I will take advantage of this question in order to explain to the Dáil that I have not put down any Government amendments although a number of interests have approached me suggesting amendments of one kind or another and in some respects they have convinced me that amendments to the Bill were necessary. I thought it preferable to have discussed in Committee amendments tabled by Deputies and to have the Government amendments arising out of that discussion prepared for consideration at the next stage on which I am prepared to recommit the Bill. That will give us two Committee Stages and it will enable us to deal adequately with the various interests concerned in the Bill.
Committee on Finance. - Conditions of Employment Bill, 1935—In Committee.
In connection with that there is one matter which arises. I take it that on the Report Stage the Minister is to move Government amendments?
Yes, or amendments arising out of the discussion on the Committee Stage.
I take it that these amendments will be circulated to Deputies in time to enable them to move further amendments. The Minister will see that it would be unfair to spring amendments of substance on the House without Deputies having an opportunity of examining them and moving amendments to them.
Subject to the general view of the House as to the date on which we will rise for the Summer recess, I want to give the House the fullest possible opportunities of submitting amendments.
I submit it would be unfair to move amendments of substance on the Fourth Stage without giving Deputies full opportunities of seeing the reaction of these amendments on the Bill and giving them an opportunity of moving further amendments to the new conditions that will arise out of these amendments.
Deputies will have adequate opportunities to move amendments.
On behalf of Deputy Anthony, I move amendment No. 1:—
Before line 26 to insert the words— the expression "trade union body" means a body of workers organised in a trade union and affiliated to the Irish Trade Union Congress or an organisation of workers recognised by that body as a genuine trade union.
I understand from the Deputy that this amendment is to the definition section; it is moved in order to bring in the amendment he has down to Section 42.
That is amendment No. 132?
Yes, he wants to bring that in. That amendment is on the Paper and speaks for itself. The Minister will see that this amendment No. 1 is dependent absolutely upon amendment No. 132. The Minister will see that in Section 42 (2), Deputy Anthony seeks to have "body" defined as "trade union body" and not to leave it in the loose way in which it appears in this section. Otherwise you may have bodies "purporting or claiming to be substantially representative of the workers concerned in any particular form of industrial work." Deputy Anthony wants it as a trade union body and to have it further defined as such.
I suggest to Deputy Morrissey that we should leave this over until we discuss the amendment to Section 42. If Deputy Anthony succeeds in convincing us of the value of his amendment to Section 42 then we have to discuss the consequential amendments.
I am satisfied to do that.
What is the Minister suggesting—is he suggesting a withdrawal of the amendment?
This amendment No. 1 is really consequential to amendment No. 132. If we have a discussion on the main amendment then a consequential amendment of this kind could be dealt with on the Report Stage if not moved now.
If the amendment is not moved now or withdrawn it clearly cannot stand as it is.
Very well, the amendment is "withdrawn" or "not moved," whichever you like.
I move amendment No. 2.
Before line 26 to insert the words:—
the expression "representative of workers" means a trade union of workers within the meaning of the Trade Union Acts acknowledged by the national trade union centre as being representative of workers whom it purports to represent.
This is a different amendment to No. 1 and I prefer it to the amendment in Deputy Anthony's name. The Minister might consider it a better definition than that in amendment No. 1. In this Bill there are frequent references to "representative of workers," and the object of this amendment is to define what the expression means. The amendment seeks to insure that it means a trade union of workers within the meaning of the Trade Union Acts acknowledged by the national trade union centre as being representative of workers whom it purports to represent. It is quite possible under this Bill for employers or workers organised in a company union or house union to endeavour to negotiate an agreement unsatisfactory to the workers with a union of that kind; or it is quite possible under this Bill for employers to be able to negotiate in a particular section of industry an agreement with some of their workers and to seek in that way to have an agreement of that kind registered in the Wages Agreement Register. The object of this amendment is to insure that the agreements which it is proposed to register and the voices of the workers whom it is proposed to hear shall be the voices of the workers organised in a particular union and the particular union concerned shall be a recognised trade union. In other words, that it shall be recognised by the national trade union centre as a trade union centre. In that way I think the workers would be protected against the registration of what can only be described as bogus agreements negotiated either by representatives of workers unorganised in any union or negotiated by workers in what has come to be known as the worst possible type of union, namely, house or company unions. I do not think the House can have any objection to an amendment of this kind. There is no difficulty in recognising a national trade union centre. This well-known phrase is well-known in labour circles. I am sure that in Geneva last year the Minister heard the word used. If there is a national trade union centre in the country, it is only right that a body of that kind speaking for the trade unions of the country should have some voice in saying what is a legitimate union and what is an illegitimate union. We allow various boards in the country to determine who is a doctor and who is a dentist and we ought to allow the national trade union centre to have some say in what body really constitutes a trade union. I hope the Minister will accept this amendment. It may possibly save him from a good many difficulties later on.
What connection has the national trade union centre with the trade union council?
Join both and you will know.
I think there is a trade union congress. What I want the Minister to understand is this, that Deputy Norton is raising a very dangerous suggestion. He wants the national trade union centre or whatever the name is to be the complete arbiter and controller of what union is to be recognised and what union is not to be recognised. There are certain unions which negotiate with employers' associations. The Trade Union Congress recognises one union and they do not recognise another. The result is that if the Minister is to give way on this amendment he will interfere with voluntary agreements entered into by recognised unions with certain employers' associations. To my mind, irrespective of any obstacles or disagreements which may be put up by employers against this amendment of Deputy Norton's, I think it would seem to me to be absolutely and completely handing over to the national trade union centre a power which would make them complete dictators as to what body was a trade union and what was not. That would be a very dangerous power indeed to hand over.
Deputy Norton said that I would have no difficulty in recognising what was the national trade union centre. I do not know precisely what Deputy Norton intends by that phrase. I assume he means the Trades Union Congress. I could not accept the position that I can only recognise as a trade union representation of the workers in any industry, a trade union recognised by the Trades Union Congress. Every trade union may be recognised by the Trades Union Congress and that may be always the case, but we have no security in that respect. There are certain unions not so recognised at present.
Recognised, but not affiliated.
I cannot recognise the distinction. So far as I am concerned, it seems to me that any Minister operating this Bill, and seeking representatives of the workers employed in an industry would naturally go to the union to which these workers belong. In practice that would be the situation. If we had to deal with an industry the workers of which belonged to Mr. Larkin's union—the Irish Workers' Union—we would be immediately in difficulty if Deputy's Norton's amendment was passed, because I am not sure that that union I have mentioned would be recognised.
Recognised, but not affiliated.
Such a situation might occur. Next month there might be a dispute in which that union would be involved. In fact, a dispute in connection with a firm engaged in the grocery business was conducted by a union not recognised by the Trades Union Congress. I do not know in what respect it was representative of the workers engaged in that particular industry, but there we would have that difficulty. This suggestion is linked up with the proposal in amendment No. 34, in the name of Deputy Dockrell, and which is repeated in connection with other sections of the Bill. I would amend the Bill to provide that the Minister must consult with organisations and associations representative of the employers, and organisations and associations representative of the workers. If no such associations existed, then the Minister would consult with people considered by him to be representative of either party. The Minister would be bound by the necessity of satisfying himself that there was no association representative of the employers or workers before negotiating with individuals.
What is in Deputy's Norton's mind is the possibility of the Minister accepting as representatives of the workers an organisation not a bona fide trade union, or a group of workers who are only a minority of the workers employed in the industry. We could avoid that difficulty, if it existed, by a variation of the words in the section on the lines I have indicated. But it would create a danger of greater magnitude if we were to hand over, to a body over which the Legislature has no control whatever, the matter of deciding what unions were, or were not, representative of the workers in a particular industry. It is quite possible there might be two Trades Union Congresses at a particular stage, and the Act would become largely inoperative in such circumstances. I must therefore resist the amendment and confine the operations of the Minister, in the various sections of the Bill, to consulting with associations representative of the workers or employers, and where no such associations exist to consulting persons who appear to me to be so representative. I think the Deputy need have no fears that that provision will be used for any purpose except to ensure that the opinions of the workers involved and concerned in any question arising under this Bill will be entertained. At any rate, I do not think it is likely that any Minister for Industry and Commerce would take the risk of making arrangements for matters dealt with under this Bill unless he was certain that he had in fact ascertained the general views of those involved, whether workers or employers. He might not agree with their views and he might make his arrangements against their representations, but he would take all precautions to ascertain their views before making any arrangements.
I would point out to the Minister that the amendment was very definitely drawn so as to provide that the union need not necessarily be recognised by the Trades Union Congress as an affiliated organisation. It was drawn in order to show that all that was required was that the union should be acknowledged by the national trade union centre.
Does the Minister determine what is the national trade union centre?
You can only have one centre.
But you could have two organisations each claiming to be the centre.
The Minister knows where the trade union centre is. The Minister is obliged by the Treaty of Versailles to send delegations to the International Labour Office. He is morally obliged to do that, and that obligation is discharged by all except the most tyrannical Governments in the world. The Minister sends a special delegation of employers and a special delegation of workers. The Minister is obliged by the articles of the Treaty to ensure that the trades union delegation is representative of the trades union centre, and in interpreting that the Minister comes to the Trades Union Congress and recognises them as the national trades union centre, and asks them whom they propose to send.
I think Deputy Norton is not quite accurate as to the Minister having to go to the trades union centre. Surely it is representatives of the workers and the employers that he has to send.
He goes to the Trades Union Congress as representing the trades union centre. I suggest to Deputy Dockrell that he should look up the article. The Minister goes, in any case, to the Trades Union Congress, and asks them to submit names of those who are to be delegates to the advisory body. The Minister has no difficulty in recognising that this body does represent the workers of the country so that there can be no difficulty in accepting this amendment. It may be that there are organisations not affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, but that does not prevent the Trades Union Congress from acknowledging that they are trade unions and that they are genuinely representative of the workers whom they purport to represent. The amendment does not make it necessary for the union to get a certificate of that kind or that it should be affiliated to the Trades Union Congress. It only suggests that it should be acknowledged by the Trades Union Congress. Of course, the Trades Union Congress might have from time to time correspondence with an organisation not affiliated to it, thereby recognising it in fact as a trade union body. What I want to secure is, not that it should be affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, but that house unions and company unions will not be allowed to masquerade as trade unions. I want to make sure that an employer is not allowed to get a number of workers into his pocket, to get an agreement with them, and then to register that agreement. These are legitimate safeguards which should be inserted in this Bill. I suggest to the Minister that he ought to make sure that the body who is going to register the agreement is, in fact, properly constituted and properly representative of a trade union. There can be no possible objection from that point of view. The Minister offered to alter the section so that he would consult only with representatives of the workers or with members of a union which was representative of the workers. Any set of people could represent themselves as a trade union.
That does not make them representative of the workers.
Quite. If the Minister were to consult with a house union or a company union, he would be fulfilling the terms of his undertaking.
If the Minister undertakes to consult with unions representative of the workers he would be fulfilling the terms of his undertaking, namely, to consult a body claiming to represent the workers. I say a body of that kind may be a bogus body. As the Minister knows, or ought to know, these company unions or house unions have been established, not to defend the workers but to make them more manageable, more docile and more unprotesting in the interests of the employers who want to exploit them. I think that the amendment is a suitable amendment for a Bill of this kind and that it is desirable to make sure that bogus organisations are not recognised in these consultations and registrations.
Deputy Norton states that even if a union is not affiliated to the Trades Union Congress, that does not mean that the Trades Union Congress refuses to acknowledge it as a union. As a matter of fact, a very important union which I know has applied for affiliation to the Trades Union Congress and has been refused. Further, that union controls a large section of the workers in this city and outside it. There are employers' associations which have got to sign a yearly agreement with that union. They signed that agreement and afterwards signed a similar agreement with the Transport Union. If a union like that is refused affiliation by the Trade Union Congress, it is not likely that the Trades Union Congress would be ready to acknowledge that union in a practical way as representative of the workers. The amendment, in my opinion, would only be a cause of strife inasmuch as it would make dictators of this autocratic body.
I suggest that the statement made by Deputy Minch has borne out Deputy Norton's statement, that the union which he mentioned is recognised inasmuch as there are other trade unionists working alongside the members of that union. If the workers were not recognised as trade unionists, workers who are members of affiliated trade unions would not work with them. It is a question of recognition: not of affiliation.
The question arises as to what persons are to be regarded as representative of the workers in a particular interest. In the great majority of cases, the trade unions to which the workers will belong, will be the bodies representative of these workers who will be consulted, but we are not going to bind ourselves to accept any body as representative of the workers, no matter what developments may take place in future, or no matter what trade unions may be recognised by the Trades Union Congress. We must deal with persons who are representative of the workers whoever they may be. The Deputy can be assured, in view of the phraseology in the Bill, that there is no danger that a small body of people will be accepted as representative of the workers in an industry in the manner he suggests. That danger is not likely to arise in respect of industries in which the workers are members of a trade union and when there is not a sufficient number of men in an industry to belong to a trade union, then the obligation is on the Minister to consult with such persons as he believes are representative of the workers. There are certain industries which are not organised.
What body has the Minister in mind?
I presume he will follow the same practice as is observed under the Trade Boards Act.
Do I take it that, in respect of unorganised people or in respect of an industry where a house union enters into consideration, the Minister will be willing to consult the national trade union centre, as is done in the case of some of the Trade Boards?
In practice, the Minister will endeavour to find an organisation, a trades union, representative of the workers, who will be interested in any question that arises. I am prepared to put into the Bill that he shall first consult with associations representative of the workers and that, if no such associations exist, he shall himself select persons who are representative of the workers, but I am not prepared to say that only persons recognised by the Trades Union Congress as representative of the workers, shall be consulted. I am not quite clear as to what acknowledgment by the Trades Union Congress might mean, and I could not accept the Trades Union Congress as the final arbiter in these matters. It is possible that the Trades Union Congress may not always be accepted as fully representative of the workers. The trades union movement in its present form may not always exist, and we could not risk the possibility of the whole Act being nullified if some development took place which would change the whole trades union situation.
The Minister is afraid that the trades union movement may not always be in a position to guarantee the genuineness of workers' representatives. What protection has he himself, or what machinery has he to guide him, when he comes to give effect to the provision that no body except people directly representative of the workers shall be consulted? We know that the Minister is inspired by the best motives, but the present Minister will not be the Minister for all time, and this law is being made to endure. While we are prepared to accept the Minister's intentions as being of the best, I should like to know what protection he is providing for himself and his successors, to ensure that none but representatives of the workers shall be consulted in these cases. We are suggesting that he should provide machinery in the Bill to ensure that only true representatives of the workers will be consulted. There is a real danger that you will have company pocket unions coming along, yet the Minister refuses to adopt the machinery which we suggest as necessary to enable him to ascertain what bodies are truly representative of the workers. If he gets a suitable alternative to our proposal we are satisfied.
Surely the Minister has got the protection of his own com monsense? Why should any other protection be needed?
You do not always say that.
There is no protection being given to the Minister. On the contrary, in this regard an obligation is being placed on the Minister to see that the people whom he consults are representative of the workers.
Would the Minister be willing to agree that where the object of consultation or investigation revolves around the registration of an agreement in the wages agreement register, he will, at the same time, notify the trades union centre of the proposal to register the agreement so as to ensure that a body really representative of the workers, in a general sense, will have some knowledge of the agreement which it is proposed to register?
That might be considered. I should like to discuss that in relation to the Deputy's amendment to Section 42.
I am willing to withdraw the amendment in view of that and to have it considered later.
I move amendment No. 3:—
Before line 26 to insert the words:—
the expression "indenture of apprenticeship" means the instrument under which a person under 18 years of age is bound for the purpose of being instructed in the knowledge and practice of any industrial process for a period not less than three years and a person not so bound shall be deemed not to be employed to do industrial work for the purpose of learning any trade or calling.
The object of the amendment is to make it clear what an indenture of apprenticeship is. The phrase is used in a number of places in the Bill but it does not seem to me, for the purposes of this Bill, to have any definite meaning. There are obvious advantages to employers to describe a document as an indenture of apprenticeship and the Bill takes no steps to ensure that an indenture of apprenticeship is something which I think the Minister has in mind. The object of this amendment is, therefore, to ensure that an indenture of apprenticeship for the purposes of this Bill will have a very definite meaning, and that is the meaning set out in the amendment.
This amendment, of course, must be considered in relation to Section 11, which is the only section in which the term "indenture of apprenticeship" occurs. That is a section which gives the Minister power to prohibit or restrict the employment of young persons in any trade other than persons who are under an indenture of apprenticeship. I agree that some such amendment as the Deputy suggests is required and I am accepting the amendment in principle, but I am asking the Deputy to keep it over until the next stage. The only addition to the Deputy's suggestions which I am making is to include persons who are employed as apprentices under the rules of an apprenticeship committee established under the Apprenticeship Act. You will, therefore, have two types of apprentices, those who are indentured apprentices and those who are apprentices under the rules of an apprenticeship committee. I do not see that it is necessary to have the words "and a person not so bound shall be deemed not to be employed to do industrial work for the purpose of learning any trade or calling." I do not think that is necessary, but when drafting the amendment that point will be considered.
I should like to ask the Minister whether he reads the second part of this amendment in the same way as I do. As far as the trades are concerned, I think it is pretty well understood that at the present time there are two classes of apprentices—one, the bound apprentice, as he is called, with an indenture of apprenticeship, and the other, a person who has no legal document, but who is considered absolutely on all-fours with the person who has an indenture of apprenticeship. That is a very common practice in the trade.
A great number of trades. I do not know if the Minister had that in contemplation when drafting the amendment which he has spoken of. He says that he would consider the bound apprentice and the apprentice under the rules of the apprenticeship committee. Unless he is very careful he will find that he has left a huge gap, namely, the apprentices who are not bound at all, but who are, according to the practice of a great number of trades, learning their trade. I would ask the Minister to consider that point when drafting the amendment.
Deputy Dockrell appreciates that the question will never arise at all unless regulations are made under Section 11 in relation to a particular trade. If such regulations are made, then I think we will have to have some clear definition of apprenticeship, and there would have to be something more than a verbal agreement—either an indenture of apprenticeship or the other alternative which I have mentioned, namely, rules established by an apprenticeship committee. The matter will not arise at all in the ordinary run of industry. It will only arise where regulations prohibiting or restricting the employment of young people in a particular form of industrial work are made under Section 11. If such regulations are in force, obviously there must be some clear definition of the persons excluded from their scope.
The decision on amendment No. 4 will rule amendments No. 12 and No. 27.
They deal with slightly different points.
If the Deputy shows the other amendments raise different points he will be allowed to move them.
Am I to speak about amendments No. 12 and No. 27 on this amendment?
Then I shall confine myself to the narrow issue of this precise amendment.
I move amendment No. 4:—
Before line 26 to insert the words:—
the expression "commercial undertaking" means an undertaking in which no industrial work is carried on or which is exempt from the provisions of this Act because the amount of industrial work done in the carrying on of the undertaking is so small that the provisions of the Act cannot be conveniently applied.
I wish to point out to the Minister that under the present industrial conditions there are a very large number of composite firms or companies where, according to the conditions laid down here, very trifling work might be carried on on the premises and yet it would render the whole of the premises liable to come under provisions which were not contemplated. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to accept this amendment, especially having regard to the fact that he contemplates bringing in further legislation under which the other sections would come in.
The Deputy must, I think, discuss this amendment in relation to amendments 12 and 27. The term "commercial undertaking" does not appear in the Bill as drafted. The Deputy is proposing to insert a definition of that term. The term is not in the Bill. He is, however, proposing to put it in the Bill in his amendments Nos. 12 and 27. So far as amendment No. 12 is concerned, I want to mention that I am proposing on the next stage to move to take out paragraph (c) of Section 3 (1). That is the paragraph which deals with the warehousing of goods in any warehouse where mechanical means for lifting or hauling are used. I think the regulation of employment in concerns of that kind would more properly fall under the legislation to be introduced dealing with commercial undertakings generally, and that it complicates this Bill to have that type of employment regulated by it. If, therefore, we take out that particular paragraph in Section 3, then the Deputy's amendment becomes unnecessary and, consequently, this amendment becomes unnecessary. I propose to move to do that on the next stage. I think that we can deal with employment in warehouses in a better way if we do it separately in the legislation which will control retail trading and wholesale trading generally.
The Minister's idea is that a power lift used for the transfer of the goods of a particular undertaking does not make them warehousemen?
Exactly. Nor will that be necessarily industrial work for the purposes of the Bill.
I entirely agree with the Minister. It would be a dreadful thing if the utilising of power to save human limbs was going to subject a person to penalties.
Might I put this point of view to the Minister in connection with the amendment? Deputy Dockrell is moving to ensure that
the expression "commercial undertaking" means an undertaking in which no industrial work is carried on or which is exempt from the provisions of this Act because the amount of industrial work done in the carrying on of the undertaking is so small that the provisions of the Act cannot be conveniently applied.
Let us take the case of a large drapery establishment in a town which, in addition to doing a retail trade, also employs tailors and dressmakers as part of its activities. The work of the dressmakers and tailors would constitute a very small portion, perhaps, of the activities of the firm. Deputy Dockrell's amendment would not only ensure that the undertaking proper was excluded from the scope of the Bill, but that the tailors and dressmakers employed by the firm would be excluded from the protective clauses of the Bill.
That is not my suggestion because, as the Deputy will see, there is another amendment which purposes to allow various sections of a business to be treated as such. I entirely agree with Deputy Norton that if there is a tailors' and dressmakers' section it ought not to exempt the firm from whatever control is necessary for that section. I suggest to the Deputy that that would be caught in a later amendment.
I think all that could be better discussed on amendments Nos. 21 and 22.
I move amendment No. 5:—
In lines 30 and 31, to delete all words after the word "work," line 30, to the end of line 31 and substitute the words:—
"whether for a salary or wages and whether such person is paid by time or by the piece or partly by time and partly by the piece or otherwise or whether remunerated or not and includes a person employed under an indenture of apprenticeship."
In the Bill the word "worker" means a person, other than an outworker, who does industrial work for a salary or wages, or for the purpose of learning any trade or calling. There are already, of course, well known definitions of the word "worker." The Minister could have got them in the Factory Act, the National Health Insurance Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act. None of these well-tried definitions has been used in connection with this Bill. The definition of "worker" in this Bill is a new kind of definition so far as our legislation is concerned. Our previous definition of "worker" has been much more comprehensive and more in accordance with the terms of my amendment. I want to ensure that the definition of "worker" in this Bill will apply much more comprehensively than the limited definition in the Bill. For instance, a person who is not remunerated—who does not receive any wages or salary—is not a "worker" within the meaning of this Bill.
But he is within the meaning of Section 51.
Yes, but not in the general way proposed in this amendment. If the Minister looks at Section 51 he will see that it deals with quite a different kind of person. In any case, I propose to take out, under my amendment, the kind of definition that there is in Section 51. It is quite possible, for instance, that a person might be employed as a learner and not under an indenture of apprenticeship. It is quite a common thing in the country for a dressmaker, doing an extensive business, to take in a number of girls. The temptation to work for a master, or mistress, dressmaker is that it is desirable to get a trade in an establishment of that kind. It is not an uncommon thing for such a dressmaker to have a large number of persons employed and not be paying wages to any of them. We all know that happens. The persons so employed would not be brought within the scope of this Bill.
But they would come within the scope of Section 51.
I am not sure about that. I think if the Minister looks into Section 51 he will find that such persons would not come within the terms of it. It is quite possible, at all events, for non-paid persons in industry to be excluded from the scope of the Bill. I submit that is undesirable, because if they are so excluded then they are excluded from the limitation of hours, from the right to obtain holidays, and they become subject to all the conditions which the Bill is designed to prevent. I would ask the Minister to examine the matter with a view to ensuring that the unpaid worker in industry is brought within the scope of this Bill.
Why does the Deputy think that such persons do not come within the provisions of Section 51, which speaks of persons employed in an industry, as members of the family of the person carrying on the industry, "or on any other grounds"?
If a person is employed for the purpose of learning a trade, then that person is included in the definition section—Section 2—whether paid a salary or wage or not. Section 51 covers persons employed without remuneration "or on any other grounds" whether as members of the employer's family, or, to give another example, as, say, shareholders in a co-operative society doing industrial work. Shareholders might very well work without wages or salary, being satisfied with the profits derived from their share-holding. They are all covered by Section 51. I had thought that Deputy Norton had a somewhat different idea in mind in this amendment, and that was to cover the case of workers who were employed not exactly by the employer but with whom the employer might contract with respect to each piece of work done. There are certain cases of that kind, where individuals evade the obligation to employ a person to do work at a wage by entering into a contract with him to do work—the material to be supplied by the employer—at a fixed contract price per piece of work done.
I agree that there is some doubt as to whether employment of that kind is fully covered by the definition, and it will be necessary to examine it in that regard. I do not think it is necessary to amend the definition in order to bring in persons who are employed in industrial work without remuneration, whether as learners or as members of an employer's family or on any other ground. I propose having the definition re-examined with a view to satisfying myself as to its adequacy to cover peculiar types of employment of the kind that I have mentioned which have perhaps increased in volume recently in certain trades. I would prefer to deal with the question of workers not remunerated by a section in the Bill, such as Section 51, rather than in a definition section.
Will the Minister also look into the definitions of "worker" in the Factory Acts, the National Health Insurance Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act which have so far proved satisfactory? They are much more comprehensive than the definition in this Bill.
I move amendment No. 6:—
In line 41 to delete the word "fourteen" and substitute the word "sixteen."
According to the definition section, the expression "young person" means a worker whose age is less than 18 and more than 14 years. Consequently, in accordance with the provisions of the Bill it would be possible to employ a "young person" who had reached the age of 14 years, and a person so employed would come within the scope of this Bill. The object of this amendment is to state definitely that a young person is not a person between the ages of 14 years and 18 years, but a person between the ages of 16 years and 18 years. The desire is to exclude a young person of 14 years from industry. Anybody who has given consideration to the problem of children of tender years being brought into factories and used as cogs in the industrial wheel must feel ashamed of the system of society that permits that kind of exploitation of human beings to continue. The employment of young persons of 14 years has had an injurious effect on the employment openings for the older members of the families. It is well known that there is a type of unscrupulous employer who takes particular delight in recruiting young persons between 14 years and 16 years. Some of the advantages in the employment of young persons are (1) that they are plentiful; (2) that they are cheap; and (3) that the employer does not have to pay any national health or unemployment insurance contributions in respect of them. I think that inspectors in the Minister's Department could tell him that there are employers in the City and throughout the country who dismiss young persons at the age of 16 years because they would increase their liability by reason of the fact that, with the advancing years, they would have to get more wages and national health and unemployment insurance contributions would have to be paid in respect of them. Here is a Bill which, according to the title, is designed to make further and better provision for regulating and controlling the conditions of employment of workers. Yet, in this Bill, we are proposing with our eyes open to permit young persons between 14 years and 16 years to be taken into factories under modern industrial conditions, there to act as machine-minders and to meet the impact of modern industrial conditions, with all the deleterious effects that that impact must have on the physique and mentality of such young persons. The modern industrial problem is not a problem of finding employment for the child. Modern industrialism finds an attraction in the child-worker. At one time, the problem of the parents was to find employment for their growing children. The modern problem is for the children to find employment for their fathers. The children are now being brought into industry and are being exploited at low rates of wages. Half a dozen children in a family would not earn in a week as much as their father would earn in a day. Because we permit that kind of industrialism to continue, the father —the natural bread-winner and worker of the family—is denied an opportunity of earning the wherewithal to support his family, while young children, who ought still to be at school and tasting the best things of youth, are compelled to go into the factories and save the family from the destitution which is inevitable where the father is compelled to abandon work on account of these young persons.
The Deputy appreciates that the effect of his amendment would be that children from 14 years to 16 years could be employed without any restrictions at all. The Deputy's amendment does not prohibit their employment.
On what grounds does the Minister make that contention?
The Deputy is not proposing to prohibit the employment of persons under 16 years of age. He is proposing to exempt from the regulations concerning the employment of young persons to be provided under this Bill persons between 14 years and 16 years.
If the Minister looks at further sections of the Bill, he will find that amendments have been submitted by us to ensure that these young persons will not be permitted to be employed in industry and the Minister is given power to exclude such persons from employment.
What amendment is that?
I cannot lay my hand on it just now.
I do not believe there is one.
I appreciate the Deputy's intention, but I do not think he is giving effect to his intention with this amendment.
I think that other amendments, which I shall trace later, will, linked with this one, make sure that the young persons to be employed will be at least 16 years of age, and that persons of 14 years will not be brought within the scope of the Bill.
I do not know whether it is in order to discuss what Deputy Norton intended to do or whether we should discuss only what, in fact, his amendment would accomplish. Assuming that there were other amendments, as he says, to prevent the employment of persons under 16 years of age, his view is one with which I should have considerable sympathy were it not that it seems to be putting the cart before the horse to introduce legislation of such a character before the school-leaving age has been raised. I am in favour of raising the school-leaving age. That is a very difficult problem which, I understand, a Commission has been considering for a considerable length of time, and it is bound up with the equally difficult problem of raising the deplorably low level of the teaching in our national schools——
——so as to ensure that the children would benefit by remaining longer at school. I do not like to see children under 16 years employed in factories, but I should rather see them employed in factories, or employed in some other way, than see them running loose about the streets. Whatever dangers they may be exposed to by being thrown into industry at an early age, it appears to me they would be exposed to worse dangers by being removed from school and prohibited from doing anything except running loose about the streets.
The Minister questions whether the amendment is effective to do what it proposes to do. If the Minister looks at amendment No. 32, to Section 10, he will see that the object is to make it unlawful for any person to employ any person whose age is less than 16 years to do industrial work. That dovetails in with the amendment I have just moved.
Yes, but it is on that amendment I suggest it should be argued. We can argue it now if the Deputy desires. Personally, I have every sympathy with the idea he has in mind, namely, that the minimum age for entering into industry should be 16 years. But, we cannot merely provide that by making it law that no person under 16 shall do industrial work. That does not solve the problem. The problem is, what are we to do with these persons between 14 and 16 if they are not attending school, or if they cannot attend school. If they were all to become available to attend school, and decided to do so, there would be no school accommodation and no teachers. Therefore, you are not making it possible for these persons to remain in school when you debar them from taking industrial work. What is to happen? Is it desirable that a young person not at school, and under 18, should have two years of enforced idleness before becoming eligible to take industrial employment? I do not think so. I agree that we should work towards raising the age of entry, but, as Deputy MacDermot said, we must start by providing that school facilities will be available for such persons for these two years. A committee which has been sitting considered the question of raising the school leaving age from 14 to 16 years. It has not yet reported. The difficulties in that connection are almost entirely financial, but there is also the problem of getting within reasonable time an adequate number of additional trained teachers, capable of teaching those in standards higher than the existing national school standards. Apart from that, there is the cost of that teaching staff, the cost of school accommodation and equipment, and behind that problem is the loss of earning power to the families to which these children belong.
The Deputy will remember that when there was a Labour Government in Great Britain, when it was proposed to raise the school leaving age from 14 to 16, and to raise the age of entry into industry simultaneously, they, at the same time, contemplated payment out of State funds, of an amount equivalent to the possible earnings of these children, to the parents or guardians. Of course, the bill was a huge one and the scheme was not proceeded with on that account. That is another matter which cannot be ignored in considering this question. I suggest that we should consider it as a whole; that the question of raising the school leaving age, and of raising the age of entry into industry and commercial work should be taken as one problem, and dealt with separately to the matters dealt with in this Bill. We set down in this Bill provisions for regulating employment in industry as at present undertaken. If the State decides to commit itself to the very big task of raising the age at which young people complete their education, and go into employment, then it has got to do it as a separate matter. I urge that that problem should be left over until the report of the committee that has been sitting is presented. I understand the report is being prepared and that it will be a comprehensive one which will bring forward all the points of difficulty as well, possibly, as suggestions for getting over them.
The Minister said that one problem is, what is to happen the children between 14 and 16 years of age. It we were creating a new problem, of people walking around with nothing to do, I could understand the Minister being concerned with a problem of that kind. But, when the Employment Exchanges show that there are 130,000 people walking around, and that there are many thousands more that do not find it advantageous to register at the Exchanges, because of the fact that they are below 18 years of age, the walking around problem for a section of the community is already with us. What we have to decide is, who is going to do the walking. Is it children between 14 and 16 or children between 16 and 18? In a choice of that kind, I prefer to allow the youngest children to do the walking around.
The Deputy is now making a debating argument and is ignoring the section.
I am not. The fact of the matter is, it is easier for a child to get into employment the younger that child is. Those between 16 and 18 cannot find employment. When they make application at the factories they are told that they are too old; that they want persons between 14 and 15. Every school teacher in the city can tell the Minister the same thing. It is a well-known fact that if one wants industrial employment it is an asset to be as little over 14 as possible. I am sure there are Deputies present who have often been troubled by constituents who tell them of their quest for work because they are too old to get into factories. It is not possible in a Bill of this kind to move an amendment to ensure that children should be kept at school until 16. Contrary to the view-point of Deputy MacDermot, I think that if there is walking around to be done and if people have to be idle, if young persons are taken away from industrial life and from the impacts of that life, it would be better for them physically and mentally. I do not think it is at all impossible to apply the principle of this amendment to the Bill, even though the school-leaving age is 14 years. It is of very questionable value to the physique of our future citizens to have them employed from 14 to 16.
Of course, the Deputy is ignoring Section 11.
I am not. Section 11 deals with a different kind of person going into industry. Those who are going into industry in most cases are just young machine minders who are pushed out after a few years, so that another supply of cheap labour can be got in their place. I am surprised that the Minister, who represents a city constituency is not making the case I am making.
The Deputy's tactics are bad. If he wants the problem definitely tackled why does he exaggerate it? This is not going to get public opinion roused to meet it.
Are there any statistics available?
The employment exchanges show that the number of juveniles under 18 employed is only 3 per cent. of the total of those employed in industry.
Could the Minister say what source he has for getting employment statistics for persons under 16 years of age in industry?
I agree that these persons are not at present obliged to register, but I have a fair idea of the numbers through the juvenile register and the employment statistics in respect of persons employed in industry.
If such an amendment were carried, would it not happen that a number of youngsters at present apprenticed, and who may have served some months, would have their indentures broken? That might not be such a big calamity if the problem was going to be cured. I suppose we might be prepared to sacrifice the young people in that respect, but, until all sections of workers have been dealt with, would not the immediate effect of such a provision be that in other classes of work, which are not legislated for, you would have such a rush of applicants that wages and conditions would inevitably tumble? Everybody agrees that it is most desirable that the school-leaving age should be raised, and that persons between 14 and 16 should be compelled to attend vocational schools, at all events when there is no work for them to do. I think, however, that such a thing as that could not be done piecemeal and that the proper time to discuss it would be when some Bill dealing with the school age is going through. Further, I think that it would interfere with existing conditions and that the effect might be altogether a regrettable thing for very many working-class people.
With reference to what Deputy Norton said just now, I confess that if I have to choose between the interests of the rising generation and the interests of the full-grown generation, I prefer the interests of the rising generation. It does appear to me that it is disastrous to a child to leave a gap, a long gap of hanging around between the child's leaving school and doing something definite in life. I have not heard anything from Deputy Norton to shake my opinion that that must lead to demoralisation and that, consequently, the effect of his amendment on the younger generation would be bad and disastrously bad. I may be wrong in that opinion, but Deputy Norton has said absolutely nothing to lessen the force of that criticism. I do most heartily and sincerely wish to see the school-leaving age raised and, as Deputy Moore says, to see boys and girls going on to vocational schools. Until that is accomplished, however, I think that Deputy Norton is asking us to sacrifice the interests of the younger generation to a degree that we ought not to sacrifice it.
I think that if Deputy Norton looks at Section 11 he will see that the Minister has power, in respect of any form of industrial work, to prohibit the employment of any young person to do such form of industrial work. It must be remembered that every industry is not unhealthy for young persons. I myself started in industrial work at the age of 14, and I do not think that it impaired either my physique or my mentality. I am quite sure that the same applies to a very large number of Deputies in the House. There are industries, however, that are unsuited to young persons, and it is for that reason that regulations can be made under Section 11 to exclude young persons from employment in such industries.
Yes; but I think that the power that the Minister is taking in Section 11 is a justification for this amendment of mine. In Section 11 the Minister may, in respect of any form of industrial work, prohibit the employment of young persons in particular industries. What is going to happen them between the ages of 14 and 16? Are they going to walk around there?
I am not excluding them from industrial work. The exclusion only applies to certain specified classes of work.
Yes; but that will contract the extent of their services and to the extent of that contraction there will be some walking around.
There is nothing illogical in that. If the Minister is saving them from something that is definitely bad for them, you must be prepared to risk the other evil. After all, the effect of saving them from industrial employment that is definitely bad for them may be that they will be able to find employment that is more suitable.
I am quite in sympathy with what the Minister is doing in Section 11, but I want the Minister to extend that prohibition by saying that no person under 16 years of age can be employed to do industrial work. I know that that is going a step further than the Minister contemplates. Perhaps it is going a considerable step further.
Judging by what the Minister has said, it is not possible to do that until the school-leaving age is raised to 16 years of age, and since that involves the expenditure of, perhaps, a substantial sum of money, I think the Minister would be very optimistic, having regard to this year's Budget, to think that we are going to see that reform introduced for many years yet.
Oh, there is a good time coming.
Perhaps there is a good time coming, but I am not as optimistic as the Minister is in that respect.
If the Deputy had children of his own that he could not afford to send to the secondary schools and that had to leave school at 12 years of age, would he not be appalled at their having to hang around until they were 16, with nothing to do?
Of course, if one were to look at the question from the point of view of an individual citizen, one might be inclined to take that view. This Assembly, however, cannot make a microscopic examination of the conditions of life of every family; it must take the broad view. The Minister, and the Deputy himself, have expressed sympathy with the object here.
Yes; but the Deputy is beginning at the wrong end.
Until the school-leaving age is raised to 16 I have no other method of dealing with this matter except by means of this Bill. This Bill is the nearest instrument to my hand, and I want to establish the principle in this Bill that a person should not be employed to do industrial work under 16 years of age. I think that, generally, the result would be that the children would benefit, that the physique of the nation would benefit, and that older persons who were seeking an entry into industry would also benefit. I think that even the passing of an amendment of this kind, with the prohibition it seeks to enshrine in this Bill, would do a great deal to induce the Government to realise the necessity of keeping children at school until they are 16. So long as the factory gates are yawning to take them in and give them low wages, we will always get the argument about reducing the earning power of the family. I think that one of the best ways of reaching the object, with which we all have sympathy, is to carry this amendment because, so long as the factory gates are open to take the children in at 14 years of age, because they are young and cheap, it will be a long time before you will see legislation passed in this country to provide that people must remain at school until they are 16. Deputy MacDermot wants to keep them at school until they are 16. Well, I suggest that one of the best levers for that is to keep them out of industry until they are 16.
The schools are not there.
Of course they are, but teachers are being dismissed because the average attendance in certain schools is falling.
Not teachers trained to educate children after that age.
The Minister knows that teachers are in danger of losing their jobs because the average attendance is falling. Although the Minister is aware that he was told 12 months ago about this, nothing has been done. There is plenty of room in some of the schools for the children who are in the factories, and there are plenty of unemployed teachers too. If the Minister looks up a Parliamentary Question asked here a few weeks ago, he will see that the surest way of keeping the children at school until they are 16 is by not providing the factory as a subterfuge for the child. If that is done, I think the Executive Council would be quickly compelled to realise the importance of keeping children at school until they are 16. I think, Sir, that there is a strong case for this amendment, and I do not think that any of the difficulties foreseen by the Minister would be serious in practice.
What about the question of the breaking of existing apprenticeships?
If that is the only difficulty, we can deal with that. Deputy Moore said that this prohibition was to get the children out of the Bill, and then I called his attention to the fact that they were in the Bill, and that the object of this amendment was to exclude them from industry. If the only difficulty is that of the apprenticeship, I am willing to seek accommodation with the Deputy or the Minister in regard to that matter. The problem remains, however, that the majority of these children are not going into industry as apprentices but merely as machine minders with the object of keeping them at a cheap rate for a couple of years until there is a fresh supply of similar labour. I think that there is a strong case for this amendment, and I should like to know from the Ceann Comhairle whether it is proposed to deal with amendments Nos. 32 and 118 in connection with it.
Seeing that the whole matter has been discussed now, the decision on this amendment will cover amendments Nos. 32 and 118.
If the father of the family was disabled, what is to become of the working man in that case?
I have nothing further to say on the matter. I have complete sympathy with Deputy Norton's view point, but I think that the Deputy is dealing with it in the wrong way.
- Aiken, Frank.
- Bartley, Gerald.
- Boland, Gerald.
- Boland, Patrick.
- Bourke, Daniel.
- Brady, Brian.
- Breen, Daniel.
- Briscoe, Robert.
- Carty, Frank.
- Concannon, Helena.
- Corry, Martin John.
- Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
- Crowley, Timothy.
- Daly, Denis.
- Derrig, Thomas.
- De Valera, Eamon.
- Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
- Doherty, Hugh.
- Donnelly, Eamon.
- Dowdall, Thomas P.
- Flynn, Stephen.
- Fogarty, Andrew.
- Geoghegan, James.
- Gibbons, Seán.
- Goulding, John.
- Hales, Thomas.
- Harris, Thomas.
- Kehoe, Patrick.
- Kelly, James Patrick.
- Kelly, Thomas.
- Kissane, Eamonn.
- Lemass, Seán F.
- Little, Patrick, John.
- Lynch, James B.
- MacDermot, Frank.
- McEllistrim, Thomas.
- McGovern, Patrick.
- Maguire, Conor Alexander.
- Moore, Séamus.
- Moylan, Seán.
- O Briain, Donnchadh.
- O'Grady, Seán.
- O'Reilly, Matthew.
- Pearse, Margaret Mary.
- Rice, Edward.
- Ryan, James.
- Ryan, Martin.
- Sheridan, Michael.
- Smith, Patrick.
- Traynor, Oscar.
- Victory, James.
- Walsh, Richard.
- Ward, Francis C.
- Bennett, George Cecil.
- Bourke, Séamus.
- Breathnach, Cormac.
- Burke, James Michael.
- Burke, Patrick.
- Corish, Richard.
- Cosgrave, William T.
- Daly, Patrick.
- Davin, William.
- Desmond, William.
- Dillon, James M.
- Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
- Everett, James.
- Fagan, Charles.
- Pattison, James P.
- Redmond, Bridget Mary.
- Reidy, James.
- Finlay, John.
- Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
- Keating, John.
- Keyes, Michael.
- Lavery, Cecil.
- McFadden, Michael Og.
- Minch, Sydney B.
- Morrisroe, James.
- Morrissey, Daniel.
- Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
- Nally, Martin.
- Norton, William.
- O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
- O'Mahony, The.
- Rice, Vincent.
- Rogers, Patrick James.
- Wall, Nicholas.
I move amendment No. 7:—
After the words "days," line 45, to delete all words to the end of line 48 and substitute the words "New Year's Day, the sixth day of January, St. Patrick's Day, the first day of May, Ascension Thursday, Corpus Christi, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, the Feast of the Assumption, the first day of November, the eighth day of December, Christmas Day and St. Stephen's Day and any day which may at any time be by law substituted as a holiday for any such days."
The purpose of this amendment is very clear, and I do not think that at this stage I need say anything in support of it. I therefore confine myself to formally moving the amendment.
I do not know why the 1st May should be substituted.
I think the Minister ought to read my amendment. Does it include that date?
It says "the first day of May." In any event I agree it is desirable that we ought to have some latitude in respect of the public holidays to be observed, but the Bill provides for six public holidays, and I do not think it is desirable that we should increase that number. I will introduce an amendment on the next stage of the Bill to provide that whereas six public holidays must be observed, nevertheless instead of Easter Monday, Whit Monday and the first Monday in August the nearest Church holidays can be substituted. I do not think we can extend it so as to include the 12 holidays which Deputy Murphy suggests. The existing law provides for only three holidays. I think in a number of places they in fact close down the factories on Church holidays, but there is no statutory obligation to do so. We are imposing a statutory obligation in respect of six holidays at the present time, but of course that does not prevent any particular employer—if it has been his practice in the past, or if he desires to make it his practice in the future—from shutting down for further holidays if he so desires. The only thing we are imposing in this Bill is a statutory obligation to give six holidays, instead of the existing obligation, which is only for three. I agree it is desirable that there should be discretion to substitute for the three holidays I have mentioned the nearest Church holidays, and I will produce an amendment to that effect on the next stage of the Bill.
Does that mean that the Minister is accepting amendment No. 9 in substance?
I confess that I am not quite satisfied with the Minister's statement. I do not think that there ought to be any question of discretion in regard to church holidays in the matter of employment. I thought it was unnecessary to go into this matter. In fact local authorities and certain employers have long since adopted this principle, and it is very undesirable and anything but edifying to see a certain section of workers compelled to work on a church holiday, while other workers who are employed by more considerate employers are getting paid for that day and getting the day off. The Minister must be aware of the fact that this matter has been discussed by local authorities in various places, and this Parliament has set a very good example by ceasing to do public work on church holidays. I am not quite satisfied with the Minister's gesture in this matter. I think there ought to be no question in this House about conceding all the church holidays.
It is clear, of course, that the Bill does not compel any employer to work his factory on a church holiday.
I want to prevent it.
I do not think we should go beyond the six public holidays which we are providing for in the Bill. After all that is a substantial increase on the present number.
If amendment No. 7 is not withdrawn, I want to make my position clear, and in this I have not consulted my colleagues at all. I strongly object to the 1st day of May being associated with church holidays as a compulsory holiday. I can see a case being put forward for making holidays of the Catholic Church in this country compulsory holidays for protected industries, but I think it is in the worst possible taste to invite Deputies of this House to vote for an amendment which associates holidays of the Catholic Church with the first of May, which, while in this country it is observed only as a trades union festival and is unobjectionable, has in the world at large a most offensive association for many Catholics of this country.
If Deputy Dillon had been here he would have seen that the position is not as he would describe it.
Deputy Dillon has not concluded.
I will give way to the Deputy.
I must say that I was not aware of the fact that the 1st day of May was included in this amendment, and I showed that by the question which I asked the Minister. I was wrong and the Minister was right. That day should have been dealt with separately.
I agree. Are we to take it then, seeing the Deputy finds his amendment is drafted in a form other than that in which he thought it was drafted, that he now proposes to withdraw it?
The Deputy is not to assume anything other than what I said. I do not think this is the time to discuss it.
Courtesy demands that the Deputy should spare the time of the House. He said that he believed his amendment was drafted in a certain form, and he now finds that it is not drafted in that form. If he is going to withdraw it now we can discuss it at another time.
Would you, Sir, permit Deputy Murphy to make an alteration in this amendment, seeing that there is an obvious error.
Might I point out a further fact in regard to the wording of this amendment. Only a few years ago the 25th of March was a church holiday and the 8th of December was not. There may be further changes—
We can discuss them then. May I say again that I regret that this occurred. It is not my fault. Might I be permitted to have the amendment altered?
Might I suggest to the Deputy that the best way to convenience——
I do not want any suggestion from the Deputy. I am in your hands, Sir.
Deputy Murphy need not be insolent in those matters. Might I suggest to him that the convenience of Deputies other than those in his own Party would best be met if he withdrew his amendment and put it down——
I am not prepared to consider any suggestion made by the Deputy.
——in an acceptable form on the Report Stage. Do I understand, Sir, that the Chair has discretion to permit the alteration of an amendment without the permission of the House, or does the Chair seek the consent of the House before permitting the alteration of the amendment as it appears on the Order Paper?
The amendment is now in possession of the House and may not be altered without the consent of the House.
I do not consent to the alteration of this amendment and, for the reasons stated, I shall vote against it if it is pressed to a division.
I will withdraw the amendment and I will reintroduce it later in the form desired.
Deputy Murphy will be a little more civil the next time.
Amendment No. 8 was included in amendment No. 7?
Seeing it was an obvious error and the Deputy responsible said that the words in question will not be included in the amendment on Report, will you grant permission to move amendment No. 8?
Yes, in the circumstances.
I move amendment No. 8:—
In line 45 before the word "the" to insert the words "the first day of May."
In this Bill we are declaring certain days to be public holidays and these days are enumerated in Section 2 of the Bill. I want to add to the public holidays so named the first day of May. It has been for many years recognised as a day given over to rejoicing by the workers. Deputy Dillon seems to see some sinister meaning in the first day of May, although even the present dictator in Germany, on whose methods he was keen on fashioning his own Party recently, has now recognised the 1st May as a public holiday. In many other countries throughout the world there has been an official, or a growing unofficial recognition of the 1st May being given as a day of rejoicing and legitimate festivity to the workers. Here in this country there is probably a specially strong case for making the 1st May a public holiday, because in this country the workers have not only served the nation by their services in all the spheres of industry, science, art and agriculture, but in a very special manner they have served the national cause in this country and, quite apart from the fact that we ought to be in step with modern feelings in the direction of recognising that the 1st May should be a holiday specially given to symbolise the contribution which the workers make towards the creation of the things we enjoy in this country, there is, I think, a very special case for recognising their claim to that holiday as the nation's recognition of the part they have played in serving the national movement at all times.
I hope the Minister will agree to accept this amendment and make the 1st May a public holiday. If he does that I think that we would be making a public holiday of a day which we can probably justify more than any public holiday mentioned in this section of the Bill. There is a strong case to be made for the 1st May being conceded as a public holiday and, while it may seem novel to us now to make that day a public holiday, in years to come, judging by the progress which that movement is making, I think there will be a general recognition by all Governments that that day should be given over to the workers as a day which will symbolise the nation's appreciation of their services.
The Deputy appreciates that he does not make the first day of May a public holiday by this amendment. If this amendment were carried that day would not become a public holiday.
I could not make it a public holiday in this Bill.
Therefore I suggest the Deputy should try to achieve his purpose in the appropriate place and at the appropriate time.
Is the amendment being withdrawn?
It is not. I suggest to the Minister that if the first day of May is included in this section, with the amendments which have been moved around the section it will be quite clear that the workers can get that day as a public holiday. I cannot amend in this Bill the Act declaring holidays to be public holidays, but I think the Minister will realise in regard to some of these days that the position is not even quite clear in the appropriate Act why they should be so regarded and, consequently, this day is in no worse position.
If the Deputy does succeed in getting the appropriate Act amended, the amendment will automatically extend to this.
But some of the others have not been amended in the appropriate Act.
In any event, I do not see my way to accept the amendment.
- Corish, Richard.
- Daly, Patrick.
- Davin, William.
- Everett, James.
- Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
- Keyes, Michael.
- Morrissey, Daniel.
- Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
- Norton, William.
- Pattison, James P.
- Reidy, James.
- Aiken, Frank.
- Bartley, Gerald.
- Boland, Gerald.
- Bourke, Daniel.
- Bourke, Séamus.
- Brady, Brian.
- Breathnach, Cormac.
- Breen, Daniel.
- Briscoe, Robert.
- Burke, James Michael.
- Burke, Patrick.
- Carty, Frank.
- Concannon, Helena.
- Corry, Martin John.
- Cosgrave, William T.
- Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
- Crowley, Timothy.
- Derrig, Thomas.
- Desmond, William.
- De Valera, Eamon.
- Dillon, James M.
- Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
- Doherty, Hugh.
- Donnelly, Eamon.
- Dowdall, Thomas P.
- Flynn, Stephen.
- Fogarty, Andrew.
- Gibbons, Seán.
- Goulding, John.
- Hales, Thomas.
- Harris, Thomas.
- Kehoe, Patrick.
- Kelly, James Patrick.
- Kelly, Thomas.
- Kissane, Eamonn.
- Lavery, Cecil.
- Lemass, Seán F.
- Little, Patrick John.
- Lynch, James B.
- MacDermot, Frank.
- McEllistrim, Thomas.
- Maguire, Conor Alexander.
- Moore, Séamus.
- Moylan, Seán.
- Nally, Martin.
- O Briain, Donnchadh.
- O'Grady, Seán.
- O'Mahony, The.
- O'Reilly, Matthew.
- Pearse, Margaret Mary.
- Rice, Edward.
- Rice, Vincent.
- Ryan, James.
- Ryan, Martin.
- Sheridan, Michael.
- Smith, Patrick.
- Traynor, Oscar.
- Victory, James.
- Wall, Nicholas.
- Walsh, Richard.
- Ward, Francis C.
In view of what the Minister said I am not pressing amendment No. 9.
I move amendment No. 10.
In sub-section (1), line 11, to insert after the word "activities" the words "whether done by a worker as part of the work contracted to be done for a specified employer, or by a worker outside the period of such contracted work and in the worker's own time."
In moving this amendment I am really only asking that what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. I do not think the Minister will object to this.
I have some sympathy with the amendment, but I am obliged not to accept it because it would be impossible to enforce such a provision. We prescribe a 48-hour week for a worker in the form of not permitting the employer to employ that employee for a longer period, but you have the position that the worker can employ himself on another class of work outside the hours prescribed in the Bill. The amendment is in conformity, no doubt, with the intentions of the Bill, but there are no means by which we could enforce this regulation. I do not think it is desirable that we should enact provisions that we could not possibly carry out. Therefore, I do not think that I can accept this amendment.
If that is so it throws a certain light on this Bill which certainly I did not realise up to now. If employers are to be asked to stand by a 48-hour week, or whatever it is, and there is no such obligation upon the workers, then I do not think it is an equitable provision. I think at least that if proved it should be made an offence on the part of the worker acting in that way.
But the Deputy appreciates that the amendment if adopted would make it illegal for the worker to go home and repair the clock or put up a shelf or do any other form of work of that kind in his own home. I know that the Deputy's intention is to prevent the worker taking up other employment in his spare time. But that provision is one that it would be impossible to enforce.
I quite realise that it would be absolutely impossible for the Minister to prevent a man working for himself; but I think the Minister ought to go to the length of saying that where the worker is employed by another employer that it would not be permitted.
If the Minister's reply is to be taken as a non-possumus to the general principle that Deputy Dockrell described I very much regret it, because in certain trades it is certainly a very grave injustice, particularly to the fellow-workers of those who take on private work. For instance, in motor repairing there is an amount of work done by people in their spare time, even on Sundays, to the great detriment of motor mechanics generally. You have the situation that where there are a number of people unemployed you have others taking on far more than their day's work represents. I am sorry if the Minister's statement means that nothing can be done in regard to that problem. It is certainly a source of unemployment, and I hope the Minister will examine the question to see if any provision could be inserted in the Bill that will have the desired effect of putting a stop to such practice.
I am in sympathy with the idea behind the amendment, but I know of no means by which it could be enforced. You do not stop this practice by simply saying it should not be done. There is no means by which the Department could get after such work and keep track of it. It would be a big mistake to embody a provision that we know quite well we could not possibly give effect to.
I would put before the Minister this possibility; it is illuminating. Suppose, for the sake of argument, an employer has a particular job that requires to be done. For some reason or other he cannot get it finished; there is a difficulty or some delay. Is it open to him to take another worker from another employer to do the work which his own employe would be precluded from carrying out under the terms of his employment? Because that is the effect of what the Minister has told us. I repeat that I recognise the Minister cannot stop a man working at home, in his own house. But if he is allowed to go out after he has finished his day's work for one employer, and march into the employment of another employer, who presumably can say, "I do not know where he is employed or whether he is in work," then I think it is going to make a farce of this Bill.
I do not agree. The maximum hours—the limits within which a worker can be employed on industrial work—are fixed in the Bill. But the Deputy is trying to get at persons such as those mentioned by Deputy Moore, that is, the motor mechanic who calls to the house of a private individual and takes the opportunity of repairing his car. Take the case of a builder's labourer who undertakes to do some repairs in the house after ordinary working hours, and other things of that kind. I agree with the desirability of making it impossible, if we could do it. But I do not see how we can do it. No suggestion has been made as to how provisions of that kind in a Bill could be enforced. It could not be done without some very elaborate inspection system, or organisation of that kind, which it is not proposed to set up. To say that such work should not be done will not prevent it being done, and everybody knows there is no means of effectually penalising those who do it.
Let me carry Deputy Moore's example a little further. The Minister mentioned the case where a motor mechanic calls at the house of a private individual to repair his car. But I can envisage such a man going to a garage proprietor not far away from where he is working, and doing a job for him, and that is not provided for.
There is another side to this matter. The objection taken by the Minister is on the ground of administrative difficulty. Apparently the principle is regarded as acceptable and desirable, but the administrative difficulty overrules that. But is it any more difficult to administer than, say, looking after a person who hires a number of employees and gets one of those after hours to cut the grass?
Except that the cutting of the grass would not be industrial work.
But it will be taken as industrial work under Section 47. The Section says:
If any employer employs any worker to do any industrial work for any part of any day and employs such worker to do other work which is not industrial work for any other part of that day such worker shall, for the purpose of this part of this Act, be deemed to be employed to do such industrial work while doing such other work.
Non-industrial work, therefore, shall be deemed to be industrial work in this instance. Let us get that concrete. A man is employed in the motor business and his employer gets him round to his house in the evening to cut the grass. You are deeming that to be industrial work and you get the regulations dealing with rates of wages and hours direct into the matter of the cutting of the grass. Is that administratively more difficult to tackle than the case of a person who breaks these regulations by doing what has been spoken of here. Take the case of a man who is employed by a building contractor in the country. He works full time, daily and weekly, for that employer. Then after he leaves work he takes on the job of carpenter for a neighbour who wants sashes made for windows. He goes down to that man and works for him. Surely you should include that as part of the worker's time. Is it more difficult to get after a case of that kind than that of a man who goes and cuts his employer's grass? I see no difficulty.
I see considerable difficulty. Remember the employer of the motor mechanic, who gets the man to cut the grass must require him to do so as a condition of his employment; he requires him to do it.
What in fact is the difference?
What you are trying to do is to prevent a motor mechanic going home and repairing his clock.
He is not working for wages there.
I do not think it is covered under Section 51.
That is only on the ground that the persons are members of the family.
Or on any other ground. Deputies who want to do this must state how it is going to be done. In the other case there are two parties with a special interest. If the employee is employed overtime, whether on industrial work or nonindustrial work which for the purposes of the Act is deemed to be industrial work, then either he is paid the overtime rate and is willing to work overtime or he declines to do so, in which case the employer has no power to compel him to do it. There we have the aggrieved party who is going to bring the fact to the notice of the authorities. In the other case, the case of the carpenter who is going to work in his own time, it would be impossible to get at him, and I should like to know how you could.
The aggrieved party! The only way then apparently in which you can get after a man going around after hours, if he feels he should not do the work, is that he should proceed to make himself obnoxious by reporting the matter. But the man who decides that he would like to do the job, because he is sure of a bit of additional pay even though he is working overtime, can do it and you cannot check that up. That is the situation according to the Minister. But shall we not get people doing this work who either themselves will report the matter or whose comrades will report the matter? Remember, you cannot always depend on the aggrieved person to report it. Take my example of the man who goes down the street to do a job of carpentry. If the principle of the Bill is that you want to spread work as much as possible and that you want to prevent overtime being worked as a normal thing, if there are men unemployed in that trade in which this man worked after hours, they will report it because they will say: "We would be getting that work if this man had not taken, it." You will get reports of that kind without any elaborate system of inspection. Although we may not get 100 per cent. compliance, it is better to have the provision there and get it recognised than not to have it at all.
Remember there is another side to this matter. If these conditions of employment are going to be imposed, they should be imposed on everybody. Why should a building contractor— I am taking him as an example, but the motor trade employer could be brought into this as well—have terms and conditions imposed on him that the jobbing carpenter will not have to observe? Why should there not be fairness in competition? You are going to have one set of conditions imposed on one man but you are going to let off the man who is working in his backyard or the back part of his premises. I submit that the conditions should be equal for both. I admit that you cannot get 100 per cent. compliance for this provision, but you will get information from others who are eager for the work which will enable you to bring about reasonable compliance with it.
I admit that there are difficulties in giving effect to the second portion of the amendment because of its wide ramifications, but I think the first portion of the amendment is much simpler to administer than any other section of the Bill. I do not see any real difficulty in meeting the point suggested in the amendment. It is well known, and the Minister must be aware of the fact, that certain persons who are at present employed in certain kinds of occupations actually look for, and take on, other work after the normal hours of employment. This amendment is designed to deal with that kind of person and to limit that kind of activity. There is a specially good case for limiting that kind of activity when we find, as is usually the case, that the trade in which he is employed is one in which there is already a large amount of unemployment. I suggest to the Minister that there is no difficulty in putting the first part of the amendment into operation. His whole case was made against the second portion. There is no case to be made against the first portion. I think the Minister ought to accept it so as to prevent the kind of person I have described from working after his normal hours of employment, thus keeping other people out of employment.
This amendment does not get at the kind of person we are discussing. We are discussing the jobbing carpenter or the mechanic who is really in the position of an independent contractor when doing that additional work.
If he gets paid.
His position is that of a contractor who contracts to do a particular job for a particular amount of money. He is not in the ordinary sense employed for wages by an employer.
This is a new turn given to this.
However, the fact that Deputy Norton has gone on the side of the amendment has convinced me that we have got to consider whether we cannot meet this point in some way. It is a somewhat surprising development. I suggest to Deputy Norton that the matter could be largely dealt with in most trades by the trade unions making a rule prohibiting their members from doing this work.
They do, and they endeavour to implement the rule.
On the contrary, I can produce cases in which trade union officials are doing this independent contracting work after hours.
Well, they should be ashamed of themselves, and I say that publicly.
Deputy Norton now admits that the trade unions have had these rules and have not been able to enforce them. Nevertheless, he would like the Department of Industry and Commerce to undertake the job of enforcing similar provisions and he thinks that the Department would be more successful than they have been when all the information the Department could get would not be a fraction of the information which is available to the trade unions themselves.
And which could be made available to the Department.
It was insufficient to enable them to enforce it when made available to the trade unions.
There is the lack of power to compel them.
Surely the trade unions have the power to compel them?
There will be legal penalties if you put this in the Bill.
Legal penalties would be less severe than to expel a man from membership of a trade union.
And expel him from his job.
Is that not the penalty for a breach of the trade union rules? If the trade unions want to suppress this thing, they have much more effective means of doing it than the Department.
Would that not apply to the whole Bill?
The Minister does not realise where he is going.
I fully appreciate what it means. This is an obligation that is going to be evaded and will be evaded by everybody in the community. It is going to make the enforcement of the rest of the Bill a much more difficult task.
That applies to every Bill here. It applies to the Butter Bill.
Nonsense. If Deputy Norton wants me to take up the position that we shall not merely penalise the employer, but also penalise the worker, I am prepared to see if we can devise some means of meeting him, but you cannot devise any means which will enable you to get after the worker who is employed for wages during the day and who, for a period in his own time afterwards, acts as an independent contractor. You do not get after him by an amendment of this nature. There might be a case where a worker is employed for wages during the day and is offered employment for wages outside that day but even in that respect there are certain provisions in the Bill. A person who does a job of carpentry work or of mechanical work is in a different position and you will not be in a position to get after him.
Could you not get after the man's employer?
You cannot penalise a man who has engaged another person to work after hours unless you put him into the position of getting information as to how many hours he has worked that day.
You can get the information from other people who want work. It is their wish to get work done consistently and it can be done consistently. You cannot get work done consistently even within hours without its being known. This Bill would be of a completely antisocial nature if it was not for the conditions with regard to unemployment that prevail. As long as unemployment lasts, the Bill has its uses. As long as unemployment lasts, there will be people to complain and give information.
But now a new point has been made by the Minister with regard to this Bill. It cuts at the root of the whole thing and I was wondering how he will get over it. The independent contractor emerges. Could not the man who cuts grass at night turn himself into an independent contractor? By a couple of recent decisions of the courts, it is rather easy, provided the person goes about it in the right way, to establish a position as an independent contractor. It is not easy after the event, and in unusual conditions, to establish retrospectively. I thought the whole thing was caught by this, that anybody who does industrial work for salary or wages is a worker under this, and many a small independent contractor I thought would be deemed to be a worker under this, because he is in receipt of salary or wages. The Minister is, apparently, now swinging to the side of the grand old phrase "independent contractor," the lifebuoy of many a firm in connection with the Compensation Acts and apparently it is going to be the safeguard in relation to this. If you extend the use of this, if you are going to cut away from the Bill some zone and make it a zone of uncertainty by the use of this phrase "independent contractor," that zone will widen constantly until the Bill is of no great effect. I thought it was all copper-fastened by the use of this phrase, that everybody is a worker who gets either salary or wages. Apparently, we are now going to have a salaried man who will be an independent contractor and outside the measure. If that is so, I think it is easy to turn the man who cuts grass at night into an independent contractor.
So far as a person who is working is a member of a trade union he will find it extremely difficult and very unprofitable to plead before his trade union in defence of his action that he is an independent contractor, because he cannot be a member of a trade union and act as a journeyman for eight hours of the day and, for two, three, or four hours in the evening or at night time, plead that he is an independent contractor. The very fact that he will have to get into that position in order to escape the provisions of this Bill will cause such difficulty that he is not likely to plead that defence. I think this is the best way of dealing with that particular problem, so far as it can be dealt with, and the Minister need have no fear that anybody on these Benches is concerned about a person who is not satisfied with doing his own work, but wants somebody else's as well.
I have stated that I will see if I can meet the matter, but I am not giving any undertaking.
In order to meet a difficulty that I find has arisen from time to time, will it be necessary for the Deputy who has moved the amendment to reinsert it for the Report Stage, if it is going to be held up in that way?
Could the office not enter it up once it is held up? It would assist Deputies very much if that could be done. I propose to withdraw the amendment which is in my name on the condition that it will be entered at the appropriate point if the Minister does not put down an amendment.
The Deputy might notify the office.
It is a question of forgetfulness. I will notify them in a general way.
I understood from the Minister that he has certain proposals to make in connection with this section on the Report Stage. I think the Minister wants to have paragraph (c) deleted. My object is to extend the scope of this section. I think it would be of very little use to do that at this stage, and perhaps it is better to wait until the Minister's amendment is put in.
I mentioned during the discussion on amendment No. 4 that I propose to move on the next Stage to delete paragraph (c) and to deal with the question of employment in warehouses in the subsequent measure which will deal with conditions of employment in the wholesale and retail trade. I think that a provision dealing with employment in warehouses would more appropriately belong to that measure than to this. In fact, it has become evident that considerable difficulties would arise if we were to keep paragraph (c) as it is in the Bill—that some very anomalous situations would arise. These difficulties can be got over altogether by putting employment in warehouses within the scope of the Bill for the regulation of conditions of employment in the wholesale and retail trade in general. Therefore, I propose to move to delete paragraph (c) from the section.
That means that warehousing is cut out?
Out of this Bill.
That is the Minister's proposal. I will vote against the Minister's proposal when it is submitted. I do not know, therefore, that there is any advantage in moving my amendment at this stage.
I think there is a point to be discussed on the amendment. Why is the discrimination made between a warehouse where mechanical power is used and a warehouse where mechanical power is not used?
The paragraph was inserted in the form in which it appeared in the Washington Hours Convention. The wording of the Convention was taken exactly and inserted there.
They must have had a point in making the discrimination with regard to warehouses where mechanical power was used. What was the point?
They regarded one as industrial and the other as commercial work. I think it is more appropriate that warehouse employment should be regarded as commercial employment whether mechanical power is used or not.
The Minister is proposing to introduce this in a Bill dealing with wholesale and retail trade. But is warehousing not done in some State Departments? What is the position of these Departments in a Bill dealing with wholesale and retail trade?
That is commercial employment in the wider sense.
Dealing with public services as well?
I am not saying that.
Under the definition section "industrial undertaking" means an undertaking in which industrial work is carried on by way of trade or for the purposes of gain or for the supply of any public service. Is the Minister proposing to limit that definition in the new Bill?
No. Any work of the kind described in Section 3 generally in connection with the public service is included whether the State is the employer or not. There is no exclusion of any type of employment merely because the State is the employer.
Will there be any such exclusion in the next Bill in that respect? One might consent as a matter of tidiness, to the withdrawal of paragraph (c) in this section if one were assured that in the new Bill there would be no limiting definition. The public services might be cut out of the new Bill, whereas they are in this Bill.
The scope of both measures will be much the same. I do not want to say finally what its form will be, because it is not completed yet.
The Minister appreciates that my amendment is somewhat related to the fact that this Bill, as at present introduced, deals with the position of the public services and I will consent to withdraw the amendment if the new Bill will not be limited in scope.
I hardly think so.
I will take that—the Minister hardly thinks so.
Let us get our minds clear on the exclusion that may be moved later on. I understand that this has been taken from the Forty Hours' Convention. It makes a peculiar discrimination with regard to the warehousing of goods where mechanical power is used for the movement of goods. There is first a discrimination where mechanical power is used for the movement of goods—the implication being that where mechanical power is not used for the movement of goods then they would not, be covered—and, secondly, where goods are lifted by any mechanical appliance, whether such appliance is or is not actuated by mechanical power. Why these two distinctions?
I do not think these distinctions should be there.
I take it that these have been copied from the Convention I have referred to, but has there been any research as to why these peculiar differences were made in the Washing ton Convention?
They were made because it was assumed that work in warehouses in connection with the removal of goods by mechanical power or the use of mechanical appliances for the lifting of goods, was properly describable as industrial work. It was regarded as a border line application of the definition.
Can we get an example of a mechanical appliance which lifts where the mechanical appliance is not actuated by mechanical power?
In some places you have cranes worked by hand and in other places they are worked by electric or steam power. I am afraid if this sub-section is left in the Bill it will create chaos so far as railway employment is concerned. For instance, during one part of the day a man may be employed operating a crane by hand for the lifting of goods in the store, and on the following day he may be engaged in the yard shunting. If his employment is varied in that way it is likely to be held that he is not engaged in an industrial occupation. If an attempt is made to enforce this sub-section, it will, I fear, make confusion worse confounded so far as railway employment is concerned.
If the Deputy will turn to Section 47 he will see that it makes provision for mixed employment. If a man is employed for any part of the day doing any sort of mechanical lifting, covered by the phrase in the sub-section, then he is deemed for the rest of the day to be employed as doing industrial work.
Would an ordinary truck in a warehouse be regarded as a mechanical appliance?
With regard to the definition of mechanical power for the movement of goods, I have already explained how this Bill originated. Originally we contemplated one Bill dealing with all matters relating to industrial employment—health, safety and similar provisions—as well as the conditions of employment. Then, for a variety of reasons, we decided to put these proposals into two Bills, one dealing with the conditions of employment, and the other with health and safety provisions. Where you are dealing with safety provisions and similar matters, the question whether mechanical power is used or not becomes a matter of primary importance. These provisions are not being carried into this Bill. Consequently, we have to revise the definitions in it in the light of the change which is being made, and I think the best way of doing that is to take this section out of the Bill. In the Bill dealing with factories and workshops, safety arrangements and all the rest of it, we will, of course, have safety provisions where mechanical power is used and irrespective of whether it is used in connection with industrial work or not. But that is another day's work.
I have seen in a store one man pushing goods on a truck and another man operating a motor truck for the carriage of the goods.
It is because situations of that kind create considerable difficulty that I am moving to take this section out of this Bill and proposing to deal with the matter in another measure.
I move amendment No. 13:—
Sub-section (1) (d), line 25, before the word "pipe" to insert the word "well."
I move amendment No. 14:—
In sub-section (1) before paragraph (e) to insert the following paragraph—
(e) the construction, maintenance, alteration or repair of any telegraphic or telephonic installation.
I am not clear that this amendment is necessary, but if the Deputy wants to put the matter beyond all doubt I am prepared to accept it.
I move amendment No. 15:—
At the end of sub-section (1) to add the words "or in relation to or ancillary to any of such activities."
Sub-section (1) of Section 3 sets out a variety of activities which are regarded as industrial work within the meaning of the section. The object of the amendment is to add that any work "in relation to or ancillary to any of such activities" shall be deemed to be industrial work. For instance, a building operation might be regarded as industrial work. You would probably have employed on it a carter or a van man. But they might not be employed on such details of the work as are set out in the section. The object of the amendment is to ensure that such persons shall be regarded as doing industrial work within the meaning of the section.
Would the Deputy include the driver of a motor lorry delivering manufactured goods from a factory?
I would not have the slightest hesitation in doing so if the factory generally were covered by the scope of the Bill. I think that such a driver would fit much more satisfactorily into this Bill than into a Transport Bill, or a Bill dealing with the wholesale or retail trade.
I am anxious that the Deputy should appreciate the difficulties likely to arise if we include ancillary workers within the scope of the Bill. Take the example that was given of the Dublin Gas Company. It gets an order for the delivery of coke on a Saturday morning. It sends out its vans with the consignment of coke to its customer. The drivers cannot just stop work at one o'clock. Their conditions of employment are different from those for factory workers, who come into work at a stated hour and leave off at a stated hour. You cannot apply the conditions under which these drivers are employed in a Bill of this kind without the possibility of giving rise to considerable difficulty. On that account they were left out of the scope of this Bill. Where we will fit them in in our scheme of legislation is another problem. I do not say that that problem has been solved, but, at the same time, it seems to me that we cannot bring them into this Bill because the provisions in it, which prescribe the hours after which industrial work, as defined here, must not be done, and all the rest, cannot easily be applied to workers engaged in the delivery of goods or in similar occupations. Their hours of work are generally determined by the requirements of the industry in which they are engaged. In relation to such workers, we could prescribe a maximum number of hours per week, but we could not have, in relation to them, the same hours per day or the same provisions for a short day, the rest periods, and so on, that we have for industrial workers generally. Therefore, I think they cannot be included in this Bill, and must be dealt with as a separate class of workers, in respect of whom different provision must be made. I decided deliberately, after considering the matter very fully, that we could not bring such ancillary workers within the terms of this Bill, and I would not be disposed to accept the Deputy's amendment.
Is there any definite proposal for dealing with them?
They constitute a class in themselves—a class with whom it will be very difficult to deal in any of the measures I mentioned. It is my intenttion that they should be covered, but exactly how that is to be done, I have not finally determined.
In this Bill, we are providing for persons engaged in the construction, reconstruction, repair and demolition of a road, bridge, viaduct, sewer, drain, pipe, etc. These are within the terms of the Bill, but the man who is carting away the material which the other man is demolishing is outside the scope of the Bill. The Minister cannot plead that that kind of carting work is very urgent. The man probably thinks that he is drawing from an endless mound of refuse. Is there not a strong case for including that worker in the Bill?
That is only one type of case. The Deputy's amendment would have much wider scope.
I agree, but I think the Minister should consider the question of including this class in the Bill. I think that they would fit into the Bill as conveniently as they would fit into any other class of Bill. The Minister mentioned the case of a person ordering a ton of coke on Saturday morning. That would be an extraordinary type of case. A person who required the fuel urgently would not wait until Saturday morning to order it. It is hardly necessary to frame a separate Bill for this class of worker. I think that this class could be fitted into the present Bill.
Section 3 does not purport to define industrial work. It sets out examples of industrial work. Industrial work is not confined to the various forms of activity mentioned there. It is possible that other occupations, though not mentioned there, would be held to be industrial work for the purpose of the Bill.
I have an amendment down to enable the Minister to bring in other classes. That amendment is No. 67, and applies to Section 23.
All work that is industrial work is included except where it is specifically excluded, such as under sub-section 2 of this Section.
The purpose of my amendment to Section 23—I do not want to discuss it in detail now—is to enable the Minister to bring in other kinds of industrial work which are not specifically excluded, but which are not specifically included. If the Minister would accept an amendment of that kind, it could be utilised to deal with the vanman and the carter.
All industrial work not specifically excluded is included.
Will the Minister say on what grounds transport is excluded?
If it is industrial work, it is included.
Obviously, transport is industrial work. It is industrial work according to the Washington Hours Convention.
Section 3 says that a person employed in industrial work is covered by the Bill. In the paragraphs are set out forms of industrial work which are included, but there may be other forms of industrial work somewhat similar which are not mentioned there, but which would be included. These examples do not limit industrial work to the classes of work mentioned there.
Does the Minister suggest that carters and vanmen might be brought in under that provision?
No. I think that they are out, but there may be particular cases where they might be brought in. In the majority of cases, where a person is employed delivering goods produced in a factory, obviously different working conditions will operate than those which operate in the case of a worker actually employed in the production of goods in the factory. It would not be possible to provide automatically for the same rest periods and the same finishing hours of work. The vanman must be allowed to get his vehicle back into the garage.
I move amendment No. 16:—
In sub-section (2), line 48, to delete the words "and includes," and substitute the words "but does not include."
The interpretation given to agricultural work in this sub-section seems to me to bring into the category of agricultural work work of an industrial nature——
Done for the purpose of the business of the farm and for no other purpose—such as the killing of an old cow.
The State is doing that now and there will probably be very little employment provided in that direction. This provision, however, applies to something more than the killing of an old cow.
The digging of drains.
More than that. A big firm may send men down to a farmer's place to construct hay barns. They may proceed to construct a number of hay barns for the farmer. There is no doubt that that work is being done for the purpose of storing the hay off the farm. But the people employed on this work would not be within the scope of the Bill. A farmer may decide to put up a greenhouse or a number of greenhouses for the purpose of growing particular kinds of plants which he wants to grow as part of his agricultural activity——
The erection of a hay barn is not done as part of the work of the farm.
What is it done for— for amusement?
It is not done as part of the work of the farm. It is done for the purpose of equipping the farm.
That is a very fine distinction.
It is a clear distinction.
If that is intended, the Bill should be amended to provide that it does not include the work of erecting buildings on a farm. Otherwise, it seems to me that that kind of work will come in.
The Deputy will see by the Section that the killing of any animal or bird and the making of drains, when done on the farm, as part of the business of the farm, is agricultural work. If the amendment were carried, agricultural workers would be deemed to be industrial workers not at the particular time at which they would be doing that work but at all times, because if any part of the work of a day is industrial work the whole is deemed to be industrial work.
If a farmer is building a new house for himself, obviously that is part of his farming activities. He is going to live in the house for the purpose of working his farm.
No. He need not live on the farm at all for the purpose of the work of the farm.
Suppose he considers it necessary to live on the farm and that he wants to have a greenhouse or he wants a few hay barns for the purpose of storing the hay raised on the farm, that work would be held to be outside the terms of the Bill because it is being carried on for the purpose of the farm. If the Minister is of opinion that it should not be held to be agricultural work, then there is an obvious case for amending the section to make that clear.
I made it quite clear.
The Minister is not going to interpret this section when passed.
The Deputy's amendment obviously includes matters like the killing of any animal or bird, drainage, and work of that kind, which is ordinarily done by agricultural labourers.
I am willing to consent to the section being amended in such a way as to deal with the work of constructing buildings, hay barns or such structures on farms.
I think there is no possibility of any court holding that the construction of hay barns would be work done as part of the work of a farm.
There is certainly nothing in this section to lead it to take that view. As it is most ambiguous I ask the Minister to look into it.
In order to satisfy the Deputy I will ask the officials in my Department to examine it.
To examine it!
The Minister may be aware that in forestry schemes, and particularly in State forestry schemes, it is usual to have a saw-milling plant attached. Would that come under this section as part of the work of forestry? There is a number of forestry stations where men are employed, and there will be a staff there working almost exclusively within the saw mills.
I think so.
It seems to me that under this definition that would be put down as agricultural work. In my opinion it is very definitely industrial work. If anything could be classed as industrial work it is work on a saw-milling plant.
Definitely we have decided to regard forestry as agricultural work, and consequently to exclude it from the scope of this Bill. Work of that kind cannot be regulated by the ordinary time schedules that might apply to factory work. Work of that kind must go on while there is daylight, and not from eight to six, nine to seven, or seven to five. Forestry cannot he done after dark. It must cease when daylight ceases, irrespective of whether it is early or late. The conditions in forestry are similar to those in agricultural work and we have decided to exclude forestry from the scope of the Bill. If there is at any time a Bill to regulate conditions of employment in agriculture, forestry will be included.
That is not my point. I am talking of forestry work such as planting or the felling of trees where you have a large forestry scheme.
The Deputy is misreading the section. It says:
the expression "agricultural work" means the work of any farm or garden or of forestry and includes any form of industrial work done as part of the work of a farm or garden...
There is no reference to forestry there.
I want to have the position made clear. My point is that in certain State forestry schemes a saw mill forms a necessary part of such schemes.
But that is not the work of forestry.
It may be held, as the sub-section reads at present, that these men are engaged and work in the saw mills as part of the forestry scheme. They are engaged in what I consider to be industrial work, where saws and other implements are used and are power driven. They work a certain number of hours from 9 to 6.
That is industrial work and is covered.
Is the Minister satisfied it is not included in this sub-section?
I am satisfied it is not included.
The saw mill portion?
That is what I am not clear about.
It is quite clear. It says: "the work of any farm or garden or of forestry and includes any form of industrial work." It does not exclude industrial work in connection with forestry.
Are employees in saw mills paid at a higher rate than for forestry?
I could not answer that question. I do not know.
I was wondering whether their scale of pay resembled that of industrial workers or agricultural labourers.
Certain persons employed in saw mills are sometimes classed and recognised as tradesmen. In some saw mills men who are actually sawing or in charge of circular or horizontal saws are not recognised as qualified tradesmen. They are classed simply as handy men.
Saw milling is industrial work, and whether a saw mill is operated by persons planting forests, or by persons who buy forests, it is industrial work and will be dealt with as such under this Bill.
These men are often employed part of the time planting, thinning, or felling, or erecting fences around forestry belts of trees, while at other times they are employed in the saw mills. I am not clear about the position yet.
In that case they are covered by Section 47.
Am I to take it that if there is a saw mill attached to a forestry plantation, by reason of that fact the workers in the saw mill would be industrial workers and the rest would be regarded as doing farm work.
Persons engaged in the saw mill would be regarded as in industrial work. A person who any day was engaged partly in the saw mill and partly in forestry work would be for that day regarded as an industrial worker the whole of the time.
How does the Minister say that work in the saw mill or forestry is industrial work? I think it could be effectively argued against on the section as drawn, that a saw mill is a form of industrial work done as part of the work of the farm or garden.
The farm or garden but not forestry.
Is it definitely intended to exclude forestry?
I did not gather that from the Minister's first statement.
In connection with amendment No. 16 I ask the Minister to look into the next amendment:—
In sub-section (2), lines 49 and 50, to delete all words after the word "garden," line 49, to the end of line 50.
I move amendment No. 18:—
In sub-section (2), page 5, to add at the end of line 2 the words "but does not include any work requiring manual labour even though done in conjunction with work of a clerical nature or as added to the work of overseeing, directing and managing industrial work.
I think there is something in this amendment which it will be necessary to provide for. I take it that what the Deputy is trying to get at is working foremen. I am not clear that it is necessary to amend the Bill in order to make sure. I will have the matter examined to see if such persons are entitled to be included. It should not be possible for such persons to get outside the scope of the Bill, on the ground that they were engaged on clerical work. If amendment is necessary I will have it dealt with.
There was a point towards the end of the section as to the definition of domestic work:—
the expression "domestic work" includes the work of preparing food in any hotel or restaurant if the food so prepared is intended only for consumption in such hotel or restaurant.
Now, what about the work of preparing food in a caterer's for consumption at some festivity? Is not that a case that should be taken into account?
I agree, and an amendment is being prepared to deal with that particular matter, which will be introduced here on the next stage of the Bill.
I move amendment No. 19:—
To add at the end of sub-section (1) the words "and includes any body of persons corporate or unincorporate and the legal personal representatives of a deceased employer and in relation to industrial work undertaken by a Department of State includes the Minister in charge of the Department."
This amendment is put down to ensure that the definition of "employer" in the Bill means something other than an individual employer and that it includes any body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, and the legal personal representatives of a deceased employer, and in relation to industrial work undertaken by a Department of State includes the Minister in charge of the Department.
The term "employer" here means the person who is liable for the payment of salary or wages, and so on, and does not mean an individual only. We think that the best definition of an employer is the person who pays the wages and, in order to avoid ambiguity, it is provided here that the term means the person who is legally responsible for the paying of the wages. It might be an individual or it might be a company.
May I take it then that the term covers the Minister himself in a particular case?
And that if a Minister employed carpenters or bricklayers, they would also be covered?
Yes, it covers whomever is the employer in that sense.
I move amendment No. 20:—
To delete sub-section (2).
The object of sub-section (2) of Section 4 is to provide that:—
Where the amount of any form of industrial work done in the carrying on of any undertaking is so small that in the opinion of the Minister the provisions of this Act cannot be conveniently applied to the employment of workers to do such form of industrial work in such undertaking, the Minister may, upon the application in the prescribed form of the person carrying on such undertaking, grant to such person a licence to employ workers in such undertaking to do such form of industrial work while remaining exempt from the provisions of this Act, and while any such licence remains in force the person to whom such licence is granted shall, in respect of the employment of workers in such undertaking to do such form of industrial work, be an exempted employer for the purpose of this Section.
I suggest to the Minister that the right to grant licences to such persons is, as it is set out in this Bill, a highly dangerous kind of arrangement, because in this Bill the Minister is taking power to amend sections of the Factory and Workshops Act, the Employment of Children Act, the Factory and Workshops Act, 1907 and 1901, and the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, 1920. If these sections are repealed by means of the licences granted by the Minister in this case, then these people will have no protection whatever in so far as the repealed sections of those Acts are concerned. The Minister must be aware that these sections have been of considerable benefit so far as these employed persons were concerned. I suggest that the effect of this would be that, for instance, the grant of a licence to an employer to operate outside the scope of the Act might lead to a denial of the weekly half-holiday, the meal intervals, the regulation of overtime, and so on, all of which were provided for in the Acts to which I have referred. These are considerations which ought to weigh with the Minister in deciding whether or not to grant a licence to operate outside the scope of this Bill. If that is intended, I think it a serious blemish on the Bill, but I hope the Minister is going to give an assurance that, so far as these sections of existing Acts are concerned, they will be preserved. I should prefer, however, that all such things should be brought within the scope of this Act because the case of exemption for the small firm has been a constant source of trouble in dealing with legislation of this kind. There has been very constant and sustained irritation at Geneva in connection with legislation of this kind, and I hope that the Minister will not insist upon granting licences to such persons. I hold that the most effective way in which that can be dealt with is by the deletion of the sub-section in which the Minister is given power to grant such licences.
I think the Deputy is under a misapprehension if he thinks that this is designed to exempt small firms from their obligations under this Act. It is really designed to deal with certain peculiar cases that might arise. As a matter of fact, the only case which has arisen, that I know of, was in connection with Messrs. Woolworth's who, in one of their stores, put upon the counter a small machine used for the purpose of printing visiting cards. Anybody could go into that store and get their visiting cards printed on the machine by one of the assistants in the store. I think it will be agreed that the use of such a machine could hardly be regarded as a factory, but the installation of that machine led to a demand that we should deem that store to be a factory and that all the conditions necessary under the Workshops and Factories code should apply to it. Obviously, it was impossible to apply the Factories and Workshops code to Messrs. Woolworth's merely because they had that machine in their store. The purpose of this sub-section is merely to enable exemption to be given in cases of that kind. The considerations to which Deputy Norton has referred would be taken into account before a licence would be granted. The fact that we require an individual application in every case means that this section is only going to be used on very rare occasions, such as the one to which I have referred. It is designed to meet just the type of case to which I have referred, and it arose out of our experience in connection with Messrs. Woolworth's.
Would the Minister take power, in a specific way, to ensure that where such persons are granted exemption, by means of a licence issued by the Minister, the conditions of this Bill will be complied with in other respects so far as the employees are concerned?
That will be taken into consideration when the particular application is being considered.
But if, as the Minister said, even a very infinitesimal portion can be described as a factory, surely there is all the more reason for saying that it is only in cases of that kind that such licences would be granted, and that otherwise the Bill would apply so far as the conditions of employment are concerned. Saying here that these things will be taken into consideration when the application is being considered, is very different from saying in the Bill that it is only in such rare cases that a licence would be granted.
It says here that where the amount of industrial work done in the carrying on of any undertaking is so small that it is not practicable to apply the provisions of the Bill, an exemption may be granted. Remember that the undertaking is one which will be to the extent of 99½ per cent. outside this Bill altogether, and, consequently, not concerned with its provisions. The intention is to ensure that it will not necessarily become a concern subject to the provisions of this Bill because a very inconsequential amount of industrial work is done and an exemption is given, having regard to all the circumstances.
Is that the only case the Minister has in mind?
Quite definitely. I do not suppose that in a drapery establishment in the country, where any of the stock in trade have been damaged in the course of the business, the damage would not be repaired by one of the assistants. In such a case, I am quite sure that they will not even bother to apply for exemption, but if there were an application for exemption in such a case, it might be considered. The definition is, I think, fairly clear— where the amount of industrial work done in the carrying on of any undertaking is so small that it is not practicable to apply the Bill, exemption may be given on individual application and on due consideration of it.
But once the licence is granted, that undertaking is outside the scope of this Bill because it is not deemed to be the form of industrial work to which this Bill applies. That firm is, therefore, entitled to operate outside the scope of this Bill, but this very Bill, under which that power is given to this undertaking, repeals certain beneficial provisions of other Acts which cannot then be invoked by the workers in that undertaking against the employer. What is the authority, for instance, in a firm of that kind excluded from the scope of this Bill, to enforce the weekly half holiday against the employer?
In a firm of that kind, the weekly half holiday is enforceable irrespective of who is employed. Remember that this is not a factory or workshop. It is a concern which does not come within the definition of factory or workshop. It would be a firm like the firm I mentioned—a retail trading establishment—which is required by other legislation to observe the weekly half holiday.
Does the Minister contemplate excluding any undertaking where the existing Acts would not survive to enable their provisions to be enforced?
If any worker was likely to be put in a worse position because of the exemption, the exemption would not be given.
Order, order—a conversation sitting down.
Yes, on that assurance.
Amendments Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24 can be discussed together, I take it.
I formally move amendments Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24.
In sub-section (2), line 13, after the word "Where" to insert the words "the proportion that."
In sub-section (2), line 14, after the word "undertaking" to insert the words "bears to the amount of other work done in the undertaking."
In sub-section (2), line 17, after the word "may" to insert the words "subject to the next succeeding sub-section."
Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section:—
No application under the next preceding sub-section which is made solely on the grounds that the size of the industrial undertaking is so small that the provisions of the Act cannot be conveniently applied shall be granted.
I hardly think they are necessary. There might be some danger in making the drafting changes which the Deputy suggests. It is really a question of drafting. We say: "Where the amount of any industrial work done in the carrying on of an undertaking is so small that the Act cannot conveniently be applied" and the Deputy wants to insert: "where the proportion which the amount of industrial work bears to the total work done in the undertaking ... it shall not apply." My feeling is that we might get ourselves into a difficulty because in a particular concern, the proportion of industrial work might be small in relation to the total work done, but nevertheless might be of sufficient size to justify the application of the Act in respect of that industrial work. However, it is merely a matter of drafting and I shall have it looked into. The intention is fairly clear in any event and I do not think there is any disagreement.
I move amendment No. 27:—
Before Section 5 to insert the following new Section:—
The Minister may, on the application of any employer in respect of a specified industrial undertaking declare that all or any of the departments in such undertaking are separate industrial undertakings or commercial undertakings for the purposes of this Act.
Is this amendment governed by No. 4?
No, I would not say so. I think there is some necessity to examine the proposal of Deputy Dockrell here. It may be necessary to embody some such provision in the Bill and I should like the Deputy to leave it over until the next Stage, because I have not looked into it.
Is this one of the amendments which will be put down without the necessity for the Deputy to enter it on his own?
I think the Deputy asked that question before. What assurance did the Ceann Comhairle give?
I think there was almost agreement that, on an indication given by the Deputy that he required the amendment to be reentered, it would be done without his direct intervention again.
Whatever ruling the Ceann Comhairle gave on the previous amendment will also hold in regard to this.
I move amendment No. 29:—
To add at the end of the section the following sub-section:—
Where a person convicted of an offence under this Act is a company the chairman and every director and every officer concerned in the management of the company shall be guilty of the like offence unless he proves that the act constituting the offence took place without his consent, connivance or wilful default.
The object of this amendment is to deal with a company somewhat different from the manner in which an individual employer is dealt with. There are some sections in the Bill under which an offence is punishable by imprisonment and if a company is sued for a breach of a section of the Bill, I should like to know from the Minister how a decision imposing imprisonment is to be implemented. Obviously, a company, as such, cannot be sent to jail.
They will probably nominate one of the directors.
To go to jail?
If that is the procedure, the amendment would facilitate that type of transaction. I should like to know from the Minister what is proposed to be done in the case of a company?
I do not think there is any section in the Bill providing for imprisonment which applies to persons in the position to which the Deputy refers. Imprisonment is provided for in certain sections—Sections 15 and 17 and other sections in Part II of the Bill—but in each case it is the person who does the act who is liable. An individual who interferes with the automatic reckoner or alters information in a docket or does some such specific thing becomes liable to imprisonment. In the other cases, the offences are all punishable by fines and, in such cases, it is not necessary to make the provision the Deputy suggests.
Do I take it that in the case of a company where, for instance, the automatic reckoner is interfered with——
That would be more a trade union offence. Would you put the whole lot in for that?
I am not so sure.
It is the person who does the act who becomes liable to imprisonment.
Is it intended that, if an employee of a firm does a thing of this kind and an offence is created by his action, it is not the company that is liable but the person actually committing the act?
I suppose there is a crime of conspiracy to commit the offence or some such provision of that kind.
Do I take it, then, that the offence in that case is punishable against the person who actually commits the act?
And if a person pleads that he has engaged in that activity on the instructions of a superior person, perhaps the managing director of the company, he is also punishable for an offence of that kind?
That would not be a valid defence.
It would not be a valid offence, but is the managing director punishable in a case of that kind?
I should say so.
If the Minister assures us he is going to prosecute, I am satisfied.
I move amendment No. 30:—
To add at the end of the section the following sub-section:—
Any proceedings for an offence against this Act before a court of summary jurisdiction may, notwithstanding any enactment prescribing the time within which such proceeding may be brought, be brought either within the time so prescribed or within three months from the date on which evidence sufficient in the opinion of the Minister to justify a prosecution for the offence comes to his knowledge whichever is the longer and for the purposes of this sub-section a certificate purporting to be signed by the Minister as to the date on which such offence as aforesaid comes to his knowledge shall be conclusive evidence thereof.
This amendment is submitted for the purpose of providing a wider jurisdiction than, I think, is at present available for dealing with offences under the section. I think, for instance, that the Summary Jurisdiction Act fixes a maximum period of two months for the purpose of prosecuting in any action brought under the Act, and if an offence is only discovered, say, six months after it is committed, it is not possible, at present, to sue in a case of that kind. The object of this amendment is to ensure that a person can be sued in a case of this kind by the Minister, or on the instructions of the Minister, within three months of the date on which the offence came to the knowledge of the Minister.
I will look into that matter. It may be necessary.
If it is necessary, will the Minister consider having it, not on a certificate of the Minister, but having some court to decide?
The procedure here is the procedure under the Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Assistance Act. I agree we might have better procedure.
Then there is no reason to carry forward obviously doubtful procedure in a new Act.
It may be necessary. I should not like to commit myself on that.
I move amendment No. 31:—
At the end of the section to add the words:—"and may at any time while such regulations remain in force by order made in the like manner amend or revoke such regulations."
This amendment is submitted in order to ascertain whether the Minister has power to make amendments or revocations of regulations issued by him.
Yes. Section 12 (3) of the Interpretation Act, 1923, makes it clear that where power is given to make any rules, regulations or by-laws, the power shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be construed as including a power, exercisable in the like manner and subject to the like consent and conditions, if any, to rescind, revoke, amend, or vary the rules, regulations, or by-laws.
The passing of Section 9 does not prevent the discussion of the fixed holiday period?
Question agreed to.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any employer to employ any person whose age is less than fourteen years to do industrial work.
(2) If any employer acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.
Amendment No. 32 is a consequential amendment.
I move amendment No. 33:—
Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
Every employer who employs a young person to do industrial work shall cause such young person to produce to him a birth certificate as evidence that such young person is entitled under the provisions of this section to be employed to do such industrial work and such employer shall retain and keep in safe custody such birth certificate.
The object of this amendment is to require the employer to have produced to him the birth certificate of the person whom he proposes to employ. At present, the Bill says that it shall not be lawful for any employer to employ any person whose age is less than 14 years to do industrial work. If a person comes along and represents that he is 14 years of age, when, in fact, he has not attained the age of 14, the employer may claim on, perhaps, a written application made by that person, that the person represented himself to be 14 years. Obviously, a greater responsibility should be put on the employer, and the best way in which that responsibility can be fixed is to require that the birth certificate of the person seeking employment should actually be produced for inspection. Otherwise, we may have persons under 14 years employed to do industrial work.
I will consider this matter. It is possible, I think, that the provision which the Deputy proposes should be embodied in this part of the Bill can be provided under Section 53, which gives the Minister power to make regulations prescribing the records which the employers are required to keep. In any event, I think that if there is to be a question of providing birth certificates, we must bring in here the same provision as in the Factories and Workshops Act for the provision of those certificates by the Registrar of Births at a nominal fee. There will have to be an amendment in some form.
The Minister will look into it?
I move amendment No. 34, standing in the names of Deputy Dockrell and Deputy Good:—
In sub-section (1), line 7, before the word "persons" to insert the words "associations of employers interested in such form of industrial work and with associations of workers so interested, or where there are no such associations with."
This is simply to ensure that before the Minister consults, if such consultation is necessary, with persons who are, in his opinion, representative, he must have resort first to the associations as such.
We discussed this question already on amendment No. 2, and I indicated that I was prepared to introduce amendments to have the effect proposed by this one.
I move amendment No. 35:—
In sub-section (1) (a), line 11, before the word "to" to insert the words "or persons or of all young persons."
I put down this amendment in order to ascertain whether "young" is a sufficiently wide term; whether it includes all young persons; or whether the Minister is limited by that description to naming the particular persons.
Certainly, the intention is to secure that the Minister will have power to prohibit the employment of young persons as a class in connection with any form of industrial work. If there is any point of drafting to be considered, I will have it considered. It is not intended that there should be power to prohibit the employment of named persons, but to prohibit the employment of young persons as a class.
I think there is somewhere else in the Bill the phrase "any young person or persons," whereas in this section it is "any young person."
It is a matter of drafting. The same thing applies to No. 12.
I move amendment No. 36:—
In sub-section (1) (b) to add at the end of line 16 the words:—"provided always that the proportion fixed shall allow the employment of a minimum of one young person in respect of each recognised division or series of operations of any piece of work and in addition shall permit the employment of a minimum of one young person to every ten other workers employed."
The object of this amendment is clear. The Minister takes power under this section, after consultation, to do either of two things: first, to prohibit the employment of young persons from certain classes of industrial activity, or, secondly, where he does not prohibit them, to say that they will only be employed in a certain proportion, so many young people to so many adults. I would like to have established one or two guiding rules. I suggest one part of this proposal first and then another part rather by way of example. I want to ensure, first of all, that the proportion fixed shall at any rate permit the employment of a minimum of one young person in respect of each recognised division or series of operations of any piece of work. I should say in regard to this that if the emergency provisions were less narrow than they are, there might be no necessity for this; or if application with regard to the employment of young people was made easier, if the system of application was enlarged, there might be no great necessity for this. But taking the Bill in its present rigid form, I am suggesting that the proportion so fixed would not prohibit in such a way as to forbid one person in respect of each recognised division of work or series of operations of any piece of work where these can be segregated as to a particular piece of work.
I cannot say that this has been surveyed over all the trades or even a majority of them, but in those that we looked at there are recognised divisions of a job and it would be easy to have this interpreted and carried out. It may be, of course, that there can be arguments as to whether one is required in all cases, but, after consultation with people interested in this, I had it demonstrated to me that there is a greater probability of one young person being required than there is a likelihood of the work being able to be carried on without one young person to each group of adults; in other words, that the normal type of work will require a young person.
With regard to the second part—"and in addition shall permit the employment of a minimum of one young person to every ten other workers employed"—whether that will be ten or 20 or 30 can be argued, but there should be some restriction placed on the Minister. If he likes to make up his mind that the business does not require young people, that choice can be made, but once it gets out of that category and these young persons must be allowed, he should take another jump and see that this Bill should lay it down that there will be at any rate one young person for each division, and that there will be one young person to every ten, 15 or 20 adults employed. I suggest ten. Whether the figure is to be moved up or down is another matter. We can have an argument in regard to different trades; but in relation to industry generally ten is a fair average, and will be found not to be an enlargement of what is the usual practice with regard to the employment of these young people.
The amendments provide that an order might be made prohibiting the employment of young persons in any form of industrial work and, if so, no young persons will be employed; or alternatively, an order may be made fixing the proportion of young persons to adults. Deputies desire that if there is a proportion fixed it shall not be less than one to ten.
In addition to the one to each division.
I have not much objection to that amendment. In fact, I could imagine in any case where a proportion is fixed a smaller proportion than one to ten would be most unlikely. I am not clear as to why it is considered desirable to put in that over-riding limitation. In so far as persons are employed as apprentices, persons learning a trade, we will cover them by sub-section (4), as we propose to amend it by bringing in persons apprenticed under the rules of apprenticeship committees; but in so far as persons are not employed by way of apprentices, there should be freedom to fix whatever proportion is determined upon after the consultation provided for in sub-section (1). In these consultations due regard will be had to the requirements of a particular industry, so that there will be whatever proportion in the different industrial work done in that industry would be necessary to enable it to be carried on. In any event, I would not like an amendment to go in which would convey the suggestion that there might be division in respect of forms of industrial work. In the building industry, for instance, there would be many forms of industrial work, but each form should, I think, be distinct in itself and we should not recognise divisions within that form of work. If it is necessary to make different regulations for different types of workers, then we should regard them as persons engaged in different forms of industrial work.
I am not quite clear as to how the question of the emergency section of the Bill arises, but it is definitely intended to widen the scope of the emergency section which, I agree, is at present much too restricted, and to provide a much more liberal definition of what constitutes an emergency for the purpose of enabling the provisions of this Bill to be departed from. The intention in respect of young people is not to interfere with their employment where such employment is leading up to adult employment in the same industry later on. It will be only where a tendency is developing to employ young people only to be dismissed from that employment when they reach a certain age that these powers would be exercised, and the number of cases where that situation will not be capable of being adjusted by consultation between the parties will be very few indeed. In such circumstances it is quite possible that no actual order may have to be made, but if such order has to be made I think we should have a fairly free hand to give effect to whatever may arise from the consultations provided for. I have no strong objection to an over-riding limitation of one to ten if it is con sidered desirable.
Is amendmen No. 36 being withdrawn?
I thought we were invited to pass it. Perhaps it can be left over until we see what happens to the emergency and other sections. propose to reinsert it on Report.
I move amendment No. 37:—
At the end of sub-section (3) to add the words:—"and shall be guilty of an offence in respect of every day on which such contravention continues."
This amendment is, I think, made necessary by the fact that while offences under the section are punishable there is no provision made for the punishment of a continuing offence. A case may come to notice where an employer is guilty of an offence under the section. There may be considerable delay in prosecuting the person concerned. If the person is going to be prosecuted he may, in a particular case, think it advantageous to continue to offend in the way he offended in the first instance, and he would be subject to no greater fine for committing offences over a period of two months than he would be if he committed a single offence in one day. I think the Minister should make provision to ensure that the punishment to be imposed in these cases will be related in a heavier form to a case where the offence is of a continuing nature.
I think there is something to be said for that, and I agree to consider that suggestion.
Amendment No. 38 is as follows:—
To delete sub-section (4).
This amendment was submitted because of the fact that indenture of apprenticeship was an undefined instrument. I sought in an earlier amendment to define what indenture of apprenticeship meant, and the Minister said he was prepared to look into that matter. Consequently I am not prepared to move this amendment at this stage.
Is the Deputy in favour of excluding from the restrictions in the employment of young persons people who are apprenticed, whatever way that term is defined?
I would not say that myself.
I thought they wanted apprentices as young persons.
I wanted to make sure that employers do not evade the provisions of the Bill by labelling young persons as apprentices in an undefined way.
I thought that was to be enlarged.
I propose to enlarge it to bring in young apprentices under the rules of the Apprenticeship Committee, but I would not be disposed to enlarge it to allow in all classes of persons under the classification of learners. They would be too numerous altogether.
Section 12 (1) (a) provides that the Minister may by order make regulations "prohibiting the employment of any female worker to do such form of industrial work," and so on. I should like if the Minister would look at that and say again if it does not refer to a specific person.
The same point arises. I agree that if it is necessary to change one it is necessary to change the other.
There is a point in connection with this section that should be discussed here in any event. What is aimed at? Is this definitely going to the point of saying that we cannot get rid of spectacular unemployment except by finding employment for men or causing unemployment more definitely amongst people who stay at home when unemployed. It is the men who stand around the corners parading themselves. If that is the only reason for the section I am going to vote against it. There may be some other reasons. It may be founded on statistical returns which show that there are more women in employment; that they are in considerable numbers in greater employment than ever before, and that it can be alleged that women are encroaching on the work that was heretofore done by men. Even the mere statement of that would not justify the section. I think the Minister will have to go further and say that it is undesirable in certain classes of employment to have women employed. The Minister will either have to state here what classes of employment these are; or else he will take the stand that he will not allow women to get employment no matter what their capabilities or craftsmanship are so long as there are men unemployed. Then, at once, we have the question of sex inequality raised. I would like to know which of these it is.
In my time we tried to get statistical returns to show how far there was in this country what was observed in other countries, particularly those countries which had sent a great number of men to the Great War. In their absence the women who had not been previously engaged in industrial occupations got into these occupations and remained in them when the men came home. Of course, there are not those historical circumstances making for such a change in this country. Any statistical information I had did not indicate that there was any rise in the varieties of the occupations in which women were engaged. There was a rise in the number of women employed. There was no spectacular rise but a steady increase, and that was a development of the modern idea, giving women an equal chance with men in gainful occupations. There is no such thing here as happened in other countries of men going off to other duties and being replaced by women. There was no figure to show any case of that or that women had gone into occupations previously held by men and remained in these positions when the men came home. We have here an absence of these circumstances which have aggravated the whole unemployment problem all over the world and which only made a change here in the incidence of unemployment. These circumstances are not here. The situation as I found it was that you have a good increase in the number of women having occupations in a number of diversified forms; but this was only because of the modern tendency to give women equality with men.
We are not asked in this Bill to stop that tendency. What we are asked to do is to give the Minister power uncontrolled by anyone in this House to stop it at any moment. There has been quite an amount of agitation over this, and I gather there has been quite a number of leaflets going around. I turn to this objection here on both grounds: first, that it is undesirable and that it is retrogressive as being reactionary in its tendencies; secondly, it is undesirable as going into a new item of bureaucratic control outside the scope of this House—giving the Minister power to determine in respect of sex that he will make a discrimination and that he can fling out any class with no arguments used for it. The section says that the Minister may prohibit the employment of women to do certain forms of industrial work. It may be that it is not inconceivable at all that there should be a certain number of occupations sheltered in which those who hold fanatical points of view would agree that it was undesirable to have women working. I think the women folk could claim that there could be scheduled a few classes of occupations in which it would be undesirable to have men employed. Then the Minister takes power to fix the proportion which the female workers employed by any firm will bear to the number of non-female workers. Can we have any indication from the Minister why this power is sought? It seems a peculiar power to give the Minister when it is equated with the section that comes before it. It can be argued from two grounds.
That clause about young persons could be supported by two arguments: one, that it is undesirable from the social or humanitarian point of view to have young people employed in certain activities so as to bear more than a fair proportion of the whole. Secondly, it could be argued that, employment being scarce, we should do our best to get adults to work. The second argument could hardly be used in these days when the modern world has got us into our present position with regard to female wage earners. That argument could hardly be used in regard to that second point, and I do not think it is going to be used except in regard to those businesses to which the humanitarian argument is applicable. If that is so you can only schedule a certain number of businesses to which that argument would apply—a very small number indeed. If we do schedule a few we possibly would get agreement. I suggest that even if it comes to mutilating the Bill and getting in more provisions it would be well to do so to satisfy an apprehension that may be argued out to the effect that this is a retrogressive step intended to oust women from employment — to let men in because women are women and men are men.
I am aware that there has been a certain opposition voiced to this section of the Bill on the ground that it was designed to prejudice a number of women in getting industrial employment and, therefore, is retrogressive legislation of anti-feminist nature. I find it very hard to take that contention seriously. It is not to-day, or yesterday, that the idea of legislation to prevent women from being employed in certain forms of industrial work was first conceived. But it was only quite recently that any argument was advanced that such legislation was of an anti-feminist or retrogressive character. I certainly came up against it for the first time when I was attending an international conference at Geneva, when certain suggestions were under discussion for the purpose of prohibiting the employment of women in certain industries. I received circulars from some women's international organisations protesting against the adoption of these conventions on the ground that they were designed to create positions of inequality so far as the law was concerned in respect of the sexes.
There is, at present, embodied in the law of this and other countries various provisions to prohibit the employment of women in occupations of one kind or another. It is not lawful to employ women underground in mines, or to employ women at night in certain occupations. There are other occupations, also, in respect of which I think it is undesirable that women should be employed because the work involved is of a kind unsuitable to women. These occupations are followed by men at the present time. If I was asked to give an example of them I would say, practically, any one of the occupations which are at present exclusively followed by men. Deputy P.S. Doyle has an amendment, No. 43, on the Paper designed to make it unlawful for women to be employed at work of stoking or attending steam boilers. I think it is undesirable that women should be employed at work of that kind; and there should exist in a Bill designed to control industrial employment power to prohibit the employment of women at certain specified work. That power is not unlimited. The section provides that the Minister for Industry and Commerce must consult all interested parties in this matter.
But not get their agreement.
It is not required to get their agreement, it is true. But the regulations when made are laid on the Table of the House, and may be annulled by a resolution of either House, within the usual period of 21 days.
The fact that women may be employed in occupations unsuitable to women is not the sole reason why I am proposing the adoption of this section. The tendency of women to replace men in industry has been facilitated by technical developments of one kind or another. The fact that women are willing to work for wages which men would not accept, that trades unions have found them more difficult to organise, and that there are other circumstances which make it almost inevitable that the prevailing wage for women workers will be lower than for male workers, has accelerated the tendency to employ women at work that men used to do, now that it is possible for them to do that work with the aid of mechanical devices and processes.
The suggestion is made that we should try to deal with this problem by legislation designed to insure that where men and women are employed at a similar class of work they should be paid the same rate of wages. Legislation of that kind, I think, would have more effect in preventing the employment of women in industry than anything in this Bill. I do not think we could get far with that legislation because, as Deputies are aware, the tendency, in such cases, would be to bring down the prevailing rates of wages for men to the level at which women are prepared to work. The average rate of wages for men, in any industry is fixed generally at such level as will enable a man to maintain himself, plus his family. The majority of men who work are married men with families and dependents. On the other hand the majority of women engaged in industrial work are not married, and, although some have dependents, a large number of them have no dependents and, consequently, the wages that women as a class, are prepared to accept from industry are usually lower than would be possible for a man to maintain himself and his family on. I do not think, however, it is possible for us to go back on what has been done already in the form of the invasion of industry by women.
A very large amount of industrial work now done is work for which women are adapted perhaps more than men. In any industry in which female employment is, and has been, the practice, I do not think we could attempt any revolutionary changes at all. But I think it is desirable that we should have power to arrest the tendency at any time we see it operating in a manner such as is likely to create further problems. There are industries at the present time in which men only are employed, and in respect to which, nevertheless, developments are taking place which may make it possible for women to do the work these men are now doing. If these developments occur, I think it is desirable that we should have power, when we deem it necessary to use it after consultation with the interested parties, to ensure that men will continue to be employed. We have had a case of that kind only quite recently in certain industries where the general adoption of certain machines resulted in the employment of women to do work which men had previously regarded as their own.
This section of the Bill is not in any way designed to be a method of dealing with unemployment. I said in introducing the Bill that I did not regard it as offering any solution of our unemployment problem. It may help us in certain directions to ease that problem but it certainly will not remove it nor do I think any law of this kind dealing with the hours of work, or the regulation of what classes of persons might engage in particular forms of work, will solve unemployment, but I think most Deputies will agree that it would create social problems of the first magnitude if there should be any considerable acceleration of the tendency to replace men by women in industrial work. It is desirable that there should be power in existence to check any such tendency if it should develop in future to any greater extent than in the past. We cannot have regard to purely theoretical considerations in dealing with matters of this kind; we must have regard to practical considerations.
Taken theoretically, the section may be regarded as placing women, not in a position of equality with men, but in a position of inequality. I think that contention does not hold water at all. It is obviously desirable that we should have power to see that persons are not employed upon work for which they are not fitted. The section which precedes this giving power to restrict or prohibit the employment of young persons has an obvious need behind it. I think the same thing can be said of Section 12. The powers imposed in this section should, in my opinion, be used to check any tendency to employ women in occupations in which men are now employed exclusively, or to prevent women being employed in work which because of its nature is unsuitable for women, and not for the purpose of trying to undo anything that has been done in the matter of the replacement of men by women in industrial occupations.
I have received resolutions passed by various labour organisations lately, male labour organisations, urging that this section of the Bill should be used drastically in relation to certain trades and occupations but I do not think that could be done. Certainly, I think this power should not be used to put out of employment any considerable number of persons now employed. There may be individual cases. I think there is a case which was mentioned here already in which a woman employee is the stoker of a boiler. I think we should prevent women being employed in work of that kind. There might be an individual woman here and there who would lose employment on that account but we could not deal with large numbers in that way by making regulations under that section. I, for one, would not propose to do it.
The main reason, therefore, why this section is considered desirable is because it is thought necessary that there should be power to restrict or prevent the employment of women in occupations for which they are unsuitable, a power which in the past was conferred by special Acts, such as the Acts which prohibited the employment of women in coal mines but which in future will be exercisable in accordance with the provisions of this section. Secondly, it is thought desirable that there should be power to check any new tendency developing in the future to replace men by women in occupations in which men are now generally employed and which might possibly become suitable for women because of technical developments. One of the main causes of unemployment has, of course, been the fact that the technical development of industry has far outrun man's ability to use the new powers, which it has conferred upon him, wisely and effectively. The measures which we are taking in order to deal with the difficulties created and to prevent undue dislocation or undue hardship are in a sense temporary expedients while mankind is endeavouring to find out the fundamental causes of its economic troubles.
The phenomena we have witnessed here in the matter of unemployment and the tendency to substitute men by women have, of course, been repeated in all countries. Our problem is in no way unique, although attempts are being made through the International Labour Office to get some common policy adopted internationally for dealing with these matters. The International Labour Office, which cannot be regarded as an opponent of progress, has thought fit to ignore, and certainly to refuse to be affected by, representations made on the grounds that certain of its conventions placed women in a position of legal inequality. They considered the practical results they desired and a large number of conventions adopted are designed to prevent the employment of women in particular industries or to restrict their employment at certain hours of the day or night or in certain circumstances. If we keep in line with the movement introduced at the International Labour Office, I think we will be in no way open to the charge of being retrogressive. On the contrary, we shall have a code of laws which, from the point of progress, will be as advanced as those operating in any country in the world.
Would the Minister be good enough to get his Department to issue an explanatory memorandum of this Act? As a Deputy who is in the habit of interviewing ladies, I find it a very hard job to explain matters to them. So long as they come in ones or two, it is all right but when they come up in groups and ask certain questions about certain Acts of Parliament which are likely to militate against their interests, it is very difficult for a layman, such as I am, to answer them. If, therefore, the Minister's Department would issue some sort of memorandum which might explain these matters——
Do you mean better than what has been said? That is a hard one to put across.
I know that the Minister is in a position of difficulty. He has to explain the legal processes of the Bill as well as the ordinary features of it and he has a very hard job. However, I am sure that as a stalwart supporter of his asks him, he will be able to get a memorandum prepared in a satisfactory way by some officials of his Department. That would relieve me of a great deal of trouble.
Where women are at present employed in an industry which the Minister, after consultation, decides is unsuitable for women, can he under this Bill disturb the present conditions? If it is his view that the women employed in certain industries should be restricted, that there are too many employed or that the employment is unsuitable for them, can he interfere with the prevailing conditions?
If Deputy Kelly is in any doubt as to what he ought to say to the women, let him say that the Minister is looking after them. The Minister is full of care for them—the sort of care that the bold bad wolf had for little Red Riding Hood. I never heard such a stream of what I must describe as a sort of bourgeois reaction in my life. The Minister thinks we are going to have a grand progressive code. One of the things is that he must have power to arrest the tendency that apparently there is towards women getting into industry. If Deputy Kelly tells the women who bother him that the Minister is simply going to arrest the tendency which is showing at the moment towards women getting into industries where men used to be, I am sure they will go away happy. It is decidedly reactionary.
I was hoping that we might have heard the Labour point of view on this. I thought the Labour principle on everything was equal opportunity for all. I thought the attitude was that there should be equal opportunity for talent and agility, whether with the mind or the hands, in the way of working at machines or manually. Now, we are apparently to decide that it is equal opportunity, but we are going to have some sort of sex bar. Let me say that if by simply leaving things as they are, not moving in another direction, excluding this Section 12, there was any danger that that was going to operate in the way of allowing the women's wage in certain industries to become the standard for all, and if the trade unions could not prevent that, then this section and the drastic use of it may be necessary. But I doubt whether that will ever occur. I doubt, if it shows any signs of developing or that the trade unions are so weak that they will not be able to prevent it.
Remember we have got this point definitely into the open: that this is not merely a matter of scheduling a few undesirable trades about which there probably would be common agreement in this House. What the Minister says is: "I want power from time to time to determine (a) whether women will be employed at all; and (b) in what proportions; I want to have that power because it is my intention to arrest the modern tendency of women getting into industry." That is a clear-cut statement, and that is what anybody who finds himself bothered by these women's associations has to put to them as the best that can be got. I think there will not be much satisfaction gained from that answer, because they have objection, first of all, to this section being there at all; and, secondly, a very definite objection to giving this power to an individual who may change, whose views may change, or whose attitude towards women in industry may change. Yet this House is going to vote, through the medium of this measure that an individual Minister will have power to restrict the employment of women in industry in whatever way he likes.
We are told, of course, that regulations will have to be made and that they must lie on the Table of the House. Look at what will happen. Deputy Kelly has some doubts about whether women ought to be restricted in employment in certain industries. Suddenly there is a regulation flashed, and Deputy Kelly is, therefore, put in the predicament that he must vote against his Party if he stands by a motion from this side of the House to annul that regulation; and the matter becomes a Party matter at once. It is not that this will be a proposal of the Minister; it will be an accomplished fact by the time that the Deputy gives his vote on it.
Although it is a bad thing in itself, I suggest that the best thing to do is that the Minister should at any rate schedule groups of trades from which he wants women entirely prohibited and then we can debate these. I suggest that after that the power of fixing proportions as between men and women in industry should be entirely taken from him. I am not going to the point of saying that the modern business world should be allowed to operate without the interaction of the trade unions with regard to men and women. Things will find their level; the sexes will find their level in business, and you will have the interaction of the trade unions to watch the impact of that on the point of wages. Taking that section out of the Bill does not mean, as a matter of law, that you are going to have, say, so many women employed—equal representation, so to speak, in trades and industries for women and men. It only means that you leave the situation as it is. The Minister objects to that situation for the reason stated, that there is a tendency these days for women to flow into industry and to do out the men.
The Minister told us that he does not regard this Bill as a solution of the unemployment problem. Nobody does. This can be said, at any rate: that if it were not for the problem of unemployment this Bill would be highly improper. The Bill is antisocial because it is an attempt to restrict the free operation of people in regard to their own labour and their use of that labour. It is decidedly retrogressive in its whole tendency in that respect. We have been driven, logically I think, to adopt the position that Deputy Norton spoke of: that you are not merely to call it an offence for an employer to employ people outside the conditions of this Bill, but to call it an offence for a worker to work even in his own hours, if he is outside the conditions of employment of this Bill. That is the logical point to which Deputy Norton was driven. I agree that it is the logical outcome of the measure.
The whole tendency of this is absurd. It is most restrictive—completely away from the freedom of the ordinary individual with regard to what he wants to do in the world. It is completely reactionary in that way. The only thing that makes it not completely improper is that there is a bad unemployment problem and that this may, to some extent, relieve it. You have some artificial spreading of employment, but you do not at all increase employment. You simply spread it a little better. Some who have it will not get as much as they used to, and some who have not it will get a little. That tendency is entirely nullified by other activities of the Government, where you have a gap between what a working man gets for his work and what a man not working gets for not working. There is such a close approximation between the wages earned and the doles given that it entirely nullifies any good there may be in this.
The Minister reveals an extraordinary mentality. His remarks proceeded somewhat in this way: that women at the moment are getting more occupation in industry, because it has to be recognised—and the Minister apparently boasts that he cannot set back the clock—that we are in a machine age. As there are machines now used for work where muscle was formerly required, the women can employ their handiness on the machines where previously, because they were deficient in muscular power, they could not be operating. In certain types of industry we have machines, and women are getting more and more into employment because there are machines to ease the human effort.
Then the Minister tells us that the trouble is that technical equipment has outrun man's power to utilise and use that equipment wisely. It has not. There are ghastly pictures to be painted of the unsatisfied demands of the people. What has happened is, not that the technical equipment has outrun man's power to use it, but that the folly of politicians has prevented the proper use of the goods that would flow from the technical equipment. We are in the middle of that. All these restrictions of the narrow nationalistic type are preventing the flow from each country of the goods that country can produce in abundance and the sharing of those amongst other peoples. Why should we tie ourselves down to a sort of funny asceticism and make people suffer in this ascetic way because they are deluded into the belief that there is some sentimental satisfaction to be got through asceticism. The Minister in this Bill is simply saying that we have got into the position in which intellectual development has brought about a machine age, and that this has resulted in a rush of women into all kinds of employment. His attitude is that we should prevent that happening: that we should not allow women to continue in certain types of occupation into which they have forced themselves. The Minister does not defend this restriction except on humanitarian grounds. He simply thinks that it is bad not to be in a position to be able to arrest that tendency. But why should that tendency be arrested? The Minister's thesis cannot be supported by anyone who holds to the theory of equal opportunity for all.
The accident of birth has decided that certain people are womenfolk and certain others menfolk. If there is going to be segregation on that line, then let us have it and leave the humanitarian side out of it altogether. Let us see if we can get unanimity, or at least something approaching agreement, on certain occupations in which women should not be employed. Certain groups of women will object to that. They will not be reconciled to it, but at any rate the objection to that could be narrowed to a certain point. Let us leave the humanitarian argument aside and say that there are certain occupations which in our wisdom —in this House composed almost entirely of men—we will not allow women to enter into. Why not cut out all this stuff about humanitarianism, and say that, save for certain things, we will not encourage women to come into our territory: that what we have we will hold, according to the good old man in possession argument. There has been no argument other than that used.
There is a rather important social matter to be dealt with in this clause and it should be argued. The Minister made a point about the Labour Office at Geneva. He referred to the fact that he discovered, for the first time, that women's organisations were active at Geneva last year. That is explained possibly by the fact that it was the Minister's first time at Geneva. As far as my memory goes of all activities at Geneva—Labour or League of Nations—women's organisations have been active on this point only, not that they want things equalised but rather that they do not want the present reaction against the old tendency to drive them out of occupation. They do not want to see that increased. They would be content simply to stop the grasping activities of the men's side of humanity in this matter. I do not stand for anything in the nature of female employment if that is going to be used as a lever to depress the wages of men.
But can you prevent it?
I think I could rely on the Deputy and his colleagues to prevent it through their industrial organisations, and I do not think that I will get a confession from them that they are not equal to that. There is a case to be made if certain industries are being run unfairly upon cheap female labour. If that is so, then that is a matter to be attended to. We are not going to do anything in favour of women in this. We are simply preventing the Minister doing something aggressively against them. I do not think that stopping him from entering on that course is going to disturb wages in the whole community for men and women. If the contrary is thought, let us be told where the danger is, and let us have a clear declaration from the Labour people that there is another way of meeting the situation besides leaving this to the decision of one man whose views about the employment of women may undergo great changes. Are we to be told that there is no other alternative: that we must accept the opinion of one man and that what he says goes? I think the whole thing is definitely retrogressive. I think that we should cut out this clause—scheduling certain groups of trades if it is thought well to do so—and leave the situation as it was before. The Minister's statement was, I think, wrapped up by a world context and not an Irish Free State context at all. I think it cannot be alleged that unemployment in this country is to any substantial degree affected by the influx of women into industry in which they were not previously occupied. You may have there just a little reflex of the modern tendency of women to get into work, but I think that is all. There is the problem of the equality of the sexes, but I think it is too late to-night to divide on that. I do, however, propose to divide the House on the point of principle.
How does the Minister propose to deal with this question of prohibiting or restricting female labour in industry?
That will be done by regulation afterwards. Everyone interested, whether as workers or employers, must be consulted beforehand. When the regulations are made the usual procedure will be followed of laying them on the Table of each House of the Oireachtas.
But women workers need not be consulted before that is done?
I think so.
I think not.
The section provides that there is to be consultation with those who are representative of employers interested and with persons who, in the Minister's opinion, are "representative of workers so interested."
If, for instance, you want to prevent women from taking up employment as stokers, you will, I take it, only consult the employers and the representatives of stokers, who, in the main, are men.
Would the Minister say if he has any statistics to indicate the number of women employed in the clothing trade and in the textile trade generally?
No, other than the figures available in the census of production.
But these figures are more than two years old.
The proportion would be about the same.
With regard to the clothing industry it is probably true to say that 90 per cent. of those employed in it are women. I mean the readymade clothing and apparel trade. Deputy McGilligan ignored the fact that in recent years there has been a pronounced tendency in that industry to displace men by women.
For the simple reason that women are able to manipulate the new machinery that is available, together with the fact that women labour is cheaper, and that it has been found advantageous by employers to employ such persons.
If the Deputy goes on that line he will soon have the suffragettes out in the country again.
There are not many of them.
Deputy McGilligan, after his speech to-night, will have them all round his neck.
That might be somewhat unbecoming. Are they equal to the work, apart from the question of cheapness?
I do not think that their ability to work arises or can be questioned. I suggest to Deputy McGilligan that a serious problem arises here. You have men in the tailoring industry who are being eliminated by the new methods of tailoring, let us say. They formerly carried out a certain defined type of tailoring operation, but with the introduction of new machinery that type of operation is now being handed over to women. The result is that tailors, men who have spent a long time in that craft, are being displaced. There is no means of absorbing them in their own industry, or, indeed, in any other type of industry.
Why not get a society for the prevention of cruelty to male tailors?
I move to report progress.