§ In making arrangements with respect to the appointment of teachers a local education authority shall not make or authorise any differentiation as regards salary on the ground of sex.—[Mr. Whitehouse.]
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time." The object of this Clause which I move is to provide that women teachers shall receive equal pay for equal work. The first thing I wish to suggest to the Committee is that the proposal to give equal pay for equal work is a just proposal. It is on the ground of its justice that I bring it forward, and I do not think any other justification is required. I doubt whether any hon. Member of the Committee will rise in the course of the discussion of this proposal to suggest that it is unjust in itself to get rid of sex discrimination—that I think probably the objections to the proposal may take a more practical form than that. In saying that this proposal is just in itself, it is right to add that the State should set a good example to industries all over the country. That is why I venture to suggest that it is so important that the Government should adopt this Clause, in order to give a general lead in the reorganisation of our national life, a reorganisation which is already in process, and which must follow in the years of peace. May I remind the Committee that there has been, more especially of late years, a tendency towards the ideal which is aimed at in this Amendment. Throughout the whole world of industry there has been a gradual, in some cases a very gradual, but generally speaking a well-defined tendency, towards the ideal which I here set forth. What does it mean? It is not proposed that the woman who is doing a man's work is to receive the same amount as a man would receive if the amount of work she is able to do is less. The Amendment simply asks that where there is equal work done by a woman, she is to have equal pay given to her.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The right hon. Gentleman says they want more than that. I am not concerned in any such request, nor have I ever heard of it. All I can say in reply to the interruption, is that this Amendment does not ask for more than that. The Amendment simply asks that where a woman performs equal work with a man, she should not receive less payment because of her sex. That is the proposal, and that is the only proposal which is made in this Amendment. I would also like to remind the Committee that there is not only this general tendency throughout the world of industry towards this ideal, but that to-day we are having much more united attempts for it in the name of women generally than we have ever had before, and I think I will carry the majority of the Committee with me in this, that, now we have enfranchised the great body of women in the country, I very much doubt whether we shall be able to continue this unjust sex discrimination.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
If my hon. Friend is right, and there is no difference existing at the present time, and that the object of the Amendment has already been achieved, then there can be no objection whatever to inserting this Amendment in the Bill, and I expect to receive the support of my hon. Friend who interrupted me in the Division Lobby. But I want to refer to the serious and united evidence which has come from the organised representatives of women's labour.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The hon. Gentleman will have his opportunity of speaking presently. If I wanted any evidence in support of the statement I have just made, I would venture to call the President of the Board of Education himself as a witness, because I am quite sure that his post bag, during the last month, must have been filled with letters from the organised representatives of women's labour, making the demand which is contained in the Amendment I am now moving. The only economic argument which I have ever heard against the proposal I now make is that women should be paid less because they have fewer responsibilities than men. I do not think that is a sound argument. If we are to act upon that argument we ought to pay less to unmarried men and more to 1804 married men. To consider the individual responsibilities of every person is obviously impossible. Therefore, on the ground of this demand, the general tendency of the industrial world, and the need for the Government to set a good example to the rest of the country, I submit this Clause.
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
I support the Clause of my hon. Friend, which affirms the principle that women should receive equal pay for equal work. This Clause is not revolutionary at all. It simply lays down the principle that I have stated—equal pay for equal work, whether it applies to a man or to a woman. If the employer is ready to claim a fair day's work, then I think the employed has the right to be paid a fair day's wage, whether man or woman. And surely there can be no exception so far as women teachers are concerned, and no exception so far as the State is concerned. I have heard it stated that women are paid now just at the same rate as men. If that be so, there can be no objection, I take it, to adding the Clause to the Bill. If, on the other hand, it is not so, then I think the time has arrived when the Clause should be added, and the position made perfectly clear. I have heard it said by some people that women cannot do the same amount of good educational work as men in our schools, and that, therefore, men should receive higher salaries than the women. That seems to me to be a poor argument. One can admit that the headmaster of a school should, perhaps, be in a better position than the headmistress. Still, there are cases in which probably women would better discharge educational work than men. The fact that some women teachers are in charge of high schools shows distinctly that women are quite capable of carrying out the most difficult class of work done by school teachers. I will not delay the Committee by going over the whole ground so well covered by the hon. Gentleman who has moved this Clause, but will simply say that, as the President of the Board of Education has been so obliging this afternoon in accepting so many Clauses, perhaps he will also add this one to the Bill. He has accepted proposals safeguarding the interests of children, and I would now ask him to accept this proposal to safeguard the interests of women.
I am afraid that I cannot see my way to accept this Amendment, and for a reason which I am sure will be appreciated by the hon. Member for North Lanarkshire, who, in spite of the fact that he represents a Scottish constituency, has taken a substantial part in this Debate and shown a very extensive knowledge of our system of educational administration in this country. Whatever may be said for or against the principle for which he contends, and upon that I say nothing, the broad fact remains that the teachers in this country are not the employés of the Government, but of the local education authorities, and for that reason, if for no other, it would be improper for the Government to adopt any such plan as the hon. Member suggests. I think that in reality the object of the hon. Member was to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that a great number of women teachers are inadequately paid, to the fact that it is desirable that their remuneration should be increased, and to the fact that the women teachers in this country are a very devoted body of public servants, whose work ought to be adequately remunerated, but although I agree with all these propositions, I cannot accept the Amendment.
I am sure the reply of the right hon. Gentleman will be received throughout the country with very great dissatisfaction on the part of the women. I suppose there is no organised body of women in the country which will not be dissatisfied.
That is my opinion, at any rate. The right hon. Gentleman has given one or two reasons which I do not quite appreciate. I presume his point is that the central authority ought not to fix the salaries of the employés of the local authorities, but in this case the local authorities derive a very large proportion of their total income from the central authority, and I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to have a say both in the conditions under which the employés are employed and the remuneration which they receive. Many women teachers are badly underpaid by many local authorities, and some power ought to be taken by the central authority to squeeze up the backward authorities and compel them to pay a living wage. But that is not the grievance 1806 of the women. Their grievance is that they, doing identical work, are paid less money for the same work than men. It is the differentiation against them on the ground of their sex which rouses their anger. It is not their underpayment so much as their unequal payment which they resent, and at a time like this, when equality is entering more and more into the relations between the sexes, I had hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have accepted this Clause and removed a real grievance, which has not only been felt for years past but is felt now, and is likely to be felt a great deal more in the near future. The refusal of this Amendment is almost sure to lead to considerable agitation as well as dissatisfaction, and as my name was attached to the Amendment I felt obliged to make this protest.
§ Captain Sir C. BATHURST
I rather wondered as I listened to the eloquence of the three hon. Gentleman who have addressed the House in favour of this Clause whether they have accurately gauged or anticipated the real desires of the organised women workers in the teaching profession. I have very grave doubts on this point, and I venture to suggest that this is not in any case an opportune moment to decide on behalf of the other sex what their wishes are. We are going to have a very large opportunity in the early future of discovering what the opinion of women in general and of various aggregations of women is upon matters of public importance such as this, and I have reason to think that the hon. Gentleman who just sat down is entirely wrong in supposing that the women teachers generally throughout the country desire this so-called reform. Some of us have had some experience quite recently in settling, or attempting to settle, an entirely new scale of salaries for male and for women teachers respectively in our respective counties, and I say at once that I view with regret that in these revised scales the salaries suggested for women are not higher in many cases, at any rate in the South and West of England, than they are. They are going to be squeezed up far more as the result of the organised opinion of the profession itself, brought to bear upon the local education authorities, than they are likely to be, at any rate with any measure of assent on the part of the teaching profession, by any action which we may take in this House. I have reason to think that if we pass this Clause 1807 many perfectly admirable women teachers would begin to fear that the profession was no longer a place for them. At any rate, when all is said and done, what the hon. Gentleman is asking us to do is to stereotype the price of two different commodities. Labour is a commodity, and has its price like any other commodity, and nothing can be more dangerous than to attempt in an Act of Parliament to force a Government Department to say that two commodities are of equal value whether in fact they are so or not.
§ Sir C. BATHURST
Quite conceivably it may be, and in some cases undoubtedly it is. If the hon. Gentleman is not careful he will find that women of exceptional capacity will under this Clause be paid less than in fact they are entitled to receive as the result of the qualifications which they possess, and I think it would be trenching on very dangerous ground indeed if we in these days, under pressure of Government control in every direction and the fixation by the Government of wages in various departments of industry, were to stereotype in an Act of Parliament the equalisation of price of what is, after all, an economic commodity.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
May I remind the hon. Member of the legislation connected with agriculture within the past few months, when there was no sex discrimination in fixing the minimum rate of payment for agricultural work?
§ Sir C. BATHURST
Nothing surprises me more than the interruption of the hon. Member. I happen to know something about agricultural wages as fixed under the Corn Production Act, and I am quite sure of this, that whatever may be the minima that are suggested in various counties, the agricultural wages as paid to women will not be, at any rate for many years to come, the same wages as are paid to men. What I really want to impress upon the Committee is that, in attempting to fix the same value for women's and for men's labour in the teaching profession, you are in fact making the competition in the case of women much more severe than it is to-day, and for a class of women whose intellectual attainments may not be very high but who are particularly 1808 valuable in looking after the younger children in our schools. That is a class which will be seriously prejudiced if this Clause is passed. I should like to know, before I assent to any such suggestion as this, what are the views of the National Union of Teachers. I see in this House at least two present or past representatives of the National Union of Teachers, and if they sit still and do not lend their support to this proposal I do not feel justified in asking the Committee to accept what the organisation of teachers themselves, through their accredited representatives, are not prepared to ask the House to adopt.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The hon. Member used the term "united voice," and it was at that point that I intervened. I venture to say that women's organisations, taken either collectively or individually, are not united on this question, and I oppose the Amendment, because I am certain it would not carry out the objects of any of us who want fair treatment for women. I am willing that women should be paid higher wages than men even, but this Resolution will not provide for that. Take the ordinary school, where there may be twelve teachers, of whom six are well paid and six poorly paid. Under this Clause six women could get the poorly-paid jobs and six men the other jobs. The Clause refers to differentiation as regards salary, but the hon. Member is quite agreeable that there should be differentiation as regards employment or posts. Are the Movers of this Clause prepared that differentiation shall be made on other grounds than the selection of posts? The controversy is most acute with regard to head teachers, and part of the women's case is that if they demand always the same salary as the men they would not get any of the head posts. That is the view of a great many women, and when the appeal is made that this is part of some general movement throughout the country I think it is most absurd. The other day, when the Juries Bill was before the House and I suggested that women should sit on juries 1809 as well as men, where were the hon. Members? I want to ask, if there is this zeal that on every occasion women ought to be treated exactly the same as men, why it was not shown on that occasion?
The hon. Member seems to forget that sometimes other duties call hon. Members away to other work.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I quite agree, but none of those hon. Gentlemen who have moved this Clause were here. The hon. Member who introduced this argument said he wanted the general trend of public opinion to be brought into this Bill, but I venture to say he ought not to bring it before the Committee with misleading statements. I am more moved to say that because there was a Committee which dealt with this very thing, and which had four women upon it, and was presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Sir H. Craik). They presented a unanimous Report exactly opposite to this Clause. So far as I understand, there was no Minority Report.
§ Mr. BOOTH
Whenever I have read the discussions of teachers I have always been puzzled to know what views they would take, and when I have come to examine them, what I have been informed is this, that the men teachers as a rule vote in favour of equality of salary, but the women are against it. I do not know whether that is so, but that is what I am told by women themselves. That is a very curious thing. I should have thought it was far better to have an enlightened policy on the part of the local authorities. If women are fit for higher posts, they should have them; but when you come to make hard and fast rules and make no provision for the—
§ Sir R. NEWMAN
The hon. Gentleman has rather misinterpreted our position. This Clause is not to make any hard and fast rule. It is only against the education authority having one scale for men and another scale for women for the same work.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I have pointed out that there is no protection whatever. You do not insist that the same wages should be paid to every teacher. You cannot. You do not pay the same for teaching Latin as for teaching the alphabet, and therefore you must have different scales. No one would say the distinction was as to sex, but certain education authorities do now give all the higher paid posts to the men and the lower paid posts to the women, and we can get out of that, I suppose, by education, and by demanding that there shall be fairer treatment. But this Clause does not put it right, and it is a false idea to imagine that by passing a few words of this description we shall put the position right.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
With regard to the Committee over which I had the honour to preside, there were on that Committee three ladies very eminently qualified to sit on it. We took the question most carefully into consideration, with the single desire on the part, I am certain, of every member of that Committee, to come to a fair and reasonable settlement. Our view was that if we laid down a rule of this sort it would lead to minimum salaries, and that the result, in a very large number of cases, would be to drive women out of the positions they at present held. That view may have been right or wrong, but I can only say that all those women joined in the unanimous Report of that Committee, which recommended a different scale of salaries generally. We made one exception, and it is a very important one. We laid down no rule, but merely made a recommendation that in the higher posts of the profession, for which, by special qualifications they had shown they were fitted, then those higher posts should be paid at a certain fixed scale of salaries, and that those salaries should be assigned whether they were men or women. We thought that it was a fair and equitable adjustment of the case. But to have laid down a general rule of this sort applicable to every post running through the whole profession, we felt—and our lady colleagues joined in that feeling—that the result of such action would be fatal to the strong position which women at present occupied in the profession.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 20; Noes, 90.1811
|Division No. 59.]||AYES.||[7.55 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Durham)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hudson, Walter||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Torquay)||Jacobson, Thomas Owen||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Buxton, Noel||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Rushcliffe)||Sutton, John E.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eltion)||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Finney, Samuel||Martin, Joseph||Mr. Whitehouse and Mr. Chancellor.|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Newman, Sir Robert (Exeter)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescus||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Agnew, Sir George||Fletcher, John S.||Parkes, Sir Edward|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. P. (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Foster Philip Staveley||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. John||Pratt, John W.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Greig, Colonel James William||Pryce-Jones, Col. Sir E.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis Jones||Randles, Sir John|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Hanson, Charles Augustin||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arton)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Richardson, A. (Gravesend)|
|Brookes, Warwick||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Roberts, Sir Herbert (Denbighs.)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Robinson, Sidney|
|Carew. Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Hibbert, Sir Henry||Rutherford, Sir W. Watson (W. Derby)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Higham, John Sharp||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Chcyne, Sir William W.||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Clough, William||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Collins, Sir William (Derby)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Cowan, Sir William Henry||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craig, Ernest (Crewe)||Jones, Wm. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Stoker, R. B.|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, E.)||Jones, Wm. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Swift, Rigby|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy)||Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Walker, Col. W. H.|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Wardle, George J.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Watt, Henry A.|
|Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Otley)||M'Kean, John||Williams, Aneurin (Durham)|
|Du Pre, Maj. W. B.||Maden, Sir John Henry||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. William H. (Fulham)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr. A. Ward.|
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next two Clauses on the Paper (Amendment of Education (Choice of Employment) Act, 1910) and (Provision of Maintenance Allowances)—have already been dealt with. The last Clause on the Paper—
|SECOND SCHEDULE.—ENACTMENTS REPEALED.|
|Session and Chapter.||Short Title.||Extent of Repeal.|
|3 Edw. 7, c. 24||…||The Education (London) Act, 1903||…||In the First Schedule, paragraph (2).|
I beg to move, in the third column, to leave out the words "paragraph (2)," and to insert instead thereof the words "paragraphs (2) and (7)."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.1812
§ (Choice of Continuation Schools in Certain Cases)—should have come on on Clause 10.
§ First Schedule [Extension of Enactments] agreed to.
Sir M. BARLOW
I refer to the last Amendment but one, standing in the names of four Members. I understand the President gave some sort of assurance in regard to this matter.
Sir M. BARLOW
I want to put the point to you, Sir, whether that Amendment has gone absolutely, and as to what is the position? I understand there was some agreement arrived at in regard to it.
Sir M. BARLOW
No; to that standing in the names of Mr. Boland, Sir Mark Sykes, Mr. Scanlan, and Mr. O'Grady, entitled Choice of Continuation School in Certain Cases.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have said that it should have been an Amendment on Clause 10. It can come up on the Report stage.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 57.]