I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
Soon after the result of the Ballot for Private Members' Bills was announced, a senior colleague of mine in the House came up to me and asked what Bill I intended to introduce. I told him that I hoped to try to amend the 1954 Act dealing with night baking. He recoiled in horror. "Good heavens", he said, "do you not realise that there is no single subject that does more to raise the temperature in this House? It is dynamite." I hope that today passions will not rise to explosive pitch, because this is essentially a small Bill to help the small man. I must, however, apologise to hon. Members if they have already received enough letters to provide the fuel for at least a medium-sized bakery for a week.
I know that the Parliamentary history of discussion of night baking goes back for exactly 111 years, but for the purpose of explaining and introducing the Bill I intend to start with the Rees Committee, which reported almost eight years ago. Its principal recommendation was that continuous night baking should stop. The Committee did not turn its face against night baking altogether. Night work, the Rees Committee said, could continue on an alternative shift system.
In 1954, the Government introduced a Bill to implement the principal recommendations of the Rees Report. It was a rigidly drafted Bill which, as my right and learned Friend the then Minister of Labour said, put the baking industry in
a straitjacket. At the end of his Third Reading speech, the then Minister of Labour said:
… this Bill does not, of course, pretend to be the last word. It is necessarily in the nature of an experiment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd July, 1954; Vol. 529, c. 1735.]
The Rees Committee recognised that the problems of the baking industry in England and Wales—in Scotland, the structure of the industry is quite different —were varied. In paragraph 208 of its Report, the Committee said:
It seems to us that the circumstances of employers and operatives in different parts of this industry vary so much that there is no one solution capable of general application without causing some unfairness and difficulty.
The Government recognised this and in what is now Section 9 of the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, introduced a Clause which enables the provisions of the Act to be set aside when there is an agreement between both sides of the industry.
When the 1954 Act was passing through this House, there was much anxiety as to whether it would interfere with the economic operation of the big plant bakers. Since then, however, it has become clear that it is the small man who is hardest hit by the operation of the Act, which came into force on 1st January, 1958.
I do not think that there is any dispute that a small-man problem exists, but there can be and certainly is dispute about the size of the problem. The union, the Ministry of Labour and the small bakers themselves agree that there is a small-man problem of some size. Among the factors which hamper bakeries too small easily to introduce the alternate-shift system are such factors as delivery timing, shortage of oven space, and the general difficulty of interchanging bread makers and confectioners. This difficulty, we hope, will disappear in the future with the introduction of improved apprenticeship schemes.
No doubt, Mr. Speaker, other hon. Members on this side of the House who may succeed in catching your eye will be able to give technical details and examples from their own constituencies. I want to turn back to the Report of the Rees Committee. It cited the example of Plymouth, Liverpool, Warrington, Nottingham, Birmingham and Watford Co-operative societies whose bakeries
found that they lost ground heavily when they gave up night baking. The Report says, in paragraph 80:
In Birmingham, the Co-operative union told us, very serious difficulties had arisen and since the end of the war the Society's bread trade had declined by about 15 to 20 per cent. because the bread it was able to offer on a day-work system was less fresh than that of its competitors.
In paragraph 81, the Rees Committee's Report says:
It is important to be clear as to the meaning of this evidence. It does not of itself mean that the abolition or limitation of night baking is impracticable. What it shows is that under conditions where other bakeries are free from restrictions on their hours of work, it is difficult, if not impossible for a bakery in the same area to compete successfully if its hours are strictly confined to a day basis.
There the position is admirably set out by the Committee itself.
In some senses this Bill is a Bill to meet paragraph 81 of the Report. In a large number of towns, large bakeries are able to work continuously, whereas all the small bakeries are strictly confined to a day basis. The 1954 Act came at a time, when many other factors were working in favour of the big plant manufacturer, often at the expense of the small man. In the six years before the 1954 Act came into effect about 6,000 small bakeries gave up baking.
I certainly would not claim that all the businesses which went out of operation since the Act came into operation, and those which will go out in the next few months and years, are driven out by that Act. It is impossible to be precise on this point. By means of questionnaires and intensive investigations it seems certain that several hundred small bakeries will be forced to shut down in the next few years if the terms of the 1954 Act are not modified either by Clause 9 agreements or by legislation.
How can the situation be altered? Obviously, the best way is by agreement between employers and the union. Hon. Members on this side of the House are agreed that legislation usually does not provide a satisfactory answer to essentially industrial negotiations. Indeed. an absurd situation has arisen, because in 1954 attempts had to be made to find a legislative answer to an essentially industrial problem.
The hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware that the operative date of the 1954 Act was fixed for some years ahead to produce just that kind of industrial settlement. Perhaps he will tell the House exactly what concessions his clients have made towards a settlement.
Because the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers has, unfortunately, only 10 per cent. of small bakery operatives in its ranks. At the same time, I do not think that anyone here would claim that the National Association of Master Bakers, the employers' organisation, is exactly a monolithic pillar of strength. Both the union and the employers' association in that section of the industry are weak, and that does not facilitate the coming together of the two sides. Unfortunately, there has been no effective negotiation between the two sides since the Rees Report was published more than seven years ago. Before the introduction of the Bill there was no sign at all that there would be negotiations in the near or immediate future, but now there are signs.
Would the hon. Gentleman make it clear that what he is saying has no relevance to Scotland, which is, however, included in the Bill, and that negotiations took place and satisfactory arrangements were made? Why does the hon. Gentleman want to include Scotland in the Bill?
As I have said, the structure of the industry in Scotland is quite different. There is a Section 9 agreement and the Bill would have no relevance at all in that respect, but it has relevance to the small bakeries and to the coming together of the two sides, which we hope will happen in the near future. Unfortunately, we have not reached the point where action is unnecessary, and therefore, as far as I am concerned, the problem is, what sort of Bill should be brought in?
Undoubtedly, there are bakeries who would like to see the 1954 Act scrapped altogether. There are many bakeries, perhaps the majority of small bakeries, who would like to see a mandatory exemption from the terms of that Act for all small bakers employing five bakery workers or fewer.
Those recommendations have been published and widely circulated, but the union and others deployed powerful arguments against the mandatory exemption of all small bakers employing five bakery workers or fewer. It was pointed out, quite rightly, that the great majority of small bakers can, in fact, comply with the terms of the 1954 Act. If mandatory exemption from its terms were given, many bakery workers might be asked to revert unnecessarily to continuous night work. The small baker who had not made any attempt at all to comply with the terms of the Act would receive precisely the same benefit as the small baker who had made an honest effort to comply and was faced with ruin.
The Bill which I support does not give mandatory exemption for the exclusion of any group of workers from the provisions of the 1954 Act. The proposals that it makes are not as simple nor clear-cut as that. It would merely give the Minister power to make exemptions from Section I of the 1954 Act and give those exemptions to small bakers employing five bakery workers or fewer. It would give the Minister power to grant exemptions to bakeries which really were faced with great difficulties. The Minister would be able to grant exemptions in cases where he really was satisfied that the employer or employees genuinely prefer to carry on with regular night work.
I do not want to pretend that in this country any large group likes continuous night work. I had my share of night work when I was a journalist and I did not enjoy it very much—I should say, in passing, that it would be exceedingly difficult to publish the Daily Herald or the Daily Telegraph if continuous night work were universally banned. The fact remains that there is a minority, but a minority of some size, which genuinely likes working at night.
They do not like chopping and changing about. They do not like the present system of one month on nights and one month on days.
Above all, the Bill would give the Minister power not to prosecute small bakeries when he himself knew that the effect of taking legal action, as under the 1954 Act he would be compelled to do, would lead not to the suppression of evil, but rather would lead to the suppression of a small man and his employees who were trying to serve the community to the best of their ability. Yesterday morning I received a letter from a small baker in Manchester. I should like to quote part of it. He said:
I have been in business as a baker and confectioner for twenty years. My wife is an invalid and has been so for some years. In 1956, I met with a major motor accident which has made me a permanent cripple. It is, therefore, most essential that I should have a night baker as I am unable to do the work myself. I am unable to expand my bakehouse and the work of breadmaking cannot be done in the daytime.
Assuming those facts are correct, I wonder whether hon. Members opposite would want the Minister of Labour to bring a prosecution in that sort of case if this man found a night baker willing to do continuous night work. Do we really think that the common good, or anything that is referred to in the cliches which are bandied about, would mean that we would be well advised in trying to drive such a man with his dependants out of business when he is trying only to serve the community to the best of his ability?
The problem of people who cannot comply with the terms of the 1954 Act is a minority problem. I do not pretend that men like this one in Manchester form a very numerous group, but I should have thought that one of the best ways of coping with a minority which was running into difficulty because of inflexible legislation would be to increase the administrative flexibility allowed by law. That is all that Clause 1 of the Bill sets out to do; just that and no more. I do not see how hon. Members can claim that that is a gross attack on the standards of the workers in the industry.
Clause 2 deals with the problem of seasonal resorts. As the Rees Committee pointed out, there is a particular problem in towns where the population fluctuates violently during the three or four summer months. The 1954 Act recognised this problem and made an important special provision to cater for it. That provision has certainly helped. Without it there would have been chaos, but it did not resolve the difficulty completely. Clause 2 would enable the Minister to give the seaside baker considerable relief. The point is a technical one, but the relief would be a very real one.
I am perfectly willing to describe it, but I think it would be for the benefit of the House if an hon. Member from a seaside constituency should he catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, and explained the problem in greater detail.
To those who intend to oppose this Act—this Bill; I am, perhaps, being a little premature—I think it worth pointing out that some hon. Members opposite have taken not exactly unprecedented, but certainly extreme, action to try to defeat the Bill, which is specifically tabled to help the small man and no one but the small man. I think it worth while pointing out that this is not a choice between night work and day work. If it were as simple as that, clearly there would be no argument. Day work is obviously generally preferable. In many cases the choice is between regular night work in a small local night bakery and no work in a small local bakery at all. Some hon. Members opposite may not mind if the small employer is forced out of business.
Surely the hon. Member realises that the issue here is whether a private Member should be allowed to jump in and impose a settlement in industrial negotiations without taking any part in those negotiations. Does the not realise the enormous irresponsibility of what he is proposing?
I should have thought that comment irrelevant to the debate. This is a question of the responsibility of the House of Commons.
As I was saying, the choice is often a choice between regular night work and no night work, and the employee in a small bakery which is forced out of business may well have to travel a very long distance to find suitable alternative employment.
In 1954, the House passed a Bill which, if strictly adhered to, will harm, possibly irreparably, a number of worthy men and their dependants whom the House never intended to harm. Certainly, in the debates in the House and in Committee, no hon. Member said that he wanted to see the small man driven out of work. I believe that the House should take steps now to see that the hardship caused by this rigid legislation is modified. I should be delighted if the Bill soon became obsolete and unnecessary, but I do not think that we can fob off all our responsibilities to negotiations which have not yet begun, which we all hope will begin and will he successful, but which may not be successful.
In other fields we are trying to help the small man. I do not argue that we in the House should concern ourselves with measures to try to molly-coddle or cosset the small baker, but I am equally convinced that the House has a responsibility, when it passes rigid legislation, to see that this small worthy section of the community is not driven out of employment by its actions. I therefore hope that the House will approve the Bill.
I beg to second the Motion.
In seconding the Motion I should like to take the opportunity, in accordance with tradition, of conveying the congratulations of the House to my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart). These arise for three reasons —first, the good fortune which enabled him to secure such a high position in the Ballot; and, secondly, the subject which he has selected for debate. It may be that this is a subject on which general agreement is difficult to find in the House, but I am sure that the House will accept that the opportunity of hearing of the grievances and problems of minorities is one of the important functions of the House in the exercise of its task. The third ground on which I should like to congratulate my hon.
Friend is the reason and restraint which he has shown in his speech. He began by saying that this issue was one of those most likely to raise the temperature, but I think it will be widely accepted that during the course of his speech he showed restraint and managed to keep the temperature reasonably moderate. I hope to follow the example which he set.
I should like to express my appreciation to him for the privilege which he has afforded me of seconding the Motion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it."] I prefer to deal with this in my own way, if hon. Members do not mind. In expressing my appreciation of this opportunity I propose to deal with all the points that have been made so far.
I first became interested in the problems of the bakers through a baker living in my constituency. As a result of his efforts and at his request, I have taken a close interest in the affairs of bakers to the extent of visiting a large number of bakeries, visiting as a guest two conferences of the National Association of Master Bakers and attending a number of their council meetings. I make this point to the House as an indication that, although I can in no way claim to know all the problems of bakeries, I have at least taken the trouble to find out something about them.
The Rees Committee's Report, which is the most recent Report on the subject of night baking, divides the industry into three main groups—first, the small retail bakery shop, with an owner and about four employees producing bakery products; secondly, the large retail and medium wholesale bakery; and thirdly, the plant bakery. The Report states that in 1950 the plant bakeries, although smaller in number, are responsible for about one-third of the bread production of the country.
My hon. Friend gave an outline of the 1954 Act, and I think it might be valuable if we examined its provisions. In the main, the Act set out to abolish continuous night baking, and it gave two alternatives to the baker. First, he could operate on the basis of a day bakery, in which case no bakery workers could be employed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. That means that no bakery workers could be employed, whether they wanted to be employed or not, before 5 a.m.—not an hour, not half-an-hour, not a quarter-of-an-hour before 5 a.m. The second alternative was that the bakery was entitled to opt to be a night bakery, if it so wished, in which case no employee could be employed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for more than 26 weeks in a year or more than four weeks consecutively.
Why are these hours so important, particularly to the small craftsman baker? The reason is that, for the purpose of serving his customers, on very many occasions he is required to effect delivery of his products before 8 a.m. to hotels, to canteens, and to many shops. It is essential, if only because of the requirements relating to parking and the delivery of goods, to deliver goods before 8 a.m. There is a very limited opportunity to do so if operations in baking, apart from dough making and oven firing, cannot start before 5 a.m. The day's production of bread has to be hastened into the two-and-a-half-hours, and delivery takes place afterwards. This is one of the difficulties of the small craftsman baker, and it is also a difficulty which the consumer will find increasing if the tendencies to which my hon. Friend has referred are to continue.
Having examined it, I understand that the process of baking is, first, that in the normal way, before the coming into operation of the 1954 Act, the bread was baked in the hot oven at night; and then on a cooling oven, with a falling temperature, the flour confectionery was baked during the day to meet a later market.
The difficulty that the baker experiences in establishing a proper shift system is dealt with in paragraph 32 of the Rees Report, which says:
We are not concerned to say whether the trend towards the centralised mechanised plant bakery is good or bad, but we think it relevant to point out that it is having a detrimental effect on craftsmanship. Nearly all witnesses were agreed on this point and there is no doubt that the tendency to reduce bread and cake production to a simple mechanised process means that operatives are becoming more and more mere ordinary workers in a bakery and that the number of all-round skilled craftsmen in the Industry is on the decrease. While the workers concerned do not appear to object to this trend, the point we want to make is that the more it continues the more difficult it becomes to find operatives who can be freely interchanged between the making of bread and the making of flour confectionery.
A growing number of operatives is capable of producing only bread or only flour confectionery. As a result, in a considerable number of bakeries where bread is at present baked by night and flour confectionery by day, it is not possible to effect a shift system whereby the men make bread by night half the time and confectionery by day the other half.
That paragraph sets out a problem which was seen before the 1954 Act came into operation, and which has been evident still further since.
There is at least one further difficulty with which the small man is confronted. It might be said that his problem of producing bread in quantity sufficient to meet the demand of his consumers could be overcome by increasing his oven space and taking on more employees. Generally speaking, however, as hon. Members will know, the small craftsman baker operates with a small bakery, where space permits neither the employment of an increased number of operatives nor the installation of more plant.
If it were merely a question of additional plant, one might think that an easier solution would be the provision of refrigeration, but refrigeration calls for a considerable amount of capital investment, and we must remember that, though the Act came into force some four years ago, in the period before its operation there was considerable difficulty in obtaining capital, and particular difficulty in the case of the small man who could not show that his business warranted the investment and would produce the return that the capital justified.
That is evident from what has been said in the Rees Report of the three types of bakery production. It is the small craftsman baker who is most adversely affected. The others are easily able—because of space. of additional capital, or because the establishment is operated on a normal factory basis with alternating shifts—to overcome the difficulties and, where appropriate, to secure agreement under Section 9 of the 1954 Act.
Clause 1 of the Bill authorises the Minister to make exceptions to the operation of the 1954 Act in the case of bakeries employing not more than five workers. That does not convey an automatic freedom from the operation of the Act. It provides an opportunity for the Minister in special circumstances—circumstances in which the business is likely to be disrupted, or destroyed, and where the employee concerned would prefer to work at night—to make the exemption.
I do not suggest the reasons that he might take into consideration, but this provision gives the Minister the opportunity to authorise exemption from the Act, and to withdraw that authorisation when circumstances warrant it. Therefore, it would seem that there is no case for the suggestion that the Bill withdraws the protection of the law against night work from a large body of workers so soon after the introduction of the 1954 Act.
Clause 2 refers to seasonal resorts. My hon. Friend has referred to that, and it has recently been referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale), who, I have no doubt, will again refer to it today if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker. He referred to it very competently in the Adjournment debate on 21st April, 1958. The Clause does not provide for the automatic exemption of bakeries in seasonal resorts. The exemption is one that the Minister may grant on such conditions as he may think proper, and which he may withdraw, if he wishes, and if the circumstances permit.
It has been argued that four years' notice, at least—or, because the Rees Committee reported some two years before the legislation was introduced, some six years' notice—has been given of this intention. It may therefore be asked: why cannot the industry adjust itself to the present position? I should remind the House that bread price control and subsidies were in operation until September, 1956, and that, until then, the small baker, particularly, had only limited opportunities of planning ahead, thinking of the future of his business, and embarking on capital investment.
I have already referred to the problem of his securing the additional capital necessary, and that, I think, is a fair enough reason for asking that there should be slightly longer notice before the operation of the full ban on continuous night working—
Perhaps the hon. Member will possess himself in patience. I was about to come to that point. I have no doubt that the more frequently he interrupts, the longer I shall take.
It is said that the employers have spurned every opportunity of settlement under Section 9. I have no wish to seek to apportion blame between one section of the industry and another. I agree with my hon. Friend that the real solution is an agreement between the two parties concerned, and I am hopeful that there may be an opportunity for such agreement to emerge. I hope that the time will come when the Bill will prove to be unnecessary, and will be replaced by agreement within the industry.
In this connection, however, one must point out that paragraph 25 of the Rees Report gives an outline of the negotiations that have taken place, and the offer made by the employers on 16th November, 1948, before the Committee reported. Paragraph 25 says:
It will be seen that this offer was in principle similar to the arrangement made under the Scottish Working Agreement, but it differed in that the Scottish arrangement was put into operation by voluntary agreement, whereas the English employers contemplated a Statutory Order.
That was the only difference between the Scottish agreement and that proposed by the English and Welsh employers. The paragraph goes on:
The Unions were not satisfied with this proposal and maintained that there should be a complete prohibition of night work.
The hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has mentioned Scotland. Why is it not possible to do in England and Wales what has been done in Scotland? First, the Bill, as drawn, does not appear to affect Scotland because, as my hon. Friend has said, the majority of bakers in Scotland have a Section 9 agreement that takes them out of the operation of the Bill. Secondly, I have met a number of bakers in Scotland, and I have been informed that the regular, every-day baking of bread is not necessarily the main part of their production.
Perhaps the most important reason for saying that conditions in the two countries are not comparable lies in the inter
changeability of employees. This is referred to in paragraph 32 of the Rees Report, which says:
The difficulty about interchangeability does not arise in Scotland where the operation of a five-year apprenticeship scheme ensures that the operatives are all-round skilled craftsman. Nor does it arise in the very large plant bakeries where the production of bread alone goes on for all or most of the 24 hours and in which a shift system can be and usually is arranged for the operatives, all of whom are engaged on the one kind of process.
That is a complete answer to the question relating to Scotland. I hope, however, that there will be a settlement in the near future of the problem as it affects Scotland. I should like to have the attention of the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens)—
Because I am sure the right hon. Gentleman wishes to see a settlement of this issue satisfactory to both sides of the industry. [An HON. MEMBER: "Withdraw the Bil1."] That is not the only method of securing satisfaction. The best method of securing satisfaction is the process of working towards this interchangeability, a process which may take some little time.
There are employed in the bakery trade in England and Wales bakers with ten, twenty or thirty years' experience in the industry. The English and Welsh employers over the last six or seven years have introduced educational and apprenticeship schemes and these will take a little time to work through. It will take a little time before the products of these schemes replace those who have been working for ten, twenty or thirty years in the industry. One must allow this process to develop in the evolution of time.
The Bill will provide an opportunity for some degree of Ministerial relief, some degree of relief from the harshness of the 1954 Act during what I hope will be a very short period when the apprenticeship schemes will develop still further in England and Wales.
I should like to refer once more to the Rees Committee's Report on Night Baking. The Report opens with a historical note and says:
… in the course of our inquiries we heard it said that the sufferings of the bakers go back to the days of Pharaoh, for when
Pharaoh was wrathful against his chief butler and his chief baker, he eventually restored the butler to his butlership, but he hanged the chief baker.
In a more enlightened age I would ask the House to show greater mercy to the master baker, to avoid condemning him to extinction, and to give the Bill a Second Reading.
I beg to move, to leave out from "that" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which seeks to abandon undertakings given by Her Majesty's Government on 25th January, 1954; which nullifies the compromise on the basis of which a long-standing dispute between workers and employers in the baking industry was settled; and which would withdraw the protection of the law against excessive night work from a large body of workers so soon after its introduction.
This is a somewhat unusual place in the Chamber for me to be speaking from. It is a long while since I spoke from below the Gangway. Nevertheless, I do it as a private Member, and, speaking as chaiman of the group of trade union Members of Parliament, it gives me more pleasure than I have had for a long time since I have been in the House.
I beg the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) to bear in mind that our history has been one of seeking improvements in industrial social legislation, of having to fight over long periods against bitter and determined opposition and always having to face attempts to upset our victories when they have been won—attempts always made in the most moderate terms, always in the name of the small man and of the odd worker who wished to be exploited or who wished to do what it was desired to forbid. It has been such a long experience of ours that we know quite well by intuition, instinct and personal experience that there is not one single piece of industrial legislation for the protection of the health, welfare and working conditions of our workers that would not have been overturned on these very grounds.
While we appreciate the measured and moderate tones which the hon. Member for Beckenham used, he must not be surprised if we are not moved at all, because the result of what he is attempting to do would be none the less vicious, even though he himself lacks any vice and though he approaches the problem in the kindliest of ways. The same arguments that he adduced were used against forbidding women to work in the pits. The same arguments were used against Lord Shaftesbury's attempts to shorten working hours. There was always the employer who was crippled and who would go out of business if this were made compulsory. There was always the worker who liked to do it. There was always the small man whom British genius could not afford to lose. These are like the widows and their mites; they have been with us always and they have always been the obstacle to progress.
The hon. Gentleman has spoken many times of this worthy person, the small man, but he always referred to employers. A worker is a small man, too, and in many cases he is a jolly sight smaller than is the employer. The hon. Gentleman never once referred to the small man who worked in the bakehouse; he always referred to this worthy band of small men, the master bakers. The worker is at least as small, and often in the smaller shops he is a jolly sight smaller, because that is where his ability to protect himself is least, and he is at least as worthy.
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. May I point out that if the small baker is forced out of business it seriously affects the livelihood of the employees to whom the right hon. Gentleman has referred. Of course, their interests are greatly affected by what happens to the small master baker.
I am not dealing with that point. The hon. Gentleman introduced the Bill as a small Bill to help small men, the small men being the master bakers. As to these arguments about the danger of the crippled and small employers being forced out of business, if we want to consider small people—and I am not at all against that—one should consider all small people and remember that the man who works in a small establishment of any kind is almost certainly the smallest of all. He is the man for whom it is most difficult to secure trade union protection, or any other kind of protection.
A great point has been made about the lack of organisation on both sides of the industry. I have a compelling feeling that if the Master Bakers Association had not been more concerned with preventing the growth of the trade union organisation in the industry the master bakers would have been more willing than they have been to use Section 9 and to make agreements with the unions. Any agreement under Section 9 would mean admitting a representative of the union to any of the shops where it was required that there should be an exemption. The only way way in which the Bill differs from Section 9 is that it rules out the union and says that matters shall be decided between the employer and the Ministry of Labour.
We are being invited to substitute a piece of legislation which excludes the unions, namely, this Bill, for a piece of legislation, the 1954 Act, which includes the unions and gives them certain rights. I feel sure that it is the fear that union officials would be admitted to the shops where exemption is claimed that is the real purpose for this new piece of legislation in place of the Measure on the Statute Book.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, South West (Mr. Bowden), who is Chief Whip of the Party on this side of the House, whose absence through ill-health today we regret very much, spoke in the previous debate and said something which may well have been very far-sighted. He was congratulating the then Minister of Labour, who is now chairman of the Midland Bank, on introducing the Bill, and he said that he doubted whether we should have got it from any other Conservative Minister of Labour. It was a piece of very farsighted legislation. It was a compromise which took into account everybody's concern. It brought the union in, and it was something of which Sir Walter Monckton, as he then was, specifically said, I hope that this will lead, and my intention is that it shall lead, to negotiations and agreement on the basis of which I can then exempt the industry or portions of it from the Act."
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Beckenham says that he and those for whom he speaks want the same thing, but the first effect of what he proposes is to exclude the union from its opera- tion. How can one have an agreement if the union is not in it? That is the difference. As Lord Monckton said quite clearly, it was the desire at that time to draft the Statute in a way which encouraged the employers to meet the unions, work out an agreement, bring it back to him, and then give him an opportunity to exempt. The present Bill is designed to wipe that out. In effect, what the hon. Gentleman says is, Let us ask the employers to get together with the Minister of Labour so that we can exempt an undertaking without any reference to the union at all". That is the way to compulsory, arbitrary action on one side. I beg the hon. Gentleman to understand that that is the only difference which his Bill makes. It removes the union and removes the request for agreement. That is the fundamental difference which we must face.
The hon. Member for Beckenham, I thought, gave away a very large part of his case at one point. I do not know whether the House heard him as I did, but I took his words down. I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the great majority of the small bakers can conform. We are being asked, after fourteen months, to remove from the Statute Book a piece of industrial legislation and to rule out any rights of the union in the interests of what is admitted to be a very few who claim they cannot do what the great majority can do in the same conditions. I hope to show that there is ample room under the Act for this small minority—not just a minority, but a small one—and I hope to convince the House that it would be a crying shame if we were today, on a Private Member's Bill, to remove a valuable piece of legislation which was the result of long consideration and effort.
The 1954 Act was not hastily prepared. It came about after some 100 years of consultation, discussion and inquiry. There had already been three major Royal Commissions or Committees about it, two of which reported in favour of something like the 1954 Act. There had already been one abortive Act of Parliament on the subject, a Measure carried by the House but never actually put into effect. It was not something hurriedly done. It was something done after a whole century of effort and discussion. It was a compromise. It held a balance between what one side wanted and the other side wished to refuse. That we should be asked to remove that so shortly after its passage through the House because it is said that there is a small minority whose special circumstances we ought to relieve seems to me to he a crying shame.
Many references have been made to the Rees Committee, the last of the three bodies to consider this matter, the one set up by my right hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs) in 1951. These references have always been to selected parts of the evidence. I wish to draw attention to paragraph 210 of the Report where the Committee passes considered judgment upon all that it had considered. The Committee says:
Subject to these points"—
that is, references to different classes of bakers—
we recommend that legislation should he adopted requiring each baking establishment to choose between total abolition of night work and the introduction of a system of alternating or rotating shifts. We consider that a scheme of this kind would have sufficient flexibility to enable it to meet the requirements of all types of baking establishments while at the same time removing the worst features of night baking, without causing the public to have less efficient service or to pay more for bread.
It is quite clear that, whatever was said earlier in the references to the evidence which the Committee had heard, at the end of it all the Committee came to the absolutely firm, conclusive opinion that what it suggested would not introduce unnecessary hardship, had sufficient flexibility, and would enable us to avoid the worst features of the old system without doing anybody any great harm. I suggest that we ought to consider very carefully indeed whether we should throw overboard as easily as has been suggested something which had had such very long preparation and worthy parentage.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Barter), who seconded the Motion, referred to the 1954 Act as "this rigid Measure". There was nothing rigid about it. Lord Monckton's Act was a very wide and flexible Measure. It provided alternatives. It did not end night work in bakehouses. It provided alternative ways of dealing with the system. The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong to say that nobody can start work before 5 o'clock in the morning. Not only the master baker, who is outside the Act, not only any foreman, who is outside the Act, but the doughman or the oven-man can start before 5 o'clock in the morning.
If people choose the 5 o'clock start, there are certain exceptions. If they do not wish to choose that, they can take an alternative method; they can have the bakeries running through the night, with everybody doing some night work. What no one may do is to have any one man doing nothing but night work all the time. There is a variety of possibilities. and the Act was deliberately drawn in that way. There is the further provision in Section 9 for the small few who cannot get along with the others.
One thing which puzzles me is this. What are the objections? I have a copy of a booklet—issued by the master bakers, I think; it does not have their imprint on it—in which are given some notes on night work in bakeries. The master bakers give some of the reasons why their members are in difficulty. Incidentally, they do not refer to a small minority at all; they write as though it is their members in general who are concerned.
It is really quite amusing. In one case the difficulty is that it is impossible for the workers to reach the bakery because of a lack of public transport at those hours. There will still be a lack of public transport whatever hon. Gentlemen may do this morning. In another case, they say that the workers will not do the work and they are proposing to leave the industry. They will still leave the industry, unless unemployment forces them to stay or come back. Nowhere in this leaflet is there any suggestion of what it is that the bakers cannot do or cannot arrange.
There is no reference to new techniques. I am told that the millers' research body has in hand a new technique; it has been sending people round for some time explaining and demonstrating to master bakers a technique which requires no new equipment at all. It is a new way of preparing the dough so that there is not a long wait before it is put in the oven: one can get straight on with the job. I gather that the man who has been doing this work is regarded as an expert. The general secretary of the bakers' union has even co-operated with him in some of the demonstrations and taken part in them.
There is a variety of ways in which these matters can be done, yet there is no reference in the master bakers' case to these possibilities or techniques. I am really puzzled to know what the objection is, if it is not an old-fashioned outright desire to be free of this legislation against continuous night work.
No, I cannot guarantee that. But, with respect, I can say that it is being done, apparently, under very expert auspices, so that one is entitled to assume that somebody has tasted the product and that there is some body of opinion—I am talking about the millers, not the trade union—which says that the resulting product is acceptable and all right. I am told that the new technique is in operation in many bakeries, but the point is that the product is not examined and then rejected on the ground that it tastes nasty. My objection is that the bakers do not seem to be facing up to the possibilities under this head at all.
We are not arguing about night work as such. If the Bill is passed, apart from putting the union out of court in negotiations and apart from saying that the employers do not have to talk to the union, any negotiations that do take place will be held with the threat of a pistol at the head of the union, the worker. The employer will then be able to say to the worker, "If you and I are going to discuss this, I propose to ask for an exemption. I do not need to get your good will, which is the position at present. I am going to the Minister for an exemption, and look what trouble we will all be in then. You had better agree with me". The whole basis of discussion and negotiation will be changed, and the weaker body will have a pistol at its head.
It is not unfair to point out to the House that the 1954 Act has operated for fourteen months. Its period of gestation was 100 years, it took four years to bring it into operation, and now, after only fourteen months in operation, we are asked to take it off the Statute Book. Is there not something wrong in that?
I listened carefully to the hon. Members for Beckenham and Ealing, North without interrupting them, although I was tempted to do so. If that kind of interruption is made, the hon. Member will change the whole basis of the debate, and not for the benefit of those he seeks to help, and what should be a human discussion will be lost. Of course, if anybody is drowning one will save that person. We are not considering whether any master makers are drowning. The hon. Member is crying "shark" before sharks are seen.
I am informed that the Bill will not take the 1954 Act off the Statute Book. So far as the union and protection of negotiations are concerned, it must do that. The hon. Member for Beckenham kept saying, "Of course, what we hope is that there will be a Section 9 agreement, and then the Bill can lapse", but there is nothing in the Bill about that. That cannot be so, because the union is essential to a Section 9 agreement, and the Bill specifically excludes the union. There is nothing in the Bill which says that it will lapse if there should ever be a Section 9 agreement under the original Act.
The opening words of Clause 1 read:
In the case of any baking establishment to which section one of the principal Act…".
I think that the right hon. Member will agree that the point of Section 9 of the original Act is to exempt from the provisions of Section 1 any bakeries which have reached agreement under Section 9. Therefore, what the right hon. Gentleman is saying would not apply to them.
If we started with Section 9 that would be all right. I hope that I can carry the Parliamentary Secretary with me because he has a great responsibility today. Once we say to the master bakers, "You may get an exemption by coming to an agreement with the Minister of Labour" any incentive to use Section 9 will have been removed. At the moment, the only way by which exemptions can be obtained is by using Section 9 and coming to an agreement with the union. I do not see the Parliamentary Secretary's point. There would not be any need for this Measure if Section 9 could be used. There is only a need for the Measure because Section 9 will not or cannot be used.
I repeat that the principal Act has been in operation for only fourteen months and it is a little indecent to repeal it so soon. It should have been allowed to operate for a longer period to find out whether anybody is drowning. Nothing has been said by hon. Members opposite and nothing has ben issued by the master bakers which was not taken into account in 1954, not only by hon. Members on this side, but by Lord Monckton, by Mr. Malcolm McCorquodale, as he then was, who spoke from the benches opposite, and the present Minister of Transport. They all canvassed the very difficulties about which the hon. Member for Beckenham is concerned, and they all urged that the way to deal with the problem by Section 9. They all acclaimed the flexibility of the Measure and the one Section that has not been used by the employers as the way in which the difficulty could be met. I will be so bold as to assert that had the employers desired to use Section 9 it could have been used.
The hon. Member for Beckenham knows, but did not tell the House, no doubt for very good reasons, that not only he but my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds. West (Mr. C. Pannell) have had several meetings this week with the employers and the union to discuss the problem of reaching an agreement.
Perhaps I may he allowed to make the point.
The union has been willing to negotiate ever since 1954, but the master bakers have always said, "We want to abolish continuous night work", and the union said that they could not negotiate—
I beg the pardon of the House; I thought that was what I said. The union said, "We cannot negotiate on that basis, but we are willing to negotiate, on the basis of, for example, the Scottish agreement." In order to satisfy ourselves on the matter, joint meetings were held this week. What did we find? The union offered—it did not accept—an arrangement which it was prepared to make under Section 9 with regard to seaside resorts which met the master bakers' case. That offer was made voluntarily.
On Section 1, the union not only said, "We will make an agreement with you"; it also said, We will set up a permits committee. "Machinery for this exists under every trade board and wages council. I must have served on thousands of permit committees before I came to this House. Permit committees are well known to trade unions. The bakers' union said that it was prepared to make agreements and to issue permits.
This cannot be disputed. I am giving the facts. This happened this week during the course of the talks. The unions have offered since 1954 to negotiate with the employers on this matter, but the bakers have refused to negotiate unless the unions first conceded the principle of continuous night baking.
We took the initiative in bringing the parties together with the promoter of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West was there and the union made its offers to negotiate under the provisions of Section 9. In spite of that, the Bill has been brought forward. Can it be argued that the unions have done anything other than demonstrate their willingness to negotiate?
I did not refer specifically to the talks because I did not want to support my argument by suggesting that the introduction of the Bill was the outcome of talks. [Interruption.] I thought that to refer to the talks would put the union leaders in an invidious position. I thought that it would be unfair in support of the Bill to use the argument that the union leaders had attended the talks. The union leaders pointed out that they were not in a position to make definite offers. [Interruption.] They could hardly do more—[Interruption.]—than make suggestions and those were merely exploratory ideas. There—
Interventions should be short. It is my experience that interventions prolong a debate. I often wonder whether they are necessary, since there will be other speeches from both sides of the House to deal with the points raised. However, if there are too many interventions, there will not be time for other speeches.
The upshot of what I say is not in dispute. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is not. The facts are not in dispute. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West was present and I hope that he will be able to catch your eye later, Mr. Speaker. I have, of course, received my information from him.
My information from him is that the offers were made and my information this morning from the general secretary of the bakers' union is that he made the offers and stood by them and stands by them —not, of course, in the atmosphere of this Bill, not in an atmosphere in which men are told that they will be forced into something, an atmosphere in which there will be no agreement. This is an honourable union and it has been seeking since 1954 to get agreement with the master bakers from whom the opposition has come.
One cannot help feeling that the bakers do not want to arrange a permit committee with the unions. They want to do it with the Ministry of Labour to keep the unions out. In my time I have organised unions in many small-scale industries. I have often found an employer who has foolishly believed that so long as he could keep the union official out, his men would not join the union and he would be able to run his business in his own way and in a manner which he thought much better.
I wish that such employers would realise how wrong they are in such a belief. When responsible union officials are consulted, it is precisely this kind of employer who does best, for they find that their problems begin to be solved. Members who are trade union officials probably spend more time looking after small employers with non-union men in their workshops than they do employers who co-operate with the unions. I assure hon. Members opposite that the best service they can render the small master bakers is to urge that on them. They must urge them to drop the Bill and to stick by Section 9 and to appreciate the wisdom of working with the unions under Section 9. Let them see how far they will get.
The Parliamentary Secretary knows that some of us who support the Amendment have worked very hard during the last few weeks to try to avoid a clash on this issue and to try to reach an amicable settlement of this dispute. He and his right hon. Friend very courteously received a deputation and I venture to say in public what I said then although I shall not refer to the details of those discussions, unless the hon. Gentleman chooses to do so.
We said that we felt that he and his Department had a major responsibility in this matter. There is no evidence that the negotiations have failed because of the obstinacy of the unions over the last four years, but there is every evidence that the unions have sought a settlement and that the employers have refused to negotiate. If the hon. Gentleman today acquiesces in the passage of a Bill which penalises the trade union in circumstances where the trade union has been the body seeking to co-operate and use existing legislation in the process, he will sacrifice a tremendous amount of good will among many trade unions. [HON. MEMBERS: "All of them."]
The trade union group in the House has taken an important part in all this. We have had to do so, because this sort of thing could apply to every piece of legislation which we ever win in the House of Commons.
If we allowed the Bill to go through, we could never be sure of holding other legislation. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows that there is. not one of us who would not use his efforts with the union if the union were being obstructive and refusing to make agreements under Section 9. That is not so. In fact, it is the other way round and it is Conservative Members of Parliament who will not use their influence with the master bakers to get them to take up the union offers.
In all the circumstances, because of the damage which would be done in the re-opening of a quarrel which is 100 years old, the damage which would be done to some men who would be forced to work night work against their will in order to stay in the only job which they knew, because of the damage which would be done to the whole business of voluntary agreements and negotiations, I commend the Amendment and hope that the House will decline to give a Second Reading to such an atrocious Bill.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I had better get the record straight on what has taken place this week. The House usually accepts that I am a witness IA truth in these matters. I speak not only as representing my constituency, but as secretary of the Trade Union Group in the House of Commons. Hon. Members opposite may not know that that group is older than the Labour Party in the House of Commons and has been concerned with this agitation in all the years of its existence.
I ask hon. Members opposite not to underestimate the emotions aroused on this issue. The issue of night baking in the trade union movement has something of that mystique associated with the Truck Acts, some of the mystique associated with child labour in the Industrial Revolution. It has an honourable history of agitation with which some of the greatest names in the House of Commons have been associated in their attempt to eradicate this evil.
In 1954, we thought that we had closed the chapter on political settlements for industrial questions. We regretted the political settlement in 1954 inasmuch as we would have preferred an industrial settlement, since an industrial settlement can always be amended and adjusted, but a Conservative Minister of Labour had to settle the matter politically because everybody had failed industrially. A settlement had to be imposed because this matter had been a shame almost to the House itself. Occasionally, the House has had to impose political settlements, but they have always been imposed in the teeth of the opposition, not of the trade unions, but of the employers.
That has been the invariable rule, and it is still the rule today. Consequently, I look upon the Bill as disastrous. I do not know whether it is offensive to say this. The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) is rather a political innocent in bringing it forward. It is an abuse of private Members' time and an attempt by party political action and a Private Member's Bill, to force a political settlement of an industrial dispute.
Surely the House is the eventual guarantor of human liberty. As compared with some party debates, this is an admirable debate. Instead of resenting it, the hon. Gentleman opposite should be glad that it is being debated openly.
The hon. Gentleman might have listened to the argument a little longer before he so rapidly interrupted. I said that it was an abuse of private Members' time. I was coming to the point that, after a century of struggle, we had a major Act put on the Statute Book.
I will deal with the point on which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Beckenham interrupted, so perhaps he will remain in his seat while I deal with it. He and I are the only two witnesses to what happened last week, and he will appreciate that I must deal with it from the beginning.
I do not know what the noises issuing from the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) mean. I remember that once, when he was in an intoxicated condition, he tried to interrupt me during a by-election.
The facts were as I stated at Armley Moor that afternoon, and I only hope that the hon. Gentleman is sober at this moment.
This is a serious matter, and I regret that the hon. Gentleman was carrying on this form of interruption all the time that my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) was speaking.
I will deal now with the events of last week. We met in negotiation with the employers, following our intervention with the Minister. There had been a deputation to the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary, when we did our best to secure that the Bill was withdrawn. We wanted the Bill withdrawn for the very cogent reasons that my right hon. Friend has advanced. We have always looked at the Act of 1954 as a major Act, which closed a major dispute. We consider that an Amendment of it should not he the subject of further legislation.
That was the point I was coming to before I was interrupted by the hon. Gentleman. This is the close of a chapter and we do not want any more of it. This is not something the House would do with the engineers, the miners or the building trade workers. If we did that, the Minister would be at the Dispatch Box with his hand on his heart, saying, "This is an industrial matter. Grave issues are at stake. Our economy rocks in the balance. Keep out. This is for the experts."
The hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) can have a word later. I have had enough interruptions for the moment.
That is what the Minister would have said. I hope that the Minister will not adopt for a very weakly organised industry a standard different from that which he would adopt for one of the great basic industries.
When the hon. Gentleman introduced the Bill he was prepared, on the brief of the master bakers, to go very much further. The Bill is an amendment and a watering down of his original intention and the intention of the master bakers. They wanted to exempt from the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, all those bakeries in which not more than five bakers are employed. Thus, if their original intention, which the hon. Gentleman fell for, had been carried out, 70 per cent. of the baking establishments would have been outside the original Act.
When that dawned on the hon. Gentleman, he obviously had second thoughts. Then we had the redrafting of it so that, on the application of the employer—not the employer with the trade union—to the Minister, the Minister could grant exemption.
That was the original point. Then the hon. Gentleman watered it down.
What happened at the negotiations? I do not think that those negotiations need be so private. We have been dragged on to the Floor of the House, but we cannot say what took place in the presence of hon. Members. Clause 2 deals with exemptions at seasonal resorts, and it has brought a great many Members here this afternoon. There was an offer made of a division of 26 weeks being a season. The two sides agreed in front of us that afternoon and said that there was no problem. Agreement could have been reached that afternoon. The only thing at issue on which the House is being asked to meet is Clause 1. Is that true?
Broadly speaking, I go a very long way with the hon. Gentleman, but there is the point that everyone at that meeting agreed that they had no powers, either to negotiate or to reach a final conclusion. I hope that this will be a basis for a settlement in the future.
There was one party which had the power to do it, and that was the union. The baking unions put the suggestion forward that afternoon with the knowledge—they had their national president and secretary present—that they would have carried their people with them. There was no issue.
I am speaking about negotiations. The hon. Gentleman can hear all about the negotiations and then I will give way.
Then we come to the one point at issue. The bakers' union said that they would never agree to a man doing continuous night work. They were prepared to negotiate on the basis of a formula which provided for something less than continuous. Is there any Member on the other side of the House who will rise and say that he will go into the Lobby this afternoon for continuous night work and nothing less than continuous, seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year? That is what "continuous" means in this context.
I hope that hon. Members will not contradict me on this. I have been concerned with trade union agreements and I have also done my share of night work. Some hon. Members opposite may have been more used to night clubs, but I have done my share of night work.
I am anxious to clear this up. I am interested in seasonal resorts. I was not present at the negotiations. The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) says that he was present. Do I understand from him that there has been an offer from the trade unions that at seasonal resorts they are prepared to agree to night baking for 26 continuous weeks within the period of the season?
They are prepared to consider 26 weeks as a season. Hon. Members will appreciate that we were trying to get enough agreement to call off the Bill. There was no problem there. When the Parliamentary Secretary replies, I shall be very pleased to hear whether he thinks that the question of seasonal resorts, bearing in mind the union's position, is not a "phoney" issue. I have a great regard for the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden), as he knows. This is a side issue, which does not affect the Bill. The whole point is that the union argues that since 1954 it has always been ready to negotiate, but the small master bakers have never fully recognised the trade union.
The hon. Member said that not 10 per cent. of the people in these establishments were trade unionists. That is a very curious doctrine. Non-unionists have no claim to collective bargaining. If a person is a member of the Society of Individualists he does not join a trade union. All the wages and conditions in the whole of our British industrial life are negotiated by collective bodies.
When the Minister of Labour calls together the National Joint Industrial Council he does not provide special seats for those people who will not join trade unions. Doctors do not accept this argument, neither do lawyers. When joint negotiation is carried out on behalf of bodies it is clear that they believe in collective bargaining. The whole history of trade unions has been one of minorities which have been brought up into majorities. The point is that the small master bakers do not want to meet the unions because they do not believe in trade unionism.
I hope, therefore, that the major point upon which I object to the Bill, namely, that it seeks to impose a political solution upon an industrial settlement, will be the prime one to be considered today. I still believe that without the Bill it is possible to arrive at a solution. At this time in the life of this Parliament—whatever the Prime Minister may have said yesterday—the sands are running out. Does anybody really believe that it is possible to get this Measure on the Statute Book during the lifetime of this Parliament, bearing in mind the emotions which it engenders among hon. Members on this side of the House, and what the trade union movement will feel about it?
I spent last evening in the Library, running through reports of Parliamentary attempts to solve this matter ever since 1848. I noticed that the father of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour was a member of the Mackenzie Commission, forty years ago. He was not exactly known as a progressive, but I had a great respect for him. Going back still further, we find that Bills were introduced to try to regulate this question. There were not only petitions in 1848, but Bills in 1898, 1900, 1906, 1907, 1908 and 1911. That indicates how long this has been a running sore.
Since 1905 the Trades Union Congress has passed almost annual resolutions upon the subject. I could quote much of what people have said about it in the past. What impressed me in my reading last night was that even great men cannot get away from the temper of their time. In 1848, Gladstone said that the only remedy which suggested itself to the mind was a law restraining the hours of labour, and he asked whether anyone could conceive that such
a law could be passed. We have passed a good many since then. He went on to say:
It would be so entirely abhorrent to the genius of the constitution and people that it would not be endured.
What about this, from the great Cobden—the blood brother of the hon. Member for Beckenham? Speaking in 1849, he said:
There must be perfect freedom of labour in the trade of bakers, or else the House would have the glass makers, that useful class the nightmen of London, the ironfounders, and indeed every other trade, coming forward and asking to be exempted from such hard work as they now performed.
He warned the House against entering into such a course of legislation, and went on to say that this proposition, in point of fact, was Communism, although the noble Lord—he did not mean the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), but Lord Robert Grosvenor—did not know it to be so.
Lord Robert Grosvenor, who was speaking on behalf of the bakers of the day, said that "labour had no representation in that House," and his belief was that the great majority of the labouring classes were still willing to wait and leave power in the hands of those who were best fitted by leisure and education to master the great questions of State.
It seems to me that that paternal atmosphere and mood is the same as that which exists on the opposite benches this morning. But we have got beyond that stage. Men will now say that they will not be conditioned in their lives by the wisdom of soldiers, or merchants, capitalists, or kings—or even master bakers. That is the mission of the trade union movement. They believe that the workers in industry should have an equal voice with the employers in determining the sort of conditions under which they work, and, side by side with that, they believe that once a political settlement has been imposed by a Government of the day, this Government, of the same political party, should reject what they consider to be an impertinent attempt to repeal major legislation so soon after it has been passed.
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) reminded us that it is a long time since he last spoke from the bench on which he is now sitting. I can remember well the last time he spoke, when he made a most robust, sensible and statesmanlike speech. I can even remember some of his words. He said that we must make it clear to the Communists, "Thus far and no farther". On that occasion he may not have had as united or enthusiastic a band of supporters behind him as he has today, but for the reasons that I shall give I do not think that his speech today was as effective as his speech on the previous occasion to which I have referred.
I do not claim to have anything like the technical knowledge of this matter that is possessed by many hon. Members on both sides of the House. I shall, therefore, content myself by giving an example from my own constituency to illustrate the difficulties in which one firm has been placed by the law as it now stands. I do this because I feel sure that these difficulties are experienced by many other firms in seaside resorts. The firm to which I refer has, for 16 weeks a year or thereabouts, to make between two and three times as much bread as it does for the other 36 weeks in the year.
I think that hon. Members on both sides well know what very large crowds are drawn to Scarborough in the season. Indeed, they themselves have contributed to its increase in population, which means a very abnormal demand for bread. To supply that bread the bakers have to start work at 10 o'clock at night so as to have the bread ready for delivery at 7.30 the next morning.
There is no other way in which these small firms can produce the required amount of bread during those 16 weeks. During the other 36 weeks in the year they can make all the bread they require by baking by day, though I am bound to say that starting work at 5 a.m. is not my idea of the time to begin one's day's labours. As the law now stands the employers have to choose one or other system, not one system for one part of the year and the other system for the rest of the year. They have to settle which procedure they will adopt for the whole year.
This is their dilemma. If they choose to be day bakers then they cannot make anything like enough bread to meet the seasonal demand. That means not only that they lose the profit on their turnover, but that they are unable to meet the increased demand from their regular customers, hotels and boarding houses, and, therefore, are in serious danger of losing their customers' good will and business throughout the whole year. Further, of course, the customers are deprived of the chance of buying the quality hand-made bread which they want.
If, on the other hand, the employers are forced to the other alternative, and decide to be night bakers, that is all right during the season. But after 26 weeks—and they do not need to do that for more than 16 weeks—they have to work people for only four weeks on end. That is quite reasonable, of course, for the large baker who has many men, and who can work a shift system, but it is quite impracticable for the small baker, who cannot afford to employ the number of men sufficient to do that shift.
Surely the hon. Gentleman is forgetting what has been said time after time today, that there is no difficulty about reaching agreement between the unions and the master bakers in relation to the seaside resorts. That being so, why cannot the people in his constituency arrive at an arrangement with which everyone will agree?
I can only say that the constituent who has brought this matter to my notice, who has come to see me on many occasions, who has quite recently written me many letters and who has, I believe, made every possible effort to get out of his dilemma, is a lifelong Socialist who. I understand, has always voted Socialist. I am sure that hon. Members opposite will agree with me that just because he is wrong on that he is not necessarily wrong in all things.
My constituent is faced with the position that he has either to have many extra men and keep them idle—I am not talking about what may come of future negotiations, but about the condition as he finds it today—
Could I have the hon. Gentleman's attention while I make my point?
My constituent, like many others in the same position, is faced with this alternative. He has either to have extra men so as to have enough to alternate after four weeks, in which case they are idle as there is not sufficient work to do, or he has to buy rather expensive machinery so as to keep those men occupied and make the bread now made by the plant bakers and which he now buys because he finds that it is more economical so to do than to make the bread himself.
As I say, my constituent is a life-long Socialist who has a very good reputation for working with his men, and he has been quite unable to employ them in this way. If he were able to do so, he would not come to me.
As the law stands it will either force people out of business, or lead to a great waste of the resources of small firms by making them buy machinery which they do not need. If that is done on a big enough scale it represents a waste of national resources.
The Bill would do three things. It would enable the small firms to carry on, enable customers to buy the sort of bread they want and it would mean no extra night work over and above what the employers are entitled to do at the present time. As I see it, a law is a good law if it improves conditions for the majority of people even if it hurts the small minority. But it is not a good law if, to help a large number of people, it hurts a small number unnecessarily. I believe that if the Bill becomes law the advantages of the present Act will be retained for the many without hurt to the few.
I cannot help feeling that what my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said has a lot of good foundation in it. He said that the Bill is an attempt to avoid making an effort to settle any question under Section 9.
The hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Sir A. Spearman) referred to the one case in his constituency, the one firm with its seasonal demands. He explained the circumstances of the firm coming to him, but, apparently, the firm did not tell him that it had not tried to settle the matter under Section 9. The hon. Gentleman said, "The firm came to me." I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman said to the firm, "Why do you come to me? Why do you not use Section 9 of the existing Act. There is an opportunity for settling it there."
Section 9 has been referred to several times today. I wonder how many hon. Members have it in front of them or know what it contains? It would, perhaps, be as well for the sake of the record if I were to read to the House what Section 9, which was obviously the turning point of the whole matter recently, says. Then, perhaps, hon. Members will begin to wonder why the Bill has been introduced. Section 9 says:
If at any time the Minister is satisfied that there is in force an agreement to which one or more organisations representing employers in the baking industry and one or more trade unions representing bakery workers are parties and that, having regard to the terms of that agreement, this Act should not apply in relation to bakery workers to whom the agreement relates, he may by order provide that the foregoing provisions of this Act shall not apply in relation to bakery workers to whom the agreement relates employed by any employer to whom the agreement applies.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, is not at the moment in his place because I should like to have asked him if he has ever read Section 9 of the 1954 Act, and, if so, why he has brought in the Bill. On the other hand, if he has not read the Section, I should also like to have asked him why he brought in the Bill. To pursue a Bill of this kind would have a bad effect on industrial relations, and, what is more, it would have a bad effect upon the status of the Ministry of Labour and National Service in matters affecting workers and employers.
I am sorry—perhaps it is because I am speaking—that not more Members are present. Certainly the representative of the Ministry is not present at the moment. I know that he was here a few moments ago and I can possibly appreciate why he is not still here.
I will come back later to what I was saying about the Ministry. In four words, the hon. Member for Beckenham gave his whole case away and destroyed his Bill. He began by talking about 10 per cent. of the employees who were organised. He then spoke about his knowledge of night work, having experienced it himself. I wish that the hon. Member were here. He said he had done his share of night work as a journalist. I wonder whether he meant that he had been out getting information outside or had done night work in a comfortable journalists' room upstairs. That is completely different to night work in a smelly, steaming room or even in the machine room of a newspaper and it certainly is vastly different from the conditions of a bakery.
The hon. Member, without giving a single example of any case of failure to reach agreement, then used his four words that negotiations had "not yet really begun." He introduced his Bill by claiming that Section 9 of the 1954 Act has not been of any effect, yet he admits that the attempts to reach agreement have not yet really begun.
The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Barter), who seconded the Bill, was no more helpful. I listened with great interest to him and to other speakers to hear any example quoted in which any of the small bakers or seasonal baking firms had been in negotiations with the unions and had then failed to reach agreement. We have not been given one example of such a failure. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper, who moved the Amendment, said, the Bill permits the employers to avoid making any agreement.
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? His views carry great weight with all sides of the House and I should like to ask him this question. Would he support the bakers in the seasonal resorts, which have exceptional demand for a few weeks in the year, in being able to choose to be night bakers for part of the year and day bakers for the other part of the year, provided that they never employ men for more than four weeks on nights, except during the time that they are already permitted to do so?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for asking that question. It shows that he envisages the possibility of understanding. I have no authority to speak on behalf of the union—I have not made any contact with it since this matter arose—but I can with confidence say that if those employers will meet the union, I am perfectly satisfied that they will get such accommodation as suits them best.
I know that for all these years the baking trade workers have been anxious to get rid of night baking, On Second Reading of the 1954 Bill, I mentioned that when I first went to the Trades Union Congress in 1909, one of the motions then tabled was for the abolition of night baking. It has been there year after year. The workers have not achieved the abolition of night baking, but they have got modification. For the time being, they are content with that modification and are anxious to make it work.
Let us consider the history of the 1954 Act. On Second Reading of the 1954 Bill, I remarked that it would put the industry in a position in which both sides would get together. Its whole purpose was to try to bring about contact with the parties. My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper has referred to the statements made by the then Minister of Labour, Lord Monckton. I hope to show that there was a desire on both sides of the House to see the matter reach settlement.
I hope that the present Parliamentary Secretary will take note of these words spoken by his predecessor in Committee on the 1954 Bill. When questions of extension and evasions arose, the then Parliamentary Secretary said:
We are perfectly willing to look at any agreed solution which is brought to us by hon. Members or by members of the industry, but it must be an agreed solution."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 25th May, 1954; c. 2988.]
At the outset, therefore, there was emphasis upon a solution and upon the two sides getting together.
The former Parliamentary Secretary spoke again in Committee on 27th May, 1954. We on this side appreciated his attempts to stick to the Bill which his Ministry had introduced and to avoid any interference or Amendment to it. He
resisted Amendments made by Members on his own side in Committee. He even resisted an Amendment moved by me and that needed some doing. He would not depart from the terms of the Bill. We have had references to the Rees Committee. Everybody who uses these quotations chooses those which suit him best. I am choosing what suited the then Parliamentary Secretary best and, as it happens, it suits me too. The Parliamentary Secretary said:
I must refer the Committee again to paragraph 211 (b) of the Rees Committee's Report which says categorically that no person now employed in the manufacture of bread and flour confectionery should be employed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for more than half the weeks worked in any particular calendar year. That is where I am afraid I must rest it in the absence of any agreement on both sides of the industry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 27th May, 1954; c. 3027.]
The Bill was passed and an interval of fourteen months followed. The hon. Member for Beckenham said that it was wrong to wait for six minutes to save a man from drowning, but had the man used a few more weeks of his time in his early years by learning how to swim, he would not need to be saved. If the small bakeries had taken up the fourteen months by trying to find a way to swim out of their problems by negotiating with the union concerned, they would not have to be saved from drowning now by the hon. Member and they would not even get wet in the process.
On Report stage of the 1954 Bill, the then Parliamentary Secretary said:
In Clause 9, which is widely drawn, not only national agreements are allowed for but agreements between sections of the industry other than the plant bakery side, if they wish to do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd July, 1954; Vol. 529, c. 1731.]
The hon. Member for Beckenham was not in his place when I mentioned earlier that he had destroyed his own Bill by using four words when he gave no instances of failure to reach agreement. His four words were that the negotiations had "not yet really begun." If the hon. Gentleman waited to see whether the negotiations really began I believe we should not have had the Bill at all. The Parliamentary Secretary said months ago what we are saying now, "If they wish to do so."
I come to the Third Reading. The Minister of Labour then was Sir Walter Monckton, now Lord Monckton. I had some interest in the matter, apart from my association with the trade union side of industry for many years, because I happen to be the Minister who appointed the Rees Committee. I was only sorry that I was not the Minister who had the opportunity of introducing the 1954 Bill to round the thing off.
Sir Walter Monckton referred to the importance attached to Clause 9 and said:
Under that Clause, employers' associations and trade unions in the industry can, as it were, contract out of a Bill by reaching suitable voluntary agreements.
It is well known that that possibility was not taken up. Sir Walter Monckton said something else, with which I am sure we would all agree. It was:
Legislation is not the ideal instrument for dealing with this problem.
Legislation in industrial affairs might point the road, but that is all. Sir Walter added that he hoped the Bill would
promote negotiating machinery which will lead to constant improvement,
He referred to the provisions of Clause 9
which enable the substitution of self-government by agreement for the rigidities which are inseparable from legislation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd July, 1954; Vol. 529, c. 1734.]
We all knew the problems that would arise and that we could refer them all for agreement under Clause 9.
I have some recollection that when soldiers felt sick, and if there was any suspicion about what was the matter with them, they were given what was described as a "number nine." This particular number nine in the Baking Industry Act was the remedy we hoped for all our ills. The trouble has been that nobody has yet swallowed the pill and we do not know whether it can do very much good.
Now let me quote some of the remarks made in the Third Reading debate by hon. Members who know something about industry. The first will be the former hon. Member for Epsom, now Lord McCorquodale. He was the head of a great business firm and knew something about industrial relations. I have had to negotiate with him, so I can assure hon. Members of that. He was Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour during the war. One of the peculiar things about that was that a man who was head of a great business firm and a great employer was at the Ministry of Labour doing his best to improve industrial relationships.
I should like to emphasise the importance of Clause 9".
Then the hon. Member for Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies), who moved a lot of Amendments in Committee with such eloquence and skill that he almost convinced me of their value—they were all rejected by the Parliamentary Secretary who was in charge of the Bill—said that the most important Clause in the Bill was Clause 9. The hon. Member for Banff (Mr. Duthie), who represented the Scottish bakers who had been taking an active part in trying to get English bakers to fall into line with Scottish bakers, said that the Bill was valuable even if the only part of it which became effective was Clause 9. That was the only thing that mattered in that Bill to him, because the Scots had got all the rest of it. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. H. Nicholls), who took an active part in this matter, said:
I, as other hon. Members have done, wish to emphasise the importance of Clause 9.
Winding up the debate, the then Parliamentary Secretary said:
We shall all be glad if Clause 9 is used."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd July, 1954; Vol. 529, cc. 1738, 1746 and 1750.]
There is the situation. I do not want to go over the speeches of the mover and seconder of today's Amendment, except to emphasise one or two words. Attention was drawn to undertakings given by the Government, by the Opposition and by other parties, which gave the industry a chance to settle down for three or four years and to get this business disposed of. When I first looked at this matter I was told by people who were competent to express an opinion that it would take at least two years for the union to adapt itself to the change, but the time for making that adaptation has been very considerably extended. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Act was a compromise."] Yes. It was a compromise on both sides. Negotiations were going on all the times, with
the Ministry taking part. It would be doing a disservice to those who strove to get that Act on to the Statute Book if we threw it overboard, as we shall if we pass the Bill.
I cannot understand one thing. Hon. Members who support the Bill have told us of the problems of the small bakeries, hut how many of them have seen any record in the Ministry of negotiations that have been attempted, or of the services of the Ministry of Labour conciliation officer having been brought in to enable the parties to get an adjustment? Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will tell us. Everybody understands that if a difference of any kind arises between a management and its workers there is a service in the Ministry of Labour to assist them to overcome their difficulties. That does not mean an arbitrator or even a conciliation officer, but merely a "channel" by which the parties can come together.
I should like to know whether there is any record of any baker going to the Ministry of Labour and saying. "We have tried to get an agreement under Section 9 with our employees and their representatives and have failed. Can you help us?" If so, it means that Section 9 has failed to enable agreement to be reached between the parties and that the Act is unworkable with Section 9 in its present form. Until we can work that machinery we should not pass the Bill which places the onus on the Minister at the request of the small bakers.
For the seasonal establishments the onus is placed upon the Minister without any representations at all. It will not be easy for the Minister to decide, merely because of the "say-so" of the master bakers that they want a change, when he has not consulted the other side. If the Minister has any wisdom he will consult the other side too. That could all have been done before the parties went to the Ministry.
On the other hand, the Minister may, under Clause 2, grant his consent in writing at his own discretion
If, in the case of any establishment to which section one of the principal Act applies, by reason of the seasonal requirements of a holiday resort or other special circumstances, it appears to the Minister reasonable and proper sc to do.
Does that mean that the Minister has to sit down and say, "There is an hon. Member who represents bakers in the
constituency of Scarborough." He would then probably ask the hon. Member for Scarborough whether there were any seasonal bakeries in his constituency. Then, at his discretion, he could say, "I will knock Scarborough off", while he might decide to leave Southend in.
No, perhaps the Minister would not do that. He might leave Southend in and take Westcliff out. It would all be part of the scheme.
I am surprised at the hon. Gentleman bringing in this Bill. He may have been got at by the employers and may not have been informed by them of all the circumstances of the case. If so, I hope that he will withdraw the Motion for the Second Reading.
The Ministry has all the power it wants. I may be told later that Section 9 does not give the Minister the power it says it gives him. If that were so it would be a puzzle to me because the Minister not only has at his disposal the services of Government draftsmen skilled in these matters, but the most eminent lawyer of our day was himself the Minister at the time of the passing of the 1954 Act. I hope I shall not be told that, with all that service, a mistake was made in drafting the Section and, therefore, it should be thrown overboard.
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will tell us that the Ministry does not want the Bill. Then I hope that—the hon. Member for Beckenham having aired his case and received the information that the master bakers can meet the employees under Section 9 and, if they fail to get satisfaction, can ask the Ministry for help and assistance and register a dispute—the matter can be settled without the Bill. Let us leave the position outside the field of legislation, as it was when the Act was passed, and let us go back to negotiation.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Before my hon. Friend begins his speech, I wish to refer to something which happened earlier in the debate, when the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) was making his speech. I apologise, because I should have asked the hon. Member to withdraw a remark he made at the time. I felt that he might want to have an opportunity of withdrawing. I have warned him that I would raise this matter in case he wished to have an opportunity of withdrawing the remark now.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I did make a remark and there was an interchange with the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell). I do not see why it should be dealt with in this way, you having allowed the hon. Member to raise it. If the hon. Member catches your eye, I promise that I shall be in the Chamber and I hope that he will allow me to intervene if he raises it then.
I listened to the speech of the right hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs) with great care and in the course of the arguments I shall put forward I hope to deal with the specific point he raised about negotiations. I also listened carefully to the speeches of the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) who moved and seconded the Amendment for rejection of the Bill. We do not want to abolish the 1954 Act, but we want to make it administratively possible.
The conditions of work in industry and of those who are making the wealth of the country today are just as much a matter of concern to those of us on this side of the House as to hon. Members opposite. But I do wish to say a word of criticism about the out-of-date approach made to this problem made by the Opposition. To me, it is a very human problem; I am speaking, not on behalf of "clients"—a word which has been bandied about most untruly by hon. Members opposite against my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart)—but because I have looked most carefully into some of the very human problems which affect my constituents and because I am speaking on their behalf.
I hope that hon. Members opposite will look at the industrial problems which face the country today with a twentieth century outlook and not with the nineteenth century outlook which they still so often seem to do. I am frightened that because of the difficulties of the task they have had in the past they approach this problem with a fear that we wish to do something injurious to the conditions of work in industry. That is far from the case and far from the truth. I am very pleased to be speaking on behalf of the seasonal resorts, the sunny parts of England—perhaps more sunny in my part of the country than in Scarborough.
I will, but I think we shall find that East Anglia beats Yorkshire. What I am concerned about is that we should keep the cottage loaf and not the "Sunblest" loaf which seems so much to be pervading the homes of the countryside today.
I am very pleased to be able to support the Bill. I raised the question of the small baker, and especially of baking in seasonal resorts, in an Adjournment debate in the House in April last year. My reasons for doing so at that time were that it was apparent that the promises which the Minister made about the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, which dealt with baking in seasonal resorts, were not going to materialise. If something were not done, many small bakers would be forced out of business. I have read Section 9, which was discussed in the first Standing Committee of which I was a member when I became a Member of the House, five years ago.
In that Adjournment debate I raised the question chiefly to deal with the problems of bakers in north-east Essex. I say this particularly in reply to the right hon. Member for Belper. I had the support not only of employers but of employees of small bakeries in that area. On the point about negotiation, after I had raised the matter in the House I was challenged by the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers. I had certain conversations and I hoped that it would be possible to reach an agreement for seasonal resorts after that Adjournment debate. I spoke to the right hon. Member who leads for the Opposition when labour problems are discussed in the House and asked for his help. I must say with all sincerity that the first time I heard of a concession being made was on the Floor of the House this morning, and, as far as I was concerned, until today, we have made no progress in negotiation.
If I say something rather forcibly about the action of the unions, I hope that it will be understood that I am not being forcible because I am against the unions in any way. I am being forcible because I am making the case for the small bakers—employers and employees —in my constituency. I welcome the Bill for the reason that it will help them. I hope that anything I say now will not disturb the negotiations which, I hope, will succeed. If, at any stage, we are able to come to a decision, even if the Bill receives a Second Reading, I hope that it will be possible to reach agreement. What has disturbed me up to now is that the power of the union has been used against the employers and employees in those small bakeries. Some of the employees are not, I admit, members of the union, but in south-east Essex even those who are support the small bakers 100 per cent.
I do not say this without having made considerable inquiries from all the small bakers in north-east Essex, and if any hon. Member opposite would like to see the answers to the considerable inquiries which I have made, I will willingly show them to him behind the Chair this afternoon. I made some thirty inquiries, and I made them specifically because I did not want to have a clash with the unions interested in my part of the world which might damage negotiations.
The case for the small baker in the seasonal resorts has been put to me so forcibly in a letter which I have received from a small baker in north-east Essex that I should like to read it. It reads as follows:
My contention is that under the Night Baking Act I should be able to work as a day bakery before the season starts, change to a night bakery during the season and change back again to a day bakery when the season is finished. It is necessary for me to do this in order that, first, I may be able to do my share in supplying the holiday population, and the only way that I find this possible is by
working nights. However, in order to supply my regular customers out of season, it is necessary to work as a day bakery in order to start my day baker at 3 a.m. so that I can get my first batch of bread out of my ovens at 8 a.m. If I am forced to work as a night bakery, though, I am not able to start until 6 a.m. on days, and consequently I could not get my first batch out of the oven before 11 a.m. This, of course, is far too late. As a small baker I do not employ enough staff to work a shift system, and consequently if I am not allowed to change over to a day bakery out of season it will just about put me out of business. My staff, one of whom is a trade union man, is quite prepared to work under these conditions. I do not feel that this would in any way defeat the main intention of the Act.
It is because I especially want to help this small baker and his employees and others in similar circumstances with their seasonal trade that I am anxious to see the Act amended, I hope most sincerely by negotiation and not by the Bill, if that is at all possible. But if amendments of the Act do not materialise or if negotiation is not possible, I am certain that most of these small bakers will have to close down. I do not believe that that would be the wish of hon. Members opposite.
I want them to understand the problem which those of us who have rural constituencies like mine, with only small industrial areas, will face if these small bakeries close down. We shall be faced with some degree—perhaps a small degree of unemployment. It might not matter to some people, but because there is insufficient industry in those areas it is of great concern to see that, if possible, we should try to keep these small bakeries going. I do not want to see useful work closing down and people's livelihood ended because of the heavy hand of certain people who do seem not to have grasped the problem which affects the seasonal resorts quickly enough to approach this problem more sympathetically.
These small bakers and their employees in seasonal and rural areas perform a social need as well as giving a service. The "cottage loaf" is not inappropriately described. In addition, these small bakers in rural areas provide an element of competition against the ever-increasing monopolistic tendencies of some of the bigger firms. They provide a service which would be greatly missed, and I am certain that if they are pushed to the wall, then in the long run it will work to the detriment of the housewife and the cost of living.
The Opposition's case, which I have listened to most carefully, is based on the conditions of work in the industry. For my part, I have no wish to put the clock back and to see nineteenth century conditions being introduced in industry today. But are the conditions in the industry in this area, especially in the seasonal trade, bad? Certainly, in north-east Essex I have had no complaints of bad conditions. Surely the unions should be more concerned with the unemployment which will be created if these small bakers close down.
Let hon. Members show their sincerity in this by not voting against the Bill. I hope that before it is too late the unions, now that this case has been aired, will show themselves to be progressive and broad-minded, will move away from the out-of-date stand which they are taking and will support the very reasonable amendment of the Act moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham in his Bill.
I should have thought that anyone who took part in the discussions in the House and in Committee on the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, as did the hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale), would very much regret this Bill and that he would seek to meet the problems of his little bakers in the way provided under Section 9 of the Act which he supported.
I will refer again to that later, and then perhaps the hon. Member will interrupt me.
I want to try to convey to the House some idea of the atmosphere in which we carried the parent Act. For 100 years the bakery workers had been trying to abolish night work. This was attempted in the House of Commons as early as 1848. The problem has always been to reconcile the abolition of what I think all hon. Members regard as a hardship on the bakery worker—continuous night working—with the rival claims of the master baker, large or small, and the more romantic claims for bread freshly baked overnight.
For about a century the reconciling of these differences seemed insuperable, and then in 1950 my right hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs) set up the Rees Committee. The Committee produced in 1951 an admirable Report. Like most British solutions, it was a compromise. It went into every aspect of the case, including every aspect which has been mentioned today by those who have supported the Bill we are now discussing. It disappointed the bakery workers, because it did not recommend the total abolition of night working. It disappointed at least some of the employers, because it recommended the abolition of continuous night working. The Government, led in this matter by Lord Monckton and the present Minister of Transport, produced a statesmanlike Bill which embodied the compromise principles of the Rees Committee's Report.
In the debate on that Bill, as the hon. Member for Harwich will recall, we of the Opposition tried to secure further concessions for the bakery workers. In the same debate, the spokesmen for the employers sought to obtain concessions for the employers of the kind envisaged in the present Bill. The Government stood firm in both cases. They resisted every attempt of the Opposition to obtain further concessions for the workers and they resisted every attempt to obtain further concessions for the employers.
They stood firm. They refused to budge to the left or to the right. The debates on the parent Act were about the happiest that I can remember. In Committee, there was only one Division, and, even then, the issue concerned in that Division was fought moderately and with good will on both sides.
Let me recall the words used by the present Minister of Transport in the Third Reading debate of 2nd July, 1954. He said:
It will always be a pleasant memory for all of us … that we have worked together for the general good and thus performed an historic function of this House, that of trying to improve the conditions in an industry sensibly and practically."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 2nd July, 1954; Vol. 529, c. 1749.]
I would ask hon. Members opposite to note that this was after the Rees Committee, and Parliament had carefully considered all the special representations
that the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) has made today on behalf of the small master bakers and those at holiday resorts. Nobody got what he wanted under the parent Act. The bakers' union wanted, and wants, night work completely abolished. It has not got that, but now, by law established, nobody can work nights in a bakery for more than twenty-six weeks in the year. Continuous night work has gone. I would have said that it had gone for good, and, indeed, it has gone for good unless the House gives the present Bill a Second Reading.
From what was said in the Second Reading debate on the 1954 Act, we understood the best employers conceded that continuous night working ought to go; that it was not fair for a bakery worker to have to work nights throughout his life. Some employers did not hold this view. But the employers got, as their part of the compromise, the concession that they could work a bakery worker on nights for twenty-six weeks in the year.
This Bill threatens to shatter that compromise. It seeks the reintroduction of continuous night work by making that work legal for more than twenty-six weeks in the case of small firms and those in holiday resorts, provided that the master baker says that he requires it, and the Minister gives his consent.
I have said that all special cases were considered when we were making the parent Act. We delayed the operation of the Act so that small firms could have time to adjust themselves to the new law. In all, from the date of the Rees Committee's Report, they had about six years in which to do so, because it was obvious that that Report would carry the support and commendation of both sides of this House.
Special provision was made in the 1954 Act to enable master bakers in the holiday resorts to pack into the peak period of their trade as much of the twenty-six weeks' night work as they required. Every kind of special difficulty, a big man and of small man, was considered by the House: for example, the special problem of Jews, and problems of accidents and of sickness. I suggest to the hon. Member for Beckenham that the problem of his crippled master baker can be covered quite adequately within the terms of the Act.
The House also considered the problem of dough makers, of foremen, of oven firemen, and of the master baker himself—he is exempted from the provisions of the Act and can work as many nights as he may wish. All were catered for in the parent Act.
Let me illustrate that by dealing with the special problem of the seaside workers.
In the Standing Committee on the Baking Industry (House of Work) Bill, on 27th May, 1954—when the hon. Member for Harwich was present—the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) moved the following Amendment:
If it is necessary, in order to meet the requirements of the public due to a seasonal increase of population, a bakery worker may, with the consent in writing of the Minister, be employed during nightwork periods for a period not exceeding that specified in that consent.
In other words, Clause 2 of this Bill—
The hon. Member has said that I was present in the Standing Committee, and I hoped that he would refer to the Minister's reply:
I am quite prepared to look at the matter again to see whether or not something could be inserted in the Clause to provide a further safeguard…
It is because those safeguards were not adequately put in the Act that we have this Bill before us today.
I thought that the hon. Gentleman would not have intervened until after I had made my point. As I say, the Amendment that I have just read was moved by the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet. The Minister left no doubt as to his own opinion both of the case and of the Amendment, when he said:
So far as those bakeries are concerned, there are adequate powers under subsection (2, b) and (2, c) of Clause 2, for the Minister too allow a bakery to use up its ration of night work and compress it into the months of the summer, when the exceptional demand arises.
He went on to say:
While I recognise the attractions of Margate and Blackpool"—
and I should be pleased as a Yorkshire-man to add, for the hon. Member who spoke earlier, Scarborough—
Yes, and Clacton:
I cannot feel that they are full of visitors for 12 months of the year, though, if their attractions were properly recognised, they would be. We consider that there are adequate safeguards in the subsection to which I have referred, and I must therefore resist ahe Amendment.
Doubt continued to be expressed by hon. Members as to whether such safeguards did exist and, towards the end of the debate the Minister again intervened, nailed his colours—and, I would have hoped, the colours of the whole House—to the mast, and said:
… I am resisting the Amendment because we should not allow any increase in the twenty-six working weeks."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 27th May, 1954: c. 3040–46.]
Yes, but merely to see whether he was right in assuring the seaside bakers that they could pack together their twenty-six weeks of night work, and we understand from the speeches of my hon. Friends who moved the Amendments that not only is that assurance correct but that the bakers' union made quite clear in its offers this week to the master bakers that that would be done.
Moreover, the Act was aimed at encouraging both sides to get together. In those debates, I can remember speaker after speaker expressing the hope that the Act would never need to be used, but that within its principles both sides would reach friendly voluntary agreements. The simple fact is that the master bakers of the big baking combines, and the trade unions concerned, have got together. I have here the national agreement of the baking industry in England and Wales, in which the master bakers on the one hand, and the bakers' union on the other, have approached all their problems in the spirit envisaged in the parent Act. They have hammered out an agreement covering every detail of their mutual working together.
I suggest that during the last fourteen months similar attempts should have been made by representatives of the smaller master bakers to hammer out an agreement with the union—
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman yet again, but this is an important point. I understand that the unions will negotiate only on shift work, which small bakers cannot operate. Would the hon. Gentleman answer that?
The hon. Gentleman must realise that hon. Members on either side cannot act as spokesmen of masters and men in negotiating the details of a settlement. What I suggest is that broad offers have been made by the trade unions concerned, and I should like to know why some of the smaller master bakers have not made any attempt to reach a settlement.
I note with some regret—and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will note it—the statement, given to me by the bakers' union, of one prominent master baker employer who, in his trade Press, has openly advised his fellow employers not to work the parent Act. I quote his remarks:
If an Inspector comes round do not in any circumstances try and work the Act because if you can work it then you should have been able to work it before. If you are in a state of emergency stay in it. I am, but if you are not, do not expect support.
Whatever one calls that, one cannot call it an honest attempt by a master baker, in the spirit of the Act and of the House of Commons, to reach an honourable agreement and settlement of these admitted problems.
What a contrast between that and Scotland where for fourteen years master and man have hammered out any kind of difficulty that existed between them, or most of Western Europe where night baking has been completely abolished, or even England where already 40 per cent. of all bakery workers concerned enjoy an agreement with the masters which completely conforms with the Act.
I understand that 60 per cent. of the individual bakery workers come within the danger of the Bill. I suggest that to concede the Bill this afternoon would be to undermine and possibly destroy all the good will patiently built up from both sides of the House and both sides of the industry by the parent Act. Continuous night work has gone. I should have thought that nobody in the House would want to see it come back again.
We on this side of the House will obviously vote against the Bill, but I appeal to the Government benches and to all who supported the enactment of the parent Act and the good will behind it, and especially to the Minister who is to intervene in the debate, to resist what I believe is putting the clock back, is taking a step backwards after 100 years of painful attempts to solve what seemed an insoluble problem. If the little men have problems, if the holiday resorts have problems, let them approach the unions, and follow the advice of my right hon. Friend the Member for South-wark who in no small measure is to be congratulated on initiating the steps which led to the solution of this intractable problem. Let the association of small men approach the unions first and try to hammer out the difficulties, and if they fail ask the Minister to use his machinery of conciliation.
I understand that in my own part of the country, in Bournemouth and in Portsmouth, all kinds of concessions in detail have been made by the bakers union to the master men inside the framework of the parent Act. I hope that after airing the problems to which he has referred in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, the hon. Member for Beckenham will withdraw the Measure, so that we can get back to where we were when we passed the Act and endeavour to solve the minor difficulties which still remain without jeopardising a social advance which took 100 years to achieve.
I hope that I shall not be accused of pomposity if I say that, listening to the last two speeches, I was greatly struck by their great reasonableness and by the work which the speakers had obviously put into them, as well as their knowledge.
Earlier in the debate one or two hon. Members opposite were not quite so reasonable. I found it very difficult to be convinced completely by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) in his trade union argument, for though I can very well appreciate the difficulty that faces the trade unions in that, quite obviously, they have got to try to make their membership as widespread as possible and have got to try to persuade employees in small bakeries as well as in large bakeries to join them, I find some difficulty in understanding how opposition to the Bill or some Measure like it will help to influence trade unionism. It seems to me that as the small bakery goes out, so the plant bakery comes in, and I should have thought that, on the whole, the plant bakery needs fewer workers to operate it than the small craft bakery.
Quite apart from that, where does the poor old consumer come into all this? There has been a lot of talk today of the master bakers' interests, with which I have much sympathy, and there has also been a lot of talk about the employees' interests, with which I also have great sympathy, but there has been very little talk, except for one reference to the cottage loaf, of the consumers' interest. There has been talk about putting the clock back and so on, but I do not know that the mode of life of the British people has been made much more edifying by the onset of the plant bakery, by the chopped-up slices of thin, awkward rubbery stuff that goes under the name of bread today. It is still possible to get good bread in this country if one is lucky, but, so far as I know, it does not come out of the plant bakeries.
I think that it is unfortunate, therefore, that progress has meant a vast turnout of cut loaves because people have not got time to cut their own bread. In many ways it is a very retrograde step and, what is worse, if we allow the small baker to go under, we shall not be giving the people an opportunity to choose what they eat, which is what I should have thought the Opposition would want them to do. We are condemning them in the end to eating plant-manufactured bread and cakes. All of us—at least, those of us who are old enough—know the difference between plant-manufactured bread and real bread.
In the general consumers' interest, I am sure that this Bill, or something of this nature, or an agreement, is absolutely essential. I do not mind what it is. whether it be a Bill or an agreement, but something has got to be done. It is absolute nonsense for the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) to suggest that it is disgraceful of my hon. Friend to have raised this matter at all and that it was not his business to do so as a back bencher. We must think of the master baker and of the employee, but we must also think of the consumer. I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Good-hart) for introducing the Bill and to those who have supported him.
I want to say a word about my own interest in this matter. My constituency of Great Yarmouth—and I shall not discuss hours of sunshine as was done earlier —is a seaside constituency. Although I accept what was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Southampton, lichen (Dr. King) about being able, under the 1954 Act, to work twenty-six weeks continuously with the Minister's consent, the real problem arises after the end of the twenty-six weeks.
Difficulties arise, first of all, when there has to be a change-over and bakers cannot get their bread out in time. They arise also from the gradual disappearance of the craftsman as a result of the development of the plant bakery. This matter has been mentioned already. I shall not go into it in detail, and I can in no way pretend to be a qualified baker. There is this obvious difficulty that the craftsman is disappearing; many men are capable of either baking bread or making the "etceteras", but few of them are capable of doing both. It makes it extremely difficult for the small bakery to carry on. Otherwise, it would not have been true, and I am sure that it is—all the evidence points to it—that very many small bakeries have gone out of existence in the last few years.
I was disturbed by one or two things said by the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), but I was disturbed particularly by what he said about the negotiations which he and, apparently, my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham conducted last week with the two sides, if we can call them that. It is very difficult, when one does not know all the facts, to be certain what the position was; but there was an implication in what the hon. Gentleman said that agreement could have been arrived at there and then at that meeting as regards the seaside resorts—
The hon. Gentleman says there was agreement at that meeting. It seems to me that the fact that the meeting took place came from the initial fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham had brought his Bill forward.
I should not like there to be any misunderstanding, and I was going to put this right before. I did not want to claim any credit for the meeting. In fact, the meeting came out of a deputation from a group of Members on this side of the House who saw the Minister. He asked his hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to suggest, via the promoter of the Bill—the suggestion had to be made by someone to whom the other side would listen—that the two sides should meet. The employers had previously refused to meet.
Otherwise, one is asked to believe that coincidence was a very important factor, and that I find very difficult to believe.
I want now to say a word to the hon. Member for Leeds, West. I feel that, in the heat of the moment at an earlier stage when he referred to me, he possibly used the word "intoxicated" in error for the word "staggered". It is certainly true that I was staggered at what he had been saying at that time, but I was certainly not intoxicated. As I have always had a high regard for the hon. Gentleman, even though we may have had our brushes, I feel that he may like to have the opportunity to withdraw what he said.
As I understand it now, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) did not at that time interrupt. It really was the hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon, North West (Mr. F. Harris) who annoyed me during my speech. As it was not the hon. Member for Yarmouth who interrupted, I withdraw it. I referred to an incident in my by-election, which I won, after the hon. Member for Yarmouth had come away from the south Hammersmith by-election, which he had lost. It was a particularly stormy afternoon. All I can say about it is that I said something about an earlier occasion to which, in this House, I should not have returned. I can only leave with the hon. Gentleman the story of Lord Birkenhead, who was once put into a similar position to the position I was in. Somebody from this side jumped up and said, "The hon. Gentleman is being offensive", to which Lord Birkenhead replied, "No. I am trying to be. The hon. Gentleman cannot help it."
I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Leeds, West for his complete withdrawal of what he said and the very delightful way in which he did it.
I shall support the Bill and give every support possibly can to my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham and to his hon. Friends who are trying to fight this battle. I hope and pray that the result I desire may he brought about by negotiation arising out of the Bill. If not, in the interests of the consumer, in the interests of the small baker, and, in the long run, in the interests of the workers themselves who may lose their jobs, will be necessary to take legislative action.
I listened very carefully to the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), who said that he had heard a good deal of discussion about the position of the trade union and of the master baker, but had heard nothing about the position of the consumer. Quite naturally, he forgets that that trade unionists are consumers as well as producers.
When we look at the Bill brought in by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), we must ask ourselves why it was that the parent Act, the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, was passed. I speak as a Member whose father worked in the baking industry for very many years. He worked about 100 hours a week when I was a child, and his wages were £1 a week. His working hours were very, very long. He managed, in spite of all that hard work, to be the father of about 14 children.
He had a rather hectic time of it. I am coming to his occupation now with reference to the Bill. In the course of his occupation he did what all men in those days used to do; they used to put the yeast with the flour into large troughs and then sleep on boards on top of the troughs until the yeast rose, pushing them off and waking them up. That is what actually happened in the baking industry.
My father used to go to work on Friday evenings because, by the grace of the employer, the workers did not have to work on Saturday nights. They used to have to go to work on Friday evenings and work through until about 4 o'clock on Saturday. I remember my father telling me that they all used to carry green bags on their backs and the "guv'ner" used to be a very good fellow and give them two loaves to take home. However, because of that, he expected them to wash down the vans used for delivering the bread.
My father was not very politically conscious, but one of his proudest possessions was a certificate of the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers and Confectioners. Today, the title of the union is a lot longer than that because there have been amalgamations and other groups have come into the union since then.
What will happen if the Bill is passed and we return to continuous night work? As a member of a very large family who rarely saw his parents, I can convey to the House the effect of continuous night work upon men. The situation in towns under present-day conditions is different from what it would be in a mining area, where men may be continuously on shifts which interfere with their normal natural habits. However, in towns the baker who is continuously on night work is living possibly in a flat which canvassers visit to find whether the occupants are in favour of nationalising steel. Another canvasser may come round telling his wife that she can get 4d. off a packet of detergent and the more money she spends the more she can save. These things happen while the man is trying to get his sleep during the day.
In an industrial town with a diversity of occupations it is practically impossible for any man on night work to get any rest at all. It is an accepted fact that the baking industry is one in which many men's faces look like the dough which they kneed. If one goes to a trade union branch meeting of the bakers' union one sees that, in spite of modern appliances, the appearance of the people there is the same as it was many years ago.
I say to the hon. Member for Beckenham, who is worried about the little crippled baker, that this Bill attacks the whole of the principles of the trade union movement. My hon. Friends of the trade union group in this House who have rallied to the support of this small union should be congratulated on the steps which they have taken. The hon. Member for Yarmouth says that negotiations and meetings with the employers arose out of the Bill, but all avenues were open to the employers before the Bill was drafted. Instead of the employers taking advantage of the facilities which the union placed at their disposal, hon. Members opposite, due in part, I think, to political ignorance, but certainly due in very large measure to ignorance of trade unions, produce a Measure which attacks the fundamentals of the trade union movement.
I hope that hon. Members who represent seaside resorts, and who have probably had representations from small bakers in their constituencies, will tell the employers that this trade union, small though it may be, has a history of cooperation with the employers, of assistance in teaching people their profession and in helping the bakery guilds to produce better craftsmen. It has a history of assisting both its members and employers to make the finest product possible. If the trade union movement places these facilities at the disposal of the employers, I hope that the House will reject the Bill and carry the Amendment to enable the trade unions to negotiate a satisfactory arrangement with the employers.
The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. H. Butler) referred to night work for bakers in industrial areas and the loss of sleep which they would suffer because there was so much noise and bustle from other industries that they could not sleep. I follow his argument. but is not that just one of the things which the parent Act has achieved? It allows night work in plant bakeries, and the only places where one will find plant bakeries capable of employing sufficient men to work on rotating shifts is in industrial cities. The argument destroys itself.
I want now to turn to the question of rural areas. Until my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) spoke, scant mention had been made of the consumer. I have great sympathy with both sides of the industry in this matter. In my time I have done quite a deal of night work, and, although I think that people enjoy it for a time, continuous night work is not an enjoyable experience and no one wants to go on working at night for ever.
The difficulty in rural areas is that the baking industry cannot expand. It can only amalgamate. Small businesses conglomerate into one large plant bakery and the consumers in that area, instead of getting fresh or near fresh bread, will often get bread which is 24 hours old or older. I know, because I live in a rural area, and people in my district have recently suffered that very disability. We have to get our bread from one of the local big cities or else go without for long periods during the week, perhaps two or three days.
Whatever people may say, plant-baked bread, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many who live in country districts, is nothing like as good as what we call the home style loaf baked at the smaller local bakeries. The consumer, rightly, is concerned in this matter as much as the employer and employee. Much has been said about night work, and, as I said earlier, I do not think that night work is so dreadful as long as it does not continue for ever.
We have heard a lot about continuous night work from hon. Members opposite. What is continuous night work? That is one of the considerations which the Minister will have to take into account before giving any consent under the Bill. He will have to look into the conduct of a bakery which applies for a permit under the provisions of the Bill and ensure that the interests of those who work in that bakery are properly protected and that they will not be expected to go on working night after night for almost the rest of their lives. I am confident that those in the Ministry of Labour can well look into matters of that nature and protect the interests of the workers.
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said that a pistol was being held at the head of the worker. Frankly, whatever way we look at this matter, a pistol will be held at the head of the worker. He either faces his proprietor going out of business and considerable difficulty. in some areas, in finding alternative employment, or he faces possibly having to go to work at nights. I do not think that one can get over that. All one can say to the man is that he has chosen an unfortunate industry. There are many small industries where men are expected to work at nights over reasonable periods of time. There is no provision in the Bill expecting men to work continuously at night. If there are insufficient safeguards in the Bill, let us include safeguards in Committee. There is plenty of time for that, but to argue, as have so many hon. Members opposite, that this is retrograde is to fly in the face of all reason.
Listening to the opening speeches from the benches opposite this morning, I thought of George Orwell arid "Big Brother" looking over some shoulders on the benches opposite. It was not a pretty sight to see so many obviously sane and sensible men swayed out of all reason by old prejudices which some of them admitted to have started about 150 years ago. We are living in the middle of the twentieth century and we are quite capable of looking after these matters in an orderly manner.
The hon. and gallant Member has said that we are over-stressing our case. Is he aware that under the parent Act any man can be called on to work 26 weeks of the year on night work? Does he not think that that is a reasonable amount of night work?
I do indeed, but that is in a night bakery and not in a bakery which is incapable of setting up a rota system. Admittedly, there are limits, as I have already said. No reasonable man expects any man or woman in any industry to go on for ever working at night.
The hon. and gallant Member is now assuming that the House has decided to give the Bill a Second Reading. He has said that there should be certain safeguards. Who decides the safeguards. when and how? What if the master bakers themselves object? Do we introduce another Bill?
There is no need to bring in another Bill. We have here a perfectly adequate Bill which can be amended to meet objections. I shall not give a figure of 26 weeks, or whatever it may be, for the limitation of night work, because I am not sufficiently conversant with conditions in this industry.
The hon. and gallant Member is making dogmatic statements and I have come here for information. Has he come to the House to oppose the Bill knowing nothing of the conditions of these men? When he said just now that it was not a pretty sight to look over here and see us making our speeches, does he think that it is a pretty sight for us to see him pleading for his own hot bread at the expense of these night workers?
The right hon. Lady has gat it wrong, as usual. To start with, I am supporting the Bill and not opposing it. I do not know what other Members opposite think about the faces on this side of the House, but it is up to them. It is no concern of mine.
The right hon. Lady has tried to make a point, but she has failed to do so. I am sorry about that. Perhaps she will try later. I see no reason to give way to foolish interjections of that nature.
Hon. Members opposite have complained of the apparent inoperation of Section 9 of the parent Act, but there is nothing new there. Paragraph 207 of the Rees Report says:
It is extraordinary that three independent Committees have had to be appointed in little more than 30 years to solve a problem which a well organised industry would long since have settled for itself.
I am glad to hear hon. Members opposite saying "Hear, hear." I hope that the Bill may persuade both sides of the industry—and I am not here to allocate blame to one side or the other—to get together and consider the matter seriously, to consider not only their own interests but those of the consumer who, whatever the right hon. Lady may say, has a perfectly legitimate right to hot bread.
Having listened to the hon. and gallant Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon) very carefully, I can only assume that whatever other inquiries into the industry he has made, he has not taken the trouble to read the parent Act, which the Bill proposes to amend. He told us that he was fully against continuous night baking, but when he was challenged he said that he could not say what limits he would apply and that that was a matter to be considered in Committee. He was not prepared to say whether it should be twenty-six weeks or something else. Although the hon. and gallant Member apparently does not know it, the parent Act did not abolish night baking, but limited it to twenty-six weeks in certain circumstances. This is a Bill to abolish all limitation on night baking in certain types of undertaking.
I listened very carefully to what the hon. and gallant Gentleman said, and I think that if he reads HANSARD tomorrow he will find that my remarks will stand examination.
I share his taste in bread, although I agree with almost nothing else he said. He and other hon. Members opposite have talked absolute nonsense when they have suggested that the kind of bread which one gets all too often down here—a sort of rubbery, cotton wool substance—is due to legislation which makes the position of the small bakers impossible.
The reason that this kind of bread is sold down here is simply that the English cannot bake bread in the way the Scots do. I rose to say what happens in Scotland in this respect, since it is important in deciding whether one should support or reject the Bill. In Scotland we are very proud of our breadmaking. I am not allowed to go to my constituency but that I have to bring back to my wife, poor exile, all sorts of Scots tea-bread, because she cannot get that sort of thing down here.
The Scots bake good bread and they have very many small bakeries. I am told that half the baking industry of Scotland is still in small bakeries, but the Scottish industry has had a limitation on night baking, an agreement in voluntary operation, for fourteen years. That voluntary agreement, which anticipated the parent Act which it is now sought to amend, has worked perfectly well in the interests of the master bakers themselves, workers, and consumers—Scottish housewives would not allow the quality of their bread to be interfered with, especially that of their morning rolls.
Hon. Members opposite should study the Scottish agreement before deciding to support the Bill. The Scottish agreement shows that the issue which is now raised of exemptions for seasonal resorts is quite false. The Rees Committee discussed at some length the admitted problem of the seaside resorts. Paragraph 161 of its Report says:
It is perhaps relevant to point out that we have no evidence of difficulties in the Scottish resorts as a result of the introduction of the Scottish system of shift working.
The Scottish system, which is simply the system brought into legislation under the parent Act, works perfectly well in seaside resorts and there is no reason at all for this provision to be inserted into the Bill. The tourist and holiday resort industry in Scotland is at least as important as it is in England. Tourism is one of the principal Scottish industries.
More important, the Scottish agreement shows how one can get the best kind of flexibility that is needed in order to tackle the problem of the smaller establishments. It has now lasted for fourteen years and covers all sorts of small baking establishments. It has worked well. I am told by my friends on both sides of the industry in Scotland that the small baker can adapt himself perfectly well, if there is the will, to the provisions for limitation of night baking. The Scottish agreement, which has worked so well for fourteen years for small bakers, is an agreement which was enshrined by the Minister of Labour of the time in the present parent Act. Experience in Scotland provides irrefutable arguments against the points brought forward in the Bill.
I should like to add this warning. The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) mentioned Scotland somewhat airily in his speech and said that Scottish conditions were different and were not relevant to the Bill. When the Minister speaks I hope he will say something about this, because the Bill threatens to undermine a voluntary agreement between trade unions and employers which is generally regarded as one of the models of its type. If this amending Bill is to become law, it will make it very much more difficult in Scotland to maintain the agreement which has worked so well. Whatever may be the actions of the master bakers in England, the master bakers in Scotland have made no secret of the fact that they do not like the proposal that is being brought forward. They have given no support for these changes. If these changes are introduced to meet a minority of small bakers in England and Wales who are apparently unwilling to try to shoulder the duties laid upon them by the legislation of the House, they will threaten the general body of the baking industry in Scotland.
It is of great significance to the House as a whole in deciding its attitude to the Bill that one has had the provisions of the major Act working in one part of the United Kingdom for fourteen years. They have worked well. There has been no trouble in the seaside resorts. There has been no difficulty with the small bakers. After fourteen years' successful working of the major provisions of the Act in Scotland but after only fourteen months' operation of the Act in England and Wales, we find a group of Members suggesting that it ought to be changed. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) delved a little into history. If one looks into most of the legislation that has come before the House over the last 100 or 150 years bringing about changes in working conditions. one finds that after six months, twelve months or two years there were always aggrieved employers coming forward and saying: "It is absolutely impossible for us to work these provisions. Let us change them."
If the arguments put forward in favour of the Bill had been accepted in relation to other major changes—factory legislation and similar enactments—we should never have made any social progress. I hope the House will throw out the Bill. After only fourteen months its promoters have the impertinence to seek to throw aside the experience of fourteen years' working of a voluntary trade union agreement over an important area of the United Kingdom.
I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) that the 1954 Act permits night working—I shall limit my remarks to England, because I have not the honour of representing a Scottish constituency—that effect of the Act, as so many speakers have pointed out, is to restrict such night working to large organisations. In effect, it discriminates, somewhat savagely, against small bakers. The Bill does not seek to introduce night working on a large scale, but only to advantage a limited number of small bakers. In any event, the Minister has power under the Bill to revoke the necessary permission at any time.
I support the Bill for three reasons. First, I think that it is right, after a period in which it has been shown that the Act is working to the detriment of a valuable section of the community, as I shall presently hope to show—
The right hon. Gentleman can have his turn shortly. I do not propose to keep the House for very long.
I support the Bill, first, because I think it is right, experience having shown that this discrimination is working unfairly and to the detriment of a group of traders who are serving the community well, that we should have another look at the matter. Secondly, the Bill provides a common-sense, though I hope temporary, solution to a problem which the parent Act has so far not solved. Thirdly, the Bill strikes a blow in defence of the consumer.
I recognise—and I think that all my hon. Friends on this side recognise—that very important principles are at stake. Many of the sentiments which have been expressed by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and other hon. Members on that side of the House in defence of trade union interests do the speakers credit and I find myself in broad sympathy with much of what they have said. It is true, also, that the trend in modern times is against the small man and that strong economic argument can be made for squeezing him out. It can be argued that small units of production should be replaced by larger units of production, that goods, as a consequence, would be produced more efficiently and cheaply, and that in the end the consumer would benefit.
The baking industry is an exception to that argument, for this reason. The plant bakeries may produce more cheaply, but no one in his senses in the House, and certainly no housewife outside, would say that plant bakeries produce better, more palatable and more nutritious bread than the small bakers whom the Bill seeks to help in their difficulty. Indeed, there are some authorities who hold that the chemically-sodden, indigestible, but always impeccably wrapped, "india rubber" that passes for bread nowadays is detrimental to health. It is well known—everyone believes it—that a good crusty loaf of the kind which only the small baker can make, because it cannot be made by a plant baker, is good for health. If the party opposite has its way, and the Bill does not become law, the crusty loaf will disappear. It will disappear because the small bakeries are disappearing. As my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) made clear, they have been going out since 1951 at the rate of 1.000 a year. The parent Act is not yet fully in force. When it becomes so the remaining small bakers will disappear. The House should understand that the implementation of the course advocated today by the party opposite would mean that housewives would be deprived of the crusty loaf.
Is the hon. Member really suggesting that the maintenance of the small baker is in the interests of the consumer? If so, will he say why masses of consumers have elected to buy their bread from the large-scale bakeries?
I do not accept for a moment that masses of consumers have changed from the small bakers to cooperative and plant bakeries. True, there are considerable conveniencies in having ready-sliced and wrapped loaves. True, also, as the hon. Member for Dundee, East has said, that masses of people in England do not know what good bread is. But in the rural areas, where the craft baker dominates the scene, there is a real appreciation of good bread, and there will be sorrow and anxiety among consumers if he is driven out of business, as he may well be by the discrimination to which I have referred.
The right hon. Member for Belper and other hon. Members opposite have made it quite clear that they pay no attention to the case of the master bakers. They have swept it aside. The reason is that they are all urban-minded. Not one of them has considered the position of the small master maker operating in rural areas.
I am speaking for the part of England that I represent. I cannot arrogate to myself the responsibility of speaking for the whole of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
It is impossible for the small man to negotiate an agreement with the union under present circumstances. Because he has only two or three workers it is impossible for him to operate a shift system. When, in 1957, I asked the Minister to clarify the situation under the Act, he told me that an agreement between an individual employer and the workers, or between an individual employer and a trade union, would not be admissible. Why is that? Why should agreement not be allowed where the workers themselves are willing, and where what is at stake is the survival of the business itself? The reason is that the parent Act makes it impossible. This Bill will make such agreement possible, and that is why I support it.
The right hon. Member for 13elper and other hon. Members opposite said that the union was willing to negotiate with the employers, and that the Bill was therefore unnecessary. I would make two points on that. First, the 1954 Act refers only to agreements between the union and employers' organisations. Individual firms cannot negotiate an agreement, even where they are willing to do so and where all their workers are members of a trade union. Many firms are not members of the employers' organisation, and the vast majority of workers engaged in the industry are not members of the union. I understand that London Transport, which has a good record in trade union matters, employs its own bakers in its own bakeries, and is unable to negotiate any agreement with the union because it is an individual concern. This is because of the rigidity of the parent Act, of which my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham complained.
I understand, too, that there are agreements between district branches of the union and district employers' organisations covering wages and conditions, and that amicable relations exist between the two sides. But on this issue of exemption from the 1954 Act the union has consistently refused to negotiate except on a nation-wide basis. The party opposite takes the line that the Bill is a kind of pistol, aimed at the head of the trade union, but I would have thought that the boot was on the other foot. The Bill seeks to take away a discrimination against the little man who cannot operate a shift system at present.
Hitherto, I believe that the union, for quite good reasons, which I am not prepared to criticise, has refused to agree that continuous night work is essential. That means that without any negotiations being carried on the small man who cannot operate a shift system is doomed anyway, and he will have to go under in the face of competition from co-operative and other plant bakeries. I do not think that my constituents or the vast majority of those engaged in the baking industry want that. I have read the Rees Report, and I cannot believe that this was a situation envisaged by that Committee. Instead it is a by- product of the parent Act which was not foreseen at the time. The only answer is to permit continuous night baking in exceptional cases, under approved conditions and with the agreement of the workers concerned.
We have heard a great deal about the meeting which took place on Wednesday. I was not present at that meeting, and I rely for an account of what happened there upon what has been said by hon. Members today. But I understand that until that meeting took place the union had refused to agree to any man working continuously at night. I understand that it now agrees that there is a problem, but that the Bill is the wrong way to go about solving it. The union is now willing to consider ways and means of dealing with these problems by agreement. If the Bill has achieved that change of heart, it has achieved a great deal.
But even if both sides now come together and agree to explore the possibilities, they do so from extremely weak positions. The employers' organisations do not represent all the master bakers, and the union represents no more than 10 per cent.—I am told that it is far less—of the workers in the industry. We should probably all agree that it is in the interests of the workers, the employers and everybody else to set up some organisation whereby the difficulties can be discussed round a table. That is the ideal, however. It is not the present position. Thus, in any view, the Bill would serve a useful purpose in temporarily bridging the gap until the industry is properly organised.
The Bill has already clarified the issues at stake. It has been clearly established that there is a problem which needs to be solved—if we agree that the small baker serves a useful purpose in the community. If hon. Members on both sides are agreed on that, the need for a Measure of this kind, at least for a temporary period, is clearly established, and for that reason I shall have pleasure in supporting it in the Lobby.
The hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) has made a bouncing speech. If, in its generality, it is no more accurate in its facts than it is in its particular suggestion that the union would not negotiate on the question of night work except upon a national basis, it is of no use, because that suggestion is completely untrue. I do not know where the hon. Member got his information, but I am told that the union has never taken that line, and that it would have been willing to negotiate locally long ago, to meet the points raised, if the employers had been willing.
I do not want to come into this matter again, but the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) was not in the House when I reported negotiations at which I was present the other day with the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart).
Will my hon. Friend allow me to intervene? The hon. Member for Essex, South-East interrupted me. I was going to put the point that not more than two days ago the union offered to negotiate, bakehouse by bakehouse, on individual permits, which are the very antithesis of national agreements.
I wish to continue to deal with the point of the willingness of the union to negotiate. It is not only untrue to say that it will not negotiate except on a national basis on this question of night work. It has, in fact, agreements of a district nature all over the country limiting the amount of night work signed by the employers, and sometimes in respect only of very few groups of men. Those are the facts, and I hope that the hon. Member for Essex, South-East will accept them from me.
Certainly. I would only like to say that I made it plain that I was not a party to any negotiations and therefore do not know what happened. I warmly welcome the change of heart on the part of the union.
The whole point is that the present position is not a change of heart on the part of the union. The hon. Gentleman has not changed his heart but only his mental approach to this question. I sometimes wonder whether he has a heart.
The fact is that all the support for the Bill comes from people who have the cheek, as did one hon. Member opposite a little time ago, to talk to hon. Members on this side of the House as though we had forgotten our industrial history while they are the great forward looking people of today. personally, became interested in the question of night work in bakeries about fifty years ago—forty-eight years ago to be exact—and I heard the same kind of arguments used in London then about the necessity for night work as we have heard today from the benches opposite.
Night work never was necessary, and the fact that the whole of the small bakery industry in Scotland has for fourteen years worked under an agreement limiting continuous night work—and there are many districts in England and Wales which are working under similar agreements—seems to me to make it quite unnecessary for a Bill of this description to be introduced, unless, and this, I suspect, is the crux of the matter, the employers want to smash the 1947 Act. [HON. MEMBERS: "The 1954 Act"] Yes, I mean the 1954 Act.
I am fortified in saying that when I am told that amongst the propaganda which the London master bakers have been issuing appears this phrase:
If you are in a state of emergency, stay in it,
and then the Minister will recognise that there is something wrong with the Act, so they think. It goes on:
If an inspector comes round do not in any circumstances try and work the Act, because if you can work it then you should have been able to work it before.
That is good logic. It proceeds:
If you are in a state of emergency stay in it. I am"—
says the writer of the article—
but if you are not, do not expect support.
That is the London master bakers' association. It did not want the matter cleared up because, otherwise, it would have agreed at the discussions which took place behind the scenes a couple of days ago when the union was willing to negotiate to meet the position. But it had to
be negotiation by the union. I do not know what is the total membership of the union, but I should be astonished if it is as low as 10 per cent. It may be that 10 per cent. of bakery employees are not in the union. I am sure the union would admit that is not 100 per cent. representative of the bakery workers. However, there is a big enough organisation to represent the men and one strong enough to have kept going for a hundred years this agitation about night work.
I remember the late Mr. Banfield, a former Member, who was the secretary of the bakers' union and who continually tried to get the House to accept some regulation on night work in bakeries. He failed because of the kind of opposition indicated in the document from which I have just quoted. I suggest that the House would he well advised to ask those responsible for the Bill to withdraw it.
As an old trade union official I would prefer industrial matters and conditions, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said, to be settled by joint negotiations. I have always opposed the idea that the House of Commons can settle labour issues. I do not think that it can do so successfully, but it can sometimes provide the machinery and the atmosphere through which agreement can he reached.
I thought, as one who took part in the discussion with the Minister, that we had at least provided an atmosphere within which some agreement could have been reached between the bakers' union and the master bakers' association which would have enabled the Bill to be withdrawn. The Bill really hits at something vital in the beliefs of the trade union movement. I confess that I have never liked night work. Indeed, I would never work at night for any employer, and never did.
I am not sure that the bakery industry needs as much night work to be done as it says it does, but if it does and if it can reach agreement with the organisations representing the men, then it is its business and not mine. However, I am sure that through legislation we can never successfully solve the problem. If the 1954 Act has not worked as it should, then let the Government, with all the facts in their possession, take a hand in the matter. Do not let us have a Private Member's Bill introduced by an hon. Member who does not know all the facts about the matter and who has not the slightest conception of the line which the trade unions take and always have taken.
He is probably outside with the people who briefed him. I hope that they have briefed him better now than before the debate started.
I wish to conclude by suggesting very earnestly to the Minister that he should use his influence with the master bakers and with those behind the Bill to get them to withdraw it, thus avoiding the trouble and difficulties which will be sure to arise if the Bill goes through. I do not think it would help if the Minister of Labour tried to negotiate with the industry using the big stick provided by a decision of the House to give the Bill a Second Reading. It would be much better if we could get them to do so free from any pressure on the part of the House, which would only create more and more difficulties.
I hope that even at this late hour the Parliamentary Secretary will advise the hon. Member for Beckenham to withdraw the Bill and to allow the industry, through the trade unions, on the one side, and the employers' association on the other, to get together and solve the problem within the terms of the existing Act. If it turns out that there are difficulties, agreed Amendments could be brought forward which the Government could insert in their own Bill to bring it into line with the desire of everybody in the baking industry.
As for the bakers, the trade unions w ill back them from now until kingdom come. if necessary, on the claim that men ought not to be compelled to work night work night after night, week after week and year after year. It is bad and unhealthy, it breaks up family life and I am quite sure that it does not produce good citizens. I hope that the Government will bear these things in mind in making their attitude to the Bill known to the House.
My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) has served a useful purpose in introducing the Bill, if only because it has given rise to today's discussion. At a time when many people outside the House of Commons seem to take every possible opportunity to question its importance and value, a service is done when Members of the House, on both sides, can devote time to a problem which we should regard as being outside party political prejudice and which we should judge upon the facts of the case as they have been presented to us.
I make no secret of the fact that I came to the House today primarily with the interest of the seasonal resorts in mind. The interjection was thrown across the Chamber that Southend-on-Sea is not a seaside place, but the hon. Member who made that interjection came from Bermondsey, which is further from the sea than Southend-on-Sea. Although I came to the House with that interest in mind, I hope that all hon. Members, as they should do on a private Members' day, will apply their minds to the arguments which have been deployed in the House and, having heard the arguments for and against, will come to their own conclusions as to the course which they should pursue.
I have been interested to hear from a number of hon. Members opposite how, for 100 years or, perhaps, even more, the members of the trade union movement have fought for the abolition of night baking. I wish that one of those hon. Members had thought fit to pay tribute to the Conservative Government who, in 1954, took a proper step in that direction. It was a useful step to have taken. The hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson) was anxious to claim 1947 as the date. It could have been done in 1947 had the party then in power seen fit to introduce legislation. As it happened it had to wait until 1954.
That legislation, having been placed upon the Statute Book with the support, I hope, of Members on all sides of the House, has been in operation for a fairly short period. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to deny that it has presented grave difficulties in certain parts of the country, not only for small bakers but for bakers of all kinds in seasonal resorts.
For obvious reasons, the larger bakers in seasonal resorts are able to take advantage of certain reliefs in the Act to overcome their difficulties, but there is still the residual problem of the smaller baker who cannot take advantage of those reliefs. Therefore, unless there is some way in which the difficulty can be resolved, a Bill of this kind seems necessary. I came to the House of that opinion today. Since I have been here, however, we have been told—and so far it has not been denied—that an offer was made by the trade union side to regard the 26 weeks' working of night work as applicable to a season and to a seaside resort. That seems to me to be a fair and reasonable solution to the problem of the seaside resorts.
It may be argued that that proposition was advanced by the trade unions under the threat of the introduction of the Bill, and that may well be the case. I am not, however, particularly concerned with that. The fact that my hon. Friend's presentation of the Bill has brought employers and employees together, even if the employers do not represent all the employers and the employees do not represent all the employees, has brought about a much more satisfactory situation than existed hitherto, when apparently, in spite of the passing of the 1954 Act, neither side would speak to the other. My hon. Friend has, therefore, done a service to the House and to the country in getting both sides of the industry together.
The question which we now have to face is whether in view of this changed situation—it is not changed as much as we should like, but it is a step in the right direction—it is wise to persist in this legislation, which might well have the result of antagonising what has been, for whatever motives, an apparently forthcoming attitude on the part of the trade unions.
I do not pretend to speak for either employers or trade unions. We ought, however, to face the fact that at this time the whole of industry appreciates that it is desirable and important that employers should band together in organitions the better to represent their point of view. We also recognise, on both sides, that it is right and proper that employees, if they so desire, should also band themselves together into trade unions. If the unions are prepared, as we gather they are, even if it is a death-bed repentance, at this late hour to come to some agreement and understanding, that is a step which we should encourage.
The trade unions are in a difficult position because they represent only a substantial minority of the workers in the baking industry. The employers are in a difficulty because they do not represent all the employers. It is, therefore, difficult for those two rather weak organisations to come to an agreement which will effectively operate throughout the baking industry. I believe it is right, and so do many other hon. Members, that people who are eligible to join a trade union should do so and should take an active part in the organisation that they join.
If the trade unions, in this case, are prepared to come to district agreements, as I gather they are, and to the setting up of machinery by which officials of the union will be able, in difficult negotiations, to make a case to the Ministry about it, we might very well urge that those who are not members of the bakers' union should join it.
They may not already be members because presumably they do not like it for one reason or another, or they do not like being forced to pay contributions which will identify them with a particular political party. It will be a good thing, nevertheless, if they join the union, because if they exist in such numbers and hold such views I see no reason why they should not form an excellent body of Conservative trade unionists which might result in a very different kind of representation at meetings of the Trades Union Congress. It would also be an excellent opportunity for members of the Conservative Party and supporters of Conservative principles who want to advocate the cause of Conservatism within the trade union organisation to play a useful and effective part in so doing.
Bringing in this Bill was right when it appeared that both parties in the industry were adopting a recalcitrant attitude, but I could not find it in my conscience to support the Bill in present circumstances. I hope that we shall say to both trade unions and employers, "After many years, at last you have an opportunity to get together in this important industry. The House of Commons will take a poor view if, both sides having given undertakings, even under threat of duress, those obligations are not honoured if the Bill is withdrawn. You will justly incur the censure of the House."
I believe that both parties are prepared to come to an agreement, and that the seasonal problem can be solved if there is a measure of give and take on both sides. The 1954 Act was a sensible piece of legislation and was well worthy of the support of this House. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham on bringing the Bill to the attention of the House, but I hope that he will not, in his wisdom, decide to press it to a Division. because that might not have the favourable result for which we can now hope from both trade unions and employers.
Having worked on night shift and knowing what it does to the social and family life of a man, I believe I am an authority on the subject and have a right to speak about the type of night work which the Bill is trying to force on to workers in small bakeries.
I was rather surprised that hon. Members opposite should agree that night work is objectionable and continuous night work most objectionable, for this small Bill proposes just that. Hon. Members opposite have accused us of having prejudice, but the boot is on the other foot. Small bakers who have approached the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), who was responsible for bringing the Bill before the House, are those responsible for prejudice. They are responsible for trying to turn back the clock.
Any hon. Member—no matter to which party he belongs—who wishes to see more night work than we have at present is interfering with social and family life. What is more, he is interfering with the health of the worker, which is the most important consideration. In my constituency, St. Helens, every employee in the baking industry there has written to me to object to night work.
If the hon. Member for Beckenham would have us believe that he has the interests of the nation and of the health of our people at heart he should take into consideration the largest number of those concerned—the operatives. The proportion of operatives to private bakers is at least ten to one. What has been said by hon. Members opposite is a warning to those in the industry who have stayed outside the trade union movement. Hon. Members opposite have shown those who have believed that the Tory Party stands for giving trade unionists a fair deal that they can expect nothing of the sort. Some of us have had more sense than to stay outside the trade union movement. We have realised the necessity of joining an organisation which can fight for a better standard of living.
The trade union concerned in the negotiations which have been taking place up to the last few days has made every effort—in fact, they have bent over backwards—to try to come to an understanding so that such a Bill is unnecessary. It has been said by an hon. Member opposite that no one has paid tribute to the Minister responsible for the 1954 Act. We ought to look at what the then Minister of Labour said. I hope that the House will bear with me while I quote from his Second Reading speech of 25th January, 1954.
The Bill represents a sincere effort on the part of the Government to deal effectively with a serious problem which has disturbed relations between employers and workers in the baking industry over a very long period. From this very fact it can hardly be expected that the Bill will in all respects commend itself in every detail to all the parties concerned, but it ought to be remembered that the Bill is based upon the unanimous recommendations of an independent Committee which went fully into every aspect of the matter and had all the relevant arguments presented to it. Moreover, since the Committee reported and its Report was published, the Ministry of Labour has had the advantage of full discussion with the trade unions and the employers' organisations inside the industry. A number of points which were raised in those discussions will be found embodied in the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th January, 1954; Vol. 522, c. 1461.]
It is essential that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House should pay tribute to Sir Walter Monckton, the Minister of Labour at that time. He has my greatest respect. He was a very progressive Minister. He went out of his way to try to bring both sides of the industry together.
We have all listened to the evidence produced by hon. Members. I hope that there will not be a Division today, but the electors have a right to see this matter decided by hon. Members after they have heard the evidence. There is one very very important piece of evidence which we must all take into account before we go into the division Lobbies. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) referred to the fourteen years in which the small bakeries in Scotland have operated this system. If we are to examine the claims of those people in whose interests the Bill has been moved, we must also consider the evidence of one of my hon. Friends about certain people in England and Wales who have been determined never to operate the terms of the 1954 Act. Nobody challenged the details which he gave.
If what he said is true, then those people—those small bakers, to whom the Bill refers—do not deserve the sympathy of the House. At the very least the House expects that those people in the industry who are covered by the Act shall be told that they have a duty to operate it. I am sure that anyone who sabotages the Act does not deserve the sympathy of the House.
We have had a lively discussion, and my present purpose is not to raise the heat of the debate but to deal with what I consider to be its essential features. What the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Good-hart) seeks by his Bill is to provide in certain cases for continuous night baking. That is where we must profoundly disagree, because that is completely out of character, completely out of sympathy, with Parliament's decision in 1954.
After many years of inquiry, after several Committees have been set up, and after the Ministry of Labour had itself conducted negotiations between both sides of this industry, the decision of Parliament, reached quite unanimously —there was no Division on it—was that continuous night baking must go. Any Bill that tried to bring back that practice could not be acceptable to this House. If it were, such acceptance would completely negative all that has been said, not only by the various Committees that were set up but by the right hon. Gentleman the present Lord Monckton who, as Minister of Labour in the Tory Administration, introduced the 1954 Bill—
As I remember the discussion at that time, Lord Monckton was most anxious that both sides of the industry should get together, and the operation of the Act was put over until 1958 precisely in the hope that the Scottish agreement might be introduced throughout the land.
That is the next point to which I shall come. Though I have here the relevant copy of HANSARD, I see that I have not sufficient time to quote so much as I had desired, but this is, I think, within the recollection of most hon. Members present. Lord Monckton then said that he felt that the abolition of continuous night baking—and we must be careful to realise that here we are not talking of the abolition of night baking itself, but of continuous night baking—would be better brought about by agreement between both sides of the industry than by legislation. will not read the various quotations—I think that I carry the House with me—but Lord Monckton said that, not once but many times. in the Second Reading debate.
We must next turn our attention to the main Act, and ask ourselves whether Parliament then made adequate provision to enable such agreement to be reached. The answer is that it did. Section 9 of the Act provides for both sides of the industry to come to an agreement that could be submitted to the Minister of Labour, who would then give an exemption under the Section. We are now discussing why agreement has not been reached.
The hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) has spoken in terms of an agreement between an individual employer and the union. He said that the union would not make an agreement with an individual employer. That is perfectly true. The reason is that the union has not the right to do so. Furthermore, the Ministry of Labour would not accept the existence of such an agreement as giving it authority under the main Act to exempt that employer from the provisions of the Act. There- fore, the blame must not be placed on the union.
The interpretation put on the Act by the legal advisers of the Ministry of Labour is that there is no reason why there should not be an individual agreement between the union and an employer, provided that the district association ratifies or sponsors the agreement. There-fore, what is required, first, is a general blanket agreement between the trade union and the master bakers' organisation. Thereafter the union should negotiate with individuals and employers within the terms of that blanket agreement. Then that individual agreement should be sponsored by the district association, and passed to the Ministry of Labour. In those circumstances, they would get exemption.
Why has not the National Association of Master Bakers Confectioners and Caterers and the union at this stage, after such a long time, been able to make the kind of agreement in which the individual agreements for permits for exemption could be made? The answer is that the master bakers have always insisted that the only kind of agreement which they could accept is one which in some circumstances—not all—could provide for continuous night baking. The union cannot possibly accept that principle. To do so would be to go completely against the will of Parliament. Parliament has said that continuous night baking must go. Therefore, the union cannot, within the terms of the Act or the spirit of Parliament, go to the master bakers' association and conclude an agreement which permits continuous night baking in certain circumstances. That is why there has been no agreement between the master bakers and the union concerned.
That is where the hon. Gentleman is wrong. The hon. Gentleman raised the question whether this was the end of the small baker. The truth is that it is not the end of the small baker, because Scottish experience has shown that small bakers can operate this Act. It is under the authority of this Act that they can get their separate agreement which takes them outside the Act, but it is the Act which gives them the authority. Under the terms of the 1954 Act, the Scottish bakers have gone outside the terms of that Act by reason of the authority contained in that Act to make a separate agreement. It cannot be done on the basis that continuous night baking must be part of the agreement, because the Act is determined to prevent that, and that is what Parliament has said.
It would be unfair to the Parliamentary Secretary, who wishes to speak, to prolong my remarks. I have already omitted a good deal of what I wished to say. If I give way to the hon. Member we shall be reducing some of the time available to the Parliamentary Secretary. The hon. Member seconded the Motion and spoke for half an hour. I think I should be permitted to make my case and then to resume my seat. I do not wish to be discourteous, but I should like to follow through my argument without interruption if possible.
The union is unable to make any agreement which permits of continuous night work without destroying the real will of Parliament. Already the union has made an agreement with the multiple bakeries, a national agreement, under which they have got exemption from the Act. At least forty firms which are not members of the association have now made agreements under the national agreement, and they, too, have got exemption. Therefore, if the master bakers are really anxious to deal with the peculiar problems of the small baker—and we understand that it is only a minority of small bakers who are in this desperate situation—they could surely, by discussion between themselves and the bakers' union, reach an agreement which would enable individual cases of hardship to be dealt with.
I can say quite definitely that the bakers' union has always been ready, and is ready now, to make an agreement with the master bakers, provided it does not go against the principle of the main Act and provide for continuous night baking. The union would make an agreement any time to enable a committee to be set up, consisting of both sides, which could be called a permit committee, and which personally, one from each side, could go into the bakeries of the small men who have difficulties and discuss with them and make arrange- ments to find a way out of those difficulties. This could then be put into the form of an agreement which would come within the terms of either their district agreement or their national agreement, and thus the whole problem could be solved.
Obviously, if that is the sensible way of dealing with this matter, by agreement, in accordance with what Parliament wanted, it would be quite wrong for us this afternoon to give a Second Reading to a Bill which destroys the whole principle of the main Act and which, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) very properly said, excludes the worker and his representatives from any consideration at all.
It seems to me, therefore, that there would be no difficulty in this matter if the good offices of the Ministry of Labour were used to bring both sides together, now that we have had the debate, in order to explore the ground. It would be most valuable if the Ministry of Labour were to bring, them together in an effort to arrange an agreement which met the principles of the main Act and dealt with the problems of the small baker. That, I respectfully submit to the House, is the sensible way of handling the problem.
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will refer to some of the broader issues which have been raised. A matter of this kind, which may seem to affect a small number of people. affects a very important trade union principle. It would cause much difficulty between employers and trade unionists generally and would add to the problems of the Minister of Labour. I think it is right to say also that, when a drastic change of this character is supposed to be necessary, since the original Act came after considerable investigation through the Ministry itself, any changes ought to come through the same channel. This is hardly the proper place for a Private Member's Bill.
I hope that the hon. Member for Beckenham will see the wisdom of taking this opportunity to withdraw his Bill and accept the suggestion I now make, that we ask the Ministry of Labour to sponsor negotiations between both sides with a view to agreement being reached. I think that his best interests and wishes will be served in that way. He would be doing the best service he could render to the people he now seeks to represent by taking that course.
For our part, we recognise full well that the rigidity of legislation is such that it is always second best to voluntarily negotiated agreements. We on our side want to encourage voluntarily negotiated agreements. What I have said today about the readiness of the bakers' union to enter into negotiations I have said with its complete authority and knowledge. The union is ready at any time to enter into negotiation for the purpose I have indicated. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will add words of his own to what I have said about the value of voluntary negotiation of that kind.
This has been a lively and interesting debate, and it was introduced in a very moderate and excellent speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart). Both he and my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Barter), who gave us a number of technical details about the industry which I, for one, was very glad to have, have done us a service by the good start which they gave to the debate.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite reminded the House of the very long history of this subject, stretching over about 110 years, during which time attempts have been made to remove the difficulties of night baking. I want to begin by saying that I perfectly well understand the suspicion which is felt at any attempt to modify the settlement reached in 1954 after the Report of the Rees Committee.
I say that most sincerely, because in my short time at the Ministry of Labour I have been left in no doubt about the strength of feeling on these matters. However, I am also bound to say that some of the phrases used about this Measure—the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) said that it made a drastic change in the 1954 Act; the right hon. Member for Belper went so far as to say that it would take the 1954 Act off the Statute Book—are very much an exaggeration of what my hon. Friend seeks to do.
There has been a good deal of conversation about the negotiations, either the conduct of them or the absence of them, between the employers and the trade union. I do not think that much good purpose would be served if I were to attempt to consider the past. I gathered that the right hon. Member for Blyth was more concerned with looking at the future of negotiations. As I understood his purpose—indeed, the purpose of any negotiations that took place—is to try to reach an agreement under Section 9 of the 1954 Act which would enable my right hon. Friend to exempt the bakeries which we are discussing to day—which are in great difficulties—and most other bakeries from the working of the Act on the basis of the Scottish model.
I find that in our discussions in the House we often bow the knee before superior Scottish wisdom. In the case of the baking industry, I should be delighted, as would the whole House, if an agreement could be reached in England and Wales, as, indeed, there has been in a certain section of the industry, which would have the effect that we all seek. There is no doubt that the general hope of the House is that an agreement under Section 9 will be reached.
The House as a whole must today consider its course on the Bill. We must consider my hon. Friend's thin Bill—I do not mean in substance, but in weight—and decide what we shall do about the reality that is before us. My hon. Friend has explained that the limited objective which he has in mind is to give my right hon. Friend the power to exempt in certain cases, and that that limited objective is based on an agreement which he hopes will materialise in the future. I shall go into the difference between a limited agreement and the agreement which I have been discussing under Section 9. My hon. Friend recognizes—it was either implicit or explicit from his speech—that such an agreement as the Bill aims at may be supported and even superseded by an agreement under Section 9.
Several hon. Members have drawn attention to the difficulties of the seasonal bakeries at which Clause 2 is aimed. Those who have followed this subject carefully during the last year or two will agree that in many other aspects of the 1954 Act my right hon. Friend has made a most sincere attempt and has been entirely successful in trying honourably to interpret the Act as it stands. In the case of the seasonal bakeries he has been very much criticised by certain people for so doing.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Sir A. Spearman) and my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale), I have a personal interest in bakeries in seasonal resorts in that I represent Bridlington. I am not trying to advertise Bridlington, but this matter of the seasonal bakeries has greatly exercised me. It has been one of the underlying difficulties about the 1954 Act.
As I understand, under Section 9 my right hon. Friend could approve only general agreements covering the whole range of hours of employment, so as to qualify them for exemption from the 1954 Act. It is possible—and I ask hon. Members to consider this very carefully —that before such a general agreement could be reached, which is the objective of us all, it might be possible to get 1:17,.tween the parties limited agreements on this subject of seasonal bakeries and on the subject of exemption in certain exceptional cases.
The Scottish agreement under Section 9 contains a provision, as hon. Members who have spoken about the Scottish position will know, which specifically allows these exemptions in particularly difficult cases. All I am suggesting is that limited agreement might well be easier to get and might be got chronologically earlier than a general agreement under Section 9 and that there might, therefore, be something to be said for proceeding in one way rather than another.
We have had it pointed out that there has been this voluntary agreement in Scotland since 1944. We have had the history of the Rees Committee and we have had the history of the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act. The right hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs), who played a notable part in this affair, has said a great deal about the part played by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and about the way in which my right hon. Friend, in the phrase of the right hon. Gentleman, "stuck to the Bill" which he then produced.
Much has been said about the undertakings given by Sir Walter Monckton, as he then was, and it has been suggested that the Bill abandons those undertakings. What Sir Walter Monckton was doing, as I see it, was to state the position as it then was. He said that the 1954 Act represented the largest measure of agreement and that it was based on the Rees Report, except in so far as the two sides had agreed to depart from it.
Having listened to the debate, it is perfectly clear to me that the difficulties which have shown themselves since the Act came into operation four years after its passage have been, if not widespread, yet severe when they have occurred. I am not unhopeful of agreement to overcome them, but I am certain that if Sir Walter Monckton could have seen the experience even of the fourteen months of the working of the Act, he might well have felt at the time that a measure of flexibility, such as my hon. Friend has suggested, might possibly have been desirable.
I have carefully studied the results of the inspection of bakeries since the Act came into operation. I have visited various parts of the country and have heard a good deal about certain cases where there is extreme difficulty. From what I have heard in the debate, I do not think that there will be very much disagreement in the House that there are cases where the Act creates complications.
I said just now that I have absolutely no wish to try to overstate the existing difficulties. About 2,000 bakeries are exempt from the operation of the 1954 Act. Nearly all the remaining 13,500 bakeries are day bakeries. Only 1,100 of those 13.500 opted to be night bakeries. That is the first reason why the difficulties which have been discussed today must not be overstated.
The second reason is that the big plant bakeries are, on the whole, not faced with insuperable problems. Most of them have made one of these agreements and are now exempt from the Act. That takes them out as well. There remain the smaller bakeries, many of which I will readily admit, although they have found compliance with the Act difficult, have done what they can to comply with it They have made efforts to reorganise their bakeries. They have made extensions. They have put in additional ovens, deep freezes and other equipment. Therefore, I am convinced, having heard what I have during the past year, that the case for the Bill can suffer from overstatement, but I am also certain that the case against it can be overstated.
The right hon. Member for Southwark said that it was most important to take into consideration the interests of the men working in the trade. I entirely agree. I think that there are a number of interests concerned. I would like to tell the House two of the difficulties which I have discovered in the last month or two. The first example is perhaps a peculiar case, but is a very human one and one which the House ought to consider. It concerns the very small bakery with only one bread baker who is not prepared to change to day work because he has an invalid wife he can make arrangements for her to be looked after at night, but cannot make arrangements for her to be looked after by day. It seems to me that it is not unreasonable that he should prefer to work by night rather than by day.
The second example is the small bakery—here we come up against a difficulty which is quite prevalent—with only one bread baker, which could certainly produce enough bread in time if the baker could start work, not at 5 o'clock, but at 3 o'clock, as the Act allows for oven-firing and dough-making. This man happens to live a very long way from the bakery and there is not a bus which will take him there at 3 in the morning. Therefore, it is physically impossible for him to get to the bakery early in the morning. That bakery can operate only by making an arrangement which would put him out of work.
Lastly, I come to the question of the consumers' interest, which was raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon). He mentioned the case of a small bakery in a rural area which has enough trade for only one bread baker and which cannot produce enough bread in time unless there is some night work. I have no doubt that further examples could be given. I do not want to overstate the difficulties, because they are not general, hut they exist and we must try to find a method of overcoming them. For the most part they are human difficulties, to which my right hon. Friend at present has no answer in the absence of a general agreement under Section 9 of the Act.
I have been asked quite properly by the right hon. Member for Belper to state what attitude the Government take to the Bill, and whether or not they think it should be given a Second Reading. I find the Bill unsatisfactory as it now stands. Clause 1 applies only to bakeries with a certain number of workers, and if it is the intention of the House to try to take legislative action to alleviate the position such action should be directed towards the extent of the difficulties which exist rather than to the size of the bakeries experiencing them.
The Bill does not mention the extent or kind of difficulties which my right hon. Friend should take into account, and my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham feels that if the Bill makes any progress some provision should be written into it to ensure that my right hon. Friend takes into account certain considerations before granting a certificate of exemption.
The third main defect of the Clause is its failure to provide for any consultation between my right hon. Friend and the interests involved, particularly the trade unions. The right hon. Member for Belper quite fairly said that if we approved the Bill as it stood it would exclude trade unions from negotiations. I do not think that that is my hon. Friend's intention. and I understand from him that he would be quite willing to write into the Bill a provision to ensure consultation with the trade union side, just as is the case at present. If these alterations were made the Bill would be very much improved.
Clause 2 has been very cursorily discussed today. I do not think it would be necessary if Clause 1 were put in a different form.
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman is getting the point. It is plain that most hon. Members are worried about some of the present difficulties, and would like to find some answers to them, but the answers which have been suggested by various hon.
Members have varied. My right hon. Friend would welcome the provision of a discretionary power, to be used reasonably and sparingly, to exempt, for limited periods, bakeries which are not immediately able to resolve their difficulties.
The difficulty at present, as hon. Members have probably realised, is that there are cases where all common sense and all humanity seems to make it ridiculous for my right hon. Friend to consider prosecutions. But at the moment my right hon. Friend has to prosecute or neglect to put into operation the Act which right hon. and hon. Members opposite very much support. Frankly, I do not think that that is a very satisfactory position.
I believe, from the discussion that we have had today, that both the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers and the National Association of Master Bakers, Confectioners and Caterers are as anxious as I am, and as anxious as I am sure we all are, to try to overcome the residual difficulties of the Act. Therefore, in answer to the questions that I have been asked, I would say that I hope very much that the House will give a Second Reading to the Bill and will agree to the principle that in a very small number of difficult cases my right hon. Friend should be given discretionary power which he would find extremely valuable.
I will certainly give an undertaking, as far as one can be given, that if the Bill is given a Second Reading we will do what we can to try and amend it in the direction I have suggested on the basis of agreement between the two sides of the industry, and thus try to meet a small number of problems that have been discussed today and which cause considerable distress and inconvenience.
On a point of order. It has been agreed, time after time, that the Question, "That the Question be now put", should not be accepted by the Chair before Four o'clock on a Friday. In my respectful submission, the Question has had to be moved three consecutive times before being accepted.
(seated and covered): On a point of order. I respectfully put to Mr. Deputy-Speaker in the debate on the Army and Air Force Bill, in 1952, a procedural difficulty which arose then and which has arisen again today. The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put." I rose to put a point of order. A point of order, Mr. Speaker, can only be put by an hon. Member who is standing. except after a Division has been called, when it is too late to put it.
This situation can arise in more than one context, Mr. Speaker. I can only put my point of order when I am on my feet. If you, Sir, are on your feet I am accused of showing great discourtesy to you, but the result of that Ruling is that once you, Mr. Speaker, have risen to put a Question, which sometimes is being put by mistake, I cannot rise. May I venture to recall to your recollection, Sir, that it was in the course of the debate in 1952, to which I have referred, that the Question, "That the Question be now put", was put from the Chair when the Motion was a Motion to report Progress, Mr. Deputy-Speaker apologised for that mistake next day. The result, however, is that nobody can raise a question at that time in time.
I venture to suggest, Mr. Speaker, that in the course of your occupancy of the Chair, when I have been dealing with a Bill, I have been told that it was necessary to rise at least three times to move, "That the Question be now put", before the Motion can be accepted by the Chair at Four o'clock.
When the Motion, "That the Question be now put", has been moved it is my duty to put the Question immediately. Obviously, if hon. Members could raise points of order, and cause delay, that would be against the Standing Order.
|Division No. 40.]||AYES||[3.58 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Gammans, Lady||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Glover, D.||Medlicott, Sir Fank|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Godber, J. B.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Goodhart, Philip||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Gough, C. F. H.||Neave, Airey|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.(Nantwich)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Batsford, Brian||Gresham, Cooke, R.||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Grimond, J.||Page, R. G.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Gurden, Harold||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Redmayne, M.|
|Body, R. F.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Robertson, Sir David|
|Bowen, E. R (Cardigan)||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hornby, R. P.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Braine, B. R.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Carr, Robert||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P.(Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Cole, Norman||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Sumner, W. D, M. (Orpington)|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Kershaw, J. A.||Teeling, W.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Temple, John M.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Leather, E. H. C.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Legge-Bourke, Maj, E. A. H.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Loveys, Walter H.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Doughty, C. J, A.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouh, S.)||Webster, David|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Fell, A.||Maddan, Martin|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maitland,.Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncasle)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Mr. Ridsdale and Mr. Barter.|
|Freeth, Denzil||Marshall, Douglas|
|Baird, J.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Holman, P.|
|Beswick, Frank||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hunter, A. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Boardman, H.||Deer, G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Dodds, N. N.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W.Brmwch)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey(Hall Green)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Finch, H. J, (Bedwellty)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Burke, W. A.||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Kenyon, C.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Fletcher, Eric||Key, Rt. hon. C. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Foot, D. M.||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Lawson, G. M.|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hale, Leslie||Lewis, Arthur|
|Coldrick, W.||Hastings, S.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Pearson, A.||Stross.Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|MacDermot, Niall||Popplewell, E.||Swingler, S. T.|
|McLeavy, Frank||Prentice, R. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Probert, A. R.||Tomney, F.|
|Monslow, W.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Moss, R.||Redhead, E. C.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Mulley, F. W.||Reeves, J.||Weltzman, D.|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Reid, William||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Reynolds, G. W.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Oram, A. E.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Owen, W. J.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Paget, R. T.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Skeffington, A. M.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Snow, J. W.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Sparks, J. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Parkin, B. T.||Spriggs, Leslie||Mr. Mellish and Mr. Gibson.|
|Division No. 41.]||AYES||[4.8 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Freeth, Denzil||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gammans, Lady||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Marshall, Douglas|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Glover, D.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Godber, J. B.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Goodhart, Philip||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Baldock, Lt.-Comdr. J. M.||Gough, C. F. H.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Batsford, Brian||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Neave, Airey|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Gresham Cooke, R.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Grimond, J.||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Page, R. G.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Gurden, Harold||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Body, R. F.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Redmayne, M.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Braine, B. R.||Hornby, R. P.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Carr, Robert||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Cole, Norman||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carslisle)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Teeling, W.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kershaw, J. A.||Temple, John M.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Leather, E. H. C.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Loveys, Walter H.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Webster, David|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Fell, A.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Maddan, Martin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Ridsdale and Mr. Barter.|
|Baird, J.||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Burke, W. A.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Burton, Miss F. E.||Deer, G.|
|Beswick, Frank||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Dodds, N. N.|
|Blackburn, F.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)|
|Boardman, H.||Champion, A. J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Cliffe, Michael||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Coldrick, W.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Fletcher, Eric|
|Foot, D. M.||Mayhew, C. P.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Mikardo, Ian||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mitchison, G. R.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hale, Leslie||Monslow, W.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Hastings, S.||Moss, R.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mulley, F. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Holman, P.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hunter, A. E.||Oliver, G. H.||Stross, Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oram, A. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Owen, W. J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Paget, R. T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pargiter, G. A.||Tomney, F.|
|Jones, Rt.Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Parkin, B. T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Pearson, A.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Kenyon, C.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Weitzman, D.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Popplewell, E.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Prentice, R. E.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Probert, A. R.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Redhead, E. C.||Zilliacus, K.|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Reeves, J.|
|MacDermot, Niall||Reid, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McLeavy, Frank||Reynolds, G. W.||Mr. Mellish and Mr. Gibson.|
|Division No. 42.]||AYES||[4.16 p.m.|
|Baird, J.||Hastings, S.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hayman, F. H.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Holman, P.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Benwick, Frank||Hunter, A. E.||Probert, A. R.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Boardman, H.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reeves, J.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Reid, William|
|Bowles, F. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Kenyon, C.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Champion, A. J.||Lawson, G. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Coldrick, W.||Lewis, Arthur||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||MacDermot, Niall||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McLeavy, Frank||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Mayhew, C. P.||Tomney, F.|
|Deer, G.||Mikardo, Ian||Viant, S. P.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mitchison, G. R.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Monslow, W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Eric, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mulley, F. W.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Edwards, W.J. (Stepney)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Oliver, G. H.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Finch, H. J. (Bedwelty)||Oram, A. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Owen, W. J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Paget, R. T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Foot, D. M.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|George,Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Parkin, B. T.||Mr. Mellish and Mr. Gibson.|
|Hale, Leslie||Pearson, A.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Baxter, Sir Beverley||Bowden, E. R. (Cardigan)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J. A.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Braine, B. R.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Brooman-White, R. C.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bishop, F. P.||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Body, R. F.||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Baldock, Lt. Cmdr. J. M.||Bonham Carter, Mark||Carr, Robert|
|Batsford, Brian||Bossom, Sir Alfred||Channon, H. P.G.|
|Chichester-Clark R.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Cole, Norman||Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Page, R, G.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hornby, R. P.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finehley)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Redmayne, M.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruisllp—Northwood)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Robertson, Sir David|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Hylton-Fraser, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Kershaw, J. A.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Leather, E. H. C.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Freeth, Denzil||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir p. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Gammans, Lady||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Glover, D.||Loveys, Walter H.||Teeling, W.|
|Goodhart, Philip||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Temple, John M.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Maddan, Martin||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Grimond, J.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horncastle)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Marshall, Douglas||Webster, David|
|Gurden, Harold||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Moore, Sir Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Neave, Airey||Mr. Ridsdale and Mr. Barter.|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|