Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 27 Apr 1926

Vol. 15 No. 5


The Dáil went into Committee. Sections 1, 2 and 3, put and agreed to.
(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this Act, every shop to which this Act applies shall be closed for the serving of customers except during the hours of business specified in the Second Schedule to this Act.
(2) Notwithstanding the foregoing sub-section but subject to the provisions of the Act of 1912 in relation to the weekly half-holiday any shop to which this Act applies may be open for the serving of customers until ten o'clock in the evening on the Saturday next before Easter Sunday, the Saturday next before Whit Sunday, and the five week days next before Christmas Day.
Amendment 1.—In sub-section (2), line 43, to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "nine." (Deputy Johnson).

This Bill's predecessor has had a rather chequered career. I do not know exactly what the relationship of this Bill to the other would be, if we were to attempt to describe it. The Bill of nine months ago, which became an Act, made provision for legalising what was a pretty general understanding, and a definite agreement, regarding shop hours in Dublin. It was felt that a way of preventing the development of a dispute between employers and employees would be to make legal what was, in fact, an agreement between the principals affected by the threat to open for longer hours on a Saturday than had been the custom. There was, by that Act, the prevention of a very considerable dispute, and the assistants in the trade felt that they were protected, at least for a time. A few months afterwards there comes forward from the employers, or a section of them, in the trade a demand for an amendment of that Act. Almost before the Act has had time to prove its value the Dáil is asked to make an amendment, and the Dáil agrees to do so; the Dáil goes out of its way to tell the affected persons that legislation tending to help shop workers is not going to be considered of much account by the Dáil, and that it is prepared to play ducks and drakes with its legislation in so far as it affects the working hours in shops and the hours of the assistants in those shops.

I have attempted to prevent the passing of this amending Bill, believing that it was necessary to stabilise for a time at any rate the existing situation, but the determination of the Dáil in their treatment of the immediate predecessor of this Bill seems to have convinced the Dublin assistants in the drapery trade that it is no use for them to rely on legislation: that legislation in regard to shop work and hours and shop assistants is something that is not to be relied upon. They appear to think, and have come to the conclusion, that it is better for them to rely upon what is known in trade union circles as the industrial arm; that is to say, they are prepared rather to use their power as trade unionists, to rely not upon legislation but, if necessary, upon a strike. That seems to be the position that the Dublin drapery assistants have come to mentally, and they are saying by inference that they are not asking the Dáil any more questions on this matter, but if the Dáil prefers to precipitate disputes, well, the Dáil will be held responsible. With that knowledge I am not moving these amendments, and it will be for the Dáil to decide at a later stage of the Bill whether, in face of that prospect, they are still desirous of amending the Act of last year in the direction indicated in the schedule to this present Bill.

I suppose I am in order at this stage in replying to Deputy Johnson. My desire to reply to him is to remind him that he has fallen into mistakes, or rather mis-statements, that have been made frequently in this House with regard to the Shop Hours Bill.

The amendment has not been moved by Deputy Johnson, and is, therefore, not before the House.

I am speaking against the amendment.

But the amendment has not been moved.

Amendment 1 not moved.
Question—"That Section 4 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 agreed to.
The first Schedule agreed to.