Industrial Training Bill, 1965: Committee Stage.
Section 1 agreed to
I move amendment No. 1:
In subsection (1), lines 26 and 27, to delete:
"an activity of agriculture, horticulture or fishing which is an activity of primary production, or".
The purpose of the amendment is to include agriculture in the scope of the Bill. This point was raised on Second Stage and in reply the Minister offered the opinion that any training which was to be done of agricultural workers was best done by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
We put down this amendment because we believe the Minister is mistaken in that view. We believe that in adopting this attitude the Minister is misinterpreting his function as Minister for Labour. As was mentioned on Second Reading, when this Bill was as it originally was, a measure proposed by the Department of Industry and Commerce, then it is perfectly reasonable that agriculture should be excluded but a Ministry of Labour was set up since in order to integrate, to bring together in one Department, matters related to employment and to training.
We believe that in these circumstances it is reasonable that agriculture should be included in the Bill. The Minister is adopting the attitude that it is perfectly all right for the Training Council to be set up under the Bill to deal with the training of those leaving the land for non-agricultural work but that it should not concern itself with training for agriculture. We believe this is a failure to realise the importance of integration in the whole policy of manpower development and manpower training. We shall not be able to progress without a proper manpower policy but what would be dangerous above all would be if we had a manpower policy which was hitched to out-of-date ideas; and I think the idea that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries can be left apart in matters of this sort—that they have a little corner, a cabbage garden on their own which can be isolated from the remainder of our work force —is an out-of-date idea. There seems to be an opinion abroad that if and when we become part of Europe Irish industry may suffer but everything will be all right in regard to agriculture.
It is about time we realised this is very possibly far from the truth. It was brought home to me very forcibly last June when I spent a day visiting a number of farms on one of the reclaimed polders in Holland. I spent a considerable time discussing with a farmer how he ran his farm and how he had been trained—what courses he had undergone before he was given this farm. It was remarkable to hear how this man had year after year taken an additional course in this subject and that to make him a better farmer. At the end of that day it came home to me that not only Irish industry but agriculture would have to be transformed if we were to be competitive under European conditions. This man was a fully trained farmer who had followed specific courses. I do not believe that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as at present constituted are capable of giving our farmers the type of training that that farmer received.
I think the Minister and the Training Council to be set up under this Bill will find it difficult enough to get manpower experts and training experts for the Council without expecting the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to be able to set up a distinct and parallel set of experts to work in their own little corner. I feel that we must, in this particular instance, treat the labour force as a whole. I feel we must look on agriculture as being part of the whole picture. If we look to what has happened in other countries we find that this is the pattern.
I have here the report on manpower of the US Department of Labour. This is the report of the Manpower Office for 1966. In this report of 146 pages there are seven chapters. Chapter 7 is completely devoted to farm workers even though the Department of Agriculture is a large and thriving Department in the US. The question of the training of farm workers, either those who are to leave the land or those who are to remain on the land, is a matter for the Department of Labour. We can read in this report what is being done in order to train people in agriculture. They are still a small proportion of those who are being trained by the United States Department of Labour but, nevertheless, an integral part of it. Twenty-seven pages of this report are devoted to the problem of farm workers. I feel that we will make a grave mistake and the Minister will be misinterpreting his own office and misinterpreting the job he has been charged to carry out if he is content merely to say that this is a matter now for industrial workers, possibly in the future for commercial workers and agricultural workers can be left as a group apart.
It is, of course, realised that the Minister and the new Training Council will have plenty to do in the training of apprentices and in the training of industrial workers but I think it is essential that right from the beginning they should treat the agricultural industry and agricultural workers as part of their responsibility.
If the Minister would not mind, I should like to support this amendment to a certain extent. If we regard agriculture as a profession I think there is no reason why the procedure suggested in the amendment should not be adopted and I recommend it to the Minister unless there is some other mandatory recommendation prohibiting it.
I see in the papers these days a recommendation in connection with the new Council that fisheries and others should come into it. At any rate, the fishing industry is one which requires a lot of technical training. Even at present I do not see where the farmer's son or farm labourer in the country gets anything in the nature of training to suit his subsequent occupation or profession except in the vocational schools. A good bit is done in vocational schools now for them. There is not much done under the auspices of agriculture except what is done by An Foras Talúntais from the educational inquiry aspect. I cannot see any reason why agriculture should not be included in this because agriculture includes horticulture and our legislation ensures that the Ministry of Agriculture should include fisheries. Certainly, fishing is an industry. Perhaps we could call it a profession. Farmers are in a profession by themselves. However, they are industry and they require technical training, if we can advance sufficiently in technical training.
I would recommend to the Minister that agriculture be included unless there is some very specific reason why it should be completely incorported in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and that they could not collaborate with the Ministry of Labour. After all, the present position is that the various Ministries must overlap and they must co-operate one with the other. We should be able to provide efficient co-operation between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries which incorporates the three professions, industries or trades mentioned in the amendment.
We are heartened by the support for this amendment from the Government Front Bench. I agree with Senator Ó Donnabháin and I would say further that the time is long overdue when we should recognise the part which the agricultural labourer is playing in the economy of the country. It would be worthwhile if it did nothing else but to upgrade his present status and have him recognised as a worker whose work is essential to the economic progress of the community. The part played by the agricultural labourer is distinctly different to the part he played in years gone by. He now has a highly skilled technical role requiring a knowledge of animal husbandry, mechanics, mechanical operation of machinery and all kinds of administrative work if he is to perform the functions he is supposed to perform.
Not killing himself with tractors.
Precisely, not killing himself with tractors. It is in the province of the Department of Labour to ensure that the occupation of agricultural labourer would be treated in such a manner as to, in some way, abate the drain of labour from the land to other industries. After all, by its inclusion, the Minister would reduce the problems for which he would ultimately have to cater if the present situation were allowed to continue. We have no evidence that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have taken any positive steps regarding the retraining or the proper treatment and preparation of agricultural labourers. Consequently, we feel it must be a Ministry—distinct as it is from Industry and Commerce now— equipped to invoke the assistance and co-operation of other Ministries. I can see the Ministry of Social Welfare being involved and, particularly, the Ministry of Local Government relative to housing and so on. If all of this were taken from the existing Departments, which are doing so little to look after the interests of this important section of our labour force, it would be better that this amendment would be accepted. By its acceptance we feel we would be giving recognition to a force, rapidly diminishing but, nevertheless, growing in importance to the employer and the community at large. Consequently, we would press on the Minister to agree to the submissions made by Senator Dooge and Senator Ó Donnabháin and agree to the inclusion of this amendment.
Obviously, this is not a Party issue but I think we are getting a bit confused about it. We are all in favour of the best possible training for farmers, farm labourers and those engaged in fishing but what is at issue is whether it would be desirable to have them taken in under the terms of this Bill. I was, I think, rightly critical—when speaking on the Second Stage of this Bill — of the delay which had taken place in the introduction of this measure. We all know that over the years the State has spent time and money in assisting people to train managers of industry, to increase productivity and all that sort of thing but very little attention was paid to the training of industrial workers. I am underlining that because, of course, a fair amount of attention has been paid over the years to the education of farmers. I am not an expert. I am not able to say how good a job the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries do in this respect but we all get booklets occasionally from the Department. At least, an effort is being made to train farmers and lift the level of performance of the farming community. We are aware of the efforts of Macra na Feirme and Macra na Tuaithe, those organisations which do very good work for the agricultural community. I have been left with the impression in recent years that the agricultural community, certainly the younger people, have a better knowledge of the skilled job on which they are engaged. Television has helped in this direction also. Therefore an effort has and is being made to deal with the training and education of those engaged in farming.
To a similar extent, efforts have been made in recent years to train those engaged in fishing. Youngsters are trained in that vocation; they are also assisted in purchasing boats if they want to go into that line. Again, that is being dealt with by a Ministry which has responsibility in this direction. I do not think we would be doing either the farming or the fishing communities any great service by abandoning that sort of approach and lumping them together in this Industrial Training Bill because, remember, it is industrial and commercial training we are talking about in this Bill. Apparently the idea is that we would have to abandon the work being done by those other Ministries, bring them under the Ministry of Labour and under this new committee to be appointed. I think it would put in jeopardy the constitution of this committee. It is envisaged that this committee would be composed, to a fair extent, of trade union representatives who would represent people involved in industry. I am not convinced either that it is necessary or that we would be doing a service to the other people if we were to bring them within the terms of this Bill.
As I said—and I want to underline this—we are all in agreement that the training of the farming community and of the people involved in fishing should proceed. It is very desirable. I am questioning whether it is desirable that we bring them withing the terms of this Bill. Certainly, when people are transferring from agriculture to industry, they are catered for under this Bill. They would be trained for industry. That is desirable but I question whether we would be accomplishing anything. We would probably confuse the situation further and it would probably lead to further delay were we, as suggested by this amendment, to bring within the scope of this Bill the agricultural and fishing communities.
I agree, to a large extent, with what Senator Dooge has said, particularly with regard to horticulture and fishing. What the Minister said on Second Reading was more to the point. I cannot see this body dealing with agriculture without—to start off with—using the facilities and equipment of the farms belonging to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, which is practically the same thing as putting it under the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
As regards farm labourers, I cannot see how it could possibly be done in any other way. I agree with what he said—that not alone the farm workers but the farmers in this country have not got the facilities for education. Beyond the scope of this Bill, I should certainly like to see an agricultural college in every county or every two counties with facilities for farm workers to attend on the same course, or a special course but, in that respect, I disagree with what Senator Murphy said about the facilities provided for farmers. I remember a sentence well from the First Programme for Economic Expansion. It asked that particular attention be given, I think from the primary schools up, in the rural areas to farming agricultural education. Those words were used, which were perhaps important in that context, even at the expense of the Irish language in rural areas. We have not progressed either for the farmers themselves or for farm workers on those lines.
It is a very unfortunate fact in the country that we have agricultural instructors giving classes and doing it very well—particularly a good man who has to turn many away from his night classes. But we do get some who are not so good and they cannot possibly cover the whole of the country with all of the subjects. The chances of the agricultural worker getting there are very small and what he would learn would be of much assistance to him who must, after all—particularly if he is engaged in mixed farming— look for a general overall grip of the basic troubles one meets on a farm, perhaps, at this time of the year— lambing, calving, ploughing and, perhaps, a little bit of forestry. He has no opportunity at all, and neither have most of the small farmers, of getting instruction in even a small way on how to deal with a great many of those problems. I should like to see it but I do not think the body envisaged in this Bill is the body to deal with farm workers. If a series of sections was included in the Bill, empowering the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in some way associated with this, to formulate a scheme for training farm workers, I would be fully with it.
Senator Dooge, I feel, has made a very strong and excellent case for his amendment and I certainly wish to support it. However, I find myself at once in disagreement with Senator Murphy. A tremendous number of agricultural education courses have been held in this country over the past 21 or 22 years but only as a result of the determination of voluntary—and I stress the word "voluntary"— organisations. Those people have equipped themselves for this work.
Now that this legislation has come about and we have prepared a new deal for the industrial workers, I feel, in common with many, that every section of the community should get an equal crack of the whip. Surely, if we could not envisage full co-operation by this new Department and the Department of Agriculture, obviously there must be something wrong with the whole set up. It is essential to have one Department dealing with the training of all workers. I cannot see why the farming community should be looked on as the Cinderella in every sphere of national life.
I join with the Senators who have spoken on this matter in making a strong plea to the Minister to reconsider this position. If it means even an extra bit of work it will be worth while. The pattern of Irish farming at the present time is changing so rapidly that the need for additional farm courses and one thing or another is more apparent every day. Those courses are getting increasingly more costly, and it is unreasonable to load this off on the shoulders of the few willing agricultural organisations. Those people have certainly achieved much, but surely now is the time to give that extra help that the farming community will need if they are to strive ahead and keep pace with present day competitive conditions.
I should like also to strongly support this amendment. It is most retrogressive that we should at this point still be thinking in terms of segregating agriculture as if it were not an industry, as if it were something in some way separate from economic activity. This is all part of the mentality which treats agriculture as if it were a way of life and nothing more. It is a way of life, but it is also an economic activity. It is entirely inappropriate to treat it in this way as if it were something quite distinct from other activities. We should avoid doing this.
I notice that only agriculture is excluded. It could be argued that this is done because this is largely a sector in which there is a large amount of self-employment. I think this lies behind what Senator Murphy said. The fact is that the distributive section of the community is one of those sectors in which a very large number of self-employed people are engaged. Despite this, this sector of the community can be included within the framework of the Bill. This does not create difficulties with regard to the balance of the council. You need not have a farmer group on the council facing industrialists and trade unions. If farmers are self-employed they could be represented by the employers and the employees would be represented by the trade unions.
One cannot stress too much the skills involved in farming today. Personally, I regard agriculture as a terrifyingly complex business. It involves a complex of skills including manual skills which we have not all got. I certainly would not claim to have this. It also requires management skills with all that is involved in buying, selling and getting the best out of resources so that the best advantage can be obtained. It also requires a high degree of scientific knowledge. The skills required in farming are skills which are not inherent in people. People are not born, necessarily, with fully developed manual skills and management abilities and with a fully developed scientific knowledge. Those are things that have to be learnt. An individual's basic intelligence has to be developed and trained for those particular skills. Individuals have to be taught these particular skills before they are competent in them. Just because this is an area which involves more complex skills than anything else we have in this country, it is really wrong to exclude it from this Bill.
At the moment we have agricultural colleges but these are only scraping the surface of the problem. The inflow into agriculture of new young people each year is of the order of 5,000 to 6,000 a year. I doubt if the agricultural colleges can deal with more than a fraction of that number. It is antiquated to think of people drifting into this sector of the economy and drifting into business and taking on management of such an enterprise with no training of any kind. It is ludicrous that we should have those people going into agriculture without having such training. Those who do not find their way into agricultural colleges, those who stay at home, will not have the necessary training required.
This is totally unacceptable. We should be moving towards a position in which it would not be accepted that anybody could go into agriculture without training of any kind. We should be moving towards a situation in which all young people engaged in agriculture would be fully trained and we should give them every assistance possible towards this end. There is not much point in wasting time with advisory services to help people who have not any basic knowledge of agriculture. We should make sure that the people to whom we give such training obtain a basic knowledge of this industry. Those people engaged in agriculture are, as it were, holding the land in trust for the nation as a whole.
We have also the problem of retraining existing farmers about which nothing has been done. Agriculture is becoming more scientific and very many of our existing farmers could well benefit from retraining. We should arrange courses for them and we should enable them to make much better use of the existing advisory services. Senator O'Sullivan mentioned the importance of up-grading agricultural labour. They are a very important group. As Senator O'Sullivan said, this group has to have skills. The requirements of modern agriculture are quite different from what was demanded from them in the past. Their social status in the community is in no way commensurate with the kind of work they are doing. If we could move towards a stage where we would provide adequate training for all agricultural workers and ensure that they would have apprenticeship training of some kind, they could very quickly improve their lot and there would be no difficulty about the wages which they would get. Their present training is such that it does not enable them to take over other types of jobs.
In many cases this is true because they have not had any training. They could, in fact, undertake management work and other different types of work if they had some training in the first instance. This is an area in which very little is being done, despite the "nonsense" in quotation marks that I am hearing from my right.
Become one of the 14,000.
This is an area in which controversy has continued apparently fruitlessly for a long time. We recall the First Programme to which reference has already been made by Senator Cole and Mr. Whitaker's "Economic Development" which was the basis of that Programme, in which there was disclosed some of the in-fighting behind the scenes that went on between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education in regard to the control of the agricultural training. That is a battle which continues and which as far as I know has not come to an end. The controversy has not been settled, and the country is obliged to wait to get an adequate training service in the agricultural sphere while they fight it out as to who is to be responsible. That is why the whole thing has to be taken out of the level of controversy between these two Departments and made the responsibility of a single Department which has the clear-cut responsibility to undertake a training job and which can knock the heads of these two Departments together.
The suggestion has been made that if we were to make this change it would hold up the implementation of the Bill and complicate the whole mechanism envisaged by it. If, in fact, this amendment were accepted the relevant section 9, which says that An Chomhairle shall have "the following general functions, namely: (a) to provide for the training of persons for the purposes of any activity of industry, and (b) to promote, facilitate, encourage, assist, co-ordinate and develop the provision of such training by such means as An Chomhairle considers necessary or desirable" would be amended so as to include agriculture. This does not mean that everything else must be held up while An Chomhairle takes over the agricultural colleges and vocational schools, or anything of that kind. It means that the responsibility for training people in agriculture will rest with one competent body which will have the expertise to aid it in introducing modern methods of training into this area, which we have not got at the present time from the Departments now responsible for this work. You will have the situation where this body will be responsible for providing this training, not necessarily undertaking this directly now or in the immediate future, or carrying direct responsibility for actually running the agricultural colleges. It would have the right to delegate this work and to supervise the training done in the colleges—it need not take them over or do anything that might hold up its other work—but the Comhairle would have the overall responsibility. In the first year or so it could get ahead with that part of its work towards which this Bill is orientated. In that time it might not have the time or opportunity to get very deeply involved in agriculture, and it might take time, too, before it could do an effective job of supervision over agricultural education. Nevertheless, if we adopt this amendment we will be giving An Chomhairle power to undertake this responsibility and to look after this matter. If this amendment is not put in, we will be excluding An Chomhairle from this area and leaving agricultural training still in the unsatisfactory condition in which it finds itself today, which is no better than it was when Mr. Whitaker disclosed something of the in-fighting going on between these two Departments—and he wrote that document nine years ago.
I think, therefore, that we should have no hesitation in adopting this amendment, and I hope and believe that Senator Murphy will reconsider his position in the light of what I have said. I quite see that what he fears is that the whole existing balance could be disturbed and that the work which is so urgent in the industrial sphere could be held up, but I think that it is clear from what I have said that the correct interpretation to be put on these words is that this board would be responsible for this work, not necessarily having to stop everything until it had got deeply involved in it. It could, when time permitted, gradually move into this sphere and take over this responsibility. The addition of this power and responsibility to An Chomhairle would not hold anything up. I hope that Senator Murphy will revise his position on this in the course of this discussion.
I think that these are the points that I wanted to make on this. I would press the Minister to reconsider his position on this matter, since very obviously there is a very widespread view that he should change his position on it and give further consideration to it. What we suggest does not involve any immediate substantial change in the existing arrangements. It introduces a new co-ordinating function which will be exercised more effectively as the Department goes on and as the necessary expertise becomes available to it. To exclude An Chomhairle from the agricultural sphere would be a retrograde step, and I, therefore, hope that the Minister will reconsider the matter in the light of the debate.
I would be inclined to support this amendment though I do not quite share the view of Senator Garret FitzGerald on the extent to which farm labourers are untrained. I think that in agriculture the best form of apprenticeship will be on the farm, and many of these labourers are, in fact, completely expert in the most difficult fields.
I did not say that they were unskilled.
If I understood the Senator correctly I understood him as saying that frequently they were fit only to do menial tasks of the most elementary kind.
I said "manual", not "menial", and referred to managerial functions which they would be well able to undertake if they had the necessary training for that purpose.
I would go some way with Senator FitzGerald here. I do feel that the farm labourer employed on a farm learns the maximum in practice, and I am quite sure that this type of education is basically a better type of education in many ways than the book learning farm institute and management technique type of education, not that they cannot be extremely useful. In organising apprenticeship training for agriculture there is little doubt that the council would, in fact, have to take into account that as it is normally practised the apprenticeship of the boy is upon somebody's farm. I agree with the proposers of the amendment that it is necessary and would be useful to have this co-ordinated by the same council which is co-ordinating the training of people for industrial and commercial activity.
I would stress the fact that not only is agriculture becoming more industrialised and more complex every year but that horticulture already is an industry which is highly technical, which depends very much upon advance planning and very skilled marketing and the calculation of dates of the readiness of whatever is being grown, and that intensive horticulture is every bit as complex as many of our highly complex industrial processes.
There is no doubt either that fishing will increasingly become complex. Trawlers will tend to be bigger, and the organisation involved and the range of skill involved will be increasingly important. For these reasons I would agree with the final words of Senator FitzGerald when he says that it would be highly retrograde if agriculture, horticulture and fishing were to be expressly excluded from the provisions of this Bill, even though it might well be that it is not at once that they can usefully be tackled by the new council. It would be a pity if, at the outset, we were to prevent the council from tackling these problems. We should permit it to do so at least in the days to come.
In supporting this amendment I feel that the council should be given the job of arranging for the provision of technical training for the people engaged in agriculture and horticulture. This is a serious omission from the Bill. Apparently this has been a deliberate omission. I could not imagine the Bill being left otherwise having regard to the importance of agriculture and agricultural training at the present time. We are aiming to get into the Common Market and if we get into the Common Market the more support agriculture will get the wider will the market be for our agricultural products.
This Bill makes no provision at all for the technical training of the key people who will be involved in taking advantage of the Common Market, that is, the farmers and the farm workers. If we are serious in our desire to join the Common Market for the purpose of taking advantage of it in the agricultural sector, provision should be made for the training of people in agriculture.
What will this Bill do in the long run? It will provide training for the people to whom it applies at the moment and will ultimately protect them in their jobs. It will equip them technically and so enable them to compete against outside influences— the highly skilled nations. If we go into the Common Market our industrial workers will be competing against the highly skilled and traditional industries which have been brought under automation.
The effect of this Bill, generally speaking, will be to protect the people engaged in industry as far as possible, training them and gearing them up to the automation with which they will be confronted. Agriculture is the key to our economy. We have only to examine the annual trading figures to see that. So far as I can remember, and so far as statistics go, there is proof that agriculture is the foundation stone of our economy. For that reason, and having regard to our fertile land we should ensure that we will train our people in agriculture and keep them up-to-date with farmers and agricultural workers outside this country.
I visited Holland some years ago as chairman of a committee of agriculture, along with technical officers and other members of the committee, for the purposes of studying the markets and general economic set-up of horticulture there. We were amazed at the high level of technical efficiency reached in Holland. I made up my mind that on our return home we should decide immediately to try to get on a level with Holland. In relation to agriculture and horticulture, it would take us 20 years' continuous organised effort to reach the stage Holland has reached.
Holland, as we know, is about the size of Munster, or a little bigger and has a population of six to eight million people. In that small country there are concentrated horticultural and agricultural industries. These industries place Holland in an important position as far as education is concerned. I saw 12-year-old children going to agricultural schools. In fact, there are something like 300 agricultural schools in that little country. If we calculate just how many agricultural colleges we have and the facilities we have for education in horticulture and agriculture, we can see how far behind Holland we are in this regard.
Those children go to these colleges at 11 or 12 years of age just as our children go to the primary and national schools here. The children in Holland are educated for horticulture and agriculture because they cannot get employment on and certainly will not be allowed to work land unless they have proof that they are educated in horticulture and agriculture.
We have agricultural workers and farmers engaged in different types of farming. We have livestock farming, tillage farming, horticulture and other activities. Agricultural workers wherever they may be have to be skilled in work connected with livestock. They have to be semi-veterinary surgeons, with respect to Senator Ó Donnabháin, and know something about medicine for animals and the dispensing of prescriptions. They have to be chemists; they have to know something about the mixing of fertilisers, about plant culture and the growing of crops. As well, in connection with mechanised farming, they have to have a knowledge of mechanics and the operation of farm machinery.
All this adds up to the fact that it is essential that people engaged in agriculture should be given every opportunity for technical training in this particular aspect of our economy which is so important at the present time. Television is certainly a very enterprising method of giving administrative know-how and technical education to people engaged in farming. Of course, it falls far short of the type of technical education that is essential these days on farms.
This Bill really reflects the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party to the farmers and agriculture. The omission here is obviously deliberate. I agree with Senator Ó Donnabháin——
Now we are breaking new ground.
I am. Senator Ó Donnabháin broke the ground already in offering his support for this amendment. There is no point in speaking in favour of something and then voting against it. I hope Senator Ó Donnabháin will not consider doing anything like that.
Is the Senator trying to be funny?
The Senator will indeed be funny if he votes against this amendment, having already spoken in favour of it.
I object to that statement.
The Senator now speaking has convinced Senator Ó Donnabháin that he was wrong.
He made a good argument for this amendment.
Will he tell his colleagues in the county committees of agriculture to pass their functions and responsibilities on to An Chomhairle Traenála?
From what I have heard so far this afternoon I am prompted to say that if this country is suffering from anything at the moment it is from a superfluity of people who are experts or who think they are experts in so many fields that they can lecture everybody, including those who have been in business for the best part of a century. As business consultants these so-called experts think they know better than those who have been running business for the best part of a century. Others think they know more about staff and personnel problems than those who have been doing that work for decades.
In this instance we are discussing a Bill on which there has been consultation between the Department, the Trade Union Congress and the employers, who are also concerned. I do not think there are many experts who can claim to have more knowledge of and concern for the interests of those employed in agriculture than either the Labour Party or the Trade Union Congress.
Is the Senator including the farmers?
I am speaking of the people employed, the people the Senator expressed so much concern about.
I also alluded to the farmers.
It is only fair to bear in mind that in this instance the one organisation in this country who can speak for the organised farm labourers are the Trade Union Congress to which are affiliated the organised rural workers. It is equally right to point out at this stage that what is attempted in the Bill is the setting up of this new council charged primarily with the task of providing expert training in the future for industrial and commercial trainees and, quite obviously, that is a function far removed from any form of training that could be adapted or suited to agriculture. The plain fact is—I do not think anyone would suggest that either the Trade Union Congress or the Labour Party have not in the past often adverted to this—that perhaps the formation of a similar type of council is already overdue for agriculture but I do not think we would be serving any purpose by confusing these two functions in our discussion of this Bill.
It is clear that due consideration has been given to that aspect by the Congress, by the employers and by the Department. These people should be given credit for commonsense, and I do not think we will serve the interests of anybody by holding up enactment of this legislation while we write into it a complication which may at some future time bring in agriculture. What is clearly needed now is the setting up of an additional council for agriculture, a council designed and equipped to deal with the problem of agriculture. We shall do more harm than good if we tend to confuse the two.
I should like to make a personal explanation. It is not the first time in this House that we of vocational nominations have suggested amendments and supported amendments proposed from the other side. We have discussed amendments and recommendations. My remarks this afternoon amounted to a recommendation to the Minister, and I tell the two Senators opposite who have accused the Government of incompetence that I made my suggestions because I thought Senator Dooge's amendment was satisfactory. I await the decision of the Minister, but I am a supporter of the Government despite any other vocational representation I have here. I am not afraid to point that out.
We would be surprised if the Senator did not.
The Senator should be surprised at his own remarks then. I have been here since 1938, practically continuously, and on several occasions have participated in satisfactory vocational discussions here and have got Ministers to accept recommendations. We had it quite recently.
The Senator has made his explanation.
Senator Rooney's attitude to Senator Ó Donnabháin being unable to change his mind, would seem to preclude my being able to argue any Senator from the position he has taken once he has spoken. I feel sure the Seanad would not like me to come in here under that misapprehension. This exclusion of the primary activities of agriculture is something which had very careful thought, not only from the Government but also from the Joint Committee who examined the setting up of this body. It is a deliberate exclusion, a decision taken only after a great deal of thought. I wish to make it clear that this does not exclude agricultural workers from training. It excludes the training body from competence in their respect under the Bill, allowing their training to remain the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Government recognise fully the importance of training for agricultural occupations. They think it is so important that it should be treated specially. I should say that the entire question of agricultural training and education is being reviewed at present by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. It is premature for me to say whether the outcome will be the introduction of legislation but I can undertake to discuss with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the possibility of having a corresponding body to deal with training in the primary processes of agriculture. The arguments which showed the complexity and importance of the activities of those engaged in the primary processes of agriculture are the very arguments that convinced us that this training should be the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and would be beyond the competence of the body envisaged in this Bill. I do not think a body set up under this Industrial Training Bill would be able effectively to deal with the problems of agricultural training and at the same time hope to make enormous progress in the joint matter of industrial and commercial training work. That body, if agriculture were included, would be forced to do work for which it is not geared. An attempt to have the one body undertaking two very different and difficult types of training would be certain to lead to failure.
The committee considered it and though they did not recommend against it they suggested there would be difficulties in applying the Bill to agricultural workers engaged in the primary production activities. The committee said that if these difficulties could not be overcome consideration should be given to separate legislation. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries is studying it but it is too early to say what the outcome will be. I should point out that all agricultural workers are not separated from An Chomhairle Traenála. Only those engaged in the primary processes of agriculture are excluded. I gave examples the last day. People are leaving agriculture because it cannot any longer support them and they will be eligible under this Bill. There are people also working in the processing of agricultural produce who will be eligible.
Training for processing of agricultural products would be done under this training authority. I gave it long consideration and the Government gave it long consideration and I think that a change now would be against our better judgment and certainly would mean a recasting of the Bill and long delays which we cannot afford. The argument that other countries are ahead of us in agricultural training is only valid if one remembers how far ahead they are in industrial training. We cannot afford to have any set-back in the tempo of our legislation for industrial training.
The first thing I want to say is that this amendment is concerned with whether agriculture should be within the scope of this Bill. This is a matter for decision by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann and while Seanad Éireann should be prepared to listen to the arguments that come from any consultative body, I do not think there should be the slightest suggestion that the Federated Union of Employers or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions should have the decision on this which should be ipso facto accepted by the Houses of the Oireachtas. We must listen to them because they are expert in regard to these matters. The Minister has said that they considered this matter and that their considered opinion was the one which the Minister has given to us here today that there were difficulties in regard to the application of this particular measure and this particular proposal to agriculture and that if these difficulties could not be overcome then there should be separate provision for agriculture.
Apparently, from what the Minister has just said there was no objection in principle to the inclusion of agriculture. There was only the question that difficulties might exist which could not be overcome and so what the Minister is saying in saying he could not accept this amendment is that he has been unable to overcome the difficulties of bringing agriculture within the scope of this Bill. He is saying that there is no objection in principle but that there are difficulties. I do not think he has given us any solid reasons why those difficulties cannot be overcome. He has talked vaguely of the question that there would be delays and difficulties and substantial recasting of this Bill. I do not believe that this is so. I have a later amendment whereby it would be a statutory duty on the new Training Council to set up a special agricultural committee so that the work in agriculture could be the work of a separate committee which would be composed partly of members of the Council itself and partly of outsiders so that there would be no interference with the remaining work of the Training Council. I think it is not good enough for the Minister to just come in and say it is a difficult matter. We know it is difficult. Everything this Bill is concerned with is a difficult matter. I think what the Minister has brought forward to us here is a confession of failure.
The position is that agriculture is an industry. The position is that agricultural training is complex and is important. We are all agreed on this point. The question is that we believe that in this sphere as in others agricultural apartheid has got to stop in this country. We have got to realise that agriculture cannot be swept aside every time and treated as something separate, something that can be left to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have enough to do without entering into those specialised fields. It should be quite clear that what is proposed here is that there should be a general overall control by the new Training Council.
Senator Cole said there were difficulties in regard to the question of the use of the farms of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for training purposes; no more difficulties than there will be in using the vocational schools which are under the Department of Education for industrial training.
We are not concerned here with the detailed running, we are not concerned with the day-to-day work of training either in industry or agriculture. We are concerned with longterm policy, overall policy, the laying down of guidelines and general supervision. If we bring agriculture within the scope of this Bill nothing that the Training Council could do would be mandatory because the mandatory provisions are virtually all in regard to apprenticeship. They could seek information under this Bill, they could make recommendations, they could set standards, but we would not be giving them the mandatory powers they have in regard to apprenticeship.
I feel what the Minister has said is not sufficient reason to reject this amendment. The position as we see it is that there is in principle a strong case for the inclusion of agriculture and I would ask the Minister if he would be willing between now and this day week when the Report Stage is taken to re-consider this matter and see if these difficulties could not be overcome.
I was taken aback by Senator Crowley's statement in the matter. He seemed to tell us that the Dáil and Seanad have no competence in anything which has been discussed by the Government and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. I reject that and I would always reject it in regard to any consultations even with a body as important and influential as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Senator Crowley said that in rejecting the inclusion of agriculture under this Bill he was speaking for the Labour Party, which he is entitled to do, and for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions which he may be entitled to do and on behalf of the Federation of Rural Workers. I am prepared to state, and I have authority for making this statement, that this is not the view of the Federation of Rural Workers. Senator Crowley does not represent the view of the Federation of Rural Workers. They have been misinterpreted in this House in this particular respect. In fact, the Federation of Rural Workers are most dissatisfied at the exclusion of agriculture from this Bill. The only written statement in regard to training that we have in this matter is, in fact, included in the report of the Glass House Industry written by Mr. Pat Murphy. The view which is expressed there is that the Federation would like to see agriculture brought within the framework of the training authority. I should like to put the record right in this matter because of the fact that in my original statement Senator Crowley made it appear that I was speaking in some way out of turn and that he alone could speak on behalf of the group concerned. Not alone can he alone speak but he is, in fact, speaking contrary to the view of that particular organisation.
Is the amendment withdrawn?
There is an unanswered question for the Minister.
As I said, perhaps the Senator did not hear me, the Government have given this very long and very deep thought and while I did quote the committee this was at the end of my statement about how we approached this problem and the setting up of a separate authority or leaving it to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to see if the training for those engaged in the primary processes of agriculture was for the purposes of getting this training better done. The argument was not quite what the Senator thought. I think the use of such emotive phrases as "agricultural apartheid in this country" does not reflect an actual interest in the day to day difficulties which would arise both for agriculture and industry if the training was entrusted to one body.
If you did not have apartheid.
The Minister's suggestion is that this whole matter is under review by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and, therefore, we should not bring agriculture under this Bill, but rather should we wait until eventually legislation is introduced. We do not know in what year we would get the Bill. Even if that was the correct policy, and I do not accept it for a moment, surely the proper thing would be to include it in this Bill, and if we had to have separate legislation, whether in 1970 or 1980, for training of agricultural workers it would be a simple matter to bring in a section in this Bill which would delete or repeal the Industrial Training Bill to the extent that agriculture would be no longer on it and would come under the new measure.
This, again, is in contradiction of what the Senator's colleague said—that this body should get down to the work of industrial and commercial training and, when it has that in hand, then turn its attention to agricultural training; that this body should do it until such time as the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries provides for it.
I was simply making the point that I accepted that the primary purpose of this Bill, as envisaged, was to deal with the industrial sector. There may be fears, as expressed by Senator Murphy, that if it got bogged down in agriculture at this stage, it might not get the job done. It should give priority to the sector for which it was originally intended and, in its early stage, it should concentrate its attention on that. I do not envisage at all that it would not handle agriculture for a long time to come, but then anything done in the agricultural area should not hold up the work both Senator Murphy and the Minister are so anxious the Bill should get on with.
Would not it be more helpful if we had this examination by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries on agricultural training and education? This form of agricultural training is already going on. We may say it is not good enough, it does not go deep enough. Perhaps that is so, but already there is some agricultural training to be availed of in agriculture and fisheries. I think to jump blindly at this without consultation with the people involved in agriculture —with the farmers' organisations— without consultation with the people involved in fishing and those involved in the county committees of agriculture would not be a good thing. I do not know whether we are playing politics or whether we are being serious in trying to make progress in this direction. If we are being serious, would not it be better to await this examination by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries? If necessary, put down a motion, have it discussed here and have all the people involved in it consulted on the issue rather than make an issue of it here now and lump it in with this Bill, which has been the subject of consultation in a rather limited field—of training in industry and distribution. There has not been that other form of consultation with the other parties. Perhaps there should have been, but the anxiety has been to try at least to get started on this very urgent business of industrial training. If we are being serious, I would appeal to Senators, having made their points, to let it rest and, if necessary, press for an early discussion with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries on this other aspect—the training and education in that particular field.
For the information of the most vociferous exponents of the interests of agriculture, I want to make it clear that I accept the Minister's statement unquestionably.
If this vociferous Senator could add a bit more vociferousness to the discussion, I should like to assure Senator Murphy my only purpose in putting down this amendment is to try to make this a better Bill. I believe this Bill will be a better Bill; I believe our training authority will be a better training authority if it is allowed the fullest possible scope. It is for that reason, as I mentioned before, I took care to put down a further amendment that a special statutory committee should be part of the framework of the working of this organisation, so that the special needs of agriculture could be looked after; so that persons who might not feel themselves represented either by the employers' organisations or by the Trade Union Congress—which would be nominating the members—would be looked after. Our position, as we stand, is that we feel this is the best way to do it. We feel, if there is consultation called for and it has not been made up to this, this need not unduly delay the matter. It is simply a matter of principle. The matters of detail could be worked out afterwards. We feel that this is a question of principle; we feel the new Department of Labour has got off on the wrong foot by being just a fragment of the old Department of Industry and Commerce. We had hoped that the Department of Labour would not merely be a splitting of the Department of Industry and Commerce into two. We had hoped we would get a real Department of Labour which would carry out a thoroughly integrated policy in regard to manpower and similar matters, and this Bill is our first disappointment in regard to it.
I should not like to let it go that the Department of Labour are a fragment of any other Department. They have taken over functions from two other Departments and have a host of new and additional functions. Whether it is pique or not, I do not know, but I think it is unworthy of the Senator to start talking like that.
I am sorry if the Minister took amiss what I said in this regard. My anxiety is that his Department and he himself should have as wide an authority as possible.
The thought crossed my mind a moment ago that had I heard only Senator Dooge speak on this amendment, I would have been inclined to agree with it but the arguments introduced in favour of the amendment by other people have brought home to me the foolishness of this. You might as well argue that there should be only one Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Industry and Commerce and Transport and Power; they are all inter-related. Setting up a board for industrial training without dealing with agriculture is no more blameworthy than to have separate Departments for all these aspects of Irish life. Therefore, I cannot see force in the argument at all.
When it comes down to suggesting that someone is able to set up something which will train farm workers for management, it merely strikes me as being completely divorced from agriculture. The vast majority of people engaged in agriculture in Ireland are self-employed. I agree with what has already been said by someone that the best training is the training given by a father to a son on a farm. From a practical point of view it does, of course, require other types of training but I would disagree completely that this should be under the control of this body. There may be rows between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Department of Education as to who does what, but I should prefer to wait for that row to simmer down rather than have the matter lost, as it will be lost, in this new body. To suggest that it will not overload the new body and that eventually it could get around to agriculture when it has finished dealing with the other sectors, is ridiculous. If that is not putting things on the long finger, I do not know what it is.
(Longford): I want to agree fully with the previous speaker. I am not suggesting that the mover of the amendment has not good intentions—I know it has been suggested by somebody else—I do not make that suggestion but I do feel, despite the good intention on his part, instead of doing good it would do harm. I shall give a couple of reasons where I think it would do harm. First of all, we must remember that the vast majority of the workers in agriculture are the farmers themselves and their families. Secondly, we have already a certain amount of division in regard to agricultural education.
We have a situation in which the committees of agriculture have an advisory service. I would not suggest it works perfectly in all cases or that there is absolutely good value being got for money by that system. But we had also another system developed upon it—that parish committees were set up, and gradually that system was absorbed under the advisory service. We had also a worse situation—we had vocational committees also entering the field of agricultural education through the medium of the younger people from farms in rural areas; you had a situation whereby the farmers' sons were doing it in agriculture by rural science teachers in vocational schools in rural areas. You had, because that developed into additional education, night classes, a collision between the advisory services controlled by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the technical branch of the Department of Education. That was carried down to the level that you had in many cases the CEO and the CAO in many counties saying: "I shall meet you at dawn". I would feel, despite the good intentions Senator Dooge may have, in bringing in the Department of Health and the Department of Labour into that already dangerous ground, instead of doing good, it could easily do damage.
I should like to say on that point that my proposal is not to bring in the Department of Labour as a third contestant but as a referee. There has been a long discussion on this amendment. In the course of it the Minister has said that the matter which is at issue was the subject of long and careful consideration by the Government. I think we can accept that it was a difficult problem and because it was a problem which presumably kept the attention of the Government for a long period it is one on which Senators can honestly have different opinions.
I think that is the position here. I should not like that anyone would take anything else away from this particular debate. It may be that Senators differ by giving more weight to one particular aspect than to another. My own personal feeling is that the necessity for integrating agriculture with the rest of the community and breaking down the barrier between agriculture and industry is so vitally important that it transcends other considerations and for this reason I press the amendment.
Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Committee divided: Tá, 26; Níl, 10.
- Ahern, Liam.
- Boland, Gerald.
- Brennan, John J.
- Browne, Seán.
- Cole, John C.
- Connolly O'Brien, Nora.
- Killilea, Mark.
- McGlinchey, Bernard.
- Martin, James J.
- Murphy, Dominick F.
- Nash, John Joseph.
- Ó Donnabháin, Seán.
- O'Kennedy, Michael.
- Crowley, Patrick.
- Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
- Egan, Kieran P.
- Farrell, Joseph.
- Fitzgerald, John.
- Honan, Dermot P.
- O'Reilly, Patrick. (Longford).
- Ryan, Patrick W.
- Ryan, William.
- Sheldon, William A. W.
- Stanford, William B.
- Teehan, Patrick J.
- Yeats, Michael.
- Carton, Victor.
- Conlan, John F.
- FitzGerald, Garret M.D.
- McDonald, Charles.
- Malone, Patrick.
- O'Reilly, Patrick. (Cavan).
- O'Sullivan, Denis J.
- Prendergast, Micheál A.
- Rooney, Éamon.
- Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Browne and Farrell; Níl, Senators D. J. O'Sullivan and McDonald.
Question declared carried.
I move amendment No. 2:
In subsection (1), line 28, to add at the end:
"or any activity of a technician status recognised as such by a Department of State or by a chartered professional body".
This now comes to take on something of the nature of a tennis match, with the Minister and myself exchanging courts. I now argue from the exclusion end, and the Minister will doubtless argue from the inclusion end. The amendment is concerned with the question of technicians, and whether it should be appropriate that technicians should be excluded from the scope of this Bill. We have spent quite an amount of time arguing about what should be the lateral extent of the scope of the new training council, and we are now tackling a problem which in a sense might be considered the vertical scope. I find myself in difficulty in regard to this. Senators will notice that besides amendment No. 2 there is also amendment No. 4 on the Order Paper. As I read section 2 we have here a definition of an activity of industry. This replaces the definition of a trade which appeared previously in the 1959 Apprenticeship Act. The first thing I should like to do is to get clear precisely what would be an activity of industry under section 2. If we take, for example, the question of the exclusion of professional activities from the scope of the Bill, this is excluded in section 2, where it is stated that an "activity of industry" is any activity other than an "activity of a professional occupation". My reading of this is that An Chomhairle Traenála would be unable to designate as an industrial activity an activity which was purely professional. I would like to ask the question which I raised on the Second Stage, whether this also precludes An Chomhairle Traenála from carrying out any of its functions in regard to people of professional status who are engaged in a broad activity of industry which has been designated under the Bill. It might help the discussion if I were to ask the Minister if he could clarify that particular point before I went on to deal with amendment No. 2.
I have lost the page, Sir.
It is just a foot fault at the moment. These got separated because they needed to be put together again. They were together and they had to be separated. Would the Senator repeat his question? Is it whether the exclusion of professional status would exclude technicians?
Let me give a concrete example. Supposing that the food processing industry were designated as an "activity of industry" under the Bill, there are a large number of technologists — engineers, chemists and physicists—employed in the industry. Would their training, their standards, come under the Industrial Training Council by virtue of the fact that the industry in which they are employed was a designated activity?
I am advised that An Chomhairle would not have the power to concern itself with the training of professional persons while being trained for a professional status or after they are trained and are working in industry.
Then having regard to this definition my reading of it was that An Chomhairle would be precluded from designating any activity which was purely professional, and if it merely designated the food processing industry it is entitled to do this. If An Chomhairle did not differentiate between different levels of employment in the food processing industry is it correct to say that professional employees would not come under its scope?
That is my advice, that the professional employees would not.
I accept that this is the Minister's advice but to my mind this is not the plain reading of subsection (1). At this stage I should like to ask the Minister whether he would take up amendments Nos. 2 and 4 together and whether he thinks it might not be advisable to make this double alteration, the exclusion of professional persons under this amendment and putting in amendment No. 4, at least in the form that professional persons would be included.
Will somebody explain to us what is going on? I thought that it was good enough to lump the farmers and farm workers and fishermen with the other workers for training, but "for goodness sake do not touch the professional people". This seems to be Senator Dooge's attitude. Already in the Bill in this section it says "any activity of a professional occupation". That seems to me to be quite adequate. It would be a function of An Chomhairle Traenála to deal with the training and qualifications of engineers.
If they are involved in an industry like the food processing industry surely they could be covered by a training scheme within that industry, not as engineers or as qualified professional people but as workers within that industry. It is adequately dealt with and what Senator Dooge seems to ask is that because a person is a professional man he cannot be touched at all or come within the scope of this particular Bill in any way. That is what he is asking.
It seems to me, having argued for so long about not having the farmers and the fishermen in with the ordinary workers and now arguing again to make quite sure that the abstract man will be out of it, he is asking too much. Between the Senator and the Minister I am lost. Perhaps somebody will explain it to me. I thought that Senator Dooge's point was a good thing per se but perhaps it is not for a professional man.
The advice, which is the legal interpretation and not my own, is that An Chomhairle would not have power to concern themselves with the training of a professional man. The amendment would not be necessary to add to that.
As a professional man, who is a worker or a technician?
There are two amendments. Are we dealing with No. 4?
Amendments Nos. 2 and 4 go partly together.
They were together. The Senator asked to take them separately and then proceeded to take them together.
That is not an entirely inaccurate representation of the position. My concern was to elicit from the Minister if he had firm advice for the exclusion of an activity of a professional occupation, which occurs in lines 27 and 28 of section 2, which, in fact, excluded An Chomhairle having regard to professional training.
There is a further point which Senator Murphy has brought out and which is the next point I want to make. Is special training following primary professional qualification within the scope of the Bill?
Any training of a professional man would not be within the scope.
I am now prepared to deal with amendment No. 2. If it is quite clear that this Bill does not purport to deal with the training of a professional person either in regard to his primary professional training or in regard to his retraining, upgrading, or his continuing education as a professional person, the question then arises whether in having an overall policy in regard to training the technician, and in particular the technician who is doing work which is close to the work being carried out by the technologist, this should be within the scope of the Bill or not. If separate provision is to be made for the technologist the question arises what should we do in regard to the technician.
This is a problem of great difficulty as, I think, the Minister knows. It is a matter that has concerned people over the last ten years in this country. Those who have dealt with it and studied it and reached conclusions on it have decided that we have a tremendous shortage of technicians. They have come to the conclusion also that one of the things that is needed more than anything else is that the technician be identified as a separate group contributing to the industrial effort. These various people have also reached the conclusion that this would be served if we had a national council dealing with technicians which would issue a vocational diploma covering all types of technicians.
This idea was put forward in 1961 in various submissions to the Commission on Higher Education. In a document on the Training of Technicians in Ireland, which was presented to the OECD in January, 1963, this was recommended as being the way to deal with this particular problem. There is a case, once the decision has been made to exclude professional training. There are certain grades of technician —designer draftsmen, highly trained laboratory technicians, highly trained work study technicians, tool technicians, people concerned with statistical control and matters of that sort—who also should be excluded, and who should be dealt with in whatever way the professional groups are dealt with.
There is no doubt it is extremely difficult to decide who is a technician, and a technician of the type about which I have been talking. The Minister said in replying to the Second Stage that perhaps it would be better to leave this vague. There is a temptation to do this but there are definitions of what technicians are. The one usually adopted contains 65 words and 114 explanatory words. This is the use of the word "technician" which is normally adopted in discussions in this country.
In this amendment I have put forward that if there is any particular technician activity which is recognised as being such an activity either by a Department of State or by a chartered professional body which holds powers from the Oireachtas these should be grouped with the general training which is the subject of this particular Bill.
This is something which is in line with proposals that have come forward and in line with the report given to the OECD on the training of technicians in Ireland which made a specific recommendation about this particular matter. I feel that we should have agriculture within our general scheme of training so that the question of technicians and technologists will be partly integrated and partly separated. The same applies to high level supervisors and managers. Once the decision is made that professional and technological people should be outside the scope, I think there is a case that technicians would be similarly excluded.
I am a little at sea on Senator Dooge's argument. Supposing under this Bill we train a certain number of people for a specific industrial job and that they are to be technicians of a sort, if that job ceases would they be excluded from training for perhaps a slightly different job?
That is the point— technicians of a sort. This has been one of our difficulties. The technicians we have are technicians of a sort. The position in relation to technicians has changed throughout Europe and in all the advanced countries in the world and it is changing to such an extent here that the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, which up to now has been a purely professional body, has decided to make provision within its membership for technicians of certain categories so that these people will come within the ambit of professional bodies from now on. I understand that the Minister for Education has a steering committee concerned with the whole matter of education of technicians. I do not know what will come from that steering committee but I think it will reach conclusions similar to those reached by the bodies who have already studied the problem.
By the way in which this Bill has been put forward, there has been agreement in regard to part of the problem and the ways in which various members of An Chomhairle Traenála will be appointed. I do not think there is any doubt that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, when nominating members to An Chomhairle, will nominate people who represent the craft unions. I do not think the craft unions are necessarily the best people to judge the particular requirements in regard to the training of technicians. The job that has to be done in regard to technicians is to educate, to train and to find employment in industry for technicians—modern type technicians who will no longer be upgraded craftsmen. For that reason the representatives of the craft unions might be far from being the most suitable people to perform this function.
I am still at sea. What Senator Dooge appears to be arguing is that not alone should the Bill exclude training in professional occupations but that it should also exclude an individual who appears to be a technician but who has a professional degree——
It does exclude the professional. That is the information the Minister gave me.
It excludes professional occupations as such but does not necessarily exclude individuals. There might be a medical doctor. Should he be precluded from training as a fish canner, if redundant? Simply because he happens to be a medical doctor is he to be precluded from any sort of retraining? Perhaps that is necessary but really I think there is a degree of exclusiveness behind the thinking of Senator Dooge which I do not like—the idea that the professional classes are quite apart and must not in any way be brought within the scope of the Bill. I must be pardoned again when I advert to the fact that Senator Dooge implied strongly that training and retraining were good enough for farmers and fishing folk but let us make absolutely sure that professional people are to be strictly kept away, apart. I simply cannot see the light in the argument about technicians and so on and I am not convinced that his amendment should be put into the Bill.
I have made it clear that it is the intention that An Chomhairle Traenála will undertake or assist in the training of technicians only where these courses are clearly necessary and after full consultation with all the interests concerned. Section 9 (2) (a) provides that An Chomhairle Traenála may not duplicate technician courses already provided under the educational system. The intention is that An Chomhairle would not be the sole body catering for the training and education of technicians. Having regard to the work roles of technicians and the qualification necessary to fill those roles sufficiently, it is mainly a task for the educational system—for the Colleges of Technology and the Regional Technical Colleges. I felt that An Chomhairle Traenála could perhaps play some part in supplementing the education system in the country— that they could make practical courses available and perhaps act as a liaison between the various interests concerned. The intention was that such power would not be used unless there was a clear need for it and general agreement that An Chomhairle Traenála should undertake activities in the field of technician training.
There might be a case for An Chomhairle Traenála to do something which was clearly necessary and this amendment would prevent them doing so. In practice, it would not help to solve the technician training problem which would then be left entirely to the educational system or other bodies. On the question of the professional man, the provision in the Bill would not prevent a doctor becoming a fitter but it would prevent him being trained in a further profession like that of a university professor. Senator Dooge represents a body who have been very interested in this matter of technician training and I would be inclined to accept an amendment put forward by such a body but, as I have said, the existence of this power for An Chomhairle Traenála to train technicians would not be an argument against the setting up of any special body to deal with technicians.
What the Minister has said is reasonable if we consider it as what we might term the leaving of a residual power with An Chomhairle so that in the event of necessity they could use these powers. Anybody who has looked at the problem knows the great difficulties arising from the wide spectrum of activities which can be enveloped under the term "technician". An Chomhairle Traenála could consult with appropriate bodies. I only wish we had at the moment proposals before us in regard to the whole technician problem. It is, as the Minister has said, as appropriate as in the field of agriculture. In the absence of any power in any other authority to deal with it, it is better to leave some power with An Chomhairle Traenála so that if the Minister sees an urgent necessity arising he will have an instrument at hand. All I ask is that if there is a move in this direction adequate consultation should take place. Senator Murphy was inclined to send some rather sharp shots down to my backhand. I may say that I think he should agree with me that if we are going to deal with professionals we are going to deal with technicians who are now to be graded with professionals that there should be adequate consultation in this regard also and that we should not agree——
Do you agree with this for the agricultural community?
I do, most certainly. However, I think that from the point of view of leaving some power with somebody in regard to technicians we will take this as being an interim solution but not a final one in regard to the technician problem.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill".
I should like to ask the Minister what exactly we mean by an "activity of industry". Is it proposed that what should be designated as designated activities of industry should be complete industries or will branches of industries or perhaps groups of workers within branches of industries be designated in this fashion?
It means bringing an industry as a whole, or a branch of an industry or an occupation which is common to number of industries under the scope of the Bill by means of an industrial Training Order and this would become a designated industrial activity—an activity of industry in which training is controlled by An Chomhairle by virtue of an Industrial Training Order made under section 21 of the Bill. It is the intention that it with take action in relation to training by bringing an industry or, if it is desirable, an occupation common to several industries under the scope of the Bill.
Does the Minister anticipate that the grouping will be horizontal rather than vertical?
Mainly vertical then, within a given industry.
I suppose we can only wait and see what happens. I take it it is the intention that the trades which have been designated under the Apprenticeship Act will automatically be designated as activities of industry on the coming into operation of the Bill.
Have we any definition of "professional occupation" because the words here are "any activity of a professional occupation". They are the words in the Bill. Senator Dooge uses the words "a chartered professional body". I understood that people with professional occupations would be graduates of a university. Senator Dooge uses the terminology "chartered professionals". I just want to know is there any definition of "professional occupation" or the word "professional". There is none in section 2 and I do not think there is one anywhere else. What is an agricultural worker?
A man who takes his dinner in the middle of the day.
We have not a definition in the Bill.
There must be some difference of interpretation when Senator Dooge in his amendments refers to a "chartered professional body" and in the substance of the Bill we have "professional occupation". Do they both mean the same thing?
The amendment has been withdrawn.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill".
Section 4 applies the Bill to apprentices under the State. I take it this largely refers to those employed in the Department of Defence and in the Office of Public Works. Would the Minister be able to tell us how many State apprentices would be involved approximately?
We will assume that for the sake of argument. What we have then is that section 4 applies the Bill to 40 or 50 State employees and leaves all other State employees outside the scope of the Bill. While the Bill's mandatory powers and its strong powers relate largely to apprentices it also has many other powers in regard to those who are not apprentices. I wonder if there is not some case that State employees generally in regard to training might be within the scope of the Bill.
The principal reason for the non-application to other professions is that in the matter of apprenticeship there would be legally enforceable provisions and rules governing apprentice recruitment and training. The training of persons who are not apprentices will merely be subject to recommended standards as to the nature and manner of their training and it can easily be arranged that these standards will be taken into account by Government Departments involved in training workers. It is felt that it would be an unwarranted complication if all the provisions of the Bill relating to training grants and levies were to be applied to the State.
I appreciate that but we are setting up a training council. We are going to be able to recruit expert people to help this training council. They will gather a great deal of information about training and about how training should be carried on in this country. Of course, the State does part of its own training of its own employees at various levels. It also makes arrangements for this training to be carried on by other bodies. I wonder if it might not be, as well that An Chomhairle should at least be able to know what the State is doing. There is a presumption I suppose that all Departments of State are carrying out their training functions in accordance with the full standards which the Minister for Labour would desire but I think there might be some case for An Chomhairle having some powers in regard to this so that at least they would know what the state of training is within the public service.
I do not know that they need special powers to enforce their way. It can easily be arranged that all the standards will be taken into account and all the information made available without being given powers in the Bill.
I take it anyway that the State has no intention of giving even a statutory body which is a creature of its own too much power to interfere into how it runs its business.
Is the Senator suggesting that the State should be subject to a statutory body?
In certain respects, yes. For example, in regard to the wiring of this room the State should be subject to standards laid down by the ESB.
It would be subject to standards but I think these can be enforced without making the State subject to a State body. You presume that the State will want to break the law.
There is a presumption that everything will be all right; it is a presumption though.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill".
Even if we do not bring agriculture within the scope of the Bill, there does remain the fact that there will be the training of workers leaving the land. I wonder if it might not arise on occasions that there might be some expenses arising on the part of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in this connection?
I do not visualise any expenses arising in relation to the training of workers leaving the land on the part of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. This would be the function of An Chomhairle Traenála.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill".
I think this can be discussed later with section 18, in which these powers are replaced.
I do not understand subsection (2). Obviously, I have not read it properly but it says:
Section 7 of the Undeveloped Areas Act, 1952, section 5 of the Industrial Grants (Amendment) Act, 1963, and in subsection (2) of section 9 of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited Act, 1959, the words "industrial or," are hereby repealed.
This, then, is a section repealing a section. It was rather confusing to read.
Question put and agreed to.
Molaim leasú a 3:
In subsection (1), line 33, to delete "Traenála" and substitute "Oiliúna".
Focal an-chumtha is ea an focal "traenála" nach mbeadh éinne róshásta leis. Más miste dhom imirt focal a dhéanamh—tá an teideal sa bhfó-alt seo beagnach chomh gránna leis an dteideal úd "An Bord Gráin" a cuireadh orainn cúpla bliain ó shoin.
De réir De Bhaldraithe, ar leathnach 775 dá fhoclóir, tá cheithre focail sa Ghaeilge ag gabháil leis an mbriathar "train" sa Bhéarla. Siad na cheithre focail sin ná "múinim" nó "oilim (duine)". Sé an chéad cheann eile ná "traenáilim (saighdiúir)" agus ar deireadh thiar "ceansaím (ainmhí)". Tá súil againn go léir nach mbeidh aon chosúlacht idir obair na Comhairle nua le ceannsú ainmhí.
Faoin ceann-theideal "training" ar an leathnach céanna léimind (a) an míniú ginearálta "oiliúint" (b) an míniú speisialta "oiliúint" nó "traenáil mhileata" (c) i gcúrsaí spóirt: "cleachtadh" nó "traenáil (dornálaí, etc.)" agus (d) "múineadh" nó "ceansú (ainmhí)".
Is dócha gur idir na focail "oiliúint" agus "traenáil" atá an rogha againn. Táim féin sásta focail nua a thúirt isteach sa teanga nuair is gá san a dhéanamh ach níl sé riachtanach sa chás seo. Tá an focal "oiliúint" níos oiriúnaí, níos feilliúnaí agus go mór mhór níos Gaelaí ná an focal "traenáil" agus ba chóir an leasú a dhéanamh.
An dóigh leis an dTeach go mbeadh sé níos fearr an focal "tionscal" a bheith mar aidiacht agus é a chur mar seo "An Bille Tionscal-Oiliúna"?
Maidir leis an méid atá ráite ag an Seanadóir Dooge, is cuimhin liom go maith díospóireacht a bhí againn mar gheall ar Fhoras Talúntais agus fhoras talmhaíochta. Anois táimid ar a mhalairt de chor—ag cur isteach an fhocail seo "oiliúna" in áit an fhocail "traenála" atá sa Bhille seo. Níl aon dheifríocht eatorra agus ba cheart dúinn é choiméad mar atá sé anois.
Tá an focal "traenáil" sa Ghaeilge anois. Is nuaGhaeilge é ach pé scéal é is nuaBhéarlachas é freisin. Níl an focal "traenáil" i bhfoclóir Ua Dhuinnín. Níl ann ach an focal "traonaidhe" agus isé an chiall atá leis ná "an idle, lazy fellow". Tá súil againn nach mbeidh a leithéid le fáil imeasc an lucht oibre a mbeidh An Chomhairle nua ag deigheáil leo. Tá an focal "traenáil" níos caoile i mbrí ná an focal "oiliúint". Dá bhrí sin, b'fhéidir nach mbeadh sé oiriúnach sa chás seo. Baineann sé le gnóthaí mileata agus le cúrsaí spóirt agus ba chóir dúinn an focal a fhágáil ag na dornálaithe agus ag an Aire Cosanta. Ag féachaint don obair thábhachtach atá le déanamh, sé an focal is oiriúnaí ná "oiliúint"—focal a bhaineann le tógaint suas iomlán an duine.
B'fhéidir go mbeadh spéis ag Seanadóirí sa mhéid seo adúradh sa Dáil:
Mr. S. Dunne: Nach bhfuil aon fhocal níos fearr ná "traenála"?
Dr. Hillery: Níl fhios agam.
Mr. S. Dunne: Tá sé go dona.
Dr. Hillery: Cad mar gheall ar "oiliúna"?
Tá an focal "oiliúna" níos ceolmhaire ná an focal "traenála" ach ní dóigh liom go bhfuil an bhrí cruinn. Mar sin féin, glacaim leis an leasú. Ag féachaint don mhéid adúirt mé sa Dáil, ní dóigh liom gur féidir liom diúltú don leasú agus, dá bhrí sin, glacaim leis.
Maith an fear! Tá dea-obair déanta ag an Aire sa chás seo agus tá mé buíoch de.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment No. 4 is not being moved on the understanding that amendment No. 2, which disposes of the question of technicians has been withdrawn, and on the Minister's assurance that the definition in section 2 makes the amendment in regard to professionals unnecessary.
I will bring the course of this debate to the attention of An Chomhairle.
Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 can be discussed together.
Government amendment No. 5:
In subsection (2), page 4, line 51, before "as" to insert "(including any class of such persons which by reason of age or physical or other disability is, in the opinion of An Chomhairle, at a disadvantage)".
I agree with Senator Dooge that An Chomhairle should be specifically empowered to provide for the training of older workers and handicapped persons where this is necessary. As the Seanad will be aware there are bodies such as the Rehabilitation Institute, the Central Remedial Clinic and the Board for the Employment of the Blind who are already active in providing training for handicapped persons. It would not be the intention that An Chomhairle Oiliúna should set up in opposition to those bodies. The idea is that it should cooperate with those bodies in providing improved training facilities for handicapped persons. The Comhairle would have an important part to play in supplementing courses provided for the training of handicapped and older workers. It could also help in improving and expanding the training facilities provided by other bodies.
Section 9 of the Bill, as it stands, would empower An Chomhairle to take action in the training of older persons and disabled persons. However, because of the special considerations involved, I felt it desirable that specific enabling powers should be given to An Chomhairle and that is the purpose of the Government amendment which goes a long way towards meeting Senator Dooge's amendment. I would, therefore, ask the Senator to withdraw his amendment and to accept my amendment.
I think the Minister is going a great deal of the way towards meeting my amendment. I think my amendment goes a bit further and would allow An Chomhairle to be, as it were, favourable towards the disabled groups, perhaps a bit more favourable than would be in accordance with strict justice. I intend to withdraw my own amendment in favour of the Minister's but there are a few points I should like to raise in this regard too. Firstly, I am just a slight bit worried about whether the phrasing of the Minister's amendment would mean that An Chomhairle could only make special courses available for such people. It should be framed in such a way that it could make provision for them with possibly some supplemental provision for those people who are not covered but that they could still be trained without any disadvantage to workers in ordinary courses. I am a little bit worried about this point. The other point is that I take it there would be no difficulty in interpreting lack of formal education as being a disadvantage. I think lack of formal education will be a major disadvantage in the retraining of workers. I would ask the Minister if he is satisfied that it is covered by his amendment.
I think it is. The Senator's amendment might have the effect of making every course available in cases where it would not be called for. I am satisfied that An Chomhairle can do what the Senator wants with this amendment of mine. I should have said that there are already statutory provisions in section 50 of the Health Act, 1953, relating to training for disabled workers. It would be desirable that An Chomhairle, before embarking on training courses, should consult with the Department of Health and the organisations which are concerned with the training of those people as to the adequacy of the training facilities and the medical aspects. If my amendment is accepted, I propose to bring those aspects of the matter to the attention of An Chomhairle in relation to the other amendment.
While my main concern in speaking the last day was in relation to the older workers, I am very happy that the Minister has given a special concession to handicapped people. When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, now the Minister for Health, spoke originally on the manpower policy I was very gratified he spoke of special provision for the physically handicapped. I thought, when the present Bill was introduced, that the handicapped people were not getting as much emphasis as they should. I now notice that special emphasis is being put on them in this amendment.
Another point which might be brought to the attention of An Chomhairle is the necessity to educate employers in regard to the question of the employment of such people who have been retrained by special courses. This is a duty that will devolve on An Chomhairle. They should see that employers are not prejudiced in employing such people. It has been found that employers can be prejudiced against the employment of retrained workers. In fact, in America the manpower agency has pointed out that workers retrained at the age of 55 on an average stay longer with the firm than many of those retrained at 25. Some employers felt that they should not take on workers retrained at the age of 55 because they would be retiring shortly afterwards and that it was better to retrain younger men. This has been investigated in the USA and it has been discovered that men aged 55 who are retrained have given longer service to the firm than those aged 25.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 6 not moved.
I move amendment No. 7:
In subsection (2), page 5, to add the following paragraph:
"( ) approve scales of pay for persons employed in an activity of industry who are undergoing training approved by An Chomhairle."
My colleague Senator Jessop has asked me to apologise to the Seanad. He had to go to London last night and is unable to be here to move this amendment. I am moving it for him. This amendment seeks to add to the many paragraphs referred to in subsection (2) of section 9 which empowers An Chomhairle to "do all or any of the following." The point at issue is that among the things they should be empowered to do is to approve the apprenticeship scales of pay. The purpose of this is to prevent the kind of open or concealed rivalry between various firms running apprenticeship schemes for the purpose of getting apprentices who may, in any particular industry, be in short supply. It might well be that you could have what amounted to piracy by one firm against another, the raising of the ante as it were, and the disparity which might not be known always to the entering apprentice as between firm and firm. We are of the opinion that if An Chomhairle were to have the power to approve scales of pay for apprentices in a given industry the position would be better both for the employers, for the apprentices and prospective apprentices.
I think the Senator has spoken on amendment No. 10. Perhaps we could deal with them both together. I should like to say that Senator Jessop mentioned this on the Second Stage. I understood the purpose of the amendments, when they came, would be to prevent poaching of apprentices. If An Chomhairle had the power to fix the salary scales of operatives, craftsmen, clerical staff and so on it would have a great burden added to it without any guarantee that the scales of pay approved by it would have any effect. Of course, what is envisaged in the amendment would cut across what at the moment is the normal practice in relation to pay negotiations in which the Labour Court is concerned.
I might say that one of the principles on which this Bill was based was that An Chomhairle should not concern itself with pay and salary, but should concentrate on the job of improving training and technical training, and the operation of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959, has vindicated this view. The earlier 1931 Apprenticeship Act did have provision about pay scales probably for the same reason as the Senators had in mind, and it was found that in practice most if not all of the time of An Chomhairle was given to arguments about pay, and that the real function of improving the training the executive not attending meetings it of apprentices and other trainees was overlooked.
On the Second Stage, I did mention that to equalise the cost of training within an industry there would be a levy put on different people within the industry and that grants would be paid to employers in respect of training. In proportion as they trained they would get back the levy. They would get it back in full if they trained the full number, if they trained more than their needs they would get more than the levy, and if they trained less they would suffer a loss. This would act in the area of trainees and apprentices to discourage poaching.
There are in relation to apprentices certain sections of this Bill. Section 25 (1) (d) provides that An Chomhairle can make rules prescribing the period of training to be undergone by a person employed as an apprentice in a designated industrial activity. Another sub-section provides that where such rules are made they shall be deemed to constitute a contract of apprenticeship entered into by the employer and the apprentice for the duration of the time specified in the rules. Section 29 (1) provides that the employer must obtain the consent of An Chomhairle before he may employ a person as an apprentice. Consequently, if apprentices did want to change from one employer to another the second employer would first have to get permission from An Chomhairle before he could employ that apprentice. Otherwise he would be liable to prosecution.
The only circumstances in which An Chomhairle would be likely to sanction such a transfer would be where it was for the benefit of the apprentice in his apprenticeship training. These provisions should help in meeting the Senator's problem. They may not seem as adequate as control of wages and salaries, but there is such an objection to having this control of pay a function of An Chomhairle that I would prefer to do it this way. We would probably have An Chomhairle fully occupied arguing about scales of pay.
In the light of this comprehensive reply by the Minister, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 8:
Before section 10 to insert a new section as follows:—
"(1) An Chomhairle shall establish an Industrial Committee, an Agricultural Committee and Technician Committee and in addition may set up such other committee as it may think fit.
(2) An Chomhairle may delegate to a committee set up under subsection (1) of this section any of its functions under this Act.
(3) A committee set up under subsection (1) of this section shall consist partly of members of An Chomhairle and partly of persons with a special knowledge or experience of industry, agriculture, technology or education."
This amendment is partly a consequential amendment with regard to the question of the inclusion of agriculture in the scope of the work of An Chomhairle, and partly in order to give rise to a discussion on how the work of An Chomhairle might be organised. We are all agreed that An Chomhairle will be largely concerned with the training of apprentices and after this with the training of operatives. Nevertheless, if industrial training is to be properly carried out there must be provision for training supervisors at all levels and, temporarily at least, training technicians. I think that it would be as well if An Chomhairle would in the organisation of its work, separate out these functions and set up committees to deal with them.
If agriculture had been included within the scope of the Bill I think it would have been perfectly proper that a statutory committee to deal with agriculture should have been set up. If An Chomhairle is to deal to any great extent with technician training there should be a statutory committee to deal with technicians. With agriculture not within the scope of the Bill, and with technicians included as a temporary measure and a sort of residuary function, there is not as great an argument for such committees to be on a statutory basis. It would, however, be desirable that An Chomhairle should under their powers under section 35 appoint advisory committees to deal with these particular aspects. If the Minister were agreeable to recommending to An Chomhairle that they should do this there would be no reason to press this amendment.
I can undertake to do this. I shall recommend An Chomhairle to set up these committees. The Seanad knows that this new body has been set up on the basis of being as flexible and free as possible, and it is preferable that this should not be imposed statutorily.
There is just one point, that even though agriculture is now outside the scope of the Bill there might still be room for an agricultural committee to deal with the problem of retraining rural workers. The Minister might consider whether it would be proper to recommend to An Chomhairle that they should have a special advisory committee to deal with the problem of rural workers and their adaptation to industry, which gives rise to a number of human problems. Work on this matter has already been commissioned by the Human Sciences Committee of the Irish National Productivity Committee. This is an area in which there are special problems.
I am usually against advisory committees because they lead to delaying work, but I am in agreement with Senator Dooge in this instance. I think there would be a need for an advisory body to deal with the training of people leaving agriculture and being absorbed into industry, and I would certainly support him in an appeal to the Minister in this regard that he would pass this view on to An Chomhairle.
I accept that. I should say perhaps that I do not know what course the studies and review being made by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries at the moment about the training of agricultural workers will take. It may be that there will be some co-ordination between his activities and this body. Meanwhile, I will recommend to An Chomhairle the setting up of such a committee.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That section 10 stand part of the Bill".
There are some matters with regard to superannuation but I think that they could be discussed on section 13 equally well.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 11 stand part of the Bill."
There is one small point here. Under the Bill the chief executive officer and the chairman of An Chomhairle may be different persons. It might be desirable in view of the fact that this may happen that the chief executive officer be given a statutory right to attend council meetings and to speak and not vote, somewhat in the way that other chief executive officers such as county managers are given a statutory right to attend meetings of the council, take part in the debate but, of course, are precluded from voting. I do not say that it is likely, but it is certainly possible, that there might be a sharp cleavage of views and a failure of personal relations between the chairman and the chief officer. Under the Bill as it stands the chairman would be empowered to exclude the chief officer from the meeting of An Chomhairle.
Why does the Minister visualise a full-time chairman, as stated under section 10, and a chief officer?
It will be a part-time chairman with a chief officer or a full-time chairman who will be chief officer, one or the other. On the point about might be easier to change one or the other. I have gone through a variety of bodies who have different forms of top administration and it is not clear which is the best. My opinion is forming along certain lines from information I have received. It is clear that anybody who is appointed chairman, if he is part-time with the chief executive officer, would have to be very clear on what his functions and his limitations are. In the case of a possible conflict I do not know that a vote of the board would be a solution. I could not answer that.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 12 stand part of the Bill."
There are a few points I should like to raise on section 12. Under subsection (3) there is a question, which I understand arose during the Dáil debate, about the consent of the Minister for Finance, if necessary, in regard to matters of staff remuneration. I do not know whether the Minister has anything further to say in this regard now. He already knows from bitter experience the difficulties encountered in recruiting the type of staff necessary for this specialised work. While there is a good case that the remuneration of general grades of employees would be subject to whatever industrial relations code will emerge, one would be a little worried about the hands of An Chomhairle being unnecessarily tied in regard to specialised staff. I say this at the risk of again being accused of being exclusive by Senator Murphy.
In regard to the last three sections of this Bill, and as in the case of other Bills, would it not be possible to relate the position of the various officers to a certain similar grade in the Civil Service which they already hold? This would obviate the necessity to see in Bill after Bill of having sections dealing with particular officers of a certain body. Would you think we could arrange that they be comparable with a certain grade in the Civil Service in which pensions, retirement compensation, and everything else, would be cut and dried? Instead of that we have sections, and regulations or orders made thereafter, every time any change is made in pensions, or pension scales. Should these positions not be related to certain staff in the Civil Service and be finished with it for good?
Many of the staff of An Chomhairle Oiliúna would be specialists or highly qualified technical people. The basis for this being in consultation with the Minister for Finance is because of the possibility of competition between the State and State-sponsored bodies for certain personnel, and leapfrogging could cause move ment of wages which would be uncontrolled and perhaps unrelated to the needs of the national situation. For that reason it was felt that the Minister for Finance should have some overall say so that there would be a relationship established between levels of remuneration in different bodies.
The other argument is equally valid, that a period of consultation could well lead to the loss of a desirable person. I told Members in the Dáil who raised it that I would reconsider it and introduce an amendment in the Seanad, if I thought that necessary. The Minister for Finance and I have now agreed that there would be a satisfactory administrative arrangement which would speed the consultation process. This leaves us in a better position to deal with it.
In regard to subsections (4) and (5) I have followed with difficulty the career of somebody who became an officer of An Chomhairle Oiliúna, then became a Member of one of the Houses of the Oireachtas and then became a Minister of State for a sufficiently long period to earn him a pension. Having traced his career through the whole length of subsections (4) and (5), I came to the conclusion that such a person in spite of having such an illustrious career might be the subject of an injustice under subsection (5). It is the practice under the superannuation scheme of most State bodies where they are on a contributory basis such as is provided for here that after the person resigns, having been employed for ten years, he receives back his contributions with compound interest.
My reading of subsections (4) and (5) is that a person who was fortunate enough to be elected to the Dáil or Seanad but unfortunate enough not to be chosen as a Minister would receive compound interest on his contributions if they were for a period of over ten years. But the man who was fortunate enough to earn a Ministerial pension would merely receive under subsection (5) the repayment of his contributions and not the compound interest on them. I do not know whether the Minister considers that the glories of office are a sufficient compensation for this loss of compound interest. There is a point of differentiation here.
Surely the Senator is better off as a university professor?
I am not interested in getting two pensions for the one period, merely getting compound interest back.
I do not think the Senator is right. I shall try to straighten it out between now and next week.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 13 stand part of the Bill".
Section 13 deals with superannuation of officers and servants of An Chomhairle. I should like to ask the Minister whether he has had any discussions with the Minister for Finance concerning the possible application of the Superannuation and Pensions Act, 1963, to the officers and, if necessary, to the servants of An Chomhairle Oiliúna.
Before the Senator begins to develop his argument perhaps we should adjourn for tea.
My argument would take longer than a minute but not much longer.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.
Immediately before we suspended business I was inquiring whether section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act, 1963, would be applied to officers and servants of An Chomhairle Oiliúna which, I think, would be a particularly appropriate body to have applied to it these provisions originally enacted in order to promote mobility and recruitment of specialist staff. I should like to know if it will apply for transfer both in and out of the new council.
Will all posts be designated under the 1963 Act?
Except that of chief officer.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 14 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 15 stand part of the Bill".
This deals with the report to which we shall look forward annually with great interest. I take it what we shall receive in this respect is a full progress report in regard to the council's activities, ineluding reports of joint committees or advisory committees.
Yes—training committees and joint committees.
And advisory committees, where appropriate?
I should like to know if following publication of the report the Minister would be prepared, should the Seanad think it necessary, to come into the House for a debate on the report thereby giving the Seanad an opportunity to discuss the progress of the work of the training council.
It could be done in the form of a motion but it could not be established as a method of bringing the report to the Oireachtas.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 16 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 17 stand part of the Bill".
I take it that this section deals only with grants and loans to persons providing courses and not to individual persons. Is that correct?
To persons providing courses or training facilities.
There are a few points pertinent to this. The first one is in regard to the question of the granting of loans. There is strict restriction in regard to the question of grants which are limited to the amount specified by the Minister—and this specification might be quite close in some instances—but there is no restriction in regard to the conditions under which loans might be granted. I notice in similar legislation in other countries loans of this type were restricted to loans issued at the rate of interest corresponding to Exchequer applications of a comparable maturity, plus possibly a small handling charge and I think in United States legislation loans are limited to ten years. It would appear at a first reading, I may not be correct in this, that there is no limitation on the way in which An Chomhairle could operate its loan function and that, in fact, An Chomhairle might, by lending at a low rate of interest, be able, in essence, to give what would amount to a grant in the form of a loan.
They are not tied to consulting the Minister for Finance in the case of the loan.
No. This is my point. Whereas in the giving of a grant they are completely tied, in the giving of loans they appear to be completely free. I would have thought that it would have been appropriate to insert a provision either that they could only lend at a rate of interest comparable to an Exchequer rate of interest on comparable maturity or else that they could only grant loans on conditions that would have been previously agreed by the Minister, perhaps also with the consent of the Minister for Finance.
This would be putting a limitation on what they could do. It is unusual to be asked to put a limitation on An Chomhairle but, generally speaking, the limitation on grants as I visualise it would be not individual scrutiny on different grants but a general administrative procedure which would have the blanket approval of the Minister for Finance. There would not be a scrutiny on each grant made but they would have general approval for a certain type of grant, a certain amount in certain circumstances. I imagine that loans given under the section would be subject to operate under a similar arrangement. I am not quite sure that I would want to put a restriction on them if it is not there but if the Minister for Finance heard Senator Dooge talking he might come after me.
Perhaps we might be content in the knowledge that this Bill has been scrutinised by the Department of Finance and they did not look after their own business. We might leave it at that.
I think h would be desirable to leave An Chomhairle free.
A further point I intended raising has also been touched on by the Minister. This is the amount of detail of specification in regard to grants by the Minister and the Minister for Finance. I am glad to see that these will be a general type and I think will relate to types of courses rather than individual courses and classes of people rather than individual people. There is a point, perhaps this is not quite the right place to raise it but it is as appropriate as any, and it is this: is there any provision under this Bill whereby An Chomhairle can borrow for temporary purposes?
No, I do not think so. Their moneys would mainly come front a grant-in-aid from the Minister. I do not think we have any provision for borrowing. I do not know whether they would need it.
In fact, they would then, having no statutory power, be precluded from seeking additional accommodation for any temporary purposes?
I think so. I think they would be precluded without statutory power. Is the Senator suggesting we should give An Chomhairle powers?
I am just wondering. It might be something the Minister could think about between now and next week.
I shall look at it between now and Report Stage.
It might be an undue limitation on them. I think if one were to give them the power it should be within limitations which might be fixed by the Minister but to say they could not receive day to day or week to week accommodation from the banks might be unfortunate.
I think their accommodation will be related to their grant in aid. If that runs out I suppose the banks will not be very keen to accommodate them. I shall look at it again before Report Stage.
On subsection (3) —this is in regard to moneys paid out of levy accounts—has the Minister any idea at this stage what degree of consultation would be desirable with the relevant industrial training committee in regard to this? As the Minister is well aware now, after several years in office, the word "consultation" can have a wide number of meanings. I should like to know what is in the Minister's mind in regard to paragraph (b) of subsection (3).
This is an agreement with the joint committee that, where mentioned before, the extent of the consultation would be to determine the value and standards of the training given, as well as the quantity of it.
I am wondering to what extent does the Minister anticipate An Chomhairle would be guided by the relevant industrial training committee; whether he anticipates they would be largely guided by the relevant committees and would differ from them only for serious reasons or whether, on the other hand, he anticipates An Chomhairle would go no further than to find out what is the mind of the industrial training committees and then make up its own mind on the matter.
The number trained would be easily assessed but the quality of the training given would be a matter for assessment by those in the industry. I do not anticipate any trouble between An Chomhairle and its advisory committee on that but I do not think we should tie them to accepting, altogether, the advisory committee's advice.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 18 stand part of the Bill".
Section 18 deals with grants for training workers for new industries. It replaces certain provisions in the Undeveloped Areas Act, 1952, the Industrial Grants (Amendment) Act, 1963, and the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited Act, 1959. I should like to ask the Minister—before we re-enact this particular section—if he could tell us how much work was done under those Acts and how successful was the work done under them. A further question I should like to ask the Minister is that, as I understand it, this was largely confined to skilled workers and highly skilled workers under the previous Acts. Is it now intended to include wider classes of workers?
I have not any detailed information here on the method of application of the grants but, as far as I know from what contact I have with both bodies giving grants, they included the training grants in the overall grant without saying how much is for training, how much for machinery and so on. Therefore, it is difficult to answer the question of how much money was spent on training but they have been effective in making it possible to have people acquire skills needed for the setting up of an industry, either training at home or abroad and, say, the parent firm setting up a subsidiary here, or a branch in Ireland. It has been quite an important factory.
Its scope will be wider under this Bill than it was under the others?
Its scope will be wider and the giving of the grant for training will be isolated.
This is very desirable. This particular section, I notice, can have a separate date of operation from the coming into operation of the Bill in general but, of course, it would be futile to bring it into operation before the rest of the Bill. Has the Minister made up his mind yet when he proposes to make this change-over? Does he anticipate it will be at the same time, or shortly after the establishment date?
I have not made up my mind. I propose to let it run under the bodies, under the enactments which operate at the moment, until An Chomhairle Oiliúna has some experience in its general work. I think I would probably be guided by An Chomhairle on this point.
Just one further point on this section. There is provision, and very proper provision, that in the future An Chomhairle should not give a grant for a purpose for which a grant had previously been given under the enactments now to be repealed. It says in all of the appropriate sections that grants shall not be given in any case in which a grant was previously made in respect of the process. I wonder is this narrowing the thing a bit too far? What we are saying here is that if a previous grant was given for a particular process, no further grant should be given.
It is for the "project", not the "process".
"Process" is what it says. If we take, for example, line 42 of subsection (2) we have here the words:—"made in respect of the process". This is my difficulty in regard to it that because there has been a previous grant for a particular process, it should not necessarily exclude a similar process receiving a grant in another undertaking. There may be a sufficient difference between the two to warrant a second grant being made.
I can see that the Senator's point would mean that new workers in the same process could be excluded by this section. It is intended that a grant would not be made to train the same workers for the same process. The point the Senator is making is that this section could prevent new workers in the same process from benefiting.
It could also prevent a second undertaking working in the same industrial line from having its workers trained abroad. This position appears to be too narrow. Again, perhaps the Minister might look at the point between now and next week?
I am told it has already been checked with the draftsmen as to whether it would do that and it has been cleared that it would not have that effect. However, I shall have it questioned again. I can see the point— it might prevent the training of further workers in the same process. I shall check that before Report Stage.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 19 stand part of the Bill".
Section 19 deals with levies and is a very welcome new provision. I think it is necessary in order to ensure that training is carried on in properly equipped work places. On the other hand, it should be ensured that those who do provide these facilities for training will not carry an undue burden. This, I understand, has worked very well under the legislation in Britain and it is certainly to be welcomed in this particular instance. One of the great defects of the Apprenticeship Act of 1959 was the problem of finding suitable places for training. Probably the people who were contributing most to the success of apprenticeship training were carrying the largest burden; those who were not doing the training were at an advantage.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 20 stand part of the Bill".
Section 20 deals with the question of an appeal tribunal, in regard to an appeal from a levy decision or a levy order. This section is, of course, very similar to section 12 of the Industrial Training Act, 1964, of the United Kingdom and of section 13 of the Industrial Training Act, 1964, of Northern Ireland.
I hope the Minister will not misunderstand me when I say that I am sorry in this particular instance that the section was translated from the British statute rather than from the Northern Ireland statute because the Northern Ireland statute has a provision which is not in the British statute. In the Northern Ireland statute in section 14 of the Industrial Training Acts, 1964, there is a provision for an appeal on a point of law from a decision of the appeals tribunal, either directly or indirectly by means of stating a case. I would ask the Minister if this was considered in regard to section 20 of this particular Bill and, if so, why he feels that this would not be a good provision to have.
I am advised that an applicant could appeal to the courts against the finding of the tribunal only if he could satisfy the court that it is clear:
1. that the tribunal exceeded its jurisdiction,
2. that it is clear, on the face of a written statement given by the tribunal listing the grounds for rejecting the claim, that the tribunal has gone wrong in a matter of law,
3. that the tribunal failed to observe the principles of natural justice,
4. that the tribunal acted corruptly in those matters.
Is this an appeal at common law, as it were, from the decision of the tribunal?
I get this advice from the lawyers.
Unfortunately, I have no lawyers to advise me.
I would need to have a lawyer to know. This is the advice given to me by the lawyers.
It just struck me, on reading this other legislation, that there was a distinct difference in the Northern Ireland section and the UK section. There was a section in the Northern Ireland Bill giving the statutory right to this right of appeal. I must say I was rather attracted by it. It would appear from what the Minister has said that his advice is that this may not be necessary.
I think a statutory appeal on a point of law might be a good thing. I said, when speaking on the last section, that I think this idea of levies, of spreading the cost, is a very good one. It is essential to the working of this scheme that we have some sort of appeals system. The fairer that appeals system appears to everybody concerned the better. What are we doing here? We are almost going as far as giving An Chomhairle Oiliúna a right of taxation. We are giving them the power to redistribute money belonging to people working in any industrial undertaking. We are giving An Chomhairle a quite considerable power, the power to say to somebody: "I am levying you for a particular amount of money and I am going to hand over that money by way of grant to another person in the same industry who is carrying out training operations". This is rather a big power to give to a statutory body.
I said already that I believe it is desirable it should be done but while we are doing it I think we should, at the same time, give every possible appeal. Certainly if there are two ways of giving that appeal, one by allowing people to rely on their common law rights and the other to give them a statutory right of appeal, I certainly would be all in favour of writing that statutory right of appeal on a point of law into the statute. As a matter of prudence and as a help in encouraging industry to adopt this new system, it might be well that it be written in clearly in the statute. It is perhaps too much to hope that it would be written in in completely plain language but at least it should be written in in words.
As I said, my advice is that they would have this appeal to the courts. The section deals with the setting up of the appeals tribunal as regards assessment and this in itself is machinery for the employers concerned. I would be concerned if there were too many steps that you could have a great deal of litigation, just delaying the working of this levy system, if you invited people to have an appeal through a tribunal which hears them and makes decisions in their favour or otherwise. Then, if you invited them to go to the courts as well it would make for difficulties in the administration of the Act. At the same time, it is quite clear from the advice I have received from the legal advisers that they would have this appeal on a point of law at any rate.
That is all I am concerned with. We are in agreement that the appeal in regard to a point of law should be there but it is not quite right for the Minister to say that the right is there but if people knew about it this might result in delay. This is approaching fairly close to a position where we are saying: "People have those rights but it is better after all that they do not know they have them." It would be better if it were placed clearly in the Bill that they have those rights. I would not press this but if it were there it might help to get things off to a better start.
What section was the Senator referring to?
Section 14 of the Northern Ireland Act.
I do not know what effect it would have on the administration but I will have a look at it between now and the Report Stage.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 21 stand part of the Bill".
This section deals with industrial training orders. Is it too early for the Minister to anticipate at what rate we would expect industrial training orders to be made? Will they be made at something the same rate as they were made under the 1959 Apprenticeship Act or is it intended that we will have a greater number of industrial training orders than we had under that Act?
It is hard to say at what rate they will be made. We expect them to be very active, but I do not know if we could say at the moment the tempo at which they would be introduced. The Senator knows that industrial training orders need not be made if An Chomhairle feels that they are not required in any particular place. I could not answer the Senator's question at the moment.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 22 stand part of the Bill".
We have in subsection (4) a difference between the manner in which nominations are made and accepted in regard to worker members and in regard to employer members. In the case of worker members the Minister has no option but to accept the names put before him. In the case of employer members he chooses the requisite number from a panel which is put forward by the members' representatives. I imagine this difference arises from the existence of a large number of employers' organisations but I wonder would it not be possible that some provision whereby the members proposed by the larger employers' organisation, who represent a substantial number of employers, might be accepted by the Minister and not merely be as in the case of extremely small organisations part of a panel from which the Minister would choose.
I can see great trouble attaching to that because if the Senator thinks it over he will see how much trouble there would be if you picked out certain employer organisations and regarded them as representative of all the employers' organisations.
Is the Minister not doing the same thing on the workers' side? There are a few trade unions outside the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and he is leaving them out of account. The Minister has no hesitation on the workers' side in saying that since a very large proportion of unions are affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions he will take the nominations of the Congress. There are, I think, two large employers' organisations who would cover a great number of substantial employers and who would cover all the employers likely to provide training facilities. I do not press the point in any firm way but it struck me, reading through the section, that it might be as well, if not immediately, to try to move towards a similar position with regard to employer members as worker members. Anything that the Minister could do to encourage the unification of employers' organisations would be a good thing.
It may be that natural evolution which is thought desirable in these organisations would lead to one effectively representing nearly all employers. In that case it would be acceptable to recognise such an organisation as representative of employers.
I take it that if the position were that there was only one employers' organisation representing a very large proportion of worker the Minister would, in fact, create th same position by merely asking then for the proportionate number that there should be to the technicians.
I would say that it is a matter for commonsense in the particular circumstances at any time.
I am content to leave it to the Minister's common sense.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 23 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 24 stand part of the Bill".
Section 24 deals with the power of An Chomhairle to request information. It is a relatively unusual power to give to a statutory body of this sort, and a refusal to give the information is subject to penalty in a later section. It would be desirable that the Houses of the Oireachtas would know the extent to which this power will be used by An Chomhairle Oiliúna in practice, and it would be desirable that reference might be made to the use of those powers under section 24 in the annual report which An Chomhairle will present to Parliament.
It was not done under An Cheard Chomhairle. Similar powers were given to An Cheard Chomhairle under the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. The Senator will see how illogical it would be to provide for the payment of grants, the assessment of levies and so on without having power to deal with obstruction. I do not know what we could do to meet the request.
If the Minister agreed with me that it would be appropriate in the annual report of An Chomhairle to refer to its use of these powers, and in particular use of its effective powers arising out of refusal to give information under section 24, this might be a good thing.
I could ask them to do that. You do not want anything put in?
I could ask an Chomhairle to do this.
Question put and agreed to.
I move amendment No. 9:—
In subsection (1) (b), line 17, after "apprentices" to insert "always provided that no question of family relationship shall be considered relevant."
Subsection (1) of section 25 grants the board power when it makes an industrial training order to make or do a number of things. There are a series of paragraphs, covering rules specifying the minimum age at which a person commences to be employed, and educational or other qualifications as to suitability to be possessed by persons entering such employment as apprentices. The point that strikes me as being perhaps too all-embracing are these words "other qualifications" granting An Chomhairle the right to lay down any qualification it likes, apparently, in determining whether a person is suitable or not to be allowed to enter such an apprenticeship. I feel that it may seem absurd to say that there may be any question of family relationship entering into a consideration of whether a would-be apprentice is suitable or not, but we are familiar with the practice of some of the craft unions which tend to favour the entry into their craft or apprenticeship of the sons or nephews of members of a union.
I remember a case to which my attention was brought some years ago of a boy of 16 who for two years had been employed by a very prominent building firm here in Dublin and who had been training himself in a technical school in the evenings in a particular skilled craft which I shall not name. After two years of training he tried to get a union card from the craft union, which happened to be an English union which had affiliations here in relation to this particular craft. He could not get the card. I was asked about this and consulted an old friend of mine who was a prominent official of this union and who is a member of the Labour Party, a person whom I greatly respected and admired and whose general attitude towards things was very progressive. I told him that the boy had great educational qualifications, great personal drive and everything in his favour. My friend's first question was, was his father in this particular trade. The answer was that he was not, and the next question was, was his uncle in the trade. He was not, and my friend said: "In that case I can do nothing for him."
This seemed staggering to me coming from a person who shared my social democratic view of what Labour should stand for. He said: "I am afraid I am powerless here under the rules. But you can tell him that he can go to England, get a job there, and he will get a card from my union in England, and after he has had the card for a few years he can come back and will then be admitted." Although the situation seemed quite fantastic to me the simple fact was that because the hereditary principle was being invoked this boy, who had every merit and every obvious aptitude and suitability, was precluded from becoming a craftsman within this particular discipline.
When I read that An Chomhairle can frame rules in relation to education or other qualifications as to suitability to be possessed by persons entering such employment as such apprentices, I am afraid my suspicions are aroused, I hope unjustly, that perhaps in relation to certain apprenticeships and crafts there would be a necessity to have a father or an uncle in the trade. The purport of my amendment is simply to render it impossible to include among the necessary qualifications for suitability any consideration of family relationship.
I had advice from the Attorney General on whether on the making of rules An Chomhairle could bring in any such thing as relationship with another person, race or religion, as a qualification. His advice is that as the Bill is drafted it does not empower An Chomhairle to make rules prescribing degree of kindred, of race, of colour or of religion, as a qualification. If degree of kindred were prescribed by An Chomhairle they would be acting ultra vires. As it stands, this paragraph limits the scope of the rules to a person's physical, intellectual and mental faculties, and so on. An Chomhairle would not be empowered to prescribe such matters as religion, or colour, and such matters would be completely ultra vires.
This is very pleasant to hear. It is an assurance by the Attorney General that when the Act says "other qualifications" a whole lot of qualifications do not fall within that. I am not quite sure that they do not. It seems to me that if we pass an Act which allows An Chomhairle to make all or any one of the following rules in relation to the educational or other qualifications——
The Attorney General bases his qualifications as to suitability.
This would seem commonsense. It may seem surprising that I should make such a suggestion. Nevertheless, I am afraid that some of our craft unions apply other rules which are not commonsense. In my amendment nothing would be lost in the basic position if the Minister would consider accepting, or perhaps even extending, this qualification to questions of colour, and so on. It seems to me that "other qualifications" is so wide that it might be dangerous, no matter what the Attorney General feels about it.
This is only in practice.
Whatever we do to regulate what An Chomhairle should do, the actual practice of trade unions would not be affected by what we put in here. "Other qualifications as to suitability" exclude anything like relationship, religion and colour.
They do not affect the personal suitability of a person to an apprenticeship in a particular case. It is his personal suitability to the trade that counts when making rules about it. Relationship, religion, race or colour do not enter into suitability. Physical defects would as well as educational standards. This amendment would not affect the position. It would be merely a bit of coat trailing which would be necessary. In fact, the practice to which the Senator refers is dying out.
I am a little uneasy about being told that An Chomhairle will have rules which will be equitable but that this will not affect the rules of the trade unions. I could see an apprentice being fully trained and then failing to get work because he could not get a union card.
In actual practice, if an employer favours a person because of these extraneous factors, anything put in here in relation to qualification would not affect that practice. An Chomhairle would be acting ultra vires if they made rules which favour relationship with a person in a trade union.
I am not objecting to the craftsman getting training. I am referring to the qualified person who does happen to be a craftsman but who does not get a job.
The rules made by an Chomhairle could not favour such a person. But, if he were favoured, whatever the rules are this amendment would not change that practice. If in selection a person were given an inch because he had a relation in the trade already this would not be affected by a change here. We are governed by the rules of An Chomhairle and they would be acting ultra vires if they put in rules that favoured anything other than qualifications I have mentioned. A degree of kindred or race would be extraneous and would not be regarded as a personal qualification.
There is a possibility they might decide that, other things being equal, preference would be given. There is a slogan which says that other things are always equal.
I do not think we can do anything in law to stop that kind of practice. We can stop An Chomhairle making rules which would favour a person in this way and that is the position without this amendment.
I am reasonably satisfied with the Minister's statement and I want to withdraw the motion. If by any chance it turns out in practice that I have been right and the Minister is wrong——
I shall introduce an amendment of the Act.
That is a promise to which I shall hold the Minister.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 10 not moved.
Question proposed: "That section 25 stand part of the Bill".
I should like to go back again to the question of apprentices which is covered by this section. I am not too familiar with the practice in regard to the recruitment of apprentices but I think it is lair to say that in recent years since the Apprenticeship Board started operating, and operating very effectively, the position has been that this board laid down minimum educational qualifications before the individual youth is allowed into the trade for training. I think the House and Senator Sheehy Skeffington will understand the attitude of trade unions in regard to governing the number of apprentices allowed at any time into a particular trade. I am sure the Senator will appreciate that it would be against the interests of a certain craft if there was unlimited admission into that particular craft without regard to the level of work that would be available in the future. You could easily have the situation of people being trained in a particular craft and then finding themselves unemployed in a few years' time. That is not in the interests either of the youths being trained nor of the people already in the craft. I am sure Senator Sheehy Skeffington will understand that reasonable attitude of a trade union in a particular craft.
When you come to the question as to how, in fact, you will govern the number allowed into that training in any particular year, I understand that the general practice now in the trades covered by these apprenticeship boards is that there are joint boards representing the crafts and the employers involved in those crafts. I understand there is an arrangement in regard to the sharing of nominations: in other words, it is agreed that the employers will put forward a certain number of names and the craft union will put forward an equal number and that the people, if they have the educational standard, are admitted on that basis.
If there is a situation in which there is competition in regard to the number to be allowed in, it is natural that a person who is already a craftsman, if his son wants to be trained in that craft and if he has the necessary educational standard, would exercise his natural function and try to get his son trained in that craft. There is nothing more sinister in it than that. The simple fact is that the tendency will be for people who are already qualified in the trade to try to get their sons admitted and naturally such a person will have the sympathy, understanding and support of his fellow workers. There is nothing more sinister in it than that.
Possibly it is tending to disappear with the disappearance of a lot of the competition to get into the skilled crafts. In some trades, however, it is natural that the number allocated by the trade union would tend to be taken up by sons or relatives of people already in the trade if, of course, they have the necessary educational qualifications. It is not a question of debarring others but simply of a father doing the best for his son. I am sure Senator Sheehy Skeffington would do the same if in a similar position and I hope he will, therefore, have a little more sympathy for this situation.
I share Senator Murphy's view that there are many trades in which you cannot afford to open the floodgates, as it were, and admit everybody who wants to enter. You can limit the entry because the amount of work is limited. Where I part company sharply with the Senator is on the method of selection. We do not think it is a good method to say we will have a level of education which, if it is attained, will enable us to give favoured treatment to the son of a craftsman. It is manifestly unjust that the son of a carpenter who may have the minimum educational requirements but may be a pretty clumsy carpenter can be in competition with another boy who is obviously endowed for skilled work with wood, obviously potentially a far better carpenter, and the favour to be given to a boy because of his relations. This I reject utterly. I favour a method of selection on the merit of the boy and I resist the principle of aristocracy invoked by Senator Murphy.
The aristocracy of craftsmen.
The craft unions are the aristocrats of the trade union movement.
On subsection (1), paragraphs (a) to (h), there is provision for the making of rules in regard to apprentices and there is re-enactment of several sections of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. However, there is no re-enactment in this subsection or anywhere else as far as I can see of section 31 of the 1959 Act which calls for the making of progress reports in regard to the training of apprentices. It has been represented to me by a person who has been largely concerned with the training of apprentices that this may be a retrograde step, that without the provision of a process report from time to time in regard to training we could have a position in which a person could be accepted for apprenticeship and spend the whole period of apprenticeship without making any real progress, perhaps not really being in the right craft, and that this could not be remedied until the entire apprenticeship period was over. It has been represented to me that there should be a provision in this Bill similar to section 31 of the 1959 Act.
Experience in An Cheard Chomhairle has shown that this power is not necessary. The progress is checked on the job rather than by reports being sent in: the supervisors are continuously going around.
Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 26 stand part of the Bill".
This is the section which defines apprentices. The powers of the training council and An Chomhairle Oiliúna are very much stronger in regard to apprentices than to any other person and I think it is important to make it quite clear who is an apprentice. Section 26 reads:
An Chomhairle may by regulations under this section declare that every person employed in a particular manner in a designated industrial activity by a particular employer shall be deemed to be an apprentice for the purposes of this Act.
I wonder is that a bit too wide. Have we got ourselves into a position where, in trying to give An Chomhairle Traenála adequate power we also give them power to declare anybody they like to be an apprentice. Since there is no limitation in the section this is completely wide. Though I am not suggesting it would happen, it is conceivable that under this section An Chomhairle Traenála could declare anybody they like to be an apprentice.
The balance is between the expectation that An Chomhairle would act reasonably and the experience of certain employers evading their responsibilities to their apprentices by calling them trainees and putting them on a range of work which was apprenticeship work but not quite the complete range specified in the legal definition. The reasons the new council was given this wide power was to prevent this evasion. The number of employers who acted in this way was not very great but they caused considerable resentment among other employers who played the game, if you like, in the trade. One way or the other by having a definition such as we had led to evasion and resentment and the alternative to that is to give a wide power of definition to An Chomhairle and we expect An Chomhairle, being a responsible Body, to act reasonably. I think this is a more desirable way than the other.
I agree that there was a real difficulty under the previous Act but I feel that the Minister has gone extremely wide in section 26 and I should like to ask him what redress an employer has if he thinks An Chomhairle is acting unreasonably in this matter?
He could do it in a negative way by disobeying An Chomhairle and letting them prosecute him.
This seems to be clumsy legislation.
If An Chomhairle are acting in an unreasonable way they are unlikely to prosecute. We are going on the assumption that they will act reasonably. The definition under An Cheard Chomhairle was "employment of a specific class or classes of persons in a specific manner." People were describing apprentices as trainees. It was not a wide practice but it was wide enough to cause resentment among people who acted properly.
There are two ways in which An Chomhairle Oiliúna could act unreasonably. They could act unreasonably thinking they were acting reasonably or they could act unreasonably knowing they were being unreasonable. The Minister's case that they would not prosecute a person because they knew they were being unreasonable relates to the ease where they were being unreasonable and knew this. In the case in which a judge might hold to be unreasonable but which, nevertheless, they think is reasonable they would go ahead with the prosecution.
The logical conclusion is that if it is unreasonable the prosecution would fail.
In other words, the man would not have been disturbed until the court decides that An Chomhairle had acted reasonably and he would not have been put to the expense of bringing the prosecution. An Chomhairle would have had to take the prosecution.
My difficulty here is that if this case came before a judge the judge would not be called upon to say whether An Chomhairle was reasonable or was not in saying that this person was an apprentice. The judge would have to consider under section 26 whether An Chomhairle had the power to deem anybody it liked to be an apprentice. The court does not judge reasonableness—the court judges the law, If the Minister is endeavouring to avoid abuses which have happened in the past uses a definition which is extremely wide, then the position may well be that a judge will say: "Unfortunately, though my opinion is it was utterly ridiculous to make the regulation which called this person an apprentice, nevertheless, An Chomhairle Oiliúna had the power to do so under section 26". This is my point, We have left this completely wide. I agree entirely with the Minister that the probability is that An Chomhairle Oiliúna will act reasonably in regard to those matters but if in an instance they did not and if a citizen found himself in conflict with an Chomhairle the law might be no protection to him. There are occasions on which the law can be an ass and it is to avoid giving birth to an ass in this particular instance that I raise the point.
What is at issue would be that An Chomhairle would force the employer to train the apprentice properly. He is not forced to do anything except something that is good for the apprentice.
He might not be an apprentice at all.
An Chomhairle in its complete discretion according to this section.
What An Chomhairle gets is the power to make a man train a person whom An Chomhairle deems to be an apprentice properly.
I think what we should do is leave the section as it stands and hope that An Chomhairle will be reasonable in this regard. If it happens that any unusual cases occur we can discuss the matter again when we review the annual report.
The Senator will see that at the worst all An Chomhairle will be doing is seeing that people are trained properly. If they do act unreasonably it will be to unreasonably see that a person is trained properly.
They could also successfully prosecute a citizen who is in the right.
For not training properly.
It is something to be watched.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 27 to 29, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 30 stand part of the Bill".
The sections we have been discussing correspond with the similar sections in the 1959 Act. They are, in fact, re-enactments of them. Section 29 is the same as section 37 of the 1959 Act and section 30 is the same as section 39. Am I right in thinking that the specifications in regard to numbers of apprentices which are covered by section 38 of the 1959 Act are, in fact, covered by section 39 of the present Bill? Perhaps I should raise this when we come to section 39 of the Bill.
Then I need not raise it again.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 31 to 36, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 37 stand part of the Bill".
Section 37 deals with the power to exempt employers in certain cases. I understand that originally there was a provision, I think it was in the Apprenticeship Act of 1959, that in exempting employers from certain rules it was necessary to have a majority both of the worker members and of the employer members and that this has now been replaced by a simple majority. Is there any particular reason for the change?
The educational members had not got a vote on the Cheard Chomhairle and they will have on the new Comhairle Oiliúna.
Is the position under the existing Act, then, that it is the majority of the worker and employer members taken together which determine it?
They were the only people who had votes on the Cheard Chomhairle. Under the new Bill all members will have the right to vote.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 38 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 39 stand part of the Bill".
On section 39— is it the position that An Chomhairle can exercise their powers under section 39 without consulting with the industrial activity committee?
They could. An Chomhairle are, as you know, a representative body of employers and trade union members. The normal procedure would be to consult with the appropriate committee but they could take action in any particular case without such consultation.
There is provision in many sections of the Bill that they will consult with the appropriate committee before acting——
This would be the normal practice.
These are rather important powers given under section 39 and I certainly hope that those powers would not be exercised without consultation.
Normally, there would be full consultation with the representative bodies.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 40 to 42, inclusive, agreed to.
Government amendment; No. 11:
In subsection (1), line 29, and in subsection (2), line 36, to delete "23" and substitute "24".
This is an amendment to correct a typographical error in the subsections. The notices referred to in these subsections shall be served under section 24 and not section 23.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 43, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 44 to 46, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 47 stand part of the Bill".
Section 47 is the section which makes An Chomhairle Oiliúna the heir-at-law of the Ceard Chomhairle. There is just one point in regard to this—under section 65 of our Apprenticeship Act of 1959 the Cheard Chomhairle had the power to accept gifts. Have An Chomhairle Oiliúna got a similar power?
I do not think they would if we had what is set out here. I do not think they would have the power to accept gifts.
I do not know if there is not a case that they should have the power to accept gifts.
Yes. Somebody may wish to give a prize for a competition among apprentices or something of that type and I think it would be unwise that we should preclude An Chomhairle Oiliúna from accepting such gifts. I do not know whether An Cheard Chomhairle received many gifts during their term of office.
It may be possible to examine that and make any necessary change before next week.
Question put and agreed to.
Government amendment No. 12:
In article 25, page 26, line 22, to delete "four" and substitute "seven".
In the Dáil, on Committee Stage, I agreed that since the membership of An Chomhairle was to be increased from seven to 14, the quorum for a meeting should be increased from four to seven. The purpose of this amendment is to increase the quorum accordingly.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the First Schedule, as amended, be the First Schedule to the Bill".
On the First Schedule—firstly in regard to article 10, it is proposed that the Minister shall invite an organisation representative of trade unions of workers to nominate five persons. I do not want to be taken as suggesting in any way that it is likely to happen but we have in the past had the position in which there were two organisations which were representative of trade unions in the country. While I do not think any of us would hope it should occur again, nevertheless, if it did, I think the Minister would be in the very invidious position. If there were two organisations in this country, representative of trade unions, the Minister would be empowered under article 10 to invite one of them only to submit names.
It would look very pessimistic to anticipate such a development. I hope it will not happen; we will cross the bridge when we come to it, if it does. I do not think we should make any provision for such a contingency.
I am quite sure the parliamentary draftsman is never subject to doubts about ambiguity but, unfortunately, I am under article 12 which reads:
12. The Minister shall, after consultation with the Minister for Education, appoint a person whom he considers to be representative of educational interests to be the educational member of An Chomhairle.
My doubt is who is he?
Is this beyond all doubt whatsoever? Why the doubt arises is that the Minister is now appointing a person whom he, not the Minister for Education, considers to be representative of educational interests.
I can see that it could be; this would be a matter to be decided between two Ministers but it is intended that it would be the Minister for Labour who would make the appointment.
The Minister's point is that, in the case of an argument, he—the Minister for Labour— wins.
Under article 13—in the 1959 Act the period of office of members of An Cheard Chomhairle was put at five years. I take it that the position here is that no definite term is being set. This is rather unusual and I would have expected that a term of office for the members of An Chomhairle Oiliúna would have been in the governing statute, rather than be decided by the Minister.
I think a certain flexibility in that type of membership is a help. It may seem desirable at some time for people to overlap in their membership periods. I think it is better to leave it that if the Minister so desired to have different periods appointed; if there would be an overlap of membership—new members being brought in while old members continued in service there is an argument for flexibility. At the same time, the Minister may continue the practice of deciding the period of office.
So, the Minister sees no reason to change that.
On Article 14, I rise, provoked into speaking, by the appearance of the word "effluxion". It is about time that we got rid of words of this type from our legislation. The words "effluxion of time" appear nowhere except in our statutes. The words "effluxion of time" are used in other places. If we had to use words of this type I think "efflux" would be better than "effluxion". When I came across the word "effluxion" I went to the trouble of looking it up in the Oxford Dictionary. I found here that while the application of "effluxion" and "efflux" is to the passage of time, it is only the tertiary meaning according to the Oxford Dictionary and it does not appear as a meaning at all in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary or in Webster's Dictionary. The secondary meaning of "efflux" is a miscarriage before the tenth day. The secondary meaning of "effluxion" is an abortion. I think, whatever about a miscarriage, and perhaps at times it is unavoidable, this House should decry what is tantamount to an abortion. It would be sufficient in this connection that we should use some terms as passage of time or something of this type. If we are going to describe the passage of time—the passing of five years, or whatever period the Minister may allow—as an effluxion, we will probably be forced also to describe the individual during this period as being an effluent and after he finally retires from An Chomhairle Traenála as an effluvium.
The Senator is trying to say the word stinks. We will see if we can get a word instead of it.
The Minister might look into this.
Question put and agreed to.
Second Schedule agreed to.