HC Deb 01 June 1897 vol 50 cc32-56

(1.) This Act shall apply only to employment on, in, or about a railway, factory, mine, quarry, or engineering work.

(2.) In this Act— Railway" means the railway of any railway company to which the Regulation of Railways Act 1871 applies, and "railway" and "railway company" have the same meaning as in that Act. Factory" has the same meaning as in the Factory and Workshop Acts 1878 to 1891, and also includes any dock, wharf, quay, or warehouse, to which any provision of the Factory Acts is applied by the Factory and Workshop Act 1895. Mine" means a mine to which the Coal Mines Regulation Act 1887, or the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act 1872 applies. Quarry" means a quarry under the Quarries Act 1894. Engineering work" means any work of construction of a railroad, harbour, dock, canal, or sewer, and includes any building or other work on which machinery driven by steam, water, or other mechanical power is used for the purpose of the construction thereof. Employer" includes any body of persons corporate or unincorporate. Workman" includes every person who is engaged in an employment to which this Act applies, whether by way of manual labour or otherwise, and whether his agreement is one of service or apprenticeship or otherwise, and is expressed or implied, is oral or in writing.

Amendment proposed [1st June] in Sub-section (1), after the word "quarry," to insert the word "shipyard."—(Mr. J. A. Pease).—Debate resumed.

MR. ABEL THOMAS (Carmarthen, E.)

said his hon. Friend had told him that he proposed to postpone his Amendment to a later stage. He understood the learned Attorney General to have said that it was the intention of the Government that shipyards should he included. That was the only matter in which he was interested at present, and he hoped that if he could show in a very few words that ship yards did not come within the Bill as proposed, the Government would give a favourable consideration to the Amendment which his hon. Friend would propose hereafter at a more suitable place. The whole question whether ship yards came within the words of the Bill or not depended upon the definition of the word "factory." The Bill stated that the word "factory" had the same meaning as in the Factory and Workshops Acts 1878 and 1891. The definition clause which governed the whole matter was Section 93 of the Act of 1878, which said: "The expression non-textile factory "—under which a ship yard would come if it came under anything— shall include any premises or places named in part 2 of the said schedule, or within the close, curtilage, or precinct of which steam. water, or other mechanical power is used in aid of any manufacturing or other processes carried on therein. In the second part of the Schedule they found the words "shipbuilding yard," but it was perfectly clear that shipbuilding yard was governed by the words in Section 93 which he had read, and it was only shipbuilding yards in the close, cartilage, or precinct of which there was steam, water, or other mechanical power used. As he understood, when his hon. Friend came to propose his Amendment at a later stage, he would frame it so as to refer to all shipbuilding yards.

MR. J. A. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)

said that on the understanding that he should be able to propose an Amendment to increase the meaning of the word "factory," so as to include all vessels, whether being constructed in yards in which there was mechanical power or not, and all vessels under repair in mid-stream, he proposed to withdraw the Amendment which he moved last night.


said no pledge had been given, but it was quite open to his hon. Friend to move the Amendment. The Government were desirous of keeping within the definition of the Factory Act.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. R. W. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth) moved, in Sub-section (1), after the word "quarry," to insert the word "canal." He said the object of this Amendment was to bring canal employés within the Bill. He did not wish to press the claims of these employés beyond this —that they were a deserving section, and their pay was small, and that the disadvantage of leaving them out was that it created serious anomalies. He quite admitted that in the case of canals owned by railway companies it might be open to question whether the employés on those canals might not be covered by the Bill. But it ought not to be left in a state of uncertainty. A question, he supposed, would arise as to whether, under the Regulation of Railways Act 1871, defining "railways," the employés on canals which had been transferred to railway companies might be included under the Bill as framed. But there were a good many canals that were not owned by railway companies. Take, for example, the Manchester Ship Canal, the Gloucester Canal, the Leeds and Liverpool, and many others in this country—none of these were owned by railway companies. Therefore they would have this anomalous state of the law—that upon series of canals the employés, if injured, would be within the provisions of this Bill, but directly the canal boats got on to another section of the same series of canals which was not the property of railway companies, they would be outside its provisions. Another point he ventured to make was this: In the definition of an "engineering work" a canal during construction was within the operation of the Bill. Thus a contractor, while constructing a canal, was responsible for the employés upon that canal during its construction, but immediately the construction ceased, and the canal passed into the hands of a chartered company or a limited company, or possibly a railway company, who took over the work, then the employé would be deprived altogether of the rights he had under the Bill against the contractor. That seemed very anomalous indeed. Further, they knew that it was often the duty of the contractor to maintain the canal for a certain period after the works were turned over to the person or the company for whom they were constructed. Now, as long as the employés were simply maintaining the work, they would be under the control of the contractor. The work would be an "engineering work," and an employé, when injured, if he were a servant of the contractor, would be entitled to compensation under the Bill. But if his fellow servant, working alongside of him, were injured, if he were not engaged technically upon an "engineering work," he would not be covered by the Bill, and the anomaly to which he had directed the attention of the Committee would arise. He hoped that, having regard to the singular anomalies that would arise under the Bill in its present form, and the justice of extending its provisions to a most laborious section of the community engaged in somewhat dangerous work, the Government would see their way to extend the Bill to them.


said he was afraid the Government were not prepared to accept the Amendment. If the hon. Member said that the exclusion of canals might involve some anomalies, he was quite prepared to admit it. He had not denied that the exclusion of certain industries would give rise to anomalies under the Bill. But the line of demarcation was very near and close. They had gone on the general principle of limiting the Bill to dangerous trades, and the Committee so far had accepted it. If they were going to put in all canals because, in the first instance there was a clear line between canals owned by railway companies and those by private owners, and, in the second, because of the difficulty of drawing a very clear line between the finish of the construction of a canal and its occupation or user—then he thought they would be getting into very great difficulties. He did not think, whatever sympathy they might have with the population concerned in the working of the canals, that there was any exceptional danger in the employment, and certainly there was no reason why they should be included in the Bill if they were not also to include that large class of the industrial population whom the Committee had already agreed to exclude —namely, the agricultural labourers. ["Hear, hear !"]

SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

said he could understand the Government saying, with regard to the agricultural labourers and other trades not specified in the Bill, "We will not include them," but he understood them now to say: "We will include a canal when it is the property of a railway company, but when it is not the property of a railway company the unfortunate people who are employed upon it shall be exempted." He thought there was no parallel between the exclusion of the agricultural labourers and the exclusion of one section of canal employés, while another section was let in. He might say that the reason why he rose on this question was this: The district of South Staffordshire was traversed by the Birmingham Canal as if it were a street. There were hardly any works in the whole of South Staffordshire that were not in communication with the Birmingham Canal. Now that canal was practically, though not technically, the property of the London and North Western Railway Company, who guaranteed a dividend of 4 per cent. Therefore practically the Birmingham Canal was the property of the London and North Western Company, and yet, as they were not technically its owners, it would be outside the Bill. Thus a large class of operatives were not to have the protection of this Bill, whereas some trivial canal in another part of the county which actually belonged to a railway company was to have that protection. If that was so, he was at a loss to see what ground there was for refusing the Amendment and depriving operatives of their remedy, owing entirely to the position of the owners of the canal. ["Hear, hear !"]


pointed out that if the Amendment were accepted it would not be the ownership of the canal which would be included, it would simply be the small boat owners who employed one or two men. The canal company, practically speaking, merely received tolls, the canal trade being carried on by the owners of barges employing one or two hands. The fact that the real property was owned by a railway company did not bring it within any of the principles by which this Bill had been supported. No one could suggest that this was a dangerous trade, and if the House was wise in excluding ships it would surely be wise in excluding the less dangerous trade carried on by barges.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


called upon Mr. Tennant to move his Amendment, that being the next which was in order.

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

inquired why the Amendment relating to light railways had been passed over.


considered that the proper place for raising such an Amendment would be in that part of the clause which dealt with the definition of a railway.

*MR. H. J. TENNANT (Berwickshire) moved in Sub-section (1) after the word "quarry," to insert the word "workshop." He had occasion, on another stage of the Bill, to call attention to the fact that there were more than 34,000 factories in this country in which less to bear, he maintained that it was equally fit for the occupiers of large workshops to bear. Again, he had called attention to the case of electricity. He did say it was very important to recognise that transformer workshops were places in which there was a great deal of danger to the persons employed, and that they should come under the Bill. Mr. Richmond, one of the Factory Inspectors, stated that out of 74 fatal accidents in his district, only six occurred through machinery. He could not help thinking the Government must see there was a strong case on the ground of the number of accidents which occurred in workshops, for including them in the scope of the Bill. Section 93 of the Factory Act of 1878 gave power to make any factory or part of a factory a different factory or a different workshop for the purposes of the Act. A man might be employed in a factory on Monday and on Tuesday. On Wednesday he might he in a workshop in the same employment, and might fall down a staircase and break his leg, or sustain other injuries, and what sort of law would he consider it when he knew that had he been injured the day before he would have been able to get compensation, but because he happened to be employed that particular day in a workshop he would not get compensation. He maintained that if they denied to the people in workshops the benefits they were giving to large classes of persons under the Bill, instead of having brought a boon to the working classes of this country they would have produced in the minds of these persons who were not able to get compensation the impression that they had been flagrantly and unjustly dealt with. He begged to move the Amendment.


was afraid he could only reply to the hon. Gentleman in the same spirit that he had replied to similar Amendments. The inclusion of "workshop" would mean a considerable addition to the classes of industry brought under this Bill, and although he did not say that that in itself was an objection to the proposal, yet he did say that all the arguments which the Government had endeavoured to enforce upon the House since the introduction of the Bill applied emphatically in this case, and if they had in the first instance included workshops in the Bill the satisfaction with which the Measure would have been received might have been very different from what it had been. The distinction was one which was drawn by the present law. He was not denying that there would be difficulties in the carrying out of the Measure, but the Government had contended throughout that when they were introducing a new principle in a tentative manner, they were justified in acting as other countries had done and applying it in the first instance to the more dangerous trades. The hon. Member talked of the great number of accidents which occurred in workshops under the Factory and Workshops Act. That was perfectly true, but he should like to repeat the figures he gave to the House on a previous occasion. This was the very first year in which they had any official Report of the number of accidents in workshops as compared with factories, and he found that in the first three months of the year there were only two fatal accidents in workshops against 188 in factories, the number of persons employed in workshops being larger than the number employed in factories. The number, too, of non-fatal accidents in workshops reported in these three months was only 34 as against 9,247 for a similar period in the factories of this country. If, in favour of the Amendment, it was argued that workshops were as dangerous as factories, then these figures showed there was a real and substantial difference in point of danger between trades as carried on in factories and workshops. This might not be a conclusive reason, but it was a reason why the Government should resist the inclusion of workshops in the Bill. Over and over again they had impressed on the Committee—and so far with great success—that the Bill did not pretend to apply to all the industries to which they would wish to see it applied, but they applied it to all those industries to which they believed they saw their way to apply it satisfactorily. He trusted the Committee would support the Government in the position they had taken.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

regretted the speech of the Home Secretary, because he him- self and his hon. Friends understood that if in Committee on this Bill they could show that a particular industry had a special claim to inclusion, and this did not affect the principle of the Bill, the Government would be prepared to consider the matter on its merits. The Government were perhaps wise, when introducing the Bill, in not applying it to too many trades. The Opposition had no desire to "smother the Bill with Amendments." The Government must admit that the Bill had been received with greater favour than they anticipated, and when Members of the Opposition desired to extend the Bill to other trades, they did not wish to destroy the Bill or smother it with Amendments, because they believed the country generally accepted the principle of the Bill. The Amendment was unlike some others that had been proposed. It involved no new principle or departure, like the Amendment on health which the Government resisted as beyond the scope of the Bill. It could not be argued, as it was in regard to sailors, that the position of persons in workshops was so different from those in factories and docks that they should be kept outside the Bill. All the tendency of modern legislation, while keeping up a nominal distinction, had been to level workshops up to factories and place them under the same regulations to prevent accidents. Fifty percent. of the factories which would come under this Bill were factories in which less than 10 persons worked. The Home Secretary implied that if the Bill were extended to small employers it would bring about their ruin, because it was impossible that they could compensate their workmen. Accidents, fatal and non-fatal, were of infrequent occurrence in workshops, and so small consequently would be the liability cast on the owners of workshops that it was not likely to effect their ruin. The Home Secretary said the responsibility thrown on large employers of labour by the Bill would be really no more than they, out of their generosity, gave in compensation to their men. That might be the case as regarded workmen in factories, but when they came to the class of workshops with which the Committee were dealing, the labour was less skilled, the employers had not the same regard for the welfare of those whom they employed, or the same public eye directed to their proceedings. As regarded the relations between masters and men, employés in workshops required statutory compensation rather than those in factories, because they did not get compassionate allowances. The majority of employés in workshops consisted of women and children, and where there were men also they had few trades unions to take up their cases. They did not belong to friendly societies, and, when injured, as regarded the possibility of obtaining a weekly allowance from a trades union or friendly society, they were in a far worse position than people engaged in factories. Under all the circumstances to which he had alluded, he hoped the Government would reconsider the exclusion of workshops from the Bill.

MR. G. W. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)

said that of the logic of the Amendment and the justice of including workshop employés in the Bill there could not be the slightest doubt. When miners, railway employés, and other workmen were included, there was absolutely no justice, right, or logic in keeping anyone else out of it. But as far as he and most of them understood this Bill, it was not based on justice, logic, or anything of that sort. [Opposition cheers.] It rested on expediency, and the result was not whether it was right to include workshop employés, but whether it was expedient, and he was strongly of opinion that the Government were right in saying it was not expedient. The Bill was a new departure in the relations between employers and employed, and he could perfectly understand that under these circumstances the Government should wish to confine it at present to dangerous trades and see how it worked before they extended it to other trades. If the Bill was found to work well, nothing could prevent its application to other trades than those mentioned in it. Probably next year, but certainly the year after, the trades now excluded from the Bill would be included in it. Meantime, there would be an opportunity of discovering what the defects of the Bill were. The Government had distinctly declined to include other trades at present, and it was waste of time for hon. Members opposite to try to persuade them to do so, especially when they knew that with the majority they had, they could do whatever they pleased. [Opposition laughter and "hear, hear!"]

MR. REGINALD·McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)

asked if the Government really declined to include in the Bill any more trades than those mentioned?


I think the Committee are fully possessed now of the mind of the Government on this question. I entirely agree with almost every word which has fallen from my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, except that I did not say the Bill was not based on justice—[laughter]—because I really think it is based on a desire to do absolute justice to all who come within its purview. [Cheers.] Only we have said, and have stated again and again as plainly as it is possible to state it, that we considered when we introduced this great and novel principle that if we at once applied it indiscriminately to all trades and all classes of workmen, we should not have the ghost of a chance of passing our Bill. Therefore we conceived it to be expedient to limit it to trades in which the demand for reform was most urgent, and to see whether it cannot be safely extended further. But we have said distinctly that we cannot undertake to add to the Bill any of these great classes, such as agricultural labourers, seamen, and those employed in workshops, and, further, that we confine ourselves to the limitations already existing in different Acts of Parliament to which we refer in the Bill, and the only exceptions which we can make are with regard to building, laundries, and machinery plant, in respect of which we are putting down our own Amendments to the Bill.

MR. H. H. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)

I think that after that declaration it would probably be taking up the time of the Committee to go on discussing in detail arguments in reference to particular categories of workmen whom we know the Government are not going to include. ["Hear, hear !"] We understand the position; logic, my right hon. Friend admits, has been banished, and justice, or, at any rate, perfect justice has been adjourned until the Greek Kalends. In the meantime, we must make the best we can of this position; the Government are the masters of the situation, and I venture to appeal to my hon. Friends to accept the situation, and to come as speedily as we can to the discussion of matters which are debateable ground. ["Hear, hear !"]


said that he would like to call attention to the result of the refusal of the Secretary for the Colonies in this case. It would specially affect the carpentering and joinery trade. If there was a gas engine outside in the yard by which a certain amount of sawing was done by men at work inside, the building came within the definition of a factory; but if there was no gas engine outside the yard they did not come within the Act at all. If a man carried on a large business with the same machinery on one side of a road, with a gate across the fence leading into the road, and on the other side of the road had very large workshops where hundreds of men were engaged, those men would not come within this Act, while if they happened to be working in the yard 50 or 60 yards away from it on the same side of the road, they would come within the Act. That was an extremely inconsistent position, and he thought it was expedient that that kind of work should be included.

Question put, "That the word 'workshop' be there inserted."

The Committee divided: —Ayes, 115; Noes, 191.—(Division List, No. 229.)


said that, in accordance with what he said the previous evening to the hon. Member for Leicester on the question of buildings, and in fulfilment of his promise, he had placed an Amendment on the Paper. His proposal was intended to include not only those buildings in which steam machinery or other mechanical power was used, but also buildings to which at present the Factory Acts applied. His Amendment was to make the Bill apply only to employment on, in, or about a railway, factory, mine, quarry, or engineering work,

and to employment on, in, or about any building exceeding 30 ft. in height which is being constructed or repaired by means of a scaffolding, or on which machinery driven by steam, water, or other mechanical power is being used for the purpose of the construction or repair thereof. He moved the insertion of those words.


acknowledged that in this Amendment the Home Secretary had redeemed the promise made the previous evening, but he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not gone further in the direction of the Amendment which had been suggested by including all places where building material was being prepared, and where buildings were being constructed. The limitation of height to 30ft. would only produce further anomalies. He pointed out, moreover, that the ordinary practice was to erect buildings in an irregular manner—that was to say, one end of the building was sometimes erected at a quicker rate than the other, so that one end might be 30ft. high and the other end 25ft. high. It would be curious to see how a Judge would construe this portion of the clause in a case of that kind, and whether or not the entire building would come within the scope of the Bill.

MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

suggested to the Government that it was desirable to insert in the definition clause the definition of a "building," and to make some reference to the Factory Acts. He agreed with the view that the height of 30ft. was an arbitrary limit.

MR. S. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow) moved the omission of all the words in the Home Secretary's Amendment after the word "building," so as to get rid of all limitations. He objected to any limitation being fixed in regard to the building trade. The building trade was one of the most important and highly skilled trades in the country, and he thought it came within the category of a dangerous trade. He could not understand the distinction drawn between a building under 30ft. in height and a building over 30ft. in height, and it was anomalous that a man should be able to claim compensation for a fall of 30ft., while another man employed on the same building should not be able to claim for a fall of 28ft. An expert in the trade had stated that there were as many accidents under 30ft. as over 30ft., and it was, therefore, just to contend that no distinction should be made.

MR. J. SAMUEL (Stockton)

asked what was meant by height—was the mea- surement taken from the street level to the eaves or the top of the roof? A large number of houses in the North of England were constructed about 30 ft. high from the level of the street to the eaves.


said that the Government had adopted as a convenient definition the words of the Factory and Workshops Act, which had already received statutory interpretation. That definition had really the further advantage that it would to a considerable extent relieve the smaller builders from the obligations of the Bill. The Government felt that there was a considerable difference in the position of a small man employing one or two labourers and that of a man engaged in large contracting operations.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

appealed to the Government, seeing they had agreed to include three-fourths of the building trade, to bring in the remaining fourth. The portion excluded represented that which stood in the greatest need of protection. Those builders who undertook large contracts were usually men who employed the more experienced workmen, whereas the smaller builder was in nine cases out of ten the sweater. He engaged inexperienced workmen, and put on two or three men where four or live were required for the job. And why should the small builder not be subject to the same liabilities as the owner of a small factory or workshop? In the Operative Plasterers' Society alone he found that last year they had no fewer than four deaths, live accidents causing total disablement, and 250 other accidents, or 16 per cent. of accidents in that particular trade. A very large amount of plaster work was done in buildings under 30 ft. high, where there was no scaffolding and no machinery used.


reminded the Secretary for the Colonies that this Act would be put in force by the County Courts, and therefore the statutory interpretation which had hitherto obtained would be of no avail at all. Passing from that, he could not see why, in addition to height, they should superimpose the two conditions of scaffolding and machinery. Surely if a building exceded 30 ft. in height the Act should apply whether there was scaffolding or machinery or not. A man who fell from the Tower of Babel would have no compensation under this clause; and so would the steeple-jack who, without scaffolding or machinery, ascended to the top of the Trafalgar Monument the other day. The height was the thing, and the addition of scaffolding or machinery should make no difference at all. Another effect of the Government Amendment would be to discourage sound employers and the use of machinery in the building trade. The logical thing would have been to refer to the building trade generally, and define the term in the definition clause.


asked whether there would be any objection to inserting the word "demolish" after the ward "construct!"


said that there would be no objection to inserting the two words "repair" and "demolish."

MR. W. R. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)

said that the question was one of drawing a line somewhere, and he was only concerned to see the line drawn in a practical way. He had no sympathy with those who tried to extend this tentative Measure first in one direction and then in another; but the line proposed to be drawn by the Government was not practical. The Government were going to make legal rights depend upon an exact measurement of 30ft., and yet they were leaving wholly vague the methods by which the measurement was to be determined. Were pinnacles and weathercocks to be counted in the height of a building? Was the measurement to be taken from the concrete, and, in the case of sloping ground, from the lowest point? Was the Act only to apply when a building in course of erection had passed the height of 30ft.? It really did not matter in the building trade whether this experiment were made a little larger or smaller, and he thought the words "30 feet" had better be omitted.


said that the difference of opinion was perfectly clean. Some hon. Gentlemen desired the provision to be extended, and the Government could not agree to it. Upon that point the decision of the Committee must be taken. If the anomalies which would arise under any definition were to be discussed, the Committee would never get to an end of its labours. The Government were anxious to meet any suggestion, if doing so did not involve lengthened discussion; and they would accept the insertion of the word "demolish" if it would not add to the controversial matter in the Bill.


said that after the concession of the Home Secretary he should not move the Amendment of which he had given notice making the Bill co-extensive with the Notification of Accidents Bill.

*SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)

asked the Government to say whether they regarded these exclusions limitations as vital to the Bill?


said that he could not say that a point of this kind was vital to the Bill; but the Government had clearly declared how far they were prepared to go. They could not advise the Committee to go further.


thought that the builder would be able to insure better if all his men were covered by the insurance. The question of the height of the building did not come in at all.

MR. W. ALLAN (Gateshead)

asked the Home Secretary to give him a practical definition of "30 feet high." [Ministerial laughter.] If the height was not clearly defined it would be the source of endless litigation between workmen and their employers. ["Hear, hear!"]


said the Government had been charged with not having sufficiently included the building trades in the Bill. They had gone as far as they could go in that direction in the Amendment which he had moved, and they had taken the words "30 feet high" from the Act of 1885.


said he felt sure that both workmen and employers would be satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman inserted after "30 feet" the words "front the ground level." ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. F. A. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

said that what they wanted to ascertain was how the Courts would interpret "30 feet."


Who can tell?


asked if the Attorney General could give any information as to whether there had been any cases decided under the Act of 1885 which threw light on the question?

Question put, "That the words of the Amendment as far as the word 'constructed,' inclusive, stand part of the proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 219; Noes, 120.—(Division List, No. 230.)

MR. TENNANT moved after the word "constructed" in the proposed Amendment to insert the word "demolished."


said that a good many people had suggested this Amendment, but he was bound to say it was a rather dangerous one. Buildings were demolished by people called "knackers," who were a special class ill themselves; and if this Amendment were accepted there would be admitted one of the poorest class of wretched employers from whom the difficulty of obtaining compensation would be the greatest.

Amendment amended by inserting, after the word "constructed," the word "demolished," and after the word "construction," in the last line, the word "demolition."

Words, as amended, inserted.

Amendments made: Sub-section (2), first paragraph, "87" struck out, and "1873" inserted—(The Attorney General.) Sub-section (2), second paragraph, the word "or" omitted—(Sir Matthew White Ridley)

*SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved to insert the words "machinery or plant," after the word "warehouse."

MR. E. H. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

pointed out that this Amendment raised the question mooted last night, but reserved for further consideration. The Government would be landed in a very strange anomaly if this Amendment were accepted. Sometimes ships were unloaded at the dock side, and at other times into lighters. If the unloading process went on at the quay the docker was protected, but if it took place into lighters the docker was not protected. Often a ship lay in mid-stream, and her unloading took place into lighters while she was in that position. The men employed in that case ought, he thought, to be protected. He, therefore, moved, as an Amendment to the Amendment, to insert the words:—

or as far as relates to the process or loading or unloading every ship while in port, harbour, or river, and all machinery or plant used in that process.


thought this was a separate Amendment.


pointed out that his words also included "machinery and plant." His Amendment extended the effect of the Home Secretary's Amendment, and, therefore, he respectfully submitted, that with the usual practice, it would be in order here.


said the Home Secretary had the same words in before the hon. Member, and he was, therefore, entitled to get the decision of the Committee first. If the Committee rejected the right hon. Gentleman's words, then the hon. Member would be in order.


said that would make the wording of the clause extremely clumsy. It would not meet his purpose if the Home Secretary's words were first submitted.


accepted the Amendment as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment.


said that if this Amendment to the Amendment were accepted, it would include all cases of loading or unloading of ships by ship's tackle whether in dock or in mid-stream and would impose a liability on the shipowner indirectly. What the Government proposed was that where the machinery of the dock was being used for the purpose of loading or unloading a ship at the quay it should come under the Bill; but if that machinery was also used for unloading into a lighter, it would also, he took it, come under the Bill. They must draw the line somewhere, and, as the Colonial Secretary had pointed out more than once, they had thought it wise to draw it at the definition, which had already been accepted, of the loading and unloading by machinery which was part of the dock premises, and which was used as the dock premises. They could not possibly accept the Amendment, which would be, to a large extent, negativing the decision which the Committee, indirectly, came to last night.


submitted the Attorney General was mistaken in supposing that the Home Secretary's words would cover the particular case he had quoted of machinery on the quay which was being used to convey goods from the ship into the river on the other side, for this reason, that the words which the Government proposed to insert were "machinery or plant," to which the provisions of the Factory Act of 1895 applied. The "machinery or plant" to which the Factory Act of 1895 applied were machinery or plant which were used in the process of conveying the goods to or from the quay. Therefore, it was clear that these words would not cover the case of goods being dealt with even with the gear of the dock company.


said he believed that the cases to which he referred, in which a crane could be used for conveying goods on to the other side of the ship, were very exceptional cases, but the real strength of the Amendment was the tackle and gear of the ship which was being used for that purpose, and in that case it would be excluded.


asked if the hon. and learned Gentleman would consent to take out the words "either to or therefrom." That was all that was required to meet this particular case.


said this matter was fully discussed in the Debates on the Factory Bill of 1895, and he thought that the sense of the House was that if words could be formed it should extend to the loading and unloading of ships, though they might not be actually attached to the quay and were loading from or into lighters. There was no question here of extending it to the sailors. It was entirely a matter with reference to stevedores and dockers, and if the Government would consent to consider the matter on Report, so as to see whether it was not possible, with regard to them, to extend this protection which they had now when the ship was attached to the quay, and whether some words could not be adopted to bring these men under the protection of the Bill, from which they were at present excluded, simply because the ship was not attached to a quay, he thought they would meet the objections which had been raised.


was a little surprised at the appeal which had just been made by the hon. Member opposite, because he thought he thoroughly accepted the view taken just now by his hon. and learned Friend that it would be wise to accept the definitions already laid down in the Factory Act. The Government would not engage in the extremely difficult task of amending the definitions of the Factory Act. He did not say that they might not be able to amend those definitions in many particulars, but it would be too great a task for them to undertake in that Bill.


said that by the refusal of the Government to accept the Amendment to the Amendment, a grave injustice was being done to the stevedores. The dividing line would be far better drawn if it were to refer simply to those men whose occupation was docking, and who lived on shore, and who were not part of the actual complement of a ship's crew.


desired to ask the Attorney General a question. If a ship was alongside a quay, and one of the shore gang, while working a winch on board towards the quay met with an accident, he presumed he would come within the range of the Bill. But if, while working at the same winch, he met with an accident while lowering anything into a barge alongside, he was without the Bill. If that were so, that man would be in a very awkward position.


said he had raised a small but very important point, and if the Government would agree, either now or on Report, to withdraw the words "either to or therefrom," so as to cover the case of unloading with the gear or crane of the dock company into a lighter he would not divide. If they would not consent to do that he would divide the Committee.


said that if they were to at once agree to withdraw those words they would have to insert a clause repeating again Section 23 of the Factory Act. He thought the hon. and learned. Member must see that to enter into this kind of discussion was just one of those very difficult and complicated matters with which the Colonial Secretary declined to deal. With regard to the question asked by the hon. Member for Southampton, he certainly should have thought that the machinery referred to in the Factory Act was the machinery belonging to the dock, wharf, warehouse, or quay. He was not aware whether there had been a decision on that point, but he should think that was the intention of the Factory Act, and did not include machinery on board a vessel. The point was one he should inquire into before giving a positive answer.


, who was indistinctly heard, was understood to say that "machinery or plant," to whomsoever it belonged, whether the ship's tackle or the dock tackle, which was actually used for conveying cargo to or from a ship, came within the intention of the Factory Act.


thought that the words must cover all plant.

Question put, "That those words be added to the proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided: —Ayes, 113; Noes, 217.—(Division List, No. 231.)

Words inserted.

*SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved in Sub-section (2), second paragraph after "1895," to insert the words and includes every laundry worked by steam, water, or other mechanical power."

Amendment agreed to.


proposed to add to the words last inserted in the paragraph the following words, which he thought did not go beyond the principle the Government had laid down: —

also includes every shipbuilding yard, whether or not such shipbuilding yard is one wherein or within the close, curtilage, or precincts of which steam, water, or other mechanical power is used; also includes vessels under construction or repair, or any other employment in which the operation of plating or rivetting is performed. His object was to prevent ship owners and ship builders evading the obvious intention of the Government to include the shipbuilding trade within the four corners of the Bill. As the Bill at present stood, in the case of any shipbuilding yard where machinery was not used, or in any shop away from a yard where machinery was used, it was possible to contend that it did not come within the Bill.


, interposing: This Amendment is not on the Paper. Would it not be better—I make the suggestion, but, of course, if he insists, the hon. Member has a right to press his Amendment—but would it not be better that he should put it on the Paper for Report. It is rather lengthy, and it is impossible to understand unless we have the words before us.


I am quite willing to have the Amendment considered on -Report. It is one in connection with which I moved last I withdrew that Amendment in order that this matter might be considered at this stage, but I should be willing to withdraw if the right hon. Gentleman will undertake that it shall be considered on Report.


Yes, certainly.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)

wished to propose at the end of the paragraph to insert the words: — 'Light railway.' has the same meaning as in the Light Railways Act 1896; 'tramway' has the same meaning as in the Tramways Act 1870.


ruled that it could not be put after the rejection last night of the proposal to include "tramways" in the Bill.

MR. BOUSFIELD moved in the next paragraph to leave out "1887," and to insert "1872." He quoted the definitions of "mine" in the Acts cited in the clause as drafted, and asked the Government if they thought it was worth while to have any definition at all? The Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1887 referred to the definition in the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act of 1872, and that stated that a metalliferous mine was any mine excepting the mines included in the Coal Mines Regulation Act 1872. He put it to the Government whether it was worth while, under the circumstances, to trouble about definitions at all. They might just as well leave it "mines."


said he should not like to expunge the words without consulting the draftsman.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR BOUSFIELD moved in Sub-section (2) to leave out the words "a quarry under the Quarries Act 1894," and to insert the words— every place (not being a mine) in which persons work in getting slate, stone, coprolites, or other minerals. The hon. Member said that the definition of quarry which he proposed differed from that in the Quarries Act only by the omission of the limitation of depth to 20 ft. It seemed absurd to make the right to compensation of a workman depend on a precise measurement of depth, which might be from the bottom of a muddy pool in the quarry to the top of a spoil heap above. It would be far better to omit this limitation. However, he understood the Government were willing to consider the matter on Report, so he would not press it further.


promised to consider the question.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. FENWICK (for Mr.HEDDERWICK, Wick Burghs) moved in Sub-section (2), after the word "construction," to insert the words "alteration or demolition."


said he could not accept this Amendment as it stood. They never heard of the "demolition" of railways or docks or harbours or canals. He did not know that such a thing ever did occur.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said there were extensions and many alterations in railways.


asked whether the hon. Member would be content if he put in "alteration?"

MR. J. W. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)

said that demolitions went on when railways were widened.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Words "or alterations" inserted after the word "construction."

MR. LAWSON WALTON moved in Sub-section (2), after the word "canal" to insert the word "street." It would be within the knowledge of the Committee that sewers were nearly always constructed with a new street, and that the work was nearly always done by the same contractors and the same workmen. The work was continued, the street was made and the sewer settled at the same time, therefore, it would be a little anomalous if the same body of men were under the protection of the Act when below the surface of the road, and outside the Act when above the surface, and that they would only have protection when in the cutting.


asked the hon. and learned Member to give the Government time to consider this proposal. They were not unfavourably disposed towards the Amendment, but they would like time to answer it.


said he was quite willing to allow the matter to stand over until the Report stage, and he would withdraw his Amendment now.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*SIR MATTHEW WIIITE RIDLEY moved in Sub-section (2) to leave out the words "building or."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. BOUSFIELD moved in Subsection (2) to leave out the words "machinery driven, by." His object was to make the Bill uniform with the language used in the Factory Acts.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*SIR. MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved, as agreed upon, to insert the word "alteration."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. CHARLES HARRISON (Plymouth) moved in the same paragraph after the word "person," to insert the words "whether under the age of 21 years or above that age." These words, he pointed out, were in the Act of 1875, and he thought they should be introduced here to prevent ambiguity, and so as to insure that even if a person injured was under 21 years of age he would be entitled to compensation.


remarked that though the words might have been quite necessary in the Act of 1875, he was informed that they were quite unnecessary now.

Amendment negatived.

MR. HARRISON moved in the same paragraph after the word "agreement," to insert the words "whether made before or after the passing of this Act." He observed that these words, again, were in the clause of the Employers' Liability Act which had been worked up to the present time, and he considered they should be inserted in this Bill.


said the same remark applied to this as to the previous Amendment. There was no necessity for the words, and that being so they ought not to be inserted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3,—