I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 9 together.
The agreements on pay negotiated in conjunction with the Programme for National Recovery provided that in October 1988 discussions would take place at national level between the Government, the FUE, the CIF and the ICTU on a general framework to allow for the implementation of a one hour per week reduction in working hours over the three year period of the national programme in cases where the normal working week is at or above 40 hours. The discussions resulted in the successful conclusion of an agreement. The agreement provides a framework within which employers and unions may negotiate a reduction of one hour per week. These negotiations are to be carried on at the level at which basic pay and conditions of employment are normally negotiated. Any further reduction in working hours would, of course, be primarily a matter for negotiation between the relevant interests.
Deputies may also be aware that I have initiated a review of the Conditions of Employment Acts which specify statutory maximum permissible working hours for employees in industrial work. I am at present in consultation with the FUE and ICTU in the matter. It would not be my intention to reduce below negotiated norms maximum hours of work under these Acts.