HC Deb 30 November 1920 vol 135 cc1157-94

(1) The Secretary of State may, subject to the provisions of this Section, make Orders authorising the employment of women and young persons of the age of sixteen years and upwards in any factory or workshop at any time between the hours of six in the morning and ten in the evening on any weekday except Saturday, and between the hours of six in the morning and two in the afternoon on Saturday, in shifts averaging for each shift not more than eight hours per day.

(2) An Order under this Section may be made in respect of any specified factory or workshop, or in respect of any class or group of factories or workshops, and shall be subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may consider necessary for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare and interests of the persons employed in pursuance of the Order, and shall include a condition empowering the Secretary of State to revoke the Order in the event of noncompliance with the conditions thereof, or in the event of it appearing to the Secretary of State that abuses of any description have arisen out of the employment of any persons in pursuance of the Order.

(3) The Secretary of State may by Order direct that such conditions as he may consider necessary for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare and interests of the persons employed shall apply to the employment in day shifts of young persons who may lawfully be so employed under the provisions of the Factory and Workshops Acts, 1901 to 1911.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in this Section an Order under this Section may permit the employment in any factory or workshop in such shifts as aforesaid of young persons under the age of sixteen years who are at the commencement of this Act so employed in that factory or workshop.

(5) If the conditions imposed by any Order made under this Section are not complied with the factory or workshop shall be deemed not to be kept in conformity with the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901.

(6) This Section shall remain in force for a period of five years from the commencement of this Act and no longer, and any Order made under this Section shall, unless previously revoked by the Secretary of State in pursuance of his powers under this Section, remain in force for a like period.


I beg to move in Sub-section (1), after the word "may" ["The Secretary of State may"], to insert the words "on the joint application of the employer or employers of any factory or group of factories, and the majority of the workpeople concerned in such factory or group of factories."

The Amendments in my name are now on the Paper so that hon. Members will understand what I am proposing, whether they agree with it or not. The proposal I am moving now is that before an Order is made in respect of any factory or group of factories there should be a joint application from those who are concerned in that factory or group of factories. It would be idle, of course, for the employers to come and ask for an Order authorising the two-shift system if the workers in that factory or group of factories were determined that they would not have anything to do with it. The whole thing would be futile, and therefore it meets the full intention of the promoters of the Bill that before an Order is made you should have the complete assent both of the employers and the workpeople. Then in subsequent Amendments there will be provision for the industry as a whole stepping in, but with regard to the first step I think it is essential that there should be power to make an Order in the first place on the requisition of all those concerned in the factory. It is not only a question of the industry. There are many factories which will want an Order temporarily because they simply cannot make arrangements to extend their premises and extend their machinery. There are numberless cases of that sort and other cases where there are temporary or even permanent individual circumstances. Those must be dealt with. Therefore I have put down this Amendment in this form rather than an Amendment which would enable the whole trade to deal in the first place with any individual factory's application. I ask the Committee to agree with me that it is essential that there should be power on the application of any individual factory or group of factories to make these Orders, and on subsequent Amendments I shall propose provisions by which the whole trade can, if it thinks it is right in the interests of the industry, interfere.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "of any factory or group of factories," and to insert instead thereof the words "in any industry."

4.0 P.M.

I do not like the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment at all. We believe he has been dealing with the matter from the wrong standpoint. Before making an Order giving a firm or group of firms power to work the two-shift system you ought to get, in some way or other, the opinions and views of the industry as a whole. That would save the right hon. Gentleman trouble, and would save any industry which might be inclined to adopt the system trouble as well. We can see in his Amendment the germs of industrial trouble, and with the object of avoiding industrial trouble I move my Amendment. If these words are inserted they will make the position quite clear. There will be no complications, no meetings of the industry concerned, after it has once decided whether the two-shift system should be adopted or not. The Amendment of the Home Secretary will mean that if one factory out of 100, or, if you like, one factory out of 1,000, agrees that the two-shift system may be worked, it can apply for an Order. The Home Secretary then makes the Order. As soon as it becomes known that the Order has been made, and that a certain factory is working the two-shift system, the workmen's and employers' associations meet and discuss the matter. They pass a resolution and they send a deputation to the Home Secretary to point out that the right hon. Gentleman ought to treat the industry as a whole in the same way. My Amendment would avoid all that trouble. I hope that at the eleventh hour the right hon. Gentleman will accept this suggestion.


I want to appeal to the Home Secretary to accept the Amendment to the Amendment. It is surely not his intention to introduce into a large number of industries the two-shift system where that system does not now obtain. If that be his intention, he had better say so quite frankly, and let us know where we are going. If that be not his intention he can have no objection whatever to the Amendment to the Amendment. What we propose does not hurt the right hon. Gentleman in any way. Let us see what the right hon. Gentleman's statement really means. It means that in a big industry, if a man has taken orders that he cannot complete, he will have the right to apply to the Home Secretary, provided his workmen agree with him, for permission to work the two-shift system, and the Home Secretary has power to make an Order that the two-shift system should be introduced. That would upset the whole of the trade, because it would put the other employers in that trade at a very grave disadvantage. What we propose is, that before any Order is made, an industry, through its workers and through its employers, must have given consent. Our Amendment would give the Home Secretary every power which he now possesses to deal with exceptional cases, and in no way would it prevent him from continuing the two-shift system in those trades where the system is now in operation, provided there has been obtained the consent of the employers and the employed. The proposal of the Home Secretary might easily be the thin edge of the wedge whereby individual firms and the force of competition could compel an extension of the system.


I want to join in the appeal of the last speaker. My fears are all gone now. I had in mind a possibility in the glass trade, in reference to which I was speaking last night. In their own particular union the glass workers are locally very strong and are overwhelmingly in favour of the two-shift system, but they are allied to a larger trade union, and I believe that the other section of that trade union is opposed to the two-shift system in other industries, and the glass workers might be overshadowed or over-voted. Personally, I see no danger whatever if the question is confined to the industry. I think the proposal of my hon. Friend (Mr. Wilson) is reasonable, and that it will assist in giving to those trades which want the two-shift system that which they desire. I do not think the textile trade would ever be touched, for the organisation on both sides is so strong that no Government Department would interfere.


It can be done by Orders in Council.


I am not going to argue that point. I think the fear is based on a wrong foundation, but if the Amendment to the Amendment were accepted, it would remove the fear entirely.

Captain BOWYER

I feel diffident in putting forward my view, because I have not had the years of practical experience which many hon. Members can claim. I do not hold the view so far expressed by hon. Members. I agree wholly with the Home Secretary, and I think that the safeguards provided under the further Amendments which the Home Secretary is to propose are ample. Will not the proposed Amendment to the Amendment have this effect—that if from any individual factory there is a move on the part of employers and employed to start a two-shift system, be the object what it may, and if the matter has to come before the industry as a whole before the system can be adopted, weeks and months and possibly years may be wasted? The main point of the Government Amendment is that if you get the consent of the two sections of people mainly interested, you have the safeguard that if the industry objects to the system, its representatives can come to the Home Office and say that they wish the system to be stopped. Automatically, it would be stopped, with as little delay as may be. Under that scheme, at least, you have got the fact that the industry has shown in a certain factory that employers and employed are of one mind. That, surely, is for the benefit of the industry as a whole, and the fact that there is such agreement surely eliminates any such objections as the objection on medical grounds and of discomfort in the home, about which we heard so much when the Clause was discussed.


I am not quite sure whether my hon. and gallant Friend realises the extent and the importance of the Amendment. If the Home Secretary's Amendment be adopted it means that the employers and the employed in any industry may be exploited by some greedy or selfish section in that industry. It does not necessarily mean only the exploitation of the employer. It means that the employed will be exploited as much as the employer. It has been suggested that we in Lancashire and Yorkshire are particularly desirous of protecting our own industries. In spite of all the tremendous strength that the Treasury Bench possesses, we in Lancashire are able to protect our own interests. We are not speaking now necessarily in our own particular interests. We are speaking in the interests of trade generally, and on the question of whether or not two shifts are good for the employed and for the country. The Amendment moved by the Home Secretary means that a little group of the employed in two or three mills, per haps guided or prejudiced by a certain employer who may have good business to offer, may dominate the whole group of the employed in that trade. That is not good business and it is not proper. We detest the two shift system because of its injurious effect on home, health, and well being of the workers. Those hon. Members who have spoken in support of the Home Secretary are speaking from the academic and theoretical standpoint. The Government has no practical support from manufacturers in this case. I suggest that if the Home Secretary will consider the facts and the figures which arose from the employment of women on night shifts during the War, and will compare those results, medically, with the results of the employment of women during pre-War days—


That is beyond the scope of the Amendment. We are dealing now only with the persons or bodies who may make application to the Home Secretary.


I will content myself with saying that the Amendment proposed by the Home Secretary clearly gives the opportunity for exploitation of both employer and employed. Whilst the Amendment suggested might to a certain extent give the protection necessary, yet even that is a dangerous position, remembering the Orders in Council which have been thrust upon different industries. We are prepared to give full opportunities for the safeguarding of employés in our trades, but if this is passed it will be possible for the Home Secretary, under powers which he now possesses to expand his power to a greater degree even than is anticipated by my gallant Friend (Captain Bowyer), to the detriment of trade, of health, and of the position of the employés. For that reason I object, and I shall vote against the proposal.


I am not seeking to impose the two-shift system upon anyone. I am relying upon the advice of Mr. Appleton and Miss Julia Varley, who can hardly be called theorists. I am proposing that the industries themselves, the people concerned, and not the Home Office, should have the power to try the two-shift system, to see how it works, and what they think of it. The power which the Home Office has reserved to itself is the power to impose such conditions as will ensure that these experiments are not carried out in a way unnecessarily detrimental to the women and young persons. The Bill does not give the Home Office any other power than that of protecting the women and young persons in the course of these experiments. The whole thing lies with the people concerned in the industries. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the dispute between us is this: whether you are to allow an individual factory or group of factories to take the initiative themselves or whether, however urgent it may be that they wish to do so, they must get the consent of the majority of both sides of the industry in which they are concerned. So long as you safeguard the industry, as will be done by succeeding Amendments if the House accepts them, you ought to give each individual group or entity the power to initiate for itself. It can only be done by agreement. I am told that if we do it in one case, if we allow one mill on its own initiative to act, we compel all the others at once to follow suit. An ounce of experience is worth a great deal of theory. There are to-day in the cotton-doubling and warp-dressing industry five such Orders. That is not a case of one in a thousand, and I have not seen any sign or any indication of compulsion en the rest of the industry. In the wool-carding and worsted-weaving industry there are three such Orders; silk-spinning, two; hemp-spinning and rope and twine and jute-weaving, three; print-bleaching and dyeing works industry, five. This experience shows that the system can be tried in individual cases without putting undue compulsion upon the whole industry. For these reasons, I hope the House will accept the Amendment as I have moved it. It is essential to give a fair trial in the temporary experimental condition of things which have been strongly advocated by the Departmental Committee.


The Home Secretary has put the issue with complete clarity to the Committee, and we are obliged to him for that. So far as I am concerned, I am very much indebted to him for the unvarying courtesy with which he has met us. It is quite obvious that he is moved simply by a desire to do what he considers to be best for the industries as a whole; but after listening very carefully to what he said, and what other speakers have said, and also looking at the Amendments, after considerable doubt I am inclined on the whole to the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. For whatever my opinion may be worth, I still think that the better way to begin would be by the industry as a whole rather than by an individual factory taking the initial steps. I am moved very largely by considerations of the recommendations which were made by the Industrial Councils, which are better known as the Whitley Councils. It is through such councils, representing the industry as a whole, that the best representations can be made. That is in strict accord with the Industrial Councils (No. 1) Report, published by the Ministry of Labour. That Report says: Such Councils, obviously, would be suitable bodies to make representations to the Government as to legislation which they think would be to the advantage of their industry. … In order, therefore, that the Councils can fulfil the duties that they would be asked to undertake, and that they may have the requisite status for doing so, the Government desire it to be understood that the Councils will be recognised as the official standing consultative committees of the Government on all future questions affecting the industries which they represent, and that they will be the normal channel through which the opinion and experience of industry would be sought on all questions with which the industry is concerned. I cannot imagine a better opportunity for such a Council as that, looking at the industry as a whole, to be the first voice which the Home Office would hear and consider on so very important a matter as this. If you leave it to an individual factory there may be only a minor works committee there, and obviously it would not carry very much weight; at any rate, I think it would not. It is a matter for the Joint Consultative Committee, the Whitley Council, viewing the industry as a whole, and their representation should be the first one which should reach my right hon. Friend and his colleagues in deciding whether this Order should be applied or not. It is on that broad point that I think the Amendment leads to a better consideration of the problem as a whole, after very careful consideration and discussion by the employers and the workmen and the experts who would no doubt be called to their assistance before such an application is made.


I do not think the. Amendment would have any material effect in practice, because if it is desirable and necessary that the Home Secretary first of all should consult and secure the acquiescence of the Joint Industrial Council in the industry, it seems to follow that if that Joint Industrial Council is strong enough to influence the Home Secretary, its various bodies will have an indirect influence on the matter, and subsequently be able to determine it. In an industry where we have a Joint Industrial Council it follows that you will have a District Council and the Works' Committee, and in a case where the representative of the Works' Committee in the factory or workshop is approached, the Works' Committee would not give its acquiescence until such time as it had consulted the District Council, and if the matter is felt to involve a doubtful point of principle the District Council would have in turn to refer it to the Central Body, the National Joint Industrial Council. Therefore I do not think the Amendment would have any material effect. The Amendment which has been put down by my right hon. Friend will very well meet the situation. This is not purely a textile question. There are many Members who are impressed with the position of the textile industry. The strength of its organisation renders it immune from any attack, however insidious it may be. If it was proposed by the employer in the textile industry to establish the two-shift system it is almost certain that it would fail because of the splendid understanding that exists between the employers and the workpeople in that industry, which is as perfectly organised as it is possible for us to conceive. There is, however, some justification for allowing sufficient elasticity for experiments to be made, and my hon. Friends are not entitled to view the whole of national industry simply through the spectacles of the textile industry. The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) and the hon. Member for Royton (Mr. Sugden) are prone, as many of us are, to look at matters from the standpoint of the conditions that they particularly understand.


I never mentioned the textile industry.


I am not speaking disrespectfully, but I say that my hon. Friend's conceptions are coloured through and through with his knowledge of the textile industry. At the International Labour Conference at Washington it was recognised that ideals as yet cannot rule the world, and that we ought to have regard to actualities. That Conference recommended certain exemptions. We are prepared to accept those recommendations, even those departures from the principle, but the hon. Member for Roy-ton throughout is fighting the underlying principle. Therefore he is not quite an impartial judge in the matter. We want to get a little beyond that, and to regard industry as a whole, and not separate industries. Because this International Conference recognised that there should be, because of world actualities, departures from the principle, I am not prepared to contend that that body or this House is able to compile an exhaustive list of industries in which modifications or exemptions ought to be made. I prefer on the whole that the matter should be left to these national organisations, these Joint Industrial Councils, and, therefore, I find myself in agreement with the purpose of my right hon. Friend. I do not think the Amendment would have any effect, because if it were sought to apply it, the applicants must first of all approach the works committee, and that committee would not sanction a departure from principle without consultation with its national body. Therefore the difference between the Home Secretary and the Opposition is very small, and I think that in practice we might very well agree to accept the proposals made by the Home Secretary.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

Until I saw the Amendment of the Home Secretary I was rather in doubt about this new Clause, but this removed all my doubts, and the Amendment from the Front Opposition Bench is, in my opinion, quite unnecessary. I am going to speak from practical experience of women in a factory and I am speaking for the women. I believe that a vast number of them will welcome this now Clause if this Amendment is incorporated. During the War we in Glasgow started a shell factory, which was run entirely by young women. I am not dealing with married women, because they are only a very small percentage of the women employed. It is the young women who are ready and eligible for work, not only anxious to take up new trades, such as engineering, but would gladly do such work under a two-shift system, as is proposed. At the end of the War this shop, which had been running two years with women, aided by one or two skilled men, had to cease work because there was no further demand for the shells they were making. We endeavoured to find new work for these women, and we found it in small metal valve-gear, and the women were put on to it at once. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers' trade union in the district immediately took exception, and said that if we pursued this work by women they would call out their men, and that would compel the shop being closed down. The women were up in arms about this, and they went so far as to persuade the specialised men in the shop to disregard the order of their trade union. I am happy to say that the men did disregard their trade union order to come out, and the shop is running to-day. But my point is this: Only half the girls are working in that shop who might be working if we had two shifts, and with this Amendment I strongly advocate the now Clause on behalf of the women.


I hope that the Home Secretary will stick to his amended Amendment. I do not agree that this is a small point. It is a very fundamental one. The effect of the Amendment moved from the Front Bench opposite will be that unless the whole of an industry asks for the introduction of the two-shift system in a factory or group of factories the Home Secretary is powerless to move. The right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) in a thoughtful well-reasoned speech said he had come to the conclusion that on the whole the Amendment moved from the front Opposition Bench was the best because it enabled the Home' Secretary to know the opinion of the whole of the industry from headquarters. It does more than that. It prevents an experiment being made in a group or locality or section unless the whole of the industry calls for that experiment. There is some misapprehension as to what an industry is. Members talk sometimes of an industry as if it were a clear finite unit cut and dried. It is something quite different. It is a collection of units often with very conflicting interests. Take the great engineering industry; I believe that there are engaged in that industry unions who number 77 on one computation and 111 on another. So you have vastly different groups of interests inside an industry. There are many conflicts of interests and wishes between a group and a section and the headquarters of this collection of different industries. In that case, surely the Homo Secretary is in the right when he acts on the wishes of the factory or group of factories, and it is not right that he should be prevented from acting unless called upon by the industry as a whole.

May I refer to the example which the hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Seddon) mentioned last night—the glass industry? He told us that the glass blowers formed part of the larger aggregation, and that the interests of the larger unit were not the same as those of the glass blowers. The glass blowers were anxious for the two-shift system, yet this large unit might turn them down. That is an excellent case in point. I submit that it is quite fair on every ground in the interests of the parties concerned that the experiment should be made. The Home Secretary is perfectly impartial in these matters. He is not the nominee either of the employer or the trade union, and he is there to do what is best. I fear very much that if the Amendment moved opposite is accepted it will be almost impossible to get the experiment tried, although a large majority of the House, judging by the Division yesterday, want it tried. Hon. Members opposite are afraid that the employment of women means throwing men out of work. I believe that to be a common fallacy. I believe that the more employment you give the more employment you make. Take the example which the Home Secretary gave, in which the employment of a few hundred women putting cotton covers on telephone wires meant the employment of thousands of men. I believe that that principle runs all through industry. I often notice that hon. Members opposite seem to think that employment is a finite thing, and that if one man gets a certain job another man is thrown out. There is ample room for women as well as men in work. I have always supported, and shall always support, the principle of equal pay, so if the Labour party are afraid of any inequality—a fear which I quite appreciate—so far as my powers go I shall always support the principle of equal pay. I hope that they will allow the experiment to be made. We are doing something for women which is simply in consonance with their improved position. The old restrictions are not altogether now required, and led by the Convention at Washington we shall do wisely in allowing the Home Secretary to relax them. I appeal to the Committee to make the experiment on the best terms possible, and I believe that those terms are found within the Amendment of the Home Secretary.


I regret that I cannot agree with many of the reasons which have been advanced by the hon. and gallant Member (Major Hills). I regret this all the more, because they come from one of undoubted social and industrial sympathy in these affairs. The narrow question which is before the Committee has been, in my judgment, stated clearly by the Home Secretary. It appears to me to boil down to this proposition, whether the initiative in the experiment which is suggested in this Clause is to lie with the Works Committee—because that in practice is what it will mean in many cases—or with the Joint Industrial Council of the industry. I take the view that the attitude of the Home Secretary is inconsistent with what many of us understand to be the industrial programme of the Government in these matters, and it is certainly inconsistent with the industrial programme advocted by many of us on this side of the House. The other day it was made plain on the Lead Processes Bill that we were trying to establish first of all an international standard in industrial conditions, and it follows from that that we must try to lay down a standard which is broadly consistent with industries as a whole. I agree entirely with my hon. and gallant Friend that if you look at the structure of British industry to-day it is loose, incomplete, and not properly federated. A great deal of individual practice still survives, but the overriding consideration, to my mind, on that point is whether in the experiment affecting the two-shift system you have a question which is so small and relatively so negligible from many points of view that it can be entrusted in its initial application to the works committee, or whether it is large enough to form an appropriate matter for the Joint Industrial Council. In a highly-organised industry there is the Joint Industrial Council, in a less well-organised industry the Trade Board, and then in a humble little workshop unit what we call the works committee.

The whole principle which is underlying our activity at this moment is that we are determined if we can internationally, and the Government itself has prescribed the principle, to lay down a common standard, especially in dangerous processes of trade, and then within a State to lay down uniform conditions, as far as we can establish them, upon which industries will compete as long as competition exists. If you take a large and important question, like the two-shift system, and leave it in its application to the chance of a factory or group of factories here and there, we are taking a step which is not consistent with that programme for industrial conditions. That appears to me to be an adequate ground for opposing the attitude of the Home Secretary. But even if I did not oppose it on the broad grounds which I have just described, I would still oppose it as a bad method of trying the business. We have a small Clause on one page and then turning over we find on the other that the Home Secretary proposes that, if the majority of the people in an industry think that these orders should not be granted, they will cease to have effect and will be withdrawn. It comes to this, that an individual group of factories may ask for this and may have it, and afterwards, if the industry as a whole think that it is not desirable, it will be withdrawn. Look at the chaos in that state of affairs in British industry.

There seems to be an assumption in some parts of the House that a Whitley Council or organisation in any trade or calling can only move slowly and after a great deal of negotiation. I take the view that we have got to give as much power as we can to the Joint Industrial Council and we have got to make these bodies work and work rapidly, and you will never get any people to serve on them and you will never work them rapidly unless you entrust them with adequate power and responsibility. If that is our principle there is no reason in the world why this should not be submitted at its start to a Joint Industrial Council when it will be considered without delay, and by which you will achieve a settlement of the industry on a very important problem, and you will avoid the difficulties which will spread inevitably from the adoption of the Homo. Secretary's proposal for the introduction of this scheme by groups of factories and then its rejection afterwards by the industry as a whole, if the industry by a majority thought it was not desirable. I hope that the Home Secretary will not regard us on these Benches as actuated by other than the best motives. We have got to do our best under existing conditions in this country, and I oppose this proposal because I believe it is not one which is consistent with the best industrial practice in this country.


I have listened very carefully to the discussion on this Clause, the general principle of which was settled last night. It seems to me that there is only a difference of method between those of us who oppose this new Clause and the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary's method is to make the Order first and consult the industry afterwards. Our position is to consult the industry first before you introduce this system into an industry, or before you extend it in any industry in which it is now operating. I thought this over very carefully, and I prepared an Amendment to follow on at the end of the new Clause. I suggest that in the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Houghton (Mr. T. Wilson) the words "any industry" should be changed to "any industry or section of industry. "An industry does not consist as a rule of one unit, but is composed of various units more or less relying on one another Perhaps the hon. Member for West Houghton might accept that as an addition to his Amendment. The principle is the question of method, and whether you should begin with granting permission to a single factory or group of factories, or begin by consulting the whole industry as to whether the principle should be admitted at all. The Amendment which I suggest is: Provided that no further Order shall be made in any industry or section of industry if the Secretary of State is satisfied, after full inquiry, that the introduction or extension of the two-shift system in that industry or section of industry is contrary to the will of the majority of the employers or of the workpeople engaged in such industry or section of industry. That is putting the industry first, and the individual mills or factories which have to be licensed second. I cannot move my Amendment now and it may be as a result of Amendments carried that it may be out of order for me to move when the Amendment is reached. I submit my Amendment is putting the horse in front of the cart, while the Home Secretary's is putting the cart in front of the horse. That is roughly the difference between us. An hon. Gentleman complained that we always look at these matters through the spectacles of the textile industry. May I say that one must look through the spectacles of the industry with which he is most intimately acquainted? There are very few hon. Members who are intimately acquainted with more than one or two industries and we use the one we know as an illustration. The Home Secretary told us that there were five of these Orders in the cotton trade I am told that those five Orders are, for one set of mills under the dominance of one man who is not himself a manufacturer, and that a profit of 100 per cent, is being made in those mills. I do not know if that is true and it may not be true; but if it is there is the very objection to this two-shift system being introduced gradually to factories or groups of factories. You have 100 per cent, profit by one man not a manufacturer getting into his hands shares in five mills, applying for orders, working double shifts and competing unfairly with his fellows. Hon. Members all round say let us have an experiment. I hope there will not be any experiments in the cotton trade. It is too important a trade to be experimented with. It forms, as we all know, one-third of the export trade of the whole of this country, and it ought not to be injured on interfered with unless it is absolutely necessary. Having put down the Amendment which I have read, I am naturally in favour of the Amendment which has been put down by the hon. Member for West Houghton with the addition of the words "any industry or section of industry." If the second Amendment of the Home Secretary is going to be carried then I admit his Amendment is a good Amendment; but if the second one will not be carried in the form in which it is, I would much rather my Amendment allowing the industry first of all to decide for itself whether it would introduce the two-shift system. That would be in place of the second Amendment of the Home Secrtary.

Lieut.-Commander WILLIAMS

If I read aright the result of the Amendment of the Labour party, it would compel more and more each industry to come under the domination and the rule of the great combinations either of capital or labour. That is the road along which we are undoubtedly travelling very fast today. The Labour party are certainly right from their point of view in forcing the pace along that particular road, which, in my view, must eventually lead to nationalisation. They are consistent in their attitude; but, looking at the matter from the widest point of view, and if we are to improve our present industrial system and get labour and capital closer together, then I submit we must resist this Amendment of the Labour party and stand by the position of the Government and allow experiments to be made. May I give two instances where a group of employers or employed could completely block any new experiment? A co-operative society manufacturing a particular article might wish to work on the lines laid down by the Government Amendment; but, as I understand the position, they could be blocked either by a large group of employers manufacturing a similar article, or by a large group of labour in that particular employment. As one who desires to do his best not to hinder, but rather to help the advancement of co-operative societies, I am absolutely bound to vote against the Labour party on this particular occasion. Take again the question of profit sharing to which there has been considerable opposition by certain groups. Suppose that in some industry, employing women altogether if you like, the employers and employed came together and agreed that they could work under better conditions with shorter hours and better wages by working under a profit-sharing scheme which would cut out almost any other similar business in the United Kingdom. As I read the Amendment of the Labour party, an association either of employers or employed in other branches of the industry could completely block such a profit-sharing plan. I trust the Government will in this case stand by their Amendment. I hope a Division will be taken, because I believe the position taken up by the Labour party is a position which will lead and tend to lead very much more towards the destruction of industrial development either on the lines of profit sharing or co-operation, and will harm both those lines of progress which, I believe, are the real solution of our industrial troubles.

5.0 P.M.

Lieut.-Colonel ALLEN

I take it that the Home Secretary has drawn an Amendment which he believes to be the nearest possible to the recommendation of the Departmental Committee, which has been frequently mentioned by him. I think it is only right that we should get back to that recommendation and consider what the real opinion of the Committee was on this subject. The report deals very precisely with the subject under discussion. The Labour party are afraid that as a result of this proposal there will be unnecessary and what ought to be avoidable competition. When we consider the recommendation and the speeches made by those responsible, we will see that their ideas are entirely confined. This is the conclusion to which they came: We have carefully considered the evidence before us. We recognise that the experience of the system is limited. We are, however, of the opinion that a case has been made out for allowing, under conditions, the adoption of the shift system—firstly, in continuous industries; secondly, in seasonal trades; and thirdly, in factories in which the plant and premises are temporarily insufficient. We are further of the opinion that it is in the national interest, subject to proper safeguards and supervision, that the opportunity for trying the system should be given to those employers and trade union organisations who desire to introduce it as a regular part of their industrial system for the purpose of increasing production. We do not think, however, that the experience of the system so far obtained is sufficient to enable us to recommend its incorporation as a permanent part of our factory legislation. That is the recommendation of the Committee. The hon. and learned Member for Bristol (Mr. Inskip), in his speech reported on column 876 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the 26th November, said as follows, reading from the report of Dr. Marion Phillips in the first instance: If there is some special need in particular trades, it would be far better to deal with them by special orders for individual cases rather than by a general provision affecting all. The hon. and learned Member himself went on to say, as Chairman of that Departmental Committee: That is, in fact, the system with which the Committee has decided to recommend, that there shall be special orders for individual cases and not a general provision. We ought to be very clear about the recommendation of the Committee. It is not recommended that the two-shift system shall be applied all round to all trades, but it is to be confined to the three cases that are mentioned as being specially recommended. As I said yesterday, if by some Amendment those three cases could be embodied in the Bill, then, I think, there need be no fear on the part of any section of this House, or of any section of industry, that the recommendation of the Departmental Committee could be overstepped. What I would like, if possible, would be an Amendment like this in the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman: After "may" to insert "on the joint applications of the employer or employers of any factory or group of factories" and then to insert "which in the opinion of

the Home Secretary are what is known as continuous industries, seasonal trades, or factories in which plants and premises are temporarily insufficient and the majority of the working people concerned in such factories agree." Those are the words I should like inserted, because they are the recommendation of the Committee, but I can see the difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman. He has a difficulty in adopting that line. Still, if it were adopted I believe it would obviate all the difficulties that have been suggested by my hon. Friends opposite and everyone connected with the various trades. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman cannot see his way to adopting that Amendment, which I suggested to him yesterday, then I think he has come to the nearest solution of the difficulty. I am sorry he cannot recommend the adoption of the identical words and the spirit of the Report of the Departmental Committee because the hon. and learned Member for Bristol (Mr. Inskip), who spoke very lucidly on Friday last in connection with the whole matter, was very particular to explain that this was a limited matter and ought to be a very limited matter.

Question put, that the words "of any factory or group of factories" stand part of the proposed Amendment.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 187; Noes, 58.

Division No. 377.] AYES. [5.8 p.m.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Carr, W. Theodore Ford, Patrick Johnston
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C. Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Fraser, Major Sir Keith
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Casey, T. W. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin Gange, E. Stanley
Armitage, Robert Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston) Ganzoni, Captain Francis John C.
Atkey, A. R. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Gardiner, James
Bagley, Captain E. Ashton Chadwick, Sir Robert Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.) Grant, James A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Greig, Colonel James William
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Clough, Robert Gretton, Colonel John
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Coates, Major Sir Edward F. Gwynne, Rupert S.
Barrie, Charles Coupar Coats, Sir Stuart Hallwood, Augustine
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Cobb, Sir Cyril Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Cohen, Major J. Brunel Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Harris, Sir Henry Percy
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely) Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Coote, William (Tyrone, South) Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)
Bennett, Thomas Jewell Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Betterton, Henry B. Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid) Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West) Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hills, Major John Waller
Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy) Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)
Blake, Sir Francis Douglas Davidson, J. C.C.(Hemel Hempstead) Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Hopkins, John W. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)
Brassey, Major H. L. C. Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)
Brittain, Sir Harry Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.
Britton, G. B. Doyle, N. Grattan Hurd, Percy A.
Brown, Captain D. C. Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H. Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M. Inskip, Thomas Walker H.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Falle, Major Sir Bertram G. Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's) Farquharson, Major A. C. Jesson, C.
Butcher, Sir John George Flannery, Sir James Fortescue Johnstone, Joseph
Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham) O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H. Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
King, Captain Henry Douglas Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W. Stanton, Charles B.
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Parker, James Steel, Major S. Strang
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Pearce, Sir William Sturrock, J. Leng
Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Taylor, J.
Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales) Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)
Lloyd, George Butler Pennefather, De Fonblanque Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Perkins, Walter Frank Townshend, Sir Charles V. F.
Lonsdale, James Rolston Phillpps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City) Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor
Lorden, John William Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W. Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Loseby, Captain C. E. Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Lyle-Samuel, Alexander Pratt, John William Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)
M'Guffin, Samuel Pulley, Charles Thornton Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie) Purchase, H. G. Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern) Rae, H. Norman Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Raeburn, Sir William H. Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)
McMicking, Major Gilbert Randles, Sir John S. Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N. Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)
Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Renwick, George Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading).
Marriott, John Arthur Ransome Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Wilson-Fox, Henry
Moles, Thomas Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Winterton, Major Earl
Molson, Major John Elsdale Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor) Wise, Frederick
Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash Rodger, A. K. Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Murchison, C. K. Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood) Younger, Sir George
Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh) Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.
Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Lord E. Talbot and Captain Guest.
Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Rose, Frank H.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Royce, William Stapleton
Bottomley, Horatio W. Hallas, Eldred Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Hartshorn, Vernon Seddon, J. A.
Breese, Major Charles E. Hayday, Arthur Sexton, James
Bromfield, William Hinds, John Simm, M. T.
Cairns, John Hirst, G. H. Sitch, Charles H.
Cape, Thomas Jephcott, A. R. Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow. Govan) Swan, J. E.
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe) Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham) Morgan, Major D. Watts Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Murray, John (Leeds, West) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Myers, Thomas Tootill, Robert
Galbraith, Samuel Newbould, Alfred Ernest Waddington, R.
Glanville, Harold James Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry Wignall, James
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Rees, Capt. J. Tudor-(Barnstaple) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Grundy, T. W. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth) Robertson, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Tyson Wilson and Mr. Sugden.

Question, "That the words on the joint application of the employer or employers of any factory or group of factories, and the majority of the workpeople concerned in such factory or group of factories,' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Mr. A. DAVIES (Clitheroe)

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "six" ["workshop at any time between the hours of six"], and to insert instead thereof the word "seven."

It will be generally agreed that in the whole course of this Debate there has been a feeling of resentment against the time at which the two-shift system should begin to operate, and I noticed particularly that the hon. and gallant Member for Durham (Major Hills) emphasised in his speech last night the necessity not only for altering the hours, but for reducing the length of each shift. It is not necessary for me to dwell at any length on a point which is so obvious, and I think most hon. Members will agree that 6 o'clock is too early in the morning for women and young persons to start work.


I quite appreciate the spirit in which this is moved, and I appreciate and sympathise with all that has been said in the course of this Debate about early hours, but at the same time I am acting as completely as I can on the advice of the Departmental Committee, and they point out that so far as continuous processes are concerned, processes which they put in the forefront in recommending this system, unless you keep the hours of 6 till 10 the Bill is useless. May I just remind the House of what they state: We do not recommend any alteration in the hours proposed in the Government Bill, 6 a.m. an4 10 p.m. The reduction of the period of employment to less than eight hours would in most cases prevent the adoption of the system, while it would not remove the chief objections to the scheme which are the weekly turnover of shifts and the evening work in alternate periods. We think the objections to the hours proposed have been exaggerated, and the Home Office will be able by the conditions it attaches to its Orders to safeguard the interests of the workers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman show us where in that Export they say that 7 a.m. would be a fundamental objection?


Yes— The reduction of the period of employment to less than eight hours would in most cases prevent the adoption of the system. If you make it 7 instead of 6 a.m., you must reduce it, unless you extend it in the evening to 11 o'clock. That is the opinion of the Departmental Committee, and it is for that reason that I ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment. I think the Committee will forgive me if I make an appeal to them. We have in the course of the discussions thoroughly thrashed out the effects of long hours, and so on, and I would like to ask the Committee to come to a decision as quickly as possible, because the programme is a long one.


I am sorry the Home Secretary is unable to take greater notice of the many speeches that have been made suggesting this alteration in the Bill. I am at a loss to understand why and how it is that the eight-hours working shifts have any substantial bearing on this matter. It is suggested in the Report that it will affect the successful working of the system, but I have yet to understand how or why a 15 hours' continuous working by the two shifts, assuming the hour was taken off at the beginning, is going to mitigate the principle as against the 16 hours. I think there must be some misunderstanding or confusion. I could have understood it if it referred to a three-shift system, in which the whole 24 hours were involved, but in regard to the two shifts I do not see how this question of starting at seven in the morning as against six operates very materially against the principle.


The last hon. Member said there was some confusion, but I think it is in his own mind. The Home Secretary distinctly stated, quoting from the Report of the Departmental Committee, that it was a question of the continuous shifts. The particular trade that this would very seriously militate against do work three shifts in the 24 hours, and if you were to reduce the two shifts for women and young persons, you would inflict a longer shift during the night upon boys over 16, and you would dislocate the whole of the industry. I am quite sure no one wants women and young persons to work unnecessarily, but having conceded the principle where continuous operations are required in an industry, to accept this Amendment would be inimical to the interests of the industry to which essentially this particular principle is to apply. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not recede from his position, because it would make null and void the application of young persons' and boys' labour to this continuous process where they have three shifts in 24 hours.


Perhaps I may be allowed to say a word, though anything T may say must, of course, be taken to be an expression of my individual opinions and not particularly as a Member of the Departmental Committee. This question of hours gave the Committee anxious thought, and I think that if we felt able, without qualifying the effect of our Report, to come to the conclusion that 7 o'clock was an early enough hour, we should very gladly have come to that conclusion. I think I may say, therefore, on behalf of the Committee, as well as of myself, that nobody who has heard the experience of various hon. Members of the House as to working at early hours can fail to be impressed by the fact that it is not in the interests of people of even 16 and 17 years of age to turn out at five and half-past five every morning, but the view which I take is that on the whole six o'clock or half-past five is not quite so early or so deleterious as at first sight we are inclined to think. Take such an industry as the seed-crushing industry of the British Olympia Oilcake Mills, near Selby. The people employed in that industry, if they were not so employed, would be engaged in agriculture, and in agriculture the whole family is likely to be awake and up long before 6 o'clock. It is, therefore, really no hardship—it is rather a misuse of terms to talk of it as a hardship—for those women to begin their work at 6. In that particular industry it is essential that they shall be at work for very much the reasons that my hon. Friend below me (Mr. Seddon) has mentioned, namely, that it is necessary for them to take over a shift in a continuous process trade which is worked by men at night, and also to keep pace with the output of departments where men only are employed on work which is not suitable for women, and the requirements of the whole industry or factory depend on the resumption by women, if they are to be employed at all, at 6 o'clock.

There are various illustrations which might be given of that, but another point of view might be mentioned, and that is this, that the whole objection, or a great part of the objection, to the early hours is connected with the late hours at which people used to work. Many hon. Members speak of their experiences of going to work at 5.30 or 6 in the morning as if they were going to work the same long hours as they used to work. To begin at 6 and continue, as many hon. Members have said they did, till 5, 6, or even 7 in the evening, with overtime on top of that on certain occasions, is a very different proposition from what is now put forward, both from a medical point of view and from the point of view of the social and moral welfare of the workers, and I would ask hon. Members to bear in mind that if you are going to work from 6 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, and leaving out for the moment the question as to how far the worker may be induced to do housework in her spare time, you have a distinct advantage by giving her the variety of an afternoon oft, which is bound to be beneficial from every point of view. That is likely only to be possible if they begin at this early hour. I think employers would not really adopt this system unless they may begin at 6. I am hopeful, when they have had experience of the two-shift system, that they will find it more efficient and gradually reduce the hours, possibly by half-an-hour or three-quarters of an hour, or even an hour.

Then there is another advantage which the Home Secretary may secure upon the present working of the system, an advantage which obtains in some works. Instead of having only one break for half-an-hour for breakfast, there could be a longer break of three-quarters of an hour, and an interval of a quarter of an hour or ten minutes for some light refreshment or for a break in the middle of the three hours' work after breakfast. Those can all be made the subject of conditions by the Home Secretary or of requirements by the factory inspectors which will mitigate the first harshness of the requirement of beginning work at 6 o'clock. May I mention one other consideration. The employers, I think in every single case that was brought before us—and we were very careful to inquire—took pains, I daresay under compulsion in some cases, to see that the remuneration of the worker was not reduced by the shortening of hours. That is to say, they assured us—I am not saying that in every case the assurance must be taken necessarily at its face value—and the workers corroborated, that the rates have been increased, so that although workers were working 38 and 41 hours, as against 45 and 48 hours, the remuneration of the workers remained the same. Of course, if the hours were reduced from an eight-hour shift, that is to say, from 7½ hours' actual work to 6½ hours' actual work, it would either make the system unremunerative to the employer, in which case it would not be adopted, or it would mean a net reduction of the earning capacity of the worker. I hope hon. Members opposite will not think there is likely to be very great hardship from beginning work at 6 o'clock. In London, where we are all accustomed to go to bed later, it is a greater hardship than in the North, where they go to bed earlier and are expected to get up earlier.


It is a case of travelling in London as well.


I am glad the hon. Member has reminded me of that, and I hope the Home Secretary will take notice of the availability of labour within a short distance of the factory, and that where the labour is not available within, say, ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or a comparatively short distance from the factory, the two-shift system will not be allowed to be worked. I think that will mitigate the harshness of the early start, and if that is the general practice adopted I do not see why the workers should be required to get up earlier than a quarter or twenty minutes past five. For a great part of my younger days I rose at 5.30 without any deleterious effects. Of course, it was not going out to industry.


Voluntary rising.


No, involuntary rising. I join in the Home Secretary's hope that the Committee will accept this, not because it is ideal, but because I genuinely think it may lead to the adoption of a system which, in the end, will secure shorter hours and a more varied and interesting life for the workers than that which obtains under the system of longer hours and occasional overtime, which I think nobody desires to see continued. I hope, therefore, the Committee will unanimously accept this until later on, perhaps, some Amendment can be made


I should like to confirm what my hon. and learned Friend said. All the time I was at Winchester I had to get up at 6 o'clock, and I do not know that any evil result ensued from

it. If you were not up in time, you got it smartly over the shoulders, so that there was not any voluntary wish about it.


I hope the Committee will not get into a schoolboy discussion on this question. I should like the Committee to visualise, first, the mother who gets up at four to 4.30 to see a daughter off to work, and at six o'clock has to prepare the breakfast for the husband or brother who may be going out at seven, and later in the day she has to prepare a meal for a, daughter who is going out on the night-shift. I think we must have some regard for the domestic side of this question. It is humbug to talk of boys at school getting up, and comparing them with young girls and women tramping out at six o'clock in the morning. I can quite conceive of an employer arranging seven hours rather than eight for the early shift. If that can be done, I see no insuperable difficulty in making it seven instead of six o'clock.

Question put, "That the word 'six' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 148; Noes, 68.

Division No. 378.] AYES. [5.35 p.m.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Davidson, J. C.C. (Hemel Hempstead) Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)
Amery, Lieut-Col. Leopold C. M. S. Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George
Armitage, Robert Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) King, Captain Henry Douglas
Atkey, A. R. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Lambert, Rt. Hon. George
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Donald, Thompson Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Doyle, N. Grattan Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M. Lloyd, George Butler
Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick) Falle, Major Sir Bertram G. Lonsdale, James Rolston
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Flannery, Sir James Fortescue Lyle-Samuel, Alexander
Bell, Lieut-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Ford, Patrick Johnston Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Forestier-Walker, L. M'Guffin, Samuel
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Fraser, Major Sir Keith Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)
Bennett, Thomas Jewell Gange, E. Stanley McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)
Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West) Ganzoni, Captain Francis John C. M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.
Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland Gardiner, James McMicking, Major Gilbert
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Grant, James A. Mallalieu, F. W.
Brassey, Major H. L. C. Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Marriott, John Arthur Ransome
Britton, G. B. Gretton, Colonel John Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Brown, Captain D. C. Hallwood, Augustine Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)
Carr, W. Theodore Harris, Sir Henry Percy Murray, John (Leeds, West)
Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W). Hood, Joseph Parker, James
Churchman, Sir Arthur Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central) Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Clough, Robert Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian) Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Coates, Major Sir Edward F. Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford) Perkins, Walter Frank
Coats, Sir Stuart Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster) Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Pratt, John William
Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid) Jesson, C. Pulley, Charles Thornton
Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page Jodrell, Neville Paul Purchase, H. G.
Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton) Johnson, Sir Stanley Randies, Sir John S.
Remnant, Sir James Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.) Whitla, Sir William
Renwick, George Simm, M. T. Williams, U.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)
Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor) Stanton, Charles B. Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Rodger, A. K. Steel, Major S. Strang Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)
Royden, Sir Thomas Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K. Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Sturrock, J. Leng Wilson-Fox, Henry
Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood) Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham) Wise, Frederick
Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Seddon, J. A. Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Shaw, William T. (Forfar) Ward, William Dudley (Southampton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Captain Guest and Lord E. Talbot.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Goff, Sir R. Park Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Rose, Frank H.
Bottomley, Horatio W. Grundy, T. W. Royce, William Stapleton
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Breese, Major Charles E. Hallas, Eldred Sexton, James
Brittain, Sir Harry Hartshorn, Vernon Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bromfield, William Hayday, Arthur Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's) Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston) Spencer, George A.
Cairns, John Hills, Major John Waller Sugden, W. H.
Cape, Thomas Hinds, John Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Hirst, G. H. Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O (Anglesey)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Jephcott, A. R. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)
Casey, T. W. Johnstone, Joseph Tootill, Robert
Coote, William (Tyrone. South) Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D.(Midlothian) Townshend, Sir Charles V. F.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Moles, Thomas Waddington, R.
Cowan, Sir W. (Aberdeen and Kinc.) Morgan, Major D. Watts Wignall, James
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clltheroe) Newbould, Alfred Ernest Wilkie, Alexander
Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry
Finney, Samuel Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Galbraith, Samuel Redmond, Captain William Archer Mr. G. Thorne and Mr. Neil
Glanville. Harold James Rees, Capt. J. Tudor-(Barnstaple) Maclean.

Question put, and agreed to.


May I draw attention to the fact that all the members of Standing Committee A have been crowded out of the Division? Could not arrangements have been made so that we could vote?


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words Provided that it a joint representation is made to the Secretary of State by organisations representing a majority of the employers and workers in the industry or section of industry concerned to the effect that Orders under this section ought not to be made in respect of factories and workshops in that industry or section of industry, the powers of the Secretary of State to make Orders under this section shall cease to be exercisable as regards that industry or section of industry unless and until the representation is withdrawn by the said organisations, and if any such representation so requires any Order previously made in respect of a factory or workshop in that industry or section of industry shall, on the expiration of such reasonable period, not exceeding four months, as the Secretary of State may fix, cease to have effect. Every Order made under this section shall be published forthwith in the London Gazette, and no representation as respects factories and workshops in the industry or section of industry to which the Order relates shall be of any effect unless made within one month from the date of the publication of "the Order. As the Committee have approved my original Amendment, namely, that the Orders are to be made on the joint application of the employers and the majority of the workpeople in any particular factory or group of factories, I should imagine there would not be much opposition to this Amendment. It provides, practically, that where an application is made in respect of a particular factory, or a group of factories, and an Order is made on that application, the Order has to be published in the "London Gazette," and then during a period of time—we have suggested a month as a fair period—the industry concerned can, by its organisations, consider the question, and if they choose, they may make representations. If they like to agree that later on in the year the experiment may be tried, they can still do so. Equally they can, if they ask for it, have all the Orders made within that month cancelled. It is only fair that those who are opposed to an Order being made should make representations within a reasonable time; because a man could not possibly enter into contracts on the basis of the Order having been made, until he knew he was safe. I should think that on principle, the Committee having accepted my former Amendment, there would not be very much objection to this. Therefore, I hope it will be accepted. I hope the House will also believe me when I say I have tried to make it a fair way of allowing industries to rule themselves, of giving them complete control so far as the industry chooses to exercise it. Employers and employed in any industry will have control over that industry.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "joint" ["if a joint representation"].

I am very much obliged to the Home Secretary for putting in this Amendment, All I want to do is to improve it. This Amendment is the result of two very hard days' work, on Friday and yesterday, and of representations to the right hon. Gentleman that there was not to be absolute power to make these Orders, and that every industry should have some check upon them on behalf of employers and employed in the industry. I move this Amendment with a view of re arranging other words a little later. I consider it is a very great matter indeed that private Members of this House have been able to convince the Home Secretary that this Amendment of his is necessary, and I beg to congratulate him upon the way in which he accepted those views, and of seeing how necessary it was that the Amendment should have been put upon the Paper. I shall be perfectly satisfied with this Amendment if he makes one or two small Amendments in it. I should have liked it to be the other way about, the hors> in front of the cart instead of the cart in front of the horse. I desire that he should strike out the word "and" ["representing a majority of the employers and workers"], and insert instead thereof the word" or. "That will make it read" a majority of the employers 'or' workers. "This is the whole matter between us. It contains a very great principle of the very great importance, and it makes all the difference in the world. It reads here, "Provided that if a joint representation is made, then the Secretary of State' shall not exercise this power. "I am going to submit to the House that it ought to be the organisation representing a majority of the employers" or "of the workmen, so that if the workers object—


But it is a joint representation.


Yes, in that case the word "joint" will have to come out, and I will therefore ask leave to move my Amendment in that amended form, and I am obliged to the hon. Member for drawing my attention to that. The difference between the present proposal and my suggestion is this: If the employers and workers apply to the Secretary of State and say they object to an Order being made, then, as a matter of course, the Home Secretary makes no such Orders, and repeals those already made. Suppose the workers object to it, and the employers want such an Order, or vice versa, then this whole Amendment is neutralised and nothing can be done. Say a man makes an application for an Order for one particular factory or mill, thinking he would like to have the two-shift system in the factory, and his workpeople agree with him, then the Home Secretary makes the Order, whereupon the employers and the workers in that industry generally have an opportunity of going to the Home Secretary and objecting. If both of them object, then the licence is not granted, or if it has been granted it is revoked. It therefore follows that unless both employers and workers agree this Amendment is no use. If an employer wants to make more money, and suggests the two-shift system, and the workpeople object, then if the word" or "is put in instead of" and "the workers' will will prevail, and the employer will not be able to force upon the workers the two-shift system, because the workers in the industry as a whole say, "We do not want it." It is quite clear that if the whole of the employers and workers in an industry, or in any section of an industry, come together and agree that the two-shift system ought not to be introduced, then the Home Secretary refuses the application or cancels it. But if he has made an Order in a particular factory it lasts for five years. It cannot be revoked unless the owner of the factory breaks the conditions under which it is granted, and this Amendment is useless. It is quite clear, if the employers object to the two-shift system being introduced into the industry, the employers would not work it.


Then they will not apply!


But if the workers object it is quite clear, seeing it is forced upon them, that unless the employers join with them in condemning it and appealing to the Home Secretary, they will strike, and there is an end of it.


I hope the Home Secretary will resist this Amendment. Yesterday, as a result of the discussion which took place, my right hon Friend was seized with the desirability of recognising the joint industrial councils in our national scheme or industrial organisation, and this is really a concession made to us who feel very strongly that the joint industrial councils ought now to be allowed to emerge as the real representative bodies of the industries. After all the underlying principle is that the two parties should act jointly. It is pretty certain, as I stated yesterday, that unless we do secure unanimity within the industry, and the concurrence of the two parties, no such experiments as contemplated by this Bill can ever work smoothly. I feel keenly about this scheme of general industrial councils. I want us to get rid of the idea that either one party or the other is animated with a desire to impose something on the industry which the other party objects to. I say I want to get rid of that idea and to give expression to the newer and better idea which, I think, is gradually emerging in industry, that these changes and these experiments should be conducted as representing joint interests in the industry—that any matter should be regarded as desirable or otherwise in the interests of the whole.


This is a thoroughly reactionary proposal—a proposal of direct action, a Bolshevik proposal—and I hope the House will not accept it.

Amendment to proposed Amendment negatived.

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

6.0 P.M.


I shall not keep the Committee from a Division, but I want to take a point of view that has not yet been taken. I want to say that I think this Amendment goes too far in this direction It lessens the discretion of the Home Secretary which he is bound to exercise under the Factory Acts. It takes something from his statutory rights which have been built up in a series of legislative enactments, now embodied in our factory code and which on the whole work most excellently. My point is this: Under the first part of the Amendment that we accepted to-day the Home Secretary can make an Order authorising the two-shift system in a factory or group of factories. Then the industry—that is employers and employed—can come down and veto that Order. Thereby it is left to an industry to fulfil functions which I profoundly believe are and ought to be the functions of the Home Secretary. I do not think he ought to allow anybody else to stand between him and the duties which Parliament has given to him. Parliament has made him the guardian of labour in a very special sense, and especially the guardian of the labour of children and young persons. That guardianship is now embodied in a series of laws, and his decision and judgment as to whether a group of factories ought to have two shifts or not can be overruled by a joint representation of the industry. I shall be told that it is quite right that an industry should rule itself. I cannot, however, forget the great position which the Home Secretary had got under our factory laws. If an industry is unanimous, except for a small section, then the Order cannot be made. I think the Home Secretary ought to consult everybody concerned, and examine the question, but when the final decision comes to be made it ought to be the Home Secretary's decision, made by himself as Minister and as someone responsible to the House of Commons. I do not think any other position would be fulfilling what I regard as the essence of our factory legislation. I shall not vote against this Amendment, because I regard it as part of a bargain, but I do think that the Labour party have got by this proposal far more than they realise, and it cuts away a good deal of the arguments we have heard on previous Amendments. I think in a case of this sort, where Parliament has put the decision in the hands of the Home Secretary, he ought not to divest himself of that power.

Captain ELLIOT

I think it is worth while to point out that this is really a Soviet Amendment, and I do not think that is an exaggerated statement. Parliament is allowing to Whitley Councils to impose a veto on its decision. I do not call that Bolshevism, which is not necessarily associated with Sovietism, and it is handing over the rights of the geographic assembly to the economic assembly, that is, the Chamber of Consumers to the Chamber of Producers. We talk of experiments under this Bill, but we are indulging in one of the largest experiments in the course of this Bill and that is handing over the veto of the Home Secretary to the Whitley Councils. I know that this is the result of a Parliamentary bargain, but on this point I agree that the Labour party has got more under this proposal than they realise, and I believe far more than the Home Secretary realised he was giving.


Not more than we deserve.

Captain ELLIOT

The Home Secretary is the guardian of the women employed in industry and these economic bodies, by the very nature of the case, have no great respect for women, because the majority of the people engaged in production are not women but men. There is a distinct danger that the Guild or Soviet will object to the introduction of fresh labour into its ranks, and will become a sort of caste, and will tend to resent the intrusion of fresh labour. There is a very distinct danger in the Home Secretary's abandonment of his powers.


There is no abandonment of any power in this proposal, and the power of veto remains in spite of the decision of the Joint Industrial Council. The Home Secretary has parted with no powers which are necessary for him to see that women's work is protected.

Captain ELLIOT

I am prepared to maintain my position even against what the right hon. Gentleman has just said. The question cannot seriously be debated that if the women wish to enter an industry and the Whitley Council desires to prevent them, the Home Secretary has no power to persist as against the decision of the Joint Industrial Council. We have already seen Whitley Councils acting in an arbitrary manner towards women's labour. There are two main principles involved here. One is the protection of young persons and women in industry. There are women in industry who have to earn their living because their natural protectors have been killed in the War. This proposal is quite a new departure, and I think those who are in favour of Whitley Councils might give this their closest attention. I think it is a good Amendment because it appears to give strength and power to those very interesting new joint economic bodies which are being set up in industry to-day.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in Subsection (5), to leave out the words "the factory or workshop shall be deemed not to be kept in conformity with" and to insert instead thereof the words" in the case of a woman or young person, that woman or young person shall be deemed to be employed in contravention of."

This is purely a question of procedure, and the Amendment is a purely drafting one. There are two methods, and one deals with machinery where the factory-is not kept in accordance with the Act, and the other deals with the employés, women and young person. I think the better way is to keep all questions relating to women and young persons under the same Section.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: At the end of Sub-section (6). add a new Subsection— (7) This Section shall be construed as one with the Factory and Workshop Acts. 1901 to 1911."—[Mr. Shortt.]

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

Bill reported, with Amendments. As amended (on re-committal) considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


I think there are one or two things that ought to be said on the motion for the Third Reading. Few Debates have been carried on with less acrimony than the Debate which has been carried on during Friday last week and yesterday and to-day. Those of us who have been advocating the two-shift system have done so with a sincere regard to the women and children, and we are just as sincere as those who have opposed this proposal. Speaking for myself and those hon. Members who have taken the same course, we have been lead by the logic of events and circumstances which we could not alter by legislation. It was said on Friday that I was one of the leaders of all reactionary causes, and I want to repudiate that criticism as strongly as I can. The case put to me was put by a trade unionist and by the glass workers of St. Helens, and I object to the big trade unions not listening to the reasonable demands of the small unions. We have heard a great deal about cotton. I remember when the cotton trade resisted the abolition of the half-time system for many years, and it ill-becomes them to gibe at those who are trying to do justice to other workers who have made out a good case. I happen to have in my hand a statement for the workers in the glass industry. It comes from the president of the glass trade organisation, and I think he presents a reasonable case. He says: There is a shortage of boys in the glass industry, while girls are plentiful and there are a large number out of work. Girls are more suitable for this particular class of work in the glass industry than boys. In taking boys into this industry only a very small proportion "can ever become skilled workmen. I think the proportion is five boys to one man, and therefore if the odd boy becomes a skilled workman four others can be employed up to the age of 18 or 19, with the result that they are employed in a blind alley occupation, and they are apt to be thrown on to the labour market without any training for any other industry. On the other hand, the women and girls generally stop at this trade until they get married or reach middle age. So far as the two-shift system is concerned it works out at 40 hours per week for females and 42 hours for boys. These girls and boys are the sons and daughters of glass workers to a very large extent, and surely their parents are just as fond of their children as are any other body of workers and would not, merely for selfish reasons, get them out of bed at five or six in the morning. It is because they know-that, under present conditions in that particular industry, unless there is boy and girl labour it will be impossible for the industry to be carried on—while they may regret it as much as we do. So far as this particular industry is concerned I submit the large trade unions have a moral obligation to listen to the case that has been made out by the smaller unions. I am glad that the Home Secretary has acted as he has done, and I thank him personally, for I know he has brought a frigid legal mind to bear on this question. If he had studied his own inclination he would have had something to say quite different, but he has simply looked at it from the point of view of the recommendations of the Select Committee, and I am glad that he, and this House, and the majority of the Members have recognised that, under modern conditions, those engaged in certain industries when they make out a good case, are entitled to be listened to.


In my own Parliamentary division we have a very large glass works, one of the largest in the country, and belonging to a firm which is starting works all over the country. I do not want to dispute the facts put forward by the hon. Member who has just spoken. Xo doubt he had certain information and representation from St. Helens, but from my own constituency I have not had a single indication of any kind either from employers or workpeople in favour of the introduction of the two-shift system. If the company to which I have referred had felt inclined to want the system, for reasons suggested by my hon. Friend, I feel confident I should have had some communication from these particular people. I do not think that they want the two-shift system at all so far as their works are concerned.