HC Deb 14 May 1936 vol 312 cc531-2
6. Mr. LEACH

asked the Minister of Labour whether the refusal of the Government to support the 40-hour week convention at Geneva on the ground that it does not safeguard wages will be followed by any scheme by the British representatives to amend the convention so as to ensure that such wages protection may be included?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

The question to be discussed at the coming International Labour Conference is the application to certain industries of the principle contained in the general draft convention adopted at last year's conference, and not the amendment of that draft convention. In this connection I would point out that when it was under discussion last year it was not found possible to secure a majority in favour of including a specific provision that the maintenance of earnings should be a condition of the reduction of hours of work.


Is this form of objection to the convention, namely, that it does not safeguard wages, a real and genuine objection of the Department, and, if so, why should not the hon. and gallant Gentleman undertake to put in some new conditions to secure the removal of the objections which the Department has?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

All objections taken by my Department are genuine. With regard to the amendment, I would remind the hon. Member that a majority decision at the last meeting was definitely against an amendment to this agreement which we recommended. It is perhaps early days to imagine that opinion has undergone any change. Certainly it is not possible to put down an amendment at this stage for this year's meeting.


Has any consideration been given to the question who is to provide the wherewithal to ensure that wages will not be reduced?


The workers.