Financial Resolution. - Apprenticeship Bill, 1930.—Report Stage.

I beg to move amendment 1:

In page 5, Section 8 (2), to add at the end of the sub-section the following paragraph:—

"(e) rules (in this Act referred to as rules regulating apprenticeship premiums) in relation to the fee, premium, or other consideration which may be taken in respect of the employment of a person by way of apprenticeship in such trade in such district."

I would like amendment 1 and amendment 6 looked at together. On the last stage I was asked to deal with the matter of premiums that might be paid or exacted in respect of employment as an apprentice. I think amendments 1 and 6, taken together, meet the point urged. Under the first amendment the committee will be empowered to make rules in relation to the fee, premium or other consideration which may be taken in respect of the employment of a person by way of apprenticeship in such trade in such district. Amendment 6 carries that further, and under the amendment it shall not be lawful for any person to take or receive any fee, premium, or other consideration in respect of the employment of any person by way of apprenticeship, unless the rules made by the apprenticeship committee are for the time being in force and the premium does not exceed the amount permitted by such rules to be taken as an apprenticeship premium. If there is no rule there can be no such premium, and if there is a rule the premium must be in accordance with it.

I consider this a very faulty proposal. It is not mandatory on the committee to make rules regarding fees; it is purely optional with the committee, and they can make rules if they like. If they make no rules regarding apprenticeship fees no premium can be accepted. Therefore from the time the trade has been designated, fees are illegal pending the publication of rules to regulate them. At the same time rules may be in force regulating the number of apprentices. You will then have a position which will possibly lead to considerable friction. Big fees may have been the custom of a certain trade. The apprenticeship committee may ultimately decide that substantial fees are justified. In the interregnum, employers may have a grievance. How about the apprentices they will engage during the period? Supposing that fees are afterwards approved, the committee presumably cannot make its rules retrospective. The rules both as to the number of apprentices and the fees may take six or twelve months to prepare. That period will be a lean period for apprentices.

After a trade is designated, the first job is to proceed with the rules that are mandatory on the committee, and that task may take six or twelve months. It may take another six or twelve months before the rules that are optional can be made, if ever they are made. What is the position in trades where at the present time big fees are being paid? Obviously there must be a complete change of system. The employers will not be at liberty to accept the fees of apprentices. To my mind, the effect of the amendment will be to confuse to a very serious extent the apprenticeship system in certain trades. It is not an amendment which has been seriously thought out. I suggest the Minister should reconsider it. He can hardly have examined its implications or he would not have put it forward in this fashion.

The Deputy has forgotten the Bill, apparently. His argument would be all right if the system we were looking to establish was the system of one body acting in a superior way and quite apart from the employers and employees in any trade deciding on an apprenticeship system for that business. But that is not the situation. This Bill is founded on the voluntary principle. The Deputy was rather against that, but that is the system we are looking to. There has to be accommodation between the employers and employees in any business before a trade is designated. We have the wish of both sets of people before a trade is designated. In those circumstances they have to draw up rules. I do not hold that the Deputy is quite accurate when he says that making the rules will occupy six or twelve months. They themselves will consider do they or do they not want premiums in a particular business. If they do they have to make rules. They know that from the moment they see this Act. If they do not make rules, that follows on the decision that they do not want a premium. If they do agree that premiums ought to be paid they will make rules. Taken in that atmosphere it is quite a different thing.

The Minister is assuming that the existing employees or apprentices will be interested in this matter. They may not. They may have no concern as to whether future apprentices will pay fees. Take the grocery or drapery business. Up to the present, particularly in the case of apprentices kept indoor, they pay very substantial fees. If that trade is designated it may be that under the rules eventually a substantial fee will be paid; but what about the interregnum period? It means that boys and girls wanting to go to shop business will not be able to get anyone to take them. The employer will not be at liberty to take a fee, and he is not going to take an indoor apprentice without a fee; he will wait until the rules are made. The individual employer will not be able to force the position. The Committee may be slow, and it may take them a long time to come to a decision. I do not think that is at all reasonable.

I do not see eye to eye with Deputy Moore in this matter. As far as I learn, there is a general feeling among people in the trade to do away with all fees and premiums of every kind. That view was expressed here on the occasion of the Second Reading and on the Committee Stage. It seems to me that the Minister's proposal does that in effect, unless both sides agree to have a fee. Unless there are rules made there will be no fee or premium. If there are rules, that presupposes that both sides are agreeable to have a fee. Solely on that basis the rules are made. I think the Minister's amendment is acceptable inasmuch as it does away with the fee. It is not left in the power of the employer to exact a fee in a designated trade unless both sides agree. There is, as I say, a general feeling amongst workers generally that there should be no fee or premium. This goes some distance, in any case, towards that.

Does Deputy O'Connell contemplate that employers who at the present time are getting fees of £50 and £100 with apprentices are going to sacrifice that gain voluntarily or without very considerable agitation through the Apprenticeship Committee? Does he not know that the representatives of the employers on the Committee will fight hard to keep up that system of paying fees? Does he not realise that the employees on these Committees may not be very much interested in doing away with fees? They will not be eager to see the trades swamped, and they may have as much interest as the employers in retaining the premium system. Furthermore, he should remember that the Minister is giving the option to the Apprenticeship Committee of fixing premiums. Deputy O'Connell cannot believe that that privilege is being given without a chance of its being used. There are certain trades where it will be used for certain. It is inevitable that it will be availed of in certain trades. What is to happen in the indefinite interregnum with regard to apprenticeship? The employers obviously would not be eager to take on apprentices if they contemplate that by waiting three, six or twelve months they would get a fee of £50 or £70. You are therefore holding up the whole system of engaging apprentices. Deputy O'Connell is allowing to run away with him the wish that he has to see fees abolished. I may share in that wish, but I am looking at the facts and he is going on sentiment.

The Deputy has spoken of employers in a particular trade who are receiving premiums and do not want to give that up. Very good. They need not give it up, because by holding out they need not have the trade designated. Does the Deputy think that that meets part of his point?

I thought that the application could come from either side.

Yes, but it cannot be carried. I have stated that the policy with regard to it is that the Bill is based on the voluntary principle, and unless they are both in agreement there is not going to be a trade designated. If there is a body of employers in any business likely to be designated who want premiums, who are determined to fight for them, in other words, are not likely to give them up, then they will certainly not agree to the trade being designated until they get accommodation on the matter of premiums. That is the possible procedure, certainly, under the Bill. Secondly, as to the point of time. The Deputy says: Let us consider other conditions; employers and employees in any business; an agreement that there should be some premium; and on a definite bargain that there is going to be a rule made with regard to premiums they unite in a demand, or somebody puts it forward and the other party does not object, and there is a trade designate. The Deputy's point is that there is a period to be covered—that it will take some time, whether six months or only six days, to get rules out, and that during that period the premium will be illegal. That can be met at once, positing always goodwill, that it is based on the mind of two parties being ad idem on a particular matter. They can immediately establish a rule allowing the maximum premium, whatever is the maximum in the business. They can always arrive at it by regulation. If the Deputy imagines a group of warring people, some of whom do not want the apprenticeship system and some who do, and a designate trade forced on them against their will, undoubtedly there might be hardship.

That, however, is not the atmosphere in which the thing ought to be considered. The whole thing is voluntary. There may be an odd individual who objects. In general, unless there is something approaching unanimity, there is not going to be a designation of a trade. There is room for bargaining within that, and I do not think that difficulties would arise.

Did not the Minister postulate in a previous statement that the employees would be fighting for all they were worth against premiums, yet now he throws contempt on the idea of a warring committee? There might be warring on this point.

I do not remember the circumstances in which I used the phrase that the Deputy alleges I did use.

The only reason we can pass this amendment is on the likelihood that everything will go peacefully after the trade is designated, that the Committee will be harmonious, almost unanimous with regard to premiums, and so there will be no unreasonable delay, and that all sides will agree that apprentices can be accepted on payment of fees. I think the Minister has just mentioned that fees can be fixed subject to subsequent adjustment. That would be illegal under the Bill.

No, the rules are subject to modification. They can be amended by the committee.

The payment of any premium will be illegal under the Bill when passed.

Yes, under the amendment.

Not unless there are no rules made.

Pending the making of rules the payment of premiums will be illegal.

Yes, in a designated trade.

On the supposition then that the Minister has just made, premiums can be fixed on the basis of the present maximum paid in the trade. That does not seem to be very useful.

It can be fixed by rule.

It can be fixed by rule, but that is the point on which the Committee may quarrel. It may hold them up for a long time. They may not be able to come to an agreement for many months. I do not think it is a satisfactory amendment, and I certainly shall vote against it.

There is one question I should like to ask the Minister upon this matter of premiums. Has each Apprenticeship Committee power to put forward proposals dealing with premiums? Supposing there is agreement in the Committee between the representatives of the employers and the workers that certain premiums are desirable, that Committee has power to make recommendations to the Minister, and I take it the Minister will approve of such recommendations.

Most decidedly.

That opens up a very big question. There is a desire in certain trades to limit the number of employees and the number of apprentices coming into the industry. There is a desire also on the part of some employers to retain the premium principle. There may be an arrangement made by such an Apprenticeship Committee that will meet the views of both parties. By raising the premium you will certainly limit the number of apprentices. Is that desirable in view of the large number of unemployed young people?

I think I have answered the first point of the Deputy. The second point is that the Deputy fears that dealing with premiums may result in limiting the number of employees in any business. If this amendment is not inserted there is much greater freedom to deal with premiums than if it is inserted. This is a restrictive amendment. This prohibits premiums unless there is a rule about them. If this amendment is not put in, the Committee is entirely free. It need not make rules, and in the absence of rules a premium can be charged and exacted.

I wanted something that would improve the existing situation. There are a great many defects in the existing situation. We had hoped that this Bill would clear away many of these defects. It seems to me that it is not going to achieve that object.

I do not know what the Deputy is referring to. I am dealing with this single point of the premium that may be taken. I should like to try and relieve Deputy Moore's mind once more. He says that there is a possibility of quarrelling. I want to know on what? Is it on whether there should be a premium allowed or not? If that is the point, I say it can be met right at the start. Supposing employers want to get a premium from apprentices. If this Bill becomes law, in its amended state, they are faced with this, that unless they can get from the employees an agreement that afterwards there will be rules made and sent up to me for approval dealing with premiums, premiums will be illegal.

They will look for agreement on that point. If they get it, they can agree and join in so that the trade should be designated and see that the undertaking is honourably carried out. If they fail, and do not agree to have the trade designated, it will not be designated. Let me get back to the first point. They have got an agreement with the employees that they should make rules with regard to premiums. The undertaking comes to be carried out. The Deputy referred to the fact that some time would elapse and that within that time premiums paid would be illegal and could be recovered. My answer, again positing agreement, is that if the representatives of the employers and employees have agreed, rules must be made making legitimate this payment. They can start to make rules, see what was the highest premium paid, and regularise it. We will have to see what is the maximum payment we should allow in all the circumstances of the business. They can put up a case for that and it has to be ruled upon. Representations can be made to the Minister when the case is put before him for confirmation, that there was agreement and that otherwise certain employers would not come in. That has to be taken into consideration. There is power always to undo the designation of a trade. I do not think the difficulty is going to arise, and I do not think that the Deputy can have any fears when he thinks of the circumstances under which this Bill is going to operate, being based on agreement clearly and definitely. I admit that there may be an individual who wants a premium where the generality of the trade do not. Certainly that man is going to be crushed out by the general trade feeling. We would not let one or two people, by obstructive tactics, prevent a trade being designated. Say that a considerable number want premiums, they must get them or they can prevent this Act applying.

Do I understand that the Minister contemplates that the question of fees will be discussed before the demand for designation is made to him?

Why do you assume that? After all, there may be one hundred reasons for the demand for designation of a trade, and that matter may never enter into the question at all. The request for designation may come from a big number of employees, and from employers who do not keep apprentices at all, or if they keep apprentices, only keep one per shop, and perhaps do not get fees, whereas there may be a number who are at present getting big fees who will be opposed to designation, and the Minister may have to over-ride their wishes in agreeing to designation. The assumption that the question of fees and rules to govern fees will be practically settled before designation takes place, is too big an assumption for me. I do not think the Bill as it stands allows such things as maximum and minimum fees. As far as I remember that part of the Bill, there will have to be standard fees. At all events, I think the Minister can hardly be satisfied that it is a satisfactory way of settling this question. Probably there is no question that would cause more friction in certain trades, because, as I mentioned on a previous stage of the Bill, there are employers who are at present making a good yearly income out of fees from apprentices, and they are going to stick out as hard as they can in order to retain these fees. I can see the possibility in certain trades of very prolonged discussions and very considerable friction before any satisfactory arrangement is arrived at with regard to the fees that will be considered reasonable for the trade as a whole.

I have not said anything about maximum and minimum premiums. The scheme I have in mind is that in order to get over the difficulty about a certain point of time elapsing for the legitimatising of premiums, the apprenticeship committee may say, "That will be allowed." The word "maximum" is used because amendment 6 says that if there are rules made allowing premiums then if premiums are exacted they must be within the amount allowed. That is the only use I made of the word "maximum." But they can appoint a premium at any time, and can reduce that by amendment of the rules later. The Deputy said that possibly they will not discuss whether premiums should be allowed or not before the application is made or agreement come to in regard to designating a trade. I conceive that that will be always settled before that. Ordinarily speaking, the question of premiums will arise before the event of seeking for designation in a trade in which a premium is already a known thing. I can conceive it arising afterwards in a trade where premiums are unknown. It will generally arise with regard to a trade where the premium idea is known. There are certain employers in the business who know they are in receipt of these fees, and I think we can rely on them to see that the matter is threshed out and some accommodation got before they assent to the designation of the trade at all. I put forward these amendments. I am not in love with them. I did not bring them in originally. They were not in the Bill. I wanted a certain amount of freedom with regard to this. There seemed to me to be expressed on the Committee Stage a very strong point of view that the premium system should be controlled, and I think the idea of controlling it was with a view to seeing it disappear. The amendment, while not making it disappear and while showing no tendency that way, does control it, because it makes premiums illegal unless rules are made, and after the rules are made, unless premiums are in accordance with the rules. I leave it to the House. I am not in love with it.

May I take it from the Minister that unless there is a general agreement between employers and employees, a trade cannot be designated and, if not designated, can I take it that no premiums can be charged?

No. The amendment dealing with premiums only relates to trades which are designated trades. The scheme of the Bill is that a trade will not be designated, and that the whole conditions under apprenticeship law will not apply unless there is a pretty general agreement between employers and employees in that trade.

In other words, no premiums will be legal.

No, premiums are not dealt with. We have nothing to do with premiums outside the designated trades. If they are not rendered illegal by any other legislation—and I do not think they are—this Bill will not touch them unless they are being paid under what is to be known as designated trades. They will be legal except in designated trades.

I was glad to hear the Minister saying that if this amendment is carried it will have the effect of making the premium system disappear. Deputy Moore said a number of things with regard to the question of premiums, but he did not make it clear to my mind whether he was in favour of or against that system. He said that certain employers were making a certain income from premiums. I know that some years ago, in the drapery trade, certain employers—I am glad to know that it has disappeared in Dublin —charged premiums to apprentices and made them work long hours without any wages.

In other words they were paying the employers and in addition were getting no remuneration whatever. I understand that even at present in the hairdressing trade in Dublin premiums amounting to £50 and £60 are charged. As far as that particular trade is concerned the employers are getting the services of these people, and instead of paying them a wage they are getting paid themselves. I was glad to hear the Minister say he hoped that this particular system would disappear.

I did not say that.

I hope that the Minister will say it. I would like to hear the views of Deputy Moore as to whether he is in favour of this system of premiums or not.

I do not think there was any need for me because this question of premiums is a world in itself. I was not one of those who expressed the wish in the previous discussion that the question of premiums should be brought under control. That in itself would be a very big question for this House to tackle, and I was not prepared to deal with it as an aside on a big general Bill of this character. If the House ever comes to deal with the question of premiums it will have very many things to consider. I do not know how Deputy Cassidy or anybody else could abolish premiums in the case of indoor apprentices to shop business. At the present time that constitutes a very big part of the apprenticeship system. I do not know how young people are going to be brought in, kept in a house, boarded and looked after when they will be of very little use to an employer for at least twelve months. I do not know how that is going to be settled when we bear in mind what prevails at present. I think a change like that, where you drop a £60 fee for young people who are taken in as apprentices, is not going to be effected by the mere passing of a Bill of this kind. Other considerations will enter into the matter. If the idea be that youths of seventeen and eighteen are, on their merits going to be accepted voluntarily by employers as apprentices in their businesses then it means that certain youths are not going to get into any workshop or business in the country. It means that they will be kicked out the moment they apply. We have not yet decided, if we pass this Bill, that at the same time we are going to pass another Bill providing for equality of means as between every family and equality of income as between every individual in the country. I do not think that either Deputy Cassidy or Deputy O'Connell would be right in saying that it was a wrong system that parents with big means should as an inducement to an employer pay him a big fee to take their boys and girls into his business. If the House were to do away with that system it would simply be creating a very big problem with regard to hundreds of youths in the country. Youths who have grown up to the age of seventeen or eighteen with no aptitude for anything in particular and who have shown no disposition towards regular work, will be severely handicapped if, notwithstanding the assistance which their parents or friends can give them, they are deprived of the opportunity of getting into a workshop or business where possibly they may be reformed and may cultivate a taste for business. I am not prepared at the moment to go into this question of premiums for apprentices, though if we were discussing it I might be as eager as anyone else to abolish the principle.

Is the Deputy aware that in most of the big industries in Dublin it is the managers and not the owners that benefit by the payment of these premiums?

Mr. O'Connell

The doctrine that Deputy Moore has preached is a most extraordinary one. He suggests that youths who grow up with no aptitude for business ought to be able to get into some kind of business simply because their parents or friends, as he said, are able to give them assistance. But if the parents were not in a position to give them that assistance, then they would never have any chance of getting into business. I think if there are other people who are apt and well qualified but whose parents are not in the position to pay a heavy fee for them, they ought to be entitled to claim that an employer would take them on, that is if they give promise of becoming good craftsmen, in preference to those who have no aptitude but whose parents are able to pay for them. I think it would be much better if we had that position than the one Deputy Moore speaks of.

I am anxious to get as many trades as possible designated under the Act. The more you insist on the apprenticeship committees doing things such as have been suggested, attending to premiums and so on, the more impediments you are putting in the way of trades coming within the scope of the Bill. I feel inclined to vote against the amendment. If the premium business is an objectionable feature of life it can be settled in another way. I do not think it can be settled in this way. I know that the Labour Deputies have strong feelings about this, but I ask them to consider this, that what ought to be aimed at is to get as many trades as possible designated. The more duties that you throw on the committees the more points that they have to make orders about, the less chance they are going to have of getting the co-operation and good-will of both employers and employees in asking for a trade to be designated. For that reason I think the amendment is slightly dangerous.

Mr. O'Connell

If the Minister is going to leave this to a free vote of the House then I suggest that some more members ought to be called in to hear the arguments.

In connection with this I would like to point out that we must not lose sight of the desire, at least I take it that it was the desire of the Minister, in introducing this Bill, to break down some of the difficulties that confront some young people at the moment in getting into industrial life. We have not the numbers going into industry that we should have.

It is no harm to remind the Minister of the Census Report issued by his own Department a couple of months ago. It is based on the 1926 Census. In Volume 5, Part 2, it is stated: "The proportion of our boys"—that is in the Free State—"of 16 and 17 years of age, who have no gainful occupation is 28 per cent. It is three times as much as in Scotland where it is only 8 per cent. or in England and Wales where it is 9 per cent." Then the Report proceeds: "The proportion of our girls of the same age who have not yet secured employment is 55 per cent. It is twice as great as in Scotland where it is 26 per cent. or England where it is 29 per cent." If we have these large numbers of young people of apprenticeship age unemployed it is quite obvious that there are some difficulties existing in this country which does not exist in other countries, and that there is not the same opportunity for these boys and girls getting into industrial employment as there is in other countries.

Because there is not the same number of trades here.

Even in those that are here, there is not the number of apprentices. If we want to improve that position we want to break down these barriers. That, I understand, was the object the Minister had in view in introducing this Bill which was recommended in the Report of the Commission on Technical Education— recommended for that particular object, so as to improve the avenues leading to industrial employment for our young people. I want to point out to the Minister that if he is going to maintain these barriers, he is not going to improve the avenues of employment, and we are not going to get the additional number of young people into industrial occupations that we would like to see. If these matters are all going to be left to committees to arrange and to report to the Minister, so that the Minister may adopt these recommendations, then I say we are not going to improve the situation. As I visualise the situation, if the employers want to maintain large premiums and if the representatives of the workers want to keep down the numbers going into industry, then it is easy for these parties to join in keeping up the premium and limiting the numbers in that way. That is not what I might call the large object. That is not the way in which the House should look upon the measure. In other words, if it is desirable to get employment for these young people and to continue the principle of these premiums, let us come to a decision on that point.

And let the employers get free labour.

I am with Deputy O'Connell that it is not desirable that there should be these large premiums, because they limit employment very considerably. I think we should express an opinion to that effect on this Bill, and not leave it to the Committee. If we leave it to the Committee, we are only going to perpetuate the existing system rather than improve it.

I have the feeling that because we are so long away from the Committee Stage of the Bill, Deputies have forgotten the scheme of the Bill. Deputy Good makes the point that the House ought to determine and not leave it to the Committee this question of whether premiums should be payable or not. That does not get us very far. Supposing the House makes up its mind that it is not going to allow the payment of apprentices' premiums, how far is that going to carry us? The only effect of such a decision will be that in any trade in which a premium was payable the employers, knowing that you are going to have such a decision, will not ask to have the trade designated, and the Bill will not come into force in regard to that trade. You cannot deal with the question of premiums as a general thing. You can only deal with it in regard to designated trades. We are going very much outside the Bill if we tackle the question of premiums irrespective of whether trades are going to be designated or not. If the House says that the premium system is going to be abolished, to my mind you end all likelihood of trades, to which premiums have been paid, coming within the scope of the Bill. The employers will object to designation of the trade, and the whole thing will lapse. I think most Deputies in the House have forgotten that in the scheme of the Bill, as outlined in Section 2 of the Bill as introduced, it was provided that there would not be a designation of a trade unless groups representative of the employers and employees applied.

I pointed out whether that clause remained in the Bill or not that the voluntary side of the scheme, the voluntary system, as necessitated by what occurs later on in the Bill in regard to Apprenticeship Committees, because if the employers do not want to work under the Bill, they can refuse to sit on the Apprenticeship Committees, and the clause fails, I would like the House to take a decision on the premium question in designated trades. This is a dangerous amendment, because if inserted, it would prevent trades that in the ordinary course would be designated from being designated. Obviously you are going to prevent them, if you put in this handicap with regard to the premium.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided : Tá, 52; Níl, 63.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlan, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Lemass and Davin; Níl: Deputies Moore and McKeon.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment 2:—

In page 5, line 57, Section 8 (3) to insert before the word "rescind" the words "by rules made under this section."

The object of this amendment is to ensure that amending rules will be subject to the same procedure, including confirmation, as the original rules.

Does the Minister mean this?

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment 3:—

In page 6, line 48, to add at the end of Section 12 the words "or transfer the benefits and obligations of such employer under such agreement to another employer carrying on in such district such trade."

This amendment is designed to meet a case raised in Committee where an employer might become bankrupt or die and where it would be desirable to enable the apprentice to serve his term continuously, a new employer taking the place of a previous one.

Mr. O'Connell

Is there any provision for any choice on the part of the apprentice? The apprentice may be a young man of nineteen or twenty years. He may have agreed to serve under employer (a). The Minister's amendment will give power to the committee to shift this apprentice about to employer (b) (c) or (d). According to the proposal of the Minister, I am afraid there is no choice for the apprentice, although there ought to be.

The only course open to the apprentice would be to make representations to the committee. The Deputy is undoubtedly correct in what he says, that to a certain extent the decision is given to the committee, but I do not think there is going to be any great hardship inflicted. Again, we have to take concrete circumstances. A boy apprentices himself to a certain employer, who becomes bankrupt or dies. That boy has some sort of contract. He wants to have continuity under that contract. The Bill provides that the committee may, if it thinks fit, release both parties from their respective obligations under the agreement implied by the section or modify the agreement. Then, it is proposed to add the words "or transfer the benefits and obligations of such employer under such agreement to another employer carrying on in such district such trade." It is hardly likely that an Apprenticeship Committee, composed of representatives of both parties, will act in any very arbitrary way. They will always have to rule according to circumstances. The apprentice may want to go to a particular employer who does not want him or has not room for another apprentice. The whole trend of the amendment is to benefit the apprentice, but there is the possibility of hardship to which the Deputy alludes.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendments 4 and 5 as follows:—

In page 7, line 22, Section 14 (2), to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "six," and in line 24 to delete the words "one pound" and substitute the words "three pounds."

In page 7, line 53, Section 16 (2), to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "six," and in line 55 to delete the words "one pound" and substitute the words "three pounds."

These amendments deal with penalties. The point was raised in Committee that the penalties were somewhat badly adjusted to the offences. We think that a better adjustment is provided for by these amendments.

Amendments put and agreed to.
Amendment 6 not moved.

I move amendment 7:

In page 9, before Section 22, to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where any rules made by an apprenticeship committee under this Act are for the time being in force it shall not be lawful for any person to do any act or thing whereby an employer carrying on in the district of such committee the designated trade for which such committee is established is prevented from or obstructed or impeded in complying with such rules.

(2) If any person acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.

I pointed out on the Committee Stage that an employer might find himself in an awkward position—that the Apprenticeship Committee might make a certain order which the employer would be more or less bound to carry out, while that order might be in conflict with some practice or regulation in connection with the trade. The question was: what was that employer to do? This amendment is intended to clarify the situation, and it provides that the order of the Apprenticeship Committee is to be carried out by the employer.

Mr. O'Connell

I think that this is not at all as mild an amendment as Deputy Good would lead the House to believe by the few simple words he uttered in favour of it. I think it is a dangerous amendment and one that would lead to very grave trouble. He seeks very quietly to get a very great power into the hands of the employers —a power which would be used, I am sure, in no unstinted way if inserted in this Bill. It is a quite clear, and Deputy Good ought to be honest about it, that it is aimed at trade unions. It is aimed at preventing trade union interference in any way no matter what the practice or custom of the trade may be once the rules are made. It is from that point of view highly objectionable, and I am sure that Deputy Good himself knows that, although he has not told us the whole story. I oppose this amendment.

I want to be quite frank. I pointed out on the Committee Stage the position of the employer. The Apprenticeship Committee make a certain order, and that Apprenticeship Committee is composed of representatives of the trade and of the employers. If the employer carries out that order, he is positively transgressing some regulation of the trade union. Consequently he may involve himself in a strike.

A most unusual thing!

Which authority is he to follow? This amendment makes clear that any order made by the Apprenticeship Committee shall be mandatory on the employer. It settles who is to be the master, but it does nothing more. A clause of this kind is necessary in order to direct the employer as to what course he is to take.

Again I want to relate this amendment to the Bill. The amendment seeks to effect that where any rules made by an Apprenticeship Committee under this Act are for the time being in force, it shall not be lawful for any person to do any act or thing whereby an employer carrying on in the district of such Committee the designated trade for which such Committee is established is prevented from or obstructed or impeded in complying with such rules. There is a penalty attached for impeding or obstructing. There has to be first of all a designated trade, and there have to be rules made by the Apprenticeship Committee. When these two things are done, if this amendment is carried it will make illegal certain acts that might be done preventing or impeding the employer from doing what is required by the Apprenticeship Committee, and it establishes a penalty. I stress the fact of the designated trade, and I stress the rules to make the amendment more concrete. Let me say what I said on a previous amendment. A trade will not be designated unless the employers and the employees have in the main agreed that the trade should be brought within the scope of the apprenticeship. When that has been done representatives of the employers and employees sit down and make rules. What may they make rules about—Declaring that the employment of certain people in a specified way shall be employment for the purposes of the Act; relating to the period of employment; laying down regulations with regard to the minimum rates of wages; deciding with regard to the maximum number of hours, and they may go on to make rules about educational qualifications; the ages of entry for apprenticeship; the training of apprentices; the burden upon the employer, and the number of apprentices to other people in employment. The Deputy's amendment seeks to impose a penalty on anybody who prevents an employer carrying out his duty under these rules made by a Committee, on which employers and employees will be represented in equal numbers in relation to a trade which has been designated because there is consent both of employers and employees.

Is there anything unreasonable in asking that it should be declared illegal to prevent any employer from carrying out his duties under these rules and put a penalty on anybody who tries to prevent him?

I have long since come to the conclusion that the Minister and his Department are going to make this Act a dead letter. His speech on the discussion of the first amendment made it quite clear that it was the intention not to apply the Act at all except in circumstances never likely to arise. His speech now makes it equally clear that he is anxious to kill this Apprenticeship Act before it gets a chance of coming into operation. He knows that the section which imposes a £20 fine on anybody who goes on strike is not going to apply.

He knows that the opposition which has already come from the employers' side to the designation of a trade will be reinforced by opposition from the workers' side, and it seems to me since this Bill came to the Committee Stage that the Minister's whole purpose has been to kill the Bill, and it would be better if he withdrew it decently.

The Deputy ought to be logical and go further and prove that Deputy Good, who has shown himself more interested in this Bill than anyone else, is also out to kill the Bill.

In the last division the Minister killed his own amendment.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 57.

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll; Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlan, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Gogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Good and Beckett; Níl: Deputies Boland and Cassidy.
Amendment declared carried.
Question:—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Fifth Stage ordered for Friday, 23rd October.