We were asking the Minister when we reported progress on the last day——
Industrial Relations Bill, 1946—Committee (Resumed).
The Committee took a division on amendment No. 6.
I think that the decision on amendment No. 6 relating to paragraph (d) should be taken as covering the amendments to paragraphs (e) and (f), because the officers referred to in paragraphs (e) and (f) are officers of local authorities. The decision on paragraph (d), I think, must be taken as including them. It is inconceivable that we should have one arrangement for some officers of local authorities and a different arrangement for other officers of local authorities.
Amendment No. 7 is not my amendment.
I was referring to amendments Nos. 8 and 9.
Amendment No. 7 is in order because I put the question on amendment No. 6 in order to save it.
I suppose it would not be in order for me to move amendment No. 7.
Not without the consent of the sponsors. We will take it that it is not moved.
I move amendment No. 8:—
In sub-section (1), page 5, lines 4 and 5, to delete paragraph (e).
This relates to the officers of vocational education committees. These committees have complete control over their officers, so I think that leaves them in a different position from that of the officers referred to by the Minister. I do not think that he can make the same case with regard to them as he has made with regard to the others.
The case that I want to make on amendments Nos. 8 and 9 is that vocational education committees and committees of agriculture are local authorities. What I said was that I think that the decision taken on paragraph (d), relating to persons employed by local authorities, really covers them. I think the Deputy will agree that, whether they are in or out of this Bill, the procedure that will have to be followed in relation to the officers of vocational education committees and committees of agriculture, should be the same as that for other officers of local authorities.
Frankly, I do not think it makes very much difference whether these amendments are accepted in view of the attitude taken up by the Minister in relation to the other amendments. Already, during the discussion on the various amendments we got from the Minister, I will not say an undertaking—I do not think it would be fair to say that—but a certain statement indicating that it is the Government's intention to provide some sort of alternative machinery to cover various classes and civil servants. Would the Minister dissent from that?
I made a definite statement so far as civil servants are concerned.
I am not suggesting that the Minister gave an undertaking, but I say that he made a statement indicating that the Government had under consideration, or were prepared to consider, some alternative machinery covering the various other classes excluded under Section 4. I do not think that that statement extended to the particular classes covered by these three amendments, one of which is trying to bring wage earners, as distinct from salary earners, within the Bill. As this may have a very distinct bearing not only on the section but on the working of the whole Bill, I would ask the Minister if he is prepared to say whether the Government is prepared to consider the introduction of machinery with a somewhat similar effect—to cover all employees both salaried and wage earners.
I am not in a position to say that. I think I can say that if it should be decided to take action along these lines relating to the staffs of local authorities the officers of vocational education committees and of committees of agriculture would be included.
That does not get us anywhere.
The only point that I made was that the decision covering paragraph (d) should cover paragraphs (e) and (f) because these also are officers of local authorities.
May I say that we do not want to discuss this Bill along that particularly narrow line? We can argue the matter further on the section. In relation to amendment No. 6, I do suggest to the Minister that he failed to make any good case for the exclusion of the classes covered even by amendments Nos. 8 and 9 because, as Deputy Pattison has pointed out, they are in a somewhat different position. The Minister seems to think that they are not but, in any case, it was found necessary to differentiate and distinguish in the section between the employees of the various public bodies and the sub-bodies.
I want to say by way of preface that I am fully behind the spirit of sub-section (e) and I should like the Minister to extend it to other Departments of State. However, that is beside the question now. This provision refers to "an officer or servant of a vocational education committee." Would the Minister accord recognition to a representative of the vocational service? Vocational education officers have an association, as civil servants have an association. The secretaries of such associations speak for the members when they have any complaints to make. Would the Minister so alter this section as to permit the secretary of any of these organisations to act in the capacity indicated in the section? Does the Minister understand my point?
I am afraid I do not. The question is whether these classes of workers are within the scope of the Bill or not. The effect of the insertion of Section 4 is to leave them outside the scope of the Bill.
I may have an opportunity of making my point more clear on another occasion. There is a feeling that it is not proper that officials who are partly or wholly paid by the State, directly or indirectly, should be members of certain committees which have to make representations in connection with their conditions. I want the Minister to amplify sub-section (e) and to allow representation to a person who may not be an officer or servant of the committee but who may act on behalf of those officers and servants.
I am afraid that I do not follow that.
Could we get from the Minister a definite indication that the question of the application of some type of arbitration machinery in respect of employees of local authorities —in the most comprehensive sense of that term—has been under consideration by the Government and, if so, whether the Government contemplate, at a reasonably early date, introducing legislation which would provide for employees of local authorities some type of machinery analogous to the type of machinery we are now providing for the settlement of industrial disputes?
I cannot say that. The Government has taken a decision so far as the Civil Service is concerned. It has not taken a decision so far as the employees of local authorities are concerned.
The Minister has heard the discussion on this section, which has gone on for five hours, and he can be in no doubt as to the viewpoint of the House. Bearing in mind the views expressed, will he give the House an assurance that he will report on the facts to the Government with a view to getting early consideration for the question of establishing some suitable type of arbitration machinery for this class of employee?
The Government will, certainly, be made aware of the views expressed here.
I do not think that that would be much consolation to the people concerned with this aspect of the Bill. I know the feelings not only of the organised employees of local authorities but of many other workers who are interested in this matter of providing machinery to avoid strikes. There is no desire on the part of workers or trade unions for strikes. The whole working-class community are looking forward to something big being done by the Government in this connection. This partitioning of workers will be very unpopular and will serve to increase discontent. The Minister will have to add something to what he has told Deputy Norton before the Bill becomes popular in the country. Immediately the Bill becomes law, it will remain as it is and, like many other statutes passed in bygone days by Governments, it will be a thing to be despised rather than admired. Before this Bill goes on the Statute Book, I hope the Government will be in a position to assure workers who are being excluded that machinery will be set up to give them, at least, the same opportunities as are being given to other workers under this Bill. I say that with all sincerity to the Minister and I hope the Government will give early and favourable consideration to that aspect of the matter.
This Bill comes before us because the Standstill Wages Order is to go out of commission. May I suggest that, so far as the workers who are excluded under this section are concerned, that exclusion is tantamount to retaining the Standstill Wages Order?
They were never subject to Emergency Order No. 260.
They were subject to a form of regulation infinitely worse from their point of view. Those who were subject to the Standstill Wages Order had some redress. The sections who are excluded here are in a much worse position. It is unjust to this section of workers that they should remain subject to conditions worse than were imposed on workers generally by the Standstill Wages Order. We hope that this Bill will work out in a way that will do justice to other sections of workers but I think the Minister will find it impossible to argue convincingly that any justice whatever is being done to this particular class of workers. The Minister has argued all along—and there may be something in the argument—that this is not a type of machinery suited to the grades of workers excluded here. Let us assume that that is so. I suggest that the obligation on the Minister is all the greater to provide, as soon as possible, alternative machinery. This Bill is intended to secure not only more harmonious relations between employers and employees but to secure justice and to avoid the consequences of injustice. You will not be doing equal justice to workers, or for that matter to employers, if you insist on this section and refuse to consider the provision of alternative machinery. I do not think that the Minister would argue that it would be as difficult to provide machinery to settle disputes and rates of remuneration between local authorities and their employees as it was to frame a workable Bill to provide machinery for all sorts of employers and employees. It would be a comparatively simple matter to do as I suggest and I ask the Minister to say that it is the Government's intention to provide, as soon as possible, machinery which will give workers who are now being excluded at least as much benefit as we hope other workers will secure under the Bill when it becomes law.
The Minister ought to look on this matter from the point of view of the value of services rendered. During the emergency we had a Wages Standstill Order. The Minister for Local Government was in charge of almost all the workers not covered by that Order.
He practises a most miserable and reactionary policy in regard to them. Bad as the Standstill Order was, he went much further. Then we had the Minister for Education refusing to sanction a small bonus to the workers and cleaners in vocational schools because the Minister for Local Government had not sanctioned a supplementary bonus for similar employees of county councils and corporations. We do not want a continuance of that overlapping in permanent legislation. There ought to be one court for all workers in the country with a proper code laid down so as not to have one Department or court competing with the other.
I agree that there is much to be said for a universal standard, but it is a matter of practical difficulty how to secure it.
May I put this point to the Minister while we are still discussing the position of employees of local authorities? When we were discussing a previous amendment, the Minister indicated that, as a result of further examination, it might be found that the most effective way of dealing with the manual employees of local authorities would be to apply the provisions of this Bill to them and that, in the long run, that might be found to be a more convenient and efficient way of dealing with their position than by the introduction of special legislation embracing all employees of local authorities. If the Minister has in mind, either the introduction of separate legislation to deal with the position of all employees of local authorities, or of employees who can be described as manual employees of such authorities, it will obviously take some time before that legislation is introduced and passed through both Houses.
I wonder, therefore, if the Minister would implement his intention, in so far as he expressed it, in respect of the manual employees of local authorities by either himself putting in an amendment on the Report Stage or consenting to an amendment moved by a Deputy taking power, by Order, to have the provisions of this Bill applied to the manual employees of local authorities and to other persons who are at present, under Section 4, excluded from its scope? While I dislike legislation by Order in many respects, the advantage of that would be that, if the Minister decides that, in the long run, it would be better to include employees of local authorities under the scope of the Bill, he could do it by Order without the time lag necessary to get a Bill drafted and put through five Stages in this House and four Stages in the Seanad.
The Deputy, I think, is missing an important point. This Bill was framed, throughout all its provisions, on the basis that it would apply only to workers in ordinary private employment. If it were to be extended to workers in public employment, many consequential changes would be required throughout the Bill. Take, for example, the question of the enforcement of a wages agreement. So far as the present practice operates, a local authority in the matter of the payment of wages or remuneration is subject to the Minister for Local Government. If a decision is taken, the local authority is required to give effect to that decision by an Order of the Minister for Local Government. If there was a provision in this Bill by which a registered wages agreement would apply to a local authority, it would have to be applied by some such method. Under this Bill, its application would be by means of proceedings against the local authority which, I think, would be inappropriate. I do not know that anybody here would contemplate the Minister for Industry and Commerce taking a local authority into court because it had failed to carry out a direction of the labour court following a complaint by a trade union that it was not observing a registered agreement.
These are all practical problems which make it a matter of some difficulty to apply a Bill, which was framed in relation to ordinary private employment, to employment in the public service. If we were to contemplate an arrangement by which registered agreements would apply to workers in the service of local authorities, they would be applied by the direction of the Minister for Local Government. I think that, so far as craft workers are concerned, if local authorities could follow the practice of private employers or the agreements made with private employers, that would not be contrary to any direction that might be given by the Department of Local Government. It is clear, however, that if we were to extend the Bill in the manner suggested by Deputy Norton, we could not merely extend it by some simple device, as he suggested. We would have to contemplate substantial amendments running through the whole framework of the Bill.
That is one aspect of the matter. Let us look at another aspect. Suppose, for example, there is a dispute between the Dublin Corporation and its employees in the waterworks section and the waterworks employees are likely to withdraw their labour because a deadlock has been reached with the manager. Supposing the dispute reaches the stage in which labour is likely to be withdrawn and the water service in the city is in danger. Is it not obviously desirable to have some type of machinery by which you could say: "Will both of you agree to have this matter adjudicated upon by some tribunal?" We have no tribunal at present, with the result, as often happens, that the dispute drags on because it is not easy to tie up the loose strings and to get the people together. Would it not be advantageous in circumstances like that that this industrial court would have power under Part VI and under Section 67 to intervene and say: "This is a dispute which concerns all the citizens. We know your points of view in the matter. If both of you consent to submit it to the court, it will give an award which it is hoped will be morally binding on both of you"?
Would it not be an advantage to have a court of this kind for the purposes of Section 64 and Section 67, because it immediately provides machinery which will operate and, I think, will operate effectively? Would it not be advantageous to the Minister, if he is confronted with a situation such as that, to have power for the purpose of getting over that dispute by making an Order bringing the employees of local authorities within the scope of the Bill and enable Part VI and Sections 64 and 67 to operate and, consequently, give to the Minister and the community generally a short cut to the settlement of a dispute which might have serious consequences to the community? By doing that, the Minister would not in any way get into the complications to which he has adverted.
In any case, for the time being at all events, it is a piece of machinery which could work pending the introduction of a different type of machinery, if it is found, on closer examination, that a different type of machinery is more desirable. I put it to the Minister that there is an advantage in taking power to have the provisions of this Bill applied to employees of local authorities. I think it is calculated to get him out of difficulties which might arise on the matter.
I agree that my objection does not apply to Part VI.
Will the Minister take power to apply this to employees of local authorities? The Minister already admitted that, in the long run, it may be best for the manual workers of local authorities. Very frequently it happens with local authorities—I know it happens in County Kildare—that about March or April, if the weather is good, they put a considerable number of road workers at work in a bog. For a number of years there has been friction in regard to the payment made to them for cutting turf, having regard to the rate of payment by Dublin firms in the same area.
That situation has given rise to much heat as between the employees and the county councils. Suppose one of these days a situation arises in which county council road workers on a bog have a dispute with the county council and will not cut turf at the county council rates. You will then have a situation in which a couple of hundred people, at a time when turf ought to be cut, engage in a dispute with their employers and they are people who, if they were not employed by the county council, but were employees of a Dublin firm operating in the same area, could have recourse to the provisions of this Bill and have access to the courts. In a case like that, is it not desirable that the Minister should have power to refer the dispute to the industrial court? I suggest that procedure would bring about a quicker settlement of the dispute. I know of no better type of court that you could get.
I should like to look into that matter, but, when I make that promise, I must not be regarded as committed in any way. If there is to be any amendment which brings a Minister in, that Minister would have to be the Minister for Local Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, once he sets up the organisation, has no further association with it; it functions on its own. He does not intervene to say that it will act in a particular case or not.
Let us say a dispute arises in a bog. Everyone wants it settled. Here is a piece of machinery that will settle it. There will be only one question—what the award of the tribunal will be. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and, presumably, the Government, think that the Electricity Supply Board, Bórd na Móna, or some State organisation of that kind, should accept the principle of abiding by the award of the tribunal in respect of companies largely financed out of the taxpayers' money, would there be any real difficulty in getting the Minister for Local Government, or a normal Minister for Local Government in any case, to say: "All right, I will consent, as every other employer in the country will consent, to have this matter adjudicated by the tribunal, which the Government recommend workers and employers to accept as the most suitable means of settling a dispute." The Minister for Local Government could say: "I do not suggest I am the repository of all the wisdom, and all the canons of justice are not reposing in me". All he has to do is to say: "I permit this tribunal to adjudicate on the matter."
I am not sure there is anything in the Bill which prevents him, if there is agreement between the parties. Under Part VI one party can get the court to function in a trade dispute. If there was agreement, I am not at all sure that the court could not function in any case.
Notwithstanding Section 4? It would not apply to a local authority. Will the Minister have the matter examined, with the view to seeing what can be done, pending the introduction of legislation to make it possible to use the provisions of this Bill in respect of the manual employees of local authorities?
I will look into that. It is quite clear there are possibilities arising out of what I have said but it may be decided that, if anything is to be done, it should be a separate scheme.
In the meantime, the Minister is helpless if any of these disputes arise. My suggestion aims at giving the Minister machinery which, I think, will be found effective. If it is not effective, nobody will use it.
May I remind the Committee that amendment No. 6 was disposed of, amendment No. 7 has gone, and we are dealing with amendment No. 8, which relates to the officers and servants of vocational education committees? There was a long discussion with reference to the employees of local authorities. I think we should proceed.
I could easily have raised the point on the section, but, as we are still dealing with the employees of local authorities, I thought it advisable to introduce it at this stage.
I allowed the Deputy to do so, but I think the Committee might now get back to the matter actually before it.
My object was to save time on the section.
I want to reinforce the point made by Deputy Norton. As the Minister seems to be in a mood to reconsider the matter, might I remind him that, under the First Schedule, he is taking powers to repeal the Industrial Courts Act and the Conciliation Act, which provide, at the moment, machinery for dealing with disputes? When those Acts are repealed, the machinery which exists for the employees of local authorities will have gone and there will be nothing in its place.
Here is a simple illustration. Some years ago the Dublin Corporation had a direct labour scheme for housing, and it was suspended. Now it is being resumed and you may have a position where the Corporation, under its direct labour scheme, will have a number of employees on one side of a road and, on the other side of the road, there will be the employees of a building contractor. Under this Bill the workers employed by the private contractor can ventilate their grievances, but those employed by the local authority cannot avail of its provisions. My point is that at the moment there is some provision under the two Acts I have mentioned for the employees of local authorities, but the Minister is repealing the Acts and putting nothing to replace the machinery that they provide.
That is true.
Is amendment No. 8 being withdrawn?
In view of the trend of the discussion——
If the Deputy will withdraw the amendment, he can reintroduce it on the Report Stage for decision, if it should happen that I have no suggestion to make in the meantime.
Does the Minister propose at any future date to introduce legislation to embrace the employees of local authorities?
I think I have made the most definite statement possible on that matter.
Could the Minister amplify that statement?
It is quite clear the classes covered by (d) (e) and (f) will have to be treated the same; they are all officers of local authorities.
There is this difference, that so far we have been treating the local authorities in the knowledge that they are being administered by county managers, and the staffs are completely removed from the jurisdiction of the elected representatives. With the vocational education authorities the position is different. Here the committee is subject to the overriding authority of the Minister. On the vocational education committee they appoint their staffs, but they are not in the same category as the local authorities we have been discussing up to now—at least, not in the same sense.
The nearest analogy I can make to vocational education authorities would be the statutory bodies that have been allowed into the Bill, bodies such as the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The Minister has allowed those, relating principally to the clerical staffs. I suggest that if the case is a good one to permit those to be allowed under the provisions of the Bill, the employees of vocational education committees would have the same case, as distinct from, say, the Dublin Corporation or any other local authority on the grounds that the vocational education authority employ their own staff and appoint them.
I think the main objections which I advanced to the application of the provisions of this Bill to officers of local authorities would apply equally to officers of vocational education committees—I mean, the nature of the tribunal, the method of enforcement, and so forth. However, it is really in relation to Part VI of the Bill that we have to consider whether it is more useful to use this machinery than any other machinery that might be devised. What I am suggesting is that amendments Nos. 8 and 9, if withdrawn now, can be reintroduced on Report, assuming that I have no proposal to make in relation to these classes; if they are decided now, they cannot be reintroduced on Report.
On the question of the series of amendments, it would be as well, if the Minister is going to consider the matter, to try to get certain things clear. Personally, I do not think it is important that Part III in regard to employment agreements applies. Normally, it is a question of negotiating, outside of the registering of the agreement, and I doubt if any of the authorities will enter into an agreement and deliberately break it, but if they should do so, the Minister has power under the Conditions of Employment Acts to sue the local authorities.
The Deputy is probably right. I could sue a local authority as an employer under the Factories Act.
That is what I say—in relation to conditions of employment. The important Part is Part VI. I can recall only one instance, the last dispute which took place in the Dublin Corporation, when we had a withdrawal of labour. In that particular case it may be recalled there was a high dignitary of the Church who finally intervened and brought about a settlement. Yet, it was open to grave objections because one of the criticisms made by large groups of men, and which led to a certain amount of dissatisfaction, was that because of his exalted position he exercised such influence on their own representatives that they were not able to press the men's claims in the way the men thought they should be pressed. That criticism could not exist in regard to a court of this type. From every point of view, there is, I think, necessity for some court or tribunal to which application could be made, not for agreements for registration but for interpretations, first of all, of the application of agreements made outside the local body and which the local body accepts, and, secondly, in regard even to the application of the local authorities' own terms of employment and, where it is by agreement between the two parties, I cannot see any difficulty. In connection with the point made by the Minister that if we bring them in in regard to Part VI, it involves changes in the whole Bill, surely we could meet that by the Minister taking power to bring them under certain Parts of the Bill?
The point we should make clear to the Minister is, first, that we think this is a suitable court, that we doubt, if he has to bring in separate legislation to deal with local employees, that we will get such a suitable court through that type of legislation, especially when he remembers that very possibly the Minister who will have to pilot that legislation will not be the Minister for Industry and Commerce but the Minister for Local Government. We may have differences with the Minister for Industry and Commerce and we may criticise his Bill, but he has placed this particular discussion on this particular Bill on a different basis from what we have been accustomed to in regard to legislation dealing with local employees during recent years.
In so far as the long title of the Bill deals with the promotion of harmonious relations, we think that is the basis on which we should approach any form of tribunal or court for dealing with the employees of local authorities. We fear very much that if we depart from the basis of our present discussion we may be left, not with a basis of harmonious relations, but with the application of rigid forms of control and set principles which are creating difficulties at present in regard to these employees.
I was referring to amendments Nos. 8, 9 and 10.
I will undertake to introduce an amendment on Report dealing with agricultural workers.
Amendment No. 6 having been defeated, I think amendment No. 12 is meaningless.
I want to put this further point to the Minister. By way of interruption, on the last occasion when we were discussing this Bill, I mentioned that there was a difference so far as local authorities are concerned, between manual workers, such as road workers, carpenters and tradesmen, and clerical employees. That has been amply demonstrated here to-day and the Minister more or less accepts the fact that, so far as certain types of employees of a local authority are concerned, this procedure, if he can fit it within the framework of the Bill, might be the most suitable. I think the time may have arrived when the overriding authority of a Minister of a Department, even the Department of Industry and Commerce — any Department —to have the final decision on the rate of wages should cease. This principle has been adopted in this case for private employers and the success which will attend it is dependent on the extent of the application of the measure and I think it is not beyond the wit of the House to amend this measure in such a way as to remove the technical difficulties.
The fact that the Minister for Local Government comes into it so far as local authorities are concerned and other Ministers in respect of certain other employees, should not prevent this Bill from being so extended and, if necessary, the framework of the court being such that, if necessary, the court could be altered so that—outside the chairman—it would be possible to get a representative of, say, the Department of Local Government and of the workers, either through technical advisers or assessors or whatever scheme might be adopted, and thus enable the court to decide the rate of wages or conditions of work, and so on, or any other matter that would be referred to it.
There is one extraordinary difference which has always manifested itself so far as local employees are concerned, that is, the variation in the rates of wages throughout the country. I can understand that in Dublin and County Dublin, on account of the higher cost of living, and so on, there should be a higher rate of wages but it is an extraordinary fact that there is quite a considerable difference in counties such as Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon, the wages for which were recently given by way of Parliamentary question. There may be certain reasons for that but generally speaking the wages should be the same. If a court of this kind were empowered to consider that matter, I would imagine a far greater level of satisfaction would prevail among employees of local authorities. It would be a fairer method of establishing their claims while at the same time having the responsibility of the Minister for Local Government, or any other Minister, to the community, discharged. I think the community would be satisfied that with the machinery of a court of this kind justice to both sides would be carried out, probably more effectively, than by a Minister deciding himself.
I agree that the case for bringing local authorities under this Bill rests upon the position of the manual workers employed by these authorities.
I move amendment No. 13:—
In sub-section (2), line 49, to delete the word "two" and substitute the word "four".
We had many references to the proposals in the Bill for the constitution of the labour court during the debate on Second Reading, and I came to the conclusion that some at least of the criticisms then voiced were well-founded. The scheme of the Bill originally contemplated a court consisting of three members, with a deputy for each member, the deputy to act when, through illness or other cause, a member was unable to act, and also to act in circumstances in which, because of previous association with the parties in any form in a particular case, a member might be regarded as unsuitable to act.
Deputy O'Sullivan raised one objection to that scheme which, I think, had merit in it, namely, that the individual workers' representative and the individual employers' representative when considering various types of cases would be at a disadvantage in so far as they would not have an opportunity of consulting a colleague of the same mind on some of the complicated issues which might arise. I am proposing, therefore, to amend the Bill so as to provide for a court of five instead of three and dropping the provision for deputy members. That does not mean, and I think should not mean, that five members will necessarily sit on every case. It provides for elasticity. If a case is of major importance, if it is of such a character that the combined wisdom of all five members might be required in relation to it, the chairman can decide that the five shall sit.
If it is a case of less complicated character, three members could sit, and a court of three members would also be possible if the circumstances are such as I had in mind when providing for deputy members, that is to say, where either one of the members, the workers' or employers' representatives, could not act, through illness, or other cause, or where, because of past associations with the parties concerned, it might not be desirable that he should act.
Perhaps I will be allowed at this stage to refer to another point made, namely, the possibility that the volume of business coming to this court would be so great for a period that it may not be able to handle it all expeditiously. There is an amendment later on for the establishment of a second court. I have a very strong objection to that. I think it is an undesirable arrangement from the point of view of securing uniformity of administration, and it is an arrangement also which would create very considerable practical difficulties in the matter of selecting personnel for a second court which might be required for only a very limited period. If my suggestion for the alteration of the constitution of the court from three to five permanent members is accepted, I have in mind introducing on Report Stage an amendment which would permit of the court itself dividing up into two tribunals, if at any time the volume of business was such that it could not be expeditiously discharged by one tribunal, each tribunal consisting of a chairman, a workers' representative and an employers' representative, in the case of the second court, the chairman being the permanent deputy chairman of the court.
There are, so far as I can see, substantial advantages in adopting the amendment I now propose, altering the constitution of the court from three permanent members, with three deputy members, to five permanent members and a deputy chairman. It covers the point of possible consultation to which Deputy O'Sullivan referred. It meets the case I had in mind where there might be some good reason why one of the permanent members should not act on a particular case, the court nevertheless being in a position to function, and it permits of a device by which a rush of business to the court can be expeditiously handled by the splitting of the court into two temporary tribunals.
It seems to me that every argument is in favour of the change and I should like to get the view of the Dáil upon it. It may be that some Deputies will have in mind an entirely different form of tribunal, but having regard to the considerations I mentioned and to the very practical difficulty of securing on a permanent basis suitable personnel for the court, I think the proposition here is the best.
I welcome the amendment, but I cannot say the same about the Minister's arguments. The amendment will be an improvement, but the Minister has certainly filled me with a good deal of uneasiness by a number of things he has said in relation to this court. The Minister deliberately, I think, omitted to mention one of the strongest reasons, if not the main reason, in existing circumstances, for increasing the personnel, certainly on the labour side. I know that there is a practical difficulty there at the moment—we all hope that it may be removed—in that the workers' representative on the court is to be nominated by an association of trade unions, and unfortunately there are two. However, I hope that, when the personnel of the court is being chosen, so far as the Minister is concerned, he will endeavour to have a personnel chosen in such a way as to give the greatest possible measure of confidence in the court to all workers who may be concerned or who may have to come before it.
The Minister said that the chairman is to determine whether the court shall consist of three or five members. The court is to be constituted of five members, but, according to the Minister, the chairman is to decide whether it is necessary to call three or five to the hearing of any particular case. The chairman is to decide the seriousness of the case. I should be very slow to give that power to any chairman.
What is the alternative device? I cannot see that there is any.
I agree that having a court of five members is a very desirable step and my opinion is that this amendment is an improvement, but if it is to be a court of five, let us have a court of five. Let us face the fact that certain conditions obtain to-day on the labour side, and, so far as I know, we have not any unified employers' organisation in the country which can speak for all employers, either. It is quite possible that, if the chairman is to be given this discretion, even assuming that he acts in perfectly good faith, he may choose out of the five the two to sit with him in whom the parties concerned may have the least confidence.
It is unlikely.
He may do it, even in good faith. It is a possibility. I do not say that the chairman would have any desire other than a desire to get the best court he can, but I suggest that if we are to have a court of five, we ought to have a court of five. There will be ample work for them, I think, and a case which, before it comes to hearing may appear to be rather small or trivial, may be a case which involves a very big principle. The chairman may not be able to see that before the case is put in a concrete way before him. I would strongly urge that the court should be a court of five and that the full court should sit on all possible occasions.
I appreciate the Minister's difficulty about a second court. There are very practical difficulties there. There is the question of trying to get some sort of uniformity of decisions arrived at by a court sitting in different parts of the country and dealing with similar cases, but having a different personnel and possibly a completely different approach to the matter involved.
I see that difficulty and, frankly, I do not know how the Minister is going to get over it. I am afraid that this court will be very heavily taxed at the beginning. It is natural, arising out of the circumstances of the last five or six years, and the Standstill Order, that the fullest advantage will be taken of the machinery of the Bill. I hope so. I would strongly object to the chairman being given discretion to decide whether a case was or was not important, and discretion as to whether he would have two colleagues or four colleagues sitting with him. If we are going to have a court of five, it ought to be a court of five.
A number of points arise on the statement the Minister has made. He envisaged a court which would consist of a chairman, with two representatives of employers and two representatives of workers. He threw out the suggestion that he did not like a second court, or a temporary court, and that he was thinking of taking power to break up that court into two, namely, one which would consist I take it of the deputy chairman as chairman of the second court, and two members of the court, presumably one for employers and one for labour. The idea is to deal with any rush of business of the court. I do not know whether there is going to be a rush of business or very little business. I do not think any Deputy is going to prophesy what will occur. Let us look at the end of the road that the Minister is embarking upon. Once he takes away from the court one representative of employers and one representative of workers he has done away with the argument advanced, that owing to the importance of the issue, or the peculiar circumstances of the present time, it was advisable to have a court consisting of two representatives of employers and two representatives of workers with a chairman. In effect what the Minister's suggestion means is, that he would reduce the court to two minor courts. They would not really have what has been urged for the court, sufficient numbers to be able to deliberate. That means that these courts could merely deal with smaller issues.
I should like to put another point to the Minister. The chairman of this court will, no doubt, be a person of considerable experience but, in adjudicating in labour matters, it passes the wit of man to say what is an important issue and what is a minor one. Labour disputes very often start on what looks to be a very trivial issue, but as soon as a case is really opened up, it turns out to be a very complicated one. The next point I wish to make is that I take it the second court would function pari passu with the other court, and that there would not be no question of it being inferior in status. Is that so?
There is no question of inferior status.
They would be sovereign and independent courts on the issues they were trying. That clears up that point. I do not see in the Bill power to appoint a deputy. If there are going to be four representatives, of whom two would be functioning, I think you would want to have a number of representatives who would be fit to serve on that court. Remember that the serious illness of even one of those representatives might hold up labour decisions of the court for a long time. It seems to me that the Minister would have to proceed to take power to appoint a deputy chairman.
Is not that in Section 11? It is in the Bill and also in the amendment.
I see that Deputy Norton is right. I was reading the provision from the narrower statement of the Minister on Section 10. I suppose we have to include Section 11 as well. Perhaps the Minister could tell us how he proposes to appoint those people or what ideas he has there. He would want to take power, in case of illness, to have, at least, four representatives from labour and four from the employers. However, perhaps the Minister would enlighten us on that.
Before we pass from that, there is one matter in which I am interested. In this amendment the Minister proposes to substitute the word "four" instead of "two". I am concerned with this section from the point of view as to what working community these four members will be drawn from under this amendment. We have already two drawn from one organisation of workers. As well as that you have the Irish Trade Union Congress. So far that body does not seem to have got any direct representation although it represents more workers than any other body in this country.
Neither has got any representation yet.
Not officially, but we all know what is going to happen. What I want to ensure is that the union which represents the bulk of the workers in this country will get some representation. I think they are entitled to at least one half.
As far as this amendment is concerned, I think it has the unanimous support of the House. It is certainly desirable that the court should be enlarged so that there can be two representatives of labour and two representatives of employers. That makes for moral support for each side. One representative might find himself at a disadvantage in not having a colleague with whom to consult. For that reason, if for no other, it is most desirable that there should be at least two, particularly when one considers the issues that may be involved and the importance of the organisations which may find themselves in conflict. I am, however, rather puzzled as to how the employers' representatives are going to be nominated.
What organisation is there of employers and how are organisations of employers to be brought together? Then, the further difficulty arises that the largest body of employers in this country are the agriculturists. At the present moment they are completely unorganised. Agricultural employers are very reluctant to organise as employers for a variety of reasons. They are reluctant mainly because the individual farmer, being a very small employer and to a certain extent himself engaged in manual work as a colleague of his employees, feels that such organisation places a barrier between himself and his workers because he will have to organise into a separate union more or less in opposition to them. If, however, as is contemplated, the differences of opinion between the agricultural workers and the farmers are to be settled by this labour court and if the promotion of harmonious relations is to be advanced under the machinery of this Bill, there may be in the future an inducement to agricultural employers to organise themselves in order to co-operate in making this machinery effective. I think myself that it will take a very considerable time before agricultural employers become organised; and, when they do, it will be difficult for them to secure effective representation on the court. There will only be two representatives of employers and it may be rather difficult to secure that one of those shall have a good knowledge of the agricultural employers' difficulties, outlook and problems. I think this particular portion of the Bill—that is, the nomination of employers' representatives—is going to cause enormous difficulty and I am anxious to find out what remedy there is if the members of the court— either the labour representatives, or the employers' representatives, or both— turn out to be wholly unsatisfactory, from the labour point of view or from the employers' point of view. Is there any remedy for that situation? If the representatives of both sides on the court do not properly represent the interests for which they are appointed the whole machinery of the Bill will fall to the ground.
I am in agreement with those who have suggested that it is undesirable to divide the court into two separate courts. The Minister is faced with the difficulty that there may be at the outset a rush of work. Here, he has a choice between two evils. That rush of work may cause a delay. On the other hand, giving the chairman of the court power to divide the court into two would also constitute an evil because the chairman may be tempted to divide the court without perhaps any real justification in order to secure ease of working or to lessen the burden of the work which the court will be called upon to carry out. Dividing the courts would certainly mean a lessening of the number of days and the number of hours during which the court would have to sit. If there were power to divide the court into two I think there would be a temptation on the chairman to decide in favour of dividing the court on any and every opportunity. I think that would be wholly undesirable and I think it is unanimously agreed by the House that the bigger the court the more representative and the better it will be. I think the Minister should reconsider this idea of dividing the court into two.
The fact that this court is being extended from three members to five does not, in my view, limit the difficulties. On the Second Stage it was suggested that because of the fact that a trade union representative, on the one hand, and an employer, on the other, would be sitting on the court without the possibility of consultation with a colleague that might put on such a representative a responsibility which he would not care to take upon himself. While that may be so, particularly with regard to the position at the moment between the two congresses of trade unions, I think it can be assumed that in this court, once it is established, representatives of either labour or employers will not come into court without being adequately briefed on the matters arising. Where certain matters arise, which will place a heavier degree of responsibility on an individual, I think in that case it should be possible to adjourn the proceedings for a short period in order to allow such an individual to consult with his organisation or with particular interests concerned.
The other difficulty I see is the fact that at the moment, so far as the workers are concerned, the two congresses are there. I do not want to introduce any contentious matter into this debate; but unless the workers' representatives of both unions—if this court is made up of five members—are prepared to sink their differences in so far as it is possible to sink them, while acting on the court, and assuming agreement so far as the employers are concerned, I see one great practical difficulty which will arise. It is almost certain that if the differences continue between the two unions you may have a situation in which you will get agreement from one representative of the workers and the employers. While that would be sufficient in a court of five to give a majority in order to secure a decision, it will present the court with the difficulty that outside afterwards another workers' representative will say that he was not a party to the decision, that he does not agree with the decision and that consequently he does not consider that his organisation or the workers should be bound by it. He may adduce very sound reasons to show that the decision is not favourable or that it should not be accepted.
The fact that we have extended the court, while in certain respects it may improve the position, does not I think get away from that double difficulty. There is first the fact that you have two congresses. Then if it is possible for a court of this kind to be established with representatives of employers and workers, these people should be sufficiently well briefed and sufficiently well informed on the issues involved without the necessity of having colleagues there merely to assist them. The fact particularly that you are likely to have representatives of both congresses sitting on the court, increases rather than decreases the difficulty. I should like to hear the views of labour representatives on this question of the two congresses and as to what proposals they may consider necessary to ensure that agreement so far as the workers' side of the court is concerned will be found and that some basis may be established on which differences may be mitigated. I think that is a very grave practical difficulty in the proposal to have a court of five rather than three.
I think everybody will agree that this measure has largely emanated from discussions between the interests concerned. Everybody desires that it should work effectively and efficiently. Consequently I want to deal with the question of the personnel of the court because I believe the same good spirit which produced the Bill will produce an efficient court. I agree entirely that four would be an ideal number but I think also that collective consideration by the full court will ensure the best standards and tend to uniformity in decisions. I can visualise a situation such as the Minister has indicated, where, owing to pressure of work, in order to avoid delay, and also in order that the question at dispute will not be aggravated by delay, it may be necessary to divide the court in the manner indicated. A similar situation arose in connection with the award of military service certificates and it was decided that the board should be divided by reason of pressure of work. Under that arrangement, however, there was a guarantee that there would be a referee subsequently to consider and standardise the decisions of the two branches. If it could be so arranged that after each particular branch had considered the various aspects of cases submitted to them, before a decision was arrived at each section would produce their conclusions to the whole body and that then the whole matter would be considered by the court and a decision given, I think it would meet the difficulties which have been mentioned. Certain aspects may appear to those who had not heard the evidence which will enable them to bring the decision more in conformity with the general ideas of the whole body who had experience previously of meeting in combination as a full court. I think that if the matter were arranged in that way it would get over the difficulties that have been envisaged.
We have got to look on this amendment through amendment No. 16 because the purpose of enlarging the court from three ordinary members to four is indicated pretty well in amendment No. 16 in the Minister's name where the Minister provides that a designated organisation of workers of trade unions shall nominate the workers' representatives and that a designated organisation of employers' reshall nominate the employers' representatives. I am not concerned with the nomination of the employers' representatives because I assume that it will be possible to devise ways and means whereby the Minister will be presented with a list of representative organisations who can be selected to discharge the tasks imposed on them by this sub-section, but I am concerned with what the Minister proposes to do in respect of the workers' nominees, It is unfortunately the position that at present you have two trade union congresses. Nobody deplores that fact more than I do. Nobody yearns more than I do for the reunification of these two congresses and nobody would more hope that the introduction of this Bill and the blending of representatives of the two congresses would induce them to see their difficulties in a different light and that, in that way, they would be morally coerced into what I think is an obvious duty on them, namely, to reunite the two sections into one indivisible unit in the interests of the mass of the workers of the country. I would say there is an obvious duty on both congresses to get this fracture healed at once so that the country may see again a united trade union movement. That is not possible immediately but I think it is not a remote possibility and I believe that some steps might yet be taken to reunite both congresses together on a basis of co-operation which will recognise the existing difficulties and which will try to obviate these difficulties so far as they at present exist.
At the moment, however, we are faced with the position that there are two congresses. Probably the most ruinous thing in connection with this matter would be to appoint two representatives from one congress, no matter which congress it may be. I do not want to make a special claim on behalf of one congress more than another but I suggest to the Minister that sagacity demands the appointment of representatives from these two congresses, that he should appoint one representative from one congress and the other from another.
In that way he would make sure that cases which are likely to be heard by the court will be heard before representatives of each of the congresses. I would hope, too, that the mingling of these two men in the course of time would produce a greater realisation than now appears to prevail as to the mutual character of their respective interests and that in that way you might bring about some leavening in their views which would lead to a settlement of the differences which have existed, in my opinion, far too long. My main concern in this matter is to get from the Minister an indication of what he has in mind. I hope he will be able to tell us that wisdom suggests that both congresses should be represented. I think that if the Minister adopts that course he will be following a line which is certainly wise, a line which I think may make a pretty substantial contribution in its own way towards solving the differences which now exist.
Certain points arise out of the discussion. In the first place, it is intended that the court would ordinarily consist of five members. I think Deputy Morrissey misunderstood my remarks in that regard. Amendment No. 28, Section 19, I think, makes that intention clear, that the reduction of the court from five to three, at the discretion of the chairman, is contemplated only where the circumstances so necessitate, such as the illness of one of the ordinary members, or the possibility that the impartiality of the court might be in doubt by reason of the fact that one of the ordinary members had previous associations which would make it difficult for him to exercise an impartial judgment on a particular issue. On the point of objection to the decision being left to the chairman as to whether the court should be reduced to three in any particular case, I do not see any practical alternative to it. I do not mind who makes the decision so long as it will be made by someone who has to deal with the realities of the situation, and will be concerned only to make this machine work.
Personally, I cannot see any alternative to leaving it to the chairman to decide in a particular case that the court should act with three members. Obviously, if the court meets on a Monday morning, and if one of the ordinary members, either a workers' or employers' representative indicates that he has been taken ill and cannot act, it is only the chairman who can deal with that situation if there is not to be an adjournment. The whole aim must be to get a machine that will keep working, on the principle that it is better that the tribunal should meet and endeavour to dispose of whatever business comes before it rather than that there should be delay in disposing of the business.
Deputy Cosgrave, I think, misunderstands the constitution of the court. He talked about an ordinary member consulting his organisation. That is not contemplated. The members of the court, either those representing workers or employers, will not be representatives of organisations in the sense that he has in mind. They will be representatives of workers and employers chosen through their organisations and will become members of the court. The aim is to have a court that will be able to give a composite opinion, which will be a commonsense opinion, because it will be built up of the separate opinions of workers' and employers' representatives and of the chairman.
I suppose they would consult on occasion the bodies from which they came?
I do not want the Deputy to think of the workers' or employers' representatives who are members of the court as delegates of their organisations. In fact, it is contemplated that they will sever their membership of their organisations when they become members of their court. They will be nominated by the organisations and will then become members of the court, and their obligation will be to assist the court in arriving at commonsense decisions on the basis of their own judgment and not on instructions given by the organisation that sent them there.
It may be hard to divorce them from their traditions.
It is not intended that they should alter their point of view, but it is intended that, on the particular matters that come before them as members of the court, they will exercise an independent judgment, it being fully understood that the workers' representative will have the workers' point of view and the employers' representative the employers point of view.
My suggestion for dealing with the possibility of an unexpected rush of business, making it impossible for a single court to dispose of it expeditiously, that the one court can temporarily divide into two tribunals, seems to me to be a practical method for meeting that particular problem. It is a method that I prefer to that indicated in amendment No. 23 in the names of Deputy Norton and Deputy O'Sullivan. My objection to that amendment is a practical one. If we are to have a second court of five members, which may be required only for a short period, it means getting two trade union officials and two employers, and getting them to sever their connection with their jobs for the purpose of setting up another court which would be required for perhaps only three, four, five or six months. That second court might conceivably function on the basis of different principles from the main court. That particular problem of a rush of work and the need for a second court may not arise at all. If it does arise the burden of the additional work will, I think, fall on the conciliation officer operating under the court rather than on the court itself, but if it should arise it seems to me that a temporary division for disposing of the business quickly—my proposal that the court would divide into two tribunals of three—seems to be the best. I am not saying that these courts would necessarily be as satisfactory as a full court, but I think it would be more satisfactory to have that simple expeditious device of getting rid of the business quickly rather than have the business delayed. If we have to choose between delay in disposing of the business or in constituting another court, I think that this device of having the tribunal divide itself into two, is the better device for the reasons I have mentioned.
Deputy Norton asked as to my intentions regarding the selection of workers' representatives. I should hope that it would be possible to get agreed nominations and I should use my influence to get agreed nominations. I do not want to express an opinion on the question that the Deputy has put to me, namely, that it would be better to have one representative from each of the congresses rather than to have two from one congress. I am not sure that that would work—I mean that the principle of having one from each is going to be acceptable to either. That is a matter that has got to be considered.
It would be a great ease to my mind, if, arising out of the expressions of good will that have appeared recently on this issue, the movement towards reunification should succeed before this matter arises to be dealt with. If that should not prove to be possible, my efforts will be made towards getting some arrangements which will produce agreed nominations. I do not know if that is going to be possible.
Would the Minister say what he has in mind when he says agreed nominations?
People who would be acceptable to each congress.
Or both congresses?
To each or to both. I could not say now and I doubt if anyone could say that one representative of each congress would be acceptable to either congress.
It would be more acceptable than to have two from one.
The Deputy is expressing an opinion on that, and I do not know that that is true. I have deliberately avoided up to the present exploring too far along that line. I think that if we get progress in the machinery of the Bill that something might come of an arrangement to get agreed nominations, or at any rate make possible a procedure which would produce personnel for the court that would be acceptable.
Does the Minister contemplate consulting more than one organisation in this matter?
To consult both congresses. My amendment No. 16 leaves that procedure quite open. I am not attempting to close any door now.
Would the Minister look at paragraph (a), sub-section (4) of amendment No. 16 which speaks of designating the representatives of organisations?
That is wide open. There can be two organisations appointed or one organisation. I am not attempting to close that door at all.
The Minister has been speaking about agreed nominations. If I can interpret his remarks, what he has in mind is that perhaps both organisations would agree to the nomination of two particular persons. It seems to me that these might not be just folk who would be first combatants in the differences which exist, and that two different organisations might, perhaps, agree to the nomination of two people who had been only remotely associated with both congresses, but nevertheless might still have the philosophy and the ideology of workers' representatives. That might work, but I am not too sure that it will work. I am not too sure that, in the long run, when you come to clinch a deal of that kind you will find it as easy to clinch it as the Minister thinks by fashioning the arrangement that he has in mind. What is more likely to happen is that each congress will nominate one of its own representatives and that the Minister will be faced with a position in which the Congress of Irish Trade Unions will nominate a member of its own executive, or one closely in touch with it, and the Irish Trade Union Congress will nominate a member of its executive, or one closely in touch with it. The Minister will then have two persons closely associated with their respective congresses and, perhaps, closely associated with the differences that exist. I think that even that is better than aiming at a situation which will not be possible of realisation.
We must try to ensure that the two workers' representatives will be persons who will have no personal incompatibilities.
Even if they should not be sufficiently sensible to smother any personal bickering or recrimination, I think that the hard realities of the court would have an effacing effect on their differences. Probably, the wiser thing, in the long run, would be to let both congresses nominate a representative each.
Or each nominate a representative for the other.
That might be a risky experiment on an occasion such as this. It might be put to both congresses that, bearing in mind that these two representatives will have to work together, an effort ought to be made to get some compatibility between them. If the selections are made at the same time and one does not know what the other is doing, that will be difficult but I think that both congresses would, on the whole, desire to work this thing to its maximum advantage. Both would see certain advantages in the situation and I think both could be relied upon to select representatives who would work together.
I think that I could name several persons associated with either congress who would be regarded as first-class representatives of the workers but they might not be selected if the question of rivalry were to enter into it.
That is true but I think that it is better frankly to face the difficulties. I do not think that the device of getting two outside persons would work. I think that it is better to have a representative of each congress, hoping that they will submerge their differences, if such exist, and that the realities of the court will morally coerce them into accepting a united workers' view in respect of cases which come forward for deliberation by the court. In the course of time these men will, probably, be brought more closely into contact and that may well be the beginning of the end of the present unfortunate differences. My final plea to the Minister would be to proceed cautiously—I know he will proceed prudently—and be guided by the views of both congresses. It would be a mistake to be needlessly starchy about the matter. The main thing is to ensure that the scheme will work and, if approached sagaciously, I think the differences will prove more apparent than real. The Minister should frankly recognise the differences which exist. This may be the only time when you will have two bodies nominating workers' representatives. It may well be that, within 12 months, only one body will nominate the workers' representatives. The paramount consideration is to get workers' representatives who will look after the workers' interests, think and work as a team, and leave out of the court whatever friction temporarily exists between the two congresses. I hope that that will not exist for long.
The Minister originally envisaged a court of three and now he has an amendment down to provide a court of five. Since he came to that conclusion, he has excepted paragraph (h) of Section 4. That brings the agricultural worker into the scheme. Does he anticipate that the court, as it is to be increased, will be able to deal with agricultural and industrial matters? I wonder if that point has been overlooked.
Originally, I had objection to including agricultural workers inasmuch as it would raise that particular difficulty regarding the constitution of the court. I did, however, withdraw that objection, and I have undertaken to produce an amendment bringing agricultural workers within the appropriate Part of the Bill. I do not think that we can alter the constitution of the court on that account. If the court is one which will be useful to agricultural workers, it will be used. If it will not be useful, it will not be used. That applies to industrial workers as well. It is quite clear that there is as much difference between the circumstances of employment in, say, clerical work, labouring work and dock labour work as between agricultural work and the various forms of industrial work. You could not have a court that would be expert in every class of work. The members of the court will have to rely on their common sense in so far as the problems before them can be resolved by common sense and the use of technical assessors when technical devices and processes of a particular industry are concerned.
I agree with Deputy Norton that, on this particular occasion, we shall have to adopt rather abnormal measures to get a satisfactory court. Ordinarily, the Minister for Industry and Commerce would be in a position in which he would take the persons put forward by the representative trade union organisation and that would end the matter. On this occasion, we must try, by discussion, negotiation and, perhaps, joint conference, if it can be arranged, to get the personnel ac cepted. It will require negotiating ability on my part but, much more, it will require willingness on the part of the two bodies to meet this particular difficulty by not insisting on the nomination of persons who, they know, would be likely to promote antagonism, because of having taken a prominent part in recent controversies with the other congress. I am not without hope of arranging the matter.
There is only one point which I want to put to the Minister. I do not like to put it, but it is necessary to do so. I endorse every word Deputy Norton has said both as a member of the House and as a member of congress. The Minister has spoken in generalities. I should like to put a definite question to him. Suppose all these efforts—which we would like to see succeed—to get agreed nominees fail, does he propose to give representation to each of these bodies?
My answer to that question is that I have yet to find out if either of those bodies would be prepared to act in circumstances in which the power of nomination would be divided. My decision does not settle that question. It is quite clear that the council of each body will itself have to decide if it accepts the position in which both will have a power of nomination rather than either putting forward a claim for sole representation.
Suppose the Irish Trade Union Congress puts forward a claim to nominate both, what would be your reaction? Would you want to give the other people one representative?
I should not like to answer that question because I have not fully considered it. It is a situation which may arise. The alternative to this device would be a temporary arrangement under which some other person, say, the Minister—I should rather he would not be the person— would have the selection of workers' representatives until there would be a unified body to make the nominations.
The court will be in the air if this thing is not settled.
I appreciate that.
I think the Minister will have to make up his mind on this matter before the Final Stages of this Bill. It is all very well for Deputy Norton and myself and other members of the trade union congress to try to meet the difficulties in this matter which the Minister has pointed out. But it is a matter affecting the whole mass of trade union members. We are not discussing this in a vacuum. The Minister is aware that certain things are being done which already have been the subject of comment on our side of the labour movement, and it is well that somebody should state that.
If we have to go back to our people outside and tell them the same thing will be repeated again, we may as well tell them now that the court will not be used. That is why I hope that in this discussion the Minister will definitely say something with regard to the position. But, if he fails in his efforts, which we hope will be successful, and representation is denied to one section of the movement, he will have to face up to the position.
There is at least a possibility, I do not say it is a probability, that there will be one from each.
I think unless the Minister is prepared to say that there will be one from each side it will not be worked. The Minister had better grasp this nettle. It is waste of time to be discussing the further sections and amendments unless we can get clear on that. I am speaking in the most restrained way in this matter and I have tried to do so in respect of this whole dispute. But I think it is necessary to recognise the existing position by saying in respect to this Bill that both congresses shall have at least one nominee each. If you give the right to one congresses to nominate the two representatives you will have friction. If I took a particular view in respect to one congress, because I thought the wisdom lay on its side, I would still say, looking at the thing objectively, that it would be unwise to give that congress the nomination of the two representatives. In the circumstances, I think the Minister should frankly face the position. If he cannot get the two congresses to agree on the two workers' representatives and they cannot agree to have one for each and if the Minister contemplates giving one congress the right to nominate the two workers' representatives, this Bill is so much waste paper Not only is it waste paper. It is the kind of stuff that will give rise to many industrial disputes in this country. The Minister had better face up to that position frankly and say, as he often said before on other matters, that, if they cannot agree, common sense suggests that there should be one from each congress until some such time as they can agree to nominate both representatives jointly and as a reunited movement. I think the Minister ought to say that now.
I should like to give some assistance in this matter, if possible, and I would put this point to the Minister. Assuming that the particular differences which exist at the moment between the two congresses continue, I think the Minister must not fail to realise that, as long as these difference continue, the recent decision of the Supreme Court prevents him or anyone else getting rid of these difficulties by Part III of the Trade Union Act. There is no use imagining that it is possible to overcome these difficulties except by agreement. In the light of that decision, I think all attempts to solve them by legislation will not succeed. That decision is binding for the future, unless, of course, the Minister proposes to amend the Constitution. But, so long as the Constitution remains as it is, no legislation can get over the difficulty which presents itself. It can only be got over by agreement. In view of that decision, the Minister would be well advised to accede to the request of Deputy Norton. I think that is the only way in which differences can be composed. I speak as one who is detached from either of the unions or from the employers. Looking at it as an outsider and realising the effect of the recent decision, I think it is a matter which can only be solved by agreement. No legislative proposals can mitigate the binding effect of that decision.
With regard to the constitution of this court and the suggested increase in the number of members, Deputies should remember that you cannot have everything perfect in this most imperfect world. No matter what legislation the Minister passes, there will be disputes so long as human nature is what it is. I claim to be connected with the trade union movement as long as most of the Labour Deputies. I always like to take a general view of these things. Taking the general view, I consider that in the present conditions in this country we are not in a position to expend large sums of money, especially on work which is unproductive. Increasing the number of the court will mean increased expenditure by the State. Having increased the number, what guarantee is there that you will increase the efficiency of the court?
I have heard it stated that the reason for increasing the number from three to five is that the labour representative would like to have a colleague there with whom he could consult on matters coming before the court. On the other hand, I have paid particular attention to the explanation given by the Minister, with which I agree, that the members of the court, whether employers or employees, must disconnect themselves completely from the workers' and employers' point of view and, while paying attention to the views propounded by the representatives of the workers and the employers who will be giving evidence before the court, must consider the position of the country generally. I should like to remind Deputies that there are other people in this country besides trade unionists and employers. We have to consider the whole position as it affects the country in general. Therefore, no matter how this court is constituted, it will not be perfect; you must take certain risks.
It has been suggested that one court will not be sufficient. There, again, people in this country must have patience. We are the funniest people in the world. We want to get everything done overnight. Rome was not built in a day. A position could arise where, instead of two courts being necessary, you would want about 50, because you might have applications from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Dundalk, Drogheda, and other industrial centres, each wanting the cases decided overnight, so that you would want to have courts all over the country to dispose of the cases. Therefore, I say that we will have to take certain risks. We will have to operate the machinery contained in this Bill and see how it will work. I hope it will work, but, as the Scotsman says, "I ha'e me doots." I have doubts also whether this Bill, even with the unanimous support of this House, will be successful in achieving the objects which it sets out to achieve.
Deputy Norton has referred to the two trade union congresses existing in this country. Nobody deplores the position more than I do, and nobody sympathises more with the views expressed by Deputy Norton than I do. But one must face facts. Who is responsible for this dissension and division? Certainly not the rank and file, and I am sorry to inform Deputy Norton and others that I have very little hope—I hope it will be healed— of this split being healed, either now or in the near future, judging by the statements that have appeared in the Press during the last few weeks. But that is beside the question. This country has to carry on; it has to exist whether the leaders of the two trade unions agree or not agree. If they do not, and if the Minister cannot find agreement as between the two in regard to the selection of these representatives, what is to prevent the Minister from getting representatives outside them altogether? Surely, there are sufficient men who know as much about the workers' grievances here, and who would be prepared, until these two parties come to some agreement, to sit on that court and do the job for which they will be paid— that is, to settle disputes?
You cannot have everything perfect in this imperfect world. You cannot guard against every contingency. This Bill cannot be held up on the plea that the Minister, in order to ensure its success, will have to appoint one representative from amongst the Irish unions and another representative from amongst the unions that are partly affiliated here and partly affiliated with the unions on the far side. That is the position as I see it, but again I want to emphasise that when this Bill starts to function, amongst other things it will determine wages and conditions that will appertain in industrial concerns in this country, including the agricultural industry. I wish it every success.
There is nobody more than I who wishes that there should be peace and harmony prevailing in so far as the working classes are concerned, because we cannot afford strikes and lock-outs. But I want to be honest about it. We have always to keep before our mind's eye the general position that exists in this little country of ours, where you have thousands of people who are living on practically no wages, who receive a few bob from unemployment assistance and other sources. However, there is no use going into that.
It is as well to remind Deputies that, if and when the court is constituted, the members of that court, if they are to do their duties conscientiously and distribute justice evenly, will have to take into consideration quite a number of matters, in addition to the ones to which I have referred. Therefore, it should not matter a thrawneen to the workers' representatives, up to a point, as to who shall constitute this court, because they will have their representatives to put up their case, whether they have representatives on the court or not. The employers will have the same and the case will be argued there just as in an ordinary court of law. Therefore, we should not pay too much attention as to whether we will have a representative from each of the trade union congresses that have sat during the past few weeks.
The main thing is to get the machinery going. I sympathise with the opinions expressed by Deputy Norton and also Deputy Larkin, but I want totally to dissociate myself from, because I disagree with, the view expressed by Deputy Larkin, that this Bill cannot operate unless the Minister gives a certain guarantee. That is not a very good attitude to adopt. The hearts of the rank and file of the workers are sound. There are men of commonsense to be found within the trade unions and my advice to the leaders of these trade unions, not to the rank and file, is to get together and settle their differences. There are really no differences; it is all a matter of pique. I am almost half a century connected with trade unions. I have a certain amount of experience of them and I say it is up to them, in the interests of the workers they represent, to settle their differences and make the whole position easy so far as representation of this court is concerned.
I am afraid I cannot entirely agree with my colleague in his closing remarks. I agree with Deputy Norton and Deputy Larkin that we have to face, on this particular section, the facts as they are, because we all know that on the section the fate of this court depends. We have to realise that there is a definite split, and a rather bitter split, between the two sections of trade unions in this country, and when we are talking about our hopes for an early unification of the two congresses, I do not think we are facing the facts. Those of us who know anything about it know that this difference did not flare up over-night. We know the seeds of that difference were laid a quarter of a country ago, at least, and we know that it was only brought into full effect by the encouragement given to it—let me say quite frankly—by the Minister.
Since the split came about, the Minister has shown complete partiality and has thrown, as far as he could, all his weight on the one side. I think, if it were not for the encouragement given by the Minister to that one side, that the break might not have come about at all, and certainly it would not have got the force behind it that, unfortunately, it did get. I am not saying that to make the position anything worse; I am saying it because I realise, as I think the Minister and everyone else does, that unless we get the complete confidence of the organised workers behind this court, we are, as Deputy Norton said, completely wasting our time. Having in their minds what has happened, so far as the Minister's relations with the trade unions for the last four or five years are concerned, does the Minister or anybody else think that over more than half the organised workers are going to have confidence in a court nominated by the Minister?
We see the difficulties the Minister put before us. We would all like to see agreed representatives, but I have no hesitation whatever in saying that unless the Minister gives equal rights, so far as the constitution of this court is concerned, to each congress, then there will be no confidence whatever by a very big section of the organised workers in this court and they will not take advantage of it. It is no pleasure to me to have to speak in this strain, but there is no use in deceiving ourselves.
We are not going to achieve anything either for the unification or reunification of the trade union movement, nor are we going to beget confidence in this court, by ignoring the practical difficulties that exist. I do not think that Deputy Larkin has gone one bit too far in asking for an explicit statement from the Minister as to how he intends to select, because, in fact, it is the Minister who is going to select the labour representatives of this court and, of course, also the employers' representative. In fact, it is the Minister who will do it, and I think we are entitled, if we are serious about our work, to have from the Minister a clear and explicit statement as to his intentions and how he proposes to proceed.
I agree fully with the view that this court will be used only by parties who have confidence in it. If we are going to achieve our full aims, we must try to get a court that all the parties will have confidence in. Deputy Morrissey, in his anxiety to blame the Government for anything——
——is going too far when he tries to blame me for the developments within the trade union movement.
You had a big hand in it.
This anxiety to put on the Government the onus for everything that happens leads Deputies opposite into most ridiculous positions. Whatever development did occur, it is quite true that when I had to make a decision between one and the other, I made the decision according to my own judgement. I could not do it on any other basis. It was most unsatisfactory to me that the issues arose at all and that the administration of the Department I am responsible for was complicated by that situation. I think I have done everything possible in my power to end or to assist in ending it, and I do not at all agree with Deputy Morrissey that the situation is as intractable as he suggests.
I know a fair amount about it and the history of it.
I think that, apart from any fresh difficulties that may have been aroused by recent statements in that connection, which added some heat to the position, there do not exist fundamental problems that are insoluble. My own view is that if the inevitable difficulties for individuals which are the result of a division of that kind could be kept out of the situation, there is a possibility of ending it, although I must agree that the possibility may not be availed of in the immediate future, certainly may not be availed of before this Bill is brought into operation.
Now, I am asked for a definite indication of what I propose to do. I think it would be unwise to give that definite indication at this stage. I do not think I could give a definite indication that would not be in fact a commitment against the point of view that may be advanced by one or other of the parties. If any Deputy has an alternative method to suggest to that which is proposed here for the selection of the workers' representatives on this court, I will be very glad to consider it. If it is a method that will be agreed by the parties that will have to apply it, so much to the good. For my point of view, my intention is to endeavour to get this court constituted as far as the workers' members are concerned by agreement. I am not without hope that agreement will be possible. If agreement is not possible on the actual individuals to be chosen, then we will have to explore the possibility of getting some other arrangement for their nomination which will be acceptable to both parties.
I want to intervene to remove any impression that may be created elsewhere through the country as a result of the statement made by Deputy Morrissey. He said, in the course of his speech, that the seeds of the present regrettable situation in the trade union movement were sown some 25 years ago. It shows that Deputy Morrissey is completely out of touch with the trade union movement. They were not sown even five years ago. They were sown only in recent times.
Deputy Morrissey ought to know. He was in the movement 25 years ago.
I still think the Minister is adopting a line on this which is quite unwise because, immediately, he is creating very considerable suspicion about the composition of these courts by his reluctance to disclose what his real intentions are.
I have not got intentions except those I have announced. May I say this to Deputy Norton: I would be very glad to get his co-operation in the effort I intend to make to try to get agreed nominations?
I think the Minister knows already that I have been perfectly willing to do everything that is possible in this whole business. I am still willing to do it. But, suppose we try every means by which we can get agreed nominations and suppose they fail? I hope they will not fail. Does not the Minister recognise that this court will not be used and that, instead, he will create a solid phalanx of opinion that this court is weighted against certain trade unions unless he can get both congresses represented in the personnel of the court? Will the Minister agree that this will not work unless both congresses have confidence about personnel?
Yes, well—there are possibilities, of course, in other directions. I assume there are trade unions or persons who would be regarded as suitable representatives of the workers' point of view in an organisation of this kind which may not be affiliated to either congress.
If that were the only point at issue I would not be worried about that. I think you can find two people in both congresses—dozens of people in both congresses—who would agree with one another. That is not the point I am concerned about. I am concerned about the Minister's earlier statement that one congress might not operate this court unless the selection of the workers' representatives was made from one congress.
That is the point.
That is the danger. On the question of compatibility, I would fill this place in an hour's time with people in both congresses who can agree with one another because, except for certain people, the divisions are not deep personally but the real difficulty is that the Minister said one congress might not operate this court unless it is entitled to nominate both representatives.
I do not know where the Minister got that fear, but I want to say to him that, so far as I know, nothing was said by the Irish Trade Union Congress which gave him any grounds for saying that. Did he get that fear from the other congress?
What I said was, I have not explored the situation, but that possibility is there. My own intelligence tells me that. Nobody else has told me. What I want to say is this: it is quite clear that if an attempt to get agreed nomination does not succeed, we will have to see what the situation is then. If the proposition is that there should be one from each congress. I can conceive circumstances in which it will be accepted by neither, in which case it would be obviously foolish for us to commit ourselves to that.
In which case the Bill is dead.
I do not agree. I agree it will be used only to the extent trade unions of workers feel they are going to get a fair deal from this tribunal.
If one congress said, "We will not work this court unless we are entitled to make both nominations," and if the Minister's view was that representation of the workers should be shared by both, would the Minister contemplate setting up a court in which the workers' representatives would be drawn from one congress only, although that very fact would obviously deny the other unions affiliated to another congress the use of that court? Would the Minister contemplate doing that?
The Deputy, I think, is unwise in trying to force me into a position of answering that question now.
It is what the Minister said that makes me suspicious.
I will try to remove the Deputy's suspicion by inviting him to act with me at all stages of this business in endeavouring to get an arrangement that will ensure confidence in the court in everybody who may have to use it. I think that it is not a matter of how the representatives are chosen so much as the personalities of the representatives themselves and the confidence which their presence on the court will give to those who may have a case to bring before it that will determine the use that will be made of it. I think we are perhaps attaching too much importance to the procedure and too little to the results of the procedure. It is the result of the procedure which matters—the personalities which emerge from whatever action is taken to constitute the workers' side of this court. It would, perhaps, be misleading to say I have not given the matter consideration. I have given it a great deal of consideration, but have decided that it would be unwise to come to any decisions until we had explored the possibilities of agreement, and until we had investigated the probable consequences of any alternative action.
I am not worried about the difficulties of the Government as to compatibility of temperament between the representatives of both congresses. I am worried about what the Minister says, that this Bill might not operate because one congress would want to put on the two workers' representatives. Does he contemplate agreeing to a claim of that kind by one congress?
That is not quite the point I put. I said that, if that should happen, it is quite obvious that the division as was originally suggested does not solve any problems for me.
I make this suggestion, and I make it entirely on my own without committing anybody, and perhaps, not even anchoring myself very firmly to it. The Minister might between now and the time this Bill passes the Oireachtas ask both congresses to apply their minds to the selection of a representative.
I intend to do that.
If both agree, next week or in a fortnight's time, to appoint a representative, the difficulty can be got over, assuming that there is satisfaction in the matter of compatibility and that they accept the principle of one representative each. The Minister could then simply schedule the two representatives in the Bill, as was done in the case of the 1929 Civil Service Act, on a suggestion of mine, in order to get over a similar difficulty.
Put the names of the individuals in the Bill?
I would have to have complete agreement because, otherwise, their merits might be a matter of debate.
I suggest the method by which both congresses would be asked to get on with the job of selecting a representative and, these two people having been selected, of scheduling them, if the Minister is satisfied with them, in the Bill. That would get over the whole difficulty and prevent the possibility that, when this Bill has passed after our wasting days on it, we would find the whole thing up in the air. The Minister might give some consideration to that. I accept his assurance that he is anxious to get over the difficulty, but I want again to emphasise the necessity for giving both sides confidence in the court, and getting both sides to appreciate that, so far as everybody with common sense is concerned, they hope that this is the first and last time that there will have to be dual representation of the workers' interest on the workers' side of the court.
I appreciate that the Minister does want to get a court that will enjoy confidence, but it seems to be taken for granted that those of us who speak on these benches and who seek to assist the Minister in having this proposal made acceptable have a nice easy path in front of us. It is as well to make it clear that there is still quite a good deal of opposition to the whole principle of the Bill. It is not in any way so definitely accepted on the part, not of officials of unions but of the ordinary members, and a little weighting one way or another might destroy any chance we have of getting it accepted.
This discussion has been most regrettable because it will give certain impressions to the ordinary members of trade unions with regard to the Minister's intentions or lack of intentions, impressions which may or may not be correct, but, in either case, it would have been better if we could have avoided this whole line of discussion. All I am concerned about at the moment is that, no matter how much those of use who have assisted in the consultations and in the discussions here may try to appreciate the viewpoint put by the Minister to-day, round and about us there is a large mass of the ordinary members of the unions who have certain very clearly defined ideas. The definition of these ideas has been greatly assisted by the Minister himself in recent weeks, and we cannot, merely by a wave of the hand, sweep away very strongly implanted suspicions that the Minister himself has put there.
We want to do it; we want to help him to get this Bill above those suspicions; but we can only do it if he is prepared to try to assist us. I would not be speaking outside the viewpoint of the trade union congress if I said that all we require is that there will be equality of representation. We have no objection whatever to a representative from either of the two bodies being appointed. We are quite prepared to accept that. But does that mean that if we accept that basis and if there is objection or opposition from another direction, our representation will be denied to us? We want some answer to that question. We are entitled to it on the basis of what has gone before and it is not fair for the Minister to ask us to wait. Even the suggestion made by Deputy Norton will not remove the bad taste which this discussion will leave in the mouths of many of our ordinary members.
Those of us who had closer contact with the Minister in the consultations may feel a little more reassured, but the great mass of members of the trade union congress are not acquainted with what has gone on, and many of them have interpreted this, and have spoken their minds in this respect, as another intrusion on the part of the Government into the affairs of trade unions. At our conference the other day, there was a resolution on the agenda instructing the national executive not to have anything to do with the Bill. The resolution was not carried, but there was a great deal of support for it. Does the Minister want to add to that by continuing a line which has shown a certain partiality in the matter of affording representation to these two bodies and which came to a head in a recent case in regard to certain localities?
I do not want to enter into that field of discussion but the Minister is in a position to say definitely that, so far as he is charged with responsibility for getting this court working, he will take the line of saying that both groups will be afforded representation, and that if, on one side, there is any determination to throw spanners into the works by insisting on a right to sole representation, he will not accept it. We do not ask for it on behalf of the Irish Trade Union Congress. I do not think that anybody else should ask for it, but we want to be assured, because that demand will be made, that the Minister will not give way to it.
The Deputy will understand that it would be an easy thing for me to say here that there will be one from each. That would relieve me of any further responsibility, but I do not think it necessarily ends the problem because there are alternative methods which may emerge from negotiation by which agreement could be reached other than the method the Deputy has suggested.
Assuming that no agreement is reached, can we have the statement from the Minister that he will not put on the court two representatives of one congress in face of a protest by the other; in other words, that he will not load the workers' side of the court with the representatives of one congress in face of a protest by the other? Is that not a simple question?
I do not want Deputies to think that I am trying to dodge this issue. Perhaps it is true to say that I am trying to dodge this issue, because I think it is unwise to bring it to a conclusion now. In the discussions and negotiations before this stage, I could have tried to reach agreement either on individuals or on procedure, but I did not do so, because I felt that if that attempt failed and everybody at this stage knew of its failure, it would be a matter of difficulty to get a court constituted on any basis. I think we should still have proceeded on some basis of getting suitable workers' representatives by other means than those proposed here. I felt that this situation, however, was a temporary one and that the legislation should be as I am proposing.
If, however, we proceed on that basis, it is clear that these discussions and consultations I have in mind must take place and must take place before the court can be constituted. If they result in agreement, that will solve it; if they do not, it will be my obligation, as I see it, to put various alternatives which might result, if not in agreement on individuals, in agreement on procedure, and it is in that task of devising alternatives, either as to personalities or procedure, that I should be glad of the co-operation of Deputy Norton, with his prestige as Leader of the Labour Party.
The Minister still refuses to answer the question put to him. If all efforts fail, will you put two representatives on the court who would be regarded as representing only one side of the movement as against another?
It is more than that.
would the Minister not think it unfair to do so? Would he be prepared to say that it would be unfair?
I do not think it is quite fair to put on me the whole onus.
Whom will we put it on?
On the parties themselves.
Supposing every effort has been exhausted to try to get agreement, and it cannot be got, what then? Does the Minister contemplate having two representatives of one congress and no representative of the other, and that in defiance of the complaint of one congress?
If the alternative is to have no one nominated by anybody, what am I to do? I cannot answer hypothetical questions, because they are not all the question that could arise. I gave one illustration. If one congress says: "Unless you proceed on the basis of having both members of the court appointed on the nomination of this congress, we will not nominate anyone," I am then in this situation, that I must have two from one, or have no court, unless we can by negotiation get an alternative.
The Minister is not bound to have two from one congress if he thinks that an unjust procedure. It is unjust to pack the workers' side with two representatives of one congress, in defiance of another congress. We want to make this court work. The Minister does not want to have injustice, merely because it works.
We do not want to commit ourselves to procedure that may not work at all.
Whether you like it or not, I think you will create suspicion, inasmuch as in the long run one congress may be presented with a situation when they will have no representative, while the other will have two.
It may help to allay suspicion if I invite them there at all stages.
Would the Minister be prepared to say that having two representatives of one congress and none for the other would be unfair?
I want to get representatives that will be acceptable to both. I am quite certain I could write down half a dozen names, at this stage, of people of whom it would be said by both congresses that they were excellent members; that if they were on the court they would have no suspicion that they would be in any way prejudiced against them, because of this division. That is the line I could adopt. If they can relive me of the responsibility of nominating anyone, and agree amongst themselves as to certain people who would be acceptable to both congresses, I would prefer that. If that was impracticable, I would proceed on the other basis, naming people myself to see how far we could get. If none of these procedures be successful we will have to try something else.
There are two ways of dealing with the matter. The Minister can make nominations.
That is a way I wish to avoid.
The Minister is falling back on having nominations made by organisations of workers. It is not a question whether he is going to ensure representation to each organisation. It is much less than that. Take it for granted that there is difficulty in getting two organisations to make nominations. The Minister then seeks various means to try to get acceptance by both parties. It is quite possible that he might get two persons, not closely connected with any organisation, who would be acceptable to both organisations. The question I asked was not whether the Minister would select representatives guaranteeing representations to people in the organisations, but a more simple one. If he does arrive at two names, and if they happen to be the subject of protest from one organisation, does he still propose to keep them on?
The device of having two workers' representatives, by getting one nominated from each congress, is a device which would be acceptable to me if acceptable to the congresses. I must put in that provision " if acceptable to the congresses."
They may not be acceptable. It may be possible that the Minister will take two representatives of the Irish Trade Union Congress. I still maintain that if the Council of Irish Trade Unions object to these people, they are entitled to object. What I am asking is, if we fail in the way the Minister envisages, is he going to put on two people to whom there may be objection from one organisation? They may be from the Congress or from the Council of Irish Trade Unions. I say that the Council of Irish Trade Unions has as much right to object to two persons being put on as the Trade Union Congress would if the position was reversed. All I want is that the ordinary rank and file of the organisations will be satisfied that the court is not weighted against them. If we cannot get an answer to that question, on it, to a large extent, depends acceptance of the Bill.
I appreciate that.
The Minister said that the device of accepting a representative from each organisation would be acceptable to him if it were acceptable to the two congresses. Suppose this device is tried, and that one congress says it is acceptable to them, and the other says it is not acceptable, what will be the position if the first congress say they want two representatives? Does the Minister in that situation contemplate yielding to the second congress that it must get two, when he himself is satisfied it should have one and the other congress one?
What would the Deputy do in a situation like that?
I would say give them one each until such time as they have enough sense to become one congress.
Supposing one congress says, "Our agreement to nominate anybody is conditional on our nominating both," that leaves me in the situation then that I have to take either two nominations from that congress or two from the other congress. The one each does not arise in those circumstances.
I do not think he is competent to take two from either because he might very well get a nomination for the second person from a body not affiliated to either. In one particular case you are asked to take two. The fact that you take two is for the convenience of your own court and because of the obdurate character of the other members. If the Minister accepts the principle of one each and one congress says it wants two and that it is unfair not to give them two——
It is not a question as to whether it is unfair. It is a question, in fact, as to whether it will arise.
If it does arise what will be done? I think it is obviously in the interests of each congress to get representatives nominated to this court and that both nominees will be acceptable to each congress. Will you not give an assurance now that you will not allow one congress to dominate the court?
Will the Deputy please address the Chair? The trouble is that in an amicable discussion it is all very nice but you might get a different type of discussion, directly addressed to the Minister, which would not be so nice.
What I want to ask the Minister is—will he give an assurance that one congress will not be allowed to dominate the court in defiance of the other? I cannot imagine anything simpler.
Will the Deputy give me an assurance that the situation will not arise in which I shall have no alternative except to work with one congress?
That is begging the question.
I say it is the Deputy who is begging the question.
Suppose one congress is satisfied with one and another congress says, "No, we will have to have two," is the Minister going to permit that congress, against his own better judgment and the judgment of the other congress, to dominate the court? What is he going to do in that eventuality? Is that the position he is going to adopt?
No. The position is that we want to have agreed nominations. If that fails, we shall come to the possibility of accepting agreed nominations proposed by you and me jointly. The third possibility then is, if these first two fail, having one from each. That arrangement would be quite acceptable from my point of view, if it works.
I am satisfied both congresses should have representation on the court. The Minister accepts that principle. That is the fair thing to do in the Minister's view. But suppose one congress refuses to accept that and says that that is unfair, what then is the position?
If it does not work, what happens? If it does not work that device cannot be adopted.
The device of splitting the representation between the two.
Look at the alternative then. I can imagine the Minister saying: "O.K. there will be no court until such time as you agree". That is the original line of thought. If they cannot agree, then leave the court alone. It will not function. It will not function on the basis of an injustice being done by one congress to another and will not operate on the basis of a "stuffed" court.
I would not like to take the alternative of having no court at all.
Is not the Minister surrendering to the people who want to bully him in the matter? He accepts one and a particular congress accepts one; but another congress says: "No, no, we are going to have two" and, because it says that, is it going to be allowed to get away with it?
If that situation should arise and one congress says: "We will appoint both, or none", I am obviously then in the position in which both will, in fact, be nominated by one congress—either that one or another one. As an alternative to that, the Deputy wants me to say I will not have any court at all.
Are you prepared to say to the body that says: "We will not make any nomination unless we are allowed to make two nominations" that you will not accept that, but that you will be quite prepared to accept two from the body which is satisfied to give you one, but will give you two if need be?
That is a hypothetical question and I do not think that I should be asked to answer it.
The Minister made selection and his hand was quite clearly seen.
I did not make selections of individuals.
It is a question of selecting them from a particular organisation.
The Government had to choose an organisation to nominate workers' representatives at the International Labour Conference. It was quite obvious to me, no matter which congress was nominated, the other was going to object. In order to minimise the possibility of dissatisfaction with the selection we had to make our choice on the basis of certain facts and it was on the basis of those facts that we made our choice.
I have made no secret of my personal views on some of the issues involved in the dispute, nor do I want to conceal them now in any way. In that particular case the Government came to a decision upon the facts and those facts related to the representative capacity of each congress.
Before we go into that matter, I think we ought not to allow the debate to develop along that line. I think Deputy Norton is putting up a perfectly reasonable case.
The Deputy started this argument and he may as well finish it now. Let us have his suggestion.
If the Minister wants me to go into the whole business and create still more distrust than exists already I shall certainly do so. The Minister suggested a while ago that my only purpose was to score a point against Fianna Fáil. I would be quite willing to go into the matter and the part the Minister played in it.
Let us have the Deputy's suggestion.
The Minister was agreeable to the idea that there was to be one nomination from each congress. If one congress refuses to give any nomination unless it gets both, I would go so far in that case as to say that the Minister should accept the nomination from the congress prepared to give it and that he should then be given power to make a further nomination himself. I think that is a more reasonable way out of the difficulty than some of the suggestions that have been made here to-day. It was merely for the purpose of making that suggestion that I intervened at this stage. We have got to face the fact that there is a danger, to say the least of it, of one congress dominating the situation in being allowed to nominate two members of this court. There was certainly a suggestion of that before this amendment was introduced. That was the original intention. I think, from what has taken place hitherto, we can fairly infer which of the two congresses would be asked to make nominations.
The Deputy is trying to cause the maximum amount of trouble. That is the only thing he is trying to do. As Deputy Larkin said, it might have been wiser not to have had this debate to-day. Deputy Morrissey started it. He can now finish it.
I did not start it. I am not satisfied with the way the Minister is dealing with this question because he has refused to face up to the practical difficulties that are there. He tries to deceive himself and the House, but he will not deceive me. As to whether the Minister knows more about it than I do, I probably have had a much longer and more intimate association with the trade union movement than the Minister. I certainly am motivated by no desire to "throw a spanner into the works" in order to upset this machinery. It is because I want to see whatever has to be cleared away, cleared away here and now and give this Bill some chance of operating that I want to put before the House the facts up to which it will have to face. I know the Minister's tactics quite well. Whenever the Minister is in a difficulty he always drags a red herring across the trail. The Minister has been pressed for an answer. He has refused all the morning to face up to the question and to give an answer.
Is it beyond the wit of the Minister to find, either inside or outside the congresses, two members for this court who will see that the workers' point of view is put fairly and squarely before that court, that there will be two men on that court who will understand the trade union point of view and will be able to voice it? If the desire is to do that and to find these two persons, then that can be done. If either or both congresses are going to do anything to prevent this machinery working, then either or both congresses should be ignored if necessary. Are we going to be put into the position in regard to this machinery, which may be of tremendous use in regard to our industrial relations and which may obviate disputes, strike and bitterness, that one section of trade unions can hold up the whole thing and make it unworkable? These are the questions the Minister has to answer. It is not a sufficient answer to this House or to the people directly concerned to abuse me.
I think it is immaterial whether Deputy Morrissey or any other Deputy started this discussion because I want to make it quite clear that we had definite instructions to get a reply to the question put to the Minister. Whether or not it was started by Deputy Morrissey, that question was going to be put. Does the Minister realise the point now? We have got two bodies. He now says that if each of these bodies is prepared to nominate a person to act on the court that is satisfactory but if one of the bodies says, "No, we want the two representatives," he may possibly give the two representatives to that body. Does he not realise—I do not want to cloak anything—that he is now inviting one of these bodies to take nothing less than two representatives?
Not only that, but he is making it plainer, that if that happens in the case of the Irish Trade Union Congress, if they ask for two representatives, they certainly will not be given them, but if the demand is from the Congress of Irish Unions they will be given two representatives. Is that the kind of position we are going to create round the Bill? The Minister has asked for suggestions. A very simple one has been put to him by Deputy Norton, that we should have a fair and equitable distribution —one representative from each of the bodies. If either of the bodies should be so arbitrary as to try to deny to the other body the ordinary democratic right of having a representative on the court and to say that it wants the two representatives, then Deputy Norton suggests that the Minister's attitude should be to say to that body: "You will be allowed to take no part in the court until you change your views. I will appoint the two representatives from the other body." I am quite prepared to say that that would be the attitude of the Irish Trade Union Congress. The Minister is now inviting one of the congresses to say: "We want the two representatives," knowing that if they take up that attitude there is a 50-50 chance of their getting two representatives. In the situation we are now facing in this country, the chances are 10 to 1 that the Congress of Irish Unions will get the two representatives.
I do not think that is a fair representation of the position. I stated that my intention was to endeavour to get first of all agreed nominations. I would not be inclined to be so pessimistic as to the outcome of that attempt as other Deputies who have spoken. I am assuming that the inclination will be to try to proceed on that basis.
I am not pessimistic either but, in the event of everything failing, what will happen?
If that fails, the next attempt will be not to get agreed nominations but the acceptance of names that might be proposed by disinterested parties in the matter. What I have said is that if these efforts to get agreement on one basis or the other do not succeed, an arrangement by which one member would be nominated by each congress is acceptable to me. I want to be clear that there is no question about that. As far as I am concerned, I hope when we reach that stage that there will be no difficulty in proceeding on that line. If that does not succeed, may I say that the suggestion made by Deputy Morrissey would be completely unworkable because it would be tantamount to issuing an ultimatum to one of the bodies and in effect saying to them that we did not want them to use the court? If that does not succeed, I shall be put in a position that I do not want to be in, but a position I do not know how to get out of. You do not get nearer a solution of that situation by demanding replies to hypothetical questions now. If the situation arises in which, despite all our efforts to get agreement, we cannot even proceed on the basis of having one nomination from each congress, what is the alternative? Is it not clearly to put on nominees from one congress or the other? Is there any alternative unless both congresses might then agree to accept persons that I might nominate and regard them as their nominations?
Does the Minister see what he is doing? He says he would like to get one representative from each congress but if one congress will not accept that, then he says he has to get two representatives from one of the congresses. From which congress is he going to appoint these two representatives? Is it the one that demands the two or is it the one which is satisfied with one? What the Minister said previously is putting a definite premium on some congress saying: "We demand two representatives," because he is saying if they demand two——
There is, at least, a third course open.
We are faced with a situation where all efforts to get agreement fails. Then there is the question of taking one representative from each and that also fails. Then one of the congresses says: "We will make no nomination unless we are allowed to nominate two." Is it the Minister's attitude that that congress will be allowed to dominate the court?
When the Deputy says that is putting a premium——
It is, on gluttony for representation.
——that is not borne out by the facts. Is not the other alternative not to proceed at all with the matter? That might well prove to be the better course.
I think it would be. We shall not pass this Section 10 to-day and we can have it again next Tuesday. Is there any difficulty in the Minister's consulting both congresses on Monday or Tuesday and getting them to accept one nomination each?
I could not answer that. I do not know.
I think you might try to do it. I do not think you will find any difficulty so far as the Irish Trade Union Congress is concerned and maybe you will not find any difficulty in the Congress of Irish Unions. We are wasting time if we cannot get agreement as to the composition of the court, because I put it to anyone of common sense that, if the congresses agree to accept one each, we shall be in the happy position of knowing that the court will be representative of both sides.
Before we proceed to one each, is it not worth while trying the possibility of an agreed nomination?
If we pass this Bill, we may be confronted with the position in which the Minister will set up the court in a lop-sided way. Will the Minister give an assurance that the court will not be constituted in that way?
I give an assurance that I want a court that will be acceptable to both sides.
And that no other court will be set up?
That is the particular point on which we part. If the situation is such that the division between the two congresses is so irreconcilable that they cannot function in the same court, I should not have to decide now that there should be no court.
I am afraid you have decided unconsciously because you referred to one congress taking up the attitude that it will make either two nominations or none—if the Minister looks up the Official Report he will see what he said—the clear implication being that, if one congress goes out looking for big game, they will get away with it—that if they take the stand that they will nominate two or none they will get away with it. No other interpretation could be placed on the Minister's speech.
In anything I said I had no intention of encouraging either congress to take such action.
Cannot you say now that, if they do try that, they will not get away with it?
Would that be a wise decision to take now? If the result of these negotiations is such that it is quite clear we can get no co-operation between the two congresses, should we decide that we shall have no court? Is that a wise decision to take? I do not think that it is. I should not like to take it without giving the matter very grave consideration.
Is it wise to have a court constituted in that manifestly unjust way?
I should agree that it is not wise to have a court which is not completely acceptable to each congress.
We have been discussing at length the question of labour representation on this court. I want some information about employers' representation. The labour side is, if anything, over-organised. Two bodies are competing for representation. The employers, so far as I can see, are under-organised and I want to know from the Minister what body will appoint the two representatives of employers. There is no unified body representative of employers. Is it intended that such a body will be constituted? Have we any assurance that, if such a body is hastily constituted, its nominees will be the best possible representatives? As the Minister's further amendment indicates, he will be tied, to a great extent, to the nominees of some particular body which will be constituted to select the employers' representatives. How is that body to be constituted? Is the Minister bound to accept the nominations they will put forward? The representatives chosen by a hastily constituted body of this kind may not be the best for safeguarding the interests of the persons concerned.
Will the Minister adopt the suggestion I made of consulting both congresses early next week and leave this matter over in the meantime?
The various amendments I have suggested to Section 10 can be inserted in the Bill now. The purpose of these amendments is primarily to provide for a court of five instead of three. We are not altering the arrangement for the nomination of workers' representatives except in so far as it is necessary to do so having regard to the fact that there will now be two instead of one. If I can get any form of agreed amendment for Report Stage, I shall be glad to put it forward.
Will the Minister consult both congresses? We can let amendments Nos. 13 and 16 through now. We shall be on the same section in any event.
That will not make any difference because the amendment would have to come up on Report Stage.
Will the Minister consult both congresses as to nominating one representative each?
I doubt about getting that issue formally and officially decided by Tuesday.
I think that there is no difficulty about getting it done. It is certainly worth trying. If an effort is made to get a decision some day nextweek, or before Report, we shall know where we stand.
Assuming we get such agreement but that some issue of principle and not of practice is involved? In practice, you might get agreement on the lines the Deputy suggested but there might be objection to putting that into legislation or accepting it in principle. Would the Deputy then consider an alternative method of getting workers' representatives?
The Trade Union Congress will meet on Monday or Tuesday and, while I have no authority to speak for them officially, I am sure they will consent to the principle of making one nomination.
The Deputy has accused me of dodging and there must not be any dodging on his part. It could happen that, if the Bill went through in its present form, in practice we should get two members each of whom would be regarded as acceptable to one or other of the congresses. Whether we should get that by agreed nominations or on somebody's suggestion or by direct nomination by somebody, I should not be by any means pessimistic of getting that result in practice. It would be a different matter to get agreement to insert in the Bill provisions based upon that principle. If it should prove difficult to get an agreed amendment to the Bill, would there be strong objection to changing completely the method of nomination here, to leaving it more open, and, instead of providing for nomination by organisations representative of workers' trade unions, arranging for some other machinery which would meet the present situation —either nomination by the Minister or names suggested by various trade unions—not necessarily organisations of trade unions but individual trade unions—or some method by which we could secure names of persons on the suitability of whom judgment could be exercised by those who had responsibility for seeing that they were sound people.
Would the aim in that scheme be to give both sides representation?
I am trying to avoid a situation in which there will be two workers' representatives, one of whom would be regarded as the representative of the Congress of Irish Unions and one of the T.U.C., who should regard themselves as having slightly different functions on the court. The aim would be to get two people who would be acceptable to both. I am sure that would be the ideal situation.
I am asking all the time for one assurance—that the workers' side of the court will be acceptable to both. Is the Minister prepared to say that?
Both members will be acceptable to both congresses.
That both congresses have to agree on the workers' side of the court? Does the Minister accept that as a principle?
I would accept as a principle that both congresses should agree, provided there is an alternative if they do not agree. There will have to be some way out.
But would the Minister say what would be an alternative situation, if one congress is sufficiently gluttonous to want both representatives? How will the Minister get over that?
There is the alternative that the Minister will appoint people, not from an organisation of trade unions but from persons appointed by trade unions or nominated by himself, for that matter, after consultation with representatives of the workers.
That would be preferable, so long as the Minister would keep in mind the desirability of not packing the court with people from one side.
If that were the provision, I would nominate people who would mean a court acceptable to both sides.
Would the Minister get back to the suggestion of getting these congresses to meet on Monday or Tuesday? I do not think it would take long to do so and then we would get over this difficulty.
I would have no objection to that but I would not be as confident that you would get by Monday or Tuesday a decision to accept that principle in the form of an amendment to the Bill. Yet there might be quite a willingness to allow that position to develop, in the course of time.
Would the Minister not make the attempt?
What would happen if I found disagreement?
Then we could examine the Minister's proposal to provide a list of names.
Here we have an amendment that is acceptable to me. In certain eventualities, that amendment may not be workable except on a wholly unacceptable basis. I agree entirely that if we get to that position it is better to sit down and try to find the machinery. One of the suggestions made is that the Minister himself might make the nominations and might nominate from trade unions rather than from bodies representative of trade unions. It is necessary to make it quite clear that, if we are going to depart from that principle— which is, in effect, leaving the right of nomination in the hands of organisations representative of trade unions— and give more power to the Minister, then the Minister has got to pave a way for the acceptance of his nominees, by making the statement that we are trying to get out of him to-day, and until he makes that statement, it seems that any alternative to this is also going to be damned.
If the situation arose where I was to be asked to make the nominations, because of this difficulty in the situation, I would arrange it by putting two names in the Bill, in order to ensure that there would be no suspicion aroused as to how that power would be utilised. I do not want to have the power and it would be only as an alternative to what I would regard as a suitable method.
Do I understand that, if the Minister were asked to nominate the workers' representatives, he would put the names in the Bill?
Yes, if that were possible and we could get their acceptance.
And they would be agreed to by the representatives of the trade unions.
I would say the principle should be of getting two representatives acceptable to both sides. I would not bind myself to get persons who would be representative of both sides.
And before the Minister constitutes the workers' side, the congresses would agree to that?
That is one method— the Minister could nominate two people and send the names on to both congresses and get them accepted by both congresses—provided there is some method of avoiding a deadlock.
At the present time, the Minister has not got that way. The nominations have to come up instead of going down.
Yes—and that is the way I would prefer.
Would the Minister agree that, if the present machinery is such that it gives rise— because of a sense of gluttony on the part of one of the bodies, as mentioned by Deputy Norton—to disagreement and a deadlock ensues, then the only way is to go to either of the two bodies guilty of gluttony and say: "I am not going to be a party to that and will find other machinery"? Would he say that? I am trying to save the Minister's reputation on this Bill and he does not seem to want it. He has partly damned himself already.
So far as I drafted the Bill, it does not close the door at all. It was deliberately framed to admit of the device of one nomination from each congress.
I had much less suspicion about the Bill than I have about what the Minister has said here—that if one body takes up this position, the court will be constituted then of representatives of only one congress.
I did not say that was going to happen. I brought that forward as an illustration that the Deputy's suggestion was not necessarily going to work.
Would the Minister permit it to happen?
The repetition is what is worrying me.
We have been an hour and a quarter trying to get a simple "Yes" or "No" from the Minister.
It is not a very simple "Yes" or "No".
The Minister expresses his personal view that, if he had power to nominate, he would nominate one from each side, so as to get two who would be in agreement.
I have said that already half a dozen times.
It is impossible to get a perfect wording. I would ask the Minister as to his constitutional position—can he give any guarantee beforehand, in framing legislation, to any particular section of the people, that he is going to do so-and-so? We are speaking of trade union congresses and we all would like to have unity and co-operation, but is it not open to employers to put up the same argument and say: "We want a guarantee that you are going to give representation to this body"? Now that agricultural labourers have been brought within the scope of the Bill and in view of the fact that, as far as I know, there is no such thing as a farmers' organisation, one might have any body of farmers getting up overnight and saying: "We are going to upset this Bill unless we get a guarantee beforehand from the Minister that, if and when he makes a nomination, he will accept us." Let us assume for the purpose of argument that both congresses nominate two—this Bill as originally introduced provided for only one, but now there are two, owing to certain changes—that is, the Congress of Irish Unions nominate two and the Irish Trade Union Congress nominate two. What would be the position then, if both adopted the attitude that, unless the Minister selected the two they nominated, they would not fall in with this arrangement and would not help in making the court a success?
This is a matter affecting the people generally, as distinct from either the employers or the workers. We have to bear that in mind that it would be open to any small minority or any section of the people to kick up their heels and say to the Minister: "Unless you give me a guarantee beforehand on this Bill"—whether it be a Bill affecting trade unions or industrialists, farmers or professional interests—"we will not help to make the Bill a success." We are up against the point that a Minister of any Government— Fianna Fáil, Labour, Fine Gael or Farmers—will have to face that difficulty. What is going to be the result? Is the Government going to function or is it not? The Minister appears to be faced now with the situation demonstrated and outlined by Deputy Norton and Deputy Larkin. To a certain extent, what they said seems to be correct. The Minister is faced with the statement: "Unless you give a guarantee here and now that the Trade Union Congress is going to have one representative on this labour court, we are not going to work the Bill or do anything that will make the court a success."
Naturally, the whole thing would go up in smoke. The question is, is it to go up in smoke? This is a very awkward situation. While I agree that Deputy Norton and Deputy Larkin are out to do the best they can, I am not convinced that the Minister or the Minister of any Government can give a guarantee to any section of the people as to what his intentions will be in framing legislation. I do not think it would be wise.
Did the Minister say what were his intentions?
He did not give a guarantee. There is such a thing as guarantees and such a thing as giving vent to pious expressions of opinion. Neither the representative of the trade unions nor employers represent the whole people of this country. We must remember that we have other very large sections of the people, and as far as I am concerned that is fundamental to this Bill. I should like to see everything pass off in a peaceful way so far as this Bill is concerned. When it leaves this House, I would like to see that it was going to make for more harmonious relations in industry. I take all that, however, with a grain of salt. One might as well be candid. I want to say that I cannot believe in all the grand things that we are hearing, that everything will be lovely in the garden when this legislation is passed. It is not legislation that makes a country prosperous. This Bill will not prevent disputes. It may be the means of reducing the number of them. If there was never a Bill of this kind the obligation would still devolve on both employers and workers to do the sensible thing. My opinion is that if commonsense prevailed among the working classes in this or any other country there would be no necessity for this Bill or for Trade Union Acts. This matter has been under discussion now since 11.30, and there is still no agreement. The more we discuss it, the more we get mixed up, the Minister and all of us. We are as far from agreement now as when we started this morning.
During the discussion that has gone on during the last couple of hours we have got a declaration from the Minister that he is prepared to give definite representation to each congress, one to each. I want to know if he is prepared to say to both congresses that he will devise alternative machinery to ensure that he will get two members of the court who will be representative of both congresses.
Nominated by the Minister?
What I was going to suggest is that the sole purpose of the amendments I am moving is really to effect a change in the court from three to five. If we put these amendments into the Bill now, I will have no objecttion to doing what Deputy Norton has suggested—examining between this and the Report Stage the possibility of an agreed amendment. I mean an amendment that would be agreed to by both trade union congresses. If that agreed amendment should prove to be practicable, I will produce it. If not, the Deputy can move to amend the Bill or both of us can do that. I will move an amendment to the Bill in a form which would be an alternative to the suggestion that is before us. What is here is that the Minister would designate organisations that would nominate. There are alternatives to that clearly. If we can get an agreed alternative that would settle the issue. If not, the Deputy can move an amendment on the Report Stage, and I can bring in an amendment.
The aim being to give both sides representation?
In the event of there being no agreement between the congresses as to the persons so nominated, that alternative method of nomination would be as Deputy Larkin proposed, and not that the Minister must accept the names sent up to him. There is a suggestion in paragraph (b) that he may decline to accept them. That is a point of view that I would not press, if there was objection to it. There is the alternative arrangement by which the Minister would send down names which he had thought of himself or which had been suggested to him unofficially by others to discover if they would be acceptable to both, and send other names if they were not. Provided no agreement could be got by any such device as that, there would be the alternative which would enable him to act on his own initiative.
Will the Minister consult both congresses?
Yes, as to the possibility of getting agreement as to nominations—as an alternative method to getting agreement, if I might so express it, to the provision of the Bill. If I can get an agreed amendment I will put it in the Bill. If I cannot we will have to settle it on Report. I may say that I will have no objection to the recommittal of the Bill on Report.
Will the Minister consult the congresses next week?
Well, there are only seven days in the week.
But you will consult them?
I am anxious——
If the Deputy's point is not relevant to these amendments, I would suggest to him that we should get these amendments to Section 10 before we adjourn.
I just want to refer to the statement that was made by Deputy Coburn that there was no such thing as a farmers' organisation. Perhaps what the Deputy meant was that there was no farmers' organisation in the sense of an employers' organisation. In that sense I agree with him, but it is not correct to say that there is not a farmers' organisation.
This debate has gone on since half-past eleven this morning. It is now almost two o'clock, and I wonder could some time be afforded to ask the Minister what he is doing in connection with the North Wall dispute.
The Deputy will sit down.
His efforts to get publicity in this matter are disgusting.
What I want to know is——
The Deputy is thoroughly out of order, and must sit down.
I move amendment No. 13a:—
In sub-section (2), line 50, to add the words "of whom two shall be workers' members and two shall be employers' members."
I move amendment No. 14:
In sub-section (3), lines 2 and 3, to delete the words "as shall be fixed by the Minister when appointing him," and substitute therefor the words "and tenure as apply to a judge of the High Court".
I suggest that we leave this amendment over until next week.
If that is the feeling of the House, I move to report progress.