Conditions of Employment Bill, 1935—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

This Bill was introduced in the Dáil in April of this year, and has been under discussion there on many occasions since, with the result that the purpose of the Bill, and the manner in which it proposes to achieve that purpose, has received considerable publicity. On that account I think it is perhaps unnecessary at this stage of the discussion in the Seanad to go into any prolonged account of its provisions. The principle of the regulation of the conditions of employment has found general acceptance, not merely amongst workers, and those interested in improving the conditions of workers, but also amongst employers and employers' organisations. In modern industrial conditions the stress of competition is often very severe, and may induce employers in an industry to seek advantages over their rivals, by disimproving the conditions of employment of their employees, or by substituting one class of employees by another lower paid class. Such action if adopted by certain employers in an industry might have very widespread reactions, because other employers might find themselves in a position in which they were forced, either to follow suit or to sacrifice their trade and considerable dislocation of employment and a disimprovement of the conditions of employees in the industry might result.

The idea of fixing standard minimum conditions in respect to industry in general, or special conditions affecting only a particular industry, has been very generally accepted as a practical method of preventing the development of such abuses. It is, perhaps, desirable to emphasise that the purpose of the Bill is to enable standard minimum conditions of employment to be fixed. That fact has on occasion been lost sight of by persons discussing the Bill, who regard, or profess to regard, proposals in it as representing the Government's idea as to the actual conditions that should operate in particular industries. If Senators when discussing these provisions will bear in mind, that the general conditions of employment laid down by the Bill, are minimum conditions, and that the same will be true of any conditions enforced by regulations made under it, it will make it easier for them to understand its scope. The Bill has been modified considerably in the course of its passage through the Dáil, and a number of amendments were made which overcame difficulties contemplated by various organisations, or objections that emanated from many quarters. There is in fact very little effective opposition to any of the proposals in the Bill remaining as a result of the alterations effected during the two Committee Stages in the Dáil. It is true that some opposition to one section in the Bill is still being expressed by representatives of women workers' organisations. The opposition to that section has been very largely fostered by misrepresentation of its purpose. It has been represented that it is the intention of the Government under that section to prevent women from being employed in industrial occupations. The fears which exist in certain quarters are due to the belief that, under the operation of the section, a number of women who are now in employment will lose that employment. That is entirely contrary to facts. There is no intention, so far as the Government is concerned, of securing a general displacement of women from industry, nor is it believed that any such course would be practicable. There are large numbers of industries in which women are employed for which women are particularly suited.

In fact, a number of industries could not be carried on except with female employees, and there is no intention, nor would it be possible, in my opinion, to effect any alteration in that condition. If, however, it is agreed that it is desirable that any employer in an industry now employing adult male workers should be prevented from seeking an advantage over his rivals by substituting for these workers lower paid women workers, a section like that embodied in the Bill is necessary. The adoption of such tactics by employers has been known in the past and may be attempted in the future, and the effect of it would be to secure dislocation of employment in an undesirable manner.

It is true that the argument has been frequently advanced that the same aim should be achieved by adopting the principle which is known as "Equal pay for equal work." That phrase is a most dangerous one from the point of view of the workers. Any attempt to put into force the policy which appears to be embodied in it would, in my opinion, result in a general disimprovement of the conditions of employment of male workers. The "equal pay for equal work" would be women's pay. That is due to the fact that the great majority of women who are engaged in industrial occupations are unmarried. Most of them go into industry not with the idea that they are committed to following industrial avocations for the rest of their lives but only for the purpose of earning a subsistence until marriage. On the other hand, the great majority of male workers in industry are married and under present circumstances, in which there is no inconsiderable amount of unemployment, the legal enforcement of that principle would mean that the lower standard rate of wages—for women as a class are prepared to accept lower wages than it would be possible for married men to maintain themselves on—would become general. On that account I consider it necessary and desirable to resist the representations which have been made for the deletion of that section. I am glad that in doing so I have received the support of the Labour Party in the Dáil and of other organisations which speak for the interests of labour.

One of the provisions in the Bill which will cause considerable change from the conditions of employment practised in many industries is that which provides for an annual holiday. The Bill proposes that every worker who has been in continuous employment, as defined in the Bill, for a period of 12 months, will be entitled to one week's annual leave with pay. In some industries that is the practice at present, but there are very large numbers of industrial workers who do not get annual leave and who will become entitled to it for the first time when the Bill becomes law. Similarly, they are being made entitled to receive six public holidays with pay during the course of the year. The operation of these provisions will, of course, result in an increase in industrial costs in certain industries; but we consider that the principle is sound and that whatever the consequences of that increase in costs may be, they are worth facing because of the advantages of one kind or another which will result from the operation of that measure, and that point of view has, apparently, been endorsed by all Parties.

The Bill proposes that a statutory maximum 48-hour week will operate for all workers engaged on any form of work covered by the Bill. The provisions of the Bill in that regard are taken from the Washington 48-Hour Convention and although we have had to modify those provisions in some details because of conditions prevailing here, nevertheless, we are anxious to keep the Bill in as close accord with the Convention as possible, so that the possibility of ratifying the Convention can be considered at a later stage. Power is being taken, however, to make regulations for particular industries enforcing a shorter maximum week and, as Senators are no doubt aware, there are many industries in respect of which a shorter week operates at present. I wish to say that these provisions are not being put forward as a solution of the problems of unemployment. I know there are many people who contend that the problem of unemployment can be solved by a general reduction in working hours. That is not my view. I do not think that reduction in working hours, unaccompanied by other measures, will effect any appreciable change in the employment position. We think, however, that it will be possible to adopt some of the other measures to which I have referred and that operation of the provisions of the Bill will effect an alleviation in the unemployment position, but the main purpose is to ensure that workers will enjoy in increased leisure some of the benefits of the technical progress which has been accomplished in recent years and which may be accomplished in future.

One section of the Bill aroused considerable anxiety in the minds of labour organisations when first introduced, and was amended considerably during the course of the passage of the Bill through the Dáil. That is Section 50 which deals with the Wages Agreements Register. The Bill, as a whole, gives no power to regulate wages. Power is given under various sections to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, after consultation with interested parties to make regulations bearing upon hours of work, employment of various classes of workers, overtime, and similar matters, but there is no power to the Minister on his own initiative to take any action in relation to wages. We have, of course, under the Trade Boards Acts, at present, a direct control over the wages paid in certain industries for which trade boards have been established. The principle upon which that Act was framed is that boards should only operate where the unorganised condition of the industry and the absence of agreements as to rates of wages make them desirable. Most of the trade boards which have been established operate in respect of industries of that class. I say most, because some of them have become organised industries since the boards were constituted, but the boards have remained in existence. These boards recommend minimum rates of wages which, if approved of by the Minister, become legally enforceable, and it is an offence to pay less than the trade board rates. In industries in which trade boards do not exist it is, in my opinion, best that rates of wages should be fixed by agreement between the employers, or organisation representing the employers, and the trades unions concerned. Frequently we have come up against the difficulty that while a majority of the employers, and the union representing a majority of the workers in a particular industry, were prepared to agree on a certain rate of wages the fact that an individual stood out made it impossible for the majority to carry out their wishes. We are proposing, therefore, under Section 50, that where such an agreement is made between a trade union and an organisation of employers, on the application of one of the parties, that agreement can be registered, if accepted as suitable for registration by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and if such an agreement is registered, then the rate specified therein becomes legally enforceable by the worker. It becomes an offence for the employer to pay less to the worker and for the worker to accept less than the agreed rate, and, again, the central idea is to secure that it will not be possible for one or two employers in an industry to conduct their concerns in a manner which will lower the standard of employment throughout the industry as a whole. That section is the only section in the Bill which deals with rates of wages, apart from the sections which are designed to secure that where working hours are reduced, either automatically under the Bill, when passed, or as a result of regulations made after the Bill has become law, no reductions shall take place in the worker's weekly earnings. These sections are designed to secure that, where the working week is thus reduced, the piece rate or hourly rate or whatever rate of wage the worker may be receiving will be proportionately increased, so that his weekly earnings will remain unchanged. Other provisions are designed to deal with circumstances which will inevitably arise. These provisions give power to revise contracts where the operation of the measure makes it impossible for them to be adhered to and they make it possible for an employer or worker charged with an offence under the measure to put forward as a good defence the plea that the breach was made necessary by a condition of emergency.

This Bill is part of a general scheme. Originally it was our intention to have one Bill dealing not merely with conditions of employment, but with safety and health regulations. It was found, however, that to adhere to the idea of having one Bill, covering all matters relating to industrial employment, would have necessitated the delaying of this measure considerably, and so the original draft Bill was divided into two parts. This is the first part. The second part, which deals with the codification and amendment of the existing factories and workshops Acts and matters relating to health, sanitation, lighting, heating, and safety, is at present being prepared and will be introduced early next year. It is proposed to follow up these two measures by somewhat similar measures dealing with commercial employees and also to effect legislation on the same lines to cover certain classes of industrial workers which it was not possible to bring within the scope of this Bill—transport workers, those engaged in connection with docks and shipping, and those engaged in connection with mining. Because of the conditions under which those classes of work have to be carried on, they could not be fitted into the scheme of this Bill, but it is not intended that these workers should be left without protective legislation of this kind, although it may be some little time before legislation can be prepared and introduced to deal with them. Ultimately, we hope to have a general series of measures which will ensure that proper standards of employment will operate in all trades. The reason why we are particularly concerned to ensure that this Bill will be properly framed and adequate to effect the purposes we have in mind is because it will very largely be a standard on the basis of which the other Bills will be prepared.

I have been much gratified by the reception which the measure has received. It was very carefully considered by the Dáil and very considerably amended there. I assure the members of the Seanad that I have no desire to rush the measure through this House. I am anxious that it should get full consideration here, as in the Dáil. I promise that any practical suggestion bearing upon any of its provisions will be most carefully considered. The Bill is an innovation. It can, I think, be said that precisely similar legislation does not exist in any country. In so far as we are pioneers in the matter, we must exercise more care than would be the case if we had behind us the experience of other countries and their example to guide us. Because that experience and example are absent, we have to give very deep consideration to the various sections of the Bill to secure, in the first instance, that they will be workable, and, in the second instance, that they will operate to establish the conditions which we desire to see in industrial employment. I am sure that we shall have the active co-operation of all sections of the Seanad in that work. The Bill is not one which lends itself to prolonged discussion on Second Reading in so far as its principle has been generally accepted. Whatever time is required for Committee Stage will be afforded. I am anxious that the Bill should become law early next year, so that the benefit of the holiday provisions will commence to operate during the summer of that year. We cannot allow the holiday provisions to operate immediately the Bill becomes law, because a very large number of workers might become entitled to their holidays in the first week, and that would cause considerable dislocation. A period of three months is provided, and in order that that period of three months should expire during the proper holiday season it is desirable that the Bill should become law early next year.

I am very glad, speaking more or less from the employer's point of view, to be able to approve of the general principles underlying the Bill. So far as I am personally concerned, I have always been in favour of the principle of an annual holiday and of shorter hours for workers, by agreement. Necessity has, however, forced me to recognise that a great many of these things which are desirable and very often practicable become quite impracticable except there is general agreement, which is very hard to obtain, or there is State action. I propose to make a number of criticisms of the provisions of the Bill but these will be made in much the same spirit as the Minister's speech—with the desire that, when the Bill becomes law, it shall be as workable as possible. In particular, I am glad to see the restriction on Sunday work and the provisions for dealing with overtime. I am also glad to see an attempt to introduce some kind of wages-agreement register, though I am not at all sure that that provision will not require further amendment if it is to work satisfactorily. I am glad that the Minister drew attention, at the outset, to the fact that this Bill will inevitably increase working costs and probably the cost of goods. So far as the industries which are not giving these benefits at the present time are concerned, it will mean one-twenty-sixth added to the wages cost for the year. That will, inevitably, in many cases, increase the cost of production. It will add to the difficulties of exporting with those firms which have an export trade and which are competing with countries which have not got similar enactments. I mention that only because I think the public should recognise it and not because I regard that, any more than the Minister does, as sufficient reason why a Bill of the kind should not be passed. It is, of course, a reason which will prevent us, possibly, going as far as many people would like to go. You can go a certain distance inside a small country, but if you go too far you will find that you will defeat your own purpose, because of conditions outside.

I do not like the form of the section —I think it is a new section—which deals with the retrospective period for which holidays must be given. If you go back an entire year, you are adding one-twenty-sixth to the wages bill for the past year, for which the firms concerned could not recoup themselves. I do not want to suggest that you must start exactly when this Bill comes into force, but I suggest that there could easily be a half-way house which would not be in any way injurious to the workers concerned. The Minister would like to have the Bill law in January or early in the new year. The Minister provides in this section that in every employment year which expires, I think, within one month after the date of the passing of the Act, holidays must be given within three months. That means that you are going to have a large number of holidays which will probably recur in continuous years as far as the same employees are concerned if they stay in the same employment, and you will have these holidays recurring in what I regard as a most unsuitable time of the year. I think that most people will agree that holidays should be given in the summer months. Most employers who have any regard for the health and proper conditions of their workers always endeavour to give the holidays in the summer months. I suggest that this section, as it stands, creates a certain difficulty in working, and I do not believe you are gaining anything for the workers by having the first three or four months of next year the period in which a very large number of holidays must be given. It is possible that a very wealthy firm might be able to give these holidays at that time and the holidays again in the summer for the succeeding employment year, but a great many firms would not be able to bear the cost of that. For that reason, I intend to make certain criticisms and suggestions in the Committee Stage of the Bill. I am merely mentioning it now because I think it is of some importance and I hope the Minister will deal with it when he is replying.

The Bill has been in the Dáil for a considerable time and has had a good deal of amendment. I think, probably, that we will find here that we will be able to make a very considerable number of further amendments which will improve the working of the Bill. I particularly welcome the way in which the Minister introduced the Bill, because he recognised that a measure of this kind requires all the best thought that it is possible to give it in order to make it workable, and I hope that every section of the House will deal with it in that spirit, although, inevitably, we shall disagree on some matters. I am puzzled about some of the definitions in the Bill. I do not want to go into these matters in detail now as, perhaps, they are more a matter for the Committee Stage, but I doubt if the definition of industrial work, for instance, is really a very satisfactory one. If you look at it carefully you will find that it does not define certain things, but speaks of industrial work and the activities set out. That is not really a definition and I think it is quite possible, if the Minister were to consider the matter further with his experts—it would be very difficult for us here to propose suitable amendment —that he might get some way by which he might be able to confine industrial work to concerns mainly engaged in manufacturing, and to confine commercial work to concerns where the bulk of their trade is selling, whether wholesale or retail selling. For instance, under industrial work you have the phrase "adapting for sale." When you come to the definition of commercial work, which is excluded from the Bill, you find that it is work done for or in connection with the sale, wholesale or retail, of any article. I have thought a good deal about this and I am quite unable to think of any adapting for sale that is not commercial work under that definition, and I think that, quite possibly, it may cause confusion. Adapting for sale in a number of trades—certainly in the general drapery trade, and particularly in the ladies' end of it—is very common indeed in connection with articles which have to be slightly altered to suit a particular customer before they are sold. Therefore, that would mean confusion. I do not want to give the impression that I am against making provisions for shops and retailers generally. I am in favour of them, as members of this House know, and I have endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to have such provisions enacted. At the same time, however, if, as I understand, there is going to be another Bill, I think that we ought to keep this Bill out of the retail trade as far as possible, and when the other Bill comes in we ought to endeavour to keep it away from manufacturers. I doubt very much if the definitions here do so. Take the position of another trade, such as an ordinary motor garage. Taking the Bill as it stands, it seems to me that if a customer brings his car in for repair, that is industrial work under the Bill; but if the garage has a secondhand car which it has bought in or taken in exchange, and repairs it in order to sell it again, that is work done in connection with sale and is therefore commercial work. I do not want to labour these points too much at the moment, but I want to show that, as the Bill stands, there is scope for very considerable confusion.

There is another point which affects quite a number of sections in the Bill. The first is in connection with Section 4, under which the Minister has power to exempt certain persons from the provisions of the Bill, and he has also power to revoke a licence. I recognise that the Minister must have that power, but as the Bill stands he can revoke a licence on one day's notice. Where a certain type of trade has been carried on under licence, a man might easily be in the middle of important work when the notice of revocation comes, and I think that there should be fair notice given to him that the licence is to be revoked. I think that he should be given at least 14 days, from the receipt of the notice, in which he could operate. If there were a breach of the law, I would not worry about that, but that is not dealt with. It simply says that the Minister may revoke a licence at any time by notice in writing. I think that there should be a certain period after the notice. Of course it is a matter of detail, but it is one which affects a good many of the provisions in the Bill. Under the Bill as it stands, it seems to me that a company can be prosecuted at any time, no matter how many years after the offence has been committed, provided the Minister says that he only got the information three months before the prosecution. I do not think that is right. I would not object to the provision in the Bill as it stands if it was provided in addition that in no case could it be more than one year, because after a long period of time it would be extremely difficult to produce proofs. I want it to be understood that I am not trying to make evasion of the law easy, but I suggest that there should be a limit and I think that limit should be one year.

Then we have Sections 15 and 16. Section 16, of course, is the most controversial one. Under Sections 15 and 16 the Minister takes power to fix proportions. I think, that, as is stands it is too rigid and that there should be some kind of elasticity. There, again, I do not want to make too much of what might be regarded as an absurd case but, in talking it over with some other employers, we saw at once that we might easily and not infrequently come across a serious difficulty of an absurd character. Suppose for example, the Minister fixed a proportion of 25 young persons or women to 75 men and that the company was working with its full quota when one man had an accident and had to remain away as a result of his accident or illness, you would immediately have to dismiss a woman or a young person. That may seem absurd, but it could easily happen that one, or perhaps two or three would be absent. There again, as I say, it is a detail, but it is only to make the thing more easily workable that I am bringing up the matter.

The Minister has expressed himself strongly, as I knew he would, in favour of the provisions in Section 16. I wonder if there is really as much demand by the general public for that section as he thinks. I doubt it very much, and I also seriously doubt whether it is wise to bring a matter of very considerable controversy into a Bill of this kind, which we want to work as harmoniously as possible, when the representatives of organised women workers are against it.

At the same time, having expressed these doubts, I do see that there is a case for having power to prohibit the employment of women in certain trades, and I agree entirely with the Minister that there may be certain trades in which the temptation may come to get cheap labour. It will not come from the responsible employers, but there are always a small number of irresponsible employers who will start it and it will then become the practice. If the work is unsuitable for women, I do not see any fundamental objection to prohibiting that work for them, but where I totally disagree with the Bill is that I cannot see why it is right to have a proportion of women in it if the work is unsuitable. If it is suitable, I think it is foolish to try to fix proportions. It would be far better to allow ordinary economic conditions to work as the women workers wish. On the argument that the work is unsuitable, I can definitely see a case for prohibition and I think it would be much wiser to drop the proportions in that respect. In the case of young persons, the position is quite different. There they ought to be learners and there is a great case in a great many trades for providing for a definite proportion.

I have already said that I am strongly in favour of the provision for an annual holiday, but there again, I have some misgivings as to the practical working of the provisions. Possibly others may disagree with me, but, in my humble opinion, where it is at all possible in a business, the best way to provide the annual holiday is for the concern to close down for a week. It is easier to check the holidays. They can be arranged in the summer and the workers will know for a long time ahead that they will begin their holidays in that particular week and will not be subject to taking their turn, which very often leads to some getting their holidays early in spring or late in autumn, or in big concerns, in the winter.

To my mind, it would be much better to have that closing down, but, as it stands now, the closing down week would have to be within the next three months if the Bill becomes law at once—either that or you would have to give the holiday in the next three months and have the closing down in the summer, which would be a double expense and would not be an inducement to firms to adopt the practice. This is a matter which I want to raise particularly now because I do not know that I shall be able to draft an amendment to provide what I want. I think the Minister should very seriously consider it. There should be a provision by which, if a company submits a scheme to the Minister which complies with all the provisions with regard to the annual holiday, for a closing down on the particular week, and if that is approved, that particular firm will be exempted from the provisions of the Bill which are likely to create difficulty.

Suppose the holiday is fixed for July 1st to July 8th, and suppose an employee comes in a fortnight before. Having got his whole week's holiday with pay, the position is then that when the next year comes he walks out before the holiday week because his year has expired. If he is given a holiday with pay for a whole week, he has the right under the Bill to leave of his own accord and nothing can be deducted in respect of the pay he got for the week. While those provisions stand as they are, it will be extremely difficult to have the annual holiday and some method, I think, should be devised to get over that. I have spoken to several firms connected with the Federation of Irish Industries and a number of them would like to adopt the annual holiday in the summer, and from the employers' and the workers' points of view, I believe, it would be the best scheme, but as the Bill stands I am afraid they will not adopt it.

I have referred already to the fact that no deduction can be made if a holiday is given before the end of the employment year. I do not think that is equitable or that, in practice, it will work well. It is a definite inducement to an employer to have the holiday at the end of the employment year, which in many cases would not be desirable. I agree that if an employer dismisses an employee he should have no right to deduct, but it seems to me that if in order to give the holiday, in the summer, it is given after two, three, four or five months' work, and if the employee then chooses immediately to leave and go to another firm, there should be a right to deduct. Where there is a dismissal for malfeasance, it is a different matter. There is always a certain number of smart people in almost every trade, and the temptation to leave and get benefit again in another firm immediately after the holiday would be considerable, and I am afraid that a number of employers will drop the idea of the closing and will say : "You came in such and such a month and in that month next year, you get your holiday." I do not think that is desirable and I think we could improve the Bill with some expert assistance.

There was a new amendment introduced by the Minister in the Dáil which I do not like. It permits workers on their holidays to do other industrial work, provided it is not of the same kind as that at which they were working. If workers are going to use their week to look for other jobs in a different kind of work, the purpose of this Bill will be defeated. It is neither desirable from the workers' point of view nor equitable from the employers' point of view. If a holiday is paid for, the industry as a whole should get the benefit of the increased health of the worker. One of the objects of the Bill is to improve the health of the worker generally, and, while it will not be seen at once, I believe that the improved health conditions brought about by shorter hours will eventually make up for the increased costs to the particular industry, but it will not apply if this section stands and is carried out to any extent.

There is one point which I should like the Minister to explain to me when he is replying, because it might affect possible amendments. In Section 36, I find the words "at his absolute discretion." The section deals, I think, with shift work and provides that, although he consults with representatives of employers and workers, the Minister can make an order at his own absolute discretion. If those words had not been there, I would have assumed that that was the case, but when I find those words excluded from all the other sections under which he makes orders, after consultation with representatives of employers and workers, it rather looks as though he had not absolute discretion in relation to those other sections. I should like to ask if that is what it means. I am not attempting to interpret it from the legal point of view, but why it is in that section, and not in others, is rather a puzzle to me and I should like to know whether accident or deliberate intention is behind it.

There is another matter that seems to me to be of considerable importance which I would like to put before the Minister. This Bill, apparently, is intended to become law on the one date or as soon as possible after it receives the assent. I wonder is that desirable? There are a number of provisions in this Bill which are intended to deal with particular conditions. For instance, sub-section (4) of Section 2, Sections 32 to 35, sub-section (1) of Section 40, sub-section (4) of Section 48, sub-section (1), paragraph (e) of Section 49 all provide for the making of possible Orders by the Minister so as to make the Bill work smoothly and in order to meet particular cases. If all parts of the Bill become law immediately it is passed by the Oireachtas, or a few days afterwards, that will mean that the law will have to be carried out by the firms in respect of whom in a fortnight, three weeks or a month afterwards the Minister intends to make these Orders so as to modify the conditions laid down. That, to my mind, will cause chaos and considerable loss for no good purpose at all. In my opinion, the Minister should take power, as he has done under the Road Traffic Act, to bring this measure into force by Order in Council, and, if necessary, to bring certain sections into force at different times. At any rate, I think it would be desirable that the consultations provided for between representatives of the workers and the employers in a number of sections in the Bill should take place before these sections actually come into effect. The Minister could then make his Orders simultaneously so that there would be as little confusion and loss as possible. There may be reasons against doing that, but at the moment I cannot see them.

I would be glad if the Minister would give us some idea as to how he considers the country motor garage will be affected by this Bill. As far as the Dublin garages—in one of which, I confess, I am interested—are concerned, it does not very much matter. They are engaged on commercial and industrial work, and there is no reason why they should not comply generally with the conditions. But when you come to the case of the country garage, I confess I am rather puzzled. A certain amount of their work has to do with the sale of petrol, oil and accessories which, clearly, is commercial. But, it looks to me as though the repair of a car or a puncture may, as the Bill stands, be classed as industrial work. I think it will be agreed that the country garages do most of their work during the weekends and on Sundays, when they very often have to repair breaksdown. While I know that the Bill provides that there can be three hours' work done, it will be admitted, I think, that very few of these country garages will keep a man waiting and change him every three hours so that there will always be some one available to take in hand a breakdown job. I think that some amendment will need to be made in the Bill to meet that kind of situation, unless week-end motorists are going to find it almost impossible to get their repairs done. As the Bill stands, repair work would be classed as industrial work. It may be said, of course, that these country garages could change their half-day; but unless something is done to meet the situation I have mentioned, what I imagine will occur is that they will drop their repair work and become entirely commercial, dealing simply in the sale of oil, petrol, etc. I have not got sufficient personal experience of the country motor garage to say how the situation ought to be met. As the Bill stands, I do not see any way out.

I come now to the question of the wages agreement register and I would like to ask the Minister why he confines the register solely to wages. Hours, I know, are dealt with under the Bill, but there might be an agreement for better hours than there are under the Bill. That is a matter, of course, that may be done by Order by the Minister. But, where there is an agreement, it might be very much better to let it work out. There is the use of machinery and quite a lot of other things which have to be the subject of agreements. To my mind, if they arebona fide agreements, and you have the check of the Minister to see that they are and that they were made by the representatives of the sections of the community concerned, I cannot see why they should not be in the same agreement even though it deals with the matter of wages. In the case of our new industries, if they are to progress at all and to develop, and the old ones, too, it is most important that there should be a period of freedom from strikes, locks-out and disturbances of that kind. It is only possible to have that freedom where you have reasonable co-operation between employers and the trade unions concerned. When agreements are made they should be binding on both sides.

As the Bill stands it seems to me to have one serious flaw. If there is no time limit, or provision for the termination or length of the agreement, the Minister cannot register it. That means that either side if it does not want to be bound by an agreement can succeed in making it unregisterable by simply saying that it will not have any time limit. I think that is wrong. I think the Bill should provide that, where an agreement is made and where it comes within the general conditions of the Bill, it should be deemed to have a time limit of two or three years, some fixed period, unless there is a provision to the contrary. That will not prevent an agreement being made for any length of time agreed to by both sides. It will get them over the difficulty of one side or the other preventing the proper working of the agreement and having it registered by simply saying "We will not have any definite length of time in our agreement."

When an agreement is registered it becomes legally binding on the employers as far as the payment of wages is concerned. It is not clear to me that there is a similar legal binding on the trade unions. I would like to make myself clear on this. I am not suggesting for a moment that it would be desirable or practicable to take away the right from an individual to choose where he will work any more than it would be proper to take away the right from an employer to choose his employees. I am not suggesting that an individual has no right to say "I am doing different work, or better work, and I want better wages." But where an agreement is made between the trade unions and employers it seems to me that it should be wrong, during that period, for either of them to conspire to break it. I do not think that the trade unions who make agreements in this country are in the habit of repudiating them before the end of the period, but where one is up against the difficulty of rival trade unions: where one particular trade union makes an agreement and is fully representative of the class of workers concerned at the time the agreement is made—the agreement is registered and it feels honourably bound not to suggest any change in it until the end of the period—another trade union can come along and try to get the workers to join it. It may, as a result of the transfer of membership, become the representative union, and a year or so after the agreement is made it may call a strike as it does not feel honourably bound by the agreement which the previous trade union had made. I, therefore, suggest that it should be made an offence to either organise or incite persons to break an agreement which has been registered, an agreement which is equally binding on employers.

Agreement for the minimum.

Agreement for the minimum.

The Senator wants that condition to govern what he has said?

I believe that if an agreement is made by which a certain minimum wages is to be applicable for a period of years in a particular trade that the whole thing will fall to the ground if workers can join together in six or nine months' time and strike in one or two particular concerns for a higher wage. The question of entering into new agreements is different. I am referring to the breaking of them by going on strike during that period.

You will have no agreement then.

On the Committee Stage I will deal with a number of minor points. I have dealt with the important things that require consideration on this Stage. Generally I approve of the Bill and am very glad to support the Second Reading.

The aim of this Bill is to improve the conditions of employment in that kind of work which we speak of as industrial work, while at the same time eliminating the opportunity for unfair competition between firm and firm. Interference by Governments in industry is no new thing. While it has been going on for at least 100 years, the extent of it has very largely increased of late. This Bill is an example of that. To secure a fair field between competitors there must be interference by the State. There is really no other practical way out, because it is impossible to get a large number of people to agree on these matters. That is one of the great defects that can only be overcome by legislation of this kind. When a Bill effecting such detailed interference with industry as this one does comes along, there is a very great risk of mistakes being made—mistakes which might be detrimental to trade, detrimental to customers, and detrimental to industrial peace. I do not propose to speak in detail on these matters now. My knowledge of industrial affairs is not exactly nonexistent, but it is very limited. Senator Douglas has widespread experience of that kind of work, and he says that if this Bill is passed, as it came to this House, he sees the possibility of a good deal of trouble in the future. I am certain that is one of the things the Minister would wish to avoid, and, with great respect, at this stage I venture to express the hope that he will take time over this Bill by not rushing it, and be receptive to amendments in order to try to improve its provisions. It is lamentable that legislation passed to achieve a certain object—in this case the main object being industrial peace and to deal with difficulties that cover a wide field—has to be cleared up afterwards, perhaps in court. That is the kind of thing that should be avoided, and accordingly, I hope the Minister will not rush the Bill but will be receptive to amendments, provided they are good ones.

This Bill proposes to deal with conditions of employment of industrial workers in classes other than those mentioned as not coming within its scope. It also proposes to make it illegal for certain employers to continue to exploit unfortunate working-class people. In the first place, it proposes that no young person under the age of 14 years shall be employed in industrial employment. When the Bill becomes an Act any person who employs young persons in industrial employment under that age will be liable to penalties. The Bill also proposes to remedy a state of things that has existed longer than I can remember. I refer to the question of holidays for industrial workers. In Section 7 it is proposed that industrial workers shall be entitled to six days' holidays. They were known formerly as bank holidays. Section 24 proposes that a week's annual leave shall be given, with full pay, to industrial workers. It has been a great bone of contention during all the years I have been associated with industrial workers, both as a worker and as a trade union official, that the industrial workers was in a class by himself. He was never entitled to get the annual week's holiday that every other class —commercial workers and office people —got. These people got the bank holidays and were paid for them. If the industrial worker got a bank holiday he had to pay for it. Up to recent years, it was unknown for the industrial worker to get an annual week's holidays. Thanks to trade union organisation, we have been able, in certain industries, to establish an annual week or two weeks' holidays with full pay for industrial workers. I am sorry to say that we have been able only to deal with the fringe of the industrial workers in that respect up to the present. In this Bill it is proposed that industrial workers shall be entitled to get an annual week's holidays with full pay when working for a certain number of weeks or hours in the year. I think Senator Douglas is making a mistake in stating that if a person was only two months in employment he would then be entitled to holidays.

That is not so. I do not want to be misunderstood. I said that if a business place was closed for a week in the summer and if the employee was only two weeks there, it was desirable that that employee should be included. I do not say that legally he would have to get holidays.

The first section dealing with holidays for industrial workers states that before they are entitled to the annual leave they must have worked 1,800 hours in the preceding 12 months. This is a step in the right direction. As an industrial worker I could never understand why other occupations were entitled to get a week's holidays, while industrial workers were not. I have a recollection of being knocked off for two and a half days at Christmas, Christmas Day, St. Stephen's Day and the next day, and when I went to get paid on Saturday I found I had only two and a half days' pay to get. That was the kind of Christmas holidays I was accustomed to. I go so far as to say that the vast majority of industrial workers were treated in a similar way. They got bank holidays, perhaps Easter Monday and sometimes Easter Tuesday, but they lost two days' pay. This Bill proposes to remedy that, so that industrial workers shall not be outcasts, but shall be treated like the rest of the community, and be entitled to one week's annual leave. I go so far as to say that I do not know of anybody who requires an annual week's holidays more than the industrial worker. Take the case of the worker in a chemical factory—surely he wants a breath of fresh air at least for one week in the year. Surely it is only human to expect that the worker should get the same consideration as every other class in the community. The Bill also proposes to put into operation, as far as industrial workers are concerned, the 48-hour week. Thanks to organisation in the well-organised industries, we have been able to establish the 48-hour week or less than that. But in some industries, for want of proper organisation, we have not been able to achieve that object. This Bill makes it illegal to employ workers longer than 48 hours in any working week.

Section 16, I suppose, will be the most contested section in this Bill. I must say my view of it is not on a par with the views of other people. In my opinion, Section 16 has been put into this Bill because of sheer necessity, to try to preserve some little employment for the male workers. This section is not intended to penalise women workers at all— rather the section has been put in for the purpose of trying to protect and reserve a remnant for the male industrial workers in this country. It is not a question of men wanting to encroach on women's jobs; it is a question of trying to preserve some of the men's jobs for the men. Anybody who knows anything about industrial conditions, and the modern factory equipment, is aware that if we are going to continue at the rate of progress of recent years, it will be impossible to find male employees anywhere in industry. With the introduction of modern machinery, the men have been gradually shoved out of one industry after another. I could cite you any amount of industries where the proportion of women in the industry has grown so much that the men are almost pushed out altogether. This section only gives the Minister power to say that in certain industries the proportion of women shall not be greater than that laid down. That is all it intends to do and I do not think it is fair therefore to suggest that it is an attempt to interfere with the rights of women. It is not. It does not propose to penalise women, but it proposes to say that certain work is suitable for men and that men should be employed at it, and I am entirely in favour of the section as it is in the Bill.

Section 50 is also a very important section. It proposes to deal with the question of wages agreements and, as I understand the section, what the Minister proposes to do is that where an agreement has been arrived at between a substantial body of the workers and the employers in any given industry with regard to wages, and that agreement is registered, the conditions regarding wages in it shall be observed by all the employers in that particular industry. I do not agree at all that Senator Douglas need be apprehensive with regard to this particular section. What the section proposes to do is this: where agreements have been made between the trade unions and the respective employers in any particular industry, those employers who have come to an agreements with the trade unions to pay fair wages and observe fair conditions shall be protected against other employers employing people at a lesser rate of wages. Therefore, the employer who promises to observe decent conditions is given a chance of competing in the particular industry. We all know that when conditions of employment are not good, when there are a large number of unemployed in any particular industry, certain employers are bound to take advantage of the position to offer smaller wages. We know that hungry men with hungry families have been compelled to accept rates of wages lower than those agreed on between the trade union and the employers, and we know that employers who are outside their own society and who are not bound by the terms of the agreement, have always taken advantage of their position to employ people at a lesser rate than had been agreed on. This is more a protection for the decent employer than it is for the worker and experience will, I think, prove when this Act is in operation that the decent employers will get more benefit under Section 50 than the working-class people. This Bill sets up a headline. As the Minister said, we are proposing to do certain things which have not been done before by any other State. I am glad we are, and it is only right that we should have set the headline. If we succeed in setting the headline we will have accomplished something.

The title of the Bill, "Conditions of Employment Bill," conveys what the Bill proposes to do. The title means that the conditions of employment shall be human conditions, and the purpose of the Bill is to endeavour to put that into operation and to see that the conditions of employment in industrial employment, in this country, will be human conditions, and that certain advantages that the working-class people are entitled to get will be embodied in the Bill and will become law. I have said so much about the important sections of the Bill. There are certain details of the Bill that can be better dealt with on the Committee Stage. I need not refer to them now. Certain sections in our opinion will require some amendment, but the amendments are not deeply important and I do not propose to deal with them, except to say that we welcome this Bill and that we hope there will be no material amendments in its important details in its passage through the House.

I think it regrettable that this Government should have followed the example of the last Government in imposing restrictions on women in industry. In 1925, the late Government introduced a Bill called the Civil Service (Regulations) (Amendment) Bill, and, as Senators will remember, at that date the Bill was passed through the Dáil. In the Dáil there was a very good independent Opposition—led by the late Sir James Craig—as well as the Labour Party. The Bill passed the Dáil and it came here, but the Seanad threw it out by 20 votes to nine. Of course, the Government has a trump card. They had it on that occasion, and, I suppose, always will have it. They held it up for 12 months. That was their trump card, but trump cards sometimes get defaced when they are handled too frequently. Restrictions are now before us in the matter of females, or women, in the matter of industry, and, during the course of the debate, I think it was the Minister who said that he saw a woman actually stoking a boiler. That was a terrible thing, but it did not seem to shock either the captains of industry or the chivalrous labour leaders into finding her a post more kindly than that of stocking boilers. I presume she still stokes a boiler. Why does she? Because she is physically fit and because it is a sheer necessity and because she takes lower money than a boiler man would get. But there she is, sticking it still. If she had been relieved, we should have heard about it. But she will remain there until Section 15 (a) is enforced, prohibiting the employment of female workers to do such forms of industrial work. That, I presume, will apply to women stokers. When these restrictions on women are introduced, I do not think that there is sufficient understanding of the reasons why women are driven to do this very hard work. They are driven to it by sheer necessity and, very often, they do it to help dependents. When the Bill regarding restrictions in the Civil Service was before the Dáil, one of the arguments put forward by the then Minister was want of physical fitness. Sir James Craig, in opposition, said that physical fitness would regulate the desire for one post or another. He was a humane man who understood human nature, and he was quite right. People will not do these terrible things unless they are driven to it. With all this fuss about women stokers, if something were done to find these women other posts and instal men at a higher rate of wages, nobody would say a word. But nothing is done. The women are left to stoke. The temptation to this Government to follow the example of the last Government must be very great. They have introduced restrictions not on the Civil Service but on the unfortunate workers in industry. After the Rebellion, it fell to the lot of some of us to try to replace young girls who had lost their posts in industry. I had a good deal to do with that, and these young girls kept constantly assuring me: "When our own men are in power, we shall have equal rights." They believed that. It may have been due to their lack of experience, but it was part of their faith. I do not know how they feel now. Another reason why this section went through without very much opposition was the attitude of the Labour Party. In the very long debates in the other House, there was no standing shoulder to shoulder. The matter was hardly touched upon. However, there is a clause in the Bill providing for a conference of workers in industry and employers interested in such forms of industry, and something may come of that. I am not like the little girls after the Rebellion; I have not complete faith, but I do think that something may come of that provision. With a better understanding, I hope that, at all events, one thing will happen—that the women at present employed in industry will not be interfered with. I put that as an appeal to the Minister—that if he carries his clause—as I know he will—those already employed will not be disturbed for the reason stated in the Bill.

I want to tell a story that kept Dublin laughing 50 years ago, though I do not remember the incident myself. The Rathmines bus, with a full cargo of passengers, fell into the lock at Portobello Harbour. The excitement was great. The people on the banks cried out "Save the women in the bus." The lockman let the water into the lock and gradually the horses began to go down. The busman, in his anguish and anxiety for his employer's property, called out "Damn the women, boys, save the mare!" That story kept Dublin rocking with laughter many years after the tragic incident. I do not think that that was the frame of mind in which this Bill was prepared. I should be sorry to think that, but I do think that the Bill is indicative; that is all I will say. I hope that when these consultations between the Minister, the employers and the industrial workers take place the busman's slogan will be forgotten.

This Bill is a very useful one, and I am glad that, as the Minister explained, it is the prelude to others which will give us something like a complete code aiming at the protection of the interests of the workers, in so far as they can be protected by legislation, and at the protection of their health and safety both in industrial and commercial occupations and in those special occupations which are excluded from this Bill. I think that Section 50 is the most significant section of the Bill. It goes some distance towards the inauguration of almost a new type of machinery for legislation. One of the great difficulties in securing the right treatment of people and right conduct in economic affairs is the difficulty which arises from the necessity for departmental red tape, as it is called. Everybody is of one mind in regard to governmental interference in economic affairs. They feel that it is necessary in a great many respects and they regret the various results that flow from it. They particularly regret the rigidity which most oftentimes attach to it. A civil servant, in administering anything, is bound very much by precedent and he must take care not to treat one individual differently from another. There may be also necessity for passing the responsibility up to those in the hierarchy. The parliamentary question and the intervention that may occur through parliamentary control has again a hampering effect and sometimes makes the working of the machinery slow and difficult and not as effective as it might be.

I think that the desirable thing is that where you can bring the machinery of agreement of organised groups into operation that is a good thing. Section 50, I think, as has been already said by other speakers, is a section which is susceptible of extension, and if the machinery which it provides works well, very good results might follow. I think that Senator Douglas and another Senator said that he did not see any reason why this registration of agreements and the giving of binding effect to agreements, even on people who did not sign them, should not be carried beyond the mere question of wages. There is no reason why these agreements should not cover, in addition to wages, the matter of hours. There is a 48-hour maximum, but there is no reason why a different hour should not be fixed— a 46-hour or a 44-hour week—either in a particular industry or in an industry in a particular area, and if substantial agreement amongst the workers and employers in favour of these hours can be come to it is not desirable that the holding out of one or two firms, perhaps of not very much importance, against that agreement should prevent it, as they will prevent it if they are allowed to compete on the old terms. There is no reason why this should cover not only hours but holidays. I do not think there would be any question immediately of making the general holiday more than a week, but there are individual industries in which it might well be a fortnight, and if that were so, and if substantial agreement were reached on it, there is no reason why it should not be registered and made permanent in that way.

There are other matters, such as the case of the short-hour day and the luncheon or mid-day break. All these things might very well be made subjects for these registrable agreements. In that way, not only would the minimum conditions set out in the Bill be secured to the workers, but there would be a possibility that, where agreement could be reached, that minimum, in some respects, could actually be raised. That would be the best way for it to happen. It would be a much better way than that it should be decided departmentally. It would be much better that it should be done in that way than by departmental regulations or even by legislation; and it would be better, if any considerable improvement became general, that it should come through agreement and the negotiation of organised bodies, and then be ratified by regulation or legislation and forced upon the recalcitrant few that might remain outside.

Of course, this Bill does give a great number of new powers to the Minister. It is modified, however, by the fact that, in the exercise of most of these powers, he must consult with representatives of the workers and employers in the industry affected. I think that is important and, again, perhaps, it gives us the germ for further work along the lines that are made possible by Section 50 in the Bill. There are, however, other sections and certain general provisions in the Bill where there is no question of consultation. I do not know whether the Minister considered the setting up of some sort of general or national consultative council. The Minister gets representatives from particular sections — representatives of the industry concerned and of the workers in that industry — together, and consults with them and, presumably, he would generally act on their advice. In regard to other sections of the Bill, which are of more general effect, there is no provision for consultation. I think it would be a good thing and conducive to the smooth working of the, whole scheme if there were provision for the meeting of a consultative council with which the Minister would work. That council, for instance, might help him in deciding general lines as to how different bodies, claiming to be representative, were to be treated, and possibly as to how, where there was no association, representatives either of workers or employers could be got. There would be a lot of general lines to be laid down which, I think, could not be laid down in a Bill. I think it is better that people concerned in this work should be brought together and that the Minister should consult with them so that the whole idea of co-operation, which is very strongly emphasised in certain portions of the Bill, should be brought right through it.

As the Minister has told us, this is the beginning of a new code of law and there is provision for appeal to the High Court in certain cases. Of course, it is possible that there will not be very much appeal to it under this particular Bill, but as the code extends there is bound to be more ground for litigation in it. It is a specialised type of work. I do not know whether the Minister gave any consideration to the possibility of, shall we call it, a special division of the High Court—something like the Land Court—whereby these sorts of matters would go to a single judge where he might, perhaps, have the assistance of representatives of workers and employers as assessors. It seems to me, at any rate, that this code is beginning to bring us into matters which it would be more convenient, perhaps, to have dealt with by one individual judge, who would see the whole field, rather than that it should come before one judicial officer at one time and another at another time.

There has been a good deal of talk in regard to Section 16. I presume that what the Minister is doing in Section 16 is that he is trying to prevent this matter being dealt with by way of a struggle between the employers and the trades unions. There are a great many industries from which women are excluded simply by the action and by the attitude of the trades unions that represent the existing workers in those industries. Of course, it has to be admitted that, in many cases, if women were employed it would really mean a general lowering of wages in the industry concerned, and the trades unions, on that basis I think, have resisted the introduction of women into certain lines of employment. I take it that the Minister is merely going to do by regulation what the trades unions have been doing heretofore by pressure and, if necessary, by the threat of strike, and so on. I think it is in line with the general principle of the Bill that he should put this provision in. Of course, I think that any provisions such as this do not really meet the problem that exists at all. I think that this particular problem of equal pay for equal work and of the employment of women in industry can only be satisfactorily met when a time can be reached in which, either through industrial and trades union organisations, with the help of the State, or through some special machinery set up by the State, an adequate national scheme of family allowance can be established. There are countries in which attempts have been made to set up such schemes but I think generally they have been more or less voluntary and have been, perhaps, very inadequate, but I think if this problem is ever really to be faced, it has got to be faced along those lines. If you have a system of adequate family allowances, the need for the difference in women's and men's rates of wages will no longer exist, and the pleas which have been put forward for the removal of any restriction or discrimination can be accepted.

Of course, it is entirely outside the scope of this Bill to discuss the setting up of any such scheme, but I should be interested to know from the Minister, as a matter of Government policy, whether he regards this Section 16, and the restrictions in it, as merely a temporary expedient to prevent the lowering of wages in certain industries and to prevent them becoming employments in which the heads of families with dependents can no longer earn sufficient wages to meet their responsibilities, or whether the Government contemplates, at the same time, that this problem of the employment of women and the increasing facilities for the employment of women in industry should not be met by the provision of allowances. It is one of those problems which have one aspect from the point of view of the individual and which have an entirely different aspect when looked at from the point of view of the community as a whole. Senator Douglas has referred to a great number of points which require careful consideration. There may be a considerable number of other minor points on which the Seanad would require further information and in respect of which the members would be inclined to offer amendments, but with regard to the general principle of the Bill, I do not think there can be much disagrecment.

Mr. Kennedy

There is no doubt that this Bill is not all that the working class movement would expect from the present Government, but we realise that it is an effort to face many of the difficulties that confront the people in industry to-day. The Minister has explained the Bill from the standpoint of the benefit to the workers, and, undoubtedly, this Bill will do much to assist the fair employer in industry, who to-day is placed at a disadvantage by the unfair competition of people who will not observe good conditions unless they are forced by law to do so. A good deal of criticism and discussion has arisen in connection with Section 16, but is there any person with a knowledge of industrial development during the last 20 years, not alone in this country but in other countries, who will not admit that there is an absolute necessity for some legislation that will not place female workers in an unequal position in industry, but that will do something to guarantee to male workers some equal status in order to get employment under the present development of the factory system? Senator Mrs. Wyse Power spoke of equal rights for citizens, and Senator Douglas likewise, but where is the unequal citizenship to-day? We know that every factory that opens needs not alone female labour to compete against male labour, but needs juvenile labour to compete against both. It is an effort on the part of the industrialists to get the cheapest possible labour. A glance at the figures regarding unemployment will prove that, and I think I can say with truthfulness that Section 16 is accepted by the trade union movement in this country as the most hopeful feature of this Bill.

I am glad the Minister in his opening statement made it plain that so far as the Labour Party and the Labour movement are concerned, he got every assistance regarding this measure. So far as my knowledge of the trade union movement goes, they believe that this is the first effort to be made along legislative lines that will give some opportunity to see that male workers in future are given their rightful place in industry along with their fellow female workers in the trade union movement. I think the assurance which the Minister has given that it is not the intention to use this section to displace women from industry is all that the movement needs as a guarantee that it will not create the disruption and have which some of the members of this House seem to think it will create.

I should like to refer to Section 15 and particularly to the latter paragraph which, to my mind, nullifies the entire effect of the section itself. This section gives power to the Minister, after consultation with representatives of workers and employers, to prohibit the employment of young persons at certain forms of industrial work. With that we are in thorough agreement, but when we come to paragraph 4 of the section we find that the expression "young person" does not include any apprentice who is employed under indentures. To my mind, that simply offers a loophole to the industrialists of this country to evade the entire section, because, as the Minister and every member of this House knows, there is nothing to prevent a factory owner who wants to employ young people from drawing up indentures with the parents of these young people and so evade the entire section. I suggest to the Minister that he should consider the deletion of paragraph 4, or its amendment, in such a way as will not provide that opportunity to the unfair capitalist who would be prepared to take advantage of it.

With regard to the question of annual leave, I suggest that a week's notice to workers regarding the fixing of the period of their holiday is not sufficient. After all, it is no great hardship to expect an employer to give at least 14 days' notice to his employees as to when they are going on holidays. It is not going to cost him anything extra. We all know that many managements are lackadaisical and will leave these things to the last minute the law allows them, and I suggest that the seven days' notice be made a minimum of 14 days' notice. In the main, we welcome the Bill and believe it will do a good deal not alone for the worker, but for industrialists generally.

With this Bill generally I am in sympathy. I am in sympathy, of course, with anything that is going to make things easier for the workers and better their conditions, but I entirely disagree with this Section 16. I consider it from the point of view of principle alone, a principle on which the Party to which the Minister belongs are in agreement —the principle of equal rights and equal opportunities for all the citizens of this State. How you can agree to a section such as this, giving the Minister power to legislate against one section of the community while claiming that you have established equal rights is a thing I cannot see. I do not understand Labour on this question. I wonder what their dead leader, James Connolly, would say to their attitude on this?

He would approve of it undoubtedly.

He was one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, and I think that alone refutes anything that Labour may say on this. I think they are very barren. I say this meaning every word of it. I think they are very barren in—what shall I call it?—ability, when they can think of no other means of giving the poor men who are being shoved out of work a job except by bringing in legislation which is going to debar women from certain classes of work. I know that there are classes of work that are entirely unsuitable for women. I know that through sheer necessity women have been driven into these forms of work. Possibly, the Minister and myself would be more in agreement if he had specified in the Bill the particular lines of work which, from the physical and other points of view, are unsuitable for women. I could to a certain extent agree with that because it would be in the interests of women that they should not be forced, through circumstances, to take up forms of employment which are unsuitable for them, such forms of employment as Senator Mrs. Wyse Power alluded to.

The Minister said in regard to equal pay for women, that if that were established—the principle of equal pay for all—that the men would be driven down to the same rate of pay as the women get. I cannot agree with that, because if the trade unions mean anything, if they have the power which I think they have, how could that happen if the men's trade unions stood behind the women's trade unions? If a woman goes into a particular form of industry, if she goes in at the same rate of pay as the men receive and says that she will accept nothing less, and if the men's trade unions stand behind her on that, I do not see how employers could face what that means. They would have the whole organised trade union movement of men and women in this country against them.

As I have said, I find it very hard to understand the attitude of Labour on this. There are a lot of things in the Bill that everyone must be in agreement with, such as the provisions that aim at improving the conditions of the workers, but I think that a lot of them are put there simply to attract Labour and more or less to simmer down its natural opposition, because I think it would naturally be opposed to women being legislated against. I think they are simply pills coated in order to get Labour in with this. I think more, that it is the thin end of the wedge against women. Take all the people in this Chamber. The majority are married men, some of them with grown-up families and others with families that are growing up. They have boys and girls. If legislation was brought in prohibiting their girls from entering, say, the commercial or the professional world, what would they think of it? Here you are bringing in legislation to do that in the industrial world, and there is no reason under heaven why that legislation should not be followed up in other directions. What would the people in this Chamber think if their girls were not allowed by order of the Minister to enter the commercial or professional fields of work? I do not think they would like it at all. I think if Senators agree to this they are agreeing to a very dangerous thing. Looking into the future, it is in my opinion a very dangerous thing. If the only reason that Labour can put up for being in favour of this is that women are driving men out of the labour market, then I think that is a very poor reason. It could not be poorer. It is thin it is so poor.

As I have said, I do not understand the attitude of Labour on this. In the attitude that they are adopting. I do not believe that they are following on the lines of their dead leader. I do not understand this either so far as my own Party is concerned, because I believed that our policy was a big, broad, national policy, a policy that included equal rights for men and women. In the political and other fields they have got equal rights no doubt. We were, to a large extent, pioneers in some things. We have got adult suffrage. The Minister suggested that we would be pioneers in this. I agree that we are pioneers in almost everything in the Bill except that one thing to which I have referred. But, because of that, I do not think that we will cut a very big figure before the peoples of other countries if we are going to be pioneers in bringing in legislation designed to prevent women entering any field that they may feel equal to.

This is a very remarkable Bill. I think it is in advance of the legislation of any other country.

In some ways.

I would say in many ways. Looking through the Bill and studying it closely I think the foundations are being well and truly laid. I was glad to hear the Minister say that he would welcome any amendments which members of the House may suggest. It is desirable that the measure itself, within its own limitations, should be as perfect as possible. Senator Douglas raised an objection to the scope of the measure or rather to the limitations upon the scope of the measure. He thought that the question of what was industrial work was not sufficiently defined. I think that the definition in Section 3 is very full, and if the Senator can think of anything better between this and the Committee Stage I am sure the Minister will welcome it. Another clause of great importance deals with the registration of wage agreements. That is, I should say, the first step cautiously and wisely taken towards fixing rates of wages, and avoiding these constant conflicts between employers and workers which give rise to class feeling, one way or another, when there should really not be any class feeling. I am very sorry that the ladies in this assembly are dissatisfied with the clause dealing with the employment of women in industrial undertakings. Every one of us has a wife, a daughter or a sister. We would like to do what is best for women. I think the unrestricted employment of women in industrial occupations would certainly lower the status of women as well as drive men out of employment. One of the evils which have come under my observation in the last two or three years, is the numbers of young men who are unemployed, and who have never been employed, who come before the Courts of Justice as criminals, not in single file, but in battalions. These men could be employed in industry, and if they were of age could get married. Woman's proper and ideal sphere is in the home. What are we to think of women in industry working all day and having to look after little children at night? Is that the ideal at which we should aim? I was in industrial cities in England years ago, and I knew many cases of women employed in factories during the day, whose children were cared for by strangers —badly cared for sometimes — and these women had then to come home to do housework and to look after the children after the day's work in the mills. I saw the condition of these people. It was the lowest form of existence.

There is another matter which should occupy the attention of lady Senators. What about the case of women who are employed in occupations that they must lose when they get married? Some of the best and the ablest women are employed at the present time and command big salaries. They must lose these occupations if they marry. Consider all the implications. There is no bounty and no bonus on marriage, such as would encourage them to leave the employment. These are things Senators should consider. I am sorry to be in disagreement with Senator Mrs. Clarke, and Senator Mrs. Wyse Power in this matter. I am in disagrement simply because I believe it is in the true interest of women that they should not be in industrial employment to any considerable extent.

I am not so very enthusiastic about this Bill. In effect it tries to do by legislation what trade unions have already done for the workers. I agree that trade unions, because of unscrupulous and sweating employers in this country, have not been able to cover the whole field of industry. Therefore it becomes necessary to introduce legislation. Are we going too far when we ask for a 48-hours week? I think 48 hours is too long. As an industrial worker, I have often wondered how it came about that people in sedentary occupations in offices, and so on, could get away with a 35-hours week or less, while people employed in insanitary factories and in industrial undertakings generally were expected to work 48 hours? The working classes of the world are agitating for a 44-hours week. Some of us believe that the necessary work of the world could be done in less than 10 hours, but, in order to give a fair opportunity, we believe that 44 hours ought to be the maximum number of hours in any working week. The Minister stated that we were pioneers in this legislation. Then we should be pioneers in the true sense of the word. We are doing nothing out of the way by instituting legally a 48-hours week. I think 44 hours should be the maximum. If it is to be a 48-hours week for the average adult, surely that is altogether too much for the juvenile or for the young woman. We believe that 14 years of age is too young to bring any person into industry. We endeavoured to have a school leaving age of 16 years. Unfortunately, through economic circumstances, we have to agree to 14 years, but, in proposals that profess to be pioneer Government proposals a way should be found to compensate a family to keep a child at school, and to give it a better opportunity in life, until the age of 16 is reached. That is the glaring fault in the Bill, in my opinion.

In Section 16 I think the feminists have run riot. They have been extremely unreasonable in their criticism of the Bill. I was in other countries and I saw women doing terrible physical work. I saw women in Sweden carrying deals, stoking ships, and acting as dock labourers. Do the feminists want that to come about in holy Ireland? I also saw women working as miners down in the bowels of the earth. Do those opposed to this Bill think that woman is constituted for that kind of work? All down the ages man has been regarded as the provider and the breadwinner. That may be wrong, and the whole trend of opinion may be wrong, but I want to put this point, that our Universities are educating and turning out scientists and engineers who should bring great blessings on humanity. Under present conditions they bring a curse. Why? They employ their brains and their ingenuity in devising machines that destroy men. To vary the famous words of Goldsmith: "The machine develops and men decay." I will give an instance of that. In my young days it required thousands of physically fit and hefty men to handle the grain coming to Dublin Port. The modern machine, through the elevator and the silo, has destroyed all that work, and the people have been thrown on the scrap heap. Properly speaking, that was man's work. With the introduction of modern machinery, the little bit of fluff which Senator Mrs. Clarke spoke of can handle all the grain required in this country. Is that what they stand for? The modern machine is adaptable to the flapper and, consequently, the male is being thrown out on the scrap heap and man is deteriorating generally. Do the feminists want here what occurs in certain industrial centres across the water where the men mind the babies and the women go into the factories? Do they want that, in this holy Ireland of ours? Candidly speaking, I do not, and I was in favour of votes for women. I am in favour of women—I do not see that we ought to eliminate them altogether from industry. We cannot do without them, unfortunately.

You managed it!

I had a mother! Take the catering trade in this city. It will be in the memory of many people here that we were always served by waiters. How many waiters are engaged in the catering trade to-day? Why has the man been eliminated? Because the woman is cheaper. And because the woman is cheaper she is going to get preference in our modern industry. We are setting up new industries in this country and we are starting on the right lines when we say that the percentage of juveniles to women should bear some relation to the male population of the country. Look at the unemployment figures. I think the number of males unemployed is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80,000. The number of females unemployed is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20,000. Reverse those figures and what happens? The man is going to be the housekeeper doing the housework or, in other words, he is going to sponge on the woman. She is going to get employment. Is that what the feminists want? There is only a certain amount of employment available and who is going to get it? Is it men or women, juveniles or adults?—that is the question every person and every woman must face up to. The Minister is to be congratulated on resisting the efforts that have been made to defeat this section of the Bill. I think the Bill does not go far enough towards humanising industrial conditions in this country.

I think with Senator Blythe, that probably the most important indicative section of the Bill is that dealing with the establishment of the Wages Register, but I think that if it is going to be interpreted or amended in the direction that Senator Douglas intends, it is going to be the most disastrous section of the Bill— certainly, it would make the whole Bill objectionable. The Minister wisely and rightly pointed out, and I hope it will be borne in mind by the Seanad when examining the sections of the Bill in detail, that it provides, in the main, for minimum conditions. I would remind Senator Douglas that trade agreements between trade unions and employers in so far as they deal with wages, making agreements regarding minimum rates, seldom or never in my knowledge imposed on the employer a restriction on the rate of wages he would pay, and the Senator rather wants to put into the section those provisions or a provision which was thought by some trade unionists to be already in the Bill and which roused very considerable opposition. Now, if there was any risk of this section relating to registration of agreements, dealing with them in a manner which Senator Douglas interpreted or wants it to be interpreted, then there will be few, if any, agreements ever registered because the unions are not going to come to agreements which will make it impossible for any person to receive more than the minimum established by the agreement. The remarks of Senator Douglas in that respect make one a little bit anxious to be quite sure that this section is watertight and it will make me read the section afresh to see if it is, in fact, watertight from that point of view.

I think it is well to remind the House that a good portion, the greater portion, of this Bill contains nothing new at all. It is merely a codifying of the law in regard to employment conditions, in many respects which already operate, and gives effect to some of the conventions that have been passed at the International Labour Conferences. So that it is rather overstating the case to speak of this Bill generally as "pioneering." I think I may be right—I do not think I shall be far wrong—in saying that the only pioneering section of the Bill is that making obligatory by legislation six days' holidays. There may be some other point in it which is a pioneering piece of legislation, but I am very doubtful.

It is worth remarking that in this instance, as in so many other instances, the Legislature has come in to give statutory effect to what has already become the practice through voluntary agreements and through common usage. It is intended to level up the recalcitrant one to that plane which has already been reached by some of the good citizens. That is the greater portion of the Bill. It regularises some matters which have not been the subject of general agreement but, in the main, it is a levelling up Bill and gives statutory effect to what the better citizens in the industrial world have been able to achieve. It is quite a mistake for Senators to think, as Senator Mrs. Clarke appears to think, that the trade unions are all powerful, that they govern conditions of employment throughout the country. If the unions were able to do what Mrs. Clarke seems to think that they are able to do, then this Bill would be unnecessary. It is, in fact, because of the inability of the trade unions to give effect to what they would wish that such a Bill becomes desirable.

I am not sure whether there is not a serious defect in the Bill by virtue of certain omissions. The section dealing with repeals, repeals certain sections of the Factories Acts and the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, 1920. It is the law at present that children and young persons shall not be employed except under definite conditions. It is the law that women shall not be employed except under certain conditions and shall not be employed at all in certain industries. Now, the law at present restricts night-work for women in industries such as mining and transport, but the law which makes those restrictions is repealed by this Act. The Minister proposes at some future time—not in the immediate future—to introduce legislation to govern conditions in mining and transport and other occupations, but in the interregnum what is the position? The conditions regarding employment of women in those industries no longer operate and the Bill in that respect is deficient from my point of view.

I wonder whether it is proposed by Senator Mrs. Wyse Power, for instance, that not only shall there be a deletion of Section 16, but a deletion of Section 46, which applies to night-work by women? The law at present restricts night-work by women in respect practically to all industries, including mining and transport. The Bill removes that restriction so far as transport and mining are concerned and reimposes, it so far as other industrial occupations, as defined in the Bill, are concerned. I have not heard any outcry from the representatives of women-workers regarding this particular restriction. Senator Mrs. Clarke comes nearer to the point of view of the pure feminist when she takes the line that it is inadvisable, if not wrong, to depart from the principle of equality of the sexes in industry or in civil life generally. I quite understand her point of view but, to my mind, it is indefensible when dealing with conditions of employment in industry. I am not sure whether many members of the House are aware that when the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, 1920, was passed in Britain to give legislative effect to the Washington Convention of 1919, a very strong agitation was initiated by wealthy, reactionary women—the wives and sisters and daughters of the mass-production employers of the U.S.A.—nominally in favour of equal rights for women but really, I suggest, in favour of the employment of cheap women labour. The propagandists of feminism have endeavoured to use and, in some respects, have effectively used these industrial restrictions as a means of forwarding their agitation. What we have had in this country recently is merely a continuation of that protest against even the passing of that convention in Washington in 1919 and the subsequent enactment of legislation in various countries to give effect to that convention. Senator Mrs. Clarke made reference to James Connolly. It would not be difficult to produce numerous items, not originated by, but adopted and penned by, James Connolly, claiming and demanding certain legislation to restrict the exploitation of women in industry. It is quite interesting to one who knows anything of the pre-1916 life of James Connolly to find reference being made to one particular document or one particular act or one particular period of his life and activities in strange neglect of all his other declarations, activities and acts, of which the last was merely a part of a consistent whole.

This Bill does not deal with the general position of women as citizens. It is intended to deal with conditions of employment in industry. It has been made necessary by virtue of the effects which industrialism has brought on the working people. I am not prepared to defend this clause merely on the ground that certain classes of industry are undesirable for women from the point of view of physique. I am prepared to defend the provision which gives the Minister power to impose restrictions. The objection to this clause rests on two or three different grounds. It is urged that there should be no differentiation between the position of men and of women in industry. It is objected that women will not follow certain occupations that are undesirable for them physically unless they are forced by circumstances so to do. The remedy, it is said, is to alter the economic position in such a way as to make such occupations no longer attractive.

Then, however, there is the other ground that the Minister is given the right to prescribe. It is suggested that, while it may be desirable to restrict the undue dominance of women in certain industries and the consequent elimination of men in employment in those industries, what is objected to from some quarters is that the Minister should get that power. Now, from that point of view, it is admitted that some restrictions should be made. If the trade unions have not had the ability, if they have not proved in practice to be able to make those restrictions which are admittedly desirable, then who else is to have the power? The women's trade unions have not succeeded in securing the conditions which they considered desirable in the particular industries where they have the great majority of workers, and while the men's trade unions might have tried, they too have been objected to because they take action, it is said, to protect the men at the cost of women. Now, if the women's trade unions are unable to do it, and if the men's trade unions are not alone unable to do it but ought not to try to do it, then this must be given effect to by some person, and I do not see any other person to whom the power should be given than the Minister.

As I say, however, this is a Bill dealing with conditions of employment; with evils that have arisen as a consequence of the industrial system. I think that even the women workers' unions will agree that it is an evil to allow certain types of employers to buy the labour of women at a cheaper rate than they can get men's labour for, and thereby to throw out the man. It is admitted by the women workers that that is an evil. Their remedy is to level up the wages of women to those of men and that then there will be no inducement to employ women in place of men. By very confession, however, the women workers are badly organised in some industries, and even in the industries where they are well organised, they have not been able to enforce a wage equal to the men's wage. Consequently, there is a necessity for action, and the only other person to whom power should be given, in my opinion, is the Minister. It is on those grounds that I am supporting that section.

A number of the matters that were referred to by Senator Douglas, and some of the matters referred to by other Senators, can better be considered in Committee than at this stage, and I therefore do not propose to refer to them—not because I do not think they are important, but because I consider that we could not discuss them adequately at present. Senator Douglas, however, did refer to one matter of importance which I think I should mention, and that is the definition of industrial work, or rather the absence of definition of industrial work, save in a negative manner, in Section 3 of the Bill. Industrial work is not defined. The Bill applies to all industrial work, but we say that work in agriculture, or in commerce, or domestic work, or mining, or transport, are not industrial work for the purpose of the section, and the rest of the section is really the giving of examples of the classes of work which are regarded as industrial work. That particular method was adopted from the Washington Hours Convention. I may say that the section, as it originally stood, was a reproduction, word for word, of the relevant section of the Washington Hours Convention. As the Bill went through the Dáil, however, it was found necessary to modify it in certain respects, but the section still is, in essence and in form, the same as the relevant section in the International Convention, nor do I think it is possible to get any other form of definition. The matter is of importance, of course, because the section is the keystone of the Bill, and I think the Senators might give it attention; but the most practical method, in our opinion, is to take the relevant section of the International Convention, and put it in the Bill, subject, of course, to such modifications as the peculiar circumstances of this country require.

Senator Douglas was also perturbed as to the possibility of the Bill coming into operation in the near future: requiring, on the one hand, the granting of holidays to certain workers within the ensuing three months and, on the other hand, creating difficulties in so far as it would apply, as it stands, to all industries until exclusion Orders were made in respect of some of them. In answer to that I may say that the Bill cannot come into operation immediately it is passed. That would be a practical impossibility. At least a couple of months will be required from the date it becomes law until the date when it comes into operation, and during that period the various regulations will be made and will come into operation in due time so that no disorganisation in particular industries will result. The result of that will be that the three months' period will occur during that portion of the year in which holidays can best be enjoyed, and unless the practice of closing down factories for a week is universally adopted in respect of workers permanently employed, these holidays will recur in each year in or about that period.

I think it would be very desirable if the practice of shutting down factories for a particular week in the year were generally adopted by employers. We cannot prescribe that by legislation, however, because there are many industries in respect of which it would not be possible, and also because circumstances would arise in any industry to prevent it taking place in a particular year or over a number of years in succession. I am aware, however, that a number of associations connected with industries have been considering that matter and have the intention, if possible, of adopting the holiday week system during which all their activities will stop and all their workers will get their holidays. That is by far the most desirable method. I do not think the provisions of the Bill require any amendment to enable that to be done. It will, undoubtedly, mean that if a firm is going to take on new workers, it will wait until after the holiday period to do that rather than take them on a week or two beforehand. It is true that if they take them on a week or two beforehand, no obligation would arise when their employment ceases at the commencement of the holiday. If, however, they have been employed for a month, then an obligation arises to make one day's pay on the termination of employment, but the worker can be given his holiday week even though he has not become fully entitled to it under the law as it stands, and, if so given the holiday week, there is a full discharge of the holiday obligation for the 12 months' period. That is, I think, as far as we can go in that respect. These particular provisions in the Bill had to be very carefully framed. The possibility of their being evaded was very obvious, and even still there is the chance that some ingenious employer will find a way of evading the obligation. Any suggestions as to additional safeguards that might be required would have to be considered. We think we have the position fully safeguarded now, but any loosening up of the provisions might well open the way to abuses which should be avoided.

The extension of the agreements register to cover matters other than wages is not necessary in respect of some matters and not desirable, in my opinion, in respect of others. In so far as agreements are made relating to hours of work, overtime, and matters of that kind—matters which are covered by various sections of this Bill—the enforcement of the terms of these agreements upon all persons concerned in the particular industry can be done by regulations under these sections. There are many matters mentioned as a rule in agreements between unions and employers not of that class, and I am quite certain that Senator Kennedy and other Senators, when negotiating agreements on behalf of their unions, always endeavoured to get in a clause that "the workers employed by the employer, a party to this agreement, shall be members of the Irish and General Workers' Union" or some other union. That is quite right; that is their job. But if they did succeed in getting that clause into an agreement, I want them to enforce it. I should not like to undertake the obligation of enforcing that clause through the Department of Industry and Commerce, and there are frequently many other clauses the enforcement of which by the Department would be equally difficult. I have seen recently a number of agreements of long standing which are in operation in various trades, and which over a period of years have become so complicated that any person outside the trade finds it hard even to understand them, and certainly hard to understand the circumstances which gave rise to some of the clauses appearing therein.

Another objection, however, to my mind, of extending the agreement section to matters other than wages is that, as that section stands, the Department of Industry and Commerce has no power of initiative. Unless an agreement is made and unless a party to that agreement seeks registration for it, the Department of Industry and Commerce under that section can do nothing, but in relation to all the other matters, the Department has the power of initiative. If we desire to improve general conditions of labour or to implement a decision to effect a general reduction of working hours in the country as a whole, or in particular districts, it is necessary to have that power to act without being applied to by some party; and that is why, under all these other sections of the Bill, although the obligation is in the main there to consult with the parties affected, there is no obligation to await an approach from them before taking action.

The only other matter I wish to refer to is the discussion which has taken place on Section 16 dealing with the restrictions on the employment of women. I have very little to add to what has been said by Senator Kennedy, Senator Farren, Senator Foran and Senator Johnson, except to make it quite clear that, for the Government, no question of principle arises in connection with that section. This talk of principle and of equality of rights is really introduced for the purpose of disguising that a very practical and immediate problem exists and some means must be found of dealing with it. The section is not introduced because of any anti-feminist prejudices. I do not believe there is a single employer in Dublin employing women workers because of feminist principles. He is employing them because they are prepared to work for less than male workers and that is the problem the section is designed to deal with.

Some such section in the Bill is necessary. I think it would be impracticable to use that section to put women out of any industry in which they are established. I said already that there are some industries which could not be carried on without the assistance of women labour, but it is desirable to have that power of restriction if the purpose of the Bill is to be achieved. It is, however, rather far-fetched to suggest that the rest of the Bill is merely camouflage for that section and that all the other provisions are a sugar coating for that particular pill. I can assure Senator Mrs. Clarke, who made that suggestion, that the section is put in incidental to the other provisions of the Bill and to enable these other provisions to be made operative. If we wanted to prevent a certain employer in an industry from debasing the conditions of employment in that industry, we must not merely have the power to prevent him increasing hours of work, calling for unnecessary overtime, employing juveniles or departing from the agreed rates of wages operating in the industry, but also power to prevent him substituting male workers by lower paid female workers. The reason why that substitution must be prevented is not so much because women are being substituted for men, but because lower paid workers are being substituted for those previously employed.

Senator Blythe referred to the question of family allowances. I do not want to express an opinion at this stage upon the practicability of introducing here a scheme for family allowances that would not be abused, but it is undoubtedly a fact that Section 16, and, in fact, many sections in the Bill, are necessary because of the existence of unemployment. If there were more work than there were people to perform it, that section would not be required and that particular evil would not be acute. That position would arise whether unemployment is lessened by an increase in the volume of work or by making other provision for persons now unemployed, and if the evil disappears, either because of reducing the age of qualification for old age pensions or because of provision of some other kind being made for the unemployed, introducing a system of family allowances or any other scheme, that section would not need to be operated. Therefore, whether the problem is tackled one way or another, the essential fact to bear in mind is that these restrictions arise out of unemployment and the need for them will disappear with the lessening of unemployment. The introduction of family allowances or any other scheme which would lessen the intensity of unemployment would proportionately reduce the need for that provision.

I do not know if Senator Kennedy quite appreciates the need for subsection (4) of Section 15. The object of Section 15 is to give power to abolish the blind alley occupations for children. The type of industry in respect of which these restrictions might be applied is that in which children, and only children, or children as children, are employed. There are many industries, as Senators know, in which young people are taken on at 14 years of age, and, as soon as they become insurable under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, at the age of 16, they are dismissed. The experience gained is of no value to them, and the whole system is one based upon their exploitation. The restrictions under Section 15 are intended to prevent these abuses, just as certain other provisions in the Bill will operate in that direction, but in the ordinary industry in which adults are employed, there must be some provision to enable young persons to come in as apprentices, as persons who are going to learn the skilled processes of that industry, and there is no objection to their coming in provided they can see right clear in front of them and can say: "When I become an adult there will still be an opportunity for me to have employment in this industry." That is why the proviso is put in—so that we will not prevent the employment of these young persons in such occupations.

Senator Johnson reminded the House that the Bill provides for minimum conditions, and I am glad he did so, because Senator Foran seemed to have forgotten it when he referred to workers being expected to work for 48 hours a week. The Bill makes it illegal for a worker to work more than 48 hours and there is obviously a considerable difference between the two statements. In any event, no industry in respect of which shorter hours are now being worked need be affected by the introduction of the measure unless and until regulations are made under the relevant section to reduce the hours further. These regulations cannot be made until the interested parties are taken into the fullest possible consultation. Most of the other matters that were referred to were of a nature which, I think, can best be discussed on the Committee Stage, and I propose to leave them over until then. The general principle of the Bill appears to be approved, and whatever time the Seanad thinks is necessary to enable consideration to be given to its various sections and to prepare amendments for Committee I am quite willing to agree to.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 11th December, 1935.
The Seanad adjourned at 6.20 p.m. to Wednesday, 4th December, 1935.