HC Deb 05 October 1939 vol 351 cc2069-70
18. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Labour what action he proposes to take in. connection with the report of the committee which considered conditions of employment in the distributive trades?

Mr. E. Brown

As the hon. Member is aware, I published the report in the form of a White Paper in order that the proposals made by the Joint Committee might be brought to the attention of all those in the retail distributive trades who would be affected by them. In the circumstances which have existed since the report was made and in face of the difficulties which have been shown to exist, it has not been possible to contemplate legislation of as far-reaching a character as that proposed and I regret that the organisation of employers and workpeople in these trades has not been such as to secure the further extension of voluntary agreements which would have simplified the problem. I anticipate that the method of regulating, in time of war, the wages and working conditions in trades in which there is at present no effective machinery will now require consideration in consultation with those industrially concerned.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman bearing in mind that it will be easier to put some of these recommendations into force during war-time in particular trades than during peace-time?

Mr. Brown

I pointed out in my answer that I anticipated that other regulations in war-time might be necessary.