Conditions of Employment Bill, 1935—Committee Stage.

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
Section 16. To delete the section. —(Senator Mrs. Clarke, Senator Mrs. Wyse Power.)

I desire to support this amendment. It is not that I am satisfied with the present condition of affairs in relation to the employment of women. The exclusion of women from certain employments, and the proportion in which women should be employed in other employments, is a matter of extreme importance and of very great difficulty. The reason I support this amendment is that I do not think that what is proposed in Section 16 is the right way to accomplish what ought to be done in this case. It ought not to be left to the mere decision of the Executive Council to say whether or not women are to be excluded from a particular industry or in what proportion they are to be employed in any industry in which they are legally to be allowed to take part. That ought to be done by definite, separate legislation—by a separate Act carefully considered by Parliament, and with very accurate decisions as to the amount and the proportions of employment in which women are to be either excluded or allowed to take part in the industries concerned. For that reason, and not because I am satisfied with the present condition of affairs at all, but because I think this is not the right way to deal with an extremely difficult and important matter, I am supporting this amendment.

I wish to agree with the amendment, not because I am as familiar with the matter as the proposers of the amendment are, but because I have made all the inquiries and investigations that I could make to enlighten me on this matter and, as a result of these inquiries, have come to the conclusion that this section should not be in the Bill and that it would be much better if it were deleted. As Senator Brown said, the employment of women is a very difficult matter indeed to deal with, and I hope that his suggestion with regard to special legislation will be carefully considered, because it is an urgent matter. None of us, I think, wants to see the condition, which was described by certain members of the Labour Party, where the man stays at home and the woman goes out to earn the bread for the family; but I, personally, know of many cases where that condition was an absolute necessity and where, if the woman were prevented from doing certain work, it would mean great hardship and, possibly, the starvation of the family. For that reason, and because I do not believe that this section is the most satisfactory way of dealing with the matter, I desire to support the amendment.

This amendment was proposed and seconded on the ground that it was undesirable to make any distinction between men and women in the matter of employment, and that was founded, as Senator Mrs. Clarke said, on the provision in the 1916 Proclamation for the equality of citizens of both sexes. Senator Brown, however, is proposing that there should be special legislation to secure the inequality that is declared to be contained in this section, and Senator Miss Browne also is prepared to see special legislation discriminating against women. So that, whatever may be the case made by the promoters of the amendment, it is a different one entirely from that made by the supporters of the amendment. I think that a case can legitimately be made, from the point of view of the feminists, against this section; and when I use the word "feminist," I do not think it is any slur on, or that it is anything but a commendation of Senator Mrs. Tom Clarke, or any other person who claims to look upon these problems from the point of view of feminism. In general circumstances of the life we are living this claim for equality of the sexes is quite desirable and commendable, but we are here dealing with a Bill to regulate the conditions of employment. Why is the Bill wanted at all? The Bill has not been opposed because in general it is undesirable to make regulations touching the conditions of employment. Accordingly, it is admitted on all hands that some law to regulate the conditions of employment shall be enacted. Why? The reason is that the industrial circumstances of the time have made it necessary to prevent, by legal enactment, the degradation of the workers of both sexes under the pressure which competitive capitalism causes and it is in the light of the existing circumstances — the circumstances which competitive capitalism causes— that any such clause in this Bill is made necessary.

Now what is the reason? If there were freedom, if there were equality whether of men and women or of men and men, there would be no necessity for this Bill because both men and women could protect themselves against the pressure which the competitive system creates. The weakest elements in the community, the weakest elements acting individually, the weakest elements because of their unorganised condition and because of their disadvantageous position socially, are exploited by unscrupulous employers. I am not using that term with any suggestion of irrelevant or indiscriminate denunciation, but there are unscrupulous employers whose concern is to make the highest profit they can from their industry. Their concern is to keep their business alive in face of the competition of better organised firms and better equipped competitors, and the inevitable tendency has always been to degrade, whether by wages or conditions or lack of protection of one kind or another, the position of workers. Now, that being the fact, what is to be done to remedy it? If, as I said last week, there was an effective all-powerful organisation of women to protect the exploitation of women, as compared with men, there would be no necessity for this section or any other sections in the Bill, but that does not exist. Therefore, it is necessary in my opinion to use the legislative powers in the hands of the Oireachtas to make impossible the exploitation of the weaker sections of employed people in the interests of the highest profits or the retention of profits which could not otherwise be maintained. Because women are weaker, that is the reason why, in competition, women have been used to oust men from employment.

Whether we like it or not, and whatever may be the justification for it, whether we defend or whether we decry it, the fact remains that, normally, it is deemed desirable that the head of the household should be the man: that an attempt should be made to make his rate of wages cover the maintenance of the family, because he has in our system the responsibility for the family, and the man's wages are deemed to be necessarily high enough to maintain the family. That does not apply to women, and consequently the employer who is seeking the cheapest material, whether material to work up into garments or other articles, or material in the form of labour, is going to seek for the cheapest material he can get. And, unless there is some barrier against the exploitation of the cheaper material, which in this case, unfortunately, happens to be women's labour, there is the necessity for protection so as to maintain the general standard of life.

Now, there is no necessity to argue this case except on the grounds purely of the immediate needs caused by the prevailing conditions. If the democratic system that Senator Mrs. Clarke pleaded for were in operation, not merely a political democracy but a social democracy, there would be no need for this kind of Bill, but we have not got that. We are living under conditions where the exploitation of labour is the ruling factor, and in this Bill we are aiming at some power to prevent the exploitation of the weaker elements. How can that be done? It can be done by the organisation of Labour, by the organisation of men to prevent women's employment in particular industries. That is opposed, probably rightly opposed, if there is any other way out. It could be prevented and remedied by a compact organisation for women workers, but that has not been found possible. My suggestion is that the only other course is to give somebody power to restrict and restrain the exploitation of women workers, because they are cheaper, at the expense of men's employment. That is the sole ground on which I would support this section. I therefore think that it is desirable, because of the needs of the time, that this section should be maintained.

The argument of Senator Mrs. Wyse Power last week regarding child labour has nothing to do with this section, but it does illustrate the dangers that the section is put in to guard against. The very fact that these young girls have to supplement the father's wages—as the Senator pointed out he may be earning 25/- a week and his young daughter brings in 7/- or 8/- a week to supplement his wages—is in itself eloquent support of the principle that is contained in this section. That there must be some protection where you have a body of employers that will take advantage of child labour and use it when adult labour ought to be used, completely supports the case that I am trying to make, and until we have found a new system for the conduct of our industrial operations I think that some such provision as this is necessary.

I hesitated a good deal before making up my mind as to whether I would support the amendment or not. I eventually decided to support it. Probably I will be accused, by some people, as representing employers and of wanting to use the present position for the purpose of exploiting women's work. As a matter of fact, I do not know the views of employers on this matter. I have not consulted them. I am speaking here as an individual, and very definitely as one who has been interested for a very long time in this problem. I do not think that anyone can deny the truth or substance of what Senator Johnson has said. It would be idle to deny it. That there is a problem there is unquestionable. You propose in this Bill to attempt to solve a serious problem with regard to the exploitation of female labour at the expense of male labour, and how do you propose to do it? It seems to me that you are proposing to do it in about the worst possible manner. First of all, you are doing it against the considered, very sincere and definite opinion of almost everyone I have met who can rightly speak for the opinion of women: of those who have interested themselves in this problem. Now it may be all wrong, if you like, but the fact is that that is their opinion, and that they hold it sincerely and strongly would go a long way towards making a plan of this kind probably fail.

Here you are proposing to give an executive Minister complete autocratic power. This, I need hardly say, has nothing to do with Party politics or with the particular Minister now or in the future, but the proposal is to give an executive Minister complete autocratic power. Provision, no doubt, is made for consultation, but the Minister is not obliged to pay any attention to the representations he may receive. At one time he may reduce the amount of work by the proportion, say, of 10 per cent. in quite a lot of trades. Another Minister may come along, representing another point of view—representing, if you like, the employers to whom Senator Johnson referred—and he may increase it to 90 per cent. When that has been done, another change may be made, and it may be decided to go half way and make it 50 per cent. You are dealing with a problem that ought to be dealt with deliberately. A measure ought to be brought in to deal with it. This is simply giving autocratic power to the Executive of the day and seems to me to be a bad way of doing it. I doubt very much if it will achieve what Senator Johnson thinks. If it did it would be very hard for any honest man, who recognises that there is a problem and that these things are happening, to oppose the section. In the meantime, pending such legislation, what the State might do would be to limit it for a short period, by fixing certain types of work which would be confined to men and certain types of work for women, after consultation between representative people and the trades. That would not put anything in the nature of a stigma on one sex. I do not know what new industries are coming here, but it would be a good thing in the case of people now in industry if an order was made providing that certain classes of work should be done entirely by male labour. When you are going to adopt a plan of fixing a percentage, and if the percentage can be changed at any time by the Minister, I honestly doubt if you will get anything but friction and bad feeling, and for that reason I support the amendment.

I expected to have heard from Senator Douglas something useful in the way of information when considering this question. I expected he would have told us whether there was any foundation for the suggestion made by Senator Johnson that conditions existed which required that a section such as this be passed immediately. I expected he would have told us whether these conditions exist. If they do not exist I expect that he would have said so. He has done neither one thing nor the other. Assuming that such conditions exist, I expected to hear from him some suggestion of a practical kind in substitution for the section in the Bill. I expected to hear some alternative. I can quite understand the attitude of people who get up and say that this amendment ought to be accepted, and that the section should be deleted without giving any reason good, bad or indifferent why that should be done. However, I expected to get from people who should know, some information as to whether they believed that these conditions exist or do not exist, and to which this piece of legislation is directed. I am sure Senator Brown's Utopian scheme of having separate legislation to deal with this question of employment might be all right here if there was time to pass it, but judging by the pace at which legislation gets through this distinguished Assembly, of which I have the honour to be a member, I doubt very much if legislation brought in to deal with a matter of this kind would receive the immediate attention it deserved. I have heard the Senators who moved and seconded the amendment with sympathy, because I believe they are in earnest in what they say about this evil with which they are endeavouring to deal. Whilst having sympathy with them I hope they will attribute the same attitude to other people and give them credit for believing that this section is wanted to deal with an immediate problem and that this is the effective way to do so. If it is necessary for any Minister to act differently from the present Minister, I presume he will do so, and bring in legislation. I had hoped that some Senators who addressed the House would tell in what terms that legislation should be presented to Parliament. I respectfully suggest that in order to deal with a matter of immediate necessity the provisions in the Bill are a very effective and excellent way of doing so, and should commend themselves to the House.

The pity about this section is that it is not retrospective, because nobody can contend that the conditions of female employment in this and other cities are not as bad as they could be. The rate of wages is not proportionate to the rate of male wages in any factory. We need not go outside the City of Dublin to realise the general conditions that prevail in certain shops in this country, particularly in haberdashery shops and in certain factories. The average wages are well under what is necessary to maintain the standard of a girl's appearance seeing that it costs her at least 12/6 a week to pay for a permanent wave and to have her fingernails stained. As a result these girls are in the hands of Jewish moneylenders. The alternative to that in England is prostitution. There are certain factories in Dublin where the wages are well under 12/6 weekly with the result that the maintenance of the employees in a healthy condition falls on the hospitals, which get a nominal grant from the employers. Senator Johnson is the most optimistic of all the philanthropists or statesmen I have ever met, because he has ignored every form of physiological difference between man and woman. He says that the only way to relieve that is to organise the girls in labour organisations capable of dealing with exploitation by employers. No one, not even Bernard Shaw, who said that no man was a match for a woman, except with a poker and a pair of hob-nailed boots, and not always then, would think that if you organised women in labour unions, they are going to get away from the necessity of keeping up appearances which is far more expensive than in the case of the male employee. It is not always that I find myself in agreement with the Government, but there is a certain kind of dictatorial legislation that the Minister might avail of like a hundredweight of bricks, so as to improve conditions in factories where the employees are not getting adequate wages. This Bill strikes at the exploitation of women and children, especially children who are taken from school because they will not be of a wageable age and who are then dismissed at sixteen years of age. A section like this is, I hope, only the beginning of many more such sections where power is taken by the Minister to deal with this question. I think that the fact that that power is being taken is one of the most commendable things about the section.

I have dealt with far more than immediately arises from the Bill in order to let people know that there is scarcely a single woman in this country employed with ten or 12 others in the same type of employment who could live on the wages she gets. If you want to find a woman who is keeping herself by her occupation, she is to be found as the private secretary to somebody or private secretary to some institution. She is not, however, one of 12 private secretaries. It is usually the herdable people who are the sufferers and against the exploitation of them this Bill is directed. I do hope that ultimately evolution will equalise physiology between men and women by a Utopian organisation of labour.

I want to answer one argument put forward by Senator Mrs. Clarke. She said that at the very foundation of our Constitution there is the declaration that men and women should have equal rights.

And opportunities.

And opportunities. I would not dispute that for one moment, but I am sure Senator Mrs. Clarke will admit that there ought to be a division of labour as between men and women. There has always been a distinction as between the kinds of work that men are fitted for and the kinds of work women are suitable for, and also the kinds of work which women are unsuitable for. The man was always the delver and the woman the spinner. She was for the home, making the clothes and looking after the household and the children. Those are the occupations for which she is suitable. There are certain physical differences between men and women, and these eternal physical differences determine the differentiation and segregation of labour as between men and women.

I would never support any law or any provisions which I considered directly or indirectly injurious to women. They have certain physical disabilities which disable them from earning their living in many occupations on the same footing as men, and so far from disqualifying them or putting any hindrance upon their supporting themselves as a sex, I think they ought to get advantages as against men, but these advantages ought to be in the direction of the occupations for which they are suitable. We know that there are certain industries for which women are more suitable than men. They have a deftness of hand and a power of endurance and physical faculties which men do not possess, and there are some light industries for which women are more suitable than men. That is the reason I welcome the clause in this measure which enables the Minister, where he considers it fit and proper, and where an industry is suitable, to allow women to take part in it.

There are, however, other industries in which apparently it is sought to give women a right to take part, side by side with men, in industries for which they are absolutely and entirely unsuitable. We have heard of the woman blacksmith shoeing a horse. I hope I never see a woman shoeing a horse. There are other occupations such as pit-head occupations. I hope I will never see a woman at a pit-head or down a pit, in a coal mine or any other kind of mine. These are occupations which degrade women and make them coarse.

It would be like the Labour Party to vote for that.

I do not mind the interruptions from Senator Gogarty or the references which occur to his prurient mind. There are certain occupations unsuitable for women, and these are occupations which they should be discouraged and, I think, prevented, in the public interest, from entering. The public have an interest in this matter. They have an interest in the physical health and in the attractiveness of the female sex.


Hear, hear!

Senators say "Hear, hear" to that. Hence the permanent waves and hence all the money spent on beautifying both men and women. The beauty specialists earn something from some men as well as from some women, but the argument put forward by the Minister was, if I may say so, a common-sense argument. He said that conditions in this country are such that there are a number of young men who are unemployed, who have never been employed and who ought to be employed in these heavy industries. That is the reason the Minister gave. It is not a matter of principle at all, but a matter of immediate expediency. I will go further and say that immediate expediency must be guided to a certain extent by principle, and if there is principle behind it, I should say that so long as you have a man unemployed, who is more suitable for certain work than a woman, the best thing in the public interest is that that man should be employed and should support and maintain the woman as she ought to be supported and maintained.

Senator Mrs. Clarke's argument is that there are a great number of girls in families now who can earn nothing. She speaks of immediate necessity. I know that there are a lot of them necessitous. I know there are a good many girls who would take almost anything in order to earn a living, but the question is whether, in the long run, that is good for them or good for the community. I submit that the Bill as it stands is best and that this amendment ought to be rejected. With regard to Senator Brown's argument that this is a matter of such importance that it ought to be the subject of separate legislation, I agree that it ought to be the subject of special well-considered legislation, but, pending the time which must elapse before that legislation is brought in and passed, the proper authority to deal with the matter is the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

We are considering a Conditions of Employment Bill, and in considering that Bill we must consider what it implies. The Bill proposes to regulate conditions of employment in many respects, and if this issue of the deletion of this clause is going to be argued on a constitutional basis, I am at a loss to know why it should be so argued. The people who are arguing it on a constitutional basis did not move the deletion of Section 15, in which power is given for the prohibition of the employment of a greater proportion of young persons than is suitable. If it comes to a constitutional question, the young person has as good a right to live as the older person. The greatest problem we have in this country at present is to find employment for the young men and the young women, and more particularly the young men.

It is well known that people in public positions have been pestered morning, noon and night by relatives seeking employment for these growing boys. In Section 15, which no attempt has been made to delete, we are enacting a provision which will deprive these young people of employment. When the Bill is passed and regulations made, only a certain proportion of these young people can be employed to trained adult workers. If this question is to be argued on a constitutional basis, we ought to go the whole way because the young man who is growing up has as good a right to work and live as the grown man or woman. It is very important, from every point of view, that the growing man who has left school, who has been going about for a few years, and is in danger of becoming demoralised, should be provided with employment. Is not that the greatest problem we have? Does not every man with a family know it is? Do not we all know that these young men who cannot find employment are a danger and a menace to the community? Because they cannot find employment, they are open to all temptations.

We cannot shut our eyes to facts; we know what is happening around the country. If we are to argue this question on a constitutional basis, then Section 15 should be deleted as well as Section 16. Is it denied that certain industries are unsuitable for women? I know industries in this country and in other countries in which I should be long sorry to see any of my womenfolk engaged. Does not everybody know that it is necessary to make regulations providing that women be not employed in certain industries? I am not an opponent of the employment of women. It is, I think, known that for a good many years I have given assistance and support to every effort made on behalf of women. I am not a bit antagonistic to women. Some protection is being given by this clause to the men and there is no attempt to deprive the women of anything they possess at present. The Minister will have power, if this Bill becomes law, to make regulations regarding the industries in which women can be suitably employed and the number of women to be employed and it is unfair to suggest that this Bill interferes with the rights or liberties of women.

I am in favour of this amendment. The speeches from the Labour Benches are a damning indictment of trade unionism in Dublin. When I look back to 1913, when the workers of this city were ground to the earth, and think of James Connolly and Jim Larkin and the men who picked them out of the mire, when I think of all that has been done for the workers since, I feel sad listening to the speeches from the Labour Benches to-day in which the confession is made that the trade unions are not able to control the giving of work as between men and women. Women are just as suitable for work as men in most cases, but not in all. I am not in favour of the employment of women. Any time I had employment to give, I employed about ten men to one woman, but I do not agree with Senators who say that women are not equal to men. I found the women I employed as good, as honourable and as decent as the men. What, I think, the trade unions should insist upon is that the woman gets equal wages with the man. If any employer employs a woman to do work that a man can do, he employs her because she is better than the man. I do not want to be interrupted and told that this does not apply to typists. I know it does not, but I am giving an example. Leaving typing and things of that sort and coming down to the farm, we know that women, for working purposes, are as good as men and very often better. Some Senators referred to the physical disabilities of women. They have certain physical disabilities, but if these are weighed in the balance against men's faults, the women will win.

To come down to rockbottom, the organisation to which I belong, which was responsible for the establishment of this State, always wanted to give women equal rights with men. The Constitution says:—

"Every person, without distinction of sex, domiciled in the area of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) at the time of the coming into operation of this Constitution, who was born in Ireland or either of whose parents was born in Ireland or who has been ordinarily resident in the area of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) for not less than seven years, is a citizen of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) and shall within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) enjoy the privileges and be subject to the obligations of such citizenship."

We propose to hold women to the obligations but we are to pass a Bill to deprive them of equal rights with men. We are simply driving a coach and four through that Constitution. If the Government want to alter the Constitution, I have no objection, provided they bring in a proper Bill and let the two Houses or, whatever authority then exists, pass it. But I shall certainly not vote for taking away the rights of women in a Bill of this kind and I ask the House to support the amendment.

I listened with attention to the debate on the Second Reading and I was much struck with statements made on this subject which I myself had not thought of. I believed that the protection that could best be given to women in this case would be to leave them out. Nevertheless, we have to face the fact that all the women's organisations in the country, so far as I know, have moved in exactly the opposite direction. One may go too fast in a case of this kind.

No doubt, some of these things, as in the past, do not always lead to logical conclusions, because various things crop up which make it not quite convenient for them to do so. I think that, since all the women consider themselves grievously injured by this, it would be better to leave it over for a while, and leave them out of it, and I feel sure that after a time they will come back and say: "Yes, we will be better treated in the circumstances." That is only a supposition of mine, and it may not be the fact at all, but still, I should be inclined to ask the Minister, in view of the fact that women are, after all, half the population of this country and ought to be guarded very carefully, to leave them out of this matter if he possibly could. I think he would be wiser to leave them out.

Mr. Kennedy

I am rather surprised at the statement made by Senator Colonel Moore to the effect that the women of this country have protested against this section in this Bill. It is quite true that a small section of the women of the country have protested against this Bill, but it is equally true that the vast mass of women in industry, and particularly the women who are organised, have not protested against this particular section in the Bill. The protest has come from an organisation representing about one-tenth of the organised industrial workers, but many people have been led to believe what Senator Colonel Moore has stated: that the organised working-class women of this country are opposed to this section. There is no evidence whatever, however, to support that statement. I do not know if any representations have been made to the Minister other than those which have appeared in the Press, but I can say that, as far as the great bulk of the organised working-class women in this country is concerned, the organisations authorised to speak on their behalf have certainly not approached the Minister on this matter.

A good deal has been said about equal rights under the Constitution. Senator Staines tells us that both men and women have equal rights, but as things are to-day there are no equal rights for anybody in the mechanised form of industry that is rapidly growing in this country. As things are at present, a man has no right to employ ment—none whatever. Every member of this House knows that, if one studies the position of any of the new industries, it will be found that in most cases they are employing about 80 per cent. female labour. What right, for instance, has the male worker engaged in, say, the clothing trade to employment during the past few years? You all know that a few years ago there were upwards of about 1,000 handicraft tailors employed in the City of Dublin. How many are there to-day? About 100. The Minister and his Department know that, in some of the firms engaged in that industry, female labour represents over 90 per cent. of their total staff, and that, not alone does it represent that, but that the tendency is to wipe out employment for the balance of 7 or 8 per cent. of males engaged in that industry. After all, the question is purely an economic one. Everybody knows that to-day there are about ten times the number of males unemployed, even according to the official figures, than of women or juveniles. Is that state of affairs to go on for ever, or is something to be done to re-establish something like equal rights for the male worker who, after all, is the rightful breadwinner of the family and on whose shoulders rests the whole burden of seeing that the population get some decent conditions of life?

I heard a Senator yesterday giving us an example of a parent who was in receipt of 25/- a week and, because of that fact, his daughters were forced to go into a factory for 8/- or 9/- a week; but is that any reason why the Government ought not to attempt to do something to ease this position in an intelligent and constitutional manner? If this power is not given to the Minister, has anyone any suggestion to make as to how this terrible problem of male unemployment is to be faced in the immediate future? As far as I am concerned, I think that this section is the most hopeful feature of the Bill itself. It is the first step that the Government has made to regulate employment in such a way as will permit of decent conditions of family life in this country.

As regards the statement of Senator Staines about what was done in 1913 and what the trades unions ought to do in Dublin, he is evidently unaware that this is not a Bill for Dublin, but for Saorstát Eireann. The trades unions are quite prepared to do their part, but there are problems that they cannot tackle, and one of these problems is that you cannot stop a large number of people being driven into unemployment by bad conditions and the new conditions of mechanised industry that are rapidly developing in this country. This section will give the Minister power, after consultation with the workers and the employers in a particular industry, to stipulate the kind of work that women can follow in that industry and the proportion of female labour that will be employed there in relation to the total labour employed in the factory. My only hope is that the Minister will use that power in the speedy and effective manner that every decent citizen would wish.

Senator Colonel Moore said that, while there is some necessity for a section like Section 16, he thinks we are going too fast. That gives me the opportunity of pointing out that the section does not go anywhere. It merely provides power to effect the regulation of employment by order, but the mere adoption of the section, or the passage of the Bill with the section in it, will make no change in the existing condition, nor will it influence or affect the employment of any woman or of any man in any industry at the present time. The question is whether that power should be given; whether it is desirable, in the circumstances now existing, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should have that power, exercisable after consultation with interested parties, to regulate and control the employment of women in particular industrial pursuits. This is not a question of constitutional right, and no question of constitutional right arises from it. The phrase "equal rights and equal opportunities" has been used frequently while this matter was being discussed. In relation to conditions of employment and in relation to the circumstances with which this Bill is designed to deal, equal rights and equal opportunities mean this and nothing more: the right to a livelihood and to an opportunity of obtaining employment so long as working is a condition of livelihood; and in so far as these rights and these opportunities are involved in this measure, I can assure those Senators who have spoken about them that there will be no body that will strive more strongly and more vigorously to defend them or to secure them than the members of the Government or those in this House or in the Dáil who support the adoption of this section.

It is rather extraordinary that this question of the regulation of employment in industry should be brought on to the constitutional plane at this stage in our history. There are laws in our Constitution which prohibit the employment of women in certain industries, or at certain hours of the night, or underground, and so on. Is there any Senator who would suggest that these statutes should be repealed and that employers should be legally empowered to employ women in these industries or under these conditions? I do not think there is. It is clear that this is a question that ought to be regarded as a practical one and not as a constitutional question. If there is an employer who, in order to get a competitive advantage over his neighbours, seeks to alter the conditions of employment of his workers to the disadvantage of these workers, then we know that, as a result of his action, he may succeed in forcing every one of his competitors to do likewise if they are to remain in the business, and that, as a result of one man's action, there may be a general lowering of the standard of the conditions of employment throughout the whole industry concerned. That competitive advantage may be taken by an employer in various ways, such as by reducing the wages of his workers. Apart from the operation of the section in this Bill concerning the fixing of wages by agreement, that is the way he will try, if he can, to secure an advantage, if he can succeed along that line, and usually the only thing which stops him from doing so is the organisation of the trades unions. The only thing that will stop him is the ability of the trades unions to prevent him doing so in order that they may preserve certain conditions of employment for their members. If, however, the trades unions are able to prevent effectively the lowering of the standard of employment in an industry by the reduction of wages, then there is an alternative method open to employers, which has been used by employers in the past, and that is the substitution of female workers for male workers— not because the female workers are better workers, or because they are better adapted to the conditions of the industry, but for this reason, and this reason only: that they will work for less wages. The adoption of that change in one industry either forces all other employers in that industry to follow suit, or else it forces them to try to bring about a general lowering of the standard of employment in the industry concerned. The purpose of this section is to prevent that happening in industries and to ensure a proper standard of employment by preventing one employer from seeking to lower that standard by substituting lower-paid female labour for male labour.

Senator Staines said that women should get equal wages with men. Does he mean that they should get what the men previously got? If we are to put that in the Bill, then it means that no women are going to be employed. If the Senator is seeking a more effective way to prevent women from being employed, then that is the way to do it.

If an employer puts a woman into employment where a man was before, she is entitled to get the same wages as the man had.

But the effect of making that a statutory condition means that no women will be employed. The primary consideration, however, which I mentioned here before, is that women as a class are prepared to work for less wages: first, because the average woman going into industry does not consider that she is going into an occupation which is going to maintain her for the rest of her life, while a man, when he grows up and seeks industrial work, does so with the knowledge that he is going to work all his life and, consequently, is concerned to ensure that the conditions of his work and the wages he will get will be such as will enable him to live his life in full, whereas the average woman only regards the employment she gets as a means of livelihood until matrimony. Secondly, and because of that, the great majority of women in industry are single, while on the other hand, the great majority of men are married, and the standard of living whereby the average single woman would be able to maintain herself would not be sufficient to enable the average male employee to maintain himself, because the male employee has got, in the average case, dependents to be supported out of his wage, and on that account the general standard of women's wages will be lower than the general standard of men's wages.

It is, therefore, necessary to regard this matter, as was mentioned by various Senators, as an economic matter and an economic matter only. It is not a matter of Constitutional principle. There is no more a denial of equal rights in the making of regulations under Section 16 than there is, say, at the present time when a local authority, giving out a contract for the construction of some building, puts in a clause that only local labour is to be employed. That is not a denial of equal rights to every unemployed worker in the country. It is a condition arising out of various circumstances which have been accepted as reasonable.

In this matter, the primary consideration that arises is, whether it is necessary, in order to preserve the standard of employment in industry, that employers should be prevented from substituting male workers by lower-paid female workers. I was surprised and disappointed at Senator Douglas's speech, because he is not usually a man who criticises proposals brought forward here without giving certain alternative suggestions, or, at any rate, the benefit of his own views as to the direction in which an alternative should be found. He contented himself, on this occasion, by saying that Section 16 is, in his opinion, not the best way of doing something which apparently he thinks should be done, but he did not convey to us what, in his opinion, is the best way, or even give us any hint as to what alternative methods, apart altogether from the best method, were available. In my opinion, it is much more desirable in this matter to have a general empowering clause than any hidebound regulation.

The general operation of this Bill will be, I hope, as a result of agreements generally arrived at between the representatives of employers and employees in particular industries. It is my intention that we should, in relation to a particular industry, get the representatives of both parties together to try and draw up a code of regulations governing employment in that industry. One of the matters that will inevitably arise in connection with many industries is the question of the extent to which female employment should be regulated, and it is obviously desirable that there should be power to regulate it if there is a clear need for doing so. That is all that we are proposing in this Bill: taking power to do it when the need has been established, and, in practice, that will mean taking power to do it when there is general agreement that it should be done.

There were the principal matters that were referred to in the discussion, and I do not think it is necessary for me to refer to them at any greater length. This matter is one which has been discussed very considerably, both in the Press and in the two Houses of the Oireachtas. It is true, I think, as Senator Kennedy has said, that the great majority of women in industry have no objection to this section. The Senator stated that the great majority of women organised in trade unions have made no objection to the section. Objections to it have been voiced from some quarters and these objections must undoubtedly get attention. But, I submit, they are based entirely on a wrong assumption, the assumption being that this is a matter of Constitutional principle rather than a question of practical necessity. It is as a question of practical necessity that we considered it, and it is because there is a need in any measure designed to fix minimum standards of employment to have that power of regulating the employment of women, that the section was included in the Bill. It is on that ground that I recommend its acceptance to the Seanad.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 19.

  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen
  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Fanning, Michael
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.


  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Boyle, James J.
  • Comyn, Michael, K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Fitzgerald, Séamus.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Thomas.
  • Lynch, Patrick, K.C.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O Máille, Pádraic.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Mrs. Clarke and Mrs. Wyse-Power; Níl: Senators D. Robinson and S. Fitzgerald.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 15.

Section 16, sub-section (1). After the word "interested" in line 55 to insert the words "including women workers where such are employed in the relevant industry."

I put down this amendment after consultation with some people who are very much interested in this section. It seemed to me that it might go some distance to meet apprehensions that the section might have created, that it might lead to the dismissal of a considerable number of workers. It is reasonable where there are women in the industry that some of their representatives might be consulted.

That is intended by the wording of the Bill, which requires the Minister to consult representatives of the workers interested. I do not think the Minister would have discharged his obligations unless he consulted the women affected by the Order.

You are dealing with proportions. Take an industry in which there were 30 per cent. of women and 60 per cent. of men and that the men were organised and the women unorganised, what would happen? I have no doubt the Minister will do what he says, but I do not think there is an obligation to do it in the section. I do not want to press the amendment. I put it down as a helpful way of lessening the uneasiness that might be created.

The wording of the section could be improved. The Minister is obliged to consult representatives of the workers interested in such form of industrial work. In a case where there would be divided interest the consultation might be with somebody like the Trades Union Congress. The Minister would have to be satisfied, and to have the views of the workers interested and not the views of trade unionists generally.

If the Minister does not like the amendment I will not press it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 16:—

Section 16, sub-section (1). To delete all after the word "regulations" in line 55 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the words "prohibiting the employment of female workers, or male workers, as the case may be, to do such form of industrial work."

This amendment is designed to get over the feeling of inequality to some extent. I have been accused of not making an alternative suggestion. I do not think that accusation was quite fair, and in the case of Senator Lynch it was certainly inaccurate. I said that there was a good deal in the statement of Senator Johnson and I was then told by Senator Lynch that I said nothing of the kind. I did make a suggestion previously, when I said that pending legislation the proper way would be not to fix a proportion but to give the Minister power, after consultation, to arrange that for a limited period a certain type of work should not be done by men or that a certain type of work should not be done by women. In conversation I gathered that there is considerable resentment at the form of the section, as it gives the Minister power to fix a proportion, or to prohibit women from doing certain work, and dealing with the question solely as an attack on one sex. From the practical point of view it would be far easier to take a certain type of industrial work and to say that women were to be excluded from it. If this amendment and the following ones do not meet with approval from any side I will not press them.

In my view the amendment arises out of the misconception of the section that I have referred to. It is not a question of putting men and women on a basis of inequality. It is one of dealing with an economic problem affecting industrial workers. That problem does not arise from the employment of men, nor does it arise from the employment of women. It arises from the fact that women are being substituted for men because they are being paid less. While the adoption of the amendment would not alter the powers proposed to be conferred on the Minister, it would be ludicrous, because you are putting in words which are designed to save faces, if I may say so, and to give an impression which is not an accurate one. No one would seriously suggest that we should have power to prevent an adult male worker getting employment wherever he can, as there is no problem bearing upon general conditions of employment, arising out of the employment of male workers. There is a problem, that of disimproving conditions of labour resulting from the employment of women. That is the problem I want to deal with. It would be undesirable to effect this change, because it would be an admission that there was some other change effected in the section than that. This amendment arose from the belief that this is a question of equality. There is no such question involved.

I will go considerably further than the Minister in this matter. I think the amendment would defeat utterly the intentions of the section, because, as I pointed out already, according to the Minister this section and these powers are given to protect wages against undue depression owing to the competition of cheaper raw material. Bluntly, that is what it means. In employment conditions, men's labour and women's labour are simply the material for the employers, and if they can buy that cheaply they will do so. If you give the Minister power to regulate the number of male workers in industry, that means you are giving him power to prevent the raising of the level of the male workers. If you insert this amendment it might give the Minister power to defeat the intention of the section.

It is not often that Senator Johnson fails to read an amendment accurately. He will find that the amendment only deals with (a) and does not mention the power to fix a proportion of male workers, because that would be impracticable. This and the following amendments hang together and express my opinion, that there is a case without very much difficulty for applying (a) to either sex, and that the obligation in (b) fixes the proportion and will not prove satisfactory, and, therefore, is not desirable. I could not put all that into one amendment. I confess that the Minister had not to convince me on the question of equality. I told my lady friends that they were under an illusion, when they believed there was any question of sex equality involved. That was not clear to a great many, and all the eloquence of the Minister and any eloquence I have will fail to make it clear. In my opinion you can achieve a great deal by prohibiting certain types of work to women. I did not like fixing the proportion because it would cause no end of trouble. As there is no support for the amendment I ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments, Nos. 17, 18 and 19 not moved.
Section 16 agreed to.
(1) The Minister may in respect of any form of industrial work by order make regulations prohibiting the employment of outworkers in such form of industrial work and when any regulations made under this section are for the time being in force it shall not be lawful for any employer to employ any outworker to do such form of industrial work.

I move amendment No. 20:—

Section 17, sub-section (1). After the word "may" in line 18 to insert the words "after consultation with persons interested in the relevant form of industrial work".

When there is going to be absolute prohibition of outworkers in a particular industry those interested should be consulted. I do not say that the Minister should necessarily bind himself to do so, but I would say that before outworkers are prohibited from an industry—and generally I am against outworkers—it is only reasonable that those interested should be consulted. I put down the amendment as a result of representations made to me. I feel sure that the Minister or the officials would, in any case, consult persons concerned.

The amendment is in accordance with the spirit of the Bill, which provides for consultation in the great majority of cases where power to make regulations is conferred. The difficulty, however, is the practical impossibility of consulting outworkers. They are generally unorganised, and it might be difficult, if not impossible, to get into touch with persons described as the representatives of these workers. Senator Douglas would be satisfied, I think, if the employers were consulted and if we were to have the usual form of words inserted. We would undertake to consult with the representatives of the workers also. I have no objection in principle to the amendment, because, as Senator Douglas said, this would be done in any case. The absence of the usual forms of words in this section arose from the fact that we do not want to undertake to consult the representatives of the outworkers when we might not be able to get at them.

I should like the Minister to consider between now and the Report Stage whether he would not be prepared to say by implication that the trade generally will be consulted before the order is made, so that their points of view will be expressed. Of necessity there are a few trades where outwork is desirable, but in the majority of cases it is undesirable. There are exceptional cases of work of a private character where the gain is small where outwork prevails. It would improve the Bill, I think, if the amendment was put in, but I will leave it over till the Report Stage. If the Minister considers then that such words are not necessary I will not press the matter.

As a matter of legal accuracy, I suggest that the acceptance of this amendment might conceivably nullify the effect of the section. What would happen in a case where the representatives of persons interested refused to consult with the Minister? Would that take away the power of the Minister to make an order?

As a matter of fact, one of the difficulties is that in the circumstances under which we would be making regulations here, there would be no conflict of interest between the employer and worker concerned.

No, but there might be between the Minister and the employer.

Or both.

I think the Minister might consider Senator Comyn's point. He could possibly say "after inviting consultation" or something of the kind.

Amendment adjourned for Report Stage.

Sections 17 and 18 agreed to.
(2) On the application of an employer, the Minister may, if he thinks proper so to do having regard to all the circumstances of the case, issue to such employer a permit authorising him, subject to compliance with such conditions (if any) as may be stated in such permit, to pay piece-work wages to workers and outworkers employed by him without complying with the next preceding sub-section of this section, and whenever any such permit is so issued to an employer the following provisions shall have effect in regard thereto, that is to say:—
(a) the Minister may at any time revoke such permit by notice in writing given or sent by post to such employer.

I move amendment No. 21:—

Section 19, sub-section (2). After the word "by" in line 19 to insert the words "not less than fourteen days' ".

This is not quite the same as, but somewhat similar to, the point of which the Seanad did not approve before. I am still strongly of opinion that there ought to be 14 days' notice where there is withdrawal of a licence or a permit, and I particularly object to the ground on which it was rejected by the Seanad, voiced by Senator Johnson, which was that the withdrawal was something of a punitive nature on the part of the Minister. I think it is highly objectionable that there should be withdrawal of a licence for anything other than failure to carry out the terms of the licence. Anything of a punitive nature should be dealt with in the proper way. Where there is failure with regard to the terms and where there may easily be a question of employees losing their jobs unless other arrangements can be made, I think that seven or 14 days' notice would be highly desirable. The Minister said that it would take about that time but I cannot see that it would take that time. It would take the Minister's Department probably two months to make up their minds to withdraw the licence, but, after that, I think it would be a matter of a day or two at most. There would be discussion and eventually the Department would recommend to the Minister, who would decide that he was going to withdraw the licence. I am speaking not for myself but for the point of view of a good many others, and I urge the Minister that he should insert seven days' notice, which simply means that where trade is going on under certain conditions attached to a licence, there would be seven days in which the necessary change could take place. I do not think there can be any harm involved in that.

I have no strong feelings on the subject at all, but perhaps the amendment could be left over because the wording would require some amendment.

I did not laboriously go through the Bill and perhaps the Minister would be good enough to insert the seven days' notice where he thinks similar circumstances arise.

Amendment adjourned for Report Stage.

Sections 19 to 23 inclusive agreed to.
(1) Every employer shall allow to each worker in his employment in any industrial undertaking a period of not less than six consecutive days leave (in this Act referred to as annual leave) in every complete employment year of such worker during which he has been continuously in the employment of such employer and has worked in such employment not less than eighteen hundred hours.
(2) Where a worker employed by an employer in an industrial undertaking ceases, at any time other than the end of an employment year of such worker, to be in the employment of such employer, such employer shall either:—
(a) allow such worker, before such cesser, six days annual leave in respect of the portion of such employment year during which he was so employed, or
(b) pay such worker, at such cesser—
(i) one day's pay (calculated at the rate which would be applicable if such day were a day of annual leave allowed immediately before such cesser) in respect of every complete period of two months in the said portion of such employment year during which he has worked not less than three hundred hours, and
(ii) one day's pay (calculated as aforesaid) in respect of the period (if any) in the said portion of such employment year which is less than two months but not less than one month and during which he has worked for not less than one hundred and fifty hours.
(3) The Minister may, whenever and so often as he so thinks proper, by order make regulations varying, in respect of all or any particular classes or class of workers, all or any of the periods of eighteen hundred hours, three hundred hours, and one hundred and fifty hours mentioned in sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section by substituting for such periods or period such other periods or period as the Minister shall think proper, and whenever any such regulations are in force the said sub-sections shall have effect, in respect of the workers or the classes or class of workers to which such regulations apply, as if the said periods or such of them as are affected by such regulations were varied in the manner stated in such regulations.
(5) It shall not be lawful for any worker, during any period of annual leave to which he is entitled under this section, to do for reward any industrial work of the same form as the industrial work in which he was employed immediately before such period of annual leave, and if any worker does any industrial work in contravention of this sub-section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
(8) This section shall apply to the employment year current at the commencement of this Act of every worker who, at such passing, is in the employment of an employer in an industrial undertaking, and this section shall have effect in respect of such employment year and such worker as if this section had been in force at the beginning of such employment year, but subject to the modification that, if such employment year expires within one month after the commencement of this Act, such employer shall be deemed to have complied with this section if he allows to such worker, not later than three months after the expiration of such employment year, such annual leave as such worker may be entitled to under this section in respect of such employment year.

On behalf of Senator O'Farrell I move amendment No. 22:—

Section 24, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "or in the case of a young person not less than fifteen hundred hours".

Sub-section (1) of this section deals with the workers' annual leave, and the general plan seems to be to take 75 per cent. of the total number of workable hours in the year—the 48 hours week for 50 weeks in the year, and to reckon 75 per cent. of that as the standard figure. That is so far as it applies to adults, but a young person is working a 40-hour week, and the proposal here in this and the subsequent three amendments is to apply the 75 per cent. to the young person's hours, equivalent to the proportion that is required of the adult. There is not much need to argue it. I do not understand why the junior is required to work the 1,800 hours in the year, which means a very much larger proportion of the year's employment when the same figures apply to young persons. The proposal in the amendment is to treat the young person's period of employment as the adult's, that is, 75 per cent. of the total number of hours.

I think this amendment should be made, and that applies also to amendments Nos. 23, 24 and 25, although I do not think Senator O'Farrell has got his proportions quite accurate. The intention was to have the same proportion running through. I would prefer to bring in an amendment to meet the point on the next stage.

Amendments Nos. 22, 23, 24 and 25 adjourned for Report Stage.

I move amendment No. 26:—

Section 24, sub-section (5). To delete all after the word "work" in line 16 down to and including the word "leave" in line 18.

The object of this amendment is to alter sub-section (5). For some reason —I did not follow all the Minister's speeches—which I have not been able to grasp, it seems to be the desire of the Government to allow workers during their holidays to do other industrial work, provided it is not the same kind of work as that which they were doing previously. There are towns, I am quite certain, where such work would be available and the temptation to take it would be very considerable. If this Bill is going to be in any sense a success, it is rather ridiculous to put in a provision of this kind and practically invite workers to take work, if they can get it, of an industrial character during their holidays, but which is not of the same character as that which they were doing immediately prior to the holidays. I want to prevent them from taking work at all during their holiday for pay.

So far as the Government is concerned, we would much prefer to see the worker taking his holidays and not working during that week, but using his holiday for the purpose of relaxation. We do not, however, wish to make it an offence for him to take some form of work during that week, provided it is not work on which he has been regularly and continuously employed. In many cases, the best recreation and holiday a worker could have might be in some other form of work.

Agricultural work.

It might be agricultural work, but perhaps there might be a border-line case where it would be difficult to decide whether the work was agricultural or industrial. This particular provision of the Bill was discussed at considerable length in the Dáil. One Deputy said it was an interference with the workers' God-given right to liberty of action, if we interfered with him in any way in following his own or any other work, and other Deputies contended, equally strongly, that it should be punishable by imprisonment if a worker even carried a man's bag for 1/- during that week. I agree that it is desirable that a worker should not work but should take his holiday as a holiday, but I do not want to undertake the obligation of prosecuting him if he takes any form of work during that period except the work on which he is regularly employed.

I have a strong feeling that this will be abused, and I would suggest to the Minister that he might reverse it and make it an offence for an employer knowingly to employ a man when on holidays from another firm on industrial work. I do not want a worker prosecuted because he makes a mistake, but I do say that there will be abuse of this by workers who will take odd jobs for other firms at small rates. It is because I think there is a flaw in this that I raise this criticism.

I agree with Senator Douglas. I think the Minister should consider putting some clause in. I think it is undesirable that when a man is out for relaxation and health purposes and getting his full week's pay, it should be open to him, without any obstacle whatever—I understand the point the Minister makes, but perhaps Senator Douglas's suggestion will meet it—to earn a small wage by undertaking work which otherwise might be given to somebody who had no work. Generally speaking, it nullifies the intention of the Act because I do not think any sort of industrial work could be regarded as a kind of change of occupation. It would be quite all right if a man was fit for doing some light hay-making or something of the kind, but I think it nullifies the intention of the Bill which was really to provide for the health of the worker. If it is going to be availed of to take industrial work, and perhaps cheap industrial work, to earn some additional money, and if it could be met by making it illegal for an employer knowingly to employ such a person, it would prevent it being done on any serious scale, and would meet the Minister's difficulty, although, as a matter of fact, as the section stands, if a worker takes the same sort of industrial work, the Minister is apparently obliged to prosecute and I do not think the situation is much different.

As the Bill was introduced, that sub-section was not there, but reference was made to a particular type of case on the strength of which I introduced this sub-section. That was the case that in certain trades there is a scarcity of skilled workers. Plasterers, I think, were mentioned, and on a recent occasion when plasterers went out on strike from one firm, they went into work for another firm, because there was such a demand for plasterers that they were induced to do so. A plasterer on holidays might be induced to work for another employer, and, while he may work, he cannot work at plastering. It was to deal with that type of case that we put in the sub-section, but as the Bill stood originally there was no prohibition at all. I would be very reluctant to put this in. I would be inclined to allow as much liberty as possible to the worker, although I think he could be induced, by propaganda and otherwise, to take full advantage of his holidays for health purposes.

I was glad to hear the Minister say that employers and workers should be allowed full liberty —such liberty as is consistent with the absolute necessity of protecting the workers. There is too much restriction altogether, and I am against restrictions. I do not think Senator Douglas, with all his skill, has argued this case properly. The employer as well as the workman has an interest in the workman's taking his six days holidays, because workmen get stale, and the six days holidays, and the day's holiday from time to time, enable him to get refreshed. He is a better workman when he comes back, but if he is employed in the same occupation for another employer when he is supposed to be on holiday, he has no opportunity of recovering, and he goes back to work stale. Therefore, I say the employer as well as the worker has a direct interest in preventing the workman from working at the same occupation during the period for which he is paid by the employer.

I think that is the limit of the employer's right. The limit of his right is that the worker should not work at the same business. We all know that the greatest relief from strain and overwork, and, therefore, staleness, is not idleness, but employment in some other occupation, and, therefore, I think the Minister is quite right in not prohibiting the working man from engaging in some other kind of work or not preventing an employer from employing him in another kind of work. I hope the Minister will abide by the section as it stands.

I should be inclined to favour the amendment, if practicable. After all, Senators should bear in mind that this annual holiday is intended to provide a holiday with pay. If you are going to say to the worker: "You will get your regular pay and you can take employment at another job at the expense, perhaps, of an unemployed person or a person who has not qualified for an annual holiday because he has not been long enough in employment," you will invite scabbing and undercutting. My only difficulty is whether the amendment is practicable—whether it will be possible to follow it up. Even with that danger, I think the amendment ought to be accepted.

The Minister spoke about the plasterers. Some of us know a little about demarcation problems. If the carpenter were to take the plasterer's job, what would happen?

The persons I am afraid of are not the carpenters or plasterers, but girls. I am afraid of girls being pressed by impecunious parents into other classes of work at a low rate. I would not mind their going on to the farm because that would benefit them. I suggest another way of dealing with this matter, although it is against the interest of the employers—that the Minister should make it an offence for an employer knowingly to employ a person while on holiday from another firm. The employer might, of course, be misled by lack of information, but if an employer is employing holiday workers, you can trust the ordinary employer to let him know, so that he will not in future be able to plead ignorance.

I have no strong views on this amendment. Senator Douglas said that employers, as a whole, were apprehensive with regard to this provision, and implied that workers who had got holidays before had abused them.

I did not say that.

I think it was implied.

In my experience, it has never been known in those trades which were fortunate enough to secure holidays for a member to abuse the holiday by working and depriving another person of employment. I do not think that anybody can prove that any section of workers abused their holiday by working for other firms. The building trade was mentioned by the Minister. I spent a good part of my life in the building industry, and I was never fortunate enough to get any holiday with pay—even Christmas Day or St. Patrick's Day. I can honestly say that if the building trades workers are given an annual holiday with pay they will be so relieved that they will not want anybody's job.

I am prepared to leave the amendment to the House.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 9.

  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Kennedy, Thomas.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.


  • Comyn, Michael, K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Fitzgerald, Séamus.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • Lynch, Patrick, K.C.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O Máille, Pádraic.
  • Robinson, David L.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Douglas and Blythe; Níl: Senators Robinson and Fitzgerald.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 27:—

Section 24, sub-section (8). To delete all after the word "expires" in line 48 down to and including the word "Act" in line 49 and to substitute therefor the words and figures "before the 1st day of June, 1936."

This amendment and the next amendment are intended to achieve the same purpose. I should like to argue the point I want to achieve rather than the specific date. When the Bill becomes law, a period will be provided during which holidays must be given after they become due. The Minister could not tell us when it will become law. He hopes it may be in two months, but he is unwilling to take powers to bring different sections into force at different times. The result is, I seriously feel, that we shall have industries which I should like to see closing down in the summer period for a week at the best time of the year, probably waiting for a later period.

Suppose that it becomes law within two months, then the holiday will have to be given. That will cut out some of the best holiday portion of the year, because they have to have the holiday within three months. I want to provide a date when there is every certainty that the Bill will become law, that will provide for the best starting holiday within three months. Every employee will then be assured of having his holiday during the best period of the year. I suggest that is desirable from a health point of view, and it will enable plans to be made for the closing down of factories in the summer. If you wait until the Order is made for the Bill to become law, no one will know what to do.

The first three months may not be the best period of the year. The character of the Bill provides—some of my amendments at a later stage may provide greater elasticity—that once a regular employee has had his holidays in one week of the year, he is likely to get them about the same week each year; therefore, he will have to get them in the same week in the following year or possibly in an earlier week, which he would not like. I suggest that the provision in the Bill as it stands will be unsatisfactory. The proper plan is to get a suitable time for everybody during the summer.

The purpose of the sub-section is to ensure that the holiday obligation will apply in respect of the employment year current on the date upon which this part of the Act commences to operate as if the Act had been in operation at the beginning of the employment year. It provides, however, that if the employment year of a worker expires within one month from the commencement of the Act, the holiday obligation will be discharged if the worker gets the annual leave not later than three months after the expiration of the employment year.

If the concern of Senator Douglas is that holidays will be given during the summer months he need have no apprehension on that score. Owing to the period which must elapse for making the various regulations for different sections, that holiday obligation will fall to be discharged during the summer months of 1936. There is some amendment which I will propose at a later stage in the Bill to provide that where the employer has, in fact, given six holidays, either consecutively or altogether, that the giving will be held to have discharged his obligation. That is not covered by the Bill as it stands and it seems to me to be a necessary and fair amendment. That is a different point from what Senator Douglas has in mind. I have no strong view on the Senator's amendment as far as the proposal limited to that expressed in it, that is, that the obligations can be discharged during the three months. It is a matter to which I would not offer opposition but I think that the amendment is unnecessary. I should like to hear the labour view expressed on it.

Before we pass away from it I would like to say that I know of one case where a factory has been in the habit of closing in August. They have consulted me and I have read the Bill and as far as I can see they will have to drop that if this Bill comes into law on the 1st of June. I understand, though I am not taking it as certain, that the employees would like to continue the present August holiday arrangement.

In that particular case the holiday given last August would, under the amendment which I propose, have discharged the obligation.

In the case in point the holiday was not a paid holiday for the worker. They will be obliged to drop it as the Bill stands. It is quite new to me when the Minister says it will not be likely to become law before the 1st of June.

Having regard to the three months period of grace allowed after the commencement of the Act.

My point is that June, July and August are the best months of the year from a holiday point of view. I want this to apply to everyone whose employment ends within one month after the Act comes into force. In firms where paid holidays are given, there is very little difficulty. I believe that if you got that started in those months it would be of great advantage, but if the Bill becomes law about April or May you will have difficulties. Some firms will start immediately with the holidays in order to spread them over. In the case of large numbers of employees, six months of the year would be occupied in spreading over so that too many would not be away at the same time. I think if the Minister looks at it he will see that it is a good case.

Generally speaking, the workers prefer to have their holidays in June, July or August, and, in addition, they would prefer the closing down of the premises for the whole of the week's holiday.

Senator Douglas's proposal is that if the employment year expires before the 1st of June the holiday obligation in respect of that current year may be discharged by the provision of the week's holidays in June, July or August but, as from the 1st of June, the second holiday obligation would commence to run. I do not see how you can get over the difficulty because the same difficulty will arise the following year.

I have another amendment down later which will deal, I think, with that difficulty. I have discussed this with quite a few employers. Some of them are not very keen on closing down their factories for the holiday period, and others are quite satisfied that it is the best thing, if it could once be established. It does not matter where the holidays have been with pay but, as it is a new idea, the start will be extremely important. I have another amendment that the right to stay out for a week would not be applicable where a previous notice had been given that the factory was going to be closed down for one week. In other words, it is to get over that difficulty of the second year. When the Minister comes to consider that, he may not like my actual amendment, but I think when it is carefully examined it will be seen that the structure of the Bill makes it rather harder than it should be to close down.

Shall I put the amendments?

Better leave it over for consideration.

Amendments Nos. 27 and 28, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
Section 25 agreed to.
(1) The time in any employment year at which an employer shall allow annual leave to a worker who is entitled to annual leave under this Act shall be selected by such employer.
(2) If in any employment year of a worker with an employer such employment year has so far expired that there remains only six working days thereof unexpired and such employer has not at that time allowed such worker annual leave, such worker if he is entitled to annual leave under this Act may absent himself from his work for such employer, for such six days and shall not by reason of so absenting himself be deemed to have committed any breach of his contract of service with such employer, and such employer shall pay to such worker in respect of such six days the amount which he would be liable to pay if he had allowed such six days as annual leave.
(3) If an employer allows to a worker in any employment year a period of annual leave earlier than the last six working days of such employment year and such worker leaves the employment of such employer before the termination of such employment year, such employer shall not be entitled in respect of such allowance of annual leave to reduce the period of notice required for terminating such employment, nor the pay nor other emoluments to which such worker may be entitled at the time of leaving such employment.
(4) If any employer fails to pay to any worker any moneys which become payable to such worker under this section, such worker may recover such moneys as a simple contract debt from such employer.

I move:—

Section 26, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "after consultation with such worker."

This amendment aims at endeavouring to secure that where a worker is entitled to this week's annual leave that some sensible arrangement may be arrived at whereby if the firm is not closing down for the week, individual employees will get their holidays at definite periods. The Bill provides that an employer must give a week's notice. We know that the difficulties which workers have often to contend with cannot always be overcome at a week's notice. It would be hardly fair for an employer to come along at the 1st of June and say to the worker: "You can take next week for your annual leave," not realising that the children of the worker have to be considered in this matter. Most people find a great difficulty in arranging their holidays during the period in which the summer holidays for school-children occur, and we know that the parents are liable for prosecution if their children do not attend school. If a man wants to take his wife and children away for a week's holiday, surely it is not fair to say that the employer is entitled to come and give just seven days' notice to the employee concerned that he must take his holidays after the expiration of the seven days' notice?

My amendment seeks that, in the case of a firm that will not be closing down for the week, a satisfactory arrangement will be arrived at between the employer and the workers—just the same as at present obtains in the case of large commercial undertakings, the Civil Service, and employees of local authorities. We know that in large commercial undertakings the holiday sheet is sent around at the beginning of the year, and that the people who are longest in the employment of the firm concerned are entitled to first preference as to what week, or fortnight, as the case may be, in which they will take their holidays, and that it goes down the list until the most junior member gets what is left for his holidays. I admit that, after all, that is a sensible arrangement, but, under the Bill as it stands at the moment, the employer is entitled to come along and say to John Murphy or Pat Malone, or Mary Maloney or Bridget Flynn: "You must go off and take your holidays in a week's time." We, who know the conditions that exist in industrial employment, know that it is not always possible for industrial workers to arrange to take their holidays on a mere seven days' notice. We know that that is unfair, because these people are not in the position of richer people who can make up their mind very easily as to when they will take their holidays and who can afford to select from a great many places as to where they will spend their holidays.

One has to remember that a man who wishes to take his family to the seaside—especially a man in more or less poor circumstances—cannot possibly make such arrangements within seven days. It must be remembered that, in the case of arranging for accommodation at boarding houses, say, at the seaside, the arrangements must be made long beforehand. What I am looking for in this amendment is, that after consultation with the worker, the holiday period will be arranged, and my point is that that is what applies in present conditions in the case of large undertakings where annual holidays are allowed. I want this inserted in the Bill so as to prevent any ill-feeling occurring as between employer and employee in this matter of the holidays, and to give an opportunity to industrial workers—and it must be remembered that they are people who do not have large wages and who are, therefore, limited in their opportunities—to have some choice in the matter of their holidays.

My objection, of course, is that this holiday obligation, which is now being imposed by the Bill, is going to impose on many employers a not inconsiderable burden, and that it is not unreasonable that we should enable the employer to discharge his obligation in a manner which will help him to lighten that burden. I agree that the employer, wherever possible, should consult, not merely with his workers, but also consult the convenience of his workers in fixing the holiday period of each worker; but if the circumstances are such that it is not possible to do that, we merely provide here that the period of the year during which the holiday is to be given shall be fixed by the employer. After all, the exigencies of the business, the circumstances of trade at particular periods of the year, and other such matters must be taken into account, and it is, I think, not unreasonable that the employer should be allowed a discretion in that matter, having regard to the fact that he is now taking this burden on himself for the first time in a great many cases.

I see the Minister's point, but this amendment only asks him to consult the worker instead of taking the position that it is left to the employer to give seven days' notice without taking into consideration whether it is convenient for the worker or not.

Does the Senator mean that the employer should consult each individual worker?

No. I mean that the same principle should be adopted as is adopted at the present time in large commercial establishments, in the Civil Service, and in other such undertakings; and that is that, if the employer concerned is not going to close down his premises for a week's annual leave, he should consult the workers and give them the same chance of selecting their holidays as is given in the cases I have mentioned. I am sure it will be understood that the holiday period that might be suitable for, say, John Murphy, might not be suitable for John Malone, and so on. To go further, it might happen that it would work out better for both the employer and the worker if, after such consultation, it were found to be more convenient to give the holidays in the period required by the individual worker.


I think that your amendment, Senator Farren, says: "after consultation with such worker"?

I am not out of sympathy with what Senator Farren wants, but I think that his amendment would be quite impracticable. I think that an employer who does not consult with his workers, or the representatives of his workers, on a matter of this kind, is asking for trouble, and, to my mind, is a fool. To say, however, that he must consult with each individual worker before he fixes the holiday in a firm of, say, 100 workers, to say nothing of a firm employing 1,000 workers, would be simply ridiculous. I have had personal experience of this question of arranging holidays, and I may say that, in my experience, it was never a question of the employer consulting the workers, but of persuading the workers to consult one another and agree among themselves as to what arrangement might be come to. In my personal experience, I always just said: "We are giving the holidays commencing at such-and-such a time, and the holiday period will end at such-and-such a time," and asked the workers to arrange between themselves. Of course, it must be remembered that one has to take into account the number that can be absent from work at a particular time and the number that must be present in order to carry on the work. My attitude was that if they would agree amongst themselves, the senior worker would get the first choice, but that was always the source of trouble, because one junior worker said that the other fellow had got his holidays at one period last year and he wanted it adjusted this particular year to suit himself, and so on. These are some of the difficulties that one has to meet, but if there is a statutory obligation put upon the employer that, before the employer arranges for holidays, he must consult each worker— well, the only conclusion that I can come to is that such a condition would force a great many firms to close down.

I do not suggest that the employer should consult each individual worker, and I am sure that Senator Douglas does not think that that is my intention. My intention in this amendment is that there shall be a certain amount of give and take in the matter, and that the employer is not entitled to say to a man in his employment: "You must go on your holidays in seven days, whether it suits you or not." I only want to be reasonable, and I think that Senator Douglas has proved my case, because I argue that the seniors are entitled to first preference if the firm is not closing down. My point is that the holiday sheet could be sent around, as in the case of large commercial undertakings to-day, or in the case of the Civil Service or other public bodies.

Yes, but that arrangement would not fulfil what is in the amendment as it stands.

It is merely a matter of whether it should be a statutory obligation or not.

Mr. Kennedy

It is quite true that the word "worker" does not meet the point, but, at the same time, of what use is this holiday going to be to a large number of workers if an employer is allowed to put a notice up on, say, a Saturday night and to give notice to, perhaps, 100 people that they must take their holidays on the following Saturday—giving them the statutory seven days notice? That is not going to be of much use to the average worker.

There is a later amendment dealing with that.

Mr. Kennedy

Yes, but it is not agreed to yet. As it stands at the moment, all the employer has to do is to put up a notice giving seven days intimation to his employees that they are to take their holidays. That gives the worker very little time for any consultation with his family or others concerned about going away for a week's holiday. The Minister has defended the right of the employer to decide the time of the holiday on the ground that these holidays are going to be a burden on the employing class. Surely the Minister does not believe that. The Minister knows quite well that the employing class are not going to pay one penny of the cost of these holidays or of any of the improvements in working conditions that are proposed in this Bill. The Minister knows, or must know, that the cost of these improvements will be passed on by the employers to the ordinary public and to the workers themselves. I hold that the workers have as good a right to be consulted as to when their holidays will take place as the employers have to decide them. It may be that the use of the term "worker" could be construed to mean that the employer would have to consult every individual worker in his workshop or factory. I do not think that the Senator who proposed the amendment intends that.

No, that is not the intention.

Mr. Kennedy

We think, however, that the workers ought to be consulted and that they ought to be given a better opportunity of allowing them to decide on what period would be more convenient for their holidays.


Perhaps it would be better to withdraw the amendment now and to argue the case on a later amendment.

Yes, Sir, I would agree to that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 30:—

Section 26, sub-section (2). After the word "leave" in line 26 to insert the words "or agreed with such worker for annual leave within three months of the end of the employment year."

The object of this amendment is not unlike what, to some extent, Senator Kennedy had in view. However, no matter what we do, there will always be a number of trades where you cannot close down for an annual holiday, and the usual method in such cases is that the seniors get the summer holidays first and the juniors have to go on their holidays somewhat earlier and so on, and that, gradually, as people drop out, the juniors gradually move up. As the Bill stands, if an employee does not exert pressure about his annual holidays until the end of the 12 months and then withholds his labour, I am afraid he loses his rights. In other words, if he does not do it in that particular week, there is nothing to give him power to withhold his labour at a later period. Therefore, when, as I have found arises in my own particular business frequently, a person comes and says: "I got my holidays in June last year and I should like to get them in July this year," and the employer agrees to that, I think the Bill allows discretion so long as the employee does not get nasty about it; but if, on the other hand, the employer gets nasty about it, and says it cannot be done, the worker loses his right. My object is that, whether they have agreed or not, there should be a further period allowed of within three months of the end of the employment year, and that, at the end of the agreed date, the worker can still take his holiday by force if the promise of the employer is not carried out. It seems to me that that is highly desirable. One must have a certain amount of elasticity so long as the holiday is in the summer period and so long as it is arranged by agreement.

What happens if the worker leaves the employment within that period? He might even die during that period and have lost the benefit of his holidays before he died and, perhaps, if he had got his holidays, he might not have died. Apart from that, for some other reasons, he might have decided to leave his employment or he might have been dismissed by his employer. What is going to be his position in such a case?

I admit that this Bill is very technical and I cannot enter into the question of death duties or what might happen in the case of a man who had died. These questions are too technical and I shall leave them to the Minister to decide, but so far as concerns what should happen in the event of the worker leaving his employment, I think he should be entitled to claim pay with the same rights as he would have under the Bill. I think that there is no doubt whatever that that is what is intended by the Bill. It is possible that it is not covered by this amendment, but if that is the case I shall expect the Minister to help me to see that it is covered. My point is that the Bill as it stands it too narrow, and that if a worker makes an agreement with his employer, the employer should be forced to carry out that agreement because, otherwise, the worker might be afraid to press his rights in case, by doing so, he might lose his employment.

Senator Douglas is talking of an employment year which commences in or about June or July of each year, but the employment year may commence at some other period. There is nothing to prevent the employer giving the holidays during the summer months, even though the employment year has not expired, or altering the subsequent employment year and period of holidays.

What happens, then, if the worker dies?

The employer is at a disadvantage in that he is not getting a full year's work in exchange for the holidays. It is hard to make watertight rules that will cover every type of case. For that reason we content ourselves with putting in this provision, which says that every worker will get six holidays with pay. If, at the end of the year, he finds that he has not got the holidays that he is entitled to he can take steps to recover the amount of pay due to him, and if it is not given to him voluntarily he can sue for it as an ordinary contract debt. I do not think that we can do more than that. In practice, I think that in the majority of cases agreements will be made which will get over all these difficulties. If we did try to provide for all sorts of possibilities, I think we might merely succeed in making loopholes in the section which would be availed of.

I have discussed the Bill with a good many people of the employing class. There are two classes. There is one which definitely welcomes the Bill, and the other which regards it as a severe hardship on them. I have made no secret of the class to which I belong. I have always been in favour of holidays and have tried to bring them about. The first class, to which I have referred, welcome the Bill and feel that it is going to be of real benefit all round. Employers who are on good terms with their workers will not worry very much about this. There is the other class that we are legislating for which regard this as a hardship. In arguing this matter, I do not want to pretend that I am trying to justify the attitude they may take up. I am afraid they are going to say that if they have to pay a worker for a holiday long before he has earned it by fulfilling the requisite period, then they are not going to give him the holiday until the end of the 12 months, and at the end of the 12 months he will have to take it. If the worker happens to come into employment in June, he is going to get his holiday at a grand time of the year unless it suits the convenience of the employer to give it to him earlier.

That type of employer is not going to meet the worker's convenience.

The difficulty with regard to this Bill is that it brings out so many different points, most of which I think I have anticipated, and all of which, to a large extent, hang on each other. The Minister, in his reply, raised a point which I had dealt with on another amendment—the right of having the holiday earlier. My answer to that is that an employer, such as I have mentioned, will not give the holiday until the employee has worked the 12 months. When an employer is in that position, and has to give the holiday, the worker may say that he would rather have it in June. It makes no difference to the employer and he says "all right." I cannot see why, if there is agreement to have the holiday earlier, that it should be made difficult under the Bill to carry out that agreement. I am supposed to be looking after the interests of employers, but as regards this amendment I do not care twopence and I am quite willing to withdraw it.

I would be afraid of it because whenever an employer agreed with a worker to a course such as that it might not work out in the way Senator Douglas has in mind. All organised workers are not like the members of the Irish Transport Workers' Union who can stand up for their rights. What about the case of the employer who might say to a worker, "You had better agree with me on this point or else your period of employment with me is not likely to be very long"? A worker might be intimidated into making an agreement which was not in his interest at all. Therefore, I think it is much better to fix certain statutory rules and to enforce them, and not put in all sorts of provisos. I think that in the case of the good employer, trying to act in accordance with the spirit of the measure and to convenience his workers, there will be no difficulty at all, but in the other case the tighter we have the provision the better.

Amendment postponed for Report Stage.

I move amendment No. 31:—

Section 26, sub-section (2). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "Provided that, where an employer has given notice that the annual leave will be given to such worker when the business is closed for the annual holiday and such annual holiday is fixed not later than three months from the end of the employment year, such worker may not absent himself from work in accordance with this section until the expiration of three months from the end of the employment year."

The object of this amendment is to make easy the transition proposed. In the case of the annual holiday it would not be easy to do that under the Bill as it stands, and if the Minister is prepared to look into this I am prepared to hold over the amendment until Report. In the case of a firm which for two or three years has been giving alternate holidays and wants to get down to the one holiday period, serious difficulties might arise under the Bill as it stands. The endeavour here is to make the transition easy.

I suggest to Senator Douglas that it should be specified that the three months period should fall within the summer months—May, June and July. That would mean that there could not be any serious abuse in the matter and that an employer could not push back the holiday too far.

Amendment postponed for Report Stage.

I move amendment No. 32:—

Section 26, sub-section (3). After the word "employer" in line 37 to insert the words "at the request of such employer".

The general feeling of the employers' federation, and in this I agree with them, is that it is a mistake, where an employee leaves of his own accord during the 12 months after he has received the holiday, that he should be able to get away with it without any loss to himself. I agree that when an employer gives the holiday and then dismisses a member of his staff that he should not be entitled to make any deduction. Under the Bill as it stands, if a man comes into your employment two or three months before the summer period he gets his holiday, but he may think well of walking away out of your employment in the new year and you can make no deduction at all. I do not think that is equitable. The employers, of course, have a way of protecting themselves against that by not giving the holiday.

I would be inclined to resist this amendment. I think that if an employer decides to give the holiday and he selects a time that is suitable to himself, then he has to take the consequences if the worker subsequently does not do a full year in his employment. The worker is not entitled to a holiday unless he has completed a full year with the employer. The employer, of course, can choose whether he prefers that arrangement or some other. In practice, the holiday obligation is only of interest to persons in regular employment, and in such cases I think there will be very little difficulty. A very substantial proportion of industrial workers are not in regular employment. They are only employed for periods. Their main interest is rather in the section which provides for pay in lieu of holidays, but in cases of regular employment, where an employee is continuously employed by the same employer, there is, generally, a certain amount of mutual trust which can be relied upon to operate in matters of this kind. I think it would be undesirable to have any provision which would necessitate a determination as to the circumstances under which an employee left employment, and that might arise if the words proposed were inserted in the section.

Would Senator Douglas interpret the phrase "at the request of such employer"?

Probably the words are all wrong. What about the case of a man who was sacked. I know, of course, you do not use the word "sacked" in legislative measures. Personally, I am not interested in this, but you will have many firms, when they know that they will have to give the whole week with pay, spreading the holidays over. I am not pressing the amendment, but I think the Minister is wrong in his attitude.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 33:—

Section 26, sub-section (3). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "except such worker leaves as the result of malfeasance on his part".

This amendment represents the considered opinion of the Federation of Irish Industries, but as the Minister is opposed to it there is no use in going ahead with it.

I told the representatives of the Federation when they came to me that I thought it undesirable that there should be any such provision, because it would obviously necessitate some means of determining disputes, which would be innumerable, if some such phraseology as this appeared in the Bill. We are merely taking cognisance of the fact that a worker ceased to be employed with the employer under circumstances which led to the cessor. I think that if we had to have regard to the circumstances we would need to have some tribunal, court or arbitrator to consider the matter, and I think that would be undesirable.

As soon as I receive an unemployment card from the Government I am immediately asked for reasons for the person leaving my employment. If the answer is not sufficiently carefully worded, I immediately get a reply from the Minister's Department wanting to know further about it. We are now told by the Minister that this is a thing that would seriously worry him. In my opinion it is one of the things with which his Department could easily deal. However, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 26 agreed to.
(1) Every employer who is required by this Act to allow annual leave to a worker, shall give to every worker to whom he is so required to allow such annual leave notice in writing of the day on which such annual leave will begin, and shall so give such notice not less than one week before such day.

I move amendment No. 34:

Section 27, sub-section (1). To delete in line 51 the words "one week" and to substitute therefor the words "two weeks."

The merits of this amendment were discussed on amendment No. 29. I believe that a week's notice is absolutely too short for a group of workers that is to take holidays. As Senator Farren and Senator Kennedy pointed out, more than a week's notice would be required to make arrangements if the holidays were to be beneficial to their health. If a person is to enjoy holidays, certain previous arrangements are necessary, including accommodation and perhaps arranging for friends to accompany them or to organise excursion parties so as to get the best value out of the money at their disposal. It would not impose any great hardship on employers, especially if the closing down process was adopted. When there is a spread over of holidays between staffs, some arrangements should be made so as to secure at least a fortnight's notice. I found that the most satisfactory arrangement for workers with whom I have dealings was to have the holidays arranged early in the year, so that they could know in January or February whether they could get their holidays in July, August, September or October. To suggest that an employer could tell a worker on Saturday night that he was to go on his holidays next week was insufficient notice.

Senators should bear in mind in relation to matters of this kind that we are fixing a statutory minimum period, which will apply to all industries in all circumstances. If Senator Duffy asked my opinion, as to what notice should be given, I agree that much longer notice than a week is desirable, and in the majority of cases it will be possible to give longer notice. It is necessary to emphasise that the provision in the Bill is that a week is to be given. We are not satisfied that a week is long enough, but there are certain industries, in which it might be desirable to have a period of not more than a week. As an example, I might mention persons engaged in any class of contracting work. A contractor might have a batch of men finishing one job on the 30th of June and, knowing that another contract was due to begin early in August, he might think it a suitable period to decide to fill up the gap between the two jobs with holidays rather than to dismiss the staff and start again when the next job was due. Such circumstances will arise occasionally, and it might be in everyone's interest that a week's notice should suffice. I do not agree that in the majority of cases a week's notice is enough, but, when we are fixing a statutory minimum period, we should not go further than a week. What we are saying here is that if an employer does not give a week's notice he is committing an offence for which he will be punished. We do not say that he should not give more than a week. It is obviously desirable in most cases that he should give more. But it might cause a difficulty if he gave longer than the minimum period fixed in the Bill.

The Minister has shown perhaps the only illustration he could think of, where an employer might require more than a week to be able to decide about holidays. I cannot conceive that even that proposition could possibly happen. If a contractor is finishing one contract, and if he has taken another contract, which is to begin in a fortnight, I can hardly think it possible that he would not know that beforehand.

He may know when one contract will start but he may not know when the first one will finish.

Then he is a bad contractor. No case can be made against giving a fortnight's notice. I can hardly conceive any business that might be called an industrial business that cannot see ahead for a fortnight. If an employer wants to deal with a group of workers, surely he would know if he intended to give them holidays at the same time. If he is going to deal with them individually no difficulty can arise. From the point of view of preparing for holidays one week's notice is quite useless. Although I agree that this is the minimum, once you put in the words "one week" there is an indication that that is all the notice that need be given. Until there has been a considerable period of practice, the inclination will be to leave the notice until a week before the holidays are due. A fortnight could be inserted as easily as a week and would be immensely more advantageous to the workers.

Perhaps the Minister could see his way to accept an amendment making provision for the exceptional cases that he mentioned. That might meet the case. The Minister could be the judge of exceptional cases where I agree it might be desirable that not more than a week's notice could be given. The average employer will be able to give reasonable notice, but a week's notice is absolutely no use, especially for families where provision has to be made for apartments.

As I am rather interested in this question, I am trying to see if there is a way out. I do not like this provision for a week's notice. In 99 cases out of 100 a fortnight, three weeks or a month's notice could be given without difficulty, but there is a tendency when a thing is started that it will more or less become the practice. I would like an indication that reasonable notice should be given. The difficulty I see about it is different from that expressed by members of the Labour Party. Occasionally the holidays cannot be given at a definite time perhaps owing to illness. Apparently it will cut both ways. A case might happen where notice was given a month ahead that a person was to go on holidays on 1st June, but a week before that date that person might have to be told that he could not go away then and that other holidays would be given later. I am afraid if a fortnight is inserted we will be absolutely tied to it. I have sympathy with the view of the Labour Party in this matter, and I am inclined to agree to a fortnight, if there was any way out by agreement, so that there would not be a prosecution because of any difficulty that might arise, or where the workers said it suited them to take holidays in a week and took them.

As I have some experience in this matter, I agree with the case made by the Minister. If a fortnight is inserted, the section will be observed sometimes in the breach. There are occasions, in the contracting industry, where employers could not possibly give notice of holidays further ahead than one week. I stress the point made by the Minister that you are doing a service to the workers there, because you are able to avail of a laying-off period for which they will be paid. Otherwise they might be put off work and get no pay. The human element will apply in all these cases. There is hardly an employer who is not easy of access to his workers, just as the workers are easy of access to the employer. These matters are always arranged to accommodate both sides. If you establish the principle of having to give a fortnight's notice I am of opinion that that will be observed only in the breach in a considerable number of cases.

I think Senator Fitzgerald is under a misconception. The amendment does not refer to the type of worker he referred to, or to a going on and laying-off period. What the Minister and the Senator visualise could not happen in the case of persons mentioned in the Bill, because they must have worked a certain number of hours in the year before they become entitled to holidays. In other words they are constant workers. The big argument for holidays is the benefit to the health of persons working all the year round. The casual worker is not dealt with here.

I was talking of the contracting business, where work would probably average 45 out of the 52 weeks.

They need only average a quarter.

In the contracting industry it is hardly likely workers would be knocked off during the summer months because most of that work is done in the summer.

Most of it. The time that would be selected would be during the winter. I cannot see that a fortnight's notice would impose any difficulty on employers. Surely every employer knows what he is going to do a fortnight ahead if he understands his business. I think the House should accept the amendment.

I do not think it is a question here of fighting the principle. I argued at some length in the Dáil, where there was a similar amendment, and I stick to the opinion I expressed that I think it is sufficient to put in a statutory minimum provision that a week's notice should be given. The arguments in favour of lengthening the period are based upon a misconception, perhaps on the assumption that only a week's notice will be given whereas the Bill merely provides that not less than a week's notice is to be given which is different. In the circumstances of the case I do not think it would be possible to provide for shorter notice because obviously there would not then be much time to get the Minister's permission until after the holidays were granted, any more than the regulations to be laid on the Table that Senator Johnson referred to, which were made available after they were operative. That might apply in this case. The Departments of Government move slowly on occasions, and we set down in statutory form what we consider to be the minimum required. Unless the Seanad thinks otherwise I will not press the matter.

We have been able to secure a week's holidays with pay in a considerable number of industries where we have what you might call decent employers. What we have brought forward this amendment for is to prevent the penurious employer from taking advantage of the bare minimum laid down in the Bill. In the vast majority of cases, it will not impose the slightest difficulty on employers because they have already given a week's holiday with pay and in every case more than a week's notice. We are only asking the House to legislate against the man who might be inclined to take this mean advantage of his employees.

He gets no advantage out of it.


If he has to give a fortnight's notice, he will take advantage of the bare minimum, too.

But they will have time to make arrangements.

Amendment put and declared carried.
Section 27, as amended, agreed to.
Section 28 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 29 stand part of the Bill."

I should like some clarification of this section. As I read the Bill, the regulations that are to be made by Order must be universal as affecting a specified form of industrial work. Therefore, they must apply to the whole country, in that form of industrial work. I wonder whether there ought not to be some provision whereby the regulations might vary in relation to the locality. This argument partly depends on what is meant by regulations, but assuming that the regulations are of a kind that can be made to contain certain conditions, the conditions might vary from area to area. As I read this section, the Order will simply make regulations excluding a particular form of industrial work for all or any of the sections of this part of the Act, which relates to times of work. I wonder whether it is intended that whatever regulations are made shall be universal or whether they may vary from district to district, and whether in making regulations it is intended that there shall be a bald regulation, that is, an Order in the form of regulations, saying simply that certain industries will be deemed to be excluded industrial work without any other conditions or factors? I am not quite sure what the word "regulations" implies. If it implies anything more than a mere Order, there is no indication here of what limit there shall be to the regulations.

If the Senator looks at Section 57 he will see that it provides that where power is given to the Minister to make regulations in relation to any specified form of industrial work, the Minister may specify such industrial work either generally or when done in any particular place or class of places or by any particular workers or class of workers. That section gives power in that connection.

Are we to take it that the Order containing regulations may impose conditions, or is it simply a bare Order saying that a particular industry is excluded?

A particular form of work. The regulations can be of that kind that the form of work subject to Section 57—perhaps work done by a particular class of workers or in a particular place—is excluded from one or other of the provisions of this Part of the Bill and would be confined to that.


And also within a certain area, if the Minister thinks proper.

Sections 29 and 30 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 35:—

New section. Before Section 31 to insert a new section as follows:—

31.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act whenever under the powers conferred on him by Section 29 of this Act the Minister by Order makes exclusion regulations, it shall be competent for him to insert in such regulations such provisions as he may think proper or necessary for the protection of the persons employed to do any form of industrial work which under such regulations is declared to be excluded industrial work.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act it shall be competent for the Minister to insert in every permit granted under the provisions of Section 30 of this Act such conditions for the purpose of protecting workers employed to do industrial work in an industrial undertaking to which a permit is granted as he shall think proper and necessary.

This seeks to give the Minister power to insert certain conditions in these regulations which apparently he is not taking power to do in the Bill as framed. There is a good deal of importance to be attached, I think, to this proposition, inasmuch as there may be certain industries which it is desired to exclude from this part of the Bill and yet not desirable to exclude wholly, without conditions. I again refer to the fact that there are certain repeals in the Bill, and if there is a complete exclusion the conditions of the Factory Acts seem to me to be annulled in respect of even young persons in these excluded industries. In addition to that, there is a desire that there shall be certain industries excluded. We see one, for instance, in amendment No. 36, in which there is a suggestion that the printing and publishing of newspapers shall in fact be excluded from one particular provision—the short day business. It is possible that you may want to exclude certain industries from this part of the Bill, and there may be general agreement as to the desirability of making those exclusions, but that agreement is under conditions—that is, the agreement between the employers and employees.

I want to make it possible, firstly, for the Minister to ensure that conditions will not be worsened for any group of workers from those which at present prevail under the Factory Acts by virtue of the repeal, and, secondly, that there should be included in the regulations the lines of certain agreements that might be made with regard to conditions and times of work. I am seeking to give the Minister certain powers when making regulations to exclude from the operations of this part of the Bill any industry in any area where there are agreements as to conditions. Otherwise, I think he will find himself tied. He will not be able to conform to the desire of employers and employed, and the Bill in that respect will be too tightly drawn and some of the intentions will be nullified. I am pretty sure the Minister knows what I am referring to. I particularly have in mind this question of the work done in respect to newspapers, and if there could be provision made whereby the agreements recognised between employers and employed could be incorporated in the regulations it would probably meet a good many of the difficulties that have arisen.

I think it would be undesirable from the general point of view to give the Minister the power which Senator Johnson suggests in this amendment. It is, of course, unlikely that there will be many Orders made excluding forms of work from the whole of Part III, but there may, and probably will, be a number of regulations excluding forms of work from some of the provisions of Part III of the Bill. In such cases there will require to be consultation with workers and employers beforehand and it will be possible, I think, to frame other regulations confining the exclusion merely to the particular matters that are causing difficulty and which may make it difficult to carry on the industry in the desired manner. That, in effect, means that you are providing conditions, because you are at least providing this condition, that the only exclusion will be exclusion on the particular points involved.

To give the Minister power to substitute for the provisions of the Bill some other set of provisions applying to that particular industry would be to give him very wide power which it might not be desirable for the Minister to have. I say that although I have never hesitated to take powers when I thought it desirable that I should have them, I feel that there might be considerable pressure put on a Minister for Industry and Commerce by interested parties to use these powers in a manner which would mean that particular industries would be subject to an entirely different code from that generally applicable. That, I think, would be undesirable. One particular person in that office might be unduly sensitive to pressure from one direction and another to pressure from the opposite direction, and the result would be that we might have no code of general application at all but a series of modified codes applying to different industries and not all satisfactory.

This Part of the Bill relates to times of work only, and the power of exclusion is put in merely to meet the special difficulties which are peculiar to particular industries, and every industry has its own particular problem. I think I have all these problems stated already and have a general idea of the nature of them. There is none of them, in my opinion, that need necessitate any amendment of Section 29. I think the powers in Section 29 will be adequate to enable us to get over the particular points that have been raised so far.

I still have a difficulty in understanding. I will leave out the question that will have to be discussed again on Section 31, but I would like to make very sure—and I think it is just as appropriate on this amendment as on any other point—that the conditions relating to hours of labour and so on which are at present secured by the Factory Acts——

Which relate only to women and children.

I know they do, but in so far as they are repealed, if it is possible to exclude any industry or form of work, they will be excluded, I suggest, subject to correction, from the protection of the Factory Acts which is at present given. I am afraid that is the effect of this Bill. If that is a possibility at all, it is a very grievous defect and I should like to have a very positive assurance from the Minister that he does not intend it and that he believes he is completely protecting these people from the evil which, I think, would arise if my interpretation be correct.

I do not think that there need be concern on that point. So far as there are safeguards under existing Acts relating to times of work, the particular position that will arise in any form of work when exclusion regulations have been made can be fully considered. Under certain sections of this Part of the Bill, overriding provisions apply in the case of the employment of women and young persons. Although exclusion regulations can be made in respect of such persons, nevertheless the effect is that whatever safeguards are provided by existing Acts or by this Bill will still apply except in so far as the exclusion regulation exempts them. Before these exclusion regulations can be made, consultation between employers and employed will enable every aspect of the matter to be considered.

That means that the consultation may empower the Minister to remove these people from the protection of the present Act.

That is so.

That is, surely, a serious defect.

You do not prevent that by providing that the Minister shall have power to impose conditions.

If that is the position, I think there must be a radical change.

The provisions of the existing law will be found in Sections 46 and 47 and, in any event, there is an overriding provision to the effect that no regulations can be made which are contrary to an international convention which has been ratified.

I do not want to forestall discussion, but the phrasing of Sections 46 (1) and 47 (1) is most bewildering. I read this provision to mean that you are empowering yourself to make regulations which will allow women to work at night and young persons to work at night—a thing which has been prohibited for years.

That will be governed by the international convention.

What section deals with international conventions?

Section 12.

The words there are "have due regard to".

Mr. Kennedy

I should like the Minister to make plain whether, when he excludes a particular form of industry under this Bill, the ordinary provisions of the Factory Acts will still apply to the portion of the industry he has excluded. Otherwise, our contention is that, when he excludes a certain portion of an industry from the scope of this Bill, he will be depriving the workers of benefits they have under existing Factory Acts. Is that so, or is it not?

That is so, but the circumstances in this case are entirely different from the circumstances which arise under Section 4. Section 4 provides for general exclusion. In this case, the particular exclusion is specified in a regulation and it is not a case in which you are withdrawing protection without knowing the consequences. In this case, you make an exclusion regulation, because certain circumstances require it, knowing the effect of your regulation forthwith.

Is not this intended for portion only of the Act?

But a very important portion. It deals with night work.

It is not a case in which you can, by making a regulation, unwittingly deprive people of protection. You make the regulation, knowing fully the extent to which the regulation will operate and why you do it. That is different from exclusion under Section 4.

The Minister is being given power which he has not got now to allow young persons to work at night and to allow women to work at night.


In special cases.

In any case. The Minister has not got that power to-day and I do not think he should get it under a Bill intended to improve the conditions of the workers.

That matter can be considered on Sections 46 and 47.

It is well to have light thrown upon it. I ask that this amendment be postponed until next stage.

Amendment postponed to Report Stage.

I move amendment No. 36:—

Section 31. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) This section shall not apply to any industrial work done in or about the printing and publishing of newspapers.

This amendment deals with what seems to me to be a possible difficulty. I have put it down only in relation to the printing trade but it seems to me that it would apply to other trades as well. Under Section 31, Saturday as a short day is fixed. Section 38 provides that a short day need not be kept in certain trades. It seems to me that there ought to be some way of dealing with this difficulty. The phrase "save as otherwise provided by this section and Section 38" might be used or the amendment I have down might be adopted.

This amendment enables one to raise the question of the short day in the newspaper industry in Dublin and, I suppose, in Cork, where special conditions apply. Under Section 38 there is reference to working hours "save as otherwise provided by this Act." That touches Section 31, which provides that there shall be a short day but that it shall not apply to "the printing of newspapers." If the Bill passes as it stands the position of the newspaper employees in Dublin may be worsened. They have some kind of arrangement whereby, over a great part of the year, instead of having a half-day per week, they get a whole day per fortnight. I was hopeful that it might be found possible, in making the regulations, to provide for embodying that kind of understanding in the regulation in regard to exclusion. The amendment before us provides that there shall be no short day in respect of newspapers. There is a short day in respect of newspapers in Dublin and this amendment, if carried, would enable the present arrangement, which is more or less satisfactory—it ought to be extended—to be nullified.

The information I got was that there was no short day in the week in Dublin newspaper works but that there was one whole day in a fortnight. That is, certainly, not a short day within the meaning of this section. I wanted to indicate to the Minister the difficulty and not to suggest that this was the best way of dealing with it. I think the Bill has a flaw and I suggest that we should say "save as otherwise provided in this section and Section 38, Saturday shall be the short day." I ask the Minister to look into the matter.

As regards the general principle, I do not think that any particular trade should be exempted from giving the half-day if it is not giving something instead of it—equal time one day in a fortnight or some such arrangement. In trades in which the half-day arrangement would not work, I think there should be an obligation to provide equal time in a manner suitable to the particular trade. I think that should apply to the newspaper trade as well as to every other trade.

Mr. Kennedy

I am glad to hear Senator Douglas say that, because that is not the effect of his amendment. It is perfectly true that certain persons in the newspaper industry do not get the weekly half-holiday owing to the nature of their work but they get one day off, or one night off if they are night workers, every 12 days. That does not cover all the workers. Many workers in the newspaper industry get their half-day and this amendment would deprive them of it without giving them any compensation. I should like to see the Minister introduce a provision which would satisfy the people interested in this particular industry without injuring the position of the workers. We have the two classes of workers to consider —the worker who gets his half-day, and who ought not to be deprived of it by this Bill, and the worker who gets one day off, or one night off, every 12 days. If these cases can be met they ought to be met but they will not be met by Senator Douglas' amendment.

My opinion is that the exclusion of "the printing of newspapers" from Section 38 excludes them from Section 31 also, but, as certain people have raised doubts about that, there is no reason why these doubts should not be removed. I am quite satisfied to have Section 31 amended in the manner suggested. I think it will have to be amended. I do not think we could contemplate a position in which newspapers would be required to shut down for a half-day on Saturday or to have some other afternoon substituted. I am sure that neither Senator Kennedy nor anybody else desires that. However, it is clear that whether newspapers are excluded from Section 31 already or not—I think they are—they have got to be excluded. The workers in the newspaper industry have no statutory right to a half-day at the moment. They have secured whatever rights they have by effective organisation and by strike action, the most violent demonstration of which took place not so long ago. I have no doubt that the workers in that industry will be able to protect their interests, because they are probably the best organised body of workers in the country.

I should like to avoid the necessity for strike action.

I do not think it will arise. I do not think the workers or managers of the newspapers want to see newspaper offices under a statutory obligation to shut down for a half-day, because it would mean that there would be no paper on the following day. However, whatever other arrangements are made to secure the interests of these workers, exclusion from this section is essential. Some people have doubts as to whether the section applies to them at present or not, and I think there is no harm in putting in this amendment to make clear that it does not. If there is a proposal, however, to make some other provision for these workers, then it can be considered separately. I do not think there is necessity for legislation to secure it, but if anyone thinks otherwise it can be brought forward for consideration.

I think, if it is doubtful, that the Minister should not spoil the appearance of the Bill by duplicating the matter in two sections as long as it is provided for already.

I think it is better to have it put in.

Is he prepared to accept it in its present form?

If the Minister is prepared to bring forward an amendment, I am ready to leave it over to the Report Stage.

Generally speaking, I agree that the provisions relating to the times of work cannot apply to newspapers, and newspapers have got to be taken outside them altogether. I am prepared to put them outside altogether.

Then we are in agreement.

Amendments Nos. 36 and 37, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 31 to 35, inclusive, put and agreed to.
On receipt of any application under this Act for a shift work licence, the Minister may at his absolute discretion, after consultation with representatives of employers interested in the relevant form of industrial work and with representatives of workers so interested, grant or refuse such licence.
Question proposed: "That Section 36 stand part of the Bill."

Could the Minister tell us what is the meaning of the words "may at his absolute discretion" in Section 36, in contradistinction to its absence from other parts of the Bill.

My opinion is that where a Bill says that the Minister may do something it, in effect, means that he shall do it. That is why "may at his absolute discretion" is put in.

Does that mean that where the Minister may fix the proportion of women workers that he, in effect, shall do it?

He may make regulations.

With great respect to the Minister, there is a flaw here. In one section he puts in the words "at his absolute discretion" as referring to what he may do with a particular case, and in another very similar section he omits the words "absolute discretion." I think it is quite clear that there is no different meaning, but as a Senator, I want to draw his attention to the difficulty which the use of the words in one section and their absence from another section may create when the Bill comes to be construed. It will be regarded as different. However, if he is satisfied, I am not concerned.

That phrase is being used regularly in statutes, and it does not mean all it purports to mean, as I have found in my experience.

Sections 36 and 37 put and agreed to.
(1) Save as otherwise provided by this Act, it shall not be lawful for any employer who employs any adult worker to do industrial work in an industrial undertaking on day work to permit such adult worker—
(a) if a woman, to commence work earlier than the hour of 8 a.m. on any day, or
(b) whether a man or a woman, to continue work after any of the following limits (in this Act referred to as time limits for day work), that is to say:—
(i) the hour of 8 p.m. on any ordinary working day,
(ii) the hour of 1 p.m. on any short day,
(iii) the time in any ordinary working day when such adult worker has completed nine hours work on that day,
(iv) the time in any week when such adult worker has completed forty-eight hours work in that week.
(2) This section shall not apply to any industrial work done in or about—
(a) the printing of newspapers, or
(b) the construction, maintenance, alteration, or repair of any telegraphic or telephonic installation, or
(c) the maintenance or working of a broadcasting station maintained and worked under Part II of the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1926 (No. 45 of 1926).
(3) If any employer acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
(4) In this Act the expressian "day work" means work which is neither continuous process shift work nor licensed shift work.

I move:—

Section 38, sub-section (2). After the word "printing" in line 43 to insert the words "and publishing".

I think it is right that this amendment should go in. I do not know if there is industrial work done in connection with the publishing of newspapers, but if there is, it is better that it should be covered.

There is industrial work done in the production of newspapers. There is etching, in preparation for metal plates, which is clearly industrial work. There is also developing photographs, which may seem absurd when it is done by the men themselves. There is also the packing and handling of newspapers. Before I put this amendment down I asked for details and got them.

I am quite agreeable.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move:—

Section 38, sub-section (2). Before paragraph (b) to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

(b) the repairing of a motor car, or,

My chief reason in putting down this amendment is to ask the Minister if he will please tell me how the motor trade stands in connection with this Bill, particularly in relation to repairs done at week-ends. If the Bill is to be applied you will have no repairs. Though I am interested in the motor trade, we do not do week-end work in the city but in the country there might be a lot of public inconvenience.

The result is that industrial work on the repairing of motor cars cannot be done on Sunday. I think that if a case can be made for the repairing of motor cars on Sunday the same case could be made for the repairing of furniture on Sunday. I think that industrial work should be done in the hours specified by the Bill.

Do we take it that if the Minister is travelling in the country and has a breakdown he will see that no work is done to his car and that he will walk on to his political meeting?

If it is the type of breakdown that necessitates industrial work in a garage, I do not think that anyone would want to get it done. I do not know that mending a puncture would be industrial work, however.

You have got sometimes to bring the car to the garage to do that. It is very often that breakdowns occur which do not just mean mending a puncture. You have breakdowns which may be temporarily repaired to enable the car, as it were, to proceed under its own steam. If it is the policy of the Government that no repairs shall be done on Sunday, so long as the public are warned when they go for their week-end, I cannot complain, but I do not think that the matter has been properly considered at all.

The owner of the business can do it.

There is a period of three hours' industrial work permitted.

I expected that. That is what I wanted to draw the Minister's attention to. Does he think that a man could serve the public for three hours starting at 9, at 12 and at 3 o'clock. In the country that could not possibly be afforded. It would not be practical politics to have a relay of mechanics when often there are only two or three who take Sunday about. To have a man on duty only for three hours would be quite impracticable.

I do not know why Senator Douglas should assume that all motor cars should breakdown on Sunday. I do not see why we should put the repair of motor cars in any special position. If the breakdown is of such a nature that industrial work in a garage is necessary, then it can be done on the following day. I know I have found it necessary on getting a breakdown to leave the car to be repaired and get some other means of conveyance to my destination wherever it might have been. The position is that we cannot very well take the repairing of motor cars outside the scope of the Bill. If you can carry on the repair of motor cars on Sunday it could also be argued that you could carry on the repair of other things.

It does not deprive them of work.

In many cases there is a mechanic employed on Sundays but as long as it is Government policy the man who goes motoring over the week-ends will know where he stands, though he may not see any reason why he can have a Sunday newspaper. I know that some of my friends up in the North think it very wicked to have papers printed on Sunday but see nothing wrong in those coming out on Monday. The position in the country is that people use the week-end, and it is an unpleasant possibility that they may be left on the road through a breakdown. I do not see why we should exempt broadcasting because it is much more healthy for people to go out at week-ends than to sit at home listening to the wireless.

It is not illegal to drive a bus on Sunday. This has nothing to do with driving on Sundays or with transport.

I know. But there are a number of other things. Repairs to telephones are permitted, and I want to know whether the repair of a broadcasting station will be prevented, because the particular thing is allowed. I certainly think that the ordinary repairs are necessary for carrying on transport, public or private, but I am not going to press this amendment, as I simply put it down to enable me to raise the question.

The manufacture of telephone instruments would be illegal on Sunday.

But repairing would be legal on Sunday, because it is cut out by the Bill. That is my reading of it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 38, as amended, agreed to.
Section 39 agreed to.
(1) The Minister, if he is satisfied that young persons employed to do any form of industrial work are so employed as assistants to adult workers and that the work of such adult workers could not proceed if such young persons did not work for the same hours as such adult workers, may by order make regulations in accordance with this section directing that young persons or young persons who have attained a specified age while doing such form of industrial work shall be deemed to be adult workers for the purposes of this Act.
(2) The Minister shall not make regulations in respect of any form of industrial work under this section unless he has first consulted with representatives of employers interested in such form of industrial work and with representatives of workers so interested.
(3) Whenever regulations made under and in accordance with this section are for the time being in force the young persons to whom such regulations relate shall be deemed to be adult workers for the purposes of this Act while doing the form of industrial work in respect of which such regulations are made.
(4) Where any person is under this section deemed to be an adult worker for the purposes of this Act, it shall not be lawful for any employer to permit such person to do for him any form of industrial work between the hour of 10 p.m. on any day and 8 a.m. on the following day, or to permit such person to commence to do for him any industrial work on any day until after the expiration of 11 hours from the time at which such person ceased to do industrial work on the previous day.
(5) If any employer acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.

I move:—

Section 40, sub-section (1), after the word "proceed" in line 24 to insert the words "in a satisfactory manner".

This particular section, regarding the times of employment of young people, is one that is going to cause considerable difficulty. In the first place, as it stands, it is completely and absolutely useless, to my mind, because it says that if the work of the adult worker cannot proceed without assistance the Minister may make orders deeming young persons to be adult workers for the purposes of the Act. Now, the condition under which it could not proceed would be where the adult workers had no assistants. They could do it but they will not. I have been making inquiries and I cannot find a case coming under this provision where the absence of the young person completely and absolutely prevented it. It seems to me that, although I have put down an amendment, my amendment does not get over the difficulty. What I am concerned with is not the case of the unfortunate adult workers who cannot work without their assistants but the young people who will be seriously handicapped in their training because they will not be able to continue their work. You want, first of all, to provide for the training of the young person who goes in, say, to work at a loom with an adult worker, and if the young person leaves, the adult worker can go on; but the young person will not get the training that is necessary, because he is working on a particular loom and is not going to stop the loom, because that would lead to a considerable amount of inconvenience. All that is entirely to the detriment of the young person. More important still, however, is that you are going to have a very curious position, assuming that the Minister acts under Section 40. Take the case of the training of weavers.

Weaving is mostly piece-work. Young people come into that trade at the age of 14½ or 15 years, or so I am informed, and for that time they are generally employed with friends of theirs learning sufficient to be entitled to take a loom under their friends, and afterwards they can get to work two or three looms. At piece-work rates it is very much to their interest to get to work two or three looms. The position under this section is that, while they are at the age of 14 or 15 years, or whatever the age is, the Minister will have power to let them work for 48 hours, because they are merely assisting an adult worker, but as soon as they are able to take a loom for themselves, they can only have 40 hours and, accordingly, earn less for themselves. It seems to me that when they reach, say, the age of 16, the Minister might very well take power to allow them to work the same time as an adult, subject, of course, to reasonable limits.

Another difficulty is that when you have your partially trained workers who are just given a loom, you are able to give them a loom because they are in a shed with a large number of other workers who will keep an eye on them and see that they do not make mistakes. You can always depend on the other workers to do that, but if you mix the younger workers in that way, you have to keep that shed going at the same expense when the young people have left. If you put them in the same shed it will be different. Take the case of one factory that I know of where the proportion of young persons under 18 is less than 25 per cent., and where a smaller proportion could not advisedly be put in the one shed, although, under this Bill, you would save a lot of money by doing so. As far as I can find out, when you come up to 18 years of age, these young persons are not at all pleased about this, because they are very drastically cut on this question of piece-work. I think the Minister should allow more latitude than is allowed in Section 40, and that he should not make it solely dependent on the continuance of the adult worker. I think there should be more latitude to deal with the aspects of the question I have mentioned.

I think the Senator is going outside the scope of the amendment. Where you have mixed employment—that is, adults and juniors working together, difficulties are inevitable. This section is an attempt to enable the more obvious of these difficulties to be met. I have no objection to the section being amended in the manner suggested by Senator Douglas, and I think that, as a matter of fact, the wording of the section fulfils what Senator Douglas suggests should be done and that, when we speak of the work of juniors being to enable adults to proceed, we mean, in fact, to proceed satisfactorily.

I think it should be there anyway.

I have no objection to the amendment, but I do not think the amendment will obviate all the difficulties the Senator wants to obviate.

Perhaps it would be better to speak first on the section and then on the amendment.

Mr. Kennedy

I do not want to oppose the amendment, but if I thought it would follow the line suggested by Senator Douglas, I would oppose it. I do not see that there is any difference between saying that young people should be employed and that the work should be done in a satisfactory manner, but if it were to be in the manner suggested by Senator Douglas, I would not agree to the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Kennedy

I move amendment No. 41:—

Section 40, sub-section (5). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(5) Whenever regulations made under and in accordance with this section are for the time being in force any employer who employs any young person who by virtue of such regulations is deemed to be an adult for the purposes of this Act to do for him any form of industrial work shall be deemed to have agreed to pay every such young person at the overtime rate for any time for which such young person is employed to do industrial work in excess of 40 hours in any week.

The proposal here is to insert a new sub-section, and I think that, where the Minister is satisfied that it is necessary to work juveniles over the prescribed 40 hours, they should be paid at the overtime rate after the 40 hours are worked. I think that this is quite a reasonable addition to the Bill. After all, the main feature regarding these juveniles is that the working week should be sufficiently short to allow them to get some time for education and not to stint their growth. If, on the other hand, an employer, by the nature of his industry, finds that he cannot carry on without employing these people over the 40 hours, and perhaps 48 hours, I hold that overtime should be paid for the time worked after the stipulated 40 hours of work.

I am afraid that I could not accept this amendment. The circumstances of the type of employment in industries where there is adult labour assisted by juvenile labour are entirely different from those of an industry in which juvenile employment is depended on. I think that an industry of the kind where a youngster gets in and has a chance of getting adult employment is different from the type of employment where he is taken on as a juvenile and is going to be dismissed later on and forced to seek a different type of employment in some other industry. In this case, I do not think that the additional work is necessarily detrimental to the interests of the juvenile worker, and I do not think that additional work in such a case should be regarded as overtime. I think that it is preferable that, in fixing the rates of pay that will be given to such workers, the full week should be fixed and that it should not be a question of having the rates of pay fixed on the basis of the amount of work done in a particular week.

Mr. Kennedy

This Bill makes no provision for fixing rates of pay.

Quite so, and that is one of the reasons I am objecting to the amendment.

Some members of the House think that, possibly, if we tried to finish by 8 o'clock, the amendments yet to be considered may be scamped, and they suggest that we should adjourn the further consideration of the Committee Stage of the Bill until next Wednesday. Does the House agree to that suggestion?

Agreed to adjourn further consideration of the Committee Stage until next Wednesday.

Very good, then; when this Division takes place on this amendment, we shall adjourn until next Wednesday. I am now putting amendment No. 41.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 6; Níl, 14.

  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Kennedy, Thomas.
  • O'Neill, L.


  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen
  • Comyn, Michael, K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Fitzgerald, Séamus.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Kennedy and Farren; Níl: Senators Fitzgerald and Quirke.
Amendment declared lost.
Debate adjourned.
The Seanad adjourned at 7.15 p.m., till Wednesday, 18th December, at 3 p.m.