HC Deb 13 February 1933 vol 274 cc731-3

7.38 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 164, line 2, at the end, to insert the words: (7) In the case of an officer or servant other than an officer or servant of a local authority or of an underground undertaking, the board or the arbitrator in computing the length of his service for the purpose of the award of compensation shall take into account all his service after he has attained the age of 18 years in any undertaking specified in the Second Schedule of this Act. This is a manuscript Amendment of which I have given the Attorney-General a copy. Paragraph 6 deals with the case of an officer or servant of an underground undertaking, while paragraph 5 deals with an officer or servant of a local authority. As far as officers and servants of underground undertakings are concerned, the whole of their period of service counts, in whichever branch or subsidiary that service may have been given. I understand that in a number of cases there have been changes in the personnel of the other companies included in the Second Schedule, where people have turned over from one occupation to the other but all the time have been in the service of one or other of those com- panies. Some of the cases have been brought about by merger and otherwise. We wish to safeguard the position of the men. The House will remember that in the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1926, which I think was an Act which went through during the Conservative administration, there was a provision of the same sort as that we are here proposing. The Fourth Schedule of that Act says: In computing the period of service of any officer, service under any authorised undertakers shall be reckoned as service under the authorised undertaker in whose employment he is at the time when the loss or relinquishment of employment occurs. Therefore, the principle was acknowledged, that where you are bringing about an amalgamation of this sort you should take into account the service of a man in any of the companies that you are amalgamating for the purpose of qualifying him for compensation. I would ask the Attorney-General either to accept this Amendment or to have the point covered by some suitable Amendment in another place, because it seems to be in accordance with precedent and it seems to be a fair and proper thing to insert in the Bill.

7.42 p.m.


The hon. and learned Member was good enough to give me a copy of the Amendment, but I have not had an opportunity of considering it in detail. He read an extract from the Electricity (Supply) Act, but I aim not sure whether in the setting in which that provision appears it would lead to precisely the same result as the Amendment which the hon. and learned Member is moving. I am perfectly sympathetic to the proposal that a man who has had continuity of service shall not suffer merely from the fact that there has been a change in the constitution of the undertaking that employed him, and that because he is passed from one undertaking to another, because of the alteration in the structure, he ought not to be penalised. On the other hand, I am not sure it is right that a man who, say, for two years, when perhaps he was 20 years of age, was employed by one particular undertaking, and then for some fault of his own lost his employment and became the servant of another undertaking after many years, should be entitled to have the first two years computed in estimating his rate of compensation. If the hon. and learned Member will allow me to consider the facts and look at the analogous Acts and consider the best form in which provision might be made for continuity of service, I think we shall be able to give effect to the spirit of his Amendment, although I am not at the moment able to accept the form of it.


I am much obliged to the Attorney-General. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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