§ (1) This Act shall apply to the trades specified in the schedule to this Act and to any other trades to which it has been applied by Provisional Order of the Board of Trade made under this section.2430
§ (2) The Board of Trade may make a Provisional Order applying this Act to any specified trade to which it does not at the time apply if they are satisfied that the rate of wages prevailing in any branch of the trade is exceptionally low, as compared with that in other employments, and that the other circumstances of the trade are such as to render the application of this Act to the trade expedient.
§ (3) The Board of Trade may submit to Parliament for confirmation any Provisional Order made by them in pursuance of this section, but no such Order shall have effect unless and until it is confirmed by Parliament.
§ (4) If, while the Bill confirming any such Order is pending in either House of Parliament, a Petition is presented against any Order comprised therein, the Bill, so far as it relates to that Order, may be referred to a select committee, or, if the two Houses of Parliament think fit so to order, to a Joint Committee of those Houses, and the petitioner shall be allowed to appear and oppose as in the case of Private Bills.
§ (5) Any Act confirming a Provisional Order made in pursuance of this section may be repealed, altered, or amended by any subsequent Provisional Order made by the Board of Trade and confirmed by Parliament.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I have on the Paper an Amendment to leave out all words after "This Act." The object is to get a discussion on the principle of the Bill, but it is hardly worth while pursuing that in view of the arrangement come to by the President of the Board of Trade with certain hon. Members. The Parliamentary Secretary will understand what I mean. I will not move.
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Tennant)
I am obliged to the hon. Baronet. As we have decided not to persist with Clause 7 it will not be necessary to move after "Act" ["schedule to this Act"] to insert "subject to the provisions of this Act."
§ Mr. G. N. BARNES
moved, in section (l), to leave out the words "and to any other trades to which it has been applied by Provisional Order of the Board of Trade made under this section," and to insert the words, "subject to the provisions of this Act may be applied to other trades by order of the 2431 Board of Trade, after inquiry, as provided in this section." There are a large number of Amendments following this, and I propose to make a brief statement which will cover all of them. These Amendments hang upon one idea, and that is to make additions to the schedule as speedy and as inexpensive as possible. In other words, we seek to substitute for the method of Provisional Order—an admittedly costly and cumbersome measure— the much simpler arrangement of a Board of Trade Order, which, of course, will have Parliamentary power by reason of the fact that the Order must lie on the Table of the House for 30 days. That, briefly, is the idea underlying all these Amendments, and, in support of it, I beg leave to remind hon. Members what the Provisional Order arrangement means. It means that the procedure must be taken in this House. Before any extension can be made to the schedule, the parties concerned must give notice, and then they have the opportunity given them of coming up here and submitting evidence in Committee. The proposal has to be passed by this House and then by the other House; in other words, the whole Parliamentary procedure required for a Bill has to be passed through before you can make the slightest addition to the schedule, which is a very limited one, included in the four corners of this Bill. We submit that, having regard to the object in view, that is unnecessarily cumbersome and costly. We seek to substitute for that a provision whereby the Board of Trade, if, after the Act is in operation, they are satisfied on representation being made to them that there are certain other trades or branches of trades which might be included in the schedule with advantage, instead of the cumbersome central method which I have described, may have a local inquiry, which I submit is much better, because it does not involve bringing the promoters a long distance. Supposing, for instance, it were suggested that a trade, or branch of a trade, carried or in places like Aberdeen or Dundee, which are 500 or 600 miles distant, should be added to the schedule of the Bill, under existing arrangements the parties concerned would have to come up here to London, and probably, though I am not sure, they would have to employ lawyers; but supposing the Board of Trade had power, as we suggest, they would have inquiry on the spot, which would involve 2432 less expense and would have readier access to all the means of information. Therefore the inquiry would not only be less costly, but less cumbersome, and probably more efficient for the purpose in view. There are, moreover, many other reasons why it seems to us that the course we propose would be far better, but I need not go into them. I beg to remind the House, however, that there are provisions for safeguarding the authority of Parliament. It has been suggested, against the simpler method, that there would be in some sense a doing away with the authority of Parliament, and that a Provisional Order, however costly and cumbersome it may be, does recognise Parliament an authority in matters of this sort, and we have no right to add to the legislation of the country, unless Parliament has had an opportunity of voicing its opinion, one way or another. In the method we propose, however, the Board of Trade has not absolute authority to do this. It has only authority to have a local inquiry and then the Board of Trade have to submit to Parliament an Order which must lie upon the Table for 30 days, and during that time it is competent for any hon. Member to object and hang the matter up, and if that is done the Board of Trade are under the obligation to have a still further inquiry locally, before the matter proceeds further. The method we propose authorising the Board of Trade to proceed in this manner, is already a method known to the Home Office, because they have similar power, under the provisions of the Factory Act of 1901, and the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1008. Our proposal was originally in the Bill, and of course the hon. Gentleman who represents the Board of Trade now will give some explanation of why the Bill was altered in this respect. So far we have heard no satisfactory explanation on the point, and therefore I beg to move.
§ Mr. H. J. TENNANT
The Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for the Blackfriars Division, is applicable only to the new trades proposed to be added to this Bill, and it is true that as the measure was drafted originally, the procedure which he recommends to the House was contained in it. But there were apprehensions expressed in various quarters of the House and outside, that trades would be added to which the procedure of the Bill was inapplicable, and those apprehensions 2433 found a good deal of support, so much support that, in. order to allay them, the President of the Board of Trade gave an undertaking that no new trade should be added to the provisions of this Bill, except by the special consent of Parliament obtained through a Provisional Order. I do not think anyone will find fault or cavil with that statement of fact. Therefore this procedure, which is now embodied in the Bill by the Committee upstairs, has become part of an agreement with hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I am not able to hold out any hopes to my hon. Friend that we can go back upon what has been put in the Bill. It is perfectly true, as the hon. Gentleman says, that this procedure of coming to Parliament for a Provisional Order may be more costly and more expensive and may occupy more time, but it need not occupy more time, and it need not be more cumbersome or expensive. In the cases of Aberdeen and Dundee the expense would not be borne by the trade, or those who desire to bring that particular trade within the scope of the Act, but by the Board of Trade. There is a provision, as I think the hon. Gentleman will find, in the financial clauses of this Bill that the money should be found by Parliament. I want hon. Gentlemen to realise what the Provisional Order procedure actually does. A Provisional Order has to have a confirming Bill which goes through in most cases without opposition. I do not know whether we are entitled to assume that all cases of proposals for additional trades will necessarily be opposed. I sincerely hope not. The trades which we have scheduled are substantially agreed to. They are certainly asked for in three cases by the employers, and I am hopeful that, if our experiment has any of the successful operation which we anticipate and hope for, there will be no opposition to the inclusion of other trades within the Bill. The Provisional Orders which have been made by the Board of Trade in the 10 years from 1899 are as follows: there have been Orders applied for to the extent of 1,160, Orders made by the Board of Trade 1,032, Orders confirmed by Parliament 1,011, Orders opposed in Parliament 97; so that Provisional Order procedure need not be, and is not in the majority of cases, half so cumbersome or expensive as my hon. Friend thinks. I give these figures to allay his fears and apprehensions that it will be 2434 the Greek Kalends before we can add trades to the procedure of this Act. It was in order to get an agreed Bill, which it practically is now, that we gave this Provisional Order procedure to those who were fearful that there would be trades added which really ought not to be added. I am sorry I do not see my way to accept the Amendment.
Mr. TYSON WILSON
We did not understand when the Bill was before the Committee that there was any understanding whatever between the Government and the Opposition. Other reasons were given why Provisional Order procedure should be adopted. At the same time, in my opinion, the President of the Board of Trade is really in sympathy with the Amendment, and believes it to be better both for the Bill and for the other trades which might be included. I am inclined to think that one of the reasons given by the Secretary to the Board of Trade why the Provisional Order system should be adopted is really in favour of the Amendment, because he says there has not been much opposition to Provisional Orders, and, therefore, we may take it for granted that his Department will be so careful that they will not schedule any trades which would be opposed by the employers. Therefore, I do not see why he should not accept the Amendment. As a matter of fact, it will simplify the procedure, and I feel certain it will meet with the approval of the majority of the friends of the Bill. I am certain it will meet with the approval of the whole organised labour in the country, and, that being so, I hope he will either accept the Amendment or leave the question an open one. I could see when the Bill was in Committee that some sinister influence had been brought to bear upon the President of the Board of Trade when the Provisional Order method was proposed. I feel certain that the acceptance of the Amendment will conduce to the smooth working of the Bill.
§ Mr. ROBERT DUNCAN (Lanark, Govan)
The last speaker said that organised labour was in favour of the Amendment. We are honestly trying to work with the organised labour of the country, and believing it is in favour of the Amendment I shall support it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 77; Noes, 36.2435
|Division No. 308.]||AYES.||[12.37 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Myer, Horatio|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nussey, Sir Willans|
|Astbury, John Meir||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hart-Davies, T.||Rees, J. D.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Renwick, George|
|Barnard, E. B.||Hill, Sir Clement||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Bertram, Julius||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Lamont, Norman||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Verney, F. W.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Clough, William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, N.)||Marnham, F. J.||Winterton, Earl|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Massie, J.||Younger, George|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Morpeth, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Captain|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Morse, L. L.||Norton and Mr. Whitley.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Alden, Percy||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hills, J. W.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hodge, John||Pointer, J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hogan, Michael||Richardson, A.|
|Crossley, William J.||Hudson, Walter||Sheehy, David|
|Delany, William||Jowett, F. W.||Snowden, P.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Joyce, Michael||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Kekewich, Sir George||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Lundon, T.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Barnes and Mr. Keir Hardie.|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
§ Mr. PERCY ALDEN
I beg to move in section (2) to leave out the word "exceptionally" ["rate of wages prevailing in any branch of the trade is exceptionally low,"] and to insert the word "unduly." I do not think it will be necessary to press this Amendment if I can get an assurance that there is no difference in the meaning of the two words in this connection.
§ Mr. TENNANT
There would be distinct danger in accepting this Amendment, because it is not clear what "unduly," if inserted in the section, would mean. It might mean something which is not due, and that is a matter of opinion. On the other hand, what is exceptional is a matter of fact. I think my hon. Friend will understand that it would be a mistake to adopt a word implying that which is a matter of opinion rather than a word implying that which is a matter of fact.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. E. H. CARLILE
I beg to move an Amendment which I regret to say is not on the Paper. It is to insert the words "in the same trade" after "employments"["as compared with that in other employments"]. This is an Amendment which I think the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill will be disposed to accept. It deals with the question of wages in various trades. There might, and probably would be, in a given district one or more trades which exist in competition with similar trades in other districts or in other countries. Although the rate of wages in a particular trade may be less than the rate of wages obtaining in other industries in that particular district, yet it may be essential for the existence of that trade that the rate of wages should be continued. I do not think it can be the intention of the Government that all trades in any given district must have their rate of wages raised to any given level. Desirable as it might be to so arrange matters, it might be impossible to do that. I desire the insertion of the words "in the same trade" 2437 in order to make it clear that where the existence of an industry, which is in competition with that industry as carried on in much larger centres of population or in districts abroad, renders it necessary that the Board of Trade should not deal with the minimum rate, the Board should not do so. The Amendment is in no way antagonistic to the general spirit of the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to second the Amendment. I think it is the intention of the Government that the meaning of the Amendment should be carried out by the Bill. If these words are inserted the section will read: "The Board of Trade may make a Provisional Order applying this Act to any specified trade to which it does not at the time apply if they are satisfied that the rate of wages prevailing in any branch of the trade is exceptionally low, as compared with that in other employments in the same trade, and that the other circumstances of the trade are such as to render the application of this Act to the trade expedient." I do not think it can be supposed that the Government mean that in a particular district the wages of tailors should be compared with the wages of bakers. The object, as I understand, is that in each trade there should be a certain rate of wages recognised. In order to make that quite clear it is necessary that the words of the Amendment should be inserted.
§ Mr. TENNANT
I am sorry I cannot accept the Amendment. The Amendment is not on the Paper, and therefore I have not had time to consider it fully; but, so far as I understand it, the effect would be to unduly narrow the scope of the clause. There may be a trade in which the rate of wages is low as a whole in comparison with the general level of wages in a particular district. I know the hon. Member who moved the Amendment means well, but I do not think it would have the effect that he hopes it would have.
Mr. C. SCOTT-DICKSON
I think the hon. Gentleman has unduly exaggerated the importance of the effect of the Amendment. I would ask the House to look at the section which reads as follows:—"The Board of Trade may make a Provisional Order applying this Act to any specified trade to which it does not at the time apply if they are satisfied that the rate of wages prevailing in any branch of the trade is exceptionally low as compared with that in other employments." It seems to me that 2438 the reference there is to the same trade because the section goes on, "and that the other circumstances in the trade are such as to render the application of this Act to the trade expedient." It seems to me that this is a mere drafting Amendment not calculated in any way to affect the purpose of the section, but merely expressing more clearly the meaning of the section, and not in any sense either narrowing or widening its application.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Samuel Evans)
It is intended that they should have regard to the general level of wages in other employments, and, therefore, the Amendment would alter the scope of the section, and cannot be accepted.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put and negatived.
§ Sir W. BULL
moved at the end of section (2) to insert:—"(3) The Board of Trade may by Provisional Order declare that this Act shall cease to apply to any specified trade to which it at the time applies, and subject to the provisions of this section this Act shall cease to apply to that trade as from the date mentioned in the Order."
It seems to me there is no provision in this Act such as there was in the original Act for the trades dissociated from the objects of this Bill. Therefore, I would suggest to the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to accept this Amendment which allows notice to be given whereby a trade may be exempted. I would suggest a reasonable time, say six months, so that in the tailoring trade where large contracts are made, and in other trades dislocation may be as far as possible avoided.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
When the original Bill was drawn there was a provision something like the provision now proposed by the hon. Gentleman. Somehow or other in Committee upstairs when they came to the change which made it necessary for the Board of Trade to proceed by Provisional Order instead of making an Order merely upon their own initiative this was not continued. We think there is no objection to the principle of this Amendment. We think it desirable that the Board of Trade ought to be allowed, if the circumstances so change as to make it desirable to make that alteration, to make, subject to the control of Parliament, an Order which 2439 would cause the Act to cease to apply to any particular trade. With regard to the form, I would prefer if it were moved on the same lines as those on which the section in the original Bill proceeded, and if the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his Amendment I would move an Amendment in this form: "If and when the Board of Trade consider that the conditions of employment in any trade to which this Act applies have been so altered as to render the application of this Act to that trade unnecessary they may make a Provisional Order that this Act shall cease to apply to that trade." These words will come in before section (3), as it now stands, so that that section shall apply to this Provisional Order, as well as those which come in under section (2). It will apply to both Provisional Orders, so that it is not necessary to deal with the date when the Order comes into effect, which is part of the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I should like to withdraw my Amendment, and to move that which the hon. Gentleman has suggested in its place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
moved, at the end of section (2) to insert:—
"(3) If and when the Board of Trade consider that the conditions of employment in any trade to which this Act applies have been so altered as to render the application of this Act to that trade unnecessary, they may make a Provisional Order that this Act shall cease to apply to that trade."
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.