asked the Minister for Finance if he will state whether, without the aid of their employers, workers engaged in any special industry in the Saorstát can have their claims heard by the Tariff Commission; if he is aware that in various businesses in the Saorstát, employer who were formerly manufacturers are now becoming agents for similar goods of foreign manufacture and are importing same to the detriment of Irish labour.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - APPLICATIONS FOR TARIFFS.
The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative for the reason that under the Tariff Commission Act, 1926, applications can be referred to the Commission only when made by persons who are substantially representative of persons engaged or proposing to engage in the production of the goods to which the application relates and I do not consider that workers alone making application apart from their employers are of the representative character required by the Act. The reply to the second part of the question is also in the negative.
Would the Minister not amend the regulations to allow applications being heard from former employees of these persons, described in the second portion of the question, who are now becoming agents for similar imported goods and leaving their former employees idle? Is not that a reasonable case to submit to the Commission?
No, I do not think it would be useful to the Commission to investigate cases in which there was no person who was prepared to undertake the direction of the work and the provision of capital associated with the applicants.
Would the Minister refer to the discussion on what I may call this fraudulent Commission, and see if there was not an implied promise that all persons engaged on industry would be free to enter their case before the Commission?
Provided that the persons making the applications were representative. I do not think that the former workers alone could be regarded as representative.
Is the Minister's only objection to former workers? The first part of the question does not deal with former workers, but with workers engaged in a special industry.
The position might differ in the case of different industries.
In the event of an application from employers being considered, is it open to the workers in that industry or in other industries affected, to put their case?
If there is only one individual engaged in an industry and if he makes application, as I know has been done in the case of one individual, to appear before the Commission, why should the Chairman of the Commission turn that application down as not coming from a person representative of the industry?
I know a case in which a single individual who is the only person engaged in an industry applied to the Commission for a hearing and his case is being heard.
May I inform the Minister that paper-bag manufacturers and printers generally, who formerly employed a number of bag makers, now find that they can import bags and sell them and leave their own workers idle. In a case such as that should not the Tariff Commission hear the views of those formerly engaged in the trade?
If the workers were prepared, or could find somebody, to re-start the industry I think, in those circumstances, their case might be heard.