asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that a serious unemployment situation exists in the retail grocery business in Dublin, the Borough of Dún Laoghaire and Bray owing to the operation of mushroom grocery establishments (staffed by underpaid juveniles working long hours) which are springing up over a wide area and which have resulted in the closing of many old-established grocery businesses which had employed trade union labour, maintained good conditions of employment and paid fair wages; and whether in view of the increasing unemployment in the trade he will take steps to prescribe regulations for the control and registration of retail grocery shops.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment in Grocery Trade.
I am not aware of any increase in unemployment in the grocery and provisions trade in the areas mentioned. The Deputy is aware that hours of work and certain other conditions are regulated by the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Acts, 1938 and 1944. Rates of wages in grocery and provision shops in certain areas are fixed by employment agreements, registered with the Labour Court under the Industrial Relations Act, 1946. There is such an agreement, which has the force of law, in operation for the County Borough of Dublin and Dún Laoghaire.
I am always prepared to arrange for investigation of specific complaints of infringements of the Shops Acts and the Labour Court is prepared to take similar action in relation to the Registered Agreements.
It is not clear what further control measures the Deputy has in mind but extension of existing controls, including provision for registration, would necessitate new legislation. I am not satisfied that this would be warranted in present circumstances.