§ 33. Mr. LOWTH
asked the Minister of Labour if he will make provision in the Hours of Industrial Employment Bill whereby the existing agreements between employers and their workpeople shall be exempt from the provisions of the said Bill?
§ Miss BONDFIELD
The Bill has been so drafted that its passage into law will enable the Government to ratify the Washington Hours Convention. Sub-clause (5) of Clause 2 of the Bill permits the Minister to sanction collective agreements concerning the limit on the working hours, provided that the circumstances render it impracticable to adhere to the rigid eight and 48-hour limits, and that the hours authorised by the agreement do not exceed 48 per week on the average. The suggestion made by my hon. Friend goes considerably further than this, and would, if adopted, possibly preclude ratification. My right hon. Friend is willing to consider any special case, but only on condition that he is not asked to sanction any agreement which would prevent ratification.