lord McCarthy: I would be most willing to withdraw the amendment if I could secure the Minister's agreement to what I think he said and what I think Hansard will say he said: that in Fairness at Work pay, hours and holidays are a minimum. In the Bill they are stated to be a maximum.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I cannot allow that to pass. I said that they are minimum, and by agreement between employers and employees all the other subjects that may form part of collective bargaining may be added. We would not agree that the CAC should add