HC Deb 28 April 1887 vol 314 cc304-8

(Mr. Bradlaugh, Mr. Warmington, Mr. John Ellis, Mr. Arthur Williams, Mr. Howard Vincent, Mr. Esslemont.)

COMMITTEE. [Progress 20th April.]

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.

On the Motion of Mr. STUART-WORTLEY, the following Amendment made: — In page 1, line 5, at end, insert "the Act of the session of the first and second years of the reign of King William the Fourth, chapter thirty-seven, intituled 'An Act to prohibit the payment in certain trades of wages in goods or otherwise than in the current coin of the realm' (in this Act referred to as the principal Act), may he cited as 'The Truck Act, 1831,' and that Act and this Act may he cited together as the Truck Acts 1831 and 1887, and Shall he construed together as one Act.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 (Application of principal Act to workman as defined by Employers and Workmen Act, 1875).

On the Motion of Mr. STUART-WORTLEY, the following Amendments made:—In page 1, line 6, leave out from "the," to "principal" in line 7; and in line 9, after "ten," insert— And the expression 'artificer' in the principal Act shall he construed to include every workman to which the principal Act is extended and applied by this Act.

On the Motion of Mr. DONALD CRAWFORD, the following Amendment made:—

In page 1, line 9, after "ten," insert ''except a servant in husbandry."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 (Workman to be entitled to advance of portion of wages).

Amendment proposed, In page 1, line 11, leave out from beginning of Clause to "take," in line 17, and insert "the wages of a workman, whether he had paid according to the work done, or according to the time during which he is employed, shall accrue due and be payable as follows (that is to say); —

  1. (a.) The wages shall accrue due weekly or at such intervals of time less than a week as may be provided by the contract;
  2. (b.) The wages shall, save as hereinafter mentioned, be payable and paid weekly or within seven days after the end of the week in which they accrue due, or at such intervals of time of less than a week as may be provided by the contract;
  3. (c.) The contract may provide for the payment at the time at which the wages would otherwise be payable under this section of a part only, not being less than seventy-five per cent of the wages accrued due; and in such case the residue, if any, shall be paid within one week of the ascertaining of such residue, or within such less time as may be provided by the contract;
  4. (d.) The amount of wages due at the end of any week or other less interval shall be calculated, if the workman is paid according to the work done, in proportion to the work done during that week or interval, and if he is paid according to the time during which he is employed, in proportion to the time during which he has been employed during that week or interval;
  5. (e.) Where wages which have accrued due, but are not yet payable, are paid in advance, no profit, discount, or interest shall be charged on such advance.

(2.) The employer shall comply with this section, and shall not."—(Mr. Stuart-Wortley.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I would propose that we should pass this Amendment down to the word "contract" in Sub-section "b." The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Tomlinson) wants to propose some alteration, and I pledged myself to him to move to report Progress, so that it would not be necessary to raise the point to-night.


I would ask that the Committee should report Progress now.


I would appeal to the hon. Member to let us take the Amendment down to the word "contract." We shall not then touch the point he wants to raise: and I desire to get through as much of this Bill as we can to-night.


I should like to have a further opportunity of considering the clause, which greatly differs from the one in the Bill. It was generally understood that we should not proceed beyond a certain point to-night.


I think the hon. Gentleman is in error in paying that there is a difference between this clause and that originally drafted. I am grateful to the Government for the redrafting, which. I think, is a great advantage. I would point out to the hon. Member that the question of a payment at a certain period of a percentage of the wages that have accrued due can be raised after we have disposed of Subsection "b."


I would point out that if the Question before the Committee is carried, and the words proposed to be left out are left out, and words are inserted only so far as the word "contract," the clause will not make sense— the words inserted will not run with those that follow. The words must run on to the end.


Then I move, Sir, that you do report Progress.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."— (Mr. Bradlaugh.)

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

Before that is put, Sir, I should like to ask the Government if there is any reason why this Bill should not extend to Ireland? The original Bill did extend to Ireland. I think it was an excellent measure. Before this Bill comes on for consideration again, I think we should have a distinct understanding that it will apply to Ireland.

MR. C. T. D. ACLAND (Cornwall, Launceston)

I should like to ask the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) whether he intends to press the application of the Bill to the whole of England? because in the Stannaries Acts Amendment Bill there is provision for the continuation of the custom of fortnightly and monthly payments with which this Bill would interfere. As that Bill is going to be considered by a Select Committee, I shall be obliged to ask that the hon. Gentleman will agree to an Amendment excepting the Stannaries altogether from the Bill. If it is permissible, I should be glad if the hon. Member will give me an answer on this point.


I ask that Progress may be reported at this point, because it is clear it will be useless to try to pass half the clause, and to try to discuss half of it, as it will not be in Order to do as I at first proposed. I should be glad to extend the Bill to Ireland, but, unfortunately, the original Act does not so extend; and, so far as I am concerned, I am bound by the original Act. As to extending the measure to the whole of England, there is no objection that I can see. There are objectionable practices in Cornwall that I think it is desirable to put a stop to, if possible.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

I am aware that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Launceston Division of Cornwall (Mr. C. T. D. Acland) is interested in this matter—as I am myself, having a Bill of my own before the Committee. I desire to give the miners as much as they can wish for, and if they can derive any advantage from this Bill I shall be glad.


In reference to the question put by the hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. T. M. Healy), I wish to say that the difficulty in the way of applying the Bill to Ireland is as stated by the hon. Member for Northampton. The original Bill extends to Great Britain only; and if legislation of this kind is to apply to Ireland, the Bill will have to be materially added to. Before the measure comes before the Committee again I will consider the question now raised, and see if it will be possible to extend the Bill to Ireland.


In the original Act there are words which declare that the Act shall only apply to Great Britain. If those were repealed, then everything would be easy.


It would require more than that.


I desire to say that I propose, in Subsection "b," to strike out the words "or within seven days after the end of the week in which they accrue due." If there is any objection to that, or if there are districts where it is desired that wages should be paid other than weekly, we shall be glad to consider it. We have thought it would be well to leave the word "weekly" in the clause, so that the Committee may make what alteration it likes. When we are again in Committee on the Bill I shall move that the words to which I have alluded be struck out.


The insertion of the words "in this Act and the principal Act shall apply to Ireland" would be all the alteration necessary to meet our wishes in this matter. The words of the principal Act are singular—"That this Act shall apply to that part of Great Britain and Ireland called Great Britain."


There are special circumstances attending the payment of Cornish miners that do not apply to other miners. We intend to bring before the Committee considering the Bill to which I referred the best evidence we can get from the miners themselves.

COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S.W., Ince)

It will be a serious thing to abolish fortnightly pays—


That is irrelevant to the Motion before the Committee.


I beg to give Notice that I shall put a Question to the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite as to the proposal to extend the Bill to Ireland before allowing Progress to be made at the next Sitting.

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.