§ (1) Minimum rates of wages and district rules for the purposes of this Act shall be settled separately for each of the districts named in the Schedule to this Act by a body of persons recognised by the Board of Trade as the Joint District Board for that district.
§ (2) The Board of Trade may recognise as a Joint District Board for any district any body of persons, whether existing at the time of the passing of this Act or constituted for the purposes of this Act, which in the opinion of the Board of Trade fairly and adequately represents the workmen in coal mines in the district and the employers of those workmen, and the chairman of which is an independent person appointed by agreement between the persons representing the workmen and employers respectively on the body, or in default of agreement by the Board of Trade.
§ The Board of Trade may, as a condition of recognising as a Joint District Board for the purposes of this Act any body the rules of which do not provide for the members representing workmen and the members representing employers voting as separate classes (if any member so requires), and for giving the chairman a casting vote in case of difference between 2346 the two classes, require that body to adopt any such rule as the Board of Trade may approve for the purpose, and any rule so adopted shall be deemed to be a rule governing the procedure of the body for the purposes of this Act.
§ (3) The Joint District Board of a district shall settle a general minimum rates of wages and general district rules for their district (in this Act referred to as general district minimum rates and general district rules), and the general district minimum rates and general district rules shall be the rates and rules applicable throughout the whole of the district to all coal mines in the district and to all workmen or classes of workmen employed underground in those mines, other than mines to which and workmen to whom a special minimum rate or special district rules settled under the provisions of this Act is or are applicable, or mines to which and workmen to whom the Joint District Board declare that the general district rates and, general district rules shall not be applicable pending the decision of the question whether a special district rate or special district rules ought to be settled in their case.
§ (4) The Joint District Board of any district shall, if it is shown to them that any general district minimum rate or general district rules are not applicable in the case of any coal mine within the district or of any class of coal mines within the district, or in the case of any class of workmen, owing to the special circumstances of the mine or class of mine or workmen, settle a special minimum rate (either higher or lower than the general district rate) or special district rules (either more or less stringent than the general district rules) for that mine or class of mines or class of workmen, and any such special rate or special rules shall be the rate or rules applicable to that mine, class of mine, or class of workmen instead of the general district minimum rate or general district rules.
§ (5) For the purpose of settling a minimum rate of wage the Joint District Board may subdivide their district, and in that case each part of the district as so subdivided shall, for the purpose of the minimum rate, be treated as the district.
§ (6) For the purpose of settling district rules, any Joint District Boards may agree that their districts shall be treated as one district, and in that case those districts shall be treated for that purpose as one combined district, with a combined 2347 district committee appointed as may be agreed between, the Joint District Boards concerned, and the chairman of such one of the districts forming the combination as may be agreed upon between the Joint District Boards concerned, or, in default of agreement, determined by the Board of Trade, shall be the chairman of the combined district committee.
§ Mr. PARKES
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "separately."
It is quite possible that in some districts the conditions may be altogether different from those in the adjoining districts, but it is also possible that the conditions may toe exactly the same. In that case I think it is very desirable that adjoining districts should have power to make similar rules so that there may be uniformity.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I agree that it is very desirable that there should be power to make rules for more than one district, and if the hon. Member will turn to Clause 2, Sub-section (6), he will find the point expressly provided for. The word "separately" has to be taken subject to Subsection (6), which shows the circumstances under which you may have a combination of districts for the purpose of district rules.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
What are the districts? I know they are set out in the Schedule, but are they geographical—counties or parts of counties—or are they districts recognised by the Miners' Federation? Does it mean that a mine situated in a county not included in this Schedule of districts will be excluded?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the words, "but such rates shall not be less than the existing rates in the district affected."
Although this Amendment raises a matter of vital importance it will not be necessary for me to occupy more than a minute or two, because the arguments used in an earlier discussion to a large extent cover the same ground. This Amendment attempts to guard against the possibility of the minimum rate being a phrase only, or of the award of the Board leaving the miner worse off than he is at present. Earlier in the afternoon, when the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Earn-say Macdonald) made an appeal for some such arrangement as that which I am now 2348 suggesting, I understood the Prime Minister to express his approval of the principle and his willingness to embody it. If the words I suggest are not adequate, perhaps this will be a convenient opportunity for the Government to state in what form they propose to recognise the principle, which, I think, they have already accepted. I will only say, in conclusion, that this proposal is not open to the objections which the Prime Minister pointed out in the case of a definite minimum.
If I understand the object of my hon. Friend, it is that, if in any district there is a minimum rate already existing and the rate settled by the District Board is less than the existing agreed rate, the miners should not be in any sense prejudiced by the fixing of the minimum rate. That principle seems to be a matter of justice, but, as the particular words do not really meet the point as clearly as it should be met, I will presently propose the following words: "Nothing in this Act shall prejudice the operation of any agreement entered into or custom existing before the passing of this Act for the payment of wages at a minimum rate higher than that settled by this Act."
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I do not think that this Amendment goes as far as the Prime Minister indicated he was prepared to go. I have handed in a manuscript Amendment which may be out of order if the present Amendment is proceeded with.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I think perhaps the word "minimum" might come out. The point of the Amendment is to secure that a minimum rate of wages, even although there may not be a minimum rate, shall be safeguarded. The Board might hold that the rate of wages current at the time of the passing of the Act, which at that period was the minimum, could be reduced. We want to safeguard the men against that possibility.
§ Mr. T. RICHARDSON
I hope that the Government appreciate the suggestion that has been made by hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil. I am certain of this, that the Committee will appreciate the importance of this matter from this standpoint, if from no other, that the men 2349 after this dispute has been settled want to have some assurance that the existing rates of wages are not intentionally interfered with in any degree at all by the Government measure.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
As I understand the intention of my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment, it was to cover the case of the day-wage men as well.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
I think it is satisfactory to receive an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that he intends to deal with this matter. The Committee ought however to be in a position, before finally disposing of this Amendment, to know whether or not a subsequent Amendment is to be accepted dealing with the day-wage men. As has already been pointed out, there are a large number of day-wage men whose case requires to be considered. I am very glad indeed that the Government are prepared to put an assurance into the Bill that will be acceptable to the men themselves. I regard this measure in the first place, as one intended to settle the strike. Therefore we want everything possible in the Bill to give the men the assurance of the intentions of the Government. I regard this as a very important matter, both in regard to those who are piece-workers and also In respect of the day-wage men. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us the assurance as to the scope of the present Amendment or of the Amendment he will accept at a later stage.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I would ask one question of the Government. My hon. Friend behind me quite rightly says, that this Amendment does raise the case of the day workers. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether we cannot now discuss that point also and hear what the proposals of the Government are?
I have here my own Amendment, and I understand that the hon. Gentleman also proposes in his Amendment to leave in the day rate. We desire to apply the same principle to the hewers. I was under the impression that the case of the day men had been included. I will look into the matter, and see that they are also covered. With regard to the particular point of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr Tydvil I should like to look at it again. I 2350 appreciate the point. I have not quite considered it. Looking at it in the light pi what he has said, I will see how far his point is met, and how far we can meet it.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I do not quite know whether we are quite in order in discussing the Government words on the Amendment which is now before us. I daresay it is a convenient course to take.
I may say on that point that I have, of course, the Amendment on the Paper; the Government Amendment I have not yet seen. I have also the manuscript Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Mansfield. I think it would be convenient to the Committee that they should be taken separately.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I understand the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Whitehouse) is not going to press his Amendment in view of the Government's observations. Substantially what we are discussing at the present time is the Government Amendment.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
May I say I am very much obliged for the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has met us in this matter. May I, in view of his assurance, ask leave to withdraw my Amendment, in order that the Government Amendment may be taken?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), at the end, to add the words "Nothing in this Act shall prejudice the operation of any agreement entered into or custom existing before the passing of this Act for the payment of wages at a minimum rate higher than that settled by this Act."
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I must say that as the discussion on this Bill proceeds, I myself feel more and more convinced that the people who are going to suffer more immediately will be the miners. Personally, this proposed Amendment seems to me to illustrate that extremely well. To diminish the wages now paid is not what 2351 the Government desire by their Bill. They deal with that difficulty immediately, but if these rates are submitted to the District Boards it may well be that they will come to the conclusion that the minimum wage ought to be reduced. It is quite true that that would not interfere in any way with contracts actually entered into, but, unquestionably, it will interfere with all future contracts which may be entered into. What are the contracts which are entered into? I have asked my hon. Friend who sits beside me, and he tells me that the ordinary contract for wages payments are fortnightly—in some cases weekly. These contracts may come to an end a fortnight or a week after the minimum wage has been declared, and this Clause of this Bill will not in any way prevent a new contract being entered into for the minimum wages fixed by the Board, whether higher or lower than previously. I am not satisfied that the Board will not have power to vary, whether they like it or not. I suppose there will be a large number of contracts entered into. The effect will be undoubtedly, at the end of certain wages contracts, whether this provision of the Government is intended or not, that new contracts will, after a fortnight or a week when the minimum wage has been settled, be entered into, naturally and reasonably in view of the award that is being made by the District Committee. I see the words "custom existing" are used in this Amendment. I am sure the Attorney-General will not contradict me when I say that these words are of the vaguest possible description. I do not know what is meant by the words "custom existing." It will be exceedingly difficult to settle what is the "custom existing" at a mine. I should think it is a matter which changes from time to time, and is settled from time to time by the owners and the miners. I am profoundly convinced that the whole question of minimum wage as settled by Statute will be disastrous. I believe it will do nothing but harm, and that it will be a source of infinite trouble, and I press upon the Committee that it is an excellent example of the bad effects you will produce when you try to settle things by Statute that ought to be settled by agreement.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I have not seen the words of the Amendment moved by the President of the Board of Trade, and I could only do my best to gather their 2352 meaning as they were read out. Does this Amendment, moved on behalf of the Government, provide that no rate fixed in the future shall be lower than any rate at the present time?
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I put my question again, because it is a very important question. It is so important a question that I do not think we ought to deal with it now, as it is not on the Paper. Will the Attorney-General tell me what is the effect of this Amendment? I do not propose to move my own Amendment, because, although it is of a different character to that moved by the Government, all I want is that no rates shall be set up under this Bill lower than the existing rates, and that no right shall be given to the arbitrator to lower them.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
As I understand, the effect of this Amendment is to prevent the lowering of wages in, cases of persons working underground at a rate which is higher than the minimum wage which may be settled by the District Board. I will give a concrete instance. Suppose the rate settled is 6s., and that there is an agreement existing in that district at 6s. 6d., what is done is that that shall not be lowered by anything done under this Act, and that that agreement shall have effect notwithstanding that the District Board shall settle a minimum rate lower. That is what this Amendment does, and that is what it is intended it should do.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
What is to be done in those districts where there is no minimum wage? Is there to be no protection given to the men in these districts? I respectfully think that if the Attorney-General will leave out the words of this Amendment and consider whether it is necessary to insert, them upon Report stage, we might proceed at once. There are large districts of the country where there is no agreement upon a minimum wage, and the Amendment, in its present form, gives no protection to those districts.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I wish to support the suggestion which has been made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie). You are merely deciding by this Amendment that these District Boards shall not go below the lowest rate in any particular district.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
We are dealing with the higher agreement. Where an agreement exists under which the man is entitled to get 7s. a day, notwithstanding the fact that the District Board may agree that 6s. a day is the wage, we want to protect the man who is getting the 7s. in order that he shall not receive the lower rate. It is intended to protect the higher agreement, so that it should not be reduced by the rate adopted by the District Board, which might make the rate lower than, it has hitherto been.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
After the explanation of the Attorney-General, it does look as though the possibility of a mistake is absolutely avoided. I would suggest that it should be, the rate accepted by custom rather than the minimum rate.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
An Amendment will be proposed during the course of the Committee stage which may meet the point in the mind of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. What my hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has said is that we will consider when we have got to the end of the Committee stage how far the point he has raised has been met by words already introduced or to be introduced into this Bill. If the hon. Member's point has not been met then the point will be raised again on Report, and I cannot say more than that.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
May I point out that these are not actual agreements between the employer and the employed men, but the arrangement that has been made by the men's representatives and the employers in certain districts? This is a temporary measure, but these agreements are practically permanent at present until they are altered, and they should be kept in action, and where the minimum wage at present is by agreement between representatives of the workmen at a higher rate than might be fixed by the District Board the higher rate should be the rate of the future. That is what I should like some assurance upon.
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. WADSWORTH
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), at the end, to insert the words:—Provided further, that nothing in this Section shall be deemed to be an interference with or in derogation of the 2354 right of any workman under any agreement in certain eventualities to receive any increase of wages.
§ We do not want the minimum to become the maximum. There will be various, wages arranged in the future notwithstanding that we have a Minimum Wage Bill under which the miners will seek to secure a share of any prosperity that may occur in the industry as they have done in the past, and the Amendment is intended: to meet that situation. It is intended to provide that this Section shall not be an interference with the right of the miner to seek any advance that may become due to> him owing to any prosperity in the trade-or other causes.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am afraid we cannot accept the Amendment, but I do not think there is any necessity for it. It is perfectly plain we are dealing with a minimum wage. It is called a Minimum Wage Bill, and I do not think even in an Act of Parliament, where ave try to be very precise, we need step out of our way to-say a minimum is not a maximum.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
The point is whether the Bill safeguards existing customs with regard to increases of wages. Hon. Members perhaps do not remember that wages rise and fall upon percentages according to the price of coal. The danger apprehended is that once a minimum wage has been fixed the right of the day-wage man who is not a hewer to receive an increase and be subject to a decrease down to the point of the minimum may be interfered with. If the Attorney-General could give us an assurance that the establishment of this minimum wage will not interfere with the right of the day-wage man-to be subject to the percentages as they fluctuate, then I suppose my hon. Friend would be content.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If I appreciate-the point raised by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) it is this. Supposing in a district the rate of wage is settled at 5s. per day, and that is fixed upon a rate of wage which we will say is 50 per cent, above the rate settled some time in 1879, and supposing subsequently there is an increase in the percentage and the wage rises, say, to 60 or 70 per cent, above, there is nothing in this Bill which will prevent the person who is receiving that minimum wage from at the-same time receiving also an increased wage when there is an increase in the percentage. It is entirely, of course, for the 2355 Districts Boards. The Districts Boards, as I understand the Bill, may say, "We will settle once and for all for a period of fifteen months that the rate of wages shall be 5s. per day, and should there be an increase of 10 per cent, there shall be a rise of 6d. in the wage from that time forward And for so long as that percentage obtains." There is, nothing to prevent the Joint District Boards doing that most definitely.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir A. B. MARKHAM
I do not think the Attorney-General has met my point. I should like to move words, providing always that, in fixing the amount of the minimum wage for those engaged in working the coal face, the Joint District Board shall not settle any such rate at a lower scale than the average or minimum rates in the district prior to the passing of the Act. This Amendment goes a little further than the undertaking given by the Prime Minister. It is a rather complicated point, but perhaps the Government will meet it on Report.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
May I point out how the matter stands? The words referred to as having been used by the Prime Minister indicate what we would prefer to accept in regard to the rate of wage, namely, that regard should be had by the Joint District Board to the average daily rate paid to workmen in certain classes in the district. That was proposed in order to give effect to what was understood to be the view of everybody, and it was desired that there should be some words in the Bill making that perfectly clear.
§ Sir A. B. MARKHAM
I want to go further, and make it a positive proposition; I will, however, bring the matter up on Report.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL moved, in Subsection (2), to leave out the word "may" ["The Board of Trade may"], and to insert instead thereof the word "shall."
This is the first of a series of Amendments. The object is to require that the Board of Trade shall appoint as the District Committee under this Act any Board upon which both sides have agreed, and, in the event of either side not appointing their portion of the Board, then the District Board shall nominate representa- 2356 tives of that side. The present scheme of the Bill is that there is to be power in the Board of Trade to recognise District Boards where existing for the purpose of securing a thoroughly adequate representation of employers and workmen, and if, for any reason, such a Board is not recognised, then the Board of Trade are entitled under Clause 4 to appoint a certain individual to exercise all the powers of that Board. Those at whose request I move the Amendment are very anxious indeed that, if possible, Boards should be established on which both sides shall be represented, with an impartial arbitrator sitting between them, but I do not at all desire, if it can possibly be avoided, that the matter shall be left to a single man appointed by the Board of Trade. I believe that will be the view taken by both sides. Therefore, the object of the Amendment is to make it compulsory on the Board of Trade to recognise a Board sitting in the way I have described, and to provide machinery for making that effectual in case one side or the other fails to appoint their representatives. It might happen that either the employers or the miners would not appoint their representatives, and the Board of Trade would not be able to find anyone who adequately represented that side. I will not, however, go into that at the present moment, but will simply move this Amendment.
I can assure the Noble Lord that, as regards the whole of this Bill, the Board of Trade would infinitely rather that the two parties should arrange the matter between themselves, and that the intervention of the Board of Trade should be reduced to the smallest possible degree. There is this practical objection to the Amendment. We understand that in some of these divisions, and there are some very large divisions, there may be, and are, more than one of these District Boards already in existence. It is quite clear that it would not be to the advantage of anybody to have two or three District Boards all appointed for the same purpose, at different parts of the same division, to carry out the same work. That is the only case in which the Board of Trade's selection would come in. We shall endeavour, as far as we possibly can, if they are prepared to carry the matter out, to take the existing Boards. It is really because we must have some discretion left us, where there is more than one Board already in existence, that we take this power.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It may be, perhaps, irregular, but I am intervening in the general interests of the Committee. I want to say this: That, in the opinion of the Government, in the course of the discussion to-day, we have very much narrowed down the points at issue in this controversy. I most gladly recognise that it is by the most hearty and loyal cooperation of both sides of the House that we have attained that result. Really the outstanding point at issue, I do not say the main point, but a not unimportant point, is this question of the day wage, what we call the 2s. and 5s. question. That is the most serious matter still outstanding. The Government think that the best way of dealing with the situation would be this: They have taken, and are taking, steps to call together a conference of the owners here in London on Monday, and we hope also the men. We hope there to see if we cannot still further narrow the amount of difference which prevails between them in regard to this point, and, if so, we think it would be a waste of time for the House to be required to meet to-morrow in order to take the Report and Third Reading of this Bill. The House will retain possession of the Bill. We therefore propose that when the Committee stage has been completed to-night that the further consideration of the Bill should be adjourned until Monday.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not of course enter into the merits of the plans proposed by the right lion. Gentleman, but I can only say I hope they may have the success which he desires for them. As regards the time of the House, it would be putting Members in all quarters of the House to gratuitous trouble to meet tomorrow in the changed circumstances in which we stand, and on all sides of the House it will be considered reasonable that we should not do it. However, I am sure everyone wishes to finish the Committee stage if possible at a reasonable time, and if it should be found that it is not possible I should propose that we should adjourn at a reasonable hour and continue it on Monday.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
So far as we are concerned, we also prefer the arrangement of the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope as the result of the conference on Monday, at which I am authorised to say the men will be present, that if a Bill is necessary it will be an agreed Bill, because without agreement it would be quite 2358 useless for us to go on and discuss and push through this House a Bill which would not produce anything.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I do not quite follow the reason why the right hon. Gentleman has rejected the Amendment because it does not provide that the Board of Trade is to recognise any Board that it proposes, but that he has to recognise some Board which is selected by agreement between the employers and the workmen concerned. That is the essential part. I quite agree that if the Clause was to stand exactly as it is, perhaps "may" is a reasonable word, but if it is to be amended, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will agree to its being amended so as to make it a Board representative of the workmen and the employers concerned, it is only in the case that it is so representative that the Board of Trade is to be bound to recognise it. The Clause goes on to say that it must be one which, in the opinion of the Board of Trade, fairly and adequately represents the workmen in the coal mines in the districts and the employers of those workmen. I do not think the alteration from "may" to "shall" is very important, but it will do something to mitigate fears which, unhappily, still exist in the minds of some misguided persons. I cannot see that it will really have the practical defect which the right hon. Gentleman pointed out. Perhaps he will not now see so much objection as he saw before. I know that Government Departments dislike the word "shall," but in a Bill of this kind there might be rather more freedom in dealing with it.
I wish the Noble Lord to clearly understand that we have had to consider the Amendments of which notice has been given under very extreme pressure. If he will withdraw this Amendment now, I should be glad to consider it before the Report stage. I can assure him that the word "may" has not been introduced into the Clause through any desire to get patronage or power into the hands of the Board of Trade. If, after considering the Amendment, I find that I can accept it, I will do so on the Report stage.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, and in these circumstances I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.2359
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I beg to move in Sub-section (2) after the word "persons" ["any body of persons"], to insert the words "selected by agreement between the employers and workmen concerned."
I think that is rather a reasonable proposal. It is to provide that, in the first instance, the employers and workmen shall agree as to the Board, and whether the word "may" or "shall" should ultimately remain in the Clause, the right hon. Gentleman will see that it is desirable to have an agreed Board, in which case it may not be necessary to have an independent Chairman appointed in the way provided for in the Clause. I am in great hopes that the Amendment will be accepted by the right lion. Gentleman.
I would ask the Noble Lord not to press the Amendment now, as I wish to consider it further.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
In withdrawing the Amendment, perhaps I may be allowed to say that there are three points raised by this and the other Amendments I have on the Paper. The first is that "shall" should be inserted instead of "may." That I have already explained. The second Amendment is to provide that, in the first instance, the Board shall be selected by the employers and workmen by mutual agreement, if possible. Then follow four Amendments which are merely verbal and relate to matters of drafting, Then the proviso at the end deals with the case where one or other of the parties fail to make their selection. In that case, instead of as now—
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I think that what I am doing is really a matter of convenience for the President of the Board of Trade—at least, it is so intended.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
They are all connected, and it is almost impossible to make the thing intelligible without explaining all. Those four Amendments 2360 there are merely verbal, merely matters of drafting, about which I do not say a word. The proviso at the end is to cover any case where one or other of the bodies fails to make a selection of its part of the Boards. In that case the Board of Trade is directed to select persons who represent that interest which has failed to make a selection, because those interested in the matter feel that it is of immense importance to get a Board of some kind into existence so that the matter shall not be left, as it would be under Clause 4, to the decision of a single individual, but that before the arbitrator comes into operation he should have the advantage of discussion between those who understand the question.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
On behalf of my Noble Friend (Viscount Wolmer), I beg to move, in Subsection (2), to leave out the words "Board of Trade" ["The Board of Trade may, as a condition of"], and to insert instead thereof the words, "Lord Chief Justice of England, or in Scotland by the Lord President of the Court of Session."
This is a matter which I raised on the First Reading and asked the Government to take into serious consideration before we got to this particular stage of the Bill. Conciliation Boards have been in existence and have, as a rule, had an independent party to choose the chairman. Mr. Speaker has been chosen in some cases. The Lord Chief Justice, I believe, and other authorities of that character, have also been chosen. It does seem to me most desirable that in a case like this, where undoubtedly the decisions of the chairmen are going to be of vast importance, the selection should be taken out of the hands of a Government Department. I do not wish in the least to throw any doubt whatever on the bona fides of any member of the Board of Trade, but there is undoubtedly a strong feeling that the Board of Trade necessarily has its own ideas on this subject and is influenced by certain influences, and that it would be very much more satisfactory to all parties that the appointments should be entirely taken out of the hands of a Government Department, and that some independent persons should be appointed who shall choose the list of arbitrators or umpires to preside 2361 over the District Boards. I think that this is one of the most important Amendments that can be brought forward to this Bill, and I ask for the very serious consideration of the Government of it. It is one as to which the owners feel very deeply, and I trust that my right lion. Friend, having had his consideration drawn to the matter, will see his way to agree to it.
In regard to this Amendment, as in regard to the last, I have to say that the Board of Trade have no desire to keep this matter in their hands. I can assure my hon. Friend that they would be only too delighted if anybody else would undertake the duty. It is a very onerous and difficult matter to select these chairmen on very short notice, and I say it is a duty from which we would be very glad to be relieved if anyone else is prepared to take the responsibility. I do not admit for one moment that the hon. Gentleman is right in implying, or insinuating in any sense, that there are any sort of party of political considerations on the part of the Board of Trade in connection with appointments. We have to deal with these appointments under the Conciliation Act and Arbitration Act, and they are made absolutely apart from any party consideration. Selections are made from the panel for particular reasons connected with particular work, and, so far as that is concerned, I really must repudiate, very emphatically the suggestion that in these matters there is any question of politics at all. I would put a practical question to the hon. Member. Does he really think, in these circumstances and in the present emergency, that the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord President of the Court of Session should be called upon on Monday, say, to appoint some dozen or more persons to perform these duties. How could they set about it? I am inclined to think that if I accepted the Amendment these distinguished Gentlemen, the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord President of the Court of Session, would not welcome the fact, and might use language which I can well conceive would not be of a very judicial character. The hon. Gentleman has not consulted either of these distinguished gentlemen, and I do not think the House of Commons should put upon them such a duty without having first consulted them. This is a practical matter, and though we have no desire to retain it in the hands of the Board of Trade, yet I do think it must be left to the Department to select these chairmen.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I must protest against the suggestion implied in this Amendment, because it seems to me that if it were adopted the only persons who would be appointed would be lawyers. I protest against that idea getting abroad. I interpret the proposal to appoint the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord President of the Court of Session to mean that the appointments always go to barristers. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] I am delighted to elicit from the House that such a class of appointments is contemplated.
§ Mr. NEWTON
I agree with the view that it is better to leave these appointments in the charge of the Board of Trade. There would be great practical difficulty in leaving the decision to the distinguished judges proposed in the Amendment.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
There are difficulties in this case of a rather peculiar kind which entitle the hon. Gentleman to suggest that this Amendment is the better way of dealing with the matter. We have experience of appointments of this kind by the Lord President of the Court of Session, and we have many cases of this sort. Under the Land Act the arbitrators were appointed by the Lord President of the Court of Session.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
He never appoints barristers as arbitrators under that Act, but appoints men suitable for the job. He takes very good care to do so. As far as my experience is concerned, there is no man I would sooner see placed in the position of making these appointments than the Lord President of the Court of Session.
§ Mr. L. HARDY
I do not wish to put the Committee to a Division. In this matter we ought to be guided by the Conciliation Boards, but I admit there are difficulties in connection with the urgent character of the work.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "may, as a condition of" ["The Board of Trade may"], and to insert instead thereof the words "shall before."
This is a proposal to make the discretion of the Board of Trade obligatory. Those in the trade feel very strongly that the provisions of the Clause are so desirable that they ought to be enforced in 2363 every case. As far as the voting under the Clause is concerned, I believe the right hon. Gentleman will bear me out when I say that in the conciliation scheme at present a provision to that effect is found. From the experience of the men engaged in the trade they think this condition ought to be obligatory in the new Boards.
§ Mr. NEWTON
If the Clause is left as it is would it be possible under any circumstances for a chairman not to have a casting vote?
It is fully intended that the chairman should have a casting vote. I can undertake that the Board of Trade will not recognise any of those joint bodies unless the chairman has a casting vote, and unless he has under the further Clause power of final decision in the event of disagreement, because that is the essence of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Further Amendment made: In Sub-section (2), leave out the words "if any member so requires."—[Lord Robert Cecil.]
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I beg to wove, in Sub-section (2), after the word "and" ["and for giving the chairman a casting vote"], to insert the words "without prejudice to freedom of discussion, for an equal number only of each class voting upon, any question, and".
There is an obvious danger, with so many representing the employers and so many representing the workmen, if at any meeting of the Board it should happen there was not a full representation of the workmen, for instance, that the employers might be able to outvote them. That is not intended. I am not sure that the Clause does not mean that each class is to vote as a unit, but the commoner and clearer way of dealing with the matter is to provide that there shall be only an equal number of each class entitled to vote. I have here the rules of procedure of the Northumberland Conciliation Board, and the provision there is that when at any meeting of the Board the two classes are unequal in number all shall have the right to enter into the discussion of the matter brought before them, but only an equal number of each shall vote.
The wording of the Bill was intended to carry out in another way exactly what the Noble Lord desires. It is obviously the right thing to do, because there might easily be a majority on one side or the other, and it would be obviously unfair that that majority should be able to decide any question at issue between the two sides. The provision in the Bill is a well-known method of securing the object in view, but I am told that the method suggested by the Noble Lord is the one usually adopted on Conciliation Boards. I think the method in the Bill is the better one, but I will consider the point before Report. There is really no difference in principle between us.
§ Sir C. CORY
You may have associated owners and miners, and non-associated owners and miners. They will all be represented on the Boards, so that you will not be able to confine it merely to two classes. You will have to take into consideration the non-associated owners and men also.
§ 9.0 P.M.
The point here is that these Boards are to be instituted as representing the mine owners on the one hand, and the miners on the other. There might, according to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, be five different classes of owners on, and one class of miners—
§ Sir C. CORY
The right hon. Gentleman does not quite grasp the proposal. I suggest that you might get associated and non-associated owners taking different views. You might get associated and non-associated men taking different views. You might get non-associated owners and non-associated men voting together and vice versâ. I am not prepared to draft an Amendment, but I think it is a point that should be considered.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "classes" ["difference between the two classes"], to insert the words "giving a decision which shall be final and conclusive."
2365 This is a matter of very great importance. It suggests that there shall be struck out of the Sub-section the words giving the chairman a casting vote merely, and of giving him the power of deciding what ought to be done. A casting vote involves simply that where the parties differ the chairman would have to vote for one or the other. If he thought, in point of fact, that both were wrong, he would have to decide, possibly, in favour of the least wrong side. This we know, from the time of Socrates, is a decision that ends very often in injustice. Clearly the right course is to give the chairman the right of saying, when a difference obtains, what, in his judgment, is the fair thing to do. I do not think that it is necessary to argue the thing at any length, but having regard to the previous answer of the right hon. Gentleman, it would appear that he thinks there is something or other in the Bill giving power to the chairman to do this very thing. I do not like to make a definite assertion, but I have not been able to come across that particular provision. If it is not there an Amendment should be inserted. It will give the chairman the power in case of a difference between the two classes, of giving a decision that shall be final and conclusive: in a word, a decision of substance.
May I draw the attention of the Noble Lord to Clause 4, Subsection (2), where the chairman's decision is final? The Clause we are now considering deals with question of procedure in the first instance and before the final decision is reached. During the earlier stages of the negotiations and discussions I think it is sufficient to give the chairman a casting vote in reference to this matter. As a matter of fact, the chairman under the Conciliation Boards, as everyone having experience of them knows, is, in the earlier stages, really in the position of a conciliator rather than an arbitrator. It is, of course, essential in the earlier stages that he should have a casting vote, for he is not then giving a determining decision. That question comes up under Sub-section (2) of Clause 4, where he determines rates and district rules. Therefore I think the point is met in the better way in the Clause, where we are only dealing with procedure, and by leaving the question of final decision where it is in Sub-section (2) of Clause 4.
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will stick to the form of words already in the Bill. The great desire of both the representatives of employers and employed on the Board will be that the chairman should be a conciliator. If the Amendment of the Noble Lord were put in, it would give him the powers of an arbitrator. He could cut in at any time between the parties and arbitrarily decide in a way that he and he alone is responsible for. During the last eighteeen or nineteen years I can speak of the working of the Conciliation Board in the Midland area, including two-fifths of the whole mining population of the country, and the Board has worked there with a smoothness and absence of friction greater than any other board of workmen and employers. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] Well, I will put it no further than to say there was a wonderful absence of friction and dispute. We have always given to the person presiding the powers of a conciliator. Of course, when it came to the end and both sides remained resolute, he had the power of decision, but he was unable at the beginning to cut in, and give an arbitrary decision. I think that which has worked so well in the English conciliation area is best to be applied here, and I hope the powers of arbitrator will not be given in this instance.
§ Mr. CAVE
There is not much difference between us, but I do not think the hon. Member or the President of the Board of Trade quite follows the points made by my Noble Friend. Sub-section (2) of Clause 4 only comes into operation immediately after the passing of this Bill. That is in the first five weeks. If during these five weeks no decision is come to as to the minimum wage, then the chairman has power to determine the rates of wages and district rules himself. But after the first performance of that duty that power has gone, and then we are-thrown back upon the Clause we are now considering. Take this case. Supposing a question arises a year or two years hence as to fixing the minimum rate of wages, and supposing the employers as a class propose 5s., and the workmen as a class propose 5s. 6d., then the chairman under this Clause has nothing but a casting vote. He must choose one or the other or negative both. It may be that he sees his way to fix a sum which will, on the whole, be adopted as a compromise. The effect of the Amendment is to enable the chairman in the case I have mentioned 2367 to fix the sum at (say) 5s. 3d., and if he has nothing but the casting vote he cannot do that. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has met the point, and, without pressing him as to the particular form of words proposed, I think it is a point which might very well be sympathetically considered upon the Report stage.
While it is quite true that Sub-section (2) applies to the person performing the duties of settling the minimum wages and the district rules, under Clause 3, which deals with any variation during the period the Act exists, it is provided thatthe provisions of this Act as to the settlement of minimum rates of wages or district rules shall, so far as applicable, apply to the variation of any such rate or rules.Therefore, supposing there has been a variation during the period of the Act, the same rule with regard to the chairman would apply in this case, and if that is not so, we will make it so.
§ Mr. WALTER M'LAREN
If this were merely a question of fixing the rate of wages, perhaps, a casting vote would be sufficient, but there will be endless rules and regulations and all kinds of considerations, and I am sure it would be far better to give the chairman as wide powers as possible. The chairman may take part in the discussion, and if the parties are irreconcilable he may be unwilling to give a casting vote. We have found from experience on our Boards dealing with these matters there are cases in which the casting vote would not be suitable, and, having regard to the intricate matters which will come before the Board, I beg the Government to give the chairman wide powers from the very beginning. There will be many differences which may seem irreconcilable, each one taking the extreme view in which a casting vote would be unfair, and where the duties of the chairman would be to reconcile the differences. If the Government desire these Boards to work smoothly and well they must let the chairman have the power of modifying the views of the contending parties, and he must be able to give a decision between the two. This matter will not work if it is left to a casting vote. Speaking with a long experience in this matter in connection 2368 with the Board of South Wales, and being familiar with what goes on in Durham and Yorkshire in regard to this point, I hope the Government will meet the full sense of the House and give the chairman the power of conciliating and modifying the views of the extreme parties, because they will be extreme parties in many cases, and the giving of the casting vote would only lead to soreness and irritation. The chairman should act as mediator and try to make things work smoothly. I think if three men could be rolled into one chairman in this particular case it would be far bettor, because three men can often find a happy solution when one man cannot. I think it is an admirable suggestion, and I beg the Government, in the interests of the smooth working of the Boards, to reconsider their position.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
My view of the effect of Clause 4, Sub-section (2), is absolutely different from that of the President of the Board of Trade. I think he must have misread it. It merely deals with the case of a District Board failing to do its duty within five weeks after the passing of the Act. It has nothing to do with the ordinary working of the District Boards. We are dealing with a case where the Board meets and discusses the matter and where the two sides disagree. That is not a failure to do their duty at all. They disagree, and then all you give the chairman under Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 is a casting vote. There is no question of failure. The Board has done exactly what it is intended to do It has brought the people together and made them discuss the matter. They differ, and therefore it is Clause 2 and not Clause 4, Sub-section (2), which comes into operation. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong in his construction of the Bill. That is not what was intended by Clause 4, Subsection (2), at all. I am sure he must agree upon reflection that it is absolutely essential, if these Boards are to succeed, that you should not merely have a chairman entitled to say: "Yes" or "No," but that he must be a man with full power. We all agree his main business is to be a conciliator. That should be his object. If he is there merely to say "Yes" or "No" he will have no powers of conciliation. Each side will press its view and will say, "You must say 'Yes' or 'No,'" but you want him to be able to say, "No, I shall not do that; I shall give a decision between you two which, in my opinion, is 2369 more just and equitable." I do not understand the right hon. Gentleman when he says it only deals with preliminary procedure. It deals with the whole affairs of the Board. It appears to me to be a point on which we are right. We are proposing an Amendment really to improve the practical working of the Act, and, if the right hon. Gentleman does not feel able to concede it, I do feel it is one of the few cases in which we must press the matter to a Division.
I think the Noble Lord has misunderstood the Sub-section. The intention was this. In the first instance, you will have these Boards with a neutral chairman. During the course of their proceedings the neutral chairman has a casting vote on any question arising. We are all agreed that in the early stage and even up to the last he should act rather as a conciliator than as a chairman with arbitrary power. In the event of the two sides being unable to come to some agreement as to what should be the rule the chairman will in all probability elect, if there are two proposals, the one which appears to him to be fair and will give his casting vote for that proposal. But in the event of his thinking that neither of these proposas is good, and if he has a better one himself he will not give his casting vote.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
If the right hon. Gentleman will read the Sub-section he will see that the point is not to arise until five weeks have elapsed. I do not know what the draughtsman may have intended, but I take it the intention was to secure that should the Board prove futile then it should be superseded by the chairman after five weeks have elapsed.
That is the object of the Clause. The arbitrary position of the chairman will come in there. I am, however, quite willing to consider the point put forward by hon. Members on both sides, although I hold there is a good deal more to be said for the proposal of the Bill than for that of the Noble Lord. Not only should the chairman have, in the final resort, the decision, but of the proceedings also he should have a deciding voice. I certainly think that the better method of 2370 procedure, but I am quite willing to further consider the point.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the powers given to the chairman in Section 4 will apply to future disputes as to altering the minimum wage.
It is intended to have that effect, and I am quite prepared to see that it has that effect.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
I want to make one or two observations in regard to the experience that we have had in regard to Conciliation Boards. I want as little interference from the outside man in these matters as is possible. I have been on the Conciliation Board for the federated area for the last nineteen years. We meet and discuss these questions without an independent chairman, and in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred we come to an agreement without this man being there. If the chairman is there, and is going to give a casting vote, each side is on the alert to put forward their very best case, and even exaggerate their claims, which they would not do if we were having a peaceful "confab" between employers and employed. Lord James of Hereford was our chairman, and we never called him in unless it was absolutely essential. I do not want anybody to believe that from our side we want an interfering chairman when a chairman is not required. What I would like to see carried out is this: that the two sides Should meet and discuss the question. They will discuss it in a friendly way if our federated areas are anything to go by, and if they fail to agree then an outside man should be called in. I believe that a system of mutual discussion on these questions is beneficial even before you call him in. I am not enamoured of these outside men dealing with these questions, which some of them, do not understand.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I quite agree with the hon. Member that it would be much better not to have independent chairmen at all, and that the matter should be settled between employers and employed. But that is not the Bill, and it is no use discussing that point. I am inclined to agree with the right hon. Gentleman, but I think that where he has made the mistake is in introducing Clause 4, Sub-section (2). I cannot see that Clause 4, Sub-section (1) or (2) have anything whatever to do with the Amendment. Sub-section (1) of Clause 4 deals with the 2371 case which may arise if there are no recognised District Boards. That is not the case of my Noble Friend. Sub-section (2) deals with the case of a District Board failing to perform its duty. That is not the case of my Noble Friend. Therefore, neither of the arguments based upon that Clause which were advanced by the right hon. Gentleman have anything to do with the question. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Clause gives to the chairman a casting vote, and I understand that, in the event of neither side being able to come to an agreement, the casting vote does give to the chairman the power of deciding the question.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Let us say that 6s. is proposed, and that neither side will agree to it. Has not the chairman the power of saying yes or no that the 6s. shall be given?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I see what my Noble Friend wants. It is that in the event of one side asking for 6s. and the other side 5s., the chairman shall be able to split the difference and say that it shall be 5s. 6d. I am not sure that I agree with my Noble Friend, because that is a spirit of compromise, which I believe to a great extent has brought about the situation we are faced with to-day. That being so, I really do not see why the right hon. Gentleman does not accept the Amendment, because the whole spirit of the Bill is to do exactly that which my Noble Friend desires to do. The Bill provides that in the event of there being no District Board, or in the event of the District Board failing to do its duty, there should be a chairman appointed, who can do what my Noble Friend desires. The actual case of a District Board being instituted and approved by the Board of Trade and then failing to come to an agreement has been omitted altogether. What does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do in that case?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
No, it would not. That Sub-section says:—If within five weeks after the passing of this Act the Joint District Board for any district fails to perform any duty.2372 They have not failed to perform any duty. They have tried to perform their duty and have not been able to do so because they cannot, come to an agreement. That, again, is limited to five weeks though the Board of Trade may extend the time. All this leads to a further extension of the time. You will have to apply to the Board of Trade to extend the time even if you can prove that the District Board has failed in its duty. In the case quoted by my Noble Friend it will not have failed in its duty.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
To perform any duty with respect to the settling of the first minimum rate of wages and district rules. It has not settled it because it cannot do it because the chairman has not got the power. "Failing in its duty" does not mean that it has refused to perform it or owing to laxity has not done what it was appointed to do. That is quite a different thing from not being able to do it under the provisions of the Bill. But even supposing the right hon. Gentleman is right, the Board of Trade has to be approached and a further specific period has to be arranged. All that trouble would be avoided if the Amendment was adopted. According to the right hon. Gentleman himself the Amendment will eventually be carried after a considerable amount of trouble and many applications to the Board of Trade. If the Amendment is accepted the Board of Trade will be spared a considerable amount of trouble and the masters and men will be spared a considerable waste of time and a conclusion will be arrived at far sooner, which I presume is what is desired.
§ Mr. NEWTON
Surely the point can be put in very few words. It is that during the first five weeks of any negotiations-which follow the introduction of this Act the chairman will only be able to say yea or nay to a body of proposals put forward either by the men or by the masters. I suggest that if each side will be inclined to put forward exaggerated claims the result will be that the chairman will not be willing to say aye or nay to either set of proposals. Then the result will be that in some cases the minimum wage will not be fixed until after five weeks' delay. It is 2373 only after five weeks' delay that the chairmen will have power to act. They would say, "We cannot agree with either side entirely, and we will strike the happy medium, and so give a decision which will be satisfactory to both parties." I say that in settling the minimum wage and the rules it is desirable that the chairman should have the power at the start which he is going to have after five weeks.
§ Mr. C. DUNCAN
It seems to me that the House is getting into a bit of a fog in regard to this Amendment. The case can be put simply and tersely. It has so far been put by the hon. Member opposite. He said that, after a discussion as between 5s. and 5s. 6d., possibly the arbitrator will come in and give, not 5s., but 4s. or 4s. 6d. Therefore, the point is an exceedingly clear and simple one. I think the House would not be inclined to give the arbitrator such power.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The whole question is whether there is to be a chairman or an arbitrator. We have had plenty of experience of arbitrators in the Potteries, and I should advise the working men not to have arbitrators, who are generally men
§ drawn from the upper classes. It is far better that the chairman should have merely the opportunity of voting "Yes" or "No," and that he should not be able to split the difference as between the masters and workmen, and so give a decision which would not be satisfactory to either party. The masters, members on the one hand, and the employés, members on the other, would each put forward an exaggerated case with the view of getting a decision as nearly as possible favourable to their own side. I do not think that is desirable in the interest of peace. I am of opinion that if the Government appoint an outside man he should merely have a casting vote, so that he may decide "Yes" or "No" directly on the proposals which come before him. You cannot possibly secure a Conciliation Board which will give absolute satisfaction in its results, but I feel confident that you will secure much more satisfactory results from the casting vote of the chairman than from the splitting of the difference by an arbitrator, who possibly does not carry the full confidence of the working classes. Therefore I hope the Government will stick absolutely to what they have in the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the word 'giving' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 249; Noes, 109.2377
|Division No. 50.]||AYES.||[9.40 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Clough, William||Gill, A. H.|
|Adamson, William||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Goldstone, Frank|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Crumley, Patrick||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cullinan, J.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Alden, Percy||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hackett, J.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)|
|Armitage, R.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Dawes, J. A.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||De Forest, Baron||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Delany, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Devlin, Joseph||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Dillon, John||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Barton, W.||Donelan, Captain A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, S. George)||Doris, W.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Boland, John Pius||Duffy, William J.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hayward, Evan|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Brace, William||Elverston, Sir Harold||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Brady, P. J.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hinds, John|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Essex, Richard Walter||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Falconer, J.||Hodge, John|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Farrell, James Patrick||Hogge, James Myles|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Ffrench, Peter||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Field, William||Hudson, Walter|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Hughes, S. L.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Furness, Stephen, W.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Clancy, John Joseph||George, Rt. Hon. D, Lloyd||John, Edward Thomas|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Samuel, Rt. Hun. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Nolan, Joseph||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Jowett, F. W.||Norman, Sir Henry||Schwann, Rt Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Joyce, Michael||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Keating, M.||Nuttall, H.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shortt, Edward|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||O'Doherty, Philip||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||O'Donnell, Thomas||Snowden, P.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||O'Dowd, John||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Grady, James||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||0'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Leach, Charles||O'Malley, William||Sutton, John E.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||O'Shee, James John||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Lundon, T.||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Palmer, Godfrey||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Lynch, A. A.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|McGhee, Richard||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Pollard, Sir George H.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|MecNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wardle, George J.|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Power, Patrick Joseph||Waring, Walter|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Webb, H.|
|Manfield, Harry||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Pringle, William M. R.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Raffan, Peter Wilson||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Meagher, Michael||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Reddy, Michael||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Redmond, William (Clare)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Middlebrook, William||Richards, Thomas||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Millar, James Duncan||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Molloy, M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worc, N.)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Morrell, Philip||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Muldoon, John||Roe, Sir Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Munro, R.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Lee, Arthur H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Mackinder, H. J.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)|
|Barnston, Harry||Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Fleming, Valentine||Malcolm, Ian|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gilmour, Captain J.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Goldsmith, Frank||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Grant, J. A.||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Campion, W. R.||Haddock, George Bahr||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Cassel, Felix||Hamersley, A. St. George||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Cator, John||Harris, Henry Percy||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rawlinson, J. F. P.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hills, John Waller||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Croft, H. P.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Hohler, G. Fitzroy||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Doughty, Sir George||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Stanier, Beville|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Starkey, John R.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Stewart, Gershom||Touche, George Alexander||Younger, Sir George|
|Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)||Wheler, Granville C. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Cave and Mr. Evelyn Cecil.|
|Terrell, H. (Gloucester)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
§ Amendment made: In Sub-section (3), leave out the word "a" ["district shall settle a"].—[Mr. Buxton.]
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the word "wages" ["minimum rate of wages"], to insert the words "in respect of the different classes of workmen concerned." It is quite clear that the rules must provide for different classes of workmen.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), to leave out all the words after the word "mines" ["underground in those mines"], and also to leave out Sub-sections (4) and (5).
This is one of the things we entirely object to, as we are against districts being split up. This proposal is foreign to all precedents we have had for many years in the Midland Federation, and will make and create things that will cause trouble and dissatisfaction in the districts. Take a concrete case. In my own county we have regulated matters with the consent of the coal owners. We have forty thousand men who are not governed by sections, either from the men's standpoint or the employers' standpoint. We deal with them through the coal owners' association and the men's association, and we have a distinct objection to those districts being split up. We have price lists operating, not uniform I admit, in every colliery in the county. We look on this as a very serious innovation on the arrangements that have been in existence for very many years. This means that you can interfere with all the previous arrangements which are in existence and all the machinery that has been set up and has worked so well. I hope the Government will see the seriousness of this position. Since the settlement of the strike of 1893, at the Foreign Office by Lord Rosebery, and it lasted seventeen weeks, though there has been a little bit of trouble here and there, yet for nineteen years we have managed the business in counties and in sections representing the counties. This is a very serious matter to us, and we think it so 2378 important that we are bound to go to a Division. It is one of the matters about which the conference feels to be very serious. We are going to keep our Miners' Federation intact whatever happens, because it means the life and well-being of our men. I will do nothing that will tend to the disintegration or injury of the coal trade, and I want to see the old system, which has worked so well, preserved.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I fail to see how these words can affect the Miners' Federation, or in the slightest degree cause them to dissolve or to become less powerful. The hon. Member said, quite truly, that the question involved is a very serious one. It is serious to both men and employers. The very basis of the Bill is that there is to be a general minimum rate applicable to various classes of workmen, subject to various safeguards and conditions, but that in special conditions that general rate shall not apply. That is of supreme importance. What would be the effect upon miners generally if these elasticity Clauses were omitted? The District Boards will have to consider the different classes of workmen and all the various circumstances applicable to the several colleries throughout the districts, and without these elasticity Clauses they will inevitably fix a much lower general minimum rate than they otherwise would. Therefore these provisions are in the interest of the men themselves. Let me point out why. Take the case of a colliery working under special conditions. What the Government proposes is that a general minimum rate shall be fixed first of all; then, if there are special cases, special collieries, special classes of collieries, that they shall be taken into account by the General District Boards, who shall then determine what shall be the special rate applicable to them. I fail to see how it would be possible for us to continue with this Bill if you take out those Clauses, either in the interests of the men or the employers. I hope the House will keep these Clauses in, and will not support the Amendment, so that we may preserve impartiality, as it is the duty of the Government to do, between the men and the employers. If we have 2379 to do so, we submit to the House that it is essential that we should preserve these elasticity Clauses in the Bill as they are.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
I cannot understand how this Amendment can be moved from the benches opposite, because it seems to me that one of two consequences must result. One has been very able enforced by the Attorney-General. If you compel the District Boards to settle their minimum rates, having regard to the general district, there is a grave chance of the minimum rate being set so low that all the mines in that district may be worked under it. Or you may, alternatively, have the minimum rate so high that certain mines in the district may foe shut out, and a considerable number of miners may be thus thrown out of employment. I have one instance of a mine in my mind which turns out many thousands of tons of coal per day. The miners are earning considerable wages. Not far away is another mine which has never yet paid a. dividend, and which, in all probability, cannot possibly, under the conditions under which they have to work, pay anything like the high minimum rate as the other mine. If you accept this Amendment you deprive the District Committee of all capability of providing special terms for that mine.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
If my hon. Friend goes to a Division I shall be very glad to vote for him. After all, the question reduces itself down to a very simple one, namely, that the worst mines determine the wages of the whole of the people of the industry. If a few mines have to go under, I believe the great majority are in favour of that principle, although hardship may come to some, because it is for
§ the general advantage of the greater number. Therefore, if my hon. Friend goes to a Division, I shall vote with him.
§ The CHAIRMAN put the Question, "That the words proposed to be left out to the end of line 15" [end of Sub-section 3], "stand part of the Clause." There were cries of "Aye" and "No," whereupon he said, "Clear the Lobby."
§ Mr. J. W. WILSON (speaking seated with his hat on): On a point of Order, Mr. Whitley. I understood you to put the Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," and that you declared "The Noes have it."
I did not declare that either side had it. I put the Question, "That the words proposed to be left out to the end of line 15 [end of Sub-section (3)] stand part of the Clause." There were cries of "Aye" and "No," and I therefore said, "Clear the Lobby." The Amendment proposed is, "To leave out from the word "mines" in Sub-section (3) to the end of Sub-section (5)" The Question I have to put is, "That the words, 'In the district and to all workmen or classes of workmen employed underground in those mines, other than mines to which and workmen to whom a special minimum rate or special district rules settled under the provisions of this Act is or are applicable, or mines to which and workmen to whom the Joint District Board declare that the general district rates and general district rules shall not be applicable pending the decision of the question whether a special district rate or special district rules ought to be settled in their case' proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 254; Noes, 65.2383
|Division No. 51.]||AYES.||[10.8 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cator, John|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Benn, W. T. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cave, George|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Armitage, R.||Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Brunner, John F. L.||Chancellor, H. G.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Clancy. John Joseph|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Clough, William|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Burn, Col. C. R.||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Campion, W. R.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Barnston, Harry||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hint (Leeds N.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W,||Cory, Sir Clifford John|
|Barton, William||Cassel, Felix||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hughes, S. L.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Croft, H. P.||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||John, Edward Thomas||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|De Forest, Baron||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Melton)||Royds, Edmund|
|Doughty, Sir George||Larmor Sir J.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Duffy, William J.||Leach, Charles||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool., W. Derby)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Salter, Clavell|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lewis, John Herbert||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lewisham, Viscount||Samuel, J. (Stocktan-on-Tees)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Falconer, James||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyell, Chas. Henry||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Mackinder, H. J.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Macnamara, Rt. Hon Dr. T. J.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||M'Callum, John M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fleming, Valentine||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Shortt, Edward|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||M'Laren, Walter s. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||McNeil, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||Malcolm, Ian||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Manfield, Harry||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Stanier, Beville|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Menzies, Sir Walter||Stewart, Gershom|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Middlebrook, William||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Swift, Rigby|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Morgan, George Hay||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hackett, J.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honlton)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Munro, R.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Newdegate, F. A.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Newman, John R. P.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nuttall, Harry||Waring, Walter|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Webb, H.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Havelock-Alian, Sir Henry||Paget, Almeric Hugh||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Palmer, Godfrey||Whyte, A. F.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Helmsley, Visount||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Hickman, Col. T. E.||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worc., N.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Hinds, John||Pringle, William M. R.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Younger, Sir George|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Mr Illingworth and Mr. Gulland|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Adamson, William||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Alden, Percy||Gill, Alfred Henry||King, J. (Somerset, N.)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Goldstone, Frank||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Barnes, George N.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Brace, William||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hay ward, Evan||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Henry, Sir Charles||Millar, James Duncan|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Hodge, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hogge, James Myles||Morrell, Philip|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Grady, James|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hudson, Walter||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Elverston, sir Harold||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wadsworth, John||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Richards, Thomas||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Walters, Sir John Tudor||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Snowden, Philip||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)||Wardle, George J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. George Roberts and Mr. T. Richardson.|
|Sutton, J. E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
§ Mr. W. M'LAREN
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), at the end, to add the words:—(4) In settling the first minimum rate of wages a Joint District Board shall take into consideration contracts for the sale of coal existing at the date of the passing of this Act.I move this Amendment in order to enable the District Board to consider evidence of very great importance which may be brought before them, and which, if this Amendment is not included in the Bill, they may ignore. It is well known to all in the least degree familiar with the coal trade that large contracts are habitually made twelve months in advance. The great English railways buy their coal twelve months in advance, and the great bulk of our export trade is made in yearly contracts. In accordance with the usual practice, this has been done during the past year, and it has been done, at any rate, so far as Scotland and South Wales are concerned, with all the more confidence because the coal owners relied upon agreements which they were convinced would be kept. I hold with regard to the export coal trade the Fife coal owners have at least 40 per cent, of their output contracted for delivery before the end of the present year. And in South Wales at least three-quarters of the output is contracted for in advance. The colliery owners were all the more ready to make these contracts because they had a five years' agreement which still had two and a half years to run, and that agreement gave them a feeling of complete security that the ordinary rate of wages would not be disturbed in the case here of two collieries. One has an output of one and three-quarters million tons a year, and it has sold a million tons for delivery before the end of the year. The other has contract to deliver 1,100,000 tons before the end of the year—equal to three-quarters of their output. These contracts were only entered into because there was reasonable security that the existing agreement would be carried out. I have always been in favour of the principle of the minimum wage. Six years ago I declared in 2384 favour of it in my own colliery district, and I have never since deviated from that view. Our workmen can make far more than the minimum wage if they choose. But I want it to be borne in mind that contracts have been made in the security of the agreement, and we suggest that as the District Board are appointed to settle the new rate of wages, the owners shall be entitled to bring before them their order book to the end of the present year, and that that should be borne in mind in settling the rate of wages to the end of the year. We are quite willing to take the chance of what may happen afterwards, because if wages are increased no doubt the colliery owner will ask more for his coal. All I ask is that the District Board shall take into account in settling the rate of wages the existing contracts of the colliery owners. The Government may well accede to this request, because they cannot desire to keep back from the District Boards any evidence that may legitimately be put before them, and which undoubtedly ought to have a marked influence upon the rate of wages. I earnestly beg the Government to accept this Amendment. I am certain it will go very far indeed to calm the feeling and allay the irritation which undoubtedly does exist—and you cannot blame anybody for feeling strongly to some extent, no matter how much they are in favour of the principle of a minimum wage. These wages ought to have due regard to the existing interests that have been created. Seeing that the men are going to have in future the enormous advantage which this Bill unquestionably confers upon them, and having regard to the fact that the agreements they entered into two and a half years ago they are deliberately tearing up, they should try to meet the coal owners half way, and take into account the contracts that were made on the faith of the agreements, which all of them signed. I am only asking what is fair and reasonable, and a matter of ordinary business, when I ask that we should be allowed to bring to the District Boards evidence which is material to the fixing of the wages. I beg the Government to give this Amendment their friendly consideration, as they are trying in a conciliatory 2385 spirit—in which we sincerely desire to join and that we shall do our best to promote—to settle this question, and I ask that this particular class of evidence shall be brought before the Boards.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The case put forward by my hon. Friend is for a direction in the Bill to the local District Board. That would be a departure from the principle we have hitherto observed. Directions have not been given to the Boards, but the policy has been to leave it to the Joint District Board to take into account all the circumstances which bear upon the fixing of the minimum wage. That is where it seems to me this matter must be left. It is quite impossible to put this in without putting in a number of other directons. The inclusion of only one direction would be a very serious matter, because when the Boards saw that Parliament had said that this particular matter must be considered, they would regard it as something very special and would take it more into account than other circumstances. I cannot accede to the Amendment. I will not argue with the hon. Baronet and those associated with him as to the question of contracts. It is a little difficult to understand how anyone who had coal to sell and who had to make a contract during the last few months should not have taken into account the circumstance that a strike was threatened. As to the question of agreements, that is exactly the same kind of difficulty we get over and over again in a great number of the Bills we pass. I trust the Committee will be satisfied to leave the matter to the Joint. District Boards for them to determine, with the other matters, how far it shall affect the wages fixed by them.
Mr. PIKE PEASE
I agree with the Attorney-General, but I should like to say a word in reference to his remarks on the sanctity of contracts. We shall never have industrial peace or a satisfactory state of industrial enterprise in this country until both sides realise that a contract, is sacred. I am a director of a firm which has 1,000,000 tons of material sold, and it would not be an unreasonable thing for these Boards to take that fact into account. I want to impress on the right hon. Gentleman the absolute necessity of the Government doing all they can to see all contracts carried out in future by both parties.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
The Attorney-General said that owners must have 2386 considered the possibility of this strike, but owners have been innocent enough to believe they need not be anxious about contracts which were in existence and which would last for three years. That is what has happened in South Wales at present, and it is hardly fair to taunt them with not having considered the matter fairly and reasonably as men of business. This question of contracts undoubtedly is an extremely difficult one. I do not altogether agree with the Amendments from the opposite side as to the best manner of dealing with it, because apparently it would penalise the men for no fault of their own, but in a matter for which there is no precedent, in which they fling away almost without a word existing contracts of the most solemn nature, it is for them to consider whether they ought not to bring something into effect in order that those who have contracts may be saved from some of the evil influences which may be brought to bear on the action of the Government itself.
§ Mr. W. F. ROCH
I am inclined to agree with the Attorney-General that the Amendment is not the best means, or indeed a possible means, of settling the difficulty which arises with regard to contracts in South Wales, but I am inclined also to agree that this will be an element in the fixing of the minimum wage which will not be satisfactory to the men nor is it a satisfactory way of dealing with the question. The Attorney-General said that the owners in South Wales, who are exporters of coal to the extent of about 60 per cent, of their output, as prudent men should have known that the strike was ahead, and should have adjusted their contracts on that basis. But the South Wales coal owners were dealing with the competition of the world in fixing their prices for export, and they had to make their contracts at the price then existing. As prudent men, too, the South Wales coal owners were not entitled to take into consideration that the Government of the day is opposed to contracts. The Government is put in the same legislative position as a trade union. They may break a contract, but they are not liable in damages for the breach. The Government are purchasers through the Admiralty of over a million tons of Welsh coal. They have broken the contract on which the price at which that coal was sold to them was fixed. [An HON. MEMBER: "In what way?"] The price at which the coal was sold to the Admiralty 2387 was based on the faith of a written agreement with the men, and without the legislative action of the Government that would now be in force. And yet the Government is now turning round and saying we will accept no liability for the position which we have ourselves created. There is an additional case of hardship on the South Wales owner Let us suppose that this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, it is common ground with everbody that there will be a shortage of coal and that the supply will not meet the demand. I am perfectly ready to admit that the price of coal in the next six months will go up. In that case, what will be the position of the South Wales producers who have made contracts ahead. The effect will be that the wages of the men will automatically rise, and the South Wales coal owners, having contracted for the export of coal, will not foe able to take advantage of the advance in the price of coal. I venture to say that when the Government is interfering in the interest of the general community with a somewhat heavy hand this point ought to receive its consideration at some future stage of the discussion. I agree that the point is not met by the Amendment or by the argument of the Attorney-General that it could be dealt with by the District Board. It is a matter which deserves the careful consideration of the Government.
Mr. FRED HALL (Dulwich)
I should like to direct the attention of the Committee to one remark of the Attorney-General. He assumed that the contracts were entered into in the course of the last few months.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS indicated dissent.
Mr. FRED HALL
I am glad to know the hon. and learned Gentleman did not assume that, but he stated to the Committee that the colliery proprietors ought to have taken the possibility of the present dispute into account. I am afraid that the Attorney-General is unaware of the fact that the large majority of the contracts for the export of coal are made in August or September. Therefore, I venture to suggest that the colliery proprietors could not have been under the impression that any material increase would be put on the cost of production. I hope that, in going carefully into this matter, the Government will look into the question whether some consideration cannot be 2388 given to those who have made their coal contracts on the assumption that the contracts they had entered into with the miners would be binding on their part.
§ Mr. T. RICHARDS
I hope the Government will stick to what they have put in the Bill, and that the special stipulation which has been proposed will not be inserted. I am very reluctant at this stage of the proceedings to say a word which would impart feeling or temper into the discussion in replying to my hon. Friends. If this Bill should be parsed, we shall have to meet and try to come to an arrangement as to all the difficulties that will arise. I do not find very much fault with what was said by the Mover of the Amendment. He repeated the old argument about the cost of production being increased 1s. per ton if this Bill were put in operation in South Wales. We have heard that so often in regard to previous legislation that I hardly think it worth while to deal with the statement. If the export contracts are to be taken into account, will attention also be given to the wealth which has been made by the coal owners—a question which has been a bone of contention for a great many years—will the coal owners immense profits be taken into consideration in fixing the minimum rate. We know that enhanced prices were charged for South Wales coal for several months before the strike took place. We also know from past experience that the obstinancy which they have displayed is largely due to the speciality of the article they have to sell. If they had the article of the midland owners, the South Wales owners would have been as reasonable, but the South Wales owners know that the longer the strike lasts the higher the prices they will get when they commence work. The year 1898, when we had five months of a dispute, is conclusive proof on that point. The prices of the South Wales best commodity that are sent out to depots to supply the world never come into the calculations of the workmen's wages. I do not want to enter into this matter now, but I hope to have an opportunity of doing so when we meet face to face across the table.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
If my hon. Friend goes to a Division I shall certainly vote with him. The case is quite unanswerable. At all events, the reply of the Attorney-General is absolutely ludicrous. He has replied that an agreement was 2389 entered into by force, that it was shoved by force down the throats of the Welsh colliers, and they were told that they would be locked out if they did not enter into it. But it was on the faith of that contract deliberately entered into that large quantities of coal have been sold. The hon. Member has referred to the large profits in South Wales. I am associated with a company which has sold in his constituency over a million tons of Welsh coal. This company has been a poor company, distributing an average of about 5 per cent, in dividends. No one is going to say that 5 per cent, is an unreasonable profit. At all events, I would not put my money into any mine unless I thought that I was going to get more than 5 per cent. There would be general astonishment among the British public if they knew the result of the working of Welsh collieries during the last year. In the case of many collieries the public will find, when they know the facts, that instead of large profits made in 1910, there was a large loss made in many of the Welsh collieries. I do not think that the whole burden of this should fall on the men, or that they should be kept back from receiving a fair advantage, but where
§ it can be shown that under the operation of this Act, which is being forced on the owners in South Wales, I think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Why not? If the country breaks a contract, is not the honour of a nation equal to the honour of an individual? If a nation comes in and breaks deliberately a contract which entails a loss on innocent people, it is scrapping the whole of the principles on which our legislation has been based, and, therefore, if we can get no better answer from the Government than we have had from the Attorney-General, I shall certainly support my hon. Friend if he goes to a Division.
§ Mr. KEATING
The effect of this Amendment will be to give instructions in one direction in the face of what the Committee have done in another, and I do not see why, if you give instructions in the interests of the coal owners, you rejected the miners' Schedule.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 248.2393
|Division No. 52.]||AYES.||[10.40 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Falle, B. G.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Fell, Arthur||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Armitage, Robert||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bagot, Lieut-Colonel J.||Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Fleming, Valentine||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honlton)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, John Samuel (Harnpstead)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Foster, Philip Staveley||Newman, John R. P.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gibbs, G. A.||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gilmour, Captain John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Barnston, H.||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Goldsmith, Frank||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Haddock, George Bahr||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Burdett Coutts, W.||Hamersley, A. St. George||Pryce-Jones, Col. S. (Montgom'y B'ghs)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Quliter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rawson, Col. R. H.|
|Cator, John||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cave, George||Hills, John Waller||Royds, Edmund|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Astton Manor)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Chaloner, Col, R. G. W.||Hogge, James Myles||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hohler, G. F||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Rt. Hon. E. F. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Larmor, Sir J.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Croft, H. P.||Lewisham, viscount||Stanler, Beville|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Stanley Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Starkey, John R.|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Mackinder, H. J.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macmaster, Donald||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)||Younger, Sir George|
|Touche, George Alexander||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir A. Markham and Mr. W. M'Laren.|
|Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Harmswerth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Adamson, William||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hayward, Evan||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Barnes, G. N.||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Dowd, John|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Hlgham, John Sharp||O'Grady, James|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Hinds, John||O'Malley, William|
|Barton, W.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Hodge, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boland, John Plus||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Shee, James John|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Brace, William||Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Brady, P. J.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||John, Edward Thomas||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, Leif Straiten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jowett, F. W.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Joyce, Michael||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Keating, M.||Radford, G. H.|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Clough, William||Kelly, Edward||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Collins, Godlrey P. (Greenock)||Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Richards, Thomas|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cullinan, John||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Leach, Charles||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|De Forest, Baron||Lundon, Thomas||Rowlands, James|
|Delany, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lynch, A. A.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Devlin, Joseph||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||McGhee, Richard||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Doris, W.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Duffy, William J.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macpherson, James Ian||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Shortt, E.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)||M'Callum, John M.||Simon, sir John Allsebrook|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Manfield, Harry||Snowden, P.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Masterman, C. F. G.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Meagher, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Field, William||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Menzies, Sir Walter||Swift, Rigby|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Middlebrook, William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||Millar, James Duncan||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gill, A. H.||Molloy, M.||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Thome, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morgan, George Hay||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morrell, Philip||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Hackett, J.||Muldoon, John||Wadsworth, J.|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Munro, R.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Wardle, George J.||Wilkie, Alexander||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Webb, H.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Whitehouse, John Howard||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
Question proposed, "That Clause 5 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
Sir CLIFFORD CORY had given notice, after Sub-section (3), to insert the following new Sub-section:—
(4) In districts where existing rates of wages vary in the different coal mines, the Joint District Board shall settle the minimum rates of wages for the different coal mines in the district, and the respective minimum rates shall be the rates applicable to the respective coal mines in the district, and to all workmen or classes of workmen employed underground in those mines.
The hon. Member was not in the House. An Amendment was moved to leave out that provision. A long Debate ensued, and on a Division the Committee decided to retain the provision. Is there any special point?
§ Sir C. CORY
The proposal appears to refer to physical conditions, whereas there may be other conditions, such as different rates of wages.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I submit that this point has already been settled. It is entirely a question of elasticity, and that we have decided.
That is covered by my previous ruling. I sent the hon. Member word. The hon. Member for Derbyshire moved to leave out the words from the middle of Sub-section (3) to the end of Sub-section (5). Owing to the technical rules of the House I put the Question "that the words proposed to be left out to the end of Sub-section (3) stand part." That was in order to save the Amendment of the hon. Member for Crewe (Mr. McLaren). But that does not entitle hon. Members to raise again the question whether these Sub-sections should be left out.
§ 11.0 P.M.
I think there is a great deal of force in your ruling. But may I submit this point. The Division had reference only to the end of Sub-section (3). Since then there has been a complete Debate as to whether a certain form of words should be added at the end of Sub-section (3). I submit therefore that the Committee cannot act on the assumption that all the words after Sub-section (3) have been decided upon. The general Debate that has ensued since has been upon the question as to whether certain words should be added at the end of the specified line.
The question is put that certain words down to a specified point should be left out to give the opportunity for a fresh point to be raised. But that does not give hon. Members the right to raise an issue already settled; for a Member with an Amendment of 500 words might wish to move it word by word. That would not be according to our rules.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (4), to add the words: "In settling any minimum rate of wages the Joint District Boards shall have regard to the provision or payment by the employer of any dwelling-house, coal, or rent, or other allowance in the contract of employment made in addition to any money wages."
The Attorney-General will probably answer that this should be left entirely to the District Boards. It might be held that nothing but the actual wage should be considered in dealing with the minimum wage; therefore words require to be added to give the District Boards power to consider further than the wage; to take into account the perquisites. In many districts there are customs that mean money value, as, for instance, in Durham county, where the married miners get house and coal. The fact of the money value is best proved by cases under the Workmen's Compensation Act, in relation to which, I am informed, the perquisites that I indicate in my Amendment are reckoned at 5s. per week. It is evident that there is a high money value in some districts attaching 2395 to these extras. I desire that on the face of the Bill there may be some statement which will enable the District Boards to go outside the question of the actual money wage.
The District Committees will undoubtedly have the opportunity of taking all these various circumstances into account. There is no necessity—so far as we could see when we drafted our Bill—to deal with these specific questions. It is quite clear that the Joint Committee considering the question of the minimum wage will consider what the actual results of the trade are in relation to all matters, whether they be matters of rent, coal, or anything else. They might admit other matters also relevant to the question of the minimum wage which should be taken into consideration. I think it would be a mistake to put these matters into the Bill.
§ Mr. L. HARDY
I do not wish to press the Amendment to a Division, but I am very glad to get that expression of opinion from the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure the District Boards will appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's opinion that it was the intention of the Government that they should consider the whole matter of payment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
I beg to move in Sub-section (5) to leave out the word "sub-divide" ["the Joint District Board may sub-divide their district."]
Perhaps I had better explain my full Amendment. If I succeed in deleting the word "sub-divide," I propose to insert the word "divide" and the Sub-section would then read "the Joint District Board may divide their district" into parts and then at the end of the Sub-section I should propose to add, "Provided the district may be further sub-divided if the two classes on the Joint District Board agree." I do not think the Committee has given the attention to this Clause it really deserves. We on these benches who are exceedingly anxious through this Bill to promote peace, recognise that this is one of the most dangerous parts of the entire Bill. The Bill proposes to set up machinery to establish a minimum wage, and in these Sub-sections it is possible to so divide the whole of the districts for the purpose of the minimum wage as to make it possible very largely to defeat, so far as the men 2396 are concerned, the whole object over which this dispute occurred. In moving to leave out the whole of the Sub-sections, as we did earlier in the evening, it might bethought that we were going a little too far.
My Amendment is an alternative. It seems to me that if we erred too much in that, on our side, the Bill as it stands errs too much in the other direction, and my alternative is a middle course. We propose that one side of the Board by the power of the casting vote of the chairman might divide each district now in the schedule into two. It might be argued that there was necessity for further subdivision in the interests of the industry. The evidence must be brought forward by the other side of the Board, and they must be convinced it is in the interest of those concerned before further sub-division should be permitted. Those of us who have experience of the work in connection with our organisations, and from experience we have had in recent times of the working of the Government's "Fair Wages Clauses," know how the whole benefit intended by Parliament under those Clauses is being filched away from the workmen by the policy of divided districts. Along with the hon. Member for Blackfriars Division (Mr. Barnes), I recently brought a case, before one of the departments, and the reply we got was that the firm was in a district by itself. It was a single firm in the district of Hammersmith where there was no other industry, and although it was separated from the whole of the metropolitan district, they established the right for that one firm alone. We were, convinced that that was a complete violation of the avowed intention of this House when it passed the Fair Wages Clause. I appeal to the Attorney-General on this point. There were three points on which our colleagues, the miners' leaders and the members of the Federation, were anxious to come to an agreement upon. The first was the 5s., which has been declined; the second was a proviso that the minimum should not come below existing rates, and that point has been met; and the third was one to which many of the miners' leaders attach great importance, namely, that some alteration should be secured in regard to this power of sub-dividing. A district might be divided down to a single man, and thus defeat the whole object of the Bill. I therefore appeal to the Attorney-General to give this proposal serious consideration.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Undoubtedly my hon. Friend has made out a case for some mitigation and reconsideration of this power of sub-dividing. I cannot, however, say that I can accept the words he has proposed. I am not at all sure that we can accept the hon. Member's words in their present form, but we will give this Amendment every consideration, because certainly it is not the intention of those responsible for this Bill that there should be unlimited sub-division. Therefore, I think there is a great deal to be said for the view put forward by the hon. Member, but the exact form in which the limitation must be proposed must form the subject of consideration and be brought up by us on Report. The only thing I desire to say is that we must allow some discretion.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I would like to ask whether Sub-section (5) has not slipped into the Bill by mistake. The President of the Board of Trade is aware that the miners submitted seventeen districts for the purpose of this wages settlement. The employers took exception to some of the districts and suggested that they were too large and should be divided, and Subsection (5) was probably drafted in order to meet the position. What has happened since then? The Government itself in the schedule to the Bill has made the division which the employers asked for, and instead of seventeen districts there are now twenty-one divisions in the schedule. Therefore, it seems a likely hypothesis that this Clause was recently framed to meet the claim of the owners. I think the Attorney-General and his colleagues ought to consider whether they cannot see their way to withdraw this Clause altogether. Tremendous powers of division are given to the Boards. They have power to separate any class of coal mines within a district, any class of workmen within a district, sections of mines within a district, and so on, and surely with the vast powers they already possess the Government should be content. This is one of two really big questions standing in the way of a settlement of this dispute, and I am sure the Government and the House do not want to accentuate the differences.
§ Sir C. CORY
I see danger and the possibility of injustice ahead if this be agreed to, and I trust the Government, before they accept it, will give it their very careful consideration.
This is not a matter on which we have been dictated to by the owners. The reason the seventeen areas have been extended to twenty-one in the schedule is that we could not put into the Bill the Midland area of the Miners' Federation if it includes Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire. It is obvious this area would have to be divided into districts. It is not a question in any sense between the owners and the miners. It is a geographical question which the Government has had to solve. We do not desire to split up the areas more than necessary, but the various District Boards, when they come to consider the matter, might think it expedient to have different rates in different areas under their control. We thought, therefore, they ought to have some discretion in regard to the matter. But I want to emphasise what fell from my hon. and learned Friend. There is no intention by putting in Subsection (5) to do anything in the nature of destroying the schedule as it stands. It was only intended to come into force in exceptional circumstances, where it was quite obvious that it would be an advantage to all parties to have a different minimum rate, and we shall certainly be prepared—we will consider it between now and Report—to see how far there should be some limitation on the power of sub-division because we have no desire in any sense of the term to give this power in order to destroy the schedule as a whole. It is quite possible that a certain amount of elasticity would be necessary, and that was the reason for the Sub-section being put in.
§ Mr. LLOYD
I quite agree with the hon. Member (Mr. Arthur Henderson) in what he said as to the dangers in too much sub-division in this matter, but in view of an Amendment I have later on the paper, I hope the Committee will allow a certain latitude, that is to say, in view of the possibility of our losing the Amendments down on the paper they will not lose entire power in this matter to allow a division which would leave, to a district like Cannock Chase, the power and the right to have a district for themselves.
Mr. PIKE PEASE
It seems to me that there can be no satisfactory result without having complete trust in whoever is appointed to be Chairman of the Boards. It is in the interests of the workmen as much as the employers to make a division There are places in the county of Durham 2399 where large collieries employing a thousand men make practically no profit at all, while there are other collieries nearer the sea with a better quality of coal and much thicker seams which make a large profit. Under the circumstances naturally the colliery which is some distance from the coast cannot possibly pay the same minimum wage as the colliery nearer the coast and under the circumstances it would be well to realise that if we want to make a success of this we should express that confidence in the Chairman, which I am sure we all wish to feel.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman at all events not to accept the particular solution before us now. There is one district which I hoped some other Member who is much more acquainted with the subject would have brought up, but I think Scotland is one very much to the point. Scotland possesses at least three entirely different coalfields altogether, which are now included in one district, and very probably the district board would think it desirable that these three should be divided up. The Government ought to protect in every way the right of the District Board for Scotland to divide itself up at least into three parts. There is no intention of pressing for an undue division, but a certain amount of division ought to be provided under the Bill.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I hope that the point put forward by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Arthur Henderson), will be reconsidered by the Government. The last speaker has given Scotland as an instance suitable for further sub-division. I should like the Government to take into consideration the facts as they relate to the Scotch collieries. For the past thirteen years we have had but one conciliation board, which has regulated the coal trade with the utmost satisfaction to both parties. There has been no occasion that called for sub-division of the districts.
§ Mr. T. RICHARDSON
I think the Committee will more fully appreciate the fears entertained by members on these benches after the speech made by the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Pike Pease). We have very substantial fears that Sub-section (4) is so elastic that it will be quite possible for the manager of a colliery to make application to these District Boards for a special rate of wages to be fixed for that colliery. I think that 2400 is borne out in a very substantial way by the observations of the hon. Member for Darlington. In this connection may I ask the Committee to remember that so far as Durham county is concerned, for the last thirty years the wages of the whole county have been governed by a body representative of the workmen and owners. If there is any possibility of this Bill being placed on the Statute Book in such an elastic form as to make it possible for the owner of a colliery, or the owners of a group of collieries, to make application to the District Board for a special minimum wage for that particular colliery or group of collieries, the purpose and intention of this agitation and industrial strife, and the purpose of the Government in this Bill, will have been frustrated, and its end deviated in a very unsatisfactory manner so far as the miners are concerned. I appeal to the Government, in considering this question, to safeguard the possible unlimited opportunities that the Bill now presents, and to see that the door is not only not wider opened, but that they will exercise the greatest possible care to retain those districts which are now specific districts for the fixing of wages, such as have been in existence in Durham and many other counties for twenty or thirty years. I can assure the Committee, from my knowledge of the miners and the miners' leaders, that they attach the utmost importance to this proposal.
§ Mr. S. ROBERTS
There seems to be a misapprehension on the part of hon. Members below the gangway. They seem to think some part of the area might separate itself from the District Board. But that is not so. The Joint District Board may sub-divide, but a district may not take the matter into its own hands and claim to sub-divide. I understand it is proposed to limit the power to sub-divide into two districts. That is a pity, as there may be cases where it may be desirable to have three districts. I hope the Attorney-General will give consideration to that point.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
In view of the promise of the Attorney-General to consider this point between now and Report, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I wish to propose an Amendment to Sub-section (6) settling the minimum rate of wages, giving the District Board liberty to settle the rate in different 2401 mines from time to time in accordance with the average piece work.
I only want an assurance from the Attorney-General that there is a sliding scale in regard to the minimum work in different mines in different districts.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I hope that between now and the Report stage, the Government will carefully consider Sub-section (4) of this Clause. This is one of the clauses which the miners will not accept if it remains in the Bill. I am not saying that as a threat. Sub-section (4) gives the Board cower—the Chairman of the Board, for that is what it comes to—to isolate a single mine, and to make a special rate for it, to isolate sections of workmen in thin mines, and to make a special rate for them, and to isolate groups of mines and to make special rates for them. The object of this Bill is to establish a minimum wage, and surely the same wage should apply within the same area The Noble Lord's Amendment raised the point that the fact of the circumstances being different should justify a different rate of wages. Probably the Noble Lord is not aware that different circumstances exist now. There is no different rate of wages in consequence of a difference in circumstances in a mine. All the day wage men employed in a mine receive the same rate of pay, whether they are in normal places or not. If there is a part of a mine which is deficient and not paying, the coalowners do not on (hat account pay a lower rate of wages to the men within that part. If that be so, why should you establish a new condition of wages under this Bill? The coalowners have, never claimed that there should be different rates of wages for these men within the mine. Now the Government for some mysterious reason has inserted this Clause in the Bill without having informed the miners of the intention to put it in, and without having consulted the miners upon it, and is thereby going to create fresh divisions throughout the coalfields, which 2402 will lead to friction and lay the foundation of possible strikes in future, and all for a chimera conjured up in the imagination of those who wish to put obstacles in the way of the miners being united. I hope that between now and the Report stage the Government will consider how far Subsection (4) is necessary at all. Under Subsection (5) there will be power to subdivide a district, and we submit that that is all the power that is needed to meet any exceptional case that may arise. If the Clause is brought forward in this form on the Report stage, the Labour party, acting on behalf of the miners will oppose it and do their best to have it deleted.