Night Work (Bakeries) (Amendment) Bill, 1981 [Seanad]: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time".

Employers and trade unions in the bakery industry have been complaining for some years about the operation of the Night Work (Bakeries) Act, 1936. That Act prohibits the baking of bread and flour confectionery between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The ban on night work applies to the baking operation only and not to auxiliary operations such as slicing, wrapping, packing orders, loading vans and so on. In addition regulations have been made under the Act which allow flour blending, dough making, sponge making and clearing of ovens to be carried out at night. Only a minority of bakery workers are, therefore, affected. I should also mention that only one EEC country, Luxembourg, has a total ban on night baking similar to ours.

Over the years meetings have been held with both sides of industry to resolve the problems arising from the Act but no acceptable solution emerged. In February 1980 a consultative document, setting out various options in regard to the Act was issued to all interested parties in the industry. The options posed in this document were briefly as follows:

(a) to change the legal starting and finishing times for baking to 4 a.m. and 9 p.m.

(b) to introduce a licensing system authorising bakeries to work at night;

(c) to allow night baking on a partial basis;

(d) to introduce more effective enforcement procedures;

(e) to increase the penalties for breaches of the Act.

From the views received on the consultative document and from subsequent discussions, it became clear that action was required to be taken if large-scale redundancy in the industry was to be avoided.

At its Annual Delegation Conference towards the end of last year the Bakery and Food Workers Amalgamated Union passed a motion nothing with concern the growing threat to security of employment of the union's members. The union called for acceptable amendments which would make the 1936 Act more effective or alternatively its repeal.

Employers wanted greater flexibility to operate more efficiently and to be able to supply fresh bread to meet customers demand thereby helping to offset the decline in bread consumption. They also wished to be in a position to meet, on an equal footing, competition from Northern Ireland and Britain where night baking is allowed.

Towards the end of last year it became all the more urgent that a solution to the night baking problem be found quickly. A number of bakeries indicated that they would have to close unless they were allowed to operate more flexibly, particularly in regard to night baking. Such closures would have involved large-scale unemployment.

About the same time the Labour Court heard a claim on behalf of bakeries that the unions should agree to alterations in working conditions including the introduction of night work on a rotation basis. The court ruled that it did not seem a case had been established for the continuing prohibition of all night work and if rotational night shifts were introduced the court felt that the legislation should be amended to allow this to take place where unions and employers agree.

I have carefully studied all the views expressed on this problem and it is my belief that the best way to deal with the issue is to introduce flexibility of operation by way of a licensing system which will allow night baking where it is shown that circumstances warrant it. This is the main provision in the Bill before you. It provides that before licences are issued the representatives of the employers and workers concerned will be consulted.

In addition, I am providing for the enforcement of the Act by the industrial inspectorate of my Department and for an increase in the penalties for breaches of the legislation.

There can be little doubt that some action was needed in regard to night work in bakeries. First of all, we should consider the genesis of the existing Act. Back in the 1920s or 1930s there was an international labour convention in regard to this matter and the Irish delegation had a large influence in regard to it. The convention was ultimately approved by the International Labour Organisation and it was signed by us in the 1930s. I am surprised the Minister did not refer to the history of legislation in this area, or that he did not refer to the perceived need for such legislation almost 50 years ago. There was and is a need for it. To that extent it is a matter of regret that this Bill backpedals on the provisions of the 1936 Act. Therefore I regret that this Bill has had to be introduced. But the Minister has faced a very difficult situation. This Bill is ingenious. The Minister is to some extent side stepping or maybe he is waiting to cross bridges as they arise. Perhaps that is sensible.

Another area which was not referred to by the Minister, and ought to have been referred to, is the whole area of health and safety. It is a well-established and accepted fact that night work is anti-social and injurious to health. We had a long debate on this subject when discussing the Safety in Industry Bill. It is therefore a matter of great sadness to me that we have to bring in a Bill — and I accept the Minister has to bring it in — which leaves the option open to facilitate night work. Why is the Minister doing this? He is doing it because the 1936 Act is breached as much as it is observed. I have discussed this question with many people. Would it not be better to enforce the 1936 Act, to go after those bakers who are breaking the existing law by working at night? I have to admit that after long discussion I have come to the same conclusion as the Minister obviously has, that the enforcement of present legislation is difficult if not impossible. It is the realisation of that fact that prompts the bringing of this Bill before the House.

If I had the choice I would retain the present Bill and enforce it, because it is a pity to take a step backwards in this area of night work where it could be avoided. But I have to accept that it is unavoidable. Having said that, I feel that we should not let this Bill pass without being severely critical of those bakers who have flouted the law by baking at night. They are breaking the law and getting away with it. Because of this they are able to deliver, as they say in one of their slogans, today's bread today. That, of course, constitutes unfair competition with the established and unionised bakers who meet all their commitments under social and employment legislation. The result of this breach of the law is to endanger the needs and the livelihood of other people engaged in the baking industry Indeed, there is a very serious threat of a closure in Kilcock, County Kildare, with the loss of 190 jobs. If this happens Kilcock will be a ghost town. This breaking of the law has already forced and now, with the enactment of this Bill, will force many bakers to work at night, upsetting a well-established pattern without regard to the effect it will have on their health, on their own attitudes and on their family life. If I were a baker threatened with this I would be very worried and very angry indeed, and I know many are. We have to be severely critical of those bakers who have broken the law and forced the Minister to bring in this legislation.

I have to say the Minister has done a good job in a very difficult situation. This problem has arisen since 1965 when the bakers' union agreed to a five day week and, for the first time, the established bakers decided not to deliver bread on Mondays but would deliver it on five days, Tuesday to Saturday inclusive. That was the opening for the fly-by-night or, as somebody said, the bake-by-night bakers. They decided that they would deliver bread on Monday and that gave them an opening into the market which has developed ever since. I do not blame anybody taking advantage of the market situation, but I do blame them for doing it in an illegal way and I blame them for forcing upon many hundreds of bakers the threat of night work which should be avoided if possible. There is also a grave suspicion in some cases that many bakeries — of course not all bakeries should be tainted — acting illegally have been able to increase their market share by what is called discounts to the retailer. Very often they are able to give to the retailers a discount three times greater than that given by established bakers. Many of these bakers give a 33 per cent discount to retailers. The established bakers can only given an 11 per cent discount. Shopkeepers will, naturally, take supplies from the baker who offers the most profit. When you add to that the possibility of somewhat fresher bread, it is certainly unfair competition.

How do these bake-by-night bakeries give massively bigger discounts? One would presume when they are baking at night that they have to pay shift and night premiums. If they were doing things properly, labour costs would be higher. I would like the Minister to instigate a new public inquiry — I would like him to comment on this in his reply — into the whole bakery industry. I understand the last inquiry was in 1972. The inquiry should establish if any or all of these bake-by-night bakeries, who have been acting illegally, are paying all the PRSI and PAYE they should be paying, if any of their employees are also drawing social benefits and if there are any other irregularities. It has been put to me — I do not know if it is true, but I have a suspicion that it is correct — that some of these bakeries are flouting more than the Night Work (Bakeries) Act, 1936. If that is so, it is very annoying to think that they are breaking many of the Acts dealing with taxation and social insurance also, together with the Night Work (Bakeries) Act, and that the effect of their breaches of the law is to have won through and forced an amendment. If this suspicion is correct — I emphasise it is only a suspicion — I want the Minister to set up a public inquiry into it. If it is true that bigger discount has been made possible by breaches of the law, is it also true that these same bakeries have been getting the same subsidy from the Government which the established bakers have been getting?

It is an outrageously sad situation if firms breaking the law dealing with conditions of employment, tax and social welfare are also receiving subsidies from the State. Why do they need subsidies if they are able to give the retailers three times the discount that other bakeries give? These are matters which are properly the subject of an inquiry, and the introduction of this Bill by the Minister is a suitable occasion to raise this matter. It is very important because, as the Minister rightly said, it has threatened hundreds of established jobs by good employers. It looks as if it constitutes severely unfair competition.

The Minister is proposing to take to himself powers to issue regulations in individual cases from time to time and also power to revoke those regulations should the need arise. He proposes to do that after consultation with employers and trade unions concerned, which is all very correct. I would ask the Minister to go a little bit further and extend the right of objection to the public before such licences are granted under the regulations. It should be advertised in the papers and the public should be asked to comment and given the right to object.

It is important also that the issuing of licences under these regulations should be as confined as possible. There is a body of opinion which says that licences should be granted only to those who are threatened by competitors outside the jurisdiction — in other words, bakeries in Northern Ireland. That was a serious factor also in creating illegal night work in the Republic, because the United Kingdom, unlike us, is not a signatory of the ILO Convention. Because of the EMS I understand the situation may now have changed dramatically in relation to the flow of bread across the Border, although I am not certain about that.

It is also important that the conditions of such regulations should not permit a situation where a licensee would gain an unfair advantage over competitors in the Republic who have not got such a licence. it is very important that the Minister should include, as conditions of any licence, provisions which do not put bakers who are not working at night at a disadvantage. It is important before any licence is issued that those applying for a licence should satisfy the Minister as to their suitability to carry on a business, to the likelihood of their observing legislation dealing with health and safety, conditions of employment and so on. They should be able to show that all their workers are registered for PRSI and PAYE.

It is also important that any licence issued under the regulations should cover the number of weeks in any one year that a worker can be required to work. I understand that in the UK there is a maximum of 26 weeks in the year. I advocate strongly to the Minister that a similar maximum number of years should be included in regulations made under this Bill.

That takes us to the area of penalties. The penalties provided for in the Bill are derisory. The Minister proposes a maximum penalty under section 2 (6) of £200. The section says:

(6) A person who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £200.

Suppose he pays the £200 and continues to commit an offence under this Bill. In the first place £200 is not a deterrent to any baker of any size today, and there is also no provision for a recurring offence which I think is an omission from the Bill and I propose on Committee Stage to table amendments in that area. I hope the Minister will himself consider increasing the penalties and making provision for penalties for recurring offences. There are penalties already but they are of no use if legislation is not put into effect, and this Bill is before the House because the 1936 Act simply has not been effective.

I note in this Bill that the Minister is proposing to change responsibility for enforcement from the Garda Síochána to the industrial inspectorate. I am worried about that because the factory inspectorate are already grossly under-manned. Somebody calculated recently that with the current number of inspectors and the current number of places of employment the frequency of visits from the factory inspectorate to any one place of employment could not be more than two in a year. Clearly there is a major problem in the factory inspectorate — I presume that it is the factory inspectorate the Minister means when he talks about the industrial inspectorate. I have no faith that the factory inspectorate will have the manpower sufficient to enforce the provisions of this Bill, and it is vitally important if we are enacting legislation in this House that we enact legislation which will be enforced, otherwise we are bringing the law into disrepute. I will have something to say in that regard also on Committee Stage. I wonder if the Minister would consider appointing a special bakery inspector whose appointment would be the subject of discussion with the bakers' union in advance so as to ensure that a suitably qualified person is appointed. I ask the Minister to consider that.

To get back to breaches of the law that have forced this Bill upon the House, I want to quote from the Irish Independent of 17 March last in which there was a report of a case heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. The report says:

A young bakery worker, when 17 years old, worked sometimes at night for eight or nine hours before getting a 15-minute break it was alleged at an unfair dismissals hearing before an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday.

At Christmas 1979 he was told he would have to work at weekends from 11 p.m. on Sunday to 7 a.m. on Monday, and from 12 midnight on Friday to 8 a.m. on Saturday.

I am leaving out the gentleman's name as required. He

told the Tribunal he did not want to do that, but agreed to do it for the Christmas period.

Later he was told he would have to do the late night work from then on. Only two "slicers" worked in this section at night, he said. One of the bakers would come down when he saw they were getting drowsy.

Later he was told he would have to work a 12-hour shift from 7 p.m. on Sunday to 7 a.m. on Monday and started doing that around June last year.

I think I have read enough of that report to highlight the outrageous breach of the law in that case, presuming the facts as stated were correct.

I do not want to interrupt, but I think he was slicing. He was not a baker.

It is not clear.

He was not the baker that this Bill refers to, he was a slicer.

I take the Minister's point but if the allegations are correct — and there is no knowing if they are but I imagine there is some substance in them — here was a young man, 17 years of age, being asked to work through the night for nine hours without a break and sometimes for 12 hours. That report itself will hightlight the sort of disgraceful operations that are going on in certain sections of the bakery trade and that is why in facilitating the passage of this Bill I ask the Minister to institute a public inquiry into this whole area.

In conclusion I have to say that it is regrettable that the Minister has been forced to bring in this legislation. It is a pity that the other Bill could not be enforced and I accept the Minister's conclusion that it could not be. I congratulate the Minister because in all the circumstances he had done the best he could. I hope that when the Bill is passed licences will be granted only when unavoidable. I ask the Minister also to ensure that the fines under the Bill will be meaningful, that they will be recurring for recurring offences and that the Bill will be enforced.

No doubt the Minister by now is fully aware of the various points raised in relation to the difficulties of enforcing the legislation prior to this Bill. Nevertheless I would like to reiterate some of the points made. The Minister proposes to introduce a system of licensing which would allow night baking where it is shown that circumstances warrant it. In the earlier deliberations on this Bill, the Minister has indicated to the principal trade union concerned, the Bakery and Food Workers Amalgamated Union, that it will be required to apply to the Minister to bake at night and that the application must include statements as to the need for such night working. The employer is obliged, in making such an application, to give the times and duration of the proposed shiftwork and the Minister must be furnished with the number and category of workers — particularly those engaged on their rest days and rest period — and the duration for which the licence is sought. All this information must be submitted in the first instance by the employer, presumably direct to the Department of Labour. It may be argued that, in terms of the least objectionable Bill, this is the best possible approach.

There is another interesting aspect to this Bill, namely that an application to the Department for such a licence must state, the name of the union representatives, or in the event of the workers not being organised in a union, the names and addresses of the workers' representatives who may be consulted. I gather that the Minister has given some assurances to the trade unions concerned that he will take into account the views of the Department's industrial inspectorate before issuing a licence if he considers this necessary. The Minister has also given an assurance that he will consult with the ICTU and the FUE in the matter. In that regard, I hope that applications for such licences will be sent to the Protective Legislation Committee section of the ICTU, to enable that section to check the application and consult with the trade unions directly concerned. Needless to remark, the Minister has final discretion in the issuing of licences and we accept that he is not necessarily obliged to act in accordance with any of the views received.

I agree with the Minister that these are entirely laudable provisions, but would strongly urge that before this Act is put into operation the Minister should examine two very serious deficiencies in the encompassing legislation. First, enforcement of the Act at present is carried out by the Garda Síochána. I mean no reflection on the Garda Síochána when I say that enforcement of this Act is one of those things very far from their mind. They have no direct involvement and no real function in this matter. Under the present Act, the Garda Síochána have inspectorate powers to investigate a bakery premises suspected of breaking the law. This requires written authorisation, as I understand it, from an inspector of the Garda Síochána. I suspect that the Garda have far more expertise in deciding whether or not we are having a jar after hours than in deciding whether or not illegal baking after hours is occurring. These inspectorial powers should be removed from the Garda Síochána and placed directly with the industrial inspectorate of the Department of Labour. This is absolutely essential. I am surprised that, parallel with the introduction of this Bill, the Minister has not proceeded to do this, which would clear the air. Getting that kind of move through involves an incredible amount of bureaucratic consultation and governmental decisions. Anyone who has ever consulted with the Department of Justice will appreciate the difficulties of getting a decision, even in principle, on such matters. The Minister should go straight ahead and do this. I have no doubt that the Garda Commissioner would be only too pleased to be relieved of an entirely unsatisfactory function. It is evident that over the years the law, in that respect, has been somewhat ineffectual. As well as vesting the powers of inspection in the Department of Labour, the right of complaint by the union or any of its members should be directly to the inspector of the Department of Labour, when a breach of the Act has allegedly been committed. There is definite and positive opposition to the Minister's proposal in this respect.

Regarding penalties, the existing law provides penalties of fines of £10 maximum for breaches of the existing Act. The Minister has indicated that he is considering increasing the penalties. He should go ahead and do so. Why must we wait? Why must the perennial memoranda float around? It is a great consolation to know that it is off one's desk and floating up to the President for signature. The present fines are of a derisory amount. Imposition of a fine up to the maximum of £10 is discretionary, it is left to the bench to decide. There is not much point in passing a Bill of this nature if an employer is brought before the courts and the judge must decide whether to fine him £5, £8 or £10 maximum. Illegal parking of a car these days is just as expensive. One could have a couple of dozen workers doing illegal night baking, which is far more serious.

One case alluded to by Deputy Mitchell, quite rightly, received a degree of publicity in the newspapers, where an employer came before the Appeal Tribunal because, allegedly, a worker of 17 years of age was engaged in night baking. This was reported in the newspapers and it was alleged that the worker had to do a nine-hour nightwork shift or be dismissed. I am not privy to the proceedings of that tribunal, but it would be interesting to know if the circumstances were as alleged. There is no doubt that, in this country, there will always be the employer who is quite prepared to take a short cut, and if he can have illegal night baking he can have a substantial competitive advantage over fellow employers.

The penalty should be mandatory in regard to conviction. There are too many judges, with great respect to the Judiciary, who have not the foggiest idea of the exigencies and operations of industrial employment. I doubt if some of the Judiciary would recognise a factory if they saw it. That is the reality because they come from a totally different social background. I suppose it would be difficult to find a judge who did shift work once in a lifetime whether you go to the Circuit Court, the District Court or the High Court. I think, therefore, that the penalties where people breach the law in industrial employment in this context should be mandatory. That should be that. That is the situation one finds in other areas of mandatory enforcement.

I have reservations about giving a licence for two years. I would have thought that 12 months would be better.


I know that is the maximum. I also know how Ministers' arms are twisted. Employers come in with bleeding hearts. The Minister will have representations from local Deputies to the effect that an employer will go out of business. Everybody goes out of business when one is looking for something and, once he gets that something, you find how miraculously the firm manages to survive. I think the Minister should have a period of 12 months so that every employer will know he will get a licence for 12 months. It would be ludicrous to give a licence for any lesser period. Let the employer re-apply at the end of the 12 months. What inevitably will happen here is that everyone will go for the two years and at the end of that period there will be an application for a another two years.

The particular trade union, the Bakery and Food Workers Amalgamated Union — it used to be the Bakers and Confectioners Union — did have a view, and still adheres to the view, that licences should be withdrawn where it is established that a firm is not complying with legislation governing income tax, PRSI, health and safety and hygiene standards and regulations relating to the employment of young persons. Much as I appreciate the pre-occupation of the union in that regard, there is just no way in which the two can be combined and it is up to the enforcing agency to ensure that these particular statutory obligations are also complied with. I do not see any way whereby you can combine the two under this Bill. Naturally it would be quite impossible so to do, but I think the union is correct in drawing attention to that area.

There is a phenomenon which has grown up in relation to the bakery trade. I refer to the hot bread shops.

It is near tea time. The Deputy should not get carried away.

I would urge the Minister to ensure those shops come within the scope of this Bill because there is night baking. There are bakeries and bakeries and if one had a proliferation of such shops one would want to make sure that licensing should apply to them. I would strongly suggest licensing should apply across the board. A number of such establishments are non-union and in that situation they are more likely to be able to circumvent the licensing obligation. I would urge the Minister to take a sharp look at that.

The trade is not as profitable as has been suggested, though some workers have told me that one pays some of the firms a subsidy on bread when there is a degree of over-baking. I do not know how true that is but the allegations have been made from time to time. It is a matter more for the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. It does not get away from the need for a degree of subsidisation on such a basic food as bread.

For the most part Irish bread is infinitely superior to what passes for bread in the United Kingdom, but it is by no manner of means superior to the bread one obtains on the Continent. It is a refreshing experience to enjoy the quality and variety of bread on the Continent. This is a point that should be made and I make it as a consumer. I am assured by the workers here and the employers that our standards are higher than those obtaining in the UK. I tremble to think what the UK experience must be. The current plastic bread and tasteless cotton wool in the Republic of Ireland is singularly unattractive. That is the reason I believe for the success of the hot bread shops, though I would have some hesitation with regard to quality. That is my personal view. Perhaps it is a fad. Indeed, bread is now so costly large families cannot afford to be too fastidious. In fact most of the community cannot afford to be, too fastidious in their personal tastes.

Having made these points, I would ask be too fastidious in their personal tastes. alties and the question of the transfer to the inspectors, rather than the Garda, of the inspection processes. In that context perhaps the Minister will mollify some of the very serious concern existing in the trade unions directly concerned with the introduction of this legislation. I presume the Minister intends to take all Stages tonight?

With the permission of the House.

Is that by agreement?

I am easy about it at this stage.

I welcome the Bill and I would say that, if anything, it is years too late. Probably many who were employed in the bakery business have gone out of it because of the restrictive nature of the hours when one could operate in the trade. The problem with the 1936 Act is that for many years it was strictly enforced. That did result in a number of smaller family bakeries going out of business. In latter years it has been enforced in a patchy manner which has given rise to great abuses, some of which have come to my notice. The sooner that legislation is got rid of the better and I am glad that is the purpose of this Bill. I should like the Minister to assure us that the new legislation will be enacted fairly quickly and in a reasonably short time.

I wish to draw attention to specific points that I have witnessed in the city and county of Waterford in recent months and which I brought to the notice of the Minister's Department. I refer to abuses of the 1936 Act which were not acted on when reported to his Department or to the Garda Síochána, who up to now have been responsible for the enforcement of this legislation. In our city and county there has been strict enforcement of the 1936 Act but the same has not been the case in adjoining areas. What happened in recent times is that a number of people who were in business legitimately have been put to the brink of bankruptcy and certainly have suffered serious financial loss because people operating in other counties, particularly in Cork city, seem to be getting away with baking at all hours of the night, although this is prohibited under the 1936 Act. They have been able to sell bread in counties and towns like Waterford at six o'clock in the morning, this bread having been baked earlier in the morning, while bakers who were adhering to the law cannot start heating their ovens until 6 a.m. That put them at a great business disadvantage. They have lost many contracts and considerable business generally even to small shops and supermarkets.

To accentuate the problem further the State through the aegis of the Army, of hospitals and other State institutions have been buying bread baked during illegal hours. When I reported this to the Minister's Department and to the Garda — but particularly to the Department — I got a very poor hearing. I was told that new legislation was coming in — it is before us now — and that the matter would be rectified when it was enforced. I feel there is a duty in law and on the Department of Labour to see that existing legislation is enacted and that people who adhere to the law are protected. That was not the case. There have been abuses and the Department have been very slow to do anything about it. The Garda were probably advised that legislation was pending and not to press charges against those breaking the law. That is very poor satisfaction for those who suffered financially as a result and may even have gone out of business. I should like the Minister to say how long, all things being equal — I am aware the Bill has already gone through the Seanad — it will be before this measure becomes law. It is obviously unfair competition if some people can work during hours not allowed to others. I fully support this legislation and I believe all Members do likewise.

I thank the Deputies who contributed and I am glad of the welcome given to the Bill. I accept much that has been said about the difficulty of enforcing the 1936 Act and also the comments as to why the Garda were to enforce the Act rather than inspectors of my Department. The Department of Labour did not exist in 1936 and I would think that at that time every village or town had three, four or five bakeries and presumably you would need a team of inspectors to enforce the Act. Now, with modern trends and larger units, I can assure the House without any doubt that my Department and its inspectorate will make sure that the Bill when enacted and signed will be enforced.

Deputy Mitchell was concerned about the fines of £200. Deputy Desmond also referred to this. The original fine was £10. I am legally advised that an increase from £10 to £200, a 20 times increase, is sufficient. The Deputy was also concerned that if there was one fine of £200 you could not fine again. As Deputies know, in any similar situation on the first inspection a person is not usually brought to court. He is warned of the possibility and, subsequently, if the offence is repeated, he is probably taken to court. The House knows that under this Act there will be other ways in which we can and will ensure that the law is observed. Deputy Mitchell mentioned the possibility of amendment to provide for fining £200 and then £200 again.

For a continuing offence.

I can assure the House that we feel we will be able to look into that. Deputy Desmond, on behalf of the Labour Party, said he would have no objection to giving us all Stages this evening and indeed Deputy Mitchell's colleague asked us to try to get the Bill through as soon as possible. If we get the Bill tonight we should have it enacted and working in a matter of days. I think the Deputy mentioned a particular bakery not far from his own part of the city where some 194 workers would have been made redundant on 31 December last but for the promise to introduce this Bill as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The Deputy also spoke about the competitive position of bakeries, discounts, subsidies and so on. This would be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism. The same would apply in relation to PAYE, which would be a matter for the Departments of Finance and Social Welfare. If the Deputy is of opinion that what he has referred to is happening within the industry, I shall bring his comments to the notice of my colleagues.

The Deputy referred to the general position regarding the health of employees in the bakery industry. Nobody likes night work as such. I think the Deputy used the phrase "anti-social" since night time is always regarded as a time of rest or, in regard to the earlier part of the night, a time for enjoyment. In many industries today shift work and night work are part and parcel of every day life. That is one of the reasons why we decided, after consultation with the unions and the employers and in order to protect employment in the bakery industry, that this legislation was necessary.

Deputy Desmond asked what the Minister would do when he was asked to issue a licence for night work. It would be my intention to inform the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Federated Union of Employers, management and the union concerned or the workers' representative. That would mean four groups would be notified when an application is made for a licence for night work.

On the question of penalties, I hope Deputies will be satisfied and will agree that the increase to £200 is substantial. As I said before, there are many other ways, apart from penalties, of dealing with matters of that kind.

I am asking the House that all Stages of this Bill be passed this evening.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take the Committee Stage?

I wish to table some amendments and suggest that the Committee Stage be taken next week.

Would the Deputy give me all Stages now?

I think this Bill is faulty. Certain amendments have to be put down regarding penalties and continuing offences. The health and social aspects of the Bill should be looked at too.

Next Tuesday.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 31 March 1981.