Redundancy Payments Bill, 1970: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Before this debate was adjourned last night I was speaking on the particular point that, whereas in the amendment of this legislation, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions were able to press the case of organised workers and the representatives of the Federated Union of Employers were able to make the case on behalf of businesses, there still might be points on which this code could be amended which would help a person who might otherwise be forgotten, namely, the small businessman. I was instancing a case of a small builder who, when his business was being terminated, had taken great pains to ensure that all of his staff who had worked with him down the years would be reemployed in similar jobs in similar businesses without interruption. Apparently, in this particular case, because this small businessman, who was coming to the end of his working life, had not complied with certain requirements in regard to notification, it would appear that he was not entitled to some reimbursement to which he might otherwise have been entitled.

I do not want to retry this case in the course of this debate. It may well be that in this case there were other circumstances. It may well be that no matter how many notices he had sent to the Department of Labour he would not have been entitled to a reimbursement. I am saying that the bureaucratic needs of this code may bear rather heavily on the type of person of whom I am speaking, the person who is the proprietor of a small business in the construction industry, which perhaps I know better than any other, and there are a very large number of such businesses. I am putting the point to the Minister that he should have regard to the administration and amendment of this code and of all the other various codes that are concerned with manpower policy with a view to protecting such individuals. These people will be particularly hard hit in the years of transition that lie ahead and I have raised this case merely because it reflects a situation which the Minister might do something to remedy.

The Minister, in introducing the amendments which he has to this code, has estimated that it will involve an additional charge on the code of something of the order of £500,000. He mentioned the figure of £450,000 and said that the figures from recent months might indicate that this was an underestimate. I am asking the Minister if he will give a breakdown of that £450,000 in respect of the eight headings under which he itemised the improvements in the code. It would be a help to us on Committee Stage in deciding whether we agree with the Minister that these amendments provide the proper balance and that these are the proper steps to take. It is inevitable that on Committee Stage we will be discussing whether it might be better to go a little further in this direction and not so far in another direction. If we could know the cost under each heading it would be very helpful to us.

I do not think this House will have any desire to delay the Bill. It has already been sufficiently delayed. I do not wish to appear to be criticising the Members of the other House for the thorough job which they did on this legislation. Rather do I deplore that this Bill which was introduced in July of last year should only now, 11 months later, be coming before the Seanad. It took over six months between the introduction of the Bill and the first debate on it in the other House.

I am making this point not merely to criticise the Minister in this regard but because the Minister has again, in this debate, set his mind firmly against retrospection. When the Minister is taking such a firm stand against retrospection he must be held to be culpable in regard to these delays. If the Minister had been prepared to back-date these additional benefits to the introduction of the Bill then we would perhaps be less critical of him. There is a provision in the Bill which does allow for specialex-gratia payments to be made in respect of those who are affected by the court decision as to the meaning of redundancy under the original Act. We are thankful that the Minister has done that, but this is something that he has been promising to do since about 1968. However, I believe the Minister is wrong in treating the Bill in such a way that it does not become law for 12 months after its introduction and at the same time putting his mind firmly against the idea of retrospective payment. These again are questions that can come up on the Committee Stage.

As I said at the opening of my speech, I do not think this Bill, which is of a highly technical nature, is in proper form to be presented to the Legislature for our judgment. We have here a Bill with 20 sections and over 20 amendments in the Schedule; with seven of the eight important financial benefits listed not in the main sections but in the Schedule to the Bill; with a Schedule of three and a half pages packed with amendments in smaller print than in the few pages of the Bill itself, which makes it a difficult Bill to read and discuss. In my opinion, it will not be possible on the Committee Stage to deal with this Schedule in a single debate. It will be necessary when we come to Committee Stage discussion, to split this Schedule into parts, as has been done on other complex Bills in the past, and discuss themseriatim. The form in which the Bill has been presented to us is not helpful to Senators in their discussion of it. This is something which I hope will be remedied in Bills of this kind in the future. It seems to me that the Bill was drafted with a Schedule which started off with a few amendments to it and more and more were added to the Schedule, as the Minister found himself able to do more. Whatever the reason, this Bill is not in the form in which it should have been presented to us.

Nevertheless, we welcome what the Bill contains when we manage to find it among the complexities of the Bill. We welcome the amendments the Minister has made. This redundancy code is something of which we approve. The amendments to it are something of which we approve. The details of it are a matter for the Committee Stage but on the Second Stage we have no quarrel with the Minister's effort to improve the scheme.

I welcome this amending Bill because in the three years which have elapsed since the Principal Act came into operation many deficiencies have been found in it. The Bill does not do a great deal to improve the general situation. Nevertheless, it gives this House an opportunity to endeavour to induce the Minister to put matters right. I welcome the Bill also because unfortunately—I should like to stress that word "unfortunately"—from what the Minister said last evening in the introducing the Bill, it is clear beyond all doubt that from now on an ever-increasing number of workers will be affected by this legislation and will find it necessary to have recourse to it.

In this connection the Minister said that the number of redundancies in the three years has been fairly constant. This is so. There were 3,863 redundancies in 1968; 3,696 in 1969 and 3,896 in 1970. The Minister then added that in the first five months of this year there were 3,092 redundancies. In less than five months this year the number of redundancies has almost equalled the total number of redundancies last year. This means, in effect, that in less than 18 months the total number of redundancies has reached almost 7,000.

I do not know how the revelation of these figures by the Minister affected other Senators but I was absolutely appalled. I was even more appalled by the fact that the Minister simply announced these figures without offering any explanation for this adverse development in respect of redundancies. He did not tell the House anything about the steps, if any, which he and the Government are taking to remedy the situation or to arrest it. Frankly, I do not think that this whole question of redundancy can be divorced from the general economic situation or, indeed, from the whole question of Ireland's entry, or non-entry, into the EEC. This is a subject that I shall return to later on.

All the provisions of this Bill are extremely important but to workers the most important factor is the question of the lump sum payment. The Bill does nothing, or very little, to improve that situation. It provides merely for an extra weeks wages on redundancy, whereas the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, representing half a million organised workers throughout the country, have demanded that at least one week's wages should be paid in respect of each year of service up to the age of 41 and two weeks wages in respect of each year of service after the age of 41. What would be the effect of this demand?

Let us take a worker who has spent approximately 30 years in a job. After 30 years service he becomes redundant. If this worker was in the happy position of being in receipt of a basic wage of £20 per week—that sum is far in excess of the average basic wage in this country, but I mention £20 per week and 30 years service simply to make the arithmetic easy—he would be entitled, under Congress proposals, to a lump sum payment of £600. Is that claim excessive or unreasonable? He would receive £600 after a lifetime of service to an industry or to an employer. We can, of course, make comparisons. What are the entitlements, for instance, of redundant Members of this House or the other House after 30 years service? We all know the answer to that one.

I am referring to the superannuation scheme. We can also make a comparison between the position of a worker who meets with an accident within his employment, or outside his employment for that matter, and dies. We all know that in such cases, in recent times, the courts have made judgments involving very large sums of money. In one case recently the judge awarded over £100,000 to the relatives of the deceased worker. I am not complaining that these sums are too large, quite the contrary, but I am complaining that I consider, even under Congress proposals, a maximum sum of £600 far too low. One may say that there is no valid comparison between a man who loses his life and a man who merely loses his job. This is not so. There is a very valid comparison. In approximately 90 per cent of cases in which workers in their 50s or 60s—or, indeed, even in their 40s—become redundant, after a lifetime of service to an industry, those men are dead. They are dead in the sense that they have very little chance of being able to maintain themselves and their dependants from then on.

Take the case of the 200 miners in Castlecomer. After having given a lifetime in the bowels of the earth they became redundant at 55 to 62 years of age. What chance have those men of obtaining alternative employment? They have none at all. They are working in a traditional industry for which there is no alternative employment in this country. The only alternative is to emigrate. What change have workers who become redundant in Clara? There again they have no chance whatsoever of alternative employment. The Minister certainly has not suggested any way in which these cases could be dealt with. On the Committee Stage we will be submitting amendments calling for an improvement in the lump sum.

The Minister originally proposed in the Bill that the limitation should be increased from 20 weeks to 30 weeks wages. He has now decided to lift the limitation completely. We appreciate that and thank him for it. The waiting period has been reduced from two weeks to three days. Otherwise there is no improvement at all so far as weekly payments are concerned.

Congress has sought an increase in the amount of the weekly payment from 50 per cent to 66? per cent of the worker's pay, and that the limitation on the total amount receivable by a worker should be increased from 90 per cent to 100 per cent. These are some of the suggestions that Congress has made but which, unfortunately, have not been met by the Minister. I hope the Minister can see his way to reconsider suggestions made by Congress, because they are certainly not excessive or unreasonable.

Like the previous speaker, I find this a very difficult measure to follow. I would hope that the Minister, in replying, would explain some of the things which trouble us and which we think need clarification, particularly Schedule 3. I hope I am wrong, but I have a fear about this which I hope the Minister will be able to set at rest. In most industries where married women are employed arrangements have been made, mainly through trade union agreements, that absence due to pregnancy is not taken into account in the calculation of holidays or holiday money. In other words, workers who are absent for this reason do not lose anything in respect of holidays or holiday money. I fear this is not so in respect of Schedule 3. Perhaps the Minister could reassure us about this. My reading of the Schedule in the original Act and as amended, is that absence due to pregnancy will be taken into account in the computation of continuity of employment in respect of married women. I hope this is not so. If it is so I can only say the Minister is providing yet another weapon to those favouring contraception.

I feel very diffident addressing myself to this subject after the impressive speech of Senator Kennedy who obviously knows the subject so well. His contribution was enlightening. There is also the fact that most of the points I would wish to make with regard to this Bill are probably more appropriate to Committee or Report Stage than the Second Reading. Therefore, I may be leaving outside of comment matters which I would wish to refer to later as being defects in the Bill.

If the Minister will forgive me I am going to comment first, as my occupation would entitle me to, on the point Senator Kennedy and Senator Dooge have already made about packing into the Schedule what I calculate are more amendments than there are sections in the Bill. This is a very convenient thing for a draftsman to do, but if there are to be 40 amendments to an Act which has 58 sections, there should be a codifying Act so that we will all know what we are talking about. We can be told, or work out for ourselves quite easily, what the amendments are, but if such a Bill were followed by a codifying Bill it would make it clear what was intended.

I could conceive of someone ill-advised enough to seek my advice as to what his rights were under the Redundancy Payments Act, 1967 to 1970, and all I can say is the task of telling him what he would be entitled to get would be enormous for me, simply because I would have to start rewrithing the original Act in a most laborious way by reference to this Bill. We have a public service employed for the purpose of serving the community. That public service should serve the community with a law which is easily understood by those who have to advise people as to their rights under it. I take grave exception to the form which the Bill takes. My second objection is to the language used. I do not have the text of the Minister's speech to the House yesterday before me, but I hope he will not mind if I refer to some language he used in another place.

It is not proper to comment on the ability of judges but it will not be found by any member of the bar that the ability of Mr. Justice Kenny is underrated—his ability is very considerable and recognised extensively in legal circles—and he determined that by a provision drafted by the Parliamentary Draftsmen in 1967 meant something. He determined what it meant. It must have been a disagreeable decision for him to reach because he found against an unfortunate lady named Anna Ryan. Anyone reading the facts in that case—the judgment which I have before me was delivered on 17th July, 1969—will, I am sure, appreciate the pain he must have experienced in having to deliver the judgment because of the form of the Act, the language used in it. If I were the judge, and I am in the fortunate position that unless they make extensive amendments to the law relating to the matter I can never become a judge, I would have made the same judgment. A judge's duty is to find and determine what the law is, to apply justice, and in relation to civil matters he cannot be merciful at the expense of other people, in this case the Limerick Health Authority.

When the Minister came to speak on this matter in another place he read a text or delivered an address in which he referred to the judgment, without specifying what it was, but I think there is no doubt what judgment it was, in the following words:

The main purposes of this Bill are firstly to provide for a new definition of redundancy to meet the circumstances arising from a decision of the High Court in 1969 which gave a narrower interpretation to the term "redundancy" than was originally intended and to provide for the compensation of workers adversely affected by the High Court decision in the period before the amending legislation comes into effect.

In fact, the judge interpreted not narrowly but interpreted, in my view, correctly what the Act meant, and what the Act means is the job of a judge to discover by reading the language contained in the Act. The language contained in the Act in this case forced him to decide this. The workers who were adversely affected were not adversely affected by the judgment of Judge Kenny, they were adversely affected by the Act that was enacted by the Oireachtas in 1967. They were not adversely affected by his interpretation of it. He decided what it meant. It was open to Anna Ryan to make her appeal which she did not in fact do, being well advised, I am sure.

The point I am making in this matter is one which I think it is appropriate for me to make. We get assurances from time to time in this House that this sort of legalistic thinking is simply a nuisance. Let us understand what we are doing here. We are enacting Bills whose language will determine what the intention of the Legislature was and that will be determined by a judge of the High Court or the Circuit Court or the Supreme Court as the case may be. If they make a decision it is not their decision which adversely affects whoever is affected by the decision; it is the draftsman's, the Minister's, the Government's, his advisers'. It is they who have failed, not he who has determined what they meant, unless you change the Constitution and change the law. It is recommended by many lawyers—not by me, may I say—that the judge should be free to do what he is forbidden to do, that is, to look at what took place in the Dáil and the Seanad and see what was said to understand what was intended. There are some people who think that this ought to be open to him to do. It is not open to him to do that under the law of our land, unless that law is changed by an Act and comes through the Parliament of which this Chamber is part.

There are provisions in this Bill which will have a retrospective effect. I do not think I am called on to point out, or, indeed, it might not be permissible for me to point out too closely, where under these sections these retrospective provisions take effect. I just question, firstly, the wisdom of these retrospective provisions and, secondly, even their constitutionality. If I refer to one section in particular then perhaps I shall make my point clear. Section 20 deals with the order which the Minister may make:

This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Minister appoints by Order.

What is the effect of that on matters which have already been determined? If this Act comes into effect in August of this year how does that effect matters that were determined, say, in August of last year? What is the effect on the responsibility of the official assignee in bankruptcy, an executor of an estate, a liquidator of a company? What is the effect if such a person has correctly disposed of all the resources available to him according to the law which applies to the distribution at the time he makes it? This is not law. This is a Bill proposed to be enacted. He need take no account of it. He should take no account of it. What is his position? It is by no means clear as to what is the effect of retrospective provisions on such a person who does his duty according to the law. I think the Minister ought to consider this very carefully.

I am not a person interested in a Judaic religious prophet who was maniacally interested in the control, if not in the distribution, of material things, a man called Marx, but I am open to conviction on the merits of socialism. I am not yet convinced of the merits of socialism until socialists realise and incorporate in their policies a recognition of the importance of freedom which seems to me to be endangered by the proposals of fully committed socialists. It is fair to say of Marx that he was one of those who was conquered by what some poet called the "pale Galilean Christ". Why he was called a "pale Galilean" I have never understood because I would not have imagined he would have been pale in any of the circumstances of his life. But this embarrassing figure of Christ has raised for me problems with regard to my own observation that, in fact, what stimulates people to deal rightly and sensibly with the things they have got to deal with is that they are going to make a profit out of it. It seems to me from my experience that things are better looked after if they are looked after by people who have an interest in them. Yet I come to the "pale Galilean's" observation about the "camel getting through the eye of the needle" and I say to myself very often how right he was about the camel and the eye of the needle, because I think the profit motive leads them on to a better exploitation of the economic resources than will be made by somebody who is on a salary and who has no direct interest in the resources that are being exploited. At the end of it all, if it is relevant, I hope its relevance will appear soon. They are not very attractive characters as a result of their operations. I am coming to this point that the camels who cannot get through the eye of a needle are in difficulty, but all things are possible to God. The camels who cannot get through the eye of a needle without assistance of a special kind from God now include, I would say, the large mass of our population. The employees of companies are now as well off, I will not say as kings were once, but certainly as were aristocrats and the sooner that is said and said often to them, the better.

The relevance to the Redundancy Bill is this. In the context of a situation where wage inflation, call it income inflation if you do not want to face the facts, is determining workers to go abroad, putting them out of employment, making them redundant, making the economy operate in very difficult circumstances, we should approach this whole matter of the fund and its management very conservatively and guard it against any unnecessary claims. This Act of 1967 came too late. It followed the usual pattern of coming two years after the British Act. I compliment the draftsman in this case on producing a better drafted document than the British Act was, because the British draftsmen are extremely bad draftsmen. I am in favour of this Bill.

As an example, in section 10 the onus of proof is shifted firmly to the employer. I think this is right. It is his job and it is easier for him to comprehend what his duties are and easier for him to keep all his records. I am in favour of all kinds of social legislation which have the effect of creating conditions which force the bad employer to do what he ought to do. The profit motive will often lead the bad employer to do things, which should not be done by him and which are done to the disadvantage of his workers. I am, therefore, wholly in favour of provisions for redundancy.

I am also in favour of having an economy that is well managed. I am also in favour of seeing that the rate of taxation here is not so high as to stifle endeavour. I am also in favour of attracting capital, of encouraging savings, of having resources made available to companies, so that they can, by having these resources under their control and in their hands, use them for the development of the economy and expansion of industry and further employment. The 58 per cent effective rate of taxation does not help that situation, and any provisions in this Bill which are not strictly necessary to see that workers are properly provided for are provisions which, I think, are not financially sound. One such occurs to me as being something which could affect, what I identify capital as being, the demand for labour. That is what capital is. It is effectively the demand for labour and without capital being kept and preserved and savings being added to, the possibility of increased employment is limited or reduced.

I give one example. In the law of the land there is a general provision that if somebody breaks his contract there is one advantage the other person cannot get. He cannot be better off as a result of the breach of contract than he was before it was broken. Under this Bill, as I understand it, a worker can be better off if he becomes redundant if there is a proper pension scheme providing for him. There is no off-setting provision in this Bill. There is no provision in this Bill whereby the employer who establishes a proper pension scheme can offset the redundancy payment that, by statute, he is now bound to make to the employee. I do not think an employee ought to be better of because he has become redundant. I may be misunderstanding the provisions of the Bill, but it seems to me he can be better off by being redundant. He can have his pension rights. I am sure the Minister will tell me where I am wrong, and I hope I am wrong. I would like to be told explicitly where this is provided for. The possibility is there and if the possibility is there, it is what a judge will determine this Bill and that Act to mean.

Senator Dooge yesterday referred to the case of a building contractor who did everything possible for his employees before finishing up his business. There are countless examples of cases which could occur where this might happen to other people. What of a farmer who drops dead in his field? He has not made a will and there is nobody entitled to give a notice on his behalf, to take advantage of the provisions. There should be some provision of a discretionary kind given to the tribunal, such as there are in other Acts of which we are all aware, whereby it could be recognised that the circumstances under which failure to give the required notice would not deprive the farmer in question, or his family, from any rights he might have had to get payment from the fund, in a situation where his death caused the redundancy.

I mention this matter of the cause of redundancies first because there may be many psychological reasons justifying and explaining it. The motivation is one thing, the fact is another and that is all I am concerned with. There is an excessive demand for income by people who are putting others out of employment by so demanding it. Mismanagement of the economy is another reason.

A third matter very relevant to this Bill was referred to yesterday. What has been happening about retraining? I understand that the persons whose job it is to go and retrain only did so this week. Perhaps my date is wrong, but it is a recent date anyway. What have we been doing over the years? The fact that workers are not retrained prevents them from getting other jobs. It makes them redundant to the cost of the State and of everybody involved in these contributions. I think the age at which you can become redundant is over 41 years. Is this incorrect?

Yes. The benefits are better for persons over 41 than for those who are younger.

But they are not disqualified?

I see. I just wanted to make the point to the Minister. I am glad that I misunderstood that point. I hope I do not discover that I have been misunderstanding a lot of other things. People nowadays lose their jobs and are effectively redundant. They just must go away. I wonder if the Minister would consider a variation in that age in recognition of the fact that if people now in their thirties lose their jobs they can, very often, not be re-employable. I know that this would open the fund to greater claims but perhaps some provision could be introduced whereby the appeal tribunal would be able to deal with a particular case in question. The age 41 was perhaps all right in 1965 or 1967, but as every year passes the age at which one becomes effectively redundant is younger than it used to be. This is due to the rather disagreeable economic circumstances under which we live.

We spoke of the death of the farmer, we spoke of the good building employer, but we should also consider the case of the employer. I must go back to the first sentences that I uttered in relation to this. I am neither a committed socialist nor a committed capitalist. I should like to see capitalism tempered by Christianity and controlled by socialism. But I should prefer one thing or the other. People know where they are in a socialist society. They are employed and controlled by the State. But that is not our society. That is not what was created by the Constitution. That is all right, but let us have one thing or the other. We have the other, a situation in which employers who through no fault of theirs whatsoever are in a position where their workers become redundant. This is obviously for Committee or Report Stage but the Minister should consider giving the appeals tribunal power to give an increased rebate to employers in circumstances which satisfy the tribunal, meaning that the employer in question was almost without guilt because of this redundancy situation which had arisen. There is a great deal more that I want to say on this Bill but it would not be appropriate at this Stage.

This is a Bill which, due to its nature, is more properly dealt with on Committee and Report Stages. However, I should like to make a few general comments. Most of them will be very much in line with the remarks made by other speakers, but I should like to get them on the record.

I join with other Senators in welcoming the changes which this Bill proposes in the 1967 Redundancy Act. That is an Act which came into force on 1st January, 1968, which means that after rather less than three years in operation, the Minister has found it desirable to make certain important amendments, in the light of the experience of the operation of the 1967 Act. In general, those changes improve the original Act; they improve the redundancy provisions of the Act, and they remove some of the anomalies which existed in the original Act. already significant events have taken

Since the Bill was first introduced place which necessitate the Minister having another very hard look at some of the provisions. One of the most significant factors that has been thrown up in the Minister's own speech is the financial position of the Redundancy Fund. As the Minister pointed out, the number of cases qualifying for redundancy payments over the years 1968, 1969 and 1970 were quite small—less than 4,000 in each year. However, in the first few months of the current year there was an enormous jump to a figure in excess of 3,000 in the number of applicants, as pointed out by Senator Kennedy.

We can safely assume that for the first half of 1970 the number of qualifying applicants will not be less than 4,000 and this would appear to be running at a rate of something like 8,000 a year. With the present, and probably the future, rapid changes in the economy, due to technical and technological changes, and also to changes in people's tastes and desires and even more so, to the impact of free trade, it is not being alarmist to suggest that this estimated rate of 8,000 for the current year may well increase to a much higher figure. If that were to happen, it would certainly strain the Redundancy Fund to a very serious extent. For that reason the Minister may have to look at the rate of contributions set out in the 1967 Act, and recently converted into new pence by a measure introduced by the Minister only a few weeks ago. The income and expenditure of the fund is roughly in balance, without taking into consideration the new provisions and new benefits which the Bill contains. That is so without any increase in the number of applicants for redundancy payments. The Fund, therefore, is in a very precarious position. When the Minister is replying to the debate, perhaps he would give the House some idea of what his estimate, not only for the current year but also for the next two or three years, is in regard to the requirements of the fund.

The necessity for the increase in the Redundancy Fund has been brought about by the rapid changes in the field of technology and the introduction of machines that are replacing men, a development which has accelerated not only in this country but in other countries also. I should think we are away behind some of the other countries in regard to the equipping of our industrial sector by modern sophisticated machines, computers and other types of equipment that unfortunately replace men. Nevertheless, when other countries introduce these machines and equipment, we have no alternative, unfortunately, but to follow suit unless we want to put ourselves in a hopelessly uneconomic and uncompetitive position in the very ruthless world in which we are living.

Another factor which gives rise to the necessity to introduce modern sophisticated machinery is the natural and proper desire of the working population, and indeed of everybody, to enjoy a higher standard of living. Everybody wants to do something that his father could not afford to do and probably our sons and daughters will want to live a better life than we had the opportunity of doing at their age. It is a force in nature that is for the good of the country and for the good of the people. It is important to realise that a rising standard of living in a fiercely competitive world can only come from greater efficiency and higher productivity from both men and machines. This can only be achieved by first class management, efficient tools and a highly trained responsible and contented labour force.

It is in regard to the latter qualification that this Bill has an important part to play. We would all agree with and subscribe to the statement that men are not machines, that labour is not a commodity and that some men have more talents than others but that all, with the exception of those unfortunate enough not to be able to play any part in the expansion of the economy, have a part to play in contributing to the general welfare of the nation.

We must recognise that training is essential if a man is to contribute his maximum value to the expansion of the economy. Retraining is equally important. I sometimes feel that when we pass very worthwhile Bills such as this, which contribute to the peace of mind of the worker and make for more contented working force, we are inclined to sit back and say: "That is all right. If machines are introduced in to an industry and 50 or 100 men are disemployed, we can either give them redundancy payments or else we can retrain them for something else." I am sure the Minister would agree that this would be very shortsighted, to say the least of it, and certainly a very uncharitable view to take. We must look beyond that. The time has come when the Government themselves must take a cold, hard, realistic look generally at our economy and particularly at the industrial sector to see well in advance if industries that now appear to be profitable and permanent would be in danger of closing down or of being very adversely affected in the changing conditions of this free trade world.

Business suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.

Before the suspension of business I was making the point that, although this scheme is a very valuable contribution towards easing some of the problems that will arise in the advent of free trade and also in the change in technological schemes, advances and developments, it was not the complete answer. We should not sit back feeling that, having made provision for the people who will lose their employment, in whole or in part, there is nothing further to be done.

I realise that AnCO are doing a very valuable job. However, I would suggest that their work requires to be expanded considerably and in some cases improved. The great problem which exists at present, and which will grow in dimension, is the type of people who are becoming unemployed. If an old-established industry that has been in operation for many years closes down—we have had several examples in recent years—a large number of men are thrown out of employment. In a case like that it would not be the same type of workers who would become disemployed. They cover several categories: young men just starting out in life, middle aged men in their fifties and men in their sixties and over who are nearing retirement. All those workers are confronted with a very serious situation at a critical time of their lives. The fact that they qualify for redundancy and lump sum payments is of considerable help but some of them, particularly the middle-aged men who may not be retrainable, are faced with a very serious problem indeed.

In addition to the problem of the age groups who will become disemployed there are the categories of skilled or unskilled men. Skilled men, some with valuable skills, semi-skilled men and unskilled men become disemployed. All these various age groups and categories of workers are put on the sideline if an industry closes down at short notice. That is why I made the suggestion, before we suspended business that as of now, with the rapidly changing circumstances of today which will undoubtedly be accelerated with our accession to the Common Market, or even if we do not join the Common Market, because we will have developing free trade in any event, the Government should be taking a census of the industries which are likely to be seriously affected with the changing conditions of world trade.

We should undertake this census so that redundancy schemes can be planned in advance of changes in the fortunes of any industry or any type of employment. If this had been done in some recent examples, of which we are all conversant, men who are now preparing for retraining—in some cases those men did not wait for retraining but left the country—would have had ample opportunity of deciding what type of industrial employment they were best suited to even if this meant reimbursing the firms concerned to keep them going. Those men could have been trained, either full-time or part-time, to take up suitable employment as soon as the industry closed down. That is a very necessary step which should be taken at this juncture in our country's fortunes. I suggest to the Minister that retraining is very much allied to the redundancy scheme.

Some of the previous speakers made reference to the type of economy we have which, of course, impinges on the redundancy scheme. For better or worse we operate a mixed economy, part free enterprise and part State industry. My view—I have no strong ideological views on the type of economy which is best for a country —is that, until a better system has been proved to us, it is up to ourselves to try to make the system we have work to the best effect in the interests of the community. Our system, as everybody knows, requires three essential constituents. It requires capital, which must be reasonably rewarded and not penalised by oppressive taxation as is being done at present. It requires effective management, and—I speak with a good deal of experience of management categories—there is no doubt that the level of management in this country leaves a lot to be desired. That position is being rectified, perhaps not quickly enough, by the work of the Irish Management Institute and other concerns. There is no doubt that we need a greater and more rapid improvement in the structure and expertise of management The third essential constituent is labour itself.

Each of these three constituents for economic development, are entitled to a fair reward. It should be possible to ensure a fair reward between them without clashes which, in the final analysis, only injure the community and very often do not injure the participating parties to the same extent. Each of these sectors is entitled to a fair reward for their work with reasonable security and the incentive to contribute to the advancement of the economy. The Minister, to a large extent, is trying to ensure in this Bill that the employer will feel that he is making reasonable provision for his workers and the workers on their side will feel that their job is more secure than it was and that at least some reasonable provision is being made for their future in the event of a close down or some disruption of the industry in which they are working.

One factor which could very seriously upset the Minister's best laid schemes is the existing danger of inflation. No scheme, however well intentioned or planned, can possibly be successful if this country goes on inflating at the rate of 8 to 10 per cent per annum. Has the Minister taken this factor into consideration in framing this amending Bill? I should like to hear him on that point because I feel that inflation is one of the most serious dangers affecting this country today. Unless we can combine all interests, employers and employees, trade unions and industrial and commercial groupings to fight this danger it will negative all our efforts to provide reasonably for the workers and also to ensure that capital management and other interests get a fair reward from their efforts.

I do not want to touch on the various sections of the Bill. Other Senators have already said it is more appropriate to Committee Stage. There are just one or two points I should like to bring to the Minister's notice in a general way. Perhaps he might answer them when he is replying to this debate. Section 12 deals with the extension of the right of the employee to apply for redundancy payment within two years provided the tribunal gives an extension to two years. I should like to ask the Minister if the retrospective element comes into effect as soon as the Bill becomes an Act? Is an employee then entitled to go back two years from say August or September, 1971 to 1969?

That clears that point. Another point, in a general way, is the question of existing pension schemes. An increasing number of firms in this country provide pension schemes and death benefit schemes for their employees. As I understand it, there is provision for winding up these schemes when the Act comes into force. Is that a good thing?

Notwithstanding the benefits under the redundancy scheme, I think employers should be encouraged to continue to operate pension schemes for the benefit of their employees. I have personal experience of firms in which these operate and I can say they contribute a great deal to harmonious working in the firms concerned. Employees, particularly young married men, who feel there will be some death benefit there if anything should happen to them in the early years of their married life and the older men who feel there is a pension there for them, are more content knowing they are being provided for voluntarily by the firm in which they work. That is a good thing and it should be encouraged. Unless I misread the Bill the only reference to these pension schemes is contained in the winding-up provisions.

Could some credit be given to the employer for these schemes? In other words, if an employee or a group of employees became redundant the employing firm would have the right to set off, if it was a non-contributory scheme, the amount which would come to the employee against the lump sum payment he would get. In the case of a joint contributory scheme, the employer and employee both paying something, the employer's contribution would become allowable as a set off against the redundancy scheme.

I think I am correct in saying that in the English Act some such provision is included. That may not be the best way to do what I have in mind. The point I want to make is that I think every encouragement should be given to continue these schemes and encourage good employers to make even better provision for their employees in their years of retirement. That is all I want to say on the Bill except to emphasise, as did other Senators, that it is a very welcome improvement on the first measure and to strike again the warning note I struck at the start, that is, that the fund does not become vulnerable from this year onwards. It seems to me that we will have a good deal of redundancy in this country in the immediate years ahead. It would be a tragic thing if anything were to happen to make the financial benefits of the scheme unworkable because of lack of finance.

Along with other Senators, I welcome this Bill. I want to assure the Minister that we in these benches will do nothing to delay the speedy passage of the measure. We welcome it in that it amends the Principal Act and gives greater benefits to many people. I have some reservations. For example, I do not think it goes far enough.

My first general comment—the point was made already by other Senators—is that the terminology of the Bill—it is a measure designed basically because of what it contains for the benefit of workers many of whom would not have had the benefit of a legal training—makes it practically impossible to interpret. I do not know if this is necessary. I doubt if it is but I accept it as I am not a lawyer and legal people have their own way of putting things. As it is not a consolidated companies measure or a corporate bodies measure, it seems a shame to me that it cannot be expressed in language which the ordinary person who is affected by the Bill would understand.

The guide to the redundancy payments scheme which was brought out by the Minister's Department, and on which I compliment them, to a degree, at least explains more than the Bill does. May I make a suggestion to the Minister? When next he is revising it, as I am sure he will when this Bill becomes an Act of law, the Minister might include some specific examples which would indicate to workers, when they read it, how they might fit into a particular category. I do not know how many Senators have actually tried to interpret what continuous service, reckonable service, average wage are under the terms of this Bill. I can assure the House that from the trade union point of view it has created great problems and great difficulties.

Much of what I have to say is probably more appropriate to the Committee Stage. As Senator Kennedy has already said, we will be putting down amendments for the Committee Stage, but there are some aspects which I should like to highlight at this stage. First of all, the operative date. It seemed obvious, reading the debate in the other House, that the Minister is set against any retrospective element. I would appeal to him to think about this because we are aware that since the introduction of this Bill many employers have taken advantage of the fact that it is not yet enacted. Redundancies are being declared which I do not think would necessarily have been done if they knew this Bill was operative, for example, from 22nd January, 1971. By publishing the rules the people who know them can take advantage of them. The worker is at a disadvantage in this respect. He cannot declare the redundancy.

Senator Russell referred to the people who are excluded from the scope of the Act. This is a very burning issue because the non-manual worker over £1,600 is excluded. People in this category should be allowed opt into the Act. There is a way of doing it. In fact, there is a precedent in that under the social welfare code if you want to remain a contributor under the widows' and orphans' scheme you may do so. The fact that one is earning over £1,600 is no guarantee that one will not become redundant. The trend may be that the fact you are earning over £1,600 may well mean you will become redundant—that is if we follow the American pattern in regard to white collar workers and the middle executive, amongst whom there is rampant redundancy in the United States.

Up to the passing of the Principal Act redundancy was almost overlooked in the Irish context. It was not recognised as a problem until then. We must give the Government credit for accepting the recommendations of Congress at that stage. It is quite obvious that, with the passing of time, it will become a very important problem, and if we are pushed into the EEC, it will become crucial. I cannot see any reason for excluding people who earn over £1,600. In fact, at present people with a basic salary of £1,600 are being excluded from redundancy payments because of overtime earnings which they had to earn. This is a case that came to light only in recent times.

There are a few other aspects to which I should like to refer. When the Principal Act was going through the Oireachtas, the Minister's predecessor in this House assured the House that dismissals to break service would be ineffective due to the 26 weeks rule. In fact, the 34 weeks is what should have been applied. I would ask the Minister to reconsider that because there are individuals who have suffered because of the length of time it took to put the original legislation through this House.

Another problem that has arisen is what I would term a dismissal of convenience. I hope I am not talking like a lawyer, but I can quote an example which will probably illustrate what I have in mind. If one firm is taken over by another the new firm may want to continue a policy of employing only trade union labour. In order to do this new conditions have to be offered to the employees of the old firm. Dismissal notices have to be issued and they sign a new agreement. Technically, under this Bill, that dismissal of convenience causes a break in service so the workers lose their continuity or reckonable service under the Bill. I am open to correction on this.

The other aspect, which has been referred to by Senator Kennedy, is one which will become most important. I cannot claim that it is very important as of now but it certainly will be important. We are aware that many trade unions are at the moment engaged in negotiating agreements for what is termed pregnancy leave and some agreements have in fact been made. The pressure on married women to return to the work force is there, certainly in the city. Many of them want to return in any case and I will defend their right to make that choice for as long as I have any breath left in me. These are seriously concluded negotiations where employees, married women who become pregnant, are allowed time off. This, of course, only brings us into line with Europe. We are a long way behind Europe in many aspects. From my reading—I think it is in Schedule I—of what may be allowed to break or not break service, pregnancy leave, even under an agreement between unions and management, would break service and the tribunal would not have any say in the matter. They would just have to interpret it as it is written down. I do not want to delay the House any further. We were rather pleased that the Minister accepted so many amendments in the other House. I hope he will do the same when we come to the Committee Stage in this House.

I want, first of all, to thank all the Senators who spoke for their commendation of the Bill in its broader principles. While they had reservations about the distance it goes they all agreed that it was a necessary piece of improved legislation. It is hardly necessary at this stage to point out to the House that it was made possible to bring in this amending Bill because there was a surplus in the fund. I thoroughly agree with Senator Russell and the other Senators who warn that we may be going too far despite the fact that many Senators, and indeed many speakers in the other House, had a good deal of proposals that would consume a lot more of the surplus.

The Principal Act has been in force for only three years since 1st January, 1968, and there is a modest surplus of £1,750,000 in the Redundancy Fund. The outgoings from the fund, while they were uniform for the first three years, have shown a tendency to increase in the first few months of this year. If that rate were maintained over a period we could, indeed, find ourselves very much depleting the surplus available to us in which case, of course, as Senator Russell warned, we would be left in the position where we would not be able to meet the payments and we would be faced with the problem of having to increase the contributions, something that I do not want to do, because weekly contributions on industry are sufficiently high indeed at the present time. The amount included for redundancy purposes is not a very great amount. Nevertheless, I would not wish to have to increase it. When the surplus accumulated in the fund, I was faced with the decision as to whether we should reduce the contribution or amend the Act to provide better benefits. Naturally, we readily decided to amend the Act to improve the benefits.

I should like, without going any further into the principles of the Bill, to deal very briefly with some of the points raised by those who have spoken and if I do not cover them all it will only be due to an oversight on my part.

Senator Dooge, who was the first speaker, raised the question of how we arrived at the £450,000 which it is estimated it will cost the fund apart from any other changes that may have taken place in the meantime. He asked for a breakdown of the figures so I will give this as best I can. I will give the estimates in relation to the main improvements in the Bill, although I must stress that they are estimates. One must depend on a good deal of conjecture in any exercise of this kind. The first benefit the amending Bill here confers is the reduction in the qualifying period from four years to two years. That is estimated to cost £130,000 a year. The next improvement is the abolition of the 20 weeks pay lump sum maximum. We are now proposing to abolish the maximum altogether so that there will be no limit. This proposal is estimated to cost £100,000 a year. The years of continuous employment over the age of 41 will in future each count now for two weekly payments, while under the 1967 Act, every three years counts for two. That is estimated to cost £100,000 per annum. The cost of the provision for a minimum of four weekly payments contingent on unemployment is included in the first heading, namely, the reduction in the qualifying period. The proposed increase in each lump sum payment by the equivalent of one week's pay is estimated to cost £45,000 and the general 5 per cent increase in the rates of lump sum rebates to employers is also estimated to cost £45,000. There is only a slight increase in respect of the reduction in the existing waiting period of two weeks to three days.

Finally, there is the proposal that cover by the Act is to continue for four years after the insurable limit under the Social Welfare Act is exceeded, instead of two years, which is estimated to cost another £45,000 in a full year. Members of the House will understand that in the original Act when an non-manual worker reached the limit of £1,200, which is now £1,600, he continued to enjoy the benefit of the Act for two years. We now propose to make that four years after the insurable limit is exceeded. That proposal will cost another £45,000 approximately, which with the costs of other improvements I have mentioned adds up to about £465,000. We have rounded that down to £450,000 to allow for errors in overestimation.

That is roughly the breakdown which Senator Dooge asked for. He made a point regarding a firm which had very kindly set about placing its employees in employment when it had to close down itself. As far as I can gather the employer did not inform the employees he was letting them go. It was a difficult point to understand. He was arranging employment for his employees elsewhere and did not get benefit as he did not notify them. I could not quite follow this. Perhaps the Senator had not got the full details. Even if the employees did not receive notice the employer would still be entitled to a rebate of his lump sum of 50 per cent provided he had a reasonable explanation for not giving notice. That rebate could be as much as 65 per cent if the employees had received a few weeks notice. It is increased proportionately to the length of notice given. This is to encourage the giving of long notice to the National Manpower Service so as to enable it to find other jobs for the employees concerned. If the employer did not get 50 per cent of his lump sum there must have been some special factors in the case. I know the Senator only gave this as an example of what he thought would be one of the weaknesses in the amending Bill.

I think it is a question of extra rebates.

What he could have lost would be the extra amount of the rebate.

Yes, but it meant a lot, apparently.

Maybe. Senator Dooge also said that I expressed myself as disappointed with the numbers offering themselves for retraining. I did express disappointment about this at some time, but not in my opening speech here on this Second Reading. Our people do not seem to be anxious to obtain employment except in Dublin and one or two other cities. It is not a common occurrence to have people moving from Donegal to work in Galway or moving from Waterford to work in Shannon. They tend to go to Birmingham or London instead. For that reason when redundancies occur it is often difficult to get the workers to move to similar employment in other parts of the country, although they would benefit under the re-settlement allowances scheme. Now we are proposing to extend the scope of the re-settlement allowances scheme. It already applies to unemployed persons going for interview, persons who have not yet moved their family and may have to come back to visit them. It is proposed to extend these benefits to certain persons in employment, to returning emigrants as well as to persons going for training or retraining. In general, the success of the scheme is very much dependent on the willingness of persons to move from one place of employment to another.

Senator Dooge asked for the figures to the extent of which the resettlement allowances were availed of and I wish to put the figures on the record. In the year 1968, 17 persons availed themselves of the resettlement allowances scheme. In 1969, 37 persons availed themselves of it. In 1971, 187 persons benefited from it and up to May of this year, 60 persons. It can be seen from those figures, while they are not very startling, I admit, that workers are already showing an awareness of the availability of this allowance and that more people are seeking to use it.

Senator Kennedy referred to the question of absenteeism due to pregnancy and stated that this would break continuity of employment. The last speaker, Senator Owens, referred to the same problem. Paragraph 5 of the Third Schedule in the 1967 Act provides that any absence up to 26 weeks authorised by an employer does not break continuity even if the worker has been dismissed. Twenty-six weeks should cover a good deal of contingencies in that respect particularly as this limit applies only where there has been a dismissal.

No, it is not sufficient.

Senator Farrell, who has considerable experience, thinks it is.

Senator FitzGerald made a lot of play on the complex nature of the Bill as did Senator Dooge and other speakers. Senator FitzGerald completely rejected this idea of having too much of the Bill in the Schedules rather than in the statute proper. I could not agree with him on this. I know it must necessarily be a bit complex if one is to provide for all the details surrounding the provision of what may be termed qualifications. While these are referred to as red tape by many people who glibly speak about legislation as if it were something which could be completely discarded, I do not agree. All of the provisions, however complex they may be, are calculated for the betterment of the workers and to define more precisely the circumstances in which they may not be deprived of what are their rights in relation to continuity of service and the calculation of payments, etc. One must assign a lot of this to Schedules where it can be easily pursued by legal practitioners. I am not particularly concerned about the legal practitioners if it confers benefits on the people concerned.

I want to assure Senator Owens that we will be issuing a new booklet and the next booklet will be no worse than the existing one which is quite good. We will keep in mind the point she makes regarding some improvements that might be made. In that respect I want to assure Senator FitzGerald and Senator Dooge, who said that it was difficult to follow a Committee Stage because the Minister had his brief provided while the rest of the members had to grope through the legislation. We provided for Committee Stage in the Dáil a useful memorandum setting out all the amendments annotated to show in plain language what each amendment sought to do, and the appropriate provision in the Principal Act which was being amended. We will do the same again for the Senators. This should make the Schedule quite easy to follow on Committee Stage. That is a fairly generous gesture on our part.

Some Senators—and I am inclined to agree with them—sounded a warning regarding redundancies which is very important. Redundancy legislation is a most important thing and redundancy payments are most important for the workers concerned. Those Senators, who were concerned about the position where persons would be better receiving redundancy than working, may not be familiar with the social welfare code or with this Bill, which is a Department of Labour Bill. For any redundant worker, 90 per cent of his total pre-redundancy emoluments is the most he can get in benefits between unemployment and other social insurance benefits and weekly payments under the redundancy scheme. So that Senators could not sustain an argument in that respect.

Senator FitzGerald, who is not present, apologised to me that he could not remain for my reply. It appeared to me that he was getting somewhat confused between redundancy and retirement, which are two different things. The principle of redundancy is based on the principle that a worker is regarded as having established certain rights when he has a certain period of continuous employment. This is the basis on which this legislation is founded and we think it is humane and very much justified. Some Senators did point out that, when a person contributes to a particular firm over a period, he has got certain rights and he was made certain contributions which must be recognised if he is suddenly rendered redundant due to no fault of his own. These are the principles on which the legislation is founded and it is entirely separate from retirement.

I could not quite follow Senator FitzGerald when he said that the tribunal should have the right to fix retirement allowances in some cases. These are two different things and they are not to be confused. He also criticised the proposal to redefine redundancy and to rectify the decision of the High Court action in relation to the Ryan case in Limerick. I do not think that this is the first time that the Houses of the Oireachtas set out to rectify legislation which was held to be unconstitutional or had been given another definition by a court. The Houses of the Oireachtas are the proper institutions from which must emanate any legislation and they have the right to say if a particular thing should be redefined, rectified or amended. We have had many examples of this in other legislation and I was surprised at an eminent lawyer of Senator FitzGerald's standing questioning the justification for redefining redundancy in this case.

We are not saying that Mr. Justice Kenny, whose name he quoted, was wrong. Mr. Justice Kenny was possibly right in his interpretation of the wording of the Act. It was in accordance with his ideas of what the definition of redundancy in the 1967 Act should be when he gave that particular interpretation. We then considered that this was not within the spirit of what was intended in the original Act, and we set out to redefine redundancy in accordance with what the original spirit of the Act was intended to be. It was not by way of any refutation of what Mr. Justice Kenny or the High Court did in the matter of the Limerick case.

The problem might indeed have arisen as a result of a fault of the drafting of the original Bill. Nobody would agree more quickly than those with legal training that the whole question of legislation is fraught with this problem of trying to express in the letter of the spirit of what legislation is intended to be. It is difficult to draft provisions of legislation that will permit of only one interpretation so that very often we have to use a lot of what appears to be legalistic jargon to make the intention clear. Nobody has come up with any simple solution where we can have simple wording that will only permit of one interpretation, if it is to express the intention of any particular Act. A good deal of what may be regarded as complex draftsmanship in this amending Bill is due to the exact same thing, where we must seek to spell out as clearly as possible what we actually want to do.

I do not think that there were any other points made to which I should refer.

I referred to pension schemes.

The only thing I have to say about pension schemes is that redundancy relates to persons rendered redundant in their jobs due to no fault of their own and not to persons who leave jobs at normal retirement age. This reminds me of another point to which I wanted to refer. Senator Owens referred to persons over £1,600 to whom the Act does not apply. I should like to think that persons with remuneration of that category would have decent pension schemes to make for their retirement anyhow. I would like to see very many more firms having pension schemes such as some of our firms and some of our industries have adopted at present, such as the printing industry and the building industry. These pension schemes are separate from redundancy payments. Pension schemes are something which I should like to encourage but they are not really relevant to this Act. There is a section in the 1967 Act which deals with the modification of pension schemes but it has been very little availed of in the past. Whether it will be availed of to any greater extent in the future I am not in a position to say. However, I should like to point out that good industries operate for their own employees pension schemes, irrespective of what other schemes may be operated by the State or to which the workers may be entitled. A good firm should have a pension scheme which would operate for the benefit of its employees but, as I have said, this is a separate matter from the problem of redundancy anyhow.

At this stage, I do not think that it is necessary for me to say anything more about the general terms of the amendments to the redundancy scheme but I would like to refer to a matter which has been coupled with it in the debate here and is relevant to this whole question, namely, the question of training and retraining. Training or retraining is very much concerned with the whole problem of redundancy. While AnCO is setting out in the short time of its existence to lay the foundations of good training schemes, any criteria of what they are doing should bear in mind the short time in which they are in operation and the relatively good progress made in that time.

We have training centres at Galway, Shannon Airport, Waterford and the new training centre in Dublin will be in operation, I hope, early next year if not the end of this year. We are also making arrangements to have one in Cork. In the last Budget we made provision for on-the-spot training of a fire brigade type of training services where we can move trainers into a particular area and carry out training on the spot in relation to a particular type of industry.

Mobility of training is an excellent idea but I should also like to emphasise that we are rather anxious to concentrate on on-the-job training rather than the actual centres where apprentices and adults are brought in for intensive courses. On-the-job training is associated with the grant levy schemes. Where a firm paying a levy, which is based on a percentage on payroll, is encouraged to take part in on-the-job training it can recover from AnCO up to 90 per cent of levy paid. This, we think, will encourage all firms to carry out training and retraining to meet the advance in technology which is inevitable in respect of industries nowadays and which we must be prepared to face in a progressive manner in the years ahead. This type of training immediately gets us right into the training programme for each industrial sector.

I should like to make an appeal to employers and all industries to give us all their co-operation possible in operating the levy/grant schemes. With those training centres which we have established for adults, in which some apprentices are also being trained on an experimental basis, the levy/grant schemes will find us immediately in the field of training in an advanced and progressive way. That, in conjunction with the mobility of service, which we will be able to operate by taking the training to a particular area to do anad hoc operation, will advance the training programme by many years rather than have to wait for the building up of training centres in different areas to which we would bring people for training.

AnCO are to be complimented on the success they have so far achieved in this field. I believe that our training programme should, in the years ahead when we will be faced with more complexity in industry generally, provide the necessary skilled labour force that will meet the growing demands of more advanced technology in industries which undoubtedly should multiply here under EEC conditions.

At the same time we must be prepared to face more redundancies as we have more structural changes in industry, changes in the type of industry, new industries being set up and other industries closing down. We must be prepared to face a certain amount of movement in this respect. This movement could as some Senators warned mean demands on the Redundancy Fund in excess of what we have been calculating in this Bill. For that reason I should like to repeat that I could not venture to go any further than these amendments go already in the matter of benefits as this would place a strain on the reserve which we have now in the fund, and prudence demands that we must not impose an excessive strain on the fund in view of what might happen in the years ahead.

I want, once more, to thank the House for its co-operation and the most constructive approach to the Bill and particularly for its commending and welcoming it. Finally, I must say once again that I will have to be firm in my decision not to make this legislation retrospective.

Question put and agreed to.
The Seanad adjourned at 3.25 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 23rd June, 1971.