Committee on Finance. - Trade Union Bill, 1941—Committee.

SECTION 1.
Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

This section says that:

"This Act and the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1935, may be cited together as the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1941."

I do not think this Bill is worthy to be classed with what have been called the Trade Union Acts of the past which have been steps of progress for labour, for working organisations, and for peace, harmony and progress in industrial life. We asked, originally, that the consideration of this Bill should be postponed until we had the report of the Commission on Vocational Organisation, and of the evidence given before that commission. On the Second Reading of the Bill we indicated why the members of the Oireachtas and the ordinary people of this country should have expected that nothing in the nature of this Bill would be brought forward until the report of that commission was before them, and more particularly in view of the fact, as has been pointed out, that since the beginning of the emergency nothing has occurred to upset ordinary conditions or the social life of the country in the way of strikes. Quotations, are frequently given from the Encyclical letters of our Holy Father the Pope with regard to labour conditions and labour organisations, and the outlook in regard to them. In the Encyclical,Rerum Novarum, we find this in paragraph 42 under the head of Trade Unions:

"The most important of all are workingmen's unions; for these virtually include all the rest. History attests what excellent results were brought about by the artificers' guilds of olden times. They were the means of affording not only many advantages to the workmen, but in no small degree of promoting the advancement of art, as numerous monuments remain to bear witness. Such unions should be suited to the requirements of tills our age — an age of wider education, of different habits, and of far more numerous requirements in daily life. It is gratifying to know that there are actually in existence not a few associations of this nature, consisting either of workmen alone, or of workmen and employers together; but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient. We have spoken of them more than once; yet it will bewell to explain here how notably they are needed, to show that they exist of their own right, and what should be their organisation and their mode of action."

It is one of the distinguishing features of trade unions, as pointed out there, that they have in no small degree promoted the advancement of art, and on another side have become more numerous as well as more efficient. I say that this Bill is not worthy to be classed with the other Trade Union Acts, because Section 6 of it completely wipes out any of the smaller unions that would naturally be so close knit with regard to the organisation of their personnel that they would give a, contribution to art: that they would be craft unions in the sense that we spoke of craft unions. In paragraph 34 of the same Encyclical we find that:

"When work people have recourse to a strike it is frequently because the hours of labour are too long or the work too hard, or because they consider their wages insufficient."

Because a union is a craft union is no reason why it should be prevented from dealing with some of the things that are most important to it.

On a point of order, I should like to know if the Deputy's speech is in order.

Do I understand that a point of order is being raised?

Yes, as to whether the Deputy's speech is in order. The principles of the Bill may not be re-discussed on this or any other section. A dissertation on Papal Encyclicals and their relationship to this or any other Bill, is not relevant on this section; neither is it relevant to quote a subsequent section, Section 6, as a reason why Section 1 should not pass. It is against all practice to discusss Section 6 before Section 1 has, gone through.

Do I understand that my remarks are more applicable to Section 6 than to Section 1? Is the Chair making the point that on the lines I have pursued, and intend to pursue further, I am not in order on Section 1?

The Chair is definitely of that opinion. The Deputy is discussing the principles of Bill on the Committee Stage, principles which have been approved on Second Reading.

I am then left with the hope that I may be able to raise the question on Section 6.

That hope may be disappointed.

Is the Chair ruling that I am out of order on Section 1?

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 51; Níl, 32.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Gerald.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Childers Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Ennonn.
  • Crowley,Tadhg.
  • Derrig Thomas.
  • De Valera Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn Stephen.
  • Fogarty Patrick J.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Darnel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Buttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Bichard.
  • Cosgrave, Willam T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peader S.
  • Esmonde John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan. John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

On this section, I find myself in difficulties. There are some amendments down here in the names as of members of the Labour Party——

These amendments were tabled to Section 3, not to Section 2.

Section 2 put and agreed to.

Section 3. Is amendment No. 1 being moved?

Not moved.

Section 2 has not been put yet.

Section 2 has been passed.

No positive vote was recorded for Section 2.

I put the section twice; there was no demur.

You reminded Deputy Mulcahy that the amendment referred to Section 3, but we did not hear Section 2 being put.

Section 2 was put to the House and agreed to, but, if Deputies so desire, I shall put the question again.

We desire to have a vote on it.

Question again put: That Section 2 stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided: Tá, 48; Níl, 33.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnehadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderiek, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan Timothy J.
  • O'Hiiggins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Pntrick
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 3.
Amendment No. 1 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 3 stand part of the Bill."

As I say, I find myself rather in a difficulty owing to the fact that some amendments were put down in the names of members of the Labour Party that might have been put down by members of our Party if these amendments were not already in. Now these amendments are not being moved. I take it that the circumstances in which these amendments are not being moved will accentuate the position brought about by the unfortunate way in which the Bill has been conceived and the manner in which it has been presented to the House by the Minister. If the Bill were a serious Bill which was going to be implemented, and which could be expected to do anything Jor workers, or as between workers and employers, I should like to see an amendment in here governing the regulations, so that regulations dealing with important matters would not simply be passed by the Minister and then be left in a position in which they were unchallenged or unchallengeable by the House. It just indicates, however, the spirit in which the Minister prepares his Bill, that, when he takes power to make regulations dealing with the tribunal and the fees to be paid by trade unions for this, that and the other thing, he so drafts his Bill as to exclude both Houses of the Oireachtas from any say by challenge of any kind, in the regulations he proposes to make. It is characteristic of the whole spirit in which the Bill is prepared.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 47; Níl, 33.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Greald.
  • Breathnach Cormac.
  • Briscoe Robert.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Crowley, Eamonn.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lych, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Afred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Esmond, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • McMenamin, Dainel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 4.
Amendment No. 2 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

May I express the very mild protest, that no matter how this conspiracy of silence may have begun, whether out of pique or anything else, in the interests of Government, of Parliament, of the country and of Irish trade unionism, it should not continue? What good, and how much harm, is being done by a Bill, of the gravity of this Bill, being passed, section by section, without the Minister thinking it worth his while to give one word of explanation of the section, without even thinking it worth his while to move the section? I do not care — I have no knowledge of — what the reactions of this Bill may be, but surely it is unfair to expect Parliament to be regarded as a serious and responsible body if it is to pass a Bill that may have very serious reactions, without getting an explanation from the author of the Bill as to the meaning of the different sections which he is moving. It is quite another matter whether amendments are moved or not, but the Dáil and the country are entitled to get a clear, brief statement from the Minister as to the meaning of each section. We have now passed three sections of this Bill, just like three votes of condolence, passed in silence. We are now up against the fourth section, the one that naturally hangs out of the three votes of condolence — the burial expenses of Irish trade unionism. We are asked in this section to vote the money out of public funds for the expenses of working this Bill. Does anybody know, if the Bill is to go through in the present atmosphere of bad feeling, what the expenses may be? Even though we may lightly talk of the burial expenses of Irish trade unionism, it may very well include the burial expenses of Irish trade unionists.

Now, this is a Bill that was introduced originally as a Bill to bring about peace in Irish industry. Let us make all allowances for the Minister and say that he believed that statement when he made it. Let us say that he was misinformed by alleged representatives or spokesmen of the trade union movement. Speaking from an entirely detached position, I have seen, and can see, every trade unionist, and every man associated with trade unionism without being one himself, violently, bitterly and angrily opposed to this Bill.

I have not, outside of that bench opposite, heard any voice raised in favq|ir of the Bill. Now, I do not expect the Minister to do a somersault at this stage, but as one Deputy, with a certain sense of responsibility and a certain respect for this House, and hoping that people outside of it will develop equal respect, I think that this silence on the part of the Minister should, and must, cease, and that some brief explanation must be ghen of sections requiring explanation. On the Money Resolution — there was a certain amount of heat in connection with it — the Minister was pressed to give a brief outline of the possible, probable, or likely expenses. We are now asked lo adopt the machinery, in this section, for issuing those expenses, and I think that some explanation should be given to the House on a section of this kind.

I have been asked to explain Section 4 of this Bill. I have too much respect for this House and too much respect for the intelligence of the members of the House to think that there is any one of them who requires an explanation of Section 4, the meaning of which must be plain to any person who can read. The section states that "the expenses incurred by the Minister in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas." That is just the usual section which one finds in a Bill of this sort.

I do not know BO much as to that, but as a medical man I am anxious 10 find out if the Minister is able to speak.

Could the Minister inform me what it is expected the measure will cost?

That was dealt with on the Money Resolution.

But would the Minister be good enough to mention it again?

As the matter was dealt with on the Money Resolution, Sir, I do not propose to deal with it again.

It may have been dealt with on the Money Resolution but, unfortunately, I was not able to be present at the time and therefore had no opportunity of hearing the in formation, if it was given. I am asking the Minister to be good enough to give the information again.

I dealt with that matter on the discussion on the Money Resolution and I do not propose to reopen it.

I am only asking for information. How much — is it expected that this measure will cost in a year? Surely, as a Deputy, I am entitled to ask for and get that information? Surely I am entitled to get that information on this point? If the Minister will not reply, might I ask you, Sir, if you have found out the amount, to let me know what it is?

I am sorry I cannot give the Deputy the information, as I was not in the Chair at the time.

So there are two of us in the same position. I am asking, and I think I should be told definitely, what the measure is likely to cost in a year.

The motion, I understand, is for a sum not exceeding £1,000.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 32.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Louyhman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McConn, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.

We have finished Part I. I think we might proceed better with the discussion of this Bill if we could get rid of the present atmosphere. I would like to move that the House adjourn for an hour for a meal.

I am afraid I cannot accept that. I cannot agree to it.

The Minister would not disagree?

It is now 6.10 p.m. and we are apparently faced with a night of divisions. I think even such discussion as is likely to take place on this Bill would steer itself back into more reasoned channels if we could have a cessation of work for an hour. I should like to ask if you would accept a motion to adjourn for a meal?

So far as the Chair is concerned, there is no question for such a motion. In the absence of an arrangement with the Whips, I do not think it is practicable.

I do not see any reason for an adjournment. There has been no heat in the discussion on this Bill as far as I am concerned. I do not think I have impeded legitimate discussion in any way, and I do not think there is any necessity for the House to adjourn for an hour in order that other sections of the House may approach the Bill in a better frame of mind. After all, I am not responsible for the fact that members of the House have seen fit to divide on the question a& to whether this Act may be cited as the Trade Union Act, 1941, nor am I responsible for the fact that, with all the problems with which the country has to contend, members have seen fit to challenge a division on the issue that the expression "the Minister" means the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Those are the matters upon which the House has been divided, but the House has not been divided by the Government.

It does not matter whether you pass the Bill or not. Pass a dozen Bills like it, and nobody will take any notice of you or of them. There will be a different kind of division after this, if you are still Minister.

You would not accept a motion to adjourn for a meal?

I think in the absence of agreement——

The Minister does not disagree.

The motion should be carried by agreement if it is to be effective.

The majority of his members are outside the House, not inside it.

They are standing to attention.

And he will not talk inside the House.

I move that we report progress and adjourn for an hour.

I hardly think I can agree to that.

Surely the Minister will let us drink tea?

If the Deputy is anxious to obstruct the Bill, he may move that motion and further obstruct the House.

Deputies cannot now drink tea except with the permission of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

In the absence of agreement it is only waste of time to put the motion.

Have you not power to take a motion, Sir? You are not obliged to get the agreement of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

It is within my competence to take such a motion if the House wishes, but I think in the absence of any well-defined agreement in the House it would be waste of time to put it.

We are wasting the time of the House in any case with this Bill.

I will not press the motion.

SECTION 5.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.
Question put: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill".
The Committee divided: Tá, 49; Níl, 31.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 6.
(3) In this section the expression "excepted body" means any of the following bodies, that is to say:—
(a) a body which consists of persons all of whom are employed by the same employer (not being a local authority) and which carries on negotiations for the fixing of wages or other conditions of employment with that employer only.
Amendment No. 4 not moved.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (3), lines 21 to 24, to delete paragraph (a) and substitute in lieu thereof the following:—

(a) a body which consists of persons who are constantly employed in a particular form of work and are constantly or continuously employed by the same employer (not being a local, authority) and which carries on negotiations for the fixing of wages or other conditions of employment with that employer only and which has been registered on application previously made to the Minister, by the Minister in a Register of excepted bodies.

I have several amendments to this section—amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 8. They are all different approaches to the same thing, in regard to the section. As I understand the section, any group of workmen who may never have met together under the same employer before may come together for the purpose of, say, a particular building scheme. Having been farm labourers before, they may come under the sway of some contractor and they, apparently, may become an excepted body right there and then. I want to put some limitation on them — the phrase I have used may not be appropriate— and the first limitation I seek is that. they shall only be an "excepted body" if they are in the habit, so to speak, of working for the same employer, and if he is in the habit of employing them; in other words, if they are workmen known to a particular employer and he is known to them.

The same idea is embodied in my second amendment, that is, more or less habitual work with the same employer, with the addition of a Parliamentary approach so that the Minister can agree that certain people will be excepted bodies. Under amendment No. 5, a group shall only be an excepted body if, having complied with certain conditions, they are registered as such. For that purpose, the Minister would have to set up a register of excepted bodies and he would have to take control and responsibility for accepting certain bodies as excepted bodies. I grant that, once that happens, the thing is brought inside the scope of the Dáil and comment can be made on it.

The other amendment I have, and I am indifferent as to which of these will be taken as long as there is some restriction put on this rather wide section, is amendment No. 8. What I want to achieve there is that no body shall be regarded as an excepted body except it deals with unorganized workers; that if there is an organised trade union catering either for the people in that locality or for workers of that type in the country generally, then it shall not be possible to have an excepted body of such workmen. The clear purpose of that is that you can only have excepted bodies where there is no real trade union organisation. As I say, I am indifferent as to which of these amendments is put in, but I should like to have some restriction put on that very easy way of being excepted entirely from the provisions.

I have been considering the points raised by these amendments and I am prepared to accept amendment No. 6 in principle. I think that the idea of having a register of these excepted bodies is a very good one and should be a useful safeguard As to the phraseology of amendment No. 5, I have some difficulty in accepting the words "constantly employed" or "continuously employed", but Deputy McGilligan has suggested a word which I think would meet the case. We can use the word "habitually" for both of these conditions. There might also be a question of having some registration fee, but that is a matter that could be dealt with on the Report Stage. I do not know whether it would be safe to delete the word "constantly" in the amendment as it stands and the words "constantly or continuously" and substitute the word "habitually".

Put in "habitually" in both places.

Does the Deputy withdraw the amendment?

I will put forward an amendment with the word "habitually" instead of "constantly" in the first instance and "constantly or continuously" in the second instance.

I will undertake to do that.

Then I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 6 not moved.

In regard to amendment No. 7, I want to give notice that on the Report Stage I will bring in an amendment.

Amendments Nos. 7, 8 and 9 not moved.

I move amendment No. 10:—

In sub-scJtion (3), page 4, to delete in line 29 the word "and", to add at the end of line 31 the word "and", and to add at the end of the sub-section a new paragraph as follows:—

(f) a body in respect of which an order under the next following sub-section of this section is for the time being in force.

This amendment is to give me power to deal with a number of bodies who do, but not as the main part of their business, occasionally have to negotiate about wages and conditions with their employers, namely, professional associations. I would propose in that regard not to grant this exemption to those bodies which do regard the strike weapon as a normal part of their armoury. In the case of bodies such as I have in mind, namely, nursing associations and professional associations, I do not see any reason why we should compel them to pay the deposit provided for in the Bill. Accordingly, I am moving the amendment to give me power to deal with bodies of that sort.

Does that not come into amendment No. 14 too?

Yes, amendments Nos. 10 and 14 go together.

I want to raise a protest as to the spirit in which the Minister is prepared to bring this in. I thought it might refer to the position of smaller unions concerned with crafts, that the Minister might be proposing to deal with them under this, but he tells us now that that is not part of the scheme, that he is simply thinking of professional bodies, such as nurses, who normally would not use the strike weapon. I thought this was a constructive amendment to the measure, but I see it is not.

We also have to deal with the Joint Industrial Councils.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 11, 12 and 13 not moved.
The following amendment was agreed to:—
14. After sub-section (3) page 4, to insert two new sub-sections as follows:—
(4) The Minister may by order declare that this section shall not apply in respect of any particular body of persons.
(5) The Minister may by order revoke any order under the next preceding sub-section of this section.— (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála.)
Amendment No. 15 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

I want to raise on this section a rather fundamental matter which I think properly arises on sub-section (1) of this section, that is to say, the bearing of Article 40 of the Constitution on this section and consequently on the Bill as a whole. Article 40, sub-section (6) of the Constitution provides:

"The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights subject to public order and morality."

One of those rights in sub-paragraph (3) is the right of the citizens to form associations and unions. I should like to know if the Minister and his legal advisers have considered the bearing of these particular provisions of the Constitution on the drastic proposals contained in this Bill and the implications of those proposals. In Section 6 (1) there is a definite prohibition against a body of persons, not being an excepted body, carrying on negotiations for the fixing of wages or conditions of employment unless such body is the holder of a negotiation licence. In other words, there is a very definite statutory prohibition against rhe formation of an association for purposes which have up to this been more or less the prerogative of trade unions. At all events, there is a definite prohibition against a body of citizens forming an association. I should like to hear from the Minister how he proposes to reconcile the provisions of Section 6 (1) with the definite guarantee-of what is called, in Article 40 of the Constitution, the fundamental rights of the citizens. One of the fundamental rights of citizens is to form associations subject to public order and morality.

So far as I know, this Bill is not brought in or justified by reasons referable to public order and morality. Therefore, this section, which requires certain very drastic requirements to be complied with before an association of the kind can be lawful, appears on its face to be in the teeth of the so-called guarantee in Article 40 of the Constitution. I emphasise in this connection the words "so-called guarantee", because it appears to me that this is only another instance of the cumulative effects of the policy of the proposals for legislation that have been introduced and are being introduced by the Government undermining every single fundamental right that was supposed to be guaranteed in this Constitution to the citizens of the State. The right ofhabeas corpus is practically gone. I say quite deliberately, and I will continue to hold the view until the Minister convinces me to the contrary, that the proposals in this Bill are in the teeth of the provisions of Article 40 of the Constitution. I suggest that the Minister or his legal advisers should have recognised that if they had adverted to the provisions of Article 40.

I am convinced that there has been no advertence to the provisions of Article 40 in reference to this Bill. If any such advertence had been made, there would have been some reference in the draft to the provisions of the Article. That attitude is again the attitude of the Government towards the provisions of the Constitution, eating into fundamental rights by ordinary legislation. I take it that an effort will be made, if this matter is considered by the Minister or his legal advisers, to justify this Bill as being a law enacted under Article 40 for the regulation or control in the public interest of the exercise of the right of the citizen to form an association or union. The only possible justification for this Bill must be found in this line —a law for the regulation and control in the public interest of the exercise of the constitutional right of citizens to form an association or union. This is not a law for the exercise of a constitutional right at all and, if this matter had been carefully considered, and an endeavour was being made to justify this Bill as a law under Article 40 regulating or controlling in the public interest the exercise of the foregoing right, some reference would surely have been made to that Article of the Constitution. No such reference has been made.

So far from this Bill and this particular sub-section being a law for the regulation and control in the public interest of the exercise of the constitutional right of citizens to form an association, this particular provision is taking away the rights of citizens. Our citizens are supposed to have rights to form associations. This is a Bill preventing them from having such rights unless two very stringent requirements are complied with. There must be a large number of people in the associations, and the associations must be sufficiently wealthy to be in a position to give the deposits mentioned in the provisions of this Bill.

You cannot have your fundamental right as a citizen — the right the Constitution so grandiloquently stated on paper — unless you are sufficiently wealthy to be able to exercise it. That is what the Bill says in so far as it can be justified at all as a law regulating or controlling in the public interest the exercise of a constitutional right.

What about the rights of the small craft unions which have been in existence for very many years, and which have been exercising a right which would appear to have been reinforced by the provisions of the Constitution? That is being taken away; it is not being regulated or controlled by this Bill. The right of such an association of craft workers, a small number of people engaged in a particular skilled employment, to look after their own interests, is not being regulated or controlled; it is being taken away. A vested right which has been in existence for many years in the case of unions dealing with skilled craftsmen is being taken away. They are being deprived of the vested right they had when the Constitution came into operation, a vested right which would appear, from the grandiloquent language of the Constitution, to have been further assured to these unions. It is now being taken away under the guise of ordinary legislation.

I think a strong case will have to be made here, and probably elsewhere, for this Bill. This particular point has not been adverted to in the discussions that have taken place, on this Bill. I am convinced there has been no advertence to Article 40 in connection with this Bill and, if any advertence is made now, it will be made on the spur of the moment by the Minister and probably by, reference to the three-line clause in Article 40. When proper consideration is given to it, the present attitude will be found to be entirely unjustified, and it will be seen that the provisions of Section 6 (1), taken in conjunction with the provisions of Section 7, are entirely unconstitutional and do not give a fair or ordinary meaning to the Constitution.

If we are to take the constitutional meaning at its face value, this Bill should never have been introduced; but we have long since learned the Government attitude towards constitutional problems and other matters when they are raised. The Constitution is then nothing but a series of coruscating words, a series of words put forward to dazzle the public at elections; but when the Government are asked to give effect to the so-called fundamental rights which are supposed to be guaranteed to the citizens, matters stop short there.Habeas corpus stops short of practical extinction; the position of the judiciary has been altered to a mere recollection of the past, and now the right of forming associations and unions is taken away to such a point that it will crumble and fall at the first shock.

Some time ago the Minister stated that a section was so crystal-clear it was unnecessary to explain it to the House. The Minister cannot make that statement about Section 6. That section seems to me to be the strangest section which I ever read in any statute. It appears to me, under the guise of a Trade Union Bill, to slip in a provision which makes any federation of employers entirely illegal. I will read Section 6:

"It shall not be lawful for any body of persons, not being an excepted body, to carry on negotiations for the fixing of wages or other conditions of employment unless such body is the holder of a negotiation licence"

—and a negotiation licence can only be given to a trade union under Section 7. Now, to have a negotiation for wages, or any other purpose, you must nave two parties to the negotiation; you must have an employer and workmen. Trade unions may negotiate but a federation of employers cannot negotiate. In other words, a formation of employers, in a Bill calling itself a Trade Union Bill, is entirely illegal.

But it goes very much further than that. Suppose there is a limited liability company with a board of directors. They are a body of persons and they cannot carry on negotiations for the fixing of wages or other conditions of employment unless they have a negotiation licence. A board of directors of a limited liability company cannot, as I read this section, carry on negotiations with their own workmen, fixing the rate of wages or the conditions of employment.

The Minister may have some explanation or I may be very dull. There may be something standing out somewhere but, as I read the Bill, it seems to me to be hardly the product of a sane mind. I go that far. A board of directors of a limited liability company are employers of labour, but a board of directors of a railway company cannot carry on negotiations with their servants about the fixing of fair wages or hours of employment. Surely a Bill that contains a provision of that nature is hardly the product of a sane mind. Although the Minister may have some explanation, there is nothing that I can find in the Bill which takes away from the plain effect of the section, that no body can negotiate except with a negotiation licence. A negotiation licence cannot be given to a board of directors of a company or to a federation of employers except in the case of a single employer who could not be called a "body of persons". A single employer can negotiate with his workmen but a board of directors or a federation of employers cannot.

I question if the last contention of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney is correct, when he said that a single individual might negotiate. I do not think there is anything in Section 6 to that effect. It says that employees may negotiate but there is nothing about employers.

The section says:

"It shall not be lawful for any body of persons...."

A single person is not a body of persons.

A single person does not become "an excepted body." The section makes provision for employees but does not contain any provision whereby employers could negotiate. Employers should receive the same treatment.

On the Second Reading I drew the Minister's attention to the position of organisations like the Federation of Irish Farmers, which is registered under the Trade Union Acts. I asked if that organisation would be affected by the Bill and the Minister stated definitely that it would not. It seems to me that that promise is not borne out by the wording of the section, Wad I would need some greater assurance than the Minister's promise that the section will not affect farmers' organisations. Any body of persons cannot carry on negotiations with regard to wages and conditions of employment. It might be necessary for organisations of farmers to discuss with labour organisations or with representatives of agricultural workers the question of wages and conditions of employment and to negotiate settlements. If this section is passed in its present form farmers' organisations would be debarred from doing so and would be heavily penalised. Conditions of employment is a wide term. Conditions of employment might mean conditions under which farmers or their dependants are employed and might cover the prices of farm produce For example, the beet growers had frequent negotiations with the Irish Sugar Company concerning the pi ice of beet. If the price were adequate that would affect the conditions of employment of persons engaged in the industry. In addition, there was in the beet industry a general strike against growing beet at an uneconomic price. Under this section the Beet Growers' Association or similar organisations would be penalised. The statement made by the Minister on the Second Reading does not safeguard farmers' organisations.

Deputy Costello suggested that the constitutional point had not been adverted to when the Bill was drafted. It was adverted to and we have been advised there is nothing in the Bill repugnant to the Constitution — which would be so held by the courts.

Why did the Minister make that change?

Because neither the Deputy nor I have the final determination of that matter. It does not lie with the Deputy or myself, and accordingly I am not purporting to do what the Deputy did when he spoke on behalf of a superior tribunal. As to the point made by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney concerning a group of employers negotiating, under the Bill a group of employers would not be entitled to enter into negotiations for fixing wages or settling conditions of employment unless they had a negotiation licence. That is the general intention.

But they have not got that.

They can get one by applying. Of course they can register, as many of them do.

How about the directors of a limited liability company?

I will look into that matter. I am advised where a company is the employer that in that case a single person who is a direct agent acting on behalf of the company would be competent to enter into negotiation. The Deputy has raised a point, however, which I will investigate. There was no substance in the point the Deputy made in relation to railway companies. They conduct their negotiations through conciliation boards, and one of the purposes of the House in accepting amendment No. 10 was to allow me to make joint industrial councils and conciliation boards excepted bodies for the purposes of the Act. I cannot understand the point made by Deputy Cogan. As a rule agricultural wages are settled between representatives of groups of persons and are fixed by the Agricultural Wages Board. The Agricultural Wages Board is definitely excepted from the provisions of Section 6 (1). I cannot understand the laborious process by which the Deputy tried to drag farmers' organisations, whose main purpose is the fixing of prices, inside the scope of this Bill. If the beet growers meet to fix prices of beet with the Sugar Company they are not going to settle the wages of workmen. Undoubtedly the price at which they sell their beet will have reactions on the wages of the workmen, and I am sure that will be taken into consideration by the Agricultural Wages Board when making its determination. I cannot see how the farmers' organisations, of which the Deputy spoke, come inside this Bill.

That was an assurance which I gave him on the Second Stage, and which still holds good. If, on the other hand, they want to constitute themselves as an employers' organisation for the purpose of negotiating wages and conditions of employment, then they will be in exactly the same position as every other association or federation of employers under this measure. They will have to register as a trade union. Some of those farmers have, in fact, registered as a trade union. Not only will they have to register as a trade union, but they will have to take the further step of making a deposit and of complying with the general provisions of the Bill in regard to the lodgment of rules, the furnishing of the names and addresses of the committee of management, etc.

Can a single employer get a negotiating licence?

I would say not, because I do not see how a single employer could register himself as a trade union.

Can a single employer carry on negotiations with regard to wages and conditions?

Yes, with his own workmen.

Where is that?

It is provided in sub-section (1) that

"It shall not be lawful for any body of persons, not being an excepted body,..."

A single employer, I suppose, could not be described as a body of persons.

So that an individual employer can carry on negotiations under that for the fixing of wages?

And the person so carrying on is not, then, of course, a conspirator, and could not be?

He could not be.

So that every individual employer will be completely free from trade unionism hereafter? Is not that so?

To the extent that every single employer under the present law is.

A single employer, so long as he does not associate with other employers, is completely free?

He is in no worse or better position than he is in at the moment.

He does not need a negotiating licence, and he does not need to become associated with other employers.

I do not know whether the Minister understood correctly the point I raised about a board of directors. I do not think the Minister has considered the effect of sub-section (2). If a board of directors agree to negotiate with employees and appoint, as he says, one man to do it, then according to sub-section (2), "such of the officers of such body as consent to or facilitate such act shall each be guilty of an offence under this section" and shall be liable to a fine of £10. My reading of that is, that the body, even though they act only through one particular director, is still a body acting and, consequently, the members of the board of directors would each be liable to a fine of £l0 for daring to negotiate with their own workmen as to wages and conditions of employment.

I do not think there is much in that point, but I shall look into it to see if we can adequately safeguard the position so as to ensure that the position the Deputy fears will not arise.

On the constitutional point that has been raised it is, I think, common case here, to quote the words of the Constitution, that the right of association is one that is guaranteed under the Constitution. It is also common case that that right is subject to the impact of the type of law that is passed here. As stated in the Constitution, the laws that may be passed are, more or less, for the common good as well as to regulate and control the right of association. Does not the Minister know that there is a definite exception to only one of the fundamental rights that is guarded by association, the exception being that the law to regulate and control the exercise of this right shall not be subject to any religious, political or class discrimination? We have here a measure that is definitely going to discriminate on this basis: can you put up £2,000 or not? Is that in accordance with the Constitution?

There are so many natural rights under the Constitution which can only be exercised when one has deposited a certain sum of money that I do not think the Deputy's point holds.

In regard to how many rights in the Constitution have you this prohibition — that there is to be a discrimination on the ground of class? This right of association is guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution forbids the passing of legislation which would have the effect of regulating or controlling it on the ground of class. Now we have this measure which regulates it on the basis of a deposit of £2,000. Is that clearly inside the spirit of the Constitution?

That is not class.

It is inside the spirit of the Constitution?

An argument has been advanced from these benches by Deputy Costello and repeated, to some extent, by Deputy McGilligan, and the only answer the Minister gives is that he consulted somebody or other. He did not attempt to deal with the argument. I confess that, in many respects, my sympathies are with the Minister. In his words, at all events, Deputy Costello showed some respect for the Constitution. The Minister, by his words, in replying to Deputy McGilligan, did not, and I think the Minister is right, because practically all the fundamental rights which we were told by the statesman who introduced the Constitution were to be interpreted by the ordinary man in the ordinary way, and not by pettifogging lawyers, have gone. This right of combination that was guaranteed by the Constitution now goes. Our experience is that practically every other fundamental right in that Constitution has now gone. There is some slight guarantee, I think, with regard to religion, but it is very slight, and is not by any means as broad as some people think. The right with regard to class distinctions is now wiped away. The only thing guaranteed by the Constitution that is left at the present moment is the number of members that there shall be in the Seanad. One after another all the fundamental principles have been wiped away. In fact, to incorporate rights in the Constitution has become as dangerous to these rights as, say, the forming of a treaty of friendship is in international politics. The Minister has clearly expressed by his words, by his actions and by his smile his supreme contempt for that instrument. Really I have a certain amount of sympathy with the line he has taken up in this particular matter.

The Minister said, in reply to a suggestion I made, that when this Bill was being drafted there was no real advertence to the provisions of the Constitution. He said that the points I made were adverted to, and left the matter at that. It would appear to me to be quite obvious that, although he was suggesting to the House that there was advertence by somebody to Article 40 of the Constitution, that he himself never adverted to it. If I am to judge by the manner in which the Minister treated the point which I put up to him — I did so in all seriousness — he has not the remotest idea about the serious position that is going to be created by the provisions of this Bill in its impact on the Constitution. I think I stated that the whole tendency of legislation here since the Constitution came into force was towards the undermining of these so-called fundamental rights.

One may almost say that the rags and tatters of these rights are scarcely left. I do say that the point I put up was, at least, deserving of being treated with some degree of seriousness, because it is one which is going to affect, very seriously, the type of legislation that may follow in reference to this particular right. It was argued by counsel appearing for the present Government in certain constitutional matters that the courts had to take cognisance of the fact, when the Legislature passed a particular law, that it considered whether or not it was contrary to the Constitution — that the mere fact that the Legislature had passed that law was something of which the courts ought to take cognisance. If we pass this law without adverting to the Constitution, that principle may, possibly, be extended. There is no reason why, if this is not contrary to Article 40 of the Constitution, the right to strike might not also he taken away under the Constitution. If this section, regulating the method by which associations may be formed, is constitutional, then a law dealing with the right to strike or to picket, or any other right in connection with matters that fall within the scope of trade unions in their efforts for the betterment of wages and conditions, may also be constitutional. If this Bill is constitutional, a Bill to take away the right to picket or to strike would be equally constitutional. That is a matter of very considerable importance, and it should not be thrust lightly aside by the Minister.

The single net point which Deputy Costello made several times in connection with this section was that Section 6 of Article 40 of the Constitution had not been adverted to. I am now looking at a document — I hope he will take my word for it— dated 19th November, 1940, in which that matter was specifically referred for legal opinion and advice.

That is no answer to the argument which has been adduced. The Minister has not met the argument. He has simply stated that he got the opinion of somebody. The suggestion is that the House should not consider the matter at all.

I have not made that suggestion.

I did not say that the Minister had made the suggestion in words but he has done so by his conduct. Deputy Costello quoted the relevant Articles of the Constitution, and put forward reasons to show why this section was opposed to the Constitution. The Minister has not met a single argument put forward by Deputy Costello. He has simply stated that he has the opinion of somebody on the subject. It is not those people who are passing the law; it is the House which is supposed to be debating this Bill. We have already had a number of examples of how the House is being helped to debate the Bill, which involves many fundamental issues. I admit that the Minister is consistent in refusing to touch on the arguments raised.

I accept the Minister's statement that advertence was had to this point, but I want to know whether it was properly and adequately adverted to. I have said before here that there is no use in flinging the magic phrase "legal opinion" at Deputies. A legal opinion is worth only the grounds or reasons given for it. If these are not proper grounds, then the opinion is of no use. There is no substance in the phrase "legal opinion". I do not know whose opinion was obtained and I am not particularly interested to know that. I assume that the opinion was that there was nothing unconstitutional in this Bill. Assuming that that was so, I want to have the grounds for that opinion. I am not in the least interested in the statement that an opinion was given. I want to test that opinion, now that we have a chance of testing it. An opinion is not worth the paper it is written on unless the grounds on which it is given are good grounds. The House is entitled to knew these grounds.

What is the cause of the Minister's shyness? If he has an opinion and reasons are put forward for that opinion, the Minister is capable of mastering those reasons and reproducing them in the House, either in his own words or in the words of the opinion which has been given to him. Why his shyness? The Minister is not, normally, a remarkably shy man. One would have thought that the Minister was not altogether wanting in self-confidence. Why is the Minister overwhelmed with a fit of shyness on this occasion? Why will he not give to the House the arguments advanced, if arguments were advanced and if it were not a mere negative opinion larking argumentative form?

Under Section 6, as drafted, could two employers become an excepted body?

I do not think so.

Is not that class discrimination? Two employees can become an excepted body but two employers cannot.

I doubt whether two employers could become an excepted body for the purpose of negotiating jointly with their employees.

There is something in this Bill which allows a facility to two employees which it does not allow to two employers. Is not that class discrimination?

I do not think so.

As regards the use of this word "employment", a person could be employed, though not working for an employer. A farmer producing beet is employed in the production of beet. If an organisation on his behalf carried on negotiations in regard to price, that organisation is carrying on negotiations in regard to the conditions of employment of people engaged in the production of beet. If there were a strike of agricultural producers, it could be held that that was a strike in connection with conditions of employment and the organisation could be penalised under this section.

It is quite plain that there is not much use in discussing anything with the Minister.

Question put:
That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 33.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Keuy, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fitegerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Thomay F.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Little and Kennedy; Níl, Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 7.
(1) No body of persons shall be granted or hold a negotiation licence unless it is a body (in this Act referred to as an authorised trade union) which fulfils the following conditions, that is to say:—
(a) that either it is registered under the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1935, or, if not so registered, it is a trade union under the law of another country and its headquarters control is situated in that country, and
(b) that it has deposited and, subject to the provisions of this Act, keeps deposited with the accountant of the courts of justice the appropriate sum.
(2) In this section the expression "the appropriate sum" means the sum appropriate to the number of members of the relevant body in accordance with the Schedule to this Act.

I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (1), to delete paragraph (b), lines 42 to 44.

The clause which the amendment aims at deleting deals with one of the conditions that must obtain before a body of persons shall be granted a negotiation licence, namely that it has deposited and, subject to the provisions of this Bill, keeps deposited, with the accountant of the courts of justice the appropriate sum, the appropriate sum being not less than £2,000. We have not been able up to the present to get any clear idea of what is intended by this Bill. We have got no idea as to how small craft unions are going to stand: we have got no idea as to the particular classes that will be regarded as separate classes for the purpose of a trade union and, generally, we have got no idea of the principles that are working in the Minister's mind. Even if this Bill were a serious Bill, intended to achieve serious piece of organisation, it does not seem at the present time, and until the preliminary movements in that organisation had taken place, that it is desirable to impose any property qualifications on any trade union.

The one point I wish to make is that it is an extraordinarily inappropriate time that the Minister selects to require a property qualification for a group of workers who want to act as a negotiating body for themselves and for their class. I think the last figures that have been published for registered unemployment in the country show that the number of persons unemployed at present is within 3,000 of the total number of persons unemployed a year ago. My recollection is that the relative figures are 60,000 and 63,000.

In spite of the thousands of men who have gone into the Army and who have gone out of the country, the unemployment position here at present is such that the number of registered unemployed is within 3,000 of what it was 12 months ago, before the big Army recruiting drive started and before the large body of men who left the country within the past 12 months had gone away. It is that very inappropriate time that the Minister selects to say that organised workers shall be required to have a property qualification, to have not less than £2,000 before the State will recognise them as people capable of looking after the interests of their class in respect of wages, conditions of employment and so on. If the Bill were a serious Bill, designed to do something for the workers, there is no necessity for this qualification. As a matter of fact, it would be most undesirable to have it because, before the ground could be reviewed, before it could be established that some of these smaller bodies were not absolutely necessary or desirable as negotiating bodies, they would be forced out of their positions as negotiating bodies since they had not this money to put up.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present: House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

The discussion of Section 6 disclosed that the proposals generally with regard to negotiating bodies and the limitations on them are somewhat unconstitutional. It also disclosed the ramshackle way in which the provisions of the Bill are put together, but I want to add, in relation to what is proposed in Section 7, that it is contrary to the great Christian aspect of the Constitution which is so often spoken of and to the spirit which is supposed to have been enshrined in it. On Section 1, I quoted an extract fromRerum Novarum, and I now want to quote from Quadragesimo Anno. In paragraphs 79 and 80 of that Encyclical we find these words:

"It is indeed true, as history clearly proves, that owing to changed circumstances much that was formerly done by small groups can nowadays only be done by large associations. None the less, just as it is wrong to withdraw from the individual and commit to a group what private enterprise and industry can accomplish, so too it is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, for a larger and higher association to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower societies. This is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, unshaken and unchangeable. Of its very nature the true aim of all social acthity should be to help members of the social body but never to destroy or absorb them.

"The State, therefore, should leave to smaller groups the settlement of business of minor importance, which otherwise would greatly distract it; it will thus carry out with greater freedom, power and success the tasks belonging to it alone, because it alone can effectively accomplish these: directing, watching, stimulating, restraining, as circumstances suggest and necessity demands. Let those in power, therefore, be convinced that the more faithfully this principle of suhsidiary function be followed, and a graded hierarchical order exists between various associations, the greater will be both social authority and social efficiency, and the happier and more prosperous the condition of the commonwealth.

This proposal to make bodies of workers deposit £2,000 before they can enter into any negotiations in respect of wages and conditions of service of their workers cuts entirely across die principle enshrined in that paragraph, which emphasises that the principle is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, unshaken and unchangeable.

I should like to hear from the Minister what is proposed with regard to these smaller craft societies, those societies which can be regarded as being referred to in the paragraph which I quoted fromRerum Novarum, that they were the means of affording not only many advantages to the workman, but, in no small degree, of promoting the advancement of art as numerous monuments remain to bear witness. The Minister is interested in technical efficiency, industrial efficiency and craftsmanship, and if we are going to succeed in the modern world in keeping our industries in the position both of serving the country and of facing up to competition, we must have a spirit of craftsmanship in our people. Where is that to come from except from those who are associated in craft unions, and what is going to become of our craft unions, the personal sense of craftsmanship which you can find only in these unions and the development of their craft technique which can only come from inside these unions, if they sue to be denied the right to act as spokesmen for their members in respect of conditions and other matters which are of such importance to them? Anything we can read into this Bill shows that they are either going to be wiped out of existence or smothered by the larger unions. The paragraph of the Encyclical which I quoted says:—

"Just as it is wrong to withdraw from the individual and commit to group what private enterprise and industry can accomplish, so, too, it is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order for a larger and higher association to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower societies."

So far as we can find out, we have not demands by some of the larger trade unions that they should be allowed to arrogate to themselves the functions of the craft unions, but we have the State forcibly driving the craft unions out of existence or into the larger unions, where that individualism, so essential for industrial efficiency and for the keeping up of a high standard of craftsmanship, is likely to be smothered. The Minister has not given us any answer to that.

Again, in paragraph 87 of the same Encyclical, we have these words:—

"Just as the citizens of the same township are wont to form associations with very diverse aims, which each citizen is perfectly free to join or not, similarly, those who are engaged in the same trade or profession will form equally voluntary associations among themselves, for purposes connected in some way with their occupation. Our Predecessor of illustrious memory has explained clearly and lucidly the nature of these voluntary associations. We are content, therefore, to emphasise this one point: not only is man free to institute these unions which are of a private character, but he has `the further right to adopt such rules and regulations as may best conduce to the attainment of the end in view'. The same liberty must be asserted for the founding of associations which extend beyond the limits of a single trade or profession. Let those voluntary associations which already nourish and produce salutary fruits make it the goal of their endeavours, in accordance with Christian social doctrine, to prepare the way and to do their best towards the realisation of those higher corporations or vocational groups which We have mentioned above."

We have a Vocational Commission sitting at the present time. They have been sitting for a very long period, and I think that for some time past they have finished the taking of evidence. and we are waiting for their report.

The Deputy purposes to be speaking on amendment No. 16.

I am speaking to amendment No. 16 which, under the terms of Section 7, would put completely out of existence the smaller trade union organisations which have been built up around a particular craft and which would be wiped out of existence. I do not know by what kind of a scheme, but by some kind of a manipulation that could be brought about inside of six months after the passing of this Bill, and, apart from the desirability of seeing that there was a proper examination of the situation in order to harmonise these bodies in the best possible way with one another and to get the kind of structural organisation that is referred to here, actually an inquiry has been going on to see what kind of dovetailing of these organisations had best be brought about in order to serve the State socially, industrially and in every other way. I am making the point that by the passing of this business now, not only are we flying against the spirit of the Constitution, not only are we flying into the imbecilities of which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney speaks, but we are flying, in a hurried way and without satisfactory examination, directly contrary to the principles that have been expounded in the Encyclicals that we hear talked about so much.

I think that, before passing this provision requiring associations to make a deposit of £2,000 before being heard and before being allowed to continue as persons with any power or responsibility to negotiate conditions of employment, we should have some idea. either from some kind of an exposition from the Minister or through getting the report or some information from the commission that has already been dealing with this matter, as to what exactly is going to be done with regard to these smaller unions. This says: "Wipe them out" because the smaller unions have not the £2,000 to be put in. So that in this section we are moving against our own Constitution and we are moving against the whole spirit of Catholic thought as enshrined in the various Encyclicals, that have been issued over a number of years by the Holy See, dealing with the organisation of working-men's societies, and I do riot think we should do that. I think, therefore, that if this Bill is to be proceeded with, that qualification should come out, so that such societies as exist here can continue to exist while the manipulation of this Bill is going ahead, and that they will not be turned down as useful societies in the country simply because they have not got £2,000.

Does the Deputy press the amendment?

Certainly, Sir. Has the Minister anything to say as to why I should not press it?

I said it all on the Second Reading.

Does the Minister say that he dealt with this matter on the Second Reading?

Certainly.

Will he say what is to become of these smaller societies?

Would the Deputy be good enough to tell me the names of some of these craft unions about which he has been so eloquent?

In the framing of this Bill, has the Minister given any consideration to these smaller craft unions, or has he considered the terms of this amendment?

Will the Deputy be good enough to mention the names of some of them?

If the Minister now pretends not to be aware of the existence of these smaller unions, probably a little reminder will recall their existence to his memory, because lie spoke of them on the Second Reading. Speaking on the Second Reading the Minister said: "It has been said that it may affect small unions, craftunions and trades councils. Of course it will affect them. It will affect all of them in some measure." That is what the Minister said then. Does he say now that he is not aware of the existence of these craft unions?

No, but I want to test Deputy Mulcahy's knowledge of them.

The Minister at that time said that the Bill will affect all of them in some measure, and Deputy Morrissey intervened to say: "It will wipe them out." The Minister then went on to say:—

"Those which are not fit to survive as independent entities will either have to go completely out of existence or will have to unite, in some way or other, with other trade unions or with other labour organisations."

Very good. Yet, having said that, the Minister is now affecting not to know that there were craft organisations in this country.

I did not say that. I wanted to see if Deputy Mulcahy could name the craft organisations about which he was so eloquent.

Well, the Minister has not shown himself to be sufficiently acquainted with the matters affected by this Bill to set himself up as an examiner of any Deputy in that regard. It is notorious that there are and have been for a very, very long time past, craft unions in this country, and it is equally notorious that the imposition of this deposit of £2,000 will seriously affect them, if not wipe them out of existence. During his speech on the Second Reading the Minister went on to say that it was well known that there were rivalries and jealousies between these small unions and large unions and that that had been the cause of a great deal of the industrial unrest and the unnecessary industrial strife in this country. I had challenged the Minister on that earlier in the debate and had asked him if he would get the statistics, published by his Department from time to time, as to the number of working hours and the amount of money lost to trade and industry as a result of strikes over a number of years, and endeavour to make some estimate of what the rivalry of small trade unions caused in that way.

We waited for an answer to that, but we did not get an answer. All we got was to the effect that it was well known that it was the rivalry of small trade unions that had been the cause of a great deal of the industrial unrest and unnecessary industrial strife in this country. Now, I am not aware that that is the fact. I know that people, who are more intimate with trade union conditions than I can pretend to be, have denied that, and denied it very vehemently.

The contrary is the case.

Yes, but the Minister knows that if he had two points of view before him, he is going to accomplish one of them here. He had a point of view with regard to overlapping activities and a point of view about the two great strengths of trade unions, as far as their numbers were concerned. As far as overlapping is concerned, there are later sections of the Bill dealing with that, and there would be no requirements with regard to a deposit if all that was thought necessary in the interests of peace was to see that there would not be overlapping. However, the Minister achieves a lessened number of trade unions hereafter and, up to date, has not made any real argument to prove that that is necessary in the interests of peace. He has made a case which is false or which, I think, at least, he must know to be false, and that is that it is the rivalry and jealousies of the smaller and older trade unions that have caused industrial unrest and unnecessary industrial strife. That habeen denied here in the House and it has been denied outside the House by people who must be presumed to be competent to deal with the matter and to be conversant with conditions. If the Minister denies that he has made a false representation to the House, what is the purpose then? Of course some people in the country can see some good in the measure from the machinery point of view, but the modern tendency is rather to shrink back in horror from the great machine or the great organisation. At one time there was a tendency towards the conception of the great, monster corporation, the monster union, the monster State, and so on, but people are rather in retreat from that conception now and are getting back to the dissipation of the great forces and great organisations towards the smaller groups, as being more definitely and closely related to the interests of the people they serve, the general idea being that the smaller groups can be expected to have more responsibility and to cause less unrest or strife in anything that they may be governing or connected with.

I suggest that this is an unwise provision. It is the kernel of the Bill so far as the reduction in the numerical strength of trade unions in the country is concerned. I have seen no real reason advanced for it. The Minister did not refer to this point in his opening statement, and I have read what he said in his closing remarks, and, except for what I have quoted, that matter was not dealt with, and my suggestion is that the phrase the Minister used there makes the false case. This is the kernel of the Bill, and why should it be insisted upon? If the Minister has no case, that he can substantiate with figures, that the strength of these smaller unions has contributed to any extent to industrial unrest, then he has no case for insisting on this deposit. If the effect is that the small union, as a separate entity, will disappear, and if it is going to preserve its existence in some sort of hidden or secret way by joining up with a larger body, then the Minister will have to contemplate that, with the greater body, the people who were formerly members of two separate craft unions will find themselves involved. What was the larger body going to do in these circumstances? Does the Minister think he is going to get rid of unrest by simply driving back behind the scenes of the trade union movement the rivalries and the jealousies that he talks of? Does he think that a small union is going to get its interests properly served by being submerged in the bigger union? If he does not, is he not cutting at the roots of the trade union movement? Is not the principle of the trade union movement being broken when people are asked to cohere when they have strength in their movement? The Minister is going to weaken their effort. He is going to take away from the possible effect of any sort of cohesion for that purpose, and going to make the trade union system languish. Under this Bill a whole lot of people of diverse interests will be put in the control of folk who have not their association for the particular type of work and who, therefore, cannot be expected to carry out negotiations with anything like the same intelligence, the same point or the same strength as these smaller unions had themselves. Incidentally, if a bigger trade union, enclosing some of the smaller people in its ranks, is going to take up every quarrel which the smaller unions would have previously taken up, it only means that disputes that were localised are going to be conducted by the big union, and you are going to have instead of localisation, a spread of the trouble.

I suggest to the Minister the whole thing is not merely contrary to the current of modern thought, not merely contrary to the quotations Deputy Mulcahy has given from the documents that he has relied upon, but is contrary to the view of most people who have at all studied the conditions in industrial life in the big countries. The movement in other countries which have suffered even much more severely from trade union strife than we have is definitely in the other direction, trying to net away from monster unions, trying to have people grouped in such small associations that any dispute is brought home intimately to them. In addition, their resources not being so big, the likelihood of their indulging in the last resource — it is the last resource of the trade union movement— the strike weapon, will be minimised. The Minister is doing a thing which I think in his own time he will live to regret. Apart from any external causes there may be in regard to the way in which the measure is being proceeded with, he will live to regret the principle he is standing for in insisting upon this particular deposit.

I have been challenged consistently throughout this debate to adduce evidence of the need for the proposals which are in this Bill. It has been suggested to me that I cannot produce any evidence that the smaller unions have been the cause of a great deal of the industrial difficulties with which we have been confronted, and I have said that one of the things which I hope to do by this Bill, and perhaps particularly by the section which we are now discussing, is to compel an amalgamation of the smaller unions. I have asked Deputy Mulcahy, who has been talking about the craft unions, to mention some of those which he thinks would be compelled to amalgamate under this Bill. He has not been able to do it. I do not think the Deputy knows what he is talking about. I do not think the Deputy knows what he is talking about when he attempts to deny the fact that it is commonly held by, I think, the majority of trade unions that a great deal of trouble in the trade union movement and a great deal of the industrial strife in this country arises from the jealousies which do exist between certain labour organisations, among whom I would put as the principal offenders in that regard these smaller unions.

Using the Minister's own tactics, may I ask him to give an example?

I am not making that statement without having a great deal of support for it inside the trade union movement itself. I have here a ropy of a memorandum — and, Sir, I propose to table the whole of this document — which was presented to the Commission of Inquiry into the Irish Trade Union Movement on, I think, the 25th April, 1936. I do not propose to read the whole of the document but, as I have said, I will table the document and any member who wishes to learn more about this business of trade union organisation and trade union rivalry and to appreciate the problem which the Government is endeavouring to tackle — the trade union movement itself having signally failed to do anything about it — can read it at his leisure. In the course of the memorandum it is stated:—

"At the outset it must be realised that the complete implementation of item (1) of the Terms of Reference means largely recasting the whole trade union movement. That some recasting is desirable cannot be doubted. A more modern and more compact trade union movement is necessary all will agree. To attain that necessary and desirable end there is a large number of technical difficulties to be surmounted, which could be done with time and good will. Preliminary inquiries, however, point almost unerringly to the fact that amongst the trade unions, whose overlapping makes them ripe for amalgamation or association, there yet appears to exist a great diffidence to merging into more comprehensive industrial organisations....

Craft differences.— Craft or trade union pride and rivalries tend to keep alive animosities, which militate against comradeship and association.

"Furthermore, it must be remembered that the internecine quarrelling of the trade unions weakens them, not alone physically but it also vitiates them morally. This great evil can never be eradicated while the organic existence of the trade unions is confined to and dictated by the accidental divisions of trade, commerce or occupation. Neither can legislative interference to end those inter-union differences be ignored."

Legislation of this sort in fact was quite clearly forecast by the trade union movement itself in the year 1936 when it, having been given a chance to put its house in order, realised that public opinion in tins country was not going to stand for the continuance of the present abuses.

"The position of the organised trade union movement, as represented by the Irish Trade Union Congress, cannot be considered satisfactory, either from the point of view of the numbers organised or the manner in which the whole trade union movement is split up into some very small and often opposing unions.

This memorandum goes on to say:—

"Co-existent with the unions affiliated to Congress there is also a large number of local unions affiliated to the several trades' or workers' councils, and which, as trade union units, are unknown officially to Congress. The condition of affairs disclosed indicates a great necessity for clarification, if order is to be brought out of the existing chaos.

The commission kept strictly to their terms of reference, and considered a suggestion for amalgamating or merging the various unions within fairly clearly defined industrial demarcations.

This suggestion contemplates the re-casting of the whole trade union movement into the following ten industrial union groupings, which it is claimed can adequately accommodate and cater for the industrial workers of the country."

Then they recite those groups.

Will the Minister recite the groups for us?

Certainly. They are: (1) building and furnishing; (2) engineering. shipbuilding and vehicle building; (3) seamen and dockers; (4) rail and road transport; (5) printing; (6) bakery; (7) distributive, clerical and supervisory; (8) teachers; (9) Civil service; and (10) general workers. I am not advocating that classification. I am not interfering with the rights of the unions to make their own associations and to frame their own relations with each other inside the movement. I am merely, by means of the section which we are now discussing, compelling the trade union movement as a whole and in all its details to consider this question of amalgamation, and to consider it seriously, and to act upon it. The memorandum from which I am reading goes on to say:—

"Again, there is the question of the fairly large number of workers who are in small local unions affiliated to trades' or workers' councils. Many of such unions are entirely too small and financially weak to affiliate with Congress. Such unions cannot be left out in any reorganisation which may take place. They must be absorbed in the general reorganisation in their appropriate industrial setting.

In interpreting the terms of reference on the above lines the commission were fully cognisant...."

Perhaps this paragraph which I am now reading explains a great deal of the agitation which has been worked up in the City of Dublin in the last three or four weeks; I should like the House to hear it and consider it, and I should like the people outside this House and the workers of this city to consider it also. This paragraph goes on:—

"In interpreting the terms of reference on the above lines the commission were fully cognisant of all the great difficulties inherent in the proposals, not the least of which difficulties to be encountered will be the fitting into compatible office the various officials who will have to be moved about on the reorganisation."

The memorandum goes on to say:—

"The elimination of inter-union disputes, if nothing else were secured, will bring relief to all concerned. Such disputes do a tremendous disservice to trade unionism and militate against that progress which should now be manifesting itself in the movement."

I say that in that memorandum there is evidence, there is ample support and ample justification for the proposal contained in Section 7 of this Bill. But it is not only in that memorandum that we will find that support and justification.

Before the Minister leaves the memorandum, is that a report of the commission or is it a memorandum submitted to the commission?

This is a memorandum which, I understand, was endorsed by no less than five of the members of the commission of inquiry.

What were the members' names?

I am not giving them. The Deputy will get them in the Report.

It was not endorsed by a majority of the commission?

Not by a majority of the commission. I think the Deputy took care to see that there was not a majority. The Deputy was a member of that commission.

Is it a minority report of the commission or a memorandum submitted to it?

It is a memorandum which received the greatest body of support inside the commission.

And it was rejected by Congress subsequently.

But it had received the greatest body of support.

You know nothing about the thing at all.

I think that that memorandum supports the proposals contained in this section, and I now go on to read from another memorandum:

"The following memorandum (III) has been approved by one member of the commission:

"While I ardently support the principle of trade union amalgamation and recognise its efficacy as a weapon of protection to the organised workers, I regret I am unable to subscribe to the recommendations contained in Memorandum 1 on the subject of industrial grouping. I would welcome a reorganisation of the unions as they exist to-day. I would welcome a reorganisation of the unions with a view to avoiding the wasteful overlapping and baneful jealousy and rivalry which exists to-day.... I would prefer to see the question approached from the standpoint of examining the possibility of effecting grouping of unions in industries where, owing to the multiplicity of unions and the consequent weakness of organisation due to inter-union strife, the advantages of amalgamation are clearly demonstrable and the necessity for it more readily appreciated."

Whatever else may be said about Section 7, it does undoubtedly compel every one of those unions to whom the author of Memorandum III referred to give their most careful consideration now to the question of amalgamating inside the trade union movement.

This is tyrannising them, not amalgamating them.

I am not tyrannising them, but I am compelling them to do what the author of Memorandum III stated he would welcome.

I wrote that memorandum, and I know more about it than the Minister knows.

Of course the Deputy knows a great deal about it, but I am wondering why the Deputy — who would have welcomed a reorganisation of the trade union movement in 1936, who is on record as saying that he, would welcome a reorganisation of the unions as they exist to-day, who stated that he would welcome a reorganisation of the unions with a view to avoiding the wasteful overlapping and baneful jealousy and rivalry which exists to-day——

This is not reorganisation; it is strangulation — and the Minister knows it well — to be done in the interests of the "boss" class in the country.

——has put himself at the head of the Moscow Fifth Column in this country.

On a point of order——

That remark should be withdrawn, as it has implications which should not be made.

In view of the opinion expressed by the Chair I am withdrawing the remark.

That is just like the contemptible Minister for Industry and Commerce.

The remark has been withdrawn.

What about the time you sent people to Moscow to get guns to use on Irishmen?

Words, once withdrawn, should not be commented upon.

I have no reason to be annoyed at the statements which are contained in Memorandum III.

Then do not be annoyed.

I am not annoyed, but apparently the author of them finds them rather distasteful to-day.

Owing to the damnable way you misrepresent them.

I am not misrepresenting them.

You are specialist in misrepresentation, but it is the only thing in which you are a specialist.

In 1936, this was the opinion Deputy Norton expressed— that he would prefer to see the question approached from the standpoint of examining the possibility of effecting grouping of unions in industries where, owing to the multiplicity of unions and the consequent weakness of organisation due to inter-union strife, the advantages of amalgamation are clearly demonstrable and the necessity for it more readily appreciated. Surely any of the unions who will be unable to make the required deposit, and who know that they are catering for the same class of workers as other unions which are in a better position than themselves, or perhaps in a position which is no better, know also that by pooling their resources they can meet the requirements of the Bill and can secure recognition as an authorised trade union. Surely the fact that this Bill would compel them to do that should meet with the approval of the person who said that he would welcome reorganisation.

Go out on O'Connell Street and tell them that.

Perhaps I shall in due course.

Go up to the old ladies in Rathmines and tell them that story.

At any rate, I am telling the Deputy——

Use the Moscow stuff on the old ladies in Pembroke.

——what responsible trade unionists have had to say on this question of amalgamation. Having regard to the present condition of the Irish trade union movement, one of the ways in which it was hoped to ensure that this condition will be considered by those responsible in the movement is in this section of the Bill. The report was demanded on a former occasion. At that time I was not aware that copies were readily available. I regarded it then as a confidential document, but I am prepared now to table it.

Is it still a confidential document?

If the Minister, on the last occasion when he was handling that report, could have made that document available, he would have avoided a lot of misunderstanding. The Minister has simply made case, on the point I was putting to him, even more elaborately than I made it. If we ever heard of the blind leading the blind, here we have a case of the blind driving the blind. The Minister says that the largest group in the commission considered that the trade union movement should be organised into ten groups, but lie does not agree. He is simply taking the heavy stick to drive people whist, cut look on the matter he does not agree with, to do something. He alleges that he has thrown the responsibility on them to do it, although nobody can be convinced by that suggestion. The Minister, in handling-this Bill in the way in which he has handled it in the House, has something-more in his mind, I would say, than he discloses to the House.

Take the proposal that the Minister does not agree with. The first group would be the building industry and furniture. Has the Minister any idea that, say, painters, upholsterers, bricklayers — to go no further — can be suitably catered for inside the one union? Is he going to deny a separate existence to a painters' union if they have not £2,000, to the bricklayers' union and the upholsterers' union if they have not £2,000? Are we to understand that people of that class — different trades and different crafts — will be thrown together simply because at some time or other they do something about a house. In the second case — engineering, ship building and vehicle building — are we to understand that an electrical engineer, a motor mechanic and a ship builder are all catered for inside one union, and that a motor mechanic cannot be allowed to have a separate existence unless his union can scrape up £2,000? Will electrical engineers be treated in the same way?

Before the House gives this big stick to a Minister, who says he has no mind of his own on this particular matter, and who does not agree with the mind of the trade unions, he ought to discuss in more detail the kind of mind he thinks they ought to have, or the kind of mind he thinks he might have-if he were left to carry out the reorganisation himself in the way suggested. The Minister talks of what people in the city might think of the people who are opposing this measure, and asking for a little more information on it. Deputy Morrissey raised the question of a group of a particular and characteristic type when we were discussing this matter on the Second Reading.

We can take a particular society— there are many to choose from — say, the Tipperary Workingmen's Protective and Benefit Society, which is a group of town workers. The workers of the town are organised in this society. They developed a very well-established and well-respected union— a position in which they were treated with the greatest possible confidence. They were most useful in the development of Muintir na Tíre and of the parish council organisation and spirit. Since April, 1931, they have been acting as the representatives of the general workers of the town of Tipperary. They have been registered with the Department of Industry and Commerce as a trade union since 1932, and have sent in their annual returns every year. They have agreements with every firm in Tipperary employing workers — including the Condensed Milk Company, a Government concern. They have not only the confidence of the employers of the town — a town that was not famous for its industrial harmony in years past — but they have had stable and satisfactory agreements with the employers. In contrast to the circumstances in Tipperary some years ago, Tipperary is now a place where there is industrial peace of the most stable kind. They have a membership of 500, yet they are to be wiped out of existence as soon as this Bill is passed. What union will take them over? If we are working on the system of these ten unions, we find general workers — No. 10 — at the end.

There is nobody working on that system.

On what system?

Of ten unions.

I am asking the Minister what kind of union the members of the Tipperary Workingmen's Protective and Benefit Society will go into, under the rough idea that I am sure the Minister has of what will happen under tins Bill. You have the same in Dundalk — the Dundalk Town Workers — and in other places. Are these general town workers' unions, from Letterkenny down to Dungarvan and Kenmare, through lack of funds, to be driven out of the position they occupy between the workers and employers of the towns, and be made form one great big union extending from one end of the country to the other? What is the idea, the necessity or the benefit which will arise through forbidding the existence of town labourers' unions or town workingmen's unions of the type I mentioned and forbidding them to carry on negotiations between employers and workers of that town?

The Minister does not answer. This is a disgraceful way to treat the House.

The Minister should give us even another bit of misrepresentation.

I would like to comment on the way this interesting matter has emerged. The Minister has given no arguments up to now on the points at issue. The issue in this question is whether or not it is necessary to combine into a smaller group the trade unions which now run to a certain number. The Minister quoted earlier from what I suppose was part of the report of this same commission. The unions affiliated to the Trade Union Congress numbered 48. As he gave the numerical strength at the present time, 34 of these will suffer because they have not as many as 2,000 members. 14 will survive if they have the deposit necessitated by the strength of the membership; but 34 have to make other arrangements for themselves, that is, 34 out of 48. If that is being demanded by the Minister, it must be on the basis that industry has been devastated by strife and that that strife is due to the multiplication of unions. At long last the Minister decided to try to advance some proof or evidence of that, and the way he does it is this: He told us on Second Beading that a Trade Union Commission was set up, and that two and a half years afterwards it reported. The Minister tried to read extracts from that document, but was brought to order because he was not then prepared to publish the document; he had only extracts. One peculiar phrase he used was that he would make public such part of the document as was then available to him. Now he proposes to put the document in the Library.

He has confined himself in his argument to telling us that six members of the body, which reported to that Trade Union Congress, reported in memorandum form. But, apparently, the views of those six people were not accepted. He then tells us what one person advocated in a memorandum. In that biassed way, not giving us by extract what the people who apparently opposed those views said, not giving anything from them, the Minister makes his case upon a, memorandum backed by six people and a memorandum backed by one person. What the context of these is we do not know. I asked the Minister if the document was privileged and he said no. It is apparently a document circulated to members of the Trade Union Congress. The Minister faced another impediment in quoting, as I say, in a partisan way from a document and one has to consider the reaction to this upon other work that the Government may endeavour to get done. As I understand the procedure now outlined by the Minister for another problem it may be this: that the Minister will get people interested in that matter and ask them to meet as a body ,to see if they could regulate their conduct in whatever way it required regulation. These people submitted to the Minister a memorandum that went before them and on which they failed to agree and the Minister feels that it is open to him to make whatever use he likes——

I must protest. There is nothing that I have done to-day that would warrant the Deputy making that assumption.

The Minister is out of order. He is not making a point of order.

I am making a point of order. I am making this point of order. The Deputy accused me of dishonourable conduct. He has implied that I asked a certain body to set up a commission of inquiry, that memoranda were presented to me and that I have divulged them to the House. These memoranda were not presented to me. They were presented to the Trade Union Congress and they can be read in the forty-fifth report of that body which is in general circulation.

That is not a point of order.

I did not say they were presented to the Minister.

You implied that.

The Minister should stop losing his temper and try to let us have a little bit of argument. I did not say any such thing happened.

The Deputy implied that I would do that. He suggested that I would do that.

I wish the Minister would count ten or whatever the number is to try to keep his temper below flash point. It is very annoying to have these constant interruptions about things that I have never stated or implied. I am outlining a course of conduct which I think is open to anybody and is likely to be followed in any negotiations which may bake place hereafter in regard to the settlement of a dispute. The Minister gets a document, and having this particular document will make a case in the Dáil by quoting in a partisan way extracts of a one-sided type from the document.

And suppresses another memorandum with five signatures.

As I understand it, there was a commission of some 13 people established. Six people were of one viewpoint and submitted some memorandum; one person submitted another memorandum. We have not heard what the others did. We do know that the memorandum submitted by the six was not adopted by the group.

Is this on the, amendment?

It is on the Minister's argument on the matter, which may not be so completely relevant. The only arguments the Minister has used to meet what Deputy Mulcahy and I have put to him are quotations from this particular memorandum. I do not care what the quotations are; I do not care how partisan or biassed they are, but they have not met the point. Will the Minister get back to the statistics his Department published with regard to loss of time and loss of money?

That is certainly not relevant.

Will the Minister tell me what percentage of time or money lost was due to the rivalries of small trade unions? Is that relevant? Surely it is, because it is the small trade unions who will be killed by this requirement of a £2,000 deposit. I have asked several times if the Minister will give an estimate of the percentage of these losses to industry that have been caused by trade union rivalry. He advanced to-day so far as to say that a considerable number of the disputes in the country were due to rivalries of small trade unions. He has not attempted to be concrete in any degree in this matter. This is the pivotal point, the kernel of the whole matter, whether £2,000 should be demanded. I see no reason for it. It has nothing to do with the overlapping matter which is dealt with in another section which provides that people must go before a tribunal to find out whether a group or a number of groups are to have the right alone to cater for people of their own class. That is to do away with the overlapping. The only thing we are left with then is, how far small trade unions with their jealousies have caused trouble in industry. I have got no answer to that.

The Minister has now gone a little distance in disclosing home of the considered thought on this question of trade union organisation contained in documents of one kind or another in the past couple of years. He did go a little forward since the last time. I wonder will he go a little bit more forward. Will he endeavour to give us some extracts from the memoranda submitted to the Vocational Commission bearing on this particular matter? The Minister wants to get more efficient organisation, better mutual understanding, better harmony amongst workers themselves particularly, and between workers and employers. I quoted Dr. Lucey of Maynooth speaking at the Catholic Social Week as saying:—

"A spirit of mutual understanding and collaboration and a strong regard for the common good, without which vocational organisation was but a sham, could not be infused into the leaders of Capital and Labour overnight by governmental decree."

Following the performance that we have had here on this Bill, I do not think that any order of the Minister issued within six months after the passing of the Bill will bring about any mutual understanding or collaboration or strong regard for the common good amongst the people on whom he has thrown the responsibility for clearing up the kind of mess in which he thinks the trade union is at present. If there is a serious problem to be dealt with, it has to be dealt with by collaboration and by thorough understanding. It is that feeling, that desire, the intention to collaborate and avoid mistinderstanding, that is one of the first things to be secured. With that given, people then have to find what are the proper lines on which organisation can take place. The Vocational Commission has appealed to the trade union organisations throughout the country and has got a very considerable amount of evidence and has had a considerable amount of discussion. Can we have any of the suggestions that have been made by anybody before that commission, or can we have any suggestions from the commission itself, before we take this irretrievable leap in the dark of wiping out, so far as negotiations are concerned or so far as people having any power to influence wages or conditions of work in industry are concerned, every group that cannot put up £2,000?

If the Minister insists on wiping out every group that cannot put up £2,000, we ought to be told what groups are affected like that and in what direction they are likely to be absorbed, so that we can see what kind of absorption is going to take place. We can then have the Minister's opinion as to whether that absorption is desirable and we can form our own opinions as to whether it is desirable. If we cannot have that, if the Minister thinks his own mind is not sufficiently clear to tell us and if he thinks the. trade union leaders' minds are too divided or confused to get any picture through him from them, then I seriously submit that the abolition clause ought to be left out and that in whatever discussions, negotiations and examinations that are going to take place after the passage of this Bill the unions should not be put out of the arena of thought and consultation and discussion simply because they have not £2,000.

Surely the Minister cannot make a case for telling every union that has not £2,000 to stand aside out of the remodelling that is likely to take place? The last thing anyone who was anxious to put trade unions on a more harmonious basis and organise them in a more satisfactory way should think of suggesting would be that every trade union that has not £2,000 should be wiped out of existence. The Minister by insisting on this provision is going to do more damage than the bull did when it entered the china shop, particularly in view of the statistics he has given us as to the number of unions likely to have the £2,000. Could the Minister at least tell us——

I have nothing more to add.

Could the Minister tell us what is likely to happen under the scheme? Let us take town labourers' union whose whole interest is in their employers and in the town in which they live. What is likely to happen a union such as that under this Bill?

That union will cease to exist if it does not pay £2,000.

Not having £2,000. and being put out of existence under This Bill, what is likely to happen with regard to its members and with regard to the employers?

You cannot compel them to pay when they have not got the money.

The Minister does not care what happens.

I want to ask again——

I have already answered. Am I or am I not entitled to bring the debate to a close? Deputy Mulcahy may, if he wishes, repeatad nauseam the same sort of speech on every section. We have heard this speech for at least the tenth time. He tried to make it on Section 1 and he repeated it again and again since. I am not going to waste the time of the House by answering. The Deputy will see what will happen to the trade union if it cannot provide or raise the £2,000. If the 528 men in it, according to the Deputy, cannot raise £2,000, then I do not think that the community of Tipperary has as much confidence in them as the Deputy professes to think it has.

So that 528 men in an Irish town, whose whole interest is in their town and the work around them — the only people who are interested in them so far as carrying on work harmoniously is concerned are he employers of the town — are not going to be allowed, under a penalty, to discuss wages and conditions of service. They cannot do so in that town except £2,000 is collected and lodged with somebody lest, I suppose, they break the peace or do something and have to be fined. The Minister tells us they are going to be wiped out: they are not going to be allowed by law to talk to the employers with regrard to wages. Who is going to settle any question that arises on the subject of wages between the employers of that town and the workers? Can the Minister tell us that? I submit we are entitled to know.

I am not going to add anything to what I have already said.

Is the Minister by penalty, going to destroy the negotiating; machine in the town of Tipperary and in similar towns, machinery which has carried out satisfactory work since 1931? What is going to be put in its place under this Bill? We are going to spend public money on putting this Bill into operation and we are entitled to know what is going to replace the existing satisfactory machinery.

The big stick.

With all the talk we have had from the Minister about bringing harmony and co-operation and everything like that into the relations of workmen and their employers, lie has not yet informed us what is going to be put into the place of existing satisfactory machinery in towns like Tipperary and Dundalk.

The Minister's big stick.

If the Minister cannot tell us, is there any Deputy in the Fianna Fáil Party from Louth who will tell us what is going to happen in Dundalk, or is there any Fianna Fáil Deputy from Tipperary who will tell us what will happen there?

We have heard this statement repeatedad nauseam and surely the House is entitled to have the question put from the Chair?

If there is not any Deputy in the Fianna Fáil Party from Louth who is prepared to say what will happen in Dundalk, and if there is not a Fianna Fáil Deputy from Monaghan, Limerick, Cork, Waterford——

On a point of order. I submit that the Deputy is merely repeating himself.

That is more than I can say about the Minister. The Minister has not said anything on this Bill which would justify the charge that he is repeating himself. He has dodged around in every possible direction for the purpose of seeing that nobody will get at what is in the back of his mind. But at least he does realise this, that if this Bill is passed, a workman's association in the town of Tipperary, comprising 528 men, an association that has carried on satisfactorily and in perfect harmony for 11 years, in a period in which he suggests there have been all kinds of industrial difficulties in the way of strikes and animosities between the people in such a labour organisation, will cease to exist if it cannot lodge £2,000. They have given satisfaction to one another, they have given satisfaction to the employers, but they are now going to be wiped out of existence because they have not £2,000.

At a time when employment conditions, as disclosed by the last figures, were nearly as bad as those of last year, in spite of the numbers of men who have gone into the Army and gone abroad, they are asked to find £2,000. I should like the Minister to relate his conception of how they ought to be able to find £2,000 with some of the debates that took place on the Budget, and on the Financial Resolutions, to the emergency that exists, and to the kind of emergency we are running into, as well as the crisis as regards prices that is likely to be here in three months. The Minister has deliberately set out to withdraw machinery in Irish towns that worked satisfactorily and that brought about harmony. What machinery is going to maintain that harmony; what machinery is going to step in when a difficulty arises?

Fianna Fáil Cumainn.

The Minister has not said one word that would suggest to the House that he has any idea of the machinery that would step in. He should tell us what machinery he would like to step in assuming he was able in control it.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the section."
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 35.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrare, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.

I move amendment No. 17:—

In sub-section (1), page 4, to delete in line 43 and 44 the words "accountant of the courts of justice" and substitute the words "High Court".

The object of the amendment is to provide that the procedure shall be to have the deposits required under the section made with the High Court rather than with the accountant of the courts of justice. By this amendment, and the consequential amendments which I have put down — amendments Nos. 32, 34, 35 and 37 — the procedure with regard to such matters as the payment of accruing interest, and the variation of securities, can be simplified. The trade unions will be enabled to avoid the inconvenience and expense of making formal application to the court in regard to such matters.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 25.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gorald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Muran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlon, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hickey James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Amendment declared lost.
Question proposed: "That the section, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The point which I now propose to make was hinted at in the discussion that took place on Section 6. Suppose you have a difference which, judging by previous circumstances, is likely to create a wages dispute, say, in the drapery trade in Killarney. There are, let us say, two shops in Killarney in the drapery trade. One is owned by a company and the other is owend by two brothers in partnership. As I understand, neither the company nor the two brothers can engage in negotiation separately with their own employees. Jointly, they cannot, of course, engage in negotiation with their mixed employees unless these two brothers become a trade union and put up £2,000 or unless the company becomes a trade union and puts up £2,000 or unless either or both are members of a trade union. Quite a number of employers are not members of trade unions. These people could not conduct negotiations in connection with a threatened dispute with their employees in some type of trade in which there are only a few shops engaged and, therefore, only a few employers because they had not taken the precaution to become members of a trade union and were not a trade union themselves.

As I understand, this Bill makes it illegal for these people to carry on negotiations. Take the case of a company composed of a small number of persons, all of whom are residents in, say, Killarney. I am not taking the case of a big company in Dublin with a branch in Killarney. I am taking the case of a small company with the minimum number of members requisite for a company — a private company of the family type. As I understand, it is not lawful for these people to engage in negotiations with their own employees. Two brothers in partnership, carrying on business under the names of both, cannot negotiate with their employees, and the combination of the two brothers and a small company cannot engage in negotiation. I think that that is the situation, but I should like to know if the Minister agrees that it is.

I do not contest what the Deputy says. I think there is something in the point which he raised, particularly regarding the partnership, and I shall see if I can cover it.

What about the small company?

That point was raised by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.

Take the case of a small company which is not a trade union and is not registered with a group of other employers as a trade union. Can it not conduct negotiations with its own employees?

That is the point which I propose to investigate. It is not intended to deter it from doing so.

Take the case of three drapers in a provincial town. A question regarding wages arises. They cannot negotiate with the drapers' assistants in that town unless they become a trade union.

That would appear to be the position under the Bill at the moment.

That would be the position in a large number of towns.

It might not be.

Does the Minister say that that is not the position?

I am not accepting the statement that, in a large number of towns, there would not be a sufficient number of employers to form a negotiating body.

And put down £10,000.

Not necessarily £10,000.

A negotiation body means a trade union?

That does require a deposit.

I am not saying that it does not. What I have questioned is that in most Irish towns there would not be a sufficient number of employers to constitute an authorised trade union and put down the deposit.

In a large number of towns there might be only three or four drapers. A question might arise between these drapers and their assistants on which they would like to come to a joint decision. The question might have reference to the length of holidays to be allowed or to the amount to be allowed for board. Some small matter such as that might crop up and these drapers would not be allowed to negotiate as a body. A question might arise as to the closing of the shops on the weekly half-holiday. That would be a "condition of employment" and these three or four men could not come together and negotiate with their employees.

There is no reason why even drapers should not federate with other employers in the town and negotiate these things jointly.

That would mean that they would have to put up £2,000.

Before these persons could negotiate — say three or four persons had joined together — they would have to put up £2,000, which would be lying idle afterwards.

Not exactly lying idle.

Well, earn ing only 3 per cent. or so. Would it not be far better to amend this part of the Bill completely by saying that nobody can negotiate on behalf of such employers?

Take the average country town where a question of wages might have to be decided by negotiation. There may be a number of drapers in that town but the number who would have to employ assistants would be very few and these are the only ones that the Bill will affect. If it were a question of wages in the drapery trade; there is no use in their joining together with licensed vintners to form a union for that purpose. The Minister said they could federate with other trades.

I am talking of this particular trade, the drapery trade. It seems far-fetched that three or four men should have to put up £2,000 merely in order to enable them to solve a passing difficulty.

Questions of wages and conditions of employment are not merely passing difficulties. In most towns in Ireland they are frequently under discussion in one trade or another. I am not suggesting that three drapers should come together, form themselves into a self-contained organisation and put down £2,000. What I am suggesting is that they should federate with other employers in the town to form an employers' federation. The three drapers then, acting through that organisation, could conduct negotiations.

There are a number of fairly prosperous towns in the country with a population of about 5,000, but the people are not all employers. There are quite a number of people amongst the 5,000 who are not, to use the language of statistics, gainfully employed. There would be amongst these people many old persons and small children. Possibly in a town of 5,000 you would not have more than 100 people of the employing class engaged in trade. Because some drapers' assistants in one of the drapers' shops in the town have to enter into negotiations which will affect other drapers — say that there are not more than three drapers' shops in the town — all these drapers, the people who are in the licensed trade, the people who are provision merchants and people in all other sorts of business, have to get together to form a union and put up £2,000. That is a fairly big levy to ask them to put up against the possibility of drapers' assistants causing trouble amongst three drapers in the town.

They are not asked to federate and form a union against that contingency alone.

They are asked to form it for the purpose of negotiating conditions in case of a dispute with the drapers' assistants.

The employers are asked to federate for the general purpose of negotiating wages and conditions with all employees in the town.

They have to conform to several conditions. They must have a memorandum and articles of association. They must have conditions as to the way people get in and go out of their trade unions. When a dispute arises with the drapers' assistants they have to call the trade union officials together, employ all this negotiating machinery and observe all these heterogeneous conditions.

That may happen, all because there is the dispute with the drapers' assistants in the one shop.

Normally what would happen is that inside this federation there would be groups, one consisting of drapers, others of other traders; these groups would have the services of a secretary and the organisation would help them to conduct negotiations. In fact, the members to conduct these negotiations would be chosen by the federation of employers. No doubt they would be representative of the traders concerned.

These 100 people would have to put up £20 per head and they would have to have a secretary, a paid official, I presume. They would have to have trade union regulations. That is the sledge-hammer that is being built up for the drapers' assistants in Killarney.

It is a Heath Robinson sledge-hammer.

The aim of the Bill seems to be to organise the country into vast camps. That is the logical goal towards which the Bill seems to aim.

Little new light has been thrown on the situation. I was trying to find out from the Minister in the discussion on the amendment what was going to happen to a workmen's organisation in a town like Tipperary, in which there are 500 workers and where, over a period of 11 years, by peaceful negotiation, the employers and employees have maintained perfect peace and harmony in the business of the town. The Minister suggested that it was rather queer if the employers in a town like that could not put down £2,000. Then my mind woke up to the fact that not only have the workers to put down £2,000 on their side but that the employers have also to put down £2,000 on their side.

And the Deputy has been accusing me of being guilty of class legislation.

I did not use any such phrase, because the Minister has been much too nebulous for anybody to make out what kind of legislation he has put forward. Nobody has been able to figure out from anything he said what is going to be the result. I would again ask the Minister, if the present situation is going to continue in Tipperary, have the combined employers to put down £2,000 on their side, and the workers £2,000 on their side? Could the Minister answer that?

I have already answered the Deputy.

It is very hard to know what the Minister has answered, because I do not think anybody in this House has got an answer from him to-day. Am I right in figuring out from anything the Minister has said that if the present conditions are continued the workers have to put down £2,000 for their organisation, and that the employers have to put down £2,000 for theirs?

It is too much trouble for the Minister to say yes or no.

Nothing that I could say would further clarify the Deputy's mind.

There isprima facie evidence that that is so, because nothing the Minister has said up to the present has been of any assistance in clarifying my mind. I take it that the only reason the Minister will not give a straight answer to my question is that the suggestion is too disgraceful, that, under present economic conditions, he should require the employers of Tipperary town and the workers of Tipperary town, if they are to continue working in the harmony in which they are working at present, to find £4,000 to put down. Deputy O'Sulhvan raised a point with regard to employers generally in a town, but I should like to direct the attention of the House to Section 20, which says:

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where application is made to the tribunal by a trade union which claims to have organised a majority of masters of a particular class for a determination that such trade union alone shall have the right to organise masters of that class, the tribunal, after hearing such application and having considered all the circumstances of the case, shall either...

What does "masters of a particular class" mean? Is it possible that, in the town of Tipperary, the employers would all come together and be registered as a trade union and, if so, what interpretation are we to put on the words "particular class"?

There are a large number of towns in the country, and if local organisations of any kind are continued and if £2,000 on one side and £2,000 on the other has to be put down, it means practically £400,000 altogether.

Suppose that in a parish there is a dispute between a couple of farmers and their workmen, and the parish council decides that it will intervene and arbitrate, will the parish council have to put down £2,000, and get a licence, before it can stir?

The Deputy has talked about arbitration. This Bill is concerned with negotiation.

If they arbitrate to bring about negotiations between employers and employed?

The Deputy talked about a parish council arbitrating.

If such a council wishes to carry on negotiations between an employer and an employee, will the council have to put down £2,000?

The main thing is negotiation. Settlement does not matter.

The point raised by Deputy Mulcahy is important, and I take again that hypothetical case I gave earlier, of the small town where there are 100 of the employing class. There are some drapers, some publicans, some grocers and so on, in it. They may be able to find £100 each and other towns may be more or less inspired by their example. They are going to have a small town trade union, and at that point the drapers' organisation, that is, of masters, in Dublin realises that the ground is being cut from under their feet. They go before the tribunal to be established under another part of the Bill for a determination that they alone are entitled to organise drapers and they get a determination in their favour. From that moment, no other one of these heterogeneous groups can get a draper in. People in a town close to the first town I mentioned decide that they will get 100 of the employing class together to form a trade union. They have to cut out drapers. They cannot receive drapers, a determination having been given in favour of the main city organisation. The licensed trade people will also be in immediately and get a determination, so that these people cannot join with their colleagues in business in the small town in order to get a trade union of a heterogeneous type.

If there is anything in that point, I shall discuss it on Section 20. I do not think it arises on this section.

Having clarified very fully and satisfactorily the position with regard to urban workers and employers, and feeling that perhaps it could not possibly be clarified any more under present circumstances, we may pass to the rural position. Road workers are a group which, in various counties, are very definitely organised, and they have always been able to carry out fairly satisfactorily their negotiations with the county councils. Under the present proposal, the negotiation of wages and conditions between road workers and the local authorities will, in future, be forbidden.

That point should have been raised on Section 6. There was a Labour Party amendment down which was not moved.

Section 7 speaks of holding a negotiation licence and sets out that it is necessary to register under the Trade Union Act. The Deputy is in order.

On a point of order, if road workers in the employment of local authorities wanted to carry on negotiations, arrangements could have been made when we were discussing Section 6 to put them within the category of excepted bodies.

I am not in any way responsible for what may arise out of the way in which the Minister carries on this discussion when addressing the Labour Party. I am facing Section 7 and what it implies, if passed, in the light of what is contained in Section 6. If Section 7 is passed, the road workers in any county, unless they put down £2,000, will not be able to carry on negotiations with the county council in respect of wages, or their general conditions of employment.

I do not suppose it will keep the Deputy from wasting the time of the House, but I do not think he was in the House when we were discussing Section 6. If he had been, he would not be so concerned about road workers, because I indicated that I would move to strike out the words "not being a local authority" in paragraph 3 (a) of Section 6, but that will not keep the Deputy from wasting the time of the House.

Is that a point of order?

A point of explanation.

It is a point of order. I have given notice that I propose to introduce an amendment on Report Stage to deal with the point which Deputy Mulcahy is making.

The Minister has interrupted four or five times, at one time, apparently, on a point of order, objecting to a certain thing being discussed on this section. I notice that he did not rise in making that point of order. Now he makes an objection of an entirely different kind. It is purely interruption.

I am concerned merely with my own reputation, as besmirched with the Minister, and in order to show that I have not the slightest intention of wasting the time of the House, I shall just ask the Minister to help me on this point: Do I understand that, taking into consideration the amendment already passed to Section 6 and the amendment he proposes to introduce on Report Stage, it will be possible for road workers to carry on negotiations directly with a county council as in the past?

Provided they apply for registration as an excepted body in the register of such bodies.

Can a county council negotiate with them?

I think so.

Why? They cannot be an excepted body. Must they be a trade union?

Of course, they can be an excepted body.

The employers? Tell me under what section?

Yes. To the words "the expression `excepted bodies' means any of the following bodies", I can add "county councils".

But you have not done so.

I can do so, under the power I have taken in amendment No. 10.

As it was introduced, the Minister could not, and, as the amendment was introduced to as here, it was to deal with associations like nurses'.

And various other bodies. I mentioned industrial councils, conciliation councils and a number of other bodies.

I think that the Minister has just got to the other point now.

At any rate, there will be machinery by which the road workers and the county councils can carry on in the future as in the past?

Question put: "That Section 7, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 36.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett George C.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McFadden Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 8.

There is an amendment to this section on to-day's Order Paper — amendment No. 18a.

I move amendment No. 18a:—

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

8. (1) Where—

(a) the Emergency Powers Act, 1939 (No. 28 of 193&) is in force, and

(b) the Minister is satisfied that, as regards any particular trade union registered under the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1935, it would, on account of abnormal conditions referable to the war in which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is now engaged, cause undue hardship if such trade union were compelled to make and keep with the High Court the full deposit specified by the next preceding section,

the Minister may by order declare that every sum of money mentioned in the Schedule to this Act shall, as regards such trade union, be deemed to be reduced to such extent not exceeding 75 per cent. as the Minister thinks proper.

(2) An order under sub-section (1) of this section shall have effect in accordance with its terms for the period specified in that behalf therein, save that no such cruder shall have effect after the Emergency Powers Act, 1939 (No. 28 of 1939), has ceased to be in force.

(3) The Minister may by order, made after six months' notice of the making thereof has been given to the trade union concerned, revoke any order previously made by him under sub-section, (1) of this section.

The purpose of this amendment is to enable the Minister for Industry and Commerce, so long as the Emergency Powers Act of 1939 is in force, to grant a reduction in the case of any particular trade union registered under the Trade Union Acts in this country, in circumstances where he is satisfied that because of conditions which have been created by the present war it would occasion undue hardship to that particular trade union to make the deposit called for by the Schedule. This amendment will enable the Minister to consider that particular case and, with a view to the alleviation of such hardship, to grant a reduction, to an extent not exceeding 75 per cent., in the amount which it would have to deposit with the High Court in order to secure a negotiation licence.

Does it mean a reduction of £2,000 to £1,500 or £500?

It would depend on the particular circumstances of the union, but the maximum reduction would be from £2,000 to £500 in the case of a trade union having not more than 2,000 members. In the other cases the reduction would be proportionate, that is to say, in the case of a union where the appropriate deposit would be £10,000 the Minister could, if he felt that the circumstances justified it, reduce that deposit to £2,500.

Would the Minister say the names of the trade unions affected by this amendment?

I do not know. I have not considered any particular trade union.

Would the Minister say the number?

I cannot say that either.

Do we understand that the Minister is introducing here an important amendment and that he does not know the number of trade unions that are likely to be affected by it?

I cannot say because I have no reason to believe that the more effective trade unions will be affected by it.

Supposing they were all affected by it, what would be the number of the trade unions?

I have no reason to believe that they will all be affected by it.

Could the Minister give us any information as to the number of trade unions in the country likely to be affected by it or that could be affected by it, or can he give us any information as to whether there are any trade unions that are likely to be affected by it?

It has been represented to me that there may be some.

Could the Minister say how many?

Could the Minister give us an idea as to the reasons that would operate with him in suggesting a particular trade union?

It has been suggested to me that a particular union which was in a nourishing position, say, at the beginning of this year may, due to increasing unemployment, experience some difficulty in making a deposit out of their existing fund.

And the Minister's idea is that while that may affect the type of trade union suggested here, it is not likely to affect Irish trade unions at all? Is that so?

No. I have not said so. This can only apply to Irish trade unions.

Is that so? Does that mean that if the workers' union in Tipperary were able to show that employment was difficult and that a number of their members was unemployed, they would be able to come in on the reduced fee?

If they show me that they cannot fulfil the conditions laid down in this amendment, yes.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 8, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

This provides that any authorised trade union may apply to the Minister for a negotiation licence.

Will the Minister say what is the necessity for charging £1?

Because it is usual to charge a fee when an application of this description is made.

So that, as well as finding £2,000 to put down they also have to find an additional £1 for fee?

How did the Minister work out the £1?

It is 20/-.

Bailiff's expenses.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 35.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar R.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl: Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 9.
Question proposed: "That Section 9 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides that, where the Minister is satisfied that an applicant for a negotiation licence is an authorised trade union, he must grant the licence.

Section 7 laid down certain qualifications which are necessary for a union to become an authorised trade union. Why then in Section 9 is it necessary to bring in "to the satisfaction of the Minister"? A trade union either is or is not an authorised trade union. If it complies with the necessary qualifications in Section 7 it is an authorised trade union; if it does not comply with them it is not an authorised trade union. Why then should "to the satisfaction of the Minister" come in?

As the Minister is responsible for granting the licence, he must at least be satisfied that the conditions provided in Section 7 are fulfilled.

We have indicated on several occasions already that one of the difficulties about having a satisfactory discussion on this measure is that we do not know what is at the back of the Minister's mind. In relation to not one single matter on which we have had a discussion has the Minister allowed himself to be pinned down to any definite statement of any kind. It is quite true, as Deputy Benson said, that the Minister ought to have no function in this matter, unless he wants to set himself up as an authority to pursue a policy of directing things with regard to the formation or the organisation or the classification of trade unions. The unions are supposed to deposit a certain amount with the High Court. The fact that they have made their deposit, the fact that they have registered as a trade union, and the fact that they have applied for the negotiation licence should be quite sufficient. I see no reason why the section should not read:—

Where application is duly made for a negotiation licence and the applicant is shown to be an authorised trade union, the Minister may grant such licence.

Where it is "shown to the satisfaction of the Minister". The Minister is personally responsible for granting the licences, and, therefore, he must be satisfied that the conditions have been fulfilled.

Why should the Minister's satisfaction come in when it is a question simply of facts f Under that section, although the facts may be all the facts that are required, if, for any reason, the Minister is not satisfied to have the union given a negotiation licence, the Minister has power to refuse it. Would the Minister say for what purpose he desires to have that power of refusing a licence to a trade union that has carried out all the necessary steps which would entitle it to the negotiation licence?

Is this a judicial act on the part of the Minister?

It is not. I do not think so. It is not a judicial act.

It depends on the Minister's whim.

It docs not depend on the Minister's whim.

It looks very like it.

If the Deputies wish to read that into it, I cannot disabuse their minds of it.

Have we not had experience of that before?

It is quite clear, when Sections 7 and 8 are read together with Section 9, that when the conditions prescribed in Section 7 are fulfilled the Minister must of necessity grant the licence. The section here is mandatory on the Minister —"the Minister shall grant such licence." Naturally, before he grants it, he must satisfy himself that the precedent conditions have been fulfilled.

What are they?

That the applicant is a registered trade union, and has made the appropriate deposit.

He takes up a judicial position in this case?

I am afraid that is a matter which would have to be considered elsewhere.

It is a very serious matter, and we had experience of it before under another Act.

That might be, but it seems to me that, by analogy, any decision which the Minister would take could be argued to be a judicial decision. Whether or not there would be any justification for so arguing, I do not know.

The only justification for arguing on it is that there are three things which require to be done— they have to be a registered trade union, they have to lodge a certain amount with the courts, and they have to make an application. When those things have been done, when an application is made by a body shown to be an authorised trade union, why a negotiation licence should not be granted, without the Minister being called in to express satisfaction or otherwise, is a matter that justifies questioning. The Minister will realise our position?

I realise that the Deputy, who professes to be so concerned for the public weal, is simply wasting time in repeating questions and obstructing the passage of the Bill.

I would be very sorry to think that within the last ten years I have been responsible for so much waste of Parliamentary time as the Minister has been responsible for in the control of this measure from the time it was introduced. The Minister has indicated that it is the trade unions which will have to settle all this. There are trade union representatives that he thinks fit to quote here, yet he does not agree with them as to what they ought to do. He tells us he has no plan in his mind, and does not think much about the plan the trade unionists have. The only people that he thinks it worth while to quote here is the particular section that he has quoted. In these circumstances he asks us to put into this section of the Bill an idea that a negotiation licence will be granted only when it is shown to the satisfaction of the Minister that a certain body is an authorised trade union. I think that the Minister is putting himself into this situation for some particular purpose he must have in mind, but which he is not disclosing to us.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 35.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fuller, Stephen.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Keane, John J.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • BrodericK, William J.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred Junior).
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hannigan, Joseph.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Linehan, Timothy.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy J.
  • O'Sullivan, John M.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Smith and Kennedy; Níl, Deputies Keyes and Hickey.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 10.
Amendment No. 20 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

Would the Minister explain the section?

It seems to me that the purpose of the section is clear on the face of it. It says:—

Section 2 of the Trade Union Act, 1871, Section 3 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, and the Trade Disputes Act, 1906, shall apply only in relation to authorised trade unions which for the time being are holders of negotiation licences and the members and officials of such trade unions, and not otherwise.

What are the benefits of those Acts?

What protection is given by the Conspiracy and Protection of property Act, 1875?

I think the House is well aware of the general purpose of the Act. It frees the officials and members of these organisations from charges of conspiracy in connection with the organisation and prosecution of trade disputes and gives them the right of peaceful picketing.

How can an agricultural labourer get the protection of these Acts now?

Are we to understand that these rights are being withdrawn from a body which consists of persons all of whom are employed by the same employer and which carries on negotiations for the fixing of wages or other conditions of employment with that employer only; that they are taken from agricultural labourers; that they are taken from people whose wages and conditions of employment are arranged by trade boards; taken from teachers, civil servants, and any other body of people, such as road workers, that may come under the excepted bodies?

No, the House need not understand anything of the sort. There is nothing in this Bill which would prevent persons whose minimum wages are fixed by trade boards being members of a trade union; in fact the majority of the people so situated are members of a trade union. Neither is there anything to prevent an agricultural labourer from being a member of a trade union. I presume that some people who are employed as agricultural labourers are in fact members of general workers' unions, so that the case which the Deputy is making has no substance in it. The main thing, as I pointed out when putting amendment No. 10 to the House, is that those bodies which are excepted, since they are exempt from making a deposit under the Bill, are bodies which it is anticipated need not have recourse to the strike weapon. If they do wish to have recourse to the strike weapon and to have the benefit and advantages of Section 10, then they must join an authorised trade union. It is only the members of authorised trade unions who will have the benefits and advantages and special privileges conferred by these Acts.

If a body of road workers in any particular county are not able to put up £2,000 in order to make themselves an authorised trade union able to deal direct, as in the past, with the county council, they will have to forfeit their rights under the Trade Disputes Act in order to be able to carry on negotiations with the county council?

They would have to put themselves in the position of any other person who would be subject to an action for tort, if they do anything to injure another person in his business or property, and who would not be entitled to carry on picketing.

Is there not this difference between the existing position and the position according to the provisions of the Bill, that they must put down £2,000?

That is the difference.

Therefore, if any county road workers want to deal with their own affairs they will have to find £2,000, as otherwise they will not get the benefits to which the Minister has referred. It is no good saying that this Bill does not take away from them rights which they have at present. This amounts to a fine of £2,000, because it practically means that it must remain there the whole time and they can never touch it again. If they lose anything on it, they must pour more money into it. Unless they can find £2,000, they get none of the benefits of those Acts. As things stand at present, they could form a trade union without the loss of that £2,000. The Minister may think that that is nothing, but it is a very severe penalty. It may in practice deprive them of the benefits of these Acts.

Will not the section hit the smaller trade unions of craftsmen in different parts of the country which would not be in a position to apply for a negotiation licence, and deprive them of the rights they have had for something like 70 years? There are a number of these unions in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other places. If they have not sufficient members to enable them to apply for registration as a negotiation body, they will practically pass out of the category of trade unions as they exist at present. I do not know if the Minister has considered that point of view. Take one of those now in the City of Dublin. There is an amendment down by Deputy Byrne to exclude it from the scope of this measure — the Regular Dublin Coopers' Society. The membership is not much more than 300 in the City of Dublin. If they were to be called upon to pay £2,000, it would require a levy of about £7 per man.

There are two points that arise in this connection. The first is whether the mind of the Minister is running towards allowing such bodies to exist at all as trade unions. If they are allowed, the price is almost beyond their capacity. The second point is this, that if the intention is to group these with a number of other crafts into a trade union, that trade union would have to have a long name if it were to include coopers, certain classes of men engaged in making good furniture, french polishers, printers and other people of that sort.

What case can be made for the introduction of a Bill of this sort at such a period? These trade unions have not occasioned the disturbance in employment that the Minister has spoken of, and it seems rather hard that, because there is a problem to be dealt with in respect of one section, we are, by a single swoop, to deprive these people of the advantages they have had for 50, 60 or 70 years. Surely there should be some other means of dealing with a situation of that kind?

People who are at the moment engaged in talking about the conflict that is being waged outside our country sometimes refer to the "last war"; people who want to get in a note of personal reminiscence of a more ancient date refer to the "Boer War," and quite a number of people occasionally give examples arising out of the Napoleonic wars. When you are there you are back a good bit, but you are not back quite as far as the Minister wants to put the trade union movement.

About the year 1800 it was discovered there were combinations growing up for the betterment of conditions in industry. Up to that time they had been regarded as conspirators and the whole weight of the old employer-made law was put against these people. Everything that could be done by legislation and by the courts, giving effect to that particular type of class legislation, was done, and it all pivoted finally on the point that where people gathered together to do anything in restraint of trade, anything of the type we have got used to arising out of trade union activity, was regarded as conspiratory activity and people were sentenced for that.

Somewhere after 1800 men began to get enlightened. They realised that these combinations for the betterment of conditions in industry ought to be allowed and, by degrees, we got a, relaxation of the old laws about illegal combinations. The trade union move ment got leave to grow and it grew to the proportions which we had in this country prior to the beginning of this war. All that is ancient history. A little bit more recently the Minister was invited to speak before a university gathering, where a student read a paper on trade unions. I do not suppose there was anybody more flowery in his compliments to the trade unions than the Minister when he was speaking before an educated audience. Today, that same Minister wants to drive the trade union movement back beyond the 1825 period, unless trade union organisations can produce £2,000.

In the ancient days it was the old, hard-crusted employer who had everything in his hands. He was determined he would relax nothing, holding on to what he had, and he got the machinery of the law sharpened against the people who got together in order to secure better conditions in industry. The old-time employer governing the old-time Parliament and the old-time courts got his way until a period of enlightenment came, and then people were allowed to enter into those associations for the betterment of conditions. Such betterment they brought about, as anybody will realise, and now, for no argument that anybody could count sound, the Minister proposes to divide trade unions, to reintroduce class discrimination. For the future, unless trade unions can put up £2,000, they are back again in the days of 1800 and 1825.

I want once more to give the Minister the example of the provincial town of 5,000 inhabitants. Perhaps I took an exaggerated figure when I said 100 might be of the employing class. Let me take it that there might be three drapers. These drapers are faced with a difficulty if they get into some sort of unauthorised associations in the sense that they are not authorised trade unions under this Bill. If those three men enter into a discussion with employees in their own premises with regard to the fixation of wages and the betterment of conditions, they are committing an illegal act unless they are in a big organisation extending through the country, or are joined with the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers to form a local union. The men are also an illegal body unless they are members of a trade union or have the privilege of becoming the members of an excepted body.

If either of them does anything that can be described as a restraint of trade or some type of tort protected by the Trade Disputes Acts then, unless they can put up the £2,000, they are in danger of being dragged before the courts on foot of the old-time charge of conspiracy. That is what is being introduced in 1941 as enlightened legislation in order to bring harmony into society under the slogan of peace in industry in our time.

And by a workers' Government!

That is the situation. I thought this clause might have been better hidden, but here is Section 2 of the Trade Union Act of 1871— another war springs to the mind—and here is Section 3 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1875 and the more modern Trade Disputes Act of 1906. All these things cease to apply except in relation to authorised trade unions and, for the future, men in this country are going to be allowed to boast that they are free in regard to associations only if they are sufficiently wealthy to be able to put up £2,000.

I wonder has the Minister realised that that is the setting in which this measure must be presented to the people? I wonder if the Minister thinks that is a proper setting or, if he does not think that it is an exaggerated way in which to present a Bill like this, does he not realise that some argument ought to be produced to show why there is a necessity for this particular type of control of the unions on the industrial side? The Minister has told us there is overlapping to be avoided. Overlapping is not any part of this section. It is covered in a later part of the Bill, which deals with the determination of one or many unions — that one or many unions have a right to organise workers of a particular class. So far as overlapping goes, it is out of it.

The only thing left is this question of rivalry and dispute, and the Minister has not advanced to the point of telling us, if he can, what number of hours in any one year, taking the worst year in which we were most harried by industrial disputes, were lost through industrial disputes because of the rivalry or jealousy of small trade unions. Until he comes to the point that there is not merely a case, but a multitude of cases, to show that the whole cause of the dispute is a small trade union, it is a scandal to the Parliament, to the Government and the age we live in that anybody should attempt to get back beyond the Trade Disputes Act and the 1871 Act and throw us back to the days of the anti-combination laws.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 25th June.