§ 1.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
We come now to Amendment No. 16, with which it is suggested that we discuss also Amendments Nos. 14, in page 3, line 2, at end insert 'with normal rates of pay'; and 15, in page 3, line 3, after 'of', insert not less than'.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 29, Noes 60.1509
|Division No. 130.]||AYES||[1.9 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Farr, John||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Bell, Ronald||Goodhew, Victor||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Bessell, Peter||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hiley, Joseph||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Body, Richard||Hooley, Frank||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hooson, Emlyn||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Cordle, John||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Mr. Tudor Watkins and|
|Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Macdonald, A. H.||Mr. J. Idwal Jones.|
|Astor, John||Heffer, Eric S.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Moyle, Roland|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Newens, Stan|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Howie, W.||O'Malley, Brian|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Hunt, John||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Costain, A. P.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Ryan, John|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Sharples, Richard|
|Dunnett, Jack||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth Central)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Ellis, John||Lipton, Marcus||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|English, Michael||Lubbock, Eric||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Ennals, David||MacColl, James||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Mayhew, Christopher||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mendelson, J. J.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Gardner, Tony||Molloy, William|
|Hamling, William||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harper, Joseph||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Mr. John Parker and|
|Mr. James Dickens.|
§ The purpose of these three Amendments is to remove the provisions regulating Sunday employment. Clause 4 was inserted in Committee against my advice and that of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, but, in its wisdom, the Committee put it in. I am seeking to delete it, even though I am strongly in favour of the principle behind it. The idea of protecting employees who may be required to work on Sundays as a result of the Bill is most attractive, but I am advised that, on examination, it is open to objections of principle as well as technical objections.
§ Mr. Hamling
If I may finish my sentence.
—or to the specialist machinery provided by Statute in special cases. Does my hon. Friend wish to intervene now?
§ Mr. Hamling
There is no good reason for providing statutory protection for people required to work on Sundays because of the Bill when others, who are already required to work on Sundays, have no such protection. The only field in which any provision is made for time off in lieu of Sunday morning is in relation to shops, but there is no similarity between the situation in shops and that in entertainment.
The possibility of an employee being dismissed for refusing to work on Sundays should be considered as part of the general problems of unjust dismissal, and I understand that that is being discussed, or has been under consideration by the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations. There is no reason why an employee who has agreed to work on Sunday should not be required to stand by his agreement even if he later establishes a religious or conscientious objection to doing so. Furthermore, the Clause as it stands provides no protection for an applicant for employment who has religious or conscientious objection to Sunday work when he is in competition with other applicants who have no similar objections.
They are the objections in principle. But there are some technical objections. As drafted, the Clause applies to any contract of employment and is not limited to employment under the Bill. The Clause reads:Any contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sundays if so required shall provide for a free day in lieu or alternatively for the payment of double-time rates of pay.I repeat that it begins,Any contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sundays".1512 It does not refer only to a worker affected by sport or entertainment in other parts of the Bill. It is a general consideration relating to everyone. It relates to transport workers. It would refer to journalists. It would no doubt refer to ministers of religion if they were members of a trade union—and I understand that some of them are. It would refer to Members of Parliament, possibly, who are also members of trade unions and who worked on Sundays. It would apply to power workers and to process workers in continuous process industries. In fact, the Clause would cover such a wide field that this is hardly the kind of Bill in which such a general provision should be included.
§ Mr. Archer
My hon. Friend will appreciate that the Clause applies only to those who work under a contract of employment. It would not apply to hon. Members.
§ Mr. Hamling
It would certainly apply to the servants of the House. No procedure is provided for establishing religious or conscientious objection. I understand that the Ministry of Labour would be strongly against creating any formal procedure comparable with that for conscientious objectors to military service.
Nor is it clear how the proviso would be enforced. The proviso reads:Provided that no person shall be required by his contract of employment to work on Sundays who establishes that he has a religious or conscientious objection to so doing.Would an employee be entitled to reinstatement if dismissed for refusing to work on Sundays? What would happen to a man employed only on Saturdays, say, to assist in a spectacle which is transferred to Sundays, or to a man employed only on Sundays—and there are some people who are employed only on Sundays and not during the week. They would not be covered by the Clause.
I have assured my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) privately, and I do so in the House, that I am very sympathetic to the Clause. I should like to see it included. But I am assured by all the experts, for example the Ministry of Labour, that they do not think that the Clause could be worked, and that they think that it is too general. I am. therefore, rather reluctantly asking 1513 the House to support my Amendment to delete the Clause.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
Do I gather that the Ministry of Labour advised my hon. Friend that the Clause would not work? Did they give a reason?
§ Mr. Hamling
May I repeat what I said? I am advised that the Ministry of Labour are opposed to the Clause. That is the advice which I have received. No doubt my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths) will listen to the speech in the debate from the Front Bench. I used simple words: I am advised that the Ministry of Labour is opposed to the Clause. I have not spoken to the Minister or even to his private office, but that is the advice which I have been given. I am sure that my right hon. Friend understands, for he has been on the Front Bench and he has also been on these benches.
Some of my hon. Friends on both sides of the Committee thought earlier that I was being a little impatient. I was certainly impatient. I tend very often to be impatient with those who I think cannot see things as clearly as I think that I see them. I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Ore) who comments that that is a very common fault in the House—and it is a very common fault elsewhere. But I assure the House, as I have indicated by my actions if not by my words, that I am a most reasonable man.
I have accepted all sorts of Amendments, sometimes—if I may say this behind my hand—to the discomfiture of the Government Front Bench. But I want to see the law made sensible and clear, and it is very much with that in mind that I am asking the House to delete Clause 4, because I am advised that it would not work and that it certainly would not make the law clear.
§ 1.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
The question before the House is important. On Second Reading, I said that I was authorised to say that actors, as represented in British Actors Equity Association supported the development envisaged in the Bill, in other words were in favour of being allowed to perform on Sundays. They have a tradition of being servants to the public and they recognise that society has changed and 1514 that the public now regard Sunday as a day of leisure and as a day on which they would seek normal entertainment if they had the opportunity to do so.
The view, therefore, taken by the Association—and I was, before I became a Member of the House, a member of the delegation which went to the Crathorne Committee on the subject—was that they were in favour of the proposal, but they said to the Crathorne Committee and to me, and I said on Second Reading:They do not regard that as an imposition upon them—referring to the requirement to work on Sunday—but they would require—and the House should make sure that they get—a provision that in the event of work taking place on a Sunday it should be obligatory for actors to have another free day. Such a Clause should be written into the Bill".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th December, 1967; Vol. 755, c. 1923.]In Committee, I felt that perhaps on Second Reading I had confined myself too closely to one section of the community who would be affected by the Bill. When, in Committee, we moved a Clause to give effect to the suggestion made on Second Reading, it was worded to provide thatAny contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sundays if so required shall provide for a free day in lieu or alternatively for the payment of double-time rates of paySince then an Amendment has been tabled to insert the words "not less than" before "double-time rates of pay." If that Amendment is acceptable to the House, it will be acceptable to me.
It has been suggested that there is something impractical about the Clause. I cannot understand that view. I accept that, generally speaking, the reaction of any Government Department faced with a Private Member's Bill is to try to restrict it as much as possible and to make sure that the impact of the Measure on the Department is minimised. This is the natural reaction of the civil servant. While I can understand it, there is no reason why we should accept it because we are concerned with the establishment of correct principles and not with the administrative inconvenience which sometimes the establishment of those principles 1515 involves. I am, therefore, not persuaded that there is anything impractical or impossible in the administration of the Clause.
The second part of the Clause states:Provided that no person shall be required by his contract of employment to work on Sundays who establishes that he has a religious or conscientious objection to so doing.All hon. Members, whatever their religious persuasions, or if they have none, will be in favour of that. We should say in the Bill that a man may be entitled to say, "You cannot ask me to do this because it says in the Act that I may not reasonably be asked to do it". The obvious answer is that if a job necessarily requires work to be done on a Sunday, it will not be open to that individual. This is an unfortunate fact of life, but we need not make the fact harder. Indeed, the Clause would make it easier for the individual to exercise his religious or conscientious objection. I do not share such an objection, but that is no reason why we should not try to provide for somebody who has.
§ Mr. Leslie Spriggs (St. Helens)
Is my hon. Friend aware that some major industries require employees to work on Sundays but that workers are permitted to object if they have religious or conscientious reasons for not working on Sundays?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am grateful for that intervention. The Clause would merely write into the law what is already being done in some places and that would become general. Perhaps it therefore removes in advance any objection which may be raised on that ground by the Government.
§ Mr. Peter Mahon
Is my hon. Friend aware, however, that employees with deep religious affiliations might, out of loyalty to their employers—and perhaps out of loyalty to the country in view of the present economic situation—agree to work on Sundays even though it would, to a large extent, be against their religious consciences to do so?
§ Mr. Jenkins
Nothing in the Clause would prevent such a person from deciding whether or not to work. The Clause provides that he shall not…be required by his contract of employment to work on Sundays…1516 if he…establishes that he has a religious or conscientious objection to so doing.He may say, "I object to so doing, but I have no objection to this being written into my contract because I feel that, on balance, I will have to do it". How-ever, if he says, "I am not prepared to work on Sundays in any circumstances", his employer will have to strike out that clause from the contract of employment. That is all that the Clause provides and it is a reasonable proposition.
It has been suggested that this matter should be left to the trade unions. As a general principle, the trade union movement at present is having rather less and less left to it. There is a strong tendency for the Government to say that it is the job of the Administration to intervene more and more in questions of industrial relations. Perhaps there is a strong argument for such a proposition. In any event, it does not lie in the mouth of the Government to say, "Where we have intervened, that is right and we support it, but where it might be inconvenient, we will not have it at any price". That is not a tenable proposition and I hope that the Government will not advance it because it will not wash.
There is a long tradition of legislative protection for trade unions. How would the trade unions operate effectively without this framework of legislation, such as the Factories Acts? What would the mineworkers do without the legislation within which they work? The general proposition that trade unions do not need or do not want legislation does not stand up and I hope that it will not be advanced.
All trade unions welcome legislation when it backs them and is in their interests. It is natural that they will resist legislation which is seen to be oppressive to them but as for the general proposition that trade unions do not like legislation as such, no trade union or even Transport House would accept that argument. There is, therefore, no general objection.
Is there a particular objection? I suggest that there is not either a general or a particular objection. Certainly the Crathorne Committee was not so satisfied. After referring to the restriction on the 1517 number of Sundays on which shop-workers may be employed, that Committee's Report said:The conditions in (27)"—that is, the clause referring to shop workers:should apply to a person employed in connection with an entertainment licensed under the Cinematograph Act 1909, the Theatres Act 1843…In other words, it said what the Clause seeks to do; that the legislative protection which is desirable and which is applied already to shop workers should be made applicable to workers in entertainment.
In resisting the Amendment, I accept what my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) said about moving it reluctantly. I suspect that he had something of a pistol at his head and that he found himself in the position of having little alternative but to move an Amendment for which, I suspect, he has little enthusiasm. If the Minister replies, "We have nothing against the principle but we do not like some of the words of the Clause", we might possibly seriously think about the matter. On the other hand, if he says that the Government are opposed to the excellent principles contained in the Clause, we will have to resist any attempt to delete it.
§ Mr. Hamling
I do not want my hon. Friend to think that I have been subjected to pressure. I have, perhaps, been subject to influence or to advice. I am not a lawyer. On many subjects I am a layman, and that is certainly the case in the drafting of Bills. That being so, one must lean very heavily on professional advice.
Further, as trade unionists, my hon. Friend and I must agree that we seek the least possible intervention of law in trade union matters.
§ Captain Orr
The hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) has shown his genial self in this discussion and we are delighted to see it, but I agree wholeheartedly with what has been said by the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). It is quite out of character for the hon. Member for Woolwich, West to seek to remove a provision enshrining protection for those who for religious or conscientious reasons do not 1518 want to work on Sundays. It may be that, as the hon. Member for Putney suspects, the advice referred to has come from Government sources, and no doubt the Minister will tell us what they are.
I cannot see why the very simple sentence which comprises the second part of the Clause should be deleted. It may be, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, said, that many of these protections are provided through normal negotiation between worker and employer, but one can well imagine people who are represented by a very weak or small union, or not represented in that way at all, being forced into contracts which do violence to their conscience. The majority in a union might be unwilling to give the necessary protection, and that is another reason why this provision should be written in.
The second part of the Clause does no violence to anything. It is not interference with trade union practice to require it. It does not prevent an employer or a union from doing anything of which we would approve, but it shows that Parliament takes the view that no man should be forced into any kind of contract which does violence to his conscience on religious grounds. Perhaps the Minister can tell us more about the objection to this part of the Clause—I certainly cannot see any.
§ 1.45 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
If the Bill goes through—and the House knows my views on that score—this Clause is essential. Sport and entertainment is an area of industry in which trade union organisation is weak in any case. The Clause provides that even in this kind of employment there shall be conditions relating to Sunday work. Some of us have fought for what is contained in the first part of the Clause all our lives. I have always done all I could to keep Sunday work to its lowest level, and in all our agreements we have been particularly determined to see that where it is essential it is made as expensive as possible to the employers. We wanted to preserve for ourselves at least one day of the week, and we also wanted to put some penalty on the employer requiring his men to work on Sundays.
The first part of the Clause reads:'Any contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sundays if so 1519 required shall provide for a free day in lieu or alternatively for the payment of double-time rates of pay…My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) says that he has been advised by someone that it is unworkable. Do the Government say that? A lot of trade union agreements contains precisely the same provision in regard to double time, and so on. In addition, spectacles and sports involve special kinds of employment, and there are those who object to them. If men and women have a strong conscientious objection to working on Sunday, are we to be told that it is impracticable to protect for them? I do not believe that it is.
I am sorry that my hon. Friend seeks to remove the Clause. If he gets his Bill—and he knows my view—such a provision is essential because we shall be creating an enormous amount of Sunday employment that does not at present exist. If the Bill is enacted, can we be told how many people will be employed on Sunday who are not now compelled to do so? In all industries, including coal mining, we see the man being pressed to the service of the machine.
What is called the "Continental" week, which includes Sunday, means working cycles of shifts. To do that may be necessary for our economic well-being, but it is a tremendous price for the workers to pay. It will disturb our social life. In some places where there is a cycle of 26 shifts each week it is almost impossible to carry on any organisation because one cannot get the men together. It is a price that we may have to pay, but it is a very heavy price.
There are machines in industry which, if they are not worked continuously for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, cannot show a proper return on the capital invested—or such is the argument. That sort of employment may be essential in industry, but sport, entertainment and spectacle does not come into that category of employment. I therefore hope that we shall keep the entire Clause.
§ Mr. Hamling
I hope that my right hon. Friend has read this Clause aright. It does not refer to entertainments and spectacles. The Clause will affect every industry and every service.
§ Mr. Griffiths
My hon. Friend has a copy of the Bill. Will he look at the rubric? It says:Employment for the purposes of providing spectacles, etc., referred to in sections two or three".
§ Mr. Hamling
He is a former Minister. He will recognise that rubrics have nothing to do with the law.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Then what is the point of putting these words in? I read the Bill as it is and presumed that the words applied. If they do not apply as stated, they apply generally to industry. If the Clause is not included what protection will the men be given? Are we to rely entirely upon trades unions?
Has this question been put to the Trades Union Congress, or the C.B.I.? If the Clause were omitted would there be any protection other than by trade union agreement? I am not familiar with this matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) is much more familiar with it. Nevertheless, I have an impression that many people are employed at football matches and that those employees are not well organised. Since the House is to provide that they shall be employed on Sundays it has a duty to protect them. That is why the Clause is essential.
§ Mr. Ennals
First, I must point out to my right hon. Friend and to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) that it is not a question whether or not we think that people who work on Sundays should be granted a rest day in lieu, or be able to look forward to not less than double pay; the question is whether the provision should be in the Bill in this form. My hon. Friend mentioned the Crathorne Report, but referred only to one part of it. If he will look at paragraph 227 he will see that it says:The recommendations in Part II"— dealing with sport—will also have the effect of increasing slightly the number of persons employed in connection with Sunday sport. They are not at present subject to any statutory conditions of employment and we received no evidence to suggest that statutory conditions could or should be applied to them.1521 In Committee I said that the Crathorne Report was right and that it would be a difficult thing to define by statutory means what is done either directly or indirectly in consequence of this Bill.
I want to say a word about my relationship with my hon. Friend. It is true that from time to time I have advised him, as I have the House, and during our debates in Committee upstairs I have intervened. Normally the purpose of my advice has been to ensure that when the House or the Committee upstairs votes it knows what it is voting about and what the consequences of its vote will be.
There have been times when I have advised my hon. Friend to accept what seemed to be the general consensus of the House, but it must be recognised that my hon. Friend's main desire is to get his Bill through, and I sympathise with him in his attempt. My desire, and that of the Government, however, is to see that if the Bill gets through it is a workable Bill. Whenever I feel that a Clause is liable to produce difficulties it is my bounden duty to advise the House, and I shall do so.
§ Mr. Ennals
No; I would never have such arrogance as that. I have some sympathy with my hon. Friend when he says that he always thinks that his advice is right. I would not give advice if I did not think it was right, but it is for the House to decide whether or not to accept the advice.
The only advantage that I have is that the advice I give has no copyright, and is an accumulation of the advice of those who have gone deeply into the Bill. This applies to the Ministry of Labour as it was—now the Department of Employment and Productivity—and to the Law Officers. I shall give their advice shortly.
§ Sir Knox Cunningham
Can the Minister help those who were not Members of the Committee? Did he give advice to the Committee on this point? If so, why are we discussing the Clause?
§ Mr. Ennals
I am sorry to have to laugh. I did give advice in Committee, and the Committee was unwise enough 1522 to reject the advice both of myself and my hon. Friend the sponsor. The Committee did so in its wisdom. It was a small Committee, and we are a large House. I am pointing out the lack of wisdom of the Committee in including the Clause. It was a lack of wisdom, not a lack of foresight.
As has been said, the Clause is open to objections both in principle and in drafting, and I shall go into those objections in detail. In this connection the deficiencies of drafting are not technicalities to be put right with the aid of skilled draftsmen; they are not the sort of thing in respect of which we can say, "We can pass this, and perhaps in another place the defects can be remedied."
First, the Clause does not relate to the Bill. I pointed this out in Committee, when I said that the side note could not be construed by the courts as being part of the Clause and, secondly, that the Clause related to the whole field of employment whether or not it had anything to do with the activities referred to in the Bill. That advice is from the highest legal circles, and it must be accepted that the inclusion of the words in the side note cannot be accepted by a court as part of the Clause.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
If that is the case a simple Amendment can be made in another place. After the words "Any contract of employment" there can be inserted the wordsfor the purposes of providing spectacles".If the Clause is amended in that way it will apply only to the purposes for which the Bill was introduced.
§ Mr. Ennals
Even if we accepted what my right hon. Friend has put forward there are other cogent arguments against including it. For instance, it would be wrong, or illogical, to make special provision for people who happen to be working because of the provisions of the Bill, and put them in a different position from that of persons who are working for some other reason. To draw a dividing line between those without statutory protection and those with it would be extremely difficult.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
I suspect that my hon. Friend has been wrongly advised on this point. No Clause is allowed by 1523 the Parliamentary draftsmen or Mr. Speaker to go into a Bill unless it is within the terms of the Long Title. The Clauses within the Bill are limited to the terms of the Long Title.
§ Mr. Ennals
If my hon. Friend is saying that Mr. Speaker was out of order it is for him to raise the point with Mr. Speaker.
It will also be recognised that the Clause was injected in Committee; it was not drafted by Parliamentary draftsmen. As I understand it, it was drafted by my hon. Friend the Member for Putney. It was accepted in Committee against advice, including the legal advice of the spokesman for the Government, namely, myself.
My advice now is the same advice that I put before the Committee—and now the matter has been gone into carefully, not only by those involved in the Department of Employment and Productivity but also by the Law Officers.
§ 2.0 p.m.
§ Secondly, the Clause runs contrary to the present pattern of the Bill. The operative Clauses—Clauses 2 and 3—prohibit certain activities at certain times, while leaving them, subject to any limitations as a result of a clause which was accepted last Friday, free and lawful at other times. Contravention of the provisions constitutes a criminal offence. The Clause, except in the proviso, contains no prohibition at all. It creates no offence on which a prosecution could properly be founded. It does little more than state a broad principle. It may be, as think, a worthy principle, but it is a broad principle, and the purpose of Acts of Parliament is not to state broad principles but to state clearly and unambiguously what may or may not be done and to provide for the enforcement of any prohibitions. The Bill, which is to become part of the criminal law, contains a provision which, if appropriate to legislation at all, would be appropriate to legislation concerning civil law.
§ Captain Orr
The Clause would render null and void any contract of employment which did not contain certain things.
§ Mr. Ennals
The Clause seeks to interfere with the ordinary law of contracts 1524 of service. The hon. Gentleman leads me on to a point. The law of contract is basically very simple and consists of three propositions—that people should be free to make all the contracts they like; that, having made them, they should abide by them; and that, if a party does not abide by a contract, the other party to the contract should be free of it, if he wishes. If we are to interfere with any of these principles, we must set about it with great care, because we shall be interfering with a matter with which of its nature lies wholly between one person and another and so falls to the civil courts to enforce if, but only if, proceedings are brought by a party to the contract.
§ Captain Orr
There are any amount of contracts which cannot be entered into in that simple way and which contain provisions taken from Statutes preventing certain aspects of them from being against the public interest.
§ Mr. Ennals
There are any amount of contracts. The Clause applies toAny contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sunday if so required".The vast majority of contracts of employment are silent on this matter; they do not refer to the question whether a person shall work on Sunday. Does the Clause apply to an ordinary typist? Typists do not generally work on Sunday. If one wants her to do so on a special occasion, one asks her if she is prepared to do so. If she says that she is, does the case fall within the Clause? No one could say with any confidence if the Clause were included, but is she entitled to a day off in lieu or to double pay? If so, who is to say which, whether it is to be one or the other? If she is to receive double time rates for her Sunday work, what is the rate which is to be doubled, bearing in mind that she is paid by the week? If we are to write this into our legislation, these are matters which must be taken into consideration.
§ Mr. Spriggs
In view of the many Bills which are passed, in view of the many promises made by Ministers, in view of the many statements made by back bench Members about Bills, and as the courts often interpret Bills in a completely different way from that which was understood from a 1525 Minister's undertakings, will my hon. Friend give an undertaking that, if the Clause remains in the Bill, the rubric will be retained so that the courts, if they are called upon to interpret the Clause, will take it to refer only to Clauses 2 and 3, as set out in the margin?
§ Mr. Ennals
I could not give any such assurance. Even if I were to seek to do so, it would have no validity in the courts. It has been said today that assurances are given in the House and the courts interpret them differently. This is something we must be careful about. My advice is that whatever assurances a Minister were to give to the effect that a Clause means this rather than something else would have no validity in the courts. We are not passing a Front Bench speech. We are passing a Clause. When passing a Clause, it is important to ensure that it will stand up to every examination by the courts without their having to refer back to a Report stage in the House of Commons. We are passing legislation. We must be responsible about it.
§ Sir Knox Cunningham
This is an important point. The Minister is arguing about a contract between two individuals. Does he not agree that the whole tendency in the House has been to impose limitations on contracts between individuals? There is nothing wrong with that in particular cases. There is nothing wrong with it if we are to protect the individual from working on Sunday against his conscience.
§ Mr. Ennals
This is a matter for debate. An earlier exchange concerned the question whether it is a good thing increasingly to provide statutory protection, or whether it is best to leave these matters to normal negotiation between trade unions and employers.
It seems from the rubric, in which there has been some interest, that the Clause is intended to be limited to employment stemming from the activities mentioned in Clauses 2 and 3, though there is nothing in the Clause so to limit it. Even if the Clause were so limited, this would create new difficulties. Is a policeman, a doctor, or a nurse, whose attendance is required at a Sunday entertainment, within the Clause? If so, why should the policeman in the football 1526 ground qualify and not the policeman directing the traffic outside? If both are qualified, why not the coach driver who brings the spectators?
An attempt has been made to persuade me to say that the purposes of the Clause are limited to those involved in employment, because of the provisions of Clauses 2 and 3. If we adhere to that, we immediately create a dividing line between a policeman who is on duty that day because of a spectacle or sporting activity under the Clause and another policeman who may be on point duty for quite different reasons. One may be on double time and the other not. One may have a day off in lieu and the other may not have a day off in lieu. I submit that either to write into a Bill a provision that is all-embracing or to write into a Bill a provision that creates divisions between those who are in employment because of the provisions of the Bill and those who are in employment without the provisions of the Bill is not logical.
The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) is concerned about the conscience point of the Clause. There are two objections here. First, it is not a proviso at all. A proviso is a provision which makes some exception to what has gone before. There is nothing in the Clause saying that someone who makes a bargain should keep to it. It is the ordinary law that says that. Therefore, it is not a proviso to the Clause to say that a person who makes a contract need not honour it on Sundays if he has religious or conscientious objections to doing so.
Quite why and on what principle a person who makes a contract should be excused from performing it the Clause does not make clear. Many privileges have been given by the law—for example, to trade unions—qua contracts. But no one has ever suggested that these privileges should extend to absolving a striker—even a one-day striker—from the consequences of his strike, however conscientious his motives.
No one can be compelled to perform a contract of employment. If a man chooses not to perform it, or not to perform it on Sundays, the other party has certain rights in the matter, of which the most fundamental is the right to say, "If you will not honour your side of the contract, I shall not honour mine."
§ Captain Orr
But what is said here is not concerned with performance of the contract. It is directed to what can be contained in the contract—…no person shall be required by his contract of employment to work on Sundays who establishes that he has…and so on.
The Under-Secretary of State said that it was not a proviso. Very well. Let us leave out the first two words, "Provided that", so that it reads, "No person shall be required…". Can he see any objection to that?
§ Mr. Ennals
I should have to give some thought to a different form of words. On my feet at this moment, I should not like to commit myself to a form of words. In any case, it would be for my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) to take responsibility for that.
If a person objects to working on Sundays, he has the remedy in his own hands. If he finds it difficult to secure employment of the kind and on the conditions he wants, there is nothing in the Clause to assist him. No one is obliged to engage a man who is not willing to do what the employer wants him to do. There is nothing in the Clause to alter that, and neither could there be. If a man contracts to work on Sundays—whether or not on other days also—he must work on Sundays or risk being dismissed.
The problem of unjust dismissal cannot be looked at in the isolated context of Sunday work, let alone the isolated context of this Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West said, the question of unjust dismissal is one of the general problems now being considered by the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
I have listened carefully to my hon. Friend's argument. I do not agree with it and, if there were time, I could shatter it. But I put this point to him now. By this Bill, we shall provide that work may be done on a Sunday which is not legal now. It will be a new situation. As we are deciding that work shall be done on a Sunday which is not legal now, the House of Commons has a responsibility to ensure 1528 that those who are so compelled are protected.
§ Mr. Ennals
I submit to my right hon. Friend that the person who may be obliged to work on a Sunday if the Bill becomes an Act is in no way different from the person who may be obliged to work on Sunday for quite different reasons. There is a whole range of people—the milkman, the power station worker and the rest—who are required by the very nature of our society to work on Sundays. It is true that the Bill will slightly—I say slightly—broaden the range of people who will be involved in work on a Sunday. It will sometimes call for some extra policemen or some extra transport workers. But I can see no argument for distinguishing a certain category of persons working on Sundays because of what might flow from the Bill rather than the broader category of persons who in any case, for quite different reasons, work on Sunday.
I have said that it would be extremely difficult to draw the line between the person who will work on Sunday in consequence of the Bill and the other person who works on Sunday for reasons unconnected with the Bill.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
Most workers who work on Sundays now have either double time or a day off in lieu. This happens now. Nothing more is asked.
§ Mr. Ennals
Of course it happens now, but it is not done by Statute. It is not written into an Act of Parliament. It is the result of proper negotiation. These are matters for negotiation by the normal negotiating machinery.
§ 2.15 p.m.
§ Sir C. Black
There is all the difference in the world between the two categories. The man who works on Sunday now took up his employment knowing that, by the nature of his employment, he would have to work on Sundays. He accepted that requirement when he took the job. On the other hand, to take two classes, the actor or professional footballer follows a calling in which, as he knew when he went into it and has known until now, he would not be required to work on Sunday because the law made it illegal. We shall now impose on him, in the mid-stream of his 1529 career, a duty which he could never have foreseen when he entered upon it.
§ Mr. Ennals
That would apply to a number of categories, I agree. It might apply to those involved in certain types of sport which could now take place but hitherto could not. But there is a whole range of other categories of worker—I have instanced the policeman and the transport worker—who may be called upon to work, so it is said, as a result of the Bill but who equally expected to have to work on Sunday in any case. The nature of their work is such that they are from time to time required to put in duty on a Sunday.
§ Mr. Wilkins
My hon. Friend is under an illusion here. I take the example of the police. Wherever there are sporting events calling for extra policemen, in nearly all cases they are off-duty policemen who are invited to come in to do a tour of duty, for which they are paid. The same would apply to bus drivers and the like. It may be their normal day off, but, because some spectacle is staged which requires a good deal of additional transport or other services, these people are invited to come back to work.
The whole essence of trade union negotiation and agreement about Sunday working is that there shall be a sanction put upon the employer who causes a man to come in to work on the Sabbath day. This applies throughout the trade union movement. The separate categories to which my hon. Friend has referred cannot be invoked as a reason for deleting the Clause.
§ Mr. Ennals
If there is a Division, hon. Members will have to decide which Lobby they go into. It is true that, when employers bring people in to work on Sunday, there are usually contracts of employment laying down certain conditions in terms of extra payment or time off. This will apply just as much to transport workers driving buses to take people to a cricket match as to others driving buses simply as part of the ordinary Sunday services. One cannot say that one group of people are 1530 working because of something passed in an Act of Parliament. I do not accept for a moment that that could be so. The provisions which hon. Members wish to write into the Bill will emerge as a result of the normal contracts negotiated between employers and workers just as they have emerged over our history.
The last point of difficulty which I raise is, again, directed to the conscience clause. Many people would have some sympathy with this provision, at first sight. As I said in Committee, I have some personal sympathy with the motives behind both parts of Clause 4, and my hon. Friend the sponsor of the Bill said the same. But as responsible Members passing legislation we must look beyond the feelings of our own hearts and at the effect of Clauses.
When one looks at the Clause closely one sees that it is a non-starter. It is difficult to see how such cases could be brought before the ordinary courts, and we should probably need nothing short of tribunals similar to those which were set up to decide whether people who objected to military service had a conscientious objection. To try to write such conscientious objections into a Bill to which criminal penalties are attached would be irresponsible.
Therefore, whilst understanding the motives of those who brought the Clause into the Bill, hope that they will accept its deletion.
§ Mr. Peter Mills (Torrington)
We hear a lot of nonsense in the House from time to time, and we heard a great deal from the Minister. I found his speech most unconvincing. I believe that many people do mind working on Sundays. There are times when one must, and I have to do it myself—[Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but if they came down to Yendon farm, Ashwater, every Sunday they would see me in my dungarees and working gear feeding the stock and the pigs. I am a practical working farmer, which is a lot more than other people on either side of the House can say.
§ Mr. Ennals
I am not a practical working farmer, but would not the hon. Gentleman agree that if he were not prepared to do the work which he undertakes on a Sunday he would not have become a farmer?
§ Mr. Mills
That may well be so. I was not getting at the Minister but at hon. Members who were laughing at the fact that an hon. Member does practical work.
There are times when one must work on Sundays, but on my farm we do not make work. We do not do things just for the sake of doing them, but cut everything to the minimum so that my men can enjoy a day's rest. If they wish, they can go to church. If we deleted the Clause it would be permissible to make people to do more work on a Sunday, and I am opposed to that. We want only to do the essential things on a Sunday and not to force other people to work as well. I feel strongly about this.
We come to the question of double pay. If people must work on Sundays they should receive double pay for that extra burden. I have received a letter from a Devon policeman which sums up what I am trying to say and puts the view of the police very strongly. I did not ask him to write it. The letter says:Writing as a police officer, I can see that we shall in the police be required for crowd control at all Sunday sporting sessions. Why should we have to be deprived of resting with our families on Sundays? We shall already have been away from them on the previous day's sport and through other necessary duties. This is unnecessary work for the police. The spectators do not care. They can shout their heads off and throw bottles, fight and cause scenes. Surely, having experienced this on a Saturday, the police to a large extent should be able to look forward to some rest on Sunday and to be quiet. After all, the type of work during the other six days is such that most of us are glad to get home and shut the door on it all. We shall not even be paid doubly for our extra labours. We shall be ordered to be there, and that's that.Politicians might think they are popular by going with the crowd, and even doing this sort of thing, by doing away with Sunday as a national day of rest. One day, perhaps, they will regret it.Those are the simple words of a constable.
The Minister has disappeared—
§ Mr. J. D. Concannon (Mansfield)
My hon. Friend has been called out to take a very urgent telephone message. He will be back fairly shortly.
§ Mr. Mills
I accept that, of course. For a horrible moment I thought that my words had driven him out of the Chamber.
1532 There are many other classes of people who must work on Sundays, and I do not see why we should impose an extra burden. I fear very much for the person providing services at one of the big Sunday entertainments. One can imagine what will happen to waiters or waitresses if they tell their employer, "I am sorry, I will not work on Sunday. I have never done it here before." He will reply, "You have to work. This is your job." For many such people it is not easy to find jobs if they are given the sack because they object to working on a Sunday.
These are important matters. I assure the Minister, who has returned from his urgent telephone call, that the police are concerned. They have enough to do during the week. They have enough trouble looking after some of the unruly crowds at football matches, and so on. There will be very strong resentment if they are forced to do even more without getting double pay.
I have to work on Sundays, because livestock cannot be left unattended. I have never forced any of my men to work on a Sunday if they feel that they cannot; I have done the job myself. It would be absolutely wrong to force people to work on Sundays. Very strong pressure will be brought to bear on people in all sorts of jobs to do so. I hope that the Minister will at least bear in mind the letter from a policeman which I read.
§ Mr. McNamara
The hon. Member for Torrington (Mr. Peter Mills) seemed to take exception when some of us laughed at him when he said that he must work on Sundays. We thought that he was going to talk about his constituency employment and not his other work. Most of us work on Sundays doing our constituency work as well. When he said that he must feed the stock we wondered at first what the stock did the rest of the week. Then he said that he was letting his men off. I hope that when they have to stay they get double pay on Sundays.
I support the inclusion of the Clause, because every time constituents wrote to me expressing concern about the Bill I said that I would support it on two conditions. First, there should be adequate protection for any person who felt 1533 on conscientious grounds that he or she would not work on a Sunday. Second, that there should be proper provision and protection for people who do not have any religious objection to working on a Sunday in the way of double pay and a day off in lieu. That is what the Clause seeks to do.
In arguing for the exclusion of the Clause, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State said that there were objections on technical grounds and to the principle behind it, although he was inclined to agree with it. That seems to be a dangerous argument. My right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths) made a very powerful point when he said that people would be made to work on a Sunday when before it had been illegal and, therefore, that there is a distinction between them and anyone else.
Listening to the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend, one would think that we were still in the nineteenth century, when any State intervention in industrial relations was considered to be wrong. We cannot argue consistently that one sort of intervention is right and another sort wrong, and, by throwing up all sorts of strange guys to knock down himself, the Minister did himself a disservice.
Any transport worker, for example, knows when he is put on to work to take a crowd to or from a local football match and when he is dealing with an ordinary Saturday afternoon shopping crowd. In the same way, he will know on a Sunday when he is put on to work to take people to or from a sporting event and when he is dealing with an ordinary Sunday crowd.
We have a situation here in which we are proposing to call upon individuals to surrender the weekends that they would like to spend at home with their families, and, whether or not they have religious objections, they should be compensated. Sunday is not the same as any other day of the week, and to give a man a weekday off in lieu is not good enough.
People working on the periphery of the entertainment industry are generally covered by works councils. By definition, they include some of the lowest paid and badly organised people in industry. It is no good our saying that theirs is a 1534 case for negotiation. We as a House have a duty to see that they are protected.
My hon. Friend said that he wanted a workable Bill, and that there were drafting objections to the Clause. However, his Department could easily surmount those objections if it was prepared to do so, and suitable Amendments could be introduced in the other place. There is no point in saying that something suitable could not be introduced in another place because it would not stand up to criticism. He knows that it could be done, and it should be done if we intend to impose any extra burden on people.
As a result, without the undertaking that we seek from the Government Front Bench, regretfully, I cannot accept the deletion of this Clause from the Bill.
§ 2.30 p.m.
§ Sir Knox Cunningham
Arising out of what the Minister has said, there are three points that I wish to make. As I understand it, his first point of criticism of Clause 4 is that it is much too wide and would cover a great number of other forms of employment. If that is so, it could be limited by inserting, after the words "any contract of employment", the phrasearising out of the terms of this Act".Those may not be the right words, but the hon. Gentleman has legal advisers who will be able to find suitable phraseology and, in that way, limit the provision to the terms of the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman's second point was that a great number of people work on Sunday already and receive higher rates of pay for it which are arrived at by negotiation and, as I understand his argument, we should not, therefore, make it statutory. However, we are making something legal which has been illegal until now, and I see no reason why an employer should not be compelled in the Bill to have to pay extra money for Sunday work.
The third and possibly most important of all was his point about it being a conscience clause. As I understand it, the hon. Gentleman said that he had sympathy with it, and he went almost as far as saying that he agreed with it in principle. He added, however, that it would be impracticable to work and quoted the wartime example of the tribunals for conscientious objectors.
1535 If people have a religious objection to working on Sundays, surely that is a good case for setting up such tribunals. It may be that only a few people will be involved, but Parliament has always been anxious to protect people from being forced to do something against their consciences.
§ Mr. McNamara
Before the hon. and learned Gentleman sits down, could he give the House some information? In the Amendments to the Race Relations Bill which have been tabled by his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg)—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Interventions always ought to be brief, but they must have something to do with what we are discussing.
§ Mr. McNamara
With respect, Mr. Speaker, it has. Those Amendments include religious discrimination and, as a member of the legal profession, perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman can say—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Even in an intervention, we cannot discuss the Race Relations Bill. We are discussing whether Clause 4 should be in this Bill.
§ Mr. Peter Mahon
I listened with rapt attention to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State who, for a large part of his speech, spoke against a background of dissent from both sides of the House. Nevertheless, he spoke honestly and in a straightforward manner in pinpointing many of the difficulties implicit in the Bill. I feel that we will disregard much of his advice at our peril.
Undoubtedly, a lot of what he said was unpalatable to hon. Members on both sides, but the truth hurts on occasions, and he was pointing to many of the weaknesses in the Bill—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We are not concerned with weaknesses in the Bill. We are concerned with the weaknesses or excellence in Clause 4.
§ Mr. Mahon
Yes, and that is the matter about which I wish to speak.
My hon. Friend referred a great deal to double pay for Sunday work, but man does not live by bread alone, and, even if he received treble pay, it would 1536 not compensate him for the loss of a Sunday's rest.
We are discussing whether this Clause should be in the Bill. Sport and other entertainments of different kinds on Sundays inevitably involve people having to work. As a result, an unendurable strain will be placed on them. It will not benefit the country in any shape or form and it will certainly not enhance our economic advance. Very often sports people, athletes and players, in the course of earning their daily bread, are taxed beyond endurance. There are certain employers who, in their endeavour to bolster up entertainment and sport, never fail to hold inducements before the people who are to participate. Sport and entertainment in this country seems to be becoming a religion.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We can discuss sport and entertainment in some other debate, not this one. This debate is concerned with whether workers who work on a Sunday shall get double pay and shall have a conscientious right not to work on a Sunday. The hon. Member must address himself to the Clause.
§ Mr. Mahon
I am trying very hard indeed. I was hoping, Mr. Speaker, that you would bear with me, because people who participate in professional sports are workers in the real sense of the word, whether they are being paid normal time, double time, or any extra inducement. With respect, we cannot conduct this debate on a narrow aspect.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We can conduct a debate only on what we are debating. This is not a question of narrowness.
§ Mr. Mahon
Unfortunately, there are many implications. I hope I shall not be ruled out of order, but one of the big implications is that of conscience. This concerns many people. People of all shades of opinion, naturally enough, want to fill in their time. They can please themselves whether they stay at home, work, or attend a sporting event 1537 on a Sunday. Many people call upon workers for more than they are capable of giving.
People who participate in entertainment are human beings—they are flesh and blood—but those who do not participate in sport often ask them for endeavours beyond their endurance. I am concerned about the professional foot-baller who is on call for six days a week. If the Bill becomes law, he will be on call seven days a week.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This is a matter which can be gone into on Third Reading. For the moment, we are deciding whether a Clause, which would give workers called upon to work on Sunday double pay and reserving to them the conscientious right not to work on a Sunday, should be put into the Bill. This is what we are debating at this moment.
§ Mr. Mahon
Unfortunately, I followed in the same trend as many other hon. Members who have spoken during your absence, Mr. Speaker, and I am ranging wide of the mark. I am now under your jurisdiction and I will conform. How-ever, the point which you have outlined so admirably and succinctly is what has been worrying me. I feel that the trade unions have a right to be concerned and the Minister has a right to be concerned about what sort of place it will take in the Bill, because he is responsible for the drafting and working of it, according to the advice which he receives from his advisers. I understand his perturbation in the matter. I had great fellow-feeling for him when he was trying to convince the House that this was something we should not overlook.
§ 2.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ron Lewis
I am glad to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Peter Mahon) because of his great sincerity in this matter. I would only differ from him on one point. He said that he listened to the Minister with rapt attention. I confess that I did not listen to the Minister with rapt attention. I listened somewhat sorrowfully, because he put the Government's point of view more or less in direct contradiction to everything that the Labour movement stands for. We are discussing Sunday, and Sunday preserves the distinctive character of the 1538 day. Not only that, it preserves the workers' day of rest.
§ Mr. Ennals
I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker. Is my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ron Lewis) aware that if this Clause were to remain it would immediately affect many agreements reached with industry concerning Sunday work? I have been reminded, during the course of the day, of the Bevercotes agreement in the mining industry, which makes a 7-day week obligatory on a rotation system. This would immediately be covered if the Clause remained in the Bill. Therefore, what I was saying was not in direct contradiction with the Labour movement.
§ Mr. Lewis
I am anxious that it should be written into the Bill, not only to protect those who will have to work on a Sunday, but those who are already doing it, assuming, God forbid, that the Bill becomes law.
I speak from personal experience. Before I came to this House I was an employee of British Railways. As hon. Members on both sides know, a certain amount of work must be done on a Sunday in that industry. I was employed in the sheds repairing locomotives that had to be on the road on Monday morning. That inevitably meant a certain amount of Sunday work. However, when we worked on a Sunday, we had extra compensation in the shape of double time. That is precisely what I want to see written into the Bill.
The Minister is nodding his head, yet he spoke to the opposite effect from the brief prepared for him by the Home Office.
§ Mr. Ennals
My hon. Friend misunderstands. I was saying "Hear, hear" because it is of vital importance that workers who work on Sunday should get double time or days off in lieu—whatever is negotiated. It is inappropriate that the range of workers to whom my hon. Friend is referring should be included and covered in a Sunday Entertainments Bill.
§ Mr. Lewis
With all due respect to my hon. Friend, he must be a little more consistent, if he accepts everything that we and hon. Members opposite have been saying about the Clause, he should accept it in its entirety and not ask for it to be thrown out.
This is a bad Bill. If the Bill is passed without this Amendment it will be a worse Bill. We are seeking certain safeguards, namely, that those who have to work on Sunday shall be compensated and that those who do not wish to work on Sunday shall have the right not to do so. There is a minority who still look upon Sunday as a day of rest and will not work on that day under any circumstances. If we in this House attempt to steamroller this Clause, I suggest that shame will come upon all those associated with it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) and I have a lot in common. We have fought General Elections since 1945, and got here in 1964. I pay my tribute to him. I disagree with the Bill, but I hope that my hon. Friend will see the logic of our arguments and agree not to delete the Clause.
§ Mr. Farr
I share the concern expresses by the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ron Lewis) who said that before he came to the House he used to necessary to enable British Railways maintenance sheds. If the Bill becomes law, much more Sunday work will be necessary or to enable British Railways to run excursion trains for the numerous sporting events, which are likely to be held.
Is the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) aware of the number of additional people who are likely to be affected and have to work on Sunday if the Bill becomes law? Constructive speeches have been made from both sides of the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Torrington (Mr. Peter Mills) referred to the letter which he had received from a police constable in Plymouth. He went on to talk about the agriculture industry, and how those who work in it try to master Sunday work. My hon. Friend is right, because work of a certain kind has to be done on Sundays. It is not possible to tell the stock to wait until Monday or to give 1540 them double rations on Saturday. At harvest time, if there are a number of wet days in succession, it is necessary to work on Sunday if it happens to be fine. When spraying is done in the spring, it is often essential to do it on a Sunday. People in the industry are not compelled to work on a Sunday, but they do so if necessary.
My hon. Friend also referred to the possibility of many more people having to work on a Sunday if professional football is played, but he omitted to refer to the extra people who will be required to man public transport services. I am not thinking only of British Railways. Many major town and city football clubs are situated near the centres of cities. With car parking space at a premium, public transport services will be called into use to provide facilities for customers to go to and return from the matches.
My hon. Friend talked about people employed in cafes near football grounds, and about them being required to work on Sunday, but what about catering staffs at the racecourses? The hon. Member for Woolwich, West, is probably not aware that no fewer than 20 people are employed for every horse that races. There is the trainer's staff, the bookies' staffs, the racecourse staff, the totalisator staff, and other officials. If there are 50 runners on a card—which is not a large card—at least 1,000 people are involved.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not wish to mislead the House. If the Bill becomes law, racing will still not take place. The Bill does not propose to alter the laws on gambling, which say explicitly that betting on Sunday is prohibited.
§ Mr. Farr
I am grateful to the Minister for that intervention, but what I have suggested may be the next stage. There is no reason why a race meeting should not take place on a Sunday, with an admission fee being charged, and ante-post betting taking place the day before. That may be a profiable consideration. The Minister shakes his head. He had better discuss the matter with the former Paymaster-General. He might then learn something about the industry. To produce a race card of 50 runners requires the active participation of about 1,000 people.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I hope that the hon. Member will now come to the proposal before the House, which is whether the Clause should stay in the Bill or not.
§ Mr. Wilkins
My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Ham-ling) is asking us to delete a Clause which he thought was necessary when he prepared the Bill.
§ Mr. Wilkins
We are beginning to see the light. Because it was added by a majority of the Committee, my hon. Friend seeks to have it deleted by the strength of support which he can muster in the House today. That is what it comes to, but that is not my main reason for intervening.
It has become clear this afternoon that my hon. Friend is seeking to delete the Clause because, for some reason of which only it is aware, the Home Office has discovered a reason why it should not be in the Bill. Perhaps I am doing an injustice to the Home Office. Perhaps it is the "Minister for Sport", who has been muttering all sorts of objectionable remarks because we dare to challenge whether there should be Sunday sport, who wants it deleted. What vested interest does he want to serve? There has not been nearly enough frankness about the Bill. What vested interests are concerned? We ought to be told who wants the Clause deleted to protect them from having to pay for employing men on the Sabbath.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I am sure my hon. Friend will take it from me that neither the Under-Secretary of State to the Home Department nor I object to this Clause in any way on the ground that double time ought not to be paid. We are advised by the Department of State responsible for employment matters that the Clause should be taken out. This is not a position which we are taking up, certainly not one I am taking up, on the grounds of sport.
§ Mr. Wilkins
I hope that this will be one of the times when Parliament asserts its authority and that we shall not be told by some so-called responsible Department what the House is to do. This is a Private Member's Bill.
The reason I want the Clause to remain in the Bill is not that I necessarily support the terms in which it is written. It is not nearly protective enough for the workers. The proposal would enable a few selfish individuals to indulge in entertainment on Sundays, but there are two parties concerned. There are those who demand that there shall be Sunday entertainment and the other reason for the proposal is mercenary. It cannot be any other. The Rugby League wants football to be played on Sundays because it cannot draw crowds to matches on Saturdays. The British people are asked to give up the Sabbath Day in order that clubs can get more money from matches played on Sundays.
I am absolutely astounded at my colleagues on the Front Bench. They are supposed to be trade unionists, yet they try to persuade the House to do something which is in complete violation of everything—
§ Mr. Spriggs rose—
§ Mr. Wilkins
Do not stop me when I am in steam. [Laughter.] It may be that to some hon. Members this matter appears to be a funny one, but it is not funny to me. I have been in my trade union since 1919. We fought to get double time for work on Sundays. Government Departments and local authorities write into contracts that there must be fair conditions similar to those provided by the best employers. If we were to ensure that in this Bill we would say in this Clause, not only that double time 1543 should be paid for work on Sundays, but that there should be a day off in lieu. Hon. Members opposite are prepared to help us, but we on this side of the House should insist on this provision in the Bill. I hope that if we can get the Clause retained in the Bill we shall see to it that it applies to the professional footballer, even though he gets £100 per match.
I want the widest possible sanctions to be imposed on employers who want Sunday entertainment. The only alternative to the highest sanctions is the lowest sanctions. That would mean regarding every day in the week as the same. We would be saying that anyone who worked on a Sunday would receive the same as if he worked on any other day. There would then be a revolt of the workers for they would refuse to work on the Sabbath. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) has a lot more sense than those who are trying to persuade him and trying to organise the passage of his Bill. That is where the advice is coming from, the Front Bench.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Even with steam, the hon. Member must address the hon. Gentleman through the Chair.
§ Mr. Wilkins
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I was at that moment simply turning to my hon. Friend to ask him to use his judgment and to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie (Ross and Cromarty)
I listened with great interest and admiration to the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins). Although I cannot claim to be a trade unionist I claim to have done what I could in a small way to promote the interests of the working man. That is why I support this Amendment.
It is very unfair that anyone should have to work on a Sunday if he works for the rest of the week or even for five days in the rest of the week. There are times when, on a farm, one has to work on a Sunday because there are questions of necessity and of mercy in dealing with animals. It should be our aim to keep work on Sundays to the very minimum. I am glad to hear that that is exactly what hon. Members on this side have been doing on their farms. It is often 1544 good policy to let the worker away on a Sunday and to do the work ourselves.
The question of the conscience clause is very important. It would be greatly to the detriment of British society that anybody should be asked or forced to work on the Lord's Day. It would be grossly unfair that a man's job should be put in jeopardy if he refused to work on the Sabbath. This is one of the reasons why as a supporter of the working man, I support the Amendment.
The nation has upheld the church, and still does, though not quite to the same extent as it did. It is evident that the Church cannot function without the Sabbath. If we are to allow all sorts of sports and entertainments to draw vast crowds to watch spectacles on Sundays, it will detract from the interests of the Church and the church-going community. The case for the Amendment is over-whelming.
§ Mr. David Gibson-Watt (Hereford)
I hope that the House will forgive me for not being in my place during the middle of the day. The Clause has a great bearing upon the balance of the Bill. I take it that the contract of employment referred to in the first line of the Clause refers only to a contract caused by the Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If it does not, it bears out my worst fears. Any Bill without a Clause of this type would be unacceptable to me.
The hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie) comes from Scotland. There are other Members present who come from Wales. One of the major difficulties about the Bill is that people from different regions must view the Bill, and the Clause in in particular, very differently. The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins), who spoke with considerable feeling about people who would automatically be employed on a Sunday, accurately pin-pointed one of the difficulties.
In the permissive society in which we live, it becomes increasingly difficult for men and women of good will to keep a balance. There are great dangers that it can go too far. The hon. Member for Bristol, South has long experience of trade union work and, with his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ron Lewis), who has worked on the railways, he reminded the House that anyone 1545 working in transport would be very much affected by the Bill. The numbers driving trains and driving buses on Sundays might be considerably increased. Nor should we forget that the police, the ambulance and Red Cross services would be involved. Fond as I am, therefore, of various sports, both as a performer and as a watcher, I feel that that is an aspect of the Bill which we must not forget.
Two points of importance have arisen. The first is whether someone employed on a Sunday, as a result of the extra entertainment provided, should have a day free in lieu or double rate of pay. The second point concerns conscientious objection. I will not follow the second argument, for every hon. Member, and possibly almost everyone in the country, has a different type of conscientious objection. Whatever one may think about the purpose of Sunday, one cannot help being influenced by one's upbringing, by one's church or chapel, or by many other influences which one feels during one's life.
All of us have different views, sometimes depending on the part of the world in which we live. Speaking to an earlier Amendment, the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. J. Idwal Jones) referred to the difference in the time of church services in Wales from those in other parts of the country, and he was quite right. That shows how difficult it is to produce legislation which will please everybody. Like other hon. Members who have prepared or supported Private Members' Bills in the past, the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) is a very brave man.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I fully accept that. I was saying that the two points within the ambit of the Clause impinge in a different way on various members of the community and, therefore, that any hon. Member who is brave enough to produce a Bill of this sort will realise that he must offend some people.
How far could this Bill go in extending Sunday employment? Is it, as my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) suggested, a first step to other 1546 things? I regret that I have not been in my place throughout the debate, but I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary could have said more about the advice which the Front Bench opposite has received from a certain Department of State. I take it that the Department in question is the Ministry of Employment and Productivity. Considering the implications of the Clause, I would have thought that a representative of that Ministry should have been here. We have excellent representatives of the Home Office and the "Ministry of Sport", and although this is a Friday, it is regrettable that a representative of the Ministry of Employment and Productivity is not here to state the facts and tell us what is in the Department's mind.
Many more people will be working on Sundays as a result of this Measure; not just those who are taking part in sport but those involved in the ancillary services connected with it. Obviously, a Clause of this sort is necessary as a safeguard, although its wording may have to be amended in another place. Because the question of double-time rates of pay and conscientious objection must be considered in the Bill, I cannot support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Dempsey
I paid close attention to the Minister's remarks about the non-inclusion of the Clause in the Bill and I rise because of my concern about compensation for Sunday work and the need to protect conscientiously held views.
I am surprised at the advice that has been given to the Minister. I appreciate his intimation of the advice having been received from the appropriate Department, but I am surprised that the same Department objects to this type of provision being in the Bill. After all, that Department is responsible for many Statutory Instruments to protect workers who are unrecognised, and particularly those employed in the distributive trades. I see no reason, therefore, why similar provisions should not be included in the Bill. The principle of the Bill is wrong—I have always been against the commercialisation of Sunday—but if, unfortunately, the Bill is enacted, protection, assistance and compensation should be provided for those concerned.
1547 I have heard it said that football matches bring in elements of employment, but another sport that brings large crowds into an area is speedway racing. My hon. Friend must know of the dozens of stalls set up at these meetings for the sale of food, and the like, to teenagers and others. If that sort of sport is introduced on Sundays it means that hundreds of people will be compelled to work in that way—quite apart from the police who will have to be on duty, the first-aid people, doctors, nurses, and all the rest. It therefore seems reasonable that if Parliament passes a Bill of this nature it should also give people some protection against exploitation.
I have in mind workpeople who are not very well organised—in some trades, most of them are not organised at all—and if they do not have protection in regard to Sunday work—
§ Mr. Hamling
Does my hon. Friend think that the steel workers need this kind of protection written into a Statute?
§ Mr. Dempsey
There should be statutory protection for those people, in particular, who are not organised. I have experience of the unorganised section of the population—
§ Mr. Hamling
I am sorry to intervene again, but I asked a specific question. Does my hon. Friend think that the steel workers and other industrial workers need such protection written into a Statute?
§ Mr. Dempsey
All workers need all possible protection. If my hon. Friend adopts his present attitude, may I ask him why a former Minister of Labour introduced Measures to provide compensation for Sunday working for people in other trades? The answer is that the Minister was compelled to do so. But the people whom he was compelled to protect are the very people who will have to undertake Sunday employment if the Bill is passed. We must have Parliamentary protection for such workers—
§ Mr. Hamling
I am very sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend again, but he must understand what the Clause is about. Does he think that all industrial workers need this protection written into a Bill on sport?
§ Mr. Dempsey
I cannot visualise steel workers selling potato crisps at a speedway meeting or a football match on a Sunday. I cannot imagine them doing Red Cross work, or acting as nurses, doctors or policemen. I am talking now of the people who will be directly employed on a Sunday if the Bill is enacted—
§ Mr. Hamling
I am sorry to intervene again like this, but my hon. Friend must understand that this Clause has nothing to do specifically with people employed in sport. It covers every worker in every industry and trade.
§ Mr. Dempsey
That is just why we are arguing against the deletion of the Clause. All those involved, including people who entertain by sport, whether it be by racing with motor cycles or kicking a ball, need protection. Adequate protection should be provided for those compelled to work in order to allow others to indulge in some form of entertainment or sport. They should have compensation. If we have sporting events on Sundays we will have to ask people to work who are not now employed on Sundays.
§ Mr. Dempsey
I think it is. As a former trade unionist I always argued and agitated for the five-day week. That will now go by the board. That principle is disappearing.
§ Mr. Dempsey
Yes, it is. These people will be working on Sundays. In certain trades exploitation is so serious and severe that an Act of Parliament had to be passed to give the workers not only double time but time off. Parliament does not pass Acts of Parliament just because hon. Members wish to sit here and debate matters from Mondays to Fridays. Parliament does so because it is compelled to take action to counteract the exploitation that has taken place.
If the Bill goes through without the inclusion of this Clause, there will be no statutory provision to compensate people employed on Sundays That is why we argue that the Clause should be included.
I admire my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling). I 1549 admired his obstinacy this morning, but I wish he would not be so obstinate this afternoon. I wish that he would say to the Minister and to those who have advised the Minister, "Enough of you. We feel that the Bill should contain a written declaration of intent and a guarantee, and it is going in". That is how I feel about it.
Then there is the question of the conscientious objector who does not wish to work on Sundays. I cannot accept the argument that this provision could not be written into an Act of Parliament because it would be difficult to enforce in the courts. We have had previous experience of the rights of conscientious objectors being written into a Bill which became an Act and was enforceable in the courts. I hope that this protection will be given to conscientious objectors because, whether or not we like it, there is today a subtle attitude of mind in relation to people who have strong conscientious objections to working on Sundays—an attitude of mind which causes employers to wish to get rid of such people as quickly as possible.
I know that certain essential industries must keep going on Sundays. From the time I was knee-high, however, I was taught to keep the Sabbath. I know the parable about the sheep that fell into the pit. I know that some industries have to keep going on Sundays, but I cannot understand why speedway events, football matches, or other events which cause large conglomerations of people to gather together, should be allowed to interfere with the solitude and beauty of the lovely Sunday afternoons that we sometimes have.
I have never understood what law, logic or convincing argument can be adduced in favour of such events taking place on Sundays. I therefore believe that the rights of people who conscientiously object to working on Sundays should be indelibly printed in the Bill, and not left hanging in the air.
§ Colonel Sir Harwood Harrison (Eye)
Last Friday I congratulated the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) on accepting a Clause and not listening to the Minister, who suggested that at a later stage, in some other place, some sort of phrase could be written into the Bill. The sponsor was right not to take his hon. Friend's advice. But in 1550 the intervening seven days it appears that the hon. Gentleman has been listening to the Minister.
I have piloted two Private Members' Bills through the House, and I have had a large part to play in getting another one through. I can tell the hon. Member that once a sponsor's Bill has received a Second Reading it is never wise for him to listen to what the Minister says, whether or not he is on the sponsor's side. A sponsor's job is to get his Bill through. If I had listened to what a Minister said in respect of one of my Bills it would never have reached the Statute Book. An hon. Member should get his Bill through as near as possible in the form in which he wants it. Then, if there is something wrong with it that the Ministry of Labour wants altered, let the Ministry introduce an amending Bill, but the hon. Member's Bill is by that time on the Statute Book for all time.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
My hon. and gallant Friend has sufficient experience of the House to enable him to say that. Would he go further and say that not only the sponsor of the Bill, but the members of the Standing Committee and the Members of the House considering the Bill on Report should have the benefit of knowing what the Ministry of Labour thinks about the Clause?
§ Sir H. Harrison
I agree. The Bill has been considered in Standing Committee which, with all the resources and the time available to a Standing Committee, decided that it was wise to include this Clause in the Bill. The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins), who made what he described as a "steaming" speech—I would describe it as an impassioned speech, made from the heart—was ably supported by the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ron Lewis) on this matter. Standing Committees, particularly those which consider Private Members' Bills, are probably better informed on these matters than unorganised bodies of Members.
I do not know whether a representative from the Ministry of Labour attended the Standing Committee. I believe that the sponsor of the Bill has fallen into a trap. As I am opposed to the Bill, I am grateful to him for doing so. If he had not sought to delete the Clause, it is 1551 more than likely that we should by now have come to a conclusion as to the Third Reading of the Bill. I therefore hope that, in the days to come, if the Bill does not get on to the Statute Book this Session, the hon. Gentleman will remember where the fault lies and rue the folly of taking advice from Ministers instead of pressing on with the Bill.
I agree that the Clause should be retained. Even though one is opposed to a Bill, one must seek always to improve it in case it is given a Third Reading. I believe that this has been the motivation of those who are labelled opponents of the Bill. The Bill is at the moment a much better Bill than it was when it came from Committee, because of the two Clauses accepted by the sponsor of the Bill.
I am very concerned about those who, for a small reward, perform services part-time at sporting events. My hon. Friend the Member for Torrington (Mr. Peter Mills) spoke powerfully about the police, but there are many special policemen. At any rate, if I go to a large football match I always see special policemen on duty, many of whom are not paid, as I understand it. Are there to be more of the regular police on duty, or will they still ask the special police to go on duty for no pay? Is the whole concept of the special constabulary to be altered? As my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) said, there are St. John Ambulance people and others who attend to render succour in case people faint or come to harm.
Parliament has prescribed double pay on Sundays because it felt that men should not have to work on Sundays. I want the Clause to be retained, because I believe that the Bill will make extra work for people on Sundays, whether they like it or not. It is part of the whole arrangement—"You are part of the show in this sport, and you will have to be employed".
I hope, therefore, that the sponsor of the Bill will now accept that the Clause is necessary, or, better still, in view of the opposition which his Bill has aroused—I do not suppose that he will. and he will think it right to go on—go away and think about it during the Summer Recess, bringing back a Measure which is more acceptable to the House.
1552 As a Parliamentarian, I insist that it is this House of Commons and another place which, with the assent of the Crown, make our laws. There is too much nowadays of Governments—my own Government, too—telling us that this or that is not right because the Department does not like it. It is this House of Commons, in its collective wisdom, which makes our laws. That is what we are here for.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan
This is one occasion when I have not been wearied by rising nearly 20 times and not being called. I am so glad that the House of Commons has come back to its senses on this subject and that so many hon. Members wished to speak. It was led in that wiser direction by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths), who spoke with a voice which has hardly been heard in all the debates on this Bill, the authentic voice of the trade union movement of Britain. What he said has given a standard and tone to the debate which it did not quite have on Second Reading and which I doubt that it attained in Standing Committee.
It has been said that the sponsor of the Bill, my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling), has had a pistol put to his head since the Committee stage and has been forced to accept removal of Clause 4. Worse is happening to the Bill. In my view, he is being robbed, and robbed of a part of his Bill, involving perhaps, the most important consideration of all, for our working people, which led a good many trade union Members on this side to support him—the Sunday work safeguards. Many of them believed that they would have in the Bill at least some assurance of protection specifically for the people affected by the Bill.
§ Mr. Hamling rose—
§ Mr. MacMillan
I am not saying that the Clause itself is perfect. My hon. Friend need not say that it is not, because I agree.
§ Mr. MacMillan
That is the Committee's responsibility. Although I have spoken in, I believe, every debate on this subject since 1935, including the 1553 Second Reading of this Bill, I was not, as a Scotsman, a member of the Standing Committee. That is an exclusion from which we Scottish Members suffer: whether that exclusion is decided on a nationalist basis or some other more legitimate basis, I am not sure. Although I was, last week, almost challenged by one hon. Friend on my right to speak on this Bill, I must remind the House that it deals with a subject of great concern to many millions of people throughout the whole country. Never was this demonstrated more than by the trade union voices on this side today.
The Bill can affect millions of people in their working lives, throughout seven days of the week. For economic reasons, by the moral pressure of employers, and in other ways, people will be compelled to be available for work—not necessarily actually working, but available to be called to work on any of the seven days.
§ Mr. Hamling
Will my hon. Friend now press for the inclusion of Scotland in the Bill in order to give his Scottish workers the same protection?
§ Mr. MacMillan
My hon. Friend is really naïve in many ways. One would think that no provision had ever been made in a statute for a specific group of workers, including Scotsmen. Of course it has, in one Act after another. My hon. Friend may not have been here in the days when these things were done—though I think that he was here for some—but shopworkers and many other groups have had specific safeguards written into statutes to give them protection.
We are dealing here with some of the most helpless workers in this country, some of those most deprived of social security. It is curious that this point has not been mentioned. My hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins), who has for many years put up such a gallant fight on behalf of people in the class employed in the entertainment world to which I am now referring, made an excellent case today. He and I have often argued the same case for two widely different groups of workers. The variety artistes suffer a special deprivation. They are not engaged on a contract of service with an employer; but on a contract for ser- 1554 vices, and therefore, they are also deprived of unemployment insurance benefit and industrial injuries benefit, and do not come under Class 1 insurance. They are in this respect among the most unfortunate section of the working community, being wholly dependent on the whim of an employer who can engage and sack them, but does not cover them for unemployment benefit, as they are classed "self-employed."
The same applies to the textile workers in the Western Isles. I was asked how this affects my constituency, and the answer is that the Amendment's impact could be said to affect one way or another the interests of a good number of classes of workers throughout the country.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan
My hon. Friend is missing the point. There are people—textile weavers—in my constituency and also here in England among the variety artists who are suffering from the same social security deprivation to which I referred. My constituency reference is not a special reference to the Amendment as such—I was just making the point in passing, regarding the need to bring all such people into full insurance. Less protection is given to the people I have mentioned than to almost any other group in the community. It is not that the battle has not been hard fought, for my hon. Friend the Member for Putney and I have both fought it, but the fact still remains that those workers have no protection in unemployment. Because they have no unemployment insurance benefit and no Class 1 insurance, they are under greater pressure of economic necessity to take what jobs they can get on any and every day. They are in a very weak position vis-a-vis those hiring the services.
My hon. Friend said that the Clause went far too wide. He said that even journalists might be affected, and, of course, in one respect, they will. They will be expected to do a lot more Sunday reporting when there is a great deal more legalised Sunday sport and entertainment for ever greater numbers of people throughout the country.
The point has also been made by most of us here during these debates that a 1555 large number of ancillary activities must involve large numbers of workers other than purely professional sportsmen or players, or the people who are the actual professionals in the entertainment world.
The bus drivers were inevitably mentioned, and there is a further extension of the argument concerning them. They are not in plentiful supply, and we have had, all over the country, to employ a large number of immigrants, and been very glad to do so. I do not know what my hon. Friend the Minister is worried about, but he seems to suffer from a kind of schizophrenia in his unconvincing impartiality, being at one moment officially impartial, and the next weighing in entirely in favour of the Bill, and strongly opposing every argument against it. That is a general comment by several hon. Member who have spoken today which I hope has got home to him.
If a bus driver is employed on Sunday in connection with highly organised spectacles and sports on a Sunday, which would require a good deal of transport to take people to and from the places where the entertainments or games are held, he may be employed for only just over four hours on that day. If the Clause goes through, he would and must still receive compensation or have a full weekday off in lieu, quite apart from the half-day which he has at present by statute. That means that he will be engaged for one weekday less on essential work as a bus driver, because he has been engaged for a little over four hours on far less essential duties on Sunday. The same will apply to many other workers, at the very time when we are trying to move more workers from service industry into manufacturing industry. This runs against Government policy, about which there has been a good deal of heart-burning on both sides of the House, in the Labour Party and in industry.
It is estimated that the present arrangements affect about 200,000 people in Sunday work in entertainment and sport directly. However, once the Bill is passed, the number of occasions for such work will be greatly extended. Great crowds of spectators will be involved, and they, too, will have to be serviced with the ancillary work of many more 1556 people. Unfortunately, no exact estimate can be made, but that extending Sunday work that is what worries hon. Members who are trade unionists as well as others here and, for other reasons, hon. Members opposite. The activities of more and more workers will be engaged more and more frequently in this less high priority work of sport and entertainment, and they will be taken away in many cases from far more important and vital work in their own trades and occupations.
It would be possible to give a long list of classes of people who will be involved. Even if the Clause is left in the Bill, with these safeguards, with provision for compensation to be paid, and with every regard to people's conscientious objections, it is possible to point out a number of hardships which inevitably will still fall upon people who are involved in the new legalised Sunday work. Reference has been made to the new burdens on workers in the catering industry, to the police and to various other essential services whose members would be called in. They represent a great many more people than the numbers employed in this type of activity at the moment.
I do not know how right or wrong the Minister is about the Amendment. It appeared to me that he was a little inconsistent, but he has had a good deal of criticism levelled against him and I do not want to lay it on further. I know that it is not his attitude or nature to want to deprive anyone who has to be available for Sunday work of the right to compensating time off during the week or to double pay in lieu. Whether the Clause is fully and specifically capable of ensuring that, I am not certain. I would suggest to my hon. Friend that it should be possible to take into consideration the consensus of opinion on the Committee which put the Clause into the Bill. It is important that it should not be rebuffed and snubbed by the House. In addition, almost every speaker in today's debate has been highly critical of the Amendment of the sponsors of the Bill for the removal of the Clause. I hope that my hon. Friend will take fully into account the consensus of opinion, in Committee and here today in favour of retaining the Clause. Perhaps, it should be more workable and specific. If it 1557 is to be made more specific, there may have to be a Schedule of the categories affected by the Bill—if that is workable.
If the Minister and my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West are not prepared to retain the Clause as it stands, may I remind them that there are facilities available in another place? The Clause may have its imperfections. As I have said, it would not necessarily provide full justice for variety artistes, who are officially classed as self-employed, Class 2, insured people. That may be one weakness of the Clause. However, the hon. Gentleman could take advantage of the facilities available in another place to bring in a form of wording which would give effect to the consensus of opinion on the Committee and that of this House in favour of safeguarding the rights of so many of our working people regarding Sunday work.
§ Mr. Hamling
The debate has gone on a long time, and has covered many aspects of the Clause and the Amendment that I have moved to delete it. I wish to reply to the points that have been made so that the House can come to a decision on this important matter.
I remind the House that we are discussing a Clause in the Bill, not a suggested new Clause. The Clause is drawn in such general terms that it covers every service and industry, whether essential or not. It does not arise specifically from the purposes of the Bill. I can refer only to what the Clause says, because that is what we are debating. We are not debating any hypothetical Clause that might be in the minds of hon. Members on either side. The Clause reads:Any contract of employment which states that an employee shall work on Sundays if so required shall provide for a free day in lieu or alternatively for the payment of double-time rates of pay.It refers to "Any contract of employment", not one relating to sport or entertainment arising from Clauses 2 and 3. We are talking about this Bill and this Clause—no other. I must keep the attention of the House on this, because that is what we have been debating. I am arguing that the Clause does not do the job which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides have been saying needs to be done. Do not blame me for that. Blame the people who put forward 1558 the Clause and blame the Committee perhaps which carried it, but do not blame me, because I am not responsible for their mistakes.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
As my hon. Friend is refering to me, perhaps he will allow me to point out that, in my view, the implication of the Clause is different from what he suggests.
§ Mr. Hamling
My hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) can think what he likes about what the Clause implies. If this becomes Statute the lawyers will say, "What does the law say?", not, "What does the law imply?". This is how our courts work. They will say: "This is what the law says". It is no good anyone saying what Parliament intended was so and so. That does not count. What counts is what the law says.
This is a very badly drafted Clause, as it stands, and it does not do the job. It would cover every industry and service. For that reason, I recommend that the House delete the Clause.
I will refer to some of the anomalies which might arise. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins) waxed eloquent about the rights of trade unions in the past and how he has been fighting since 1919 for workers in the printing trade. I am aware of that. However, at no time have the workers in the printing trade had a Statute to fall back on concerning Sunday work. They would scorn it. They would say, "We rely on our industrial strength. We do not want the law to intervene."
§ Mr. Wilkins rose—
§ Mr.Wilkins rose—
§ Mr. Hamling
The people who are now working in that industry, and have been for 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 years, do not require this Clause. Yet this is the Clause we are introducing. Many thousands concerned with sport are employed on Sundays. I speak of those employed in catering establishments at Brand's Hatch, Goodwood, polo matches, and so on. They do not require this 1559 protection, because they have trade unions and good employers. I suggest that we are not taking a hammer to crack a nut; we are taking a gigantic steam hammer to crush a peanut. I suggest that the Clause does not do the job which is wanted and it is not necessary, because we have existing ways in which this can be done. If employers and trade unions were aware of the implications of the Clause as it affects industrial relations in every trade and industry, they would feel that we were going a lot further than we have gone so far.
The debate has gone on for a long time. Every other speaker has spoken against my proposition and in favour of the Clause. I think that it ought to be possible now to come to a decision on it so that an opinion can be expressed—[Interruption.] I hope that the hon. Member for Down, South (Captain Orr)
§ is in favour of the House expressing an opinion.
§ Captain Orr
I think that the House ought to come to a decision, but not just yet, because many hon. Members still wish to express their opinions.
§ Mr. Hamling
Very well. The House will decide, but other private Members have Bills awaiting consideration. They have rights, and no opponent of this Bill has a right to exercise free speech to the extent of depriving others of free speech. I think that the House ought to come to a decision.
§ Mr. Spriggs rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 72, Noes 28.1559
|Division No. 131.]||AYES||[3.55 p.m.|
|Astor, John||Gresham Cooke, R.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Morris, Alfred (Wytnenshawe)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Heffer, Eric S.||Moyle, Roland|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Murray, Albert|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Newens, Stan|
|Costain, A. P.||Howie, W.||Oram, Albert E.|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hunt, John||Peyton, John|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Robinson, R t. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)|
|Dickens, James||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Roebuck, Roy|
|Dunnett, Jack||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Ellis, John||Lee, John (Reading)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|English, Michael||Lever, Harold (Cheatham)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Ennals, David||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lipton, Marcus||Teeling, Sir William|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lubbock, Eric||Tomney, Frank|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||MacColl, James||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McNamara, J. Kevin||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Maxwell, Robert||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Fowler, Gerry||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mendelson, J. J.||Mr. John Parker and|
|Mr. William Wilson.|
|Bell, Ronald||Hiley, Joseph||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Body, Richard||Hooson, Emlyn||Nott, John|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Kenyon, Clifford||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Cordle, John||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Macdonald, A. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Farr, John||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty)||Mr. Michael Alison and|
|Goodhew, Victor||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Sir Cyril Black.|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER declared that the Question was not decided in the affirmative, because it was not supported by the majority prescribed by Standing Order No. 32 (Majority for Closure)
§ It being after Four o'clock, the debate Debate further adjourned
§ Debate to be resumed upon Friday, 24th May.