Local Government (Superannuation) Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of this Bill is to provide a new superannuation code for persons in the service of local authorities. So far as these bodies themselves are concerned the provisions of the Bill are in general mandatory in respect of officers and adoptive in respect of servants. This new code will apply to all pensionable officers entering the service of these authorities after the commencement of the Act, and it will also apply to such existing officers, being under 60 years of age, or, in the case of fire brigade officers 55 years, as may opt to accept it. Local authorities may decide in the exercise of their powers under Section 5 to adopt Part III of the Act and in that event Part III will apply to their servants. Where existing servants can under permanent legislation obtain pensions at present they will have the same right of option, subject to age, as existing officers have.

The main provisions relating to officers will be found in Part II of the Bill; those relating to servants will be found in Part III. Part IV contains a number of miscellaneous ancillary provisions applicable in the main to both classes, and Part I contains the definitions and the usual preliminary and general provisions, including Section 3, according to which regulations made are to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas, and Sections 4 and 5, which provide for the coming into operation of Parts II and III respectively. So far as Parts II and III are concerned it will be noted that whereas Section 4 provides that Part II shall come into operation when the Minister makes an Order to that effect, Part III only comes into operation when the local authority concerned passes the necessary resolution and fulfils the conditions prescribed by Section 5.

To qualify for pension reckoned on the full period of actual service an officer must have served with diligence and fidelity. The deliberate unauthorised absence of an officer or servant from his place of work or from his duties will operate to extinguish any period of pensionable service which may have accrued to him previous to such absence. An established officer or an established servant who goes on strike will forfeit his previous pensionable service.

To become eligible for a pension a person must be in the permanent employment of a local authority, and, with certain exceptions, he must devote the whole of his working time to the local service. The exceptions obtain in the case of permanent officers who by reason of their office or employment are required to be medical doctors, nurses or midwives or who prior to the Local Government Act of 1919 were appointed standing solicitors to local bodies. The condition of wholetime service is likewise waived in the case of a person who prior to the passing of the Local Government Act, 1925, had been appointed to be a compounder of medicine for the purpose of the Acts governing the relief of the poor. With these exceptions whole-time service must be rendered in order to qualify for a pension.

These in brief are the fundamental conditions upon which the Bill is based. They may be summed up in these words: Faithful, diligent, and, in general, whole-time service is requisite in order to qualify for a normal pension, while if an officer or servant goes on strike, that action will involve the loss of any previous pensionable service that he could otherwise have reckoned.

The next salient feature of the proposals is the fact that a contribution will be required of new entrants whether officers or servants. This contribution will be 5 per cent. of the annual remuneration or earnings of the person concerned. Provision is made for a refund of contributions in certain circumstances, which as regards officers are set out in Section 30 and, as regards servants, will be found in Section 53. With regard to the amount of the contribution proposed, I should say that it will defray not more than one-third of the aggregate cost of pensions and other allowances which will be obtainable under the Bill. The deficiency will be met in general by the local authorities or, in the exceptional type of case to which Sections 17 or 78 apply, by the Minister for Finance and the local authority concerned.

Now, not only are contributors entitled to the refund of their contributions, as I have mentioned, but under Section 31 persons who, having been established officers of a local authority, have secured the return of their contributions on relinquishing office, may, if they should again be appointed to an established post, secure the reinstatement of their previous pensionable service by repaying the contributions which were returned to them. In this way it will be possible to recognise for pension satisfactory service with a local authority or authorities even though such service may have been interrupted.

In the case of officers, the pensions and other allowances granted under the scheme approximate to those granted to civil servants, and will take the form of a lump sum payment and an annual allowance. The lump sum will be reckoned at the rate of 1/30th of the officer's retiring salary for each year of pensionable service but will be limited to a maximum of 1½ times that salary. The annual allowance will be made at the rate of 1/80th for each year of pensionable service but will not, in any case, exceed one-half of the retiring salary. This limit will not, however, apply to allowances to be granted under Section 73 to officers or servants of local authorities whose retirement may be due to injury incurred in the discharge of their duty or to certain specified dependents in the event of death from such injuries.

In the case of servants, the superannuation terms are somewhat different, since in their case there is very much to be said in favour of making the annual allowance as large as possible in relation to the retiring pay. Accordingly, servants of local authorities under the scheme will not receive a lump sum on retirement, but their pensions will be calculated at the rate of 1/60th, instead of 1/80th, of their wage on retirement, and their maximum pensions, except in cases of retirement due to injury in the discharge of duty, will be two-thirds, instead of one-half, of that wage. The sixtieths, of course, will be multiplied by the total number of years of pensionable service. The sections in the Bill which govern the determining of lump sums and allowances are 23 and 24 in the case of officers and 47 in the case of servants.

As well as permitting the payment of allowances on retiring, the present Bill, by Sections 26 and 49, respectively, proposes to permit the payment of gratuities to the legal personal representatives of deceased established officers and servants. As an extension of this, Sections 27 and 50 provide that where a retired officer or servant dies before the total amount received by him in the form of lump sum and annual allowances is equal to the pensionable remuneration which he was receiving at the date of his retirement, the local authority concerned may grant to his legal personal representative such a gratuity as will make good the difference between the deceased's retiring pensionable remuneration and the total of the sum paid to him on foot of the lump sum and the annual allowance paid up to the date of death.

Female officers or servants of local authorities, who retire from their employment on marriage or with the intention of getting married, and who have not less than five years' pensionable service, will be entitled under Section 28 or Section 51 of the Bill to a gratuity, calculated at the rate of one-twelfth of their pensionable remuneration multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service which they have given, subject, of course, to an over-riding maximum.

Hitherto, the position of officers who may have passed from the service of a local authority to the service of the State, or vice versa, has been very unsatisfactory from the officers' point of view, in so far as pensionable service which had accrued previous to the change was forfeited, except in the special cases covered by Section 51 of the Local Government Act, 1925. That section enabled officers of local bodies who, after the 6th December, 1922, were appointed to permanent situations in the Civil Service, the duties of which related to the same matters as the duties of the office under the local body, to have retiring allowances in respect of the local service fixed by the local body at the time when they entered the Civil Service. No similar arrangement operated to deal with movement from the Civil Service to the local bodies and, as I have mentioned, the terms of Section 51 of the Local Government Act, 1925, made it necessary to establish a relation between the duties of the post in the local authority with the post in the Civil Service. The Bill, in Sections 17, 78, 79, 80 and 83, contains provisions which will enable that situation to be remedied. An officer of a local authority with not less than ten years' pensionable service who is appointed in future to an established post in the Civil Service will be entitled to reckon for the purposes of the Civil Service Superannuation Acts his period of pensionable service with local authorities. In the case of a civil servant becoming an officer of a local authority the consent of the Minister for Finance and the local authority must be obtained to the application of these benefits to his case. These specific consents will not be necessary, of course, to cover past cases.

Under Section 14 of the Bill, an established officer of a local authority who has moved from the service of one local authority to another will be entitled to aggregate for pension purposes his separate periods of service with the local authorities concerned. There is, however, an important reservation in this regard; if he served with another local authority for less than two years, then that service will not count for pension unless with the written sanction of the local authority concerned, and with the consent of the appropriate Minister, it was terminated by resignation. In the debate on my Estimate, several Deputies complained of the frequency with which in latter years officers have been transferring their services from one local authority to another. The provision which I have just mentioned should tend to discourage this, for I can assure you that, so far as the Minister for Local Government is concerned, the requisite consent will not be lightly given.

Great difficulty has been experienced in framing Part III of the Bill, which contains the provisions relating to servants of local authorities. Deputies know, of course, that, though we have established some measure of uniformity so far as pay is concerned, conditions of employment vary as between one local authority and another. The problem was to devise a scheme which would be generally applicable to all conditions.

The fundamental decision to be taken was as to the conditions which a servant of a local authority must fulfil in order to qualify for establishment. This brought me face to face with the problem of the road-workers and similar outdoor employees, whose service may be interrupted by the weather. Now, it would be nonsensical to grant pensions for merely casual services. It would be equally nonsensical to grant pensions to men employed on relief works out of the public bounty. Yet it would have been invidious to debar from the benefits of the measure employees who, in general, were in fairly constant employment, but who were subject at intervals to recurring discharge and re-employment because of the nature of their work. These workers, though not, in the strict sense of the word, permanently employed or continuously employed, are described by local custom as permanent men. I have endeavoured to meet this difficulty, as will be seen from Section 59. (4) and a corresponding sub-section (3) in Section 38, by providing that if a servant having obtained pensionable status is employed for at least 200 days in any year, the period worked will count for pension purposes.

In order to secure pensionable status, a servant of a local authority must have been in its permanent service for a continuous period of three years. When this condition has been fulfilled, his name shall be entered by the local authority concerned in its register of established servants, in pursuance of Section 36 (2) of the Bill, if the maximum number of established servants prescribed by the local authority under Section 5 has not been reached. If during any of the three relevant years, a permanent servant of a local authority should have been temporarily absent from employment because of illness, temporary cessation of work, temporary short-time employment or other similar cause, not arising from his own act or default, he will nevertheless be entitled, under Section 57, to have his name entered on the register, provided that the aggregate of such absences does not exceed two months in any of those years. Section 57 applies both to new entrants into the service of a local authority, and to existing servants. Under sub-section (2) of Section 57, service on duty with the Reserve Force will count as permanent service with the local authority concerned.

As will be seen from Sections 22 and 46, an officer or servant of a local authority on attaining the age of 60 years may, if he so elects, retire on pension, provided he has not less than 20 years of pensionable local service to his credit, and has fulfilled the other conditions prescribed by the measure. In the case of officers and servants of fire brigades, the age for voluntary retirement on pension is 55. I trust the purport of the relevant provisions in these cases will not be misunderstood. They do not compel the person concerned to retire at 60 years of age; they merely provide that, if he does wish to retire at that age, he will be entitled, having fulfilled the other essential conditions, to a retiring allowance. In fact, the normal age for compulsory retirement of pensionable officers, as fixed by Order under Section 23 of the Local Government Act, 1941, is at present 65. Perhaps I should call attention to the fact that, under Section 58 of the Bill, the provisions of this section of the Local Government Acts will be extended to cover established servants of local authorities, so that the appropriate Minister will be empowered to fix age limits for such employees also. Similar powers are taken under Section 77 of the Bill to fix age limits for the officers and servants of the Dublin Fever Hospital Board and the Cork Fever Hospital Board when it comes into existence. Though the general scheme of retiring allowances will be on a contributory basis, with the exceptions I have already mentioned, it is not considered necessary to create any special fund into which these contributions must be paid. Arrangements will, however, be made as part of the ordinary accounting arrangements of the local authorities, to keep records of the income from contributions and the expenditure on superannuation.

The Bill contains a number of miscellaneous provisions dealing with what may be regarded as unusual circumstances. Thus, under Sections 68 and 84, provision is made to cover the cases of officers of vocational education committees who had previously held posts as national teachers or as secondary teachers, so that this previous teaching service might be reckoned for pension purposes; while under Section 34 the position of established officers who, prior to 1924 had given whole-time service as teachers of Irish under the direction of the Gaelic League, is similarly dealt with.

Under Section 73, power is taken to make regulations which will enable gratuities or allowances to be paid to officers or servants, whether in the pensionable class or not, who may be compelled to retire through injury caused in the actual discharge of duty and specifically attributable to the nature of such duty. Furthermore, should an officer to whom this provision applies die within seven years after the date of his injury, and should his death be the direct result of such injury, then gratuities or allowances may be paid to his widow and children and to his mother if she has been wholly dependent on him.

The Bill contains a number of sections granting rights of appeal to established officers and established servants. The general principle of Ministerial responsibility as regards appeals is that the particular Minister concerned in questions of status shall decide appeals on failure to register the name of an officer or servant. Appeals against the removal of a name from the register will be dealt with on the same principles. Thus, the Minister for Agriculture will deal with appeals of this kind from officers and servants of committees of agriculture and the Minister for Education will deal with officers and servants of vocational education committees.

Appeals against failures to grant lump sums or allowances or to return contributions or against the amount of lump sums, allowances or gratuities will be dealt with under Section 69 by the Minister for Local Government, who is the Minister responsible under the Bill for sanctioning lump sums, allowances and gratuities.

Special provision is made in the Bill to deal with the position of officers or servants who retired after November 1st, 1946. This will be found in Section 75. Under this section, local authorities may increase the allowances to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister. The justification for this provision is that the age limit has operated to retire a number of officers before the post-emergency adjustment of their pay was effected.

Provision is made under Sections 64, 65 and 71 for the cancellation, reduction or suspension of pensions in special circumstances which arise only rarely in the case of the generality of public officers, but which nevertheless have to be provided for. In substance, these are the main provisions of the Bill in so far as they affect the officers concerned. Likewise, they affect the local authorities and the ratepayers and I should not be doing my duty if I did not point out to the House that the financial implications of a Bill of this kind are important and will, no doubt, be carefully pondered on by the representatives of the ratepayers, as well as by the officers and servants affected. In the absence of a special review of the service of every employee, it is not possible to give precise figures, but, if all local authorities give effect to the measure, I think it is safe to assume that not more than 8,000 persons may become pensionable for the first time. This represents about two-fifths of those normally employed on road-work and such like by the local authorities. If we accept such experience as we have had as a reliable guide, we may take it that the maximum number of new pensions to be provided for under the Bill at any time will be between 1,300 and 1,400. The additional cost of these will vary with the level of wages but I think that, in the future, so far as we can forecast, it is unlikely to rise above £100,000—a figure which will not, of course, be reached for a number of years. The present position, if we exclude mental hospital staffs which are in a special category, having their own scheme, is that the local authorities pay out about £228,000 per annum in retiring allowances and gratuities.

Eventually, therefore, under the powers conferred by the Bill, this figure may be increased by about 44 per cent. I should emphasise that, so far as each local authority is concerned, the burdens which will be imposed under the Act will depend entirely on the elected representatives of the ratepayers. As I have already pointed out, Part III of the Bill merely gives power to such local authorities as do not already possess it to provide for the superannuation of their servants. If a local authority desires to avail of that power, then, in accordance with Section 5 of the Bill, it must decide by formal resolution to adopt Part III of the Act as from a specified date. If it is intended to propose such a resolution, due notice of that intention must be given in writing to the Minister and to every member of the local authority concerned. Furthermore, the resolution must declare the maximum number of persons who, for the purposes of the Act, may be regarded as permanent servants in the employment of the local authority. The adoption of such resolution will not rest with the manager or the Minister; it will be a reserved function of the elected members who, before adopting it, will, naturally, consider not only the claims of their servants but the taxable capacity of their ratepayers. I have no doubt that they will be able to come to decisions which will be equitable to both parties. These are the main provisions of the Bill and I confidently recommend it to the acceptance of the House.

We are told that this Bill is being introduced to meet a general demand for reform of the existing superannuation law, so far as it applies to the officers of local authorities. There is no doubt that the Minister has dealt with the subject in very radical fashion. He has made almost revolutionary changes in the existing superannuation code. In addition to officers he has introduced a provision for the payment of pensions to a new class not hitherto covered by existing legislation. As he rightly says, this is going to add very considerably to the financial obligations of local authorities. The Bill places the employees of local authorities in an almost identical position with that of civil servants except that the civil servant must work until he is 65 years of age before he can draw his pension, but apparently the Minister and his officers have come to the decision—for what reason I do not know—that the employee of a local authority is unable to work beyond 60 years of age. Why there should be any discrimination between a local official and a civil servant in that respect I do not know. The Minister offered no explanation. Perhaps he will explain when he is replying why this differentiation has been made between the employee of the local authority and the civil servant. I would be inclined to say that if the civil servant is capable of working and of giving good service to the State until he is 65 years of age, then the majority of local authority officials should be capable of giving even longer years of service to their authorities.

In my opinion, this Bill should be made retrospective. It got a first reading, I think, in April last. Between April and October quite a number of officials must have retired from the local service. As far as I can see, there is no provision in the Bill to cover or to provide pensions for those servants who have retired between April and October of this year. What steps does the Minister propose to take to cover the cases of those officials? It seems to me that their case deserves special consideration. The Dáil is not responsible for the delay in giving a second reading to this Bill and the Minister, solely, must accept that responsibility. I consider that there is a moral obligation on him to make provision for the cases I have just mentioned. There is a levy of 5 per cent. on new officers entering the local service. Why the Minister selected 5 per cent. I do not know. Why not 2 per cent., 3 per cent. or 4 per cent. rather than 5 per cent?

Why not 10 per cent?

But why 5 per cent? It seems to me that 5 per cent. is higher, for instance, than the annuity one would have to pay on an insurance policy. It seems to me also that it is unfair that a new entrant should pay 5 per cent of a levy each year while the officer who is in just six months escapes scotfree. I cannot understand what reason was in the Minister's mind for drawing a distinction between the beginner and the latter type of individual. In equity, I consider that there should be no distinction between the two. The Minister, in his opening statement, did not try to justify the imposition of that particular levy. The same levy applies to servants to whom it is also proposed to pay pensions. I should like the Minister, when replying, to deal in much more detail with this question of a levy and to give a reason why 5 per cent. was selected and why the beginner should pay, and why the other individuals under Section 2 should escape scotfree.

There are just a few more details in connection with the Bill upon which I should like the Minister to throw some further light. Under this Bill a register must be kept of the names of officials entitled to pensions. That register will be open to the inspection of the officers of the particular local authority as well as to members of that local authority. Further on, provision is made for the removal of names and for the restoration of names on that register, but no reason is to be assigned. Apparently a name can be removed arbitrarily and the official responsible for that makes a note of the date on which the name is removed but there is no obligation to give any reason for the removal. If the name is restored the procedure is almost identical. The official puts it back and that is all about it. If the register is to be really effective, some reason, in fairness to the local authorities and as a matter of fact to the person concerned, should briefly be given for the removal and if the name is to be subsequently restored, the reasons should also be given. If the register is to serve any useful purpose at all, it should be kept in such a manner as to give in brief the history of the case so far as the man who has a right to a pension is concerned. In Section 32 we have the definition of the word "salary". Under this section payments for overtime will be excluded for pension purposes as also travelling expenses and payments for acting as clerk to a local pensions committee or to a sub-committee appointed by such committee. I can understand why payments for overtime and for travelling expenses should be excluded but I do not see how payments for clerical work done on behalf of an old age pensions committee should be excluded for pension purposes. Payments for acting as superintendent registrar of births, deaths and marriages or as registrar of marriages are also excluded for pension purposes. There may be a case made for the exclusion of a registrar because after all he is entitled, I think, to claim payment for whatever certificates he issues to applicants in such cases. The only point in connection with that is that payment for work done for an old age pensions committee should be included for pension purposes. I do not think any case can possibly be made against the right of an official to claim a pension in respect of money that he has earned for clerical work performed for that purpose.

In Section 34—the Minister referred to this section in his introductory statement — an officer of a vocational committee who has worked as a teacher on behalf of Connradh na Gaeilge for a number of years and who was, presumably, paid by Connradh na Gaeilge for whatever work he did, is entitled to have those years of service recognised for pension purposes. I have no objection to an officer making a claim but I believe this is rather introducing a principle that the Dáil cannot very well stand over. For instance, if, let us say, an officer of a vocational education committee was appointed in the year 1941 and if in the years prior to that he worked for Connradh na Gaeilge teaching the Irish language, surely to goodness he cannot legitimately claim that because he acted in that capacity for Connradh na Gaeilge for these years he is entitled to a pension from a vocational authority or from a local authority. This opens up a very wide field and whilst I would be inclined to give reasonable preference to any individual who performs useful work on behalf of the Irish language I strongly object to the principle. Other officers in other spheres may make similar claims in respect of special work performed on behalf of some other organisation outside the influence or control of a local authority. It is a very bad principle. It would be well if the Minister would re-examine that particular section. In fact, I suggest that this provision should be deleted entirely. An officer of that kind should not be entitled to make any claim in respect of pension unless his work for the Irish language was done during the period he was working for the vocational education committee.

Part III covers all kinds of employees of local authorities. How a pension scheme is going to be operated effectively and economically under that particular portion of the Bill I cannot clearly understand at the moment. It will bring within its purview all classes of workers both casual and those who are regarded as, perhaps, permanent workers as well. In this connection, I am thinking particularly of road workers. A number of men are employed in the capacity of gangers who are on the permanent staffs of local authorities at present. They will come specifically under this part of the Bill. Others are engaged on casual work— they are not continuously employed all the year round but they nevertheless have been working for local authorities for a great many years — and it is very doubtful if very many of these men will be covered by the provisions of this particular part of the Bill. They must, for instance, have worked 200 days during the year. They must not have engaged in any work which is subsidised or paid for by money voted by the Oireachtas. There is one other condition which I cannot remember at the moment. If these conditions are rigidly enforced, they will exclude the majority of men who may be regarded as casual workers for local authorities. I cannot see that any, except a negligible percentage of the so-called "casual workers", will be included at all for pension purposes. This section may have a certain propaganda value for the Fianna Fáil Party, but I do not see, so far as the unfortunate worker or labourer, or the casual worker of the local authority is concerned, that he is likely to benefit by it. As a matter of fact all these casual workers under every local authority engage in work subsidised by money provided by the Oireachtas or some Government Department at some period of the year. That automatically excludes them from any claim for pension purposes.

There is no point in discussing every section of the Bill. It is a measure which primarily lends itself to detailed discussion on the Committee Stage. I could go on making a number of points about the various sections of the Bill, but I will reserve what I have to say until the Committee Stage when we can make a detailed examination of the different sections. Despite, however, what the Minister has said, approximately 80,000 persons will be covered by the provisions of this Bill. I assume that the 80,000 includes officers?

The figure is 8,000.

Is that estimate not rather low? Is it a guess or a reasonably accurate figure?

It is an estimate.

Judging by the schemes in the offing, it is quite likely that that figure will jump in a few years' time to 16,000 or 20,000. According to the White Paper recently issued by the Government on Health Services it is estimated that they will cost £9,000,000 a year and half of that money is to be borne on the rates. When these schemes are in operation it is a fair assumption that the staffs of most local authorities will have to be doubled and, perhaps, trebled. When these schemes that the Minister has announced for the development and improvement of roads are fully implemented it is likely that they will involve a very considerable increase in the number of employees of local authorities. I do not think the Minister's estimate of what this is going to cost is worth very much. I believe that in a few years' time it will be doubled or trebled, or perhaps quadrupled.

There is no doubt that this Bill, while introducing a number of necessary amendments to the existing superannuation code, will add to the burden on the ratepayers and time alone can tell whether or not these additions to the rates will be justified. I do not accept the Minister's estimate. The Minister was far too conservative. The number of people who will be affected by this Bill will be much greater than the number the Minister mentioned and the cost to the ratepayers will be very much higher than the estimate the Minister has given us.

I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to the Minister to restore the pension rights of those members of the staff of Limerick Corporation who took strike action some years ago and were deprived of their pension rights. Some of them suffered very much and died without pensions. Some are on the sick list now. These men never would have taken strike action if they had not been ill-advised by the chairman, who was then in very bad health and who died shortly after their return to work. I can assure the Minister that if the pension rights of these persons are restored they will never again take strike action. They are now advised by a sensible and wise chairman and I would appeal to the Minister to restore the pension rights.

Does the Minister intend at a later stage to introduce legislation in this connection to cover such people as workers in the employment of the Cork Corporation or other bodies of a similar character?

I strongly object to the example that is set by the Minister that people who have to take strike action should lose their pension rights. That is very drastic. It could happen that a section of local authority employees would have to strike and the Minister could deprive them of their pension rights. That should be withdrawn. It is very unfair.

I think the majority of members of Dáil Eireann will be in agreement with me when I say that the general principles of this Bill are unquestionably sound, that running through this Bill there is an attempt to put local officials, whether they be in what is referred to as the officer class or the working class, on a definite scale for pension purposes. For years I have wondered why, with the dovetailing of grants and the joint effort in developing services of one kind or another, there was such a dividing line between the local official and local employee and the State official and the State employee. From the beginning of time it has been recognised that the direct employee of the State has a claim on the State at the end of his working life for a pension for the remainder of his days. That did not apply to the local employee. In this Bill we have at least an attempt to include in the category of pensionable workers local officials and local employees.

The Bill, in the main, is divided into two parts, one part dealing with officials, the other part dealing with workers. I think it would have been better if the Bill had been introduced as two separate Bills because, running through this Bill we see an effort to apply a set of rules and conditions which are very easily applicable to those in the officer class whose service is, of course, permanent and continuous, to the working classes whose service is not nearly so permanent or continuous. It may be argued that it is better to do something, no matter how small, than to do nothing and that the second part of the Bill attempts to include in the scope of the pension scheme casual and permanent workers. The fact that it is linked up with the officer code of conditions militates against that objective.

Those who are familiar with the conditions under which labourers of local authorities work will see when they read this Bill that it is extremely unlikely in 80 per cent. of the cases that they will ever become pensionable owing to the seasonal nature of their work and the fact that in the course of their work they very frequently have to give service on schemes subsidised out of public money. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.