HC Deb 23 February 1994 vol 238 cc378-95
Mr. Peter Lloyd

I beg to move amendment No. 35, in page 12, line 19, after 'Sunday' insert '(whether or not as a result of previously giving an opting-in notice)'.

Madam Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to take the following amendments: Government amendment No. 22.

No. 15, in page 13, line 18, leave out from 'means' to end of line 19 and insert—

'for shopworkers working in shops in respect of which a notice under paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 has taken effect and has not ceased to have effect the period of one month beginning with the day on which the opting-out notice concerned was given and for all other shopworkers the period of three months beginning with the day on which the opting-out notice was given'.

No. 18, in line 19, at end insert—

'Limitation on Working Hours on Sunday 6A. No shopworker shall be employed on Sunday for more than eight hours and any provision in any shopworker's contract of employment or in any agreement which requires, or may have the effect of requiring, that worker to be so employed for more than eight hours is unenforceable to the extent that it so requires or may so require.'.

No. 19, in page 14, line 16, at end insert—

'Right to enhanced pay for Sunday work 9A. A shopworker shall be entitled to remuneration from his employer in respect of shop work undertaken on a Sunday at a rate of pay which exceeds that which he earns in the case of shop work undertaken by him for that employer during his normal working hours on a weekday or in the case of a shopworker required to work only on a Sunday, at a rate of pay which exceeds that earned by a shopworker carrying out similar shop work for that employer during his normal working hours on a weekday.'.

No. 61, in line 16, at end insert—

'9A.(1) A shopworker working in a large shop on a Sunday shall be remunerated at twice the hourly rate applicable on a weekday to that job. (2) A shopworker working in any shop other than a large shop on a Sunday shall be remunerated at one and a half times the hourly rate applicable on a weekday to that job. (3) A complaint by a shopworker that he has not been remunerated as required by sub-paragraph (1) or (2) above may be presented to an industrial tribunal. (4) An industrial tribunal shall not entertain a complaint under sub-paragraph (3) above unless it is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of three months beginning with the date on which there occurred the action complained of, or where that action is part of a series of similar actions, the last of those actions, or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented within the period of three months. (5) Where on a complaint under sub-paragraph (3) above an industrial tribunal finds that the employer has failed to pay a shopworker the whole or part of the amount thereby required to be paid, the tribunal shall order the employer to pay the employee the amount which it finds due to him. (6) Compensation payable under sub-paragraph (3) above shall not exceed the limit for the time being imposed by section 75 of the 1978 Act. (7) In this paragraph, "large shop" has the same meaning in relation to a shop in this Schedule as it has in relation to a shop in Schedule 1.'.

Government amendment No. 23, and amendment No. 21, in page 16, line 33, at end insert— '14A The extent of any failure by an employer to remunerate a shopworker as required under paragraph 9A above shall be regarded as a deduction made by the employer from the wages of that shopworker and the relevant provisions of Part I of the Wages Act 1986 shall accordingly apply in respect of that failure.'.

Mr. Lloyd

The amendment fulfils another commitment that I made in Committee. It makes explicit on the face of the Bill that the right to opt out of Sunday working subject to three months' notice is a continuing one. It removes any room for doubt that workers who opt into Sunday working retain the right to opt out subsequently if they wish to do so. The only limitation to that right will be the requirement to give employers three months' notice. Workers may opt in and out again on future occasions if they are so minded. I hope that the House will support the amendments.

I also undertook to introduce amendments that specify how shopworkers will be informed of their statutory rights under the Bill. Amendments Nos. 22 and 23 do that by requiring employers to provide all new shopworkers and existing shopworkers opting in with a form describing their right to opt out at three months notice and advising them how they can appeal to a tribunal if they are dismissed for doing so or are treated detrimentally for that reason. The employer must provide each worker involved with the explanatory statement within two months. If he or she does not, the period of notice that the employee may give: if he or she wishes to opt out drops to one month. I hope that those amendments will meet with the approval of the House.

Earlier in the debate, reference was made to the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill and the power contained in it to repeal protection in a schedule—[Interruption.]

Mr. Pike


Madam Speaker

Order. A Minister at the Dispatch Box is trying to explain the amendments and the House should come to order.

Mr. Pike

That is exactly my point of order, Madam Speaker. Although the Minister has a loud voice. it is extremely difficult to hear what is being said.

Madam Speaker

Absolutely—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is all very well hon. Members saying "Hear, hear"—I wish that they would obey my blandishments.

Mr. Lloyd

I was talking about the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill. I promised the House earlier that I would return to that subject and it is now germane to the amendments under discussion. That Bill has only just begun its progress through the House. Primary power to alter by order primary legislation is available in that Bill only to get rid of burdens on business. It cannot be used to get rid of necessary protections. We have included in schedule 3 provisions to protect shopworkers precisely because we consider such protections to be necessary.

The Government and I do not believe that a future Government or Parliament would take a different view —such an idea is far fetched. It is not possible for one Government or Parliament to speak for future ones. If a future Government or Parliament sought to use the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, once enacted, to dismantle the protections in schedule 3, that could be a matter for the courts. The legitimacy of any order is finally a matter for the courts, not Ministers, to decide. As I am not a court, all that I can tell the House with authority is that the Government regard the protections in schedule 3 as necessary protections which should not be changed by order.

In answer to the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), if any order that is introduced under the deregulation Bill is debated, it must be debated in the Chamber under the affirmative procedure. I think that that is an academic point. I commend the amendments to the House.

Ms Ruddock

First, may I respond to the amendments which the Minister moved? As he noted, they respond in part to concerns that we raised in Committee and we are more than willing to support them because they give force to our concerns.

I wish to speak to amendments Nos. 15, 18, 19 and 21. During the last day of our Committee proceedings on the Floor of the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) proposed an amendment that sought to reduce the notice period for all shopworkers who opt out of Sunday working from three months to one month. He made the valid point that three months could be too long a period to keep an unhappy worker doing Sunday duties when he or she had chosen to opt out.

In responding, the Minister made much of the fact that, although large stores with significant numbers of employees could be expected to cope with only one month's notice of opting out, small shops, particularly specialist shops, could not. We have taken that point to heart and tabled amendment No. 15 to accommodate it. It seeks to provide that those who work for large shops covered by the Bill's registration provisions should be required to give only one month's notice of opting out and that those who work for small shops and other shops covered by the Bill should give three months' notice, as proposed by the Government.

Since our last debate, further ammunition to support our cause has been provided by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, which has struck a voluntary agreement with the Argyll group, Asda, Boots, Dixons, Kingfisher, Sainsbury, Tesco and W. H. Smith to the effect that only one month's notice of opting out will be required by those big companies. That agreement significantly undermines the Government's case and removes most of the objections to which the Minister alluded in his previous contributions. I hope that he will now be minded to reconsider and support our new amendment.

At the heart of the debate about Sunday trading has been the acceptance by virtually all hon. Members that Sunday is different from other days of the week. Most hon. Members have expressed some support for trying to preserve something of the special nature of that day. The Government have had to concede the special nature of Sunday by making express provisions in the Bill to limit large shops' trading to six hours and providing for an opting-measure by which employees can refuse to work on Sundays if they object to doing so.

If a significant number of people are to work on Sundays, albeit voluntarily, in the retail trade, it therefore follows that the House should consider their pay and conditions. The six-hour trading period for large shops may have created the impression that shopworkers are likely to be at work for only six hours and that the number of hours that they will work will automatically be limited. As we discovered in Committee, that is not so. Large shops covered by the registration scheme will require their workers to be in post for at least six and a half hours and possibly even more because they must set up the tills, fill the shelves and carry out shutting-up procedures at the end of the six-hour trading period.

While that is the case for large shops, the Bill enables small shops to open for unrestricted hours on Sundays. It therefore follows that workers in small shops may be required to work for an unrestricted number of hours. That is inappropriate and at odds with the special nature of Sundays, so we have tabled an amendment to limit the hours of all shopworkers on Sundays to eight hours.

That cannot be an inconvenience or be against the financial interests of any shops that trade on Sundays. Eight hours is sufficient for any worker and if small shops open for longer hours they must make appropriate arrangements. If working on Sundays is to be voluntary, people cannot be coerced into working for more than eight hours, whether it is in a small or a large shop.

Shopworkers who work on Sundays must be remunerated in a way that takes into account the special nature of Sunday and the fact that workers have given up potential leisure time to be at work.

From our discussions with employers, we have realised that the pool of shopworkers who are willing to work voluntarily on Sundays is drawn from people who find the present premium payments attractive. In Committee, the Government opposed our amendment to provide for double-time payments for Sunday workers—[Interruption.] All those Conservative Members who have spoken today in support of the special nature of Sunday, and who are commenting from a sedentary position on what I am saying, should be willing to vote for the amendment, which will provide for enhanced payments for those who work on Sundays.

Mr. Lord

The hon. Lady knows full well that that argument will not wash with those Conservative Members who want to keep Sunday special. The only way adequately to protect the workers whom she wants to protect is to keep shops shut.

Ms Ruddock

I could accept the integrity of the hon. Gentleman's argument if he had proposed that all shops should shut on Sundays and I could have supported that proposal. He and other hon. Members have proposed that some shops should open and others close. The very shops that the hon. Member would allow to open on Sundays are the small shops, which pay the lowest wages of all. His amendment and others tabled today, which propose a distinction between small and large shops, would not protect workers but would lose them their jobs in the large stores—the very stores that pay premium wages.

As I was saying before I was interrupted, by rejecting our amendment proposing double-time payments the Government have failed to understand the link between premium pay and the voluntary principle.

Before I came to this debate, I was lobbied by workers from my local Tesco—other Members may also have been. I asked them why they had come and why they had been working on Sundays. They came to urge me to vote in favour of the Third Reading and they all said that they worked on Sundays for the money [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Conservative Members are agreeing with me, but they should bear in mind the fact that that money is based on a double-time payment on a Sunday. The payment of double-time wages has provided a group of workers who are voluntarily available to work on Sundays.

The payment of premium wages in the larger stores has produced the demand and the basis for enhanced pay for workers in smaller shops. We remain convinced of the justice of making double-time payments to those who work voluntarily on Sundays.

As I said in Committee, double-time payments are a long-established practice, which recognises the contribution of those who work anti-social hours. Despite Government measures, millions of workers who are legally working anti-social hours are receiving double-time payments. They include local authority and hospital workers and, indeed, civil servants.

Notwithstanding our case for double-time payments, we have tabled amendment No. 19 in a spirit of co-operation and in an attempt to meet some of the Minister's earlier criticisms and the reservations of some supporters of the Keep Sunday Special campaign. The amendment calls for enhanced pay for Sunday working, but we would not have been able to table it in the absence of developments outside the House. Those developments are the direct result of our previous debates and the Government's rejection of our earlier amendments.

Two days after the debate on employment protection in a Committee of the whole House, USDAW and the major companies participating in the Shopping Hours Reform Council campaign entered into a voluntary agreement on premium pay. That agreement would not have been reached but for the pressure for double-time payments that was exerted in the House. Before speaking about the agreement, I should like to tell the House about a survey of about 3,000 stores belonging to the SHRC member companies.

Some 51 per cent. of the workers in the survey currently receive double-time pay; 18 per cent. receive on average 1.9 times the basic pay; and 27 per cent. receive rates varying between time and a half and 1.9 per cent. It is thus possible to say that 96 per cent. of those surveyed received between time and a half and 2.3 times basic pay. They all receive additional payments for working on Sundays and there can be little doubt that they are willing to work for that reason.

If the arrangements in the Bill to enable voluntary workers to say no to working on Sunday are to have real force, the employers will have to continue to pay premium wages. That is the way to get people to volunteer to work. We are not fooled by commercial interests: we know full well the motivation of the companies involved. They are interested in their market share and in profit margins. Equally, no one can deny that when enhanced pay is on offer workers are willing and anxious to work on Sundays.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Does the hon. Lady appreciate that when the system, if it is approved by the House, is up and running, many workers will be obliged to take Monday off in lieu of Sunday?

Ms Ruddock

The hon. Lady's point is not pertinent to the case that I am making.

Mr. Cryer

My hon. Friend says that she understands the difficulties faced by workers in well-organised, large capitalist organisations. She spoke about the agreements reached by USDAW and the other unions with the large multiples for Sunday premium payments. Does she agree that those payments depend on trading conditions and that if those conditions worsen the payments will go out cf the window?

Ms Ruddock

When I said that I was in no way fooled by the commercial interests and the motivation of companies, I said it advisedly. It is quite clear from all my contacts with companies and those who work voluntarily on Sundays that the workers consider that by working on Sundays they have a stake in those large companies. That is why we shall support the position taken by USDAW.

The common practices that have been embodied in the voluntary agreements are important and the House should note them.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer), I am concerned that the voluntary agreernents should stick and, for that reason, I read them into the record tonight. The Argyll group pays double time; ASDA pays double time for full-timers and time and a half for part-timers; Boots pays between time and a half and double time; Dixons pays between 1.7 and 2.3 time, depending on age and grade; Kingfisher pays between time and a half and double time, depending on grade; Sainsbury pays an average of 1.9 time; Tesco pays double time and W. H. Smith pays an average of time and a half.

I believe that those companies, having made voluntary agreements with workers who work on Sunday, must stick to those agreements. If the Bill becomes law, we shall be watching carefully, as will their representatives in the trade unions, to see that they honour their promises.

Having said that, I come to the Dispatch Box, as I did on previous occasions, to say that voluntary agreements are no substitute for the statutory agreements that we have sought. We are quite clear that, although we appreciate those agreements having been made and believe that they were made as a result of Opposition pressure for better worker conditions on Sundays, we would once again ask the House, and all those Conservative Members who have said that they are concerned about workers' rights, to support the amendments to ensure that the amount of time that people work on Sundays is limited to eight hours, that there is enhanced payment for those workers and that those payments, which are the rationale for their working, are the means by which we can ensure that people who work on Sunday do so voluntarily. I commend the amendments to the House and urge the Minister to reconsider.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

This debate follows closely those that we had two weeks ago in Committee. I shall therefore try to be brief, though there are some differences worth remarking.

I am flattered that the hon. Lady was so obviously listening to what I said previously. Amendment No. 15, on the period of notice, seeks to encapsulate in statutory form what she took my meaning to be. She was right up to a point. I certainly did argue that no doubt some larger shops with larger staff could accommodate a shorter period of notice than many smaller shops with fewer staff. I am glad that Opposition Members recognise that there is such a distinction. I feel rather churlish that I cannot accept the revised proposal, much more realistic though it is.

Some large shops would find that one month would cause genuine and unreasonable difficulty, especially those that require skilled and knowledgeable staff, such as garden centres and electrical shops. Many reputable traders, such as John Lewis, Burton, Unwins and Coolings nurseries, have explained that three months—not one month—could present their businesses with substantial problems.

They obviously share some of the expectations that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton)—who, sadly, is not in his place—expressed in Committee when he said from his very different perspective: There are many valid and important reasons for an employee to want to opt out, including joining a sports team or a social club, which has its main event on a Sunday."—[Official Report, 9 February 1994; Vol. 237, c. 329.] People may well want to drop Sunday working for such reasons, but they are considerably less likely to change their job altogether. There are many reasons, as the hon. Member for Mossley Hill explained, why people might want to opt out of Sunday working and we can sympathise with them, but we should also consider the interests of the employer.

The employee is getting a new, long-lasting, special right to opt out. The employer also needs consideration. He has his business to run and he needs sufficient notice from employees opting out to do so properly. The law ought to provide the minimum manageable for reasonably efficient employers, in all their difference sizes, varieties and circumstances. Better placed employers—the hon. Lady mentioned some—will be able to improve on three months. I am glad that many leading members of the SHRC guaranteed less than three months—one month, in many cases. Other employers are not so well placed. I am sure that they will seek to do better, when they can, for valued employees who give good service or in emergencies. In the latter case, I hope that all employers will improve on the one month's notice that the Opposition would write into the Bill. In a real emergency, one month can be far too long. For statutes, I remain convinced that the right length of notice should remain three months. I hope that the House will agree.

10.45 pm

We also gave the content of amendment No. 18 a thorough airing in Committee and I shall not weary the House by rehearsing that debate. I see no virtue in putting a limit on the hours of Sunday shop work when, rightly, it does not apply to weekdays or in other areas of business and commerce. I can imagine some employees working in large shops regretting that opening and earning hours will be as short as they will. Equally, I accept that some employees in small shops would find the eight-hour limit that the hon. Lady proposes longer than they would ideally like.

Whether or not to work on Sunday in a particular job, for a particular length of time, should be the choice of the worker. I see no justification for suddenly obliging a small shop such as a newsagent, which has for years legitimately opened from 8 am until 5 pm on Sunday, to shut at 4 pm to the annoyance of his customers, or to employ another worker for the extra hour. The Opposition have not begun to make their case for amendment No. 18, and I hope that the House will reject it.

When we discussed pay a fortnight ago, the issue was double pay—pure and simple, and a real and full-blooded one. Amendment No. 19 takes the form of an anaemic shadow called enhanced pay. It is not a weighty amendment, because its terms could be met if the employer paid a premium of no more than 1p an hour for Sunday work.

Amendment No. 61 is half full-blooded, with double time to be paid by large shops, and time and a half by small shops. I am grateful to the Opposition for half listening to me. Of course it would be easier for profitable large shops to pay higher wages than for many small shops, but that is not an inviolable rule to be written into the statute. Some large shops are not highly profitable. Garden centres, for example, often operate on small margins, while some small shops are extremely profitable.

It is hard on a shop of 3,050 sq ft to have to shut after six hours on Sunday when its rival of only 2,900 sq ft can remain open, and it would be most unfair to add an obligation on the larger shop to pay double time when its competitor can satisfy the law with time and a half. Employers and employees must, in their joint long-term interests, be free to make their own arrangements on wages —taking into account the circumstances of the particular business, requirements for flexibility and different incentives for different parts of the day, different days of the week and different parts of the country.

I am glad that many large profitable shops are committed to paying premium rates, but I cannot advise the House other than to vote against the amendments, which would have the effect of driving some shops out of business or preventing them from opening on Sunday if they wanted to do so. Either way, there would be fewer jobs. Wage-fixing would prove the enemy of employment while reducing the range and quality of retail services available to the public.

Mr. Ray Powell

Rarely can I say that I share the Minister's opinions, particularly in respect of amendment No. 19. There might have been a printing error, because my name is among those associated with that amendment. I would not have supported it, and I share the Minister's view that it gives nothing by way of an enhanced payment to persons working on Sunday.

I am speaking to amendment No. 61 on the basis that it is one of the most important amendments to be considered by the House today. It would introduce a statutory right —I emphasise statutory—for double-time payments for shopworkers employed on Sundays in shops of more than 3,000 sq ft, and a half payment for shopworkers employed in smaller shops. Having laid out the main arguments in support of the amendment, I shall explain why I have drawn the distinction between the rate that is being set for shopworkers in large and small shops.

Although in principle I and my hon. Friends would argue that all shopworkers should be remunerated alike on Sundays, we must take into account the enormous financial pressures that are imposed on small shops. Evidence supplied to us by Outlets Providing for Everyday Needs —OPEN—and by an independent research company reveals that many small businesses already face the threat of closure as a result of the growing trend towards out-of-town shopping centres. The introduction of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which will remove all restrictions on weekday trading hours, poses another major threat to small shops. Fears have been expressed by small shops that the introduction of double-time premiums on Sundays will be the last straw for traders and will force them out of business.

In response to the representations that we have received, I have introduced in the amendment a concession to small business in the form of time and a half payment as opposed to double-time. The amendment therefore represents a fair compromise for the retail sector.

I now wish to present the main reasons why I am urging hon. Members today to vote in support of the amendment. Throughout the Bill's progress—indeed, before it was even published—hon. Members on both sides of the House asserted that enforceable and effective protection for shopworkers' rights must involve a central element in any reform of trading law. Hon. Members looking al. the Sunday Trading Bill may on first reading be impressed by the eight pages of employment protection provisions that are included in it. However, I warn hon. Members that, although those provisions appear principled, in reality they will offer extremely limited protection for shopworkers. The only way that the House can guarantee that all work done in shops on Sunday is voluntary is by supporting the amendment and introducing statutory premiums for Sunday work. I stress the importance of specifying a particular rate for shopworkers.

Hon. Members will be aware of an amendment that was tabled by some of my hon. Friends on the Front Bench, with my name attached, that seeks to introduce the right of shopworkers to be paid more on Sundays than they are throughout the week. With respect, that amendment is not worth the paper that it is written on. If passed, it would mean that shopworkers would be entitled to a penny, or even half a penny, extra for working on Sundays. Industrial tribunals would not have the jurisdiction to set a fair wage for shopworkers on Sunday. The livelihood of shopworkers would rather be solely dependent on their employers' generosity. If the House wishes to honour the rights of shopworkers and protect them from exploitation on Sundays, it is critical that hon. Members support the amendment.

Hon. Members will no doubt be aware of the recent agreement made between USDAW—my union—and the SHRC companies which supposedly included premium rate pay for shopworkers on Sunday. I am astounded that a union with the experience of USDAW could be conned into believing that the agreement will be lasting and will offer anything to their members for the future. The agreement states that the stores would deviate only if there were a significant change in the circumstances in which retail work was rewarded. The House and USDAW must open their eyes today to the reality that no shopowner or retail business will pay premiums once Sunday becomes deregulated.

I urge hon. Members to support the amendment, to ensure that both retail workers and those employed in other parts of the labour market are in future guaranteed a decent standard of living that will provide for the needs of their families, including children.

I know that hon. Members wish to proceed to a vote so that we can debate Third Reading and people can go home to their beds—if, that is, they are not stopped from doing so by candle-holding demonstrators outside. However, I want to refer to the whole issue of worker protection, including voluntary working and double-time payments on Sundays.

We could reasonably have a longer debate on employment protection, but we had a lengthy debate on that subject when we discussed new clause 4, moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Purchase)—you were in the Chair then, Mr. Deputy Speaker—so there is no need to reiterate much of what was said then.

I received a letter from William Connor, deputy general secretary of my union, USDAW, dated 10 September 1993. The union had supported the Keep Sunday Special campaign since 1986. Five months ago, it decided to send all hon. Members—but, in particular, sponsored Members— a letter about Sunday trading, providing an update on recent developments. It gave support, financial and otherwise, to my private Member's Bill—a two-year effort— to ensure that the Keep Sunday Special proposals were upheld in the House.

The letter describes my Bill as "the Powell Bill". It says: The Union fully supported the Powell Bill … that … contained the critical elements of worker protection, namely, voluntary working and double-time payments for all Sunday working. This position was endorsed by the 1993 Annual Delegate Meeting which took place in May. To my knowledge, no other annual meeting of members has taken place, and no reversal of that opinion has ever been expressed. Only the executive committee of USDAW adopted a different policy. I mention the letter because the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) has referred to USDAW on numerous occasions. If that decision had been reversed, we might not now be discussing what is virtually a Government Bill—supported by a number of Opposition Members, if by no one else. That needs to be investigated. Had it not been for the decision, more support would undoubtedly have been given to the Keep Sunday Special proposals, and we would have been debating them tonight.

The deputy general secretary goes on: On the 19th May 1993, at the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, I moved the following Emergency Motion, which was carried unanimously: Shop Hours Legislation and Workers' Protection. This NEC welcomes the further progress of Ray Powell's Shops (Amendment) Bill in the House of Commons on Friday, 14th May, when two of the Government's proposed options on total and partial deregulation were voted upon and decisively rejected by a large majority. It congratulates Ray Powell and those Labour MPs who have maintained a principled and consistent stand on sensible reform of shop hours legislation, including the critical elements of worker protection. Given the level of exploitation amongst part-time workers, as graphically portrayed in last Monday's BBC Panorama programme, it believes that the worker protection measures of voluntary working and double-time payment for Sunday working embodied in the Powell Bill, which maintained cross Party support through all the Committee Stages, are the minimum safeguards required to protect shopworkers. That document was sent to me by the deputy general secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers in September of last year, and was the policy of the Labour party until recent weeks, as I see it.

When we saw extracts in the Sunday Shopper of a pact that has been made, in an article which was headed: Handshake seals new Sunday pact which my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Purchase) mentioned earlier, the article did not tell us the small print that is recorded. I have sent a copy to all hon. Members so that they can read the small print. The small print is not about double time and not about protection for workers. Let me read what the small print says. It says that they—the employers— reaffirm their statement of September 17th 1993 that they will continue to pay current premium rates of pay to Sunday employees. They will only deviate from this if there is a significant change in the circumstances in which retail work is rewarded and only after appropriate consultation. The employers recognise that a premium will be required to attract sufficient high quality employees for Sunday work. I take it, therefore, that anyone who was a party to that agreement will clearly understand that if they find that trading and profitability are not what they expect, the employers will do the same as they threatened to do with USDAW: they will rip up those papers and do away with 55,000 of the union membership. It is a blatant falsehood to try to present to the House the claim that they have made a pact and agreement that has protected 55,000 shopworkers.

Let us bear in mind also that we are not only speaking about 55,000 shopworkers in Tesco, which is protected by USDAW; we are speaking about 2¼ million shopworkers, most of whom are not protected by any union.

Mr. Donald Anderson

Does my hon. Friend accept that by his principled and consistent stand he has gained the respect of both sides of the House? His consistency stands in marked contrast to the behaviour of those people who have stood on their heads on that issue.

Mr. Powell

I thank my hon. Friend for that comment and I will ensure that he is paired next week.

I am convinced that I have given the House sufficient to think about—including the Minister. If Opposition Front Bench Members and the Labour party are not prepared to accept the Bill that the Government have presented to the House, without the qualified protection that we demanded in Committee, on Second Reading and in the special pleading on employment protection, I ask the House to support amendment 61.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I am pleased to support amendment No. 61, to which the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) referred. No one has worked harder than he to protect those who will suffer if the Bill is not amended again. I pay tribute to all that he has done before and during our consideration of the Bill. I shall say something in a moment about those who should have taken a little more notice of what he was saying.

Amendment No. 61 is far preferable to what I call the "ha'penny" amendment tabled by members of the Labour Front Bench, which would achieve premium pay at the minimal level of a ha'penny an hour. It is designed to secure double time in large shops and time and a half in smaller shops, and to do so on a basis that can survive, as opposed to the basis of the pact or agreement, which does not have that capacity.

Let us be clear that we are not seeking protection only for shopworkers, many of whom do not belong to a trade union; the amendment would also be a disincentive to trade on Sundays. The intention is that those who are wondering whether to embark on Sunday trading should consider the fact that there is not sufficient trade to make it a profitable exercise overall and should therefore be deterred.

If they embark on Sunday trading, they will almost certainly damage small shops in their area, and might even damage themselves. They might as well face the facts from the beginning and be presented with a financial disincentive at the outset. That is one of the purposes of the amendment.

When the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock) said that she was not fooled by commercial interests, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. She and some of her colleagues did not support the Conservative Members who worked with some of us to try to ensure that shops did not open. By refusing to be around at the given moment, she created a situation in which she could not win on the vital employment protection amendments, but was bound to lose.

Ms Ruddock

Will the hon. Gentleman help me and the House by telling us whether he voted in favour of the double time amendment that I moved on behalf of the Labour Front Bench in Committee of the whole House?

Mr. Beith

Yes, I did, as far as I can recall.

Ms Ruddock

I am sorry, but the hon. Gentleman's name does not appear in the record.

Mr. Beith

In that case, I was not present—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)

Order. The House is getting restless, and I am having great difficulty in hearing what the right hon. Gentleman has to say. If the House settles down, we can get on with the business.

Mr. Beith

I clearly was not present.

The essential point is that if all those who are concerned about people working on Sundays had been on the same Lobby on the crucial issue of whether shops open at all on Sundays, there would have been no doubt about the result, and the problem that we face now would not have been so acute. Amendment No. 61 may gain some support from Conservative Members—I hope it does—but it is not a gamble that the hon. Lady and her colleagues should have been prepared to take.

As the hon. Member for Deptford mentioned individual votes, she may care to explain to me later why the leader of her party voted against keeping shops closed on Christmas day and Easter day, which I found extraordinary.

We are debating Government amendment No. 35, but grouped with it are two other amendments: one, which stands in the name of the hon. Lady and her colleagues, affords no significant protection; the other, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Ogmore, affords significant protection. If the hon. Gentleman is able to press that amendment to a Division, I urge hon. Members of all parties who are concerned about those who will be affected by the legislation to support it.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 22, page 13, line 18, after 'means' insert

'subject to paragraph 10A(2) below'.— [Mr. Peter Lloyd.].

Amendment proposed: No. 19, in page 14, line 16, at end insert—

'Right to enhanced pay for Sunday work 9A. A shop worker shall be entitled to remuneration from his employer in respect of shop work undertaken on a Sunday at a rate of pay which exceeds that which he earns in the case of shop work undertaken by him for that employer during his normal working hours on a weekday or in the case of a shop worker required to work only on a Sunday, at a rate of pay which exceeds that earned by a shop worker carrying out similar shop work for that employer during his normal working hours on a weekday.'. —[Ms Ruddock.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 317.

Division No 144] [11 09 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Adams, Mrs Irene Coffey, Ann
Ainger, Nick Cohen, Harry
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Connarty, Michael
Allen, Graham Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Alton, David Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Corbett, Robin
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Corbyn, Jeremy
Armstrong, Hilary Corston, Ms Jean
Ashton, Joe Cousins, Jim
Austin-Walker, John Cox, Tom
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Cryer, Bob
Barnes, Harry Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Barron, Kevin Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Battle, John Dafis, Cynog
Bayley, Hugh Dalyell, Tam
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Darling, Alistair
Beggs, Roy Davidson, Ian
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Bell, Stuart Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Bennett, Andrew F. Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)
Benton, Joe Denham, John
Bermingham, Gerald Dewar, Donald
Berry, Dr. Roger Dixon, Don
Betts, Clive Dobson, Frank
Blair, Tony Donohoe, Brian H.
Blunkett, David Dowd, Jim
Boateng, Paul Dunnachie, Jimmy
Boyes, Roland Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Bradley, Keith Eagle, Ms Angela
Bray, Dr Jeremy Eastham, Ken
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E) Enright, Derek
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Etherington, Bill
Burden, Richard Evans, John (St Helens N)
Byers, Stephen Fatchett, Derek
Caborn, Richard Faulds, Andrew
Callaghan, Jim Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Fisher, Mark
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Flynn, Paul
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Canavan, Dennis Foster, Don (Bath)
Cann, Jamie Foulkes, George
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry) Fraser, John
Chisholm, Malcolm Fyfe, Maria
Clapham, Michael Galbraith, Sam
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Galloway, George
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Gapes, Mike
Clelland, David Garrett, John
George, Bruce Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Gerrard, Neil Martlew, Eric
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Maxton, John
Godsiff, Roger Meacher, Michael
Golding, Mrs Llin Meale, Alan
Gordon, Mildred Michael, Alun
Graham, Thomas Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Milburn, Alan
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Miller, Andrew
Grocott, Bruce Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Gunnell, John Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Hain, Peter Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hall, Mike Morgan, Rhodri
Hanson, David Morley, Elliot
Hardy, Peter Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)
Harman, Ms Harriet Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Harvey, Nick Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Henderson, Doug Mowlam, Marjorie
Heppell, John Mudie, George
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Mullin, Chris
Hinchliffe, David Murphy, Paul
Hoey, Kate Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Home Robertson, John O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)
Hood, Jimmy O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Hoon, Geoffrey O'Hara, Edward
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Olner, William
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) O'Neill, Martin
Hoyle, Doug Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Paisley, Rev Ian
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Parry, Robert
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Patchett, Terry
Hutton, John Pendry, Tom
Illsley, Eric Pickthall, Colin
Ingram, Adam Pike, Peter L.
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead) Pope, Greg
Jackson, Helen (Shefld, H) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Jamieson, David Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Janner, Greville Prescott, John
Johnston, Sir Russell Primarolo, Dawn
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Purchase, Ken
Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Mon) Quin, Ms Joyce
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Randall, Stuart
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Raynsford, Nick
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW) Reid, Dr John
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Rendel, David
Jowell, Tessa Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)
Keen, Alan Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Khabra, Piara S. Rogers, Allan
Kilfoyle, Peter Rooker, Jeff
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Rooney, Terry
Leighton, Ron Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Lewis, Terry Rowlands, Ted
Litherland, Robert Ruddock, Joan
Livingstone, Ken Sedgemore, Brian
Liwyd, Elfyn Sheerman, Barry
Loyden, Eddie Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Lynne, Ms Liz Short, Clare
McAllion, John Simpson, Alan
McAvoy, Thomas Skinner, Dennis
McCrea, Rev William Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Macdonald, Calum Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
McFall, John Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)
McKelvey, William Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mackinlay, Andrew Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
McLeish, Henry Snape, Peter
Maclennan, Robert Soley, Clive
McMaster, Gordon Spearing, Nigel
McWilliam, John Speller, John
Madden, Max Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)
Maddock, Mrs Diana Steinberg, Gerry
Maginnis, Ken Stevenson, George
Mahon, Alice Stott, Roger
Mendelson, Peter Strang, Dr. Gavin
Marek, Dr John Straw, Jack
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Trimble, David Wilson, Brian
Tyler, Paul Winnick, David
Vaz, Keith Wise, Audrey
Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold Worthington, Tony
Walley, Joan Wray, Jimmy
Wardell, Gareth (Gower) Wright, Dr Tony
Wareing, Robert N Young, David (Bolton SE)
Watson, Mike
Wicks, Malcolm Tellers for the Ayes:
Wigley, Dafydd Mr. Denis Turner and
Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W) Mr. Jack Thompson.
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Aitken, Jonathan Couchman, James
Alexander, Richard Cran, James
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Amess, David Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Ancram, Michael Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Arbuthnot, James Davis, David (Boothferry)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Day, Stephen
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Deva, Nirj Joseph
Ashby, David Devlin, Tim
Aspinwall, Jack Dickens, Geoffrey
Atkins, Robert Dorrell, Stephen
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Dover, Den
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Duncan, Alan
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Duncan-Smith, Iain
Baldry, Tony Dunn, Bob
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Durant, Sir Anthony
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Dykes, Hugh
Bates, Michael Eggar, Tim
Batiste, Spencer Elletson, Harold
Bellingham, Henry Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Bendall, Vivian Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Beresford, Sir Paul Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Evennett, David
Booth, Hartley Faber, David
Boswell, Tim Fabricant, Michael
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Fairbaim, Sir Nicholas
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bowden, Andrew Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bowis, John Fishbum, Dudley
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Forman, Nigel
Brandreth, Gyles Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Brazier, Julian Forth, Eric
Bright, Graham Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Browning, Mrs. Angela Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) French, Douglas
Budgen, Nicholas Fry, Sir Peter
Burns, Simon Gale, Roger
Burt, Alistair Gallie, Phil
Butcher, John Gardiner, Sir George
Butler, Peter Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan
Butterfill, John Gamier, Edward
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Gill, Christopher
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Gillan, Cheryl
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Carrington, Matthew Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Carttiss, Michael Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Cash, William Gorst, John
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)
Chapman, Sydney Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Churchill, Mr Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Clappison, James Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Grylls, Sir Michael
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Hague, William
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Coe, Sebastian Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Colvin, Michael Hampson, Dr Keith
Congdon, David Hanley, Jeremy
Conway, Derek Hannam, Sir John
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre Forst) Hargreaves, Andrew
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Harris, David
Haselhurst, Alan Moate, Sir Roger
Hawkins, Nick Monro, Sir Hector
Hawksley, Warren Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hayes, Jerry Moss, Malcolm
Heald, Oliver Nelson, Anthony
Heathcoat-Amory, David Neubert, Sir Michael
Hendry, Charles Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Nicholls, Patrick
Hicks, Robert Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L. Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hill, James (Southampton Test) Norris, Steve
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham) Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Horam, John Oppenheim, Phillip
Hordem, Rt Hon Sir Peter Ottaway, Richard
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Page, Richard
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A) Paice, James
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Patten, Rt Hon John
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W) Pawsey, James
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Pickles, Eric
Hunter, Andrew Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Porter, David (Waveney)
Jack, Michael Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Rathbone, Tim
Jenkin, Bernard Redwood, Rt Hon John
Jessel, Toby Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Richards, Rod
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Riddick, Graham
Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr) Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Robathan, Andrew
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Key, Robert Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)
Kilfedder, Sir James Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
King, Rt Hon Tom Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Kirkwood, Archy Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Knapman, Roger Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Ryder, Rt Hon
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Richard Sackville, Tom
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n) Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Knox, Sir David Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Shaw, David (Dover)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Lang, Rt Hon Ian Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Sims, Roger
Legg, Barry Skeet, Sir Trevor
Leigh, Edward Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lennox-Boyd, Mark Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Soames, Nicholas
Lidington, David Speed, Sir Keith
Lightbown, David Spencer, Sir Derek
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lord, Michael Spink, Dr Robert
Luff, Peter Spring, Richard
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Sproat, lain
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Squire, Robin (Homchurch)
MacKay, Andrew Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Maclean, David Steen, Anthony
McLoughlin, Patrick Stephen, Michael
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Stem, Michael
Madel, Sir David Stewart, Allan
Maitland, Lady Olga Streeter, Gary
Major, Rt Hon John Sumberg, David
Malone, Gerald Sweeney, Walter
Mans, Keith Sykes, John
Marland, Paul Tapsell, Sir Peter
Marlow, Tony Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Temple-Morris, Peter
Mates, Michael Thomason, Roy
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mellor, Rt Hon David Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Merchant, Piers Thumham, Peter
Mills, lain Townend, John (Bridlington)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW) Tracey, Richard
Tredinnick, David Whittingdale, John
Trend, Michael Widdecombe, Ann
Twinn, Dr Ian Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Wilkinson, John
Viggers, Peter Willetts, David
Walden, George Wilshire, David
Walker, Bill (N Tayside) Wolfson, Mark
Waller, Gary Wood, Timothy
Ward, John Yeo, Tim
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill) Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Waterson, Nigel
Watts, John Tellers for the Noes:
Wells, Bowen Mr. Irvine Patnick and
Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Whitney, Ray

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendments made: No. 23, in page 15, line 3, at end insert—

'Employer's duty to give explanatory statement 10A.—(1) Where a person becomes a shop worker to whom paragraph 4 above applies, his employer shall, before the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which that person becomes such a shop worker, give him a written statement in the prescribed form. (2) If—
  1. (a) an employer fails to comply with sub-paragraph (1) above in relation to any shop worker, and
  2. (b) the shop worker, on giving the employer an opting-out notice, becomes an opted-out shop worker,
paragraph 6 above shall have effect, in relation to the shop worker, with the substitution for "three months" of "one month".
(3) An employer shall not be regarded as failing to comply with sub-paragraph (1) above in any case where, before the end of the period referred to in that sub-paragraph, the shop worker has given him an opting-out notice. (4) Subject to sub-paragraph (5) below, the prescribed form is as follows—