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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to make a further statement about an agreement under Section 9 of the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, between the National Association of Master Bakers, Confectioners and Caterers and the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers.
Yes, Sir. I welcome the successful negotiation of this agreement and, on the application of the parties concerned, I am making an Order under Section 9 of the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act, 1954, which will exempt from the provisions of the Act all bakery workers employed by employers who are parties to the agreement.
This will be the fourth Exemption Order made under the Act. When it comes into effect on the 1st September of this year, it will be possible for any bakery employer who wishes to do so to operate under conditions settled by voluntary agreements instead of those imposed by the Act.
Will my right hon. Friend thank those of his officials who helped to bring this matter to such a satisfactory conclusion, and will he thank his Parliamentary Secretary, also, who worked as hard as anyone to help this industry, sometimes in the face of considerable obstruction from hon. Members opposite?
Does this not show the justification for the suggestion which was urged, that this should be left to the industry itself to decide? Is it not likely that, if the Bill which was before the House had been passed, there would not have been anything like a satisfactory conclusion?