§ (1) If within two weeks after the passing of this Act a Joint District Board has not been recognised by the Board of Trade for any district, or if at any time after the passing of the Act any occasion arises for the exercise or performance in any district of any power or duty under this Act by the Joint District Board, and there is no Joint District Board for the district, the Board of Trade may appoint such person as they think fit to act in the place of the Joint District Board, and, while that appointment continues, this Act shall be construed, so far as respects that district, as if the person so appointed were substituted for the Joint District Board.
§ (2) If within five weeks after the passing of this Act the Joint District Board for any district fail to perform any duty with respect to the settling of the first minimum rate of wages and district rules in that district, the chairman of the Joint District Board shall perform that duty in place of the Joint District Board, and any minimum rate of wages or district rules settled by him shall have the same effect for the purposes of this Act as if they had been settled by the Joint District Board:
§ Provided that, if the members of the Joint District Board representing the workmen and the members representing the employers agree, or if the Board of Trade on a report from the chairman of the District Board direct, that a specified period longer than five weeks shall for the purposes of this Sub-section be substituted for five weeks, this Sub-section shall have effect as if that specified period were therein substituted for five weeks.2403
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I beg to move in Subsection (1) to leave out the words "the Board of Trade may appoint such person as they think fit to act in the place of the Joint District Board, and, while that appointment continues, this Act shall be construed, so far as respects that district, as if the person so appointed were substituted for the Joint District Board," and to insert instead thereof the words, "representatives that have been elected by either the workmen or employers shall be recognised by the Board of Trade as a Joint District Board, and the decisions of the Board shall be construed, so far as respects that district, as if the Board so constituted complied with the provisions of Section 2 of this Act."
My hon. Friend will remember that at an earlier stage the Committee decided that the Chairman should have a casting vote. Take the case of the owners forming their side of the Joint Board and the miners for some reason declining to form theirs, and then the owners fixing the rate at 3s. The Chairman could not vote against one side, and the 3s. rate would then be declared to be the district minimum. So from the practical point of view I think that the Chairman must act alone. Otherwise he might be put into an impossible position which might lead to grave injustice.
§ Amendment negatived.
I beg to move in Subsection (1) after the word "may" ["the Board of Trade may"] to insert the words "either forthwith or after such interval as may seem to them necessary or expedient,"
The object of my Amendment is that as the Clause is now drawn it will be essential within five weeks after the passing of the Act that the decision by the Chairman shall be made with respect, both to the rate and to the district rule. It might happen that in the event of either the owners refusing to have the men back or the men not returning to work during that interval it might be impossible in the prescribed period to create joint committees district chairmen, and get them into working order. Therefore we think it is essential in order to provide, when any delay occurs in beginning work, that some latitude should be given to the Board of Trade in the selection of a Chairman, in the event of the Joint Board not being formed and a Chairman not being selected.
§ Amendment agreed to.2404
§ Further Amendments made: In Subsection (2) leave out the words "within five weeks after the passing of this Act."
§ After the word "Board" ["Joint District Board"] insert the words "within three weeks after the time, at which it has been recognised under this Act."
§ Leave out the word "rate" ["minimum rate of wages"] and insert instead thereof the word "rates."—[Mr. Buxton.]
§ Consequential Amendments made.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "the Board of Trade, and report from" ["or if the Board of Trade on a report from."]
This is an Amendment, which I think ought to be made to meet a practical difficulty. If at the end of five weeks an agreement is not come to, I think the Chairman ought to have the right to extend the time for consulting the Board of Trade. If that were not so, the time might elapse before our answer is received from the Board of Trade, and the whole thing becomes nought. My Amendment gives the Chairman the right to extend the time on his own authority, and that seems to be a perfectly reasonable proposal, and meets a practical difficulty.
I think I am in agreement with the hon. Member, but I should like to consider the matter further, and bring it up on the report stage.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
After the statement of the right hon. Gentleman I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.