HC Deb 30 April 1925 vol 183 cc466-8

Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.


I have only risen to say that, whatever differences there might be a few moments ago, there will be no difference of opinion on the subject which we are now about to discuss—


There is no Question at present before the House. It is necessary, before the right hon. Gentleman can proceed, that the new Clause on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Montague), should be formally moved.

NEW CLAUSE. —(Fair wages to be paid to persons employed in connection with the British Empire Exhibition.)

  1. (1) The wages paid by any employer to persons employed by him in connection with the British Empire Exhibition shall, except where paid at a rate agreed upon by a joint industrial council representing the employer and the persons employed, not be less than would be payable if the employment were carried on under contract between a Government Department and the employer containing a fair wage clause which complies with the requirements of any resolution of the House of Commons for the time being 467 in force applicable to contracts of Government Departments, and if any dispute arises as to what wages ought to be paid in accordance with this Section it may be Deferred by the employer or persons employed to the industrial court for settlement.
  2. (2) Where any award has been made by the industrial court upon a dispute referred to that court under this Section, then as from the date of the award or from such later date as the court may direct, it shall be an implied term of the contract between every employer and worker to whom the award applies that the rate of wages to be paid under the contract shall, until varied in accordance with the provisions of this Section, be in accordance with the award — [Mr. Montague.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."


I beg to second the Motion.

Clause read a Second time.


I beg to move, in line 10, to leave out the words "employer or persons employed," and to insert instead thereof the words "Minister of Labour."

I am able to announce that as a result of the negotiations on both sides the Clause, which my hon. Friends have formally moved and seconded, will be accepted, as amended, by the Government. It is only fair to say that while we on this side of the House are mainly concerned in securing that the Fair Wages Clauses should he accepted by the contractors and sub-contractors at Wembley, that the Government are in the unfortunate position, which we here fully recognise, of not being able to give effect to it. After all, they are only in the position of certain guarantors, but they have accepted a general principle on which there is no disagreement, and it is my duty to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department for the very frank way in which he endeavoured to get over this difficulty. I understand that the Government are prepared to accept the new Clause so amended, and I hope the moral effect of its unanimous acceptance by the House will be a warning to all those contractors and sub-contractors who are not playing cricket, and, above all, that this Bill will now pass through all its stages. Seeing that the exhibition opens on Saturday week, I hope we shall have no more criticism in the House of Commons of the exhibition, and that the Ministers will all be congratulated on the wonderful success that I know it is going to be.

Mr. A. M. SAMUEL(Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I am greatly obliged to my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) for having helped us over a difficulty. As is well known, we have said all through the Debates that we are en tirely in favour of the principle of the Fair Wages Clause. Upstairs we all disliked voting against the Clause as then proposed, but, in the amended Clause now before the House, a golden bridge has been made which enables us to get over the difficulty.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.

Proposed words there inserted.

Proposed Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.

Bill to be read the Third time To-morrow.

The remaining Orders acre read, and postponed.

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