§ (1) A workman who loses employment by reason of a stoppage of work which is due to a trade dispute at the factory, workshop, or other premises at which he was employed shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit so long as the stoppage of work continues, except in a case where he has, during the stoppage of work, become bonâ fide employed elsewhere in employment similar to that lost.
§ (2) A workman who loses employment through misconduct or who voluntarily leaves his employment without just cause shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit for a period of six weeks from the date when he so lost employment.
§ (3) A workman shall be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit whilst he is an inmate of any prison or any workhouse or other institution supported wholly or partly out of public funds, and whilst he is resident temporarily or permanently outside the United Kingdom.802
§ Amendments made: In Sub-section (1) leave out the word "loses" and insert instead thereof the words "has lost."
§ Leave out the word "is" ["which is due"] and insert instead thereof the word "was."—[Mr. Buxton.]
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to move in Sub-section (1), after the word "dispute," to insert the words "in which he is personally and directly concerned."
This deals with a matter which is really of great importance, the case of men losing their right to unemployed benefit if their unemployment is due to trade disputes. We are all agreed on the general principle that if unemployment is due to trade disputes the men out of work will not be entitled to the benefit, but the question arises whether the man is out of work in consequence of a dispute in which he is personally concerned or interested, because there may be trade disputes which put people out of work where it is not their fault. For instance, there may be a dispute in one trade which puts men out of work in another trade altogether. I admit that that is met now by an Amendment in Committee that the trade dispute must have been at the factory where the man is employed. Then there may be a factory with a great many different departments, and a strike of men in one department may put men out of work in another department. That is not met as the Bill stands now, but as far as I can see the Government have an Amendment coming up later on which possibly will deal with that point. There is yet a further case. Even in the same factory and in the same branch of the factory there may be a case where the union men strike and the non-union men do not strike, yet in consequence of the strike of union men the non-union men are out of work. Would it be fair that these men who are put out of work, not by their own action, not by striking at all, but simply because other people in the same branch of the factory have struck, and who, further, have no direct or personal concern in the strike—is it fair that those men should not receive unemployment benefit? The question is, how are we to get for these workmen this unemployment benefit. A good many suggestions have been made, and a good many were made in the Standing Committee, with the view of excluding from this disability people who suffer in consequence of the action of others. I do not say that the form of words which I have ventured 803 to put forward is the best, but I think it covers all the three points I have mentioned. The effect of these words is that only the people who actually strike—I am taking the case of a strike and not of a lock-out, which will have to be dealt with—would be disqualified from getting unemployment benefit, and not those who take no part in the strike, and who suffer in consequence of the action of those who do strike. The Government may say that the administrative difficulties of this proposal may be great. I am anxious to hear what the view of the Government is; at the same time, I am perfectly certain the principle I have enunciated is a fair principle, and I submit the Amendment as it stands on the paper.
§ Sir J. SIMON
As the hon. Gentleman has stated, this matter was much discussed in Grand Committee, and indeed the Bill as it passed the Second Reading contained words not very dissimilar from the words which the hon. Gentleman now proposes to reinsert. The Bill passed the Second Reading and went up to Grand Committee, and it laid down that a workman who loses his employment by reason of a trade dispute involving a strike or lockout to which he is directly a party shall be disqualified. I think so far as the language which the hon. Gentleman now uses is concerned, it is the same, and he wishes to add it to the test which is in the amended Bill.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
My Amendment applies to those who do not take part in the strike, but who are affected in consequence of the action of the others who enter upon a strike.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I have not the least desire to misrepresent the hon. Gentleman, and I agree with him that this is a serious and difficult question. What I want to have regard to is this: We have endeavoured to secure two objects on which I think the House as a whole will be agreed. In the first place, we must secure that this fund shall be used to relieve people who are out of employment owing to the inevitable fluctuations of trade as distinguished from relieving people who are out of employment in connection with some industrial dispute. We must have a test which can be quickly and certainly applied. Let the House consider for a 804 moment what is the case to which the test is to be applied. A man is out of work; his wages have suddenly ceased; he presents himself to the insurance officer, and says, "Give me 7s. a week." That is not the sort of case in connection with which we want to start a lengthy and probably very difficult investigation into the question as to whether the workman, who is undoubtedly out in connection with a trade dispute, is rightly described as a worker who is out by reason of that trade dispute in which he is directly concerned. That is a question which I will not say is insoluble, because it has been in the courts of law, but it is one of the worst questions which a court of law has to solve. It is not a question which can be tested with certainty by insurance officers, and we desire that when a man asks for 7s. a week the test should be one which can be applied swiftly and with certainty.
It was for that reason that I proposed on behalf of the Government the perfectly simple test of whether or not a man is employed in the factory where a trade dispute has arisen. The House will see that we propose later on a modification of it in order to provide for the hard case of a man who is employed in connection with some factory, though he is engaged in a branch of labour which is usually carried on in a separate place. The words of the hon. Gentleman necessarily revive a very doubtful and very difficult inquiry, whereas the proposal of the Government, put forward with the general assent of the Committee, is that we shall apply a simple test about which there can hardly be any dispute. May I point out to the House two reasons why the test in the Bill is likely to be the right test. First of all, you do not want a test which is capable of being manipulated either by the trade union leaders on the one hand, or by the secretary of the employers federation on the other. If you say that everybody who is not directly concerned in a strike is to have unemployment benefit then is it obviously to the interests of the secretary of the trade union to pick and choose a few among the people in the works to strike, so that it would have the result of bringing the works to a standstill. He could select a particular kind of labour which would bring to a stop the motive power of the factory, and he might thereby, if he manages the affair adroitly, throw upon the unemployment fund a body of workmen who loudly assert that they are not directly concerned in the strike, but who would certainly have joined the strike 805 if it had not been made to their advantage not to do so. Secondly, the way in which an employer could prevent any class of workers from getting unemployment benefit, and the way to bring extra pressure to bear, would be by serving a lockout notice on the lot, and so deprive them of benefit which they might otherwise get. I submit to the House that it is not desirable that we should insert into this Bill words which would put it in the power of one side or the other so to manipulate their notices in trade disputes that a larger number of a smaller number of people might come out. If you do, you are really taking upon yourselves the duty which the trade unions themselves ought to discharge. If there is a duty which the trade unions discharge most satisfactorily it is that of providing for their men when they find themselves turned out in a trade dispute. I have taken some trouble to ascertain what is the practice of trade unions in this regard. One of the hon. Gentlemen on the Labour Benches who has a great knowledge of the boiler makers' and shipwrights' trade informs me that in a dispute the men who are not themselves striking, but are affected by the strike, are entitled to come on the union funds. I think, also, that exactly the contrary practice obtains in a number of other trades. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I have not said so without some careful inquiry. I find as a matter of fact that in at least three very considerable trade unions the result is exactly the other way. In the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and the Society of Boilermakers and the Gasworkers and General Labourers Union, they do not regard the men as entitled to unemployment benefits, but on the contrary you give them what is properly strike pay, even though they are not directly concerned in the strike. That is not at all unreasonable for this reason. There are certain things which bind together men working in the same factories. They have at least these matters in common, that they are all working for and paid by the one employer, and they are working side by side in the same place.
If you introduce into this Bill a provision which will throw on our unemployment fund every workman who contends that he is not himself directly concerned or directly involved in the strike, the result is, I suggest to the House, that we are going to use the money which is really being subscribed for unemployment and fluctuations of trade for the sustaining of a number of 806 persons who quite properly but none the less secretly sympathise with the strike, and who would undoubtedly have taken part in the strike if such an Amendment as this did not make it difficult to get on the other side of the line. Does any man in the House say that an insurance officer sitting behind a desk and having to deal with hundreds of cases of people who come and say, "There is my card, give me the 7s.," is there anyone to say that such a person is really in a position to judge as to each man whether he is or is not a person who satisfies the conditions my hon. Friend proposes. I think the Government will be acquitted of any desire not to act fairly by those for whose benefit this Bill is provided, but we must have some regard to the protection of our fund. We suggest that this is rather the business of the trade unions, who have admirably performed it, to provide for cases which will be on the border line like this. We suggest that we have really made in the circumstances a proper provision. Any line that you could draw would produce hard cases; both my right hon. Friend and myself spent a good deal of time in trying to find the right line. The reason why we recommend the line drawn in the Bill is because it is extremely easy to apply. It may be that it lets in people who should be out and puts out people who should be in but it is a practical line which is not capable of being manipulated by one side or the other in a trade disputes. It is a line which involves a swift and easy decision, and with the Amendment which my right hon. Friend proposes it is a line which will do substantial justice.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
This Clause to me is one of the most important in the Bill, especially in regard to the general labourers, because it appears to me that unless there is a wider definition than that already in the Bill it will simply mean that the ordinary general labourer will get very little benefit by the Bill. In my own trade union when a man contributes he is entitled to either strike or lockout pay in connection with the dispute over which he has got no control. We have lock-out benefit of 12s. 6d. per week, and when a strike takes place, either with the engineers or boilermakers or anywhere else where the men have got absolutely no voice in the matter, then according to the rules the men are paid 10s. per week for a certain number of weeks.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
No, we have got no out-of-work benefits at all. This particular Clause would affect labourers more than anyone else, because if there is a strike or lock-out in many of the trade unions the skilled artisans, although they are not in a position to get strike benefit, can fall back upon what they call unemployed benefits and are in a position to get something. My hon. Friend, who is District Secretary for Lancashire, will admit that in our organisation I should say 90 per cent. of the money that we have paid has been paid in cases where the members had no control in any shape or form as to the strike. When there is a strike in the engineering, or boilermaking, or building trade, the general labourers, who have no voice in it, are thrown out of work. If he is not in a position to get some relief in regard to this particular Clause then it appears that he is paying money into an insurance scheme for which he is going to get no benefit. The Amendment moved opposite may not give us all we ask, and I am not quite sure if there is an Amendment which will give us what we want. The position I take up is that when a man is thrown out of work in a dispute over which he has no control that that individual or number of individuals should be in the position to either go to the Labour Exchange and register as being out of work or to the trade unions and get out of work pay.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I think after the speech we have heard from the hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench that the House will consider that it is a practical difficulty that the Government finds it impossible to overcome. Therefore I want to consider whether that practical difficulty can be both faced and met. May I remind the House that the right hon. Gentleman was quite mistaken as to the meaning of the rules of the Gas Workers and General Labourers Union. Further I would ask the House to recollect that eighty per cent. of the members of such unions are not gas workers at all but general labourers employed in the various industries. The rules of that union are quite consistent with the Amendment now before us, and I am strongly disposed to support the Amendment which will if carried meet fully the case of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Wilkie). Should this Amendment not be carried there will be good reason to accept the 808 second best and support his Amendment. The reason why the rules of such a union as the Gas Workers and General Labourers Union provides a stoppage benefit for labourers situated in the circumstances recited by my hon. Friend is that these labourers are frequently stopped because of quarrels in which they have no part whatever. They are not the cause of the dispute; they cannot effect a settlement of it. They are merely victims of quarrels between the skilled tradesmen and the employers of labour. The number of recent instances is so great that much time could be taken up if one entered into them. I have had personal experience of very many. Take a big engineering shop. There is a quarrel between the iron-founders or the engineers and the employers. The men are demanding, say, an extra 2s. a week, or some improvement in their conditions. The labourers are not consulted. They are not in any sense as strong for the purposes of attack as are the skilled men. They merely cease work because the others have ceased work. They gain nothing by the dispute, and they are in no sense the cause of it. In the ordinary sense of the term they are unemployed through no fault of their own. The right hon. Gentleman says, whilst that may be in itself a good reason for giving them unemployment benefit, how is a commissioner or any officer acting under this Bill to discover who is entitled to pay and who is not. He has pictured a man going up with his card and saying, "I want seven shillings." If necessary I think the difficulty could be overcome by seeing that a man had two cards, or, if not two cards, that he had one card and that the right one.
This Bill imposes on the employers a good many obligations which, according to their own statement, will involve them in certain expense. There will be considerable bookkeeping, the arranging of accounts, stamping by one process or another, the receipt of money and its transference. All these processes will involve some cost upon the employers. Will it be too much to insert in some part of the Bill words imposing upon the employers the additional duty of giving to the locked-out labourer in the case of a stoppage due to a dispute in which he was a non-combatant, a card certifying that he was in a state of enforced idleness—I will not try to describe what the exact terms ought to be, but a card signifying that he was not on strike in the ordinary sense as one directly involved in a quarrel with 809 his employer in which he might benefit. If that is the only difficulty it could be overcome in that way. I urge some such course on the Government. I know personally from some twenty years' experience of dealing with labourers' organisations that there are labourers engaged steadily year by year in occupations that find them regular work, and I know men of my own personal acquaintance who have never been out of work except on the occasions when they have been thrown into a state of idleness through disputes in which they were not directly concerned. Cases where labourers are stopped for some reason other than their own fault are more numerous than those where the labourers cause their own stoppage. Inasmuch as you impose on the labourer this compulsory payment for unemployment, and inasmuch as many labourers are never unemployed, except when they are drawn into disputes over which they have no control, I submit that the practical difficulties ought to be and could be overcome with some such course as I have suggested.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
As one connected with the engineering trade, I think that another view ought to be put before the House. A great many disputes, particularly in the engineering trade, are due to sectional disputes between the men themselves. I have never met a man who on principle objected to belonging to a trade union, but I have met with plenty of men who were willing to share any benefits that might be secured. Under this Amendment a non-union man, while his fellow-workmen were out on strike, would be entitled to get the advantage of any rise of wages that the union men were able to get, and at the same time, while the other men were fighting, rightly or wrongly, he would get payments under this Bill. That is not a fair position in which to put the non-union man, and I do not think the Amendment ought to be accepted.
This is a very difficult point. Wherever you draw the line, there is bound to be a certain amount of hardship on one side or the other. What we have had to consider in reference to this matter is that there is a fund for unemployment. The principle of that fund is that it is provided for unemployment arising from depression in trade rather than from disputes. I think that everyone would desire that that should be the 810 general principle of the fund. It is essential that there should be some clear line of demarcation before a dispute takes place. Nothing could be more fatal than that at the time of a dispute it should be necessary for the insurance officer to decide whether a man should or should not come on the fund. It is very important that that should be decided beforehand. The objection that we take to the Amendment is that it would leave so difficult a question open for decision that as a matter of administration it would be impossible to carry it out. I also want to emphasize in respect to the particular words before the House that the only persons who will be excluded from the benefits will be the persons, the workmen, who are personally and directly concerned. The speech of my hon. Friend who spoke just now is really conclusive from the trade union point of view. If this Amendment is accepted the result will be that the non-unionist will receive the benefit, and the trade unionist will be excluded. That surely would be neither fair nor advantageous to our friends below the Gangway. So far as these particular words are concerned, it would be a very serious blow to trade unionism. We shall, on the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Wilkie) have to discuss a somwhat different point, which endeavours, I think, to put the matter on a more watertight basis, at all events. I should like to have the opportunity of discussing that on its merits. I am quite clear of this: that these particular words will be quite impossible of acceptance.
§ Mr. CLYNES
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would not consider a man was directly concerned in a dispute, whether in a trade union or not, if the question of his wages or working conditions was involved in this matter?
That is a question that entirely disposes of the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, but it is one that I should be very sorry to have to answer straight away. I should also be very sorry if our insurance officer had to answer questions of that sort at the time of a dispute.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I think the Debate has shown that the principle I proposed to lay down is a fair one. At the same time I fully recognise the practical difficulties of carrying it out that have been put forward by the Solicitor-General and the President of the Board of Trade. I dare say the same object may 811 be accomplished in some other way, and therefore I do not wish to press this Amendment. It will be open, no doubt, to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee to move his Amendment, and we can further consider the question upon that, and upon the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. WILKIE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1) after the word "dispute" ["dispute at the factory"] to insert the words "between his trade or grade and the employer." I want in handling this question to say, as the Members of the Government are well aware, this question has been very considerably discussed. I want right hon. Gentlemen to clearly understand——
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
On a point of Order, and for the convenience of the House, I want to ask whether this Amendment, which raises rather a narrower point than the last ought not to come as the Government Amendment of which they have given notice? That contains the definition of what a trade union dispute is.
§ Mr. WILKIE
I should like to say that my Amendment is a much wider Amendment. Those of us who are practical men dealing with this question as our business know all about it.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think the interpretation of the hon. Member's Amendment is quite on the same lines as the definition in the proposed addition by the Government. The object of the hon. Member is not to confine the words "Trade dispute," but to say that if a trade dispute of a particular kind took place a particular thing would happen.
§ Mr. WILKIE
The words of my Amendment would ensure that the Government's proposal carried out the present practice. An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory. Let me give a concrete case. In 1908 a dispute took place on the North-East coast between the employers and the shipwrights. That dispute was extended by the employers, and the federated employers in the shipbuilding trade exercised what may be called a sympathetic lock-out. They locked out the same class of men on the Clyde, Humber, and elsewhere because they were in dispute with that particular class of men. They paid 812 off the boilermakers, rivetters, and what are generally known as the "black squad," with whom they had then no dispute. What happened in this case? All the men in this dispute received strike pay from their own unions and the Trades Unions General Federation. The members of the Boilermakers' Society received no dispute pay, but simply got assistance from their own society as unemployed benefit. Last year the very opposite took place. Two disputes occurred, one on the Tyne and the other on the Clyde among the boilermakers, and the employers locked all these men out right round the federated area. The boilermakers who were locked out got their strike and dispute benefit, and those in the other trades got nothing but their unemployed benefits. The custom is clearly defined, and it can be applied to every industry, and there is no difficulty. We have never complained of being locked out, but I hope those hon. Members here and elsewhere who use anathema against us will not forget that we have had a lesson from the other side. The Solicitor-General, with his usual lucidity, put a hypothetical case of a few men being able to cause a dispute. If the hon. and learned Gentleman had had any practical experience of the working of these different trades, he would know that there could not be any such possibility. What difference does it make to the man himself whether he is thrown out of employment through shortness of work, or because of a stoppage of work in another trade alongside of him?
It is not correct to say that by this proposal you are holding the balance between capital and labour. You practically lay down that if there is a dispute in a shipyard with one of the trades, and they come out and the other men are gradually paid off, they are not going to get the unemployment benefit they have paid for, although they are not entitled to dispute benefit. In our organisation we pay 3d. per week, for which we have got for over a quarter of a century 9s. per week unemployment benefit for the first ten of twenty weeks. We are now going to have 2½d. per week deducted from our wages, and when we are the victims of a strike in connection with another trade we are not going to get the benefits we have paid for. I want the House to get to the bed-rock of this question. What I assert is that the Clause as it stands will cause trouble, strikes, and disputes. The Amendment which has been suggested does not meet the case at all. The Solicitor-General has referred to the 813 question of a separate factory. I think a ship would be considered a separate factory. In the case of a dispute the other men who are paid off are the victims of that dispute. As the hon. Member for Manchester has stated, the greatest victim in all these cases is the labourer to the skilled worker. If you are going to take 2½d. per week from, these men, when their representatives have already told you they are more often the victims of other disputes than their own, surely they have a good case for asking they shall receive the benefit for which they are paying. The hon. Gentleman has told us that while our organisation had it clearly defined, some others called it by other names. It does not matter.A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.It is all the same to the workman if when he is thrown idle he gets the support for which he has paid. I do think we have a good case for asking the Government to put in words that will carry out the present practice in the interests of the workmen, of peace and goodwill between them and the employers, and of the harmonious working of those scheduled industries with which you are going to make the trial. I think I have shown clearly that we are not wanting anything from the State or the employer. When we are in a dispute we will pay our own dispute benefit. I am glad to say we have an agreement with the employers, and we are continually meeting them in conferences. Thus we know each other better, and I hope we shall have less trouble in the future than in the past. Therefore, I hope the Government will assist us in our peaceful measures, and give the men the benefits for which they are being charged.
§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to second the Amendment. We attach very great importance to this Amendment. The Clause imposes a disqualification on a man claiming unemployment benefit in regard to a trade dispute or lock-out. The Bill, as originally framed, provided that he should be disqualified if he was directly or indirectly concerned in a dispute. That, of course, might apply to a man coming out in a dispute in any part of the country, because he might be directly or indirectly concerned in the dispute, although the dispute happened in another part of the country. The Clause, as it is now in the Bill, and which we are seeking to amend, provides that the man shall be concerned in a dispute in the factory in which he is employed. That improves the 814 Bill, limiting the disqualification in a geographical sense, and we are glad that the Bill has been in one sense amended so far, but the Amendment of my hon. Friend seeks still further to limit the disqualification. We think it is altogether wrong that a man employed in a factory in which a dispute arises should be disqualified from receiving his benefit under this Bill if he has had no act or part in bringing about that dispute. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Manchester has already cited the case of the labourers. We feel very strongly in regard to them. They are the men who suffer most from industrial disputes and yet have least to do with bringing them about. Although the Bill, as now framed, is better than the original draft, inasmuch as it is limited to factories, I want to remind hon. Gentlemen that the word "factory" now has a very wide meaning, and the tendency is that it should have a still wider meaning. There are factories in this country which employ upwards of 20,000 men and thus the word "factory," although apparently limited, covers quite a little community. In the case of a strike at such a factory as Platts, at Oldham, I have known hundreds of labouring men put out through a dispute with the moulders or engineers or some other skilled class: they have been out of work for months because of a dispute in which they have no part. The same observations apply to disputes which have occurred on the north-east coast. Two years ago thousands of labouring men belonging to a union which paid no unemployed benefit were thrown out under similar circumstances, and I know that many of them were brought to the brink of starvation because of a dispute in which they had no concern and no voice in bringing it about.
I appeal to the Government and to hon. Gentlemen opposite who were sympathetically inclined with regard to this matter when it was discussed upstairs. The right hon. Gentleman who now leads the party opposite, when the point was under debate upstairs, expressed himself as extremely favourably disposed towards putting something in the Bill which would prevent the evils I have described. If the Government cannot accept these words I hope that, at all events, they will accept some form of words which will absolutely prevent men belonging to the labouring class who are involved in these disputes being made to suffer. I hope the House will see that some words are put into this Clause which will prevent the position of 815 these men in the future being worsened, as it has been in times gone by, by disputes which they themselves do not cause and which, even if successful so far as their fellow workmen are concerned, are of no benefit to them when they return to work.
I can assure my hon. Friends we have given this matter both general and particular consideration with a view, as far as possible, of meeting the wishes they have expressed. It is quite certain that whatever line is drawn in this matter there will be anomalies on one side or the other. My hon. and learned Friend laid down the general position which the Government are bound to take with regard to the matter as a whole. In the first place the fund is to be applied to unemployment due to depression of trade rather than to trade disputes. Secondly, as we are dealing with a fund contributed to by employers, workmen, and the State, we are bound to steer an even keel, and not to take any steps which would tend towards the extension of trade disputes. Thirdly, we are all agreed upon this, that it is essential that at the time of a strike the insurance officer and the men themselves should know for a certainty whether they are going to receive benefit or not. I have carefully examined the words of my hon. Friend, and am afraid that if we accept them we should not be able to carry out any of these three propositions. He proposes to add the words, "between his trade or grade and the employer," that is to say, any man in that trade or grade which is having a dispute should not receive the benefit, and that anyone outside that trade or grade should be entitled to draw benefit from the Insurance Fund. That really raises the difficulty which met us in considering the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman opposite, namely, the difficulty of definition. I doubt if the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Wilkie), or the hon. Member for the Black-friars Division (Mr. Barnes), if they were asked to sit down and draw a distinction between the various grades and trades which exist in the industries of the country, could do so.
§ Mr. WILKIE
I have another Amendment down providing that any difference shall be referred to the referees.
My hon. Friend has shown that he could not respond to my 816 appeal by saying that the matter should be left to an umpire if a difference arose. That is just the point. I do not want differences to arise. We think that under our Amendment such differences will be avoided. The hon. Gentleman proposes that this difficult question shall be left to the arbitrament of an umpire. That will take time. The insurance officer will not know what to do, and the men will not be able to receive benefits until the umpire has decided this difficult question. I think my hon. Friend will acknowledge from his own experience, which has been extensive in this matter, that his trade union has had the most constant disputes in almost every grade as to what was the grade he was representing in this House. I believe it would be impossible for anybody to distinguish between trades and grades. It would be a prolific field for the difficulties we desire to avoid. The State and this fund ought to be kept as far as possible from putting pressure on one side or the other. My hon. Friend says that the practice of his trade union is that there is a distinction drawn between those who are out of employment through no fault of their own and those who are out of employment through their own direct action. That really may be the case in those trade unions. My learned Friend referred to some other trade unions. In the case of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers it is specifically stated that members compelled to cease work owing to disputes or causes over which they have no control will be entitled to strike benefit, and the same is the case with the United Society of Boilermakers.
Where such members working in those yards where there is a dispute are thrown out of employment thereby such members shall receive the benefit of this section.
Then there is the question of the Federation of Engineers and Boilermakers, and the like. What would happen in the event of a strike in one trade of that federation? According to our proposal the other men would not be receiving benefit under the Act, but under the hon. Member's proposal the other men, who were at the time of the dispute subscribing members to the federation which was at war with the employer would be receiving benefit from the State, which would assist them very materially. This is almost a sufficient answer to my hon. Friend. If he would look at it from a practical point of view in view of the difficulty of definition, the 817 fact that it would really be a serious interference between one party and the other, the fact that we want this money applied in the direction indicated, and the fact that we have endeavoured as far as possible to meet this particular grievance, I hope the Amendment will not be pressed. The hon. Member (Mr. Barnes) made an appeal that if these words would not effect what we have in mind we might find other words. We have done our very best to endeavour to find other words. I am still quite willing to consider any further proposals the hon. Member may make. I am quite certain his Amendment would not meet the case. I hope the House will realise that we have done our very best to meet the very great difficulty caused in this particular case.
§ Mr. BIGLAND
Now that we have heard the explanation of the Government and the further Amendment proposed by the hon. Member (Mr. Wilkie), it comes to this, that the hon. Member is right. This Schedule of 2½d. plus 2½d. for the employer is far too large for the unemployment simply to be when slackness of trade comes on and men are dismissed. The case was very clearly stated by the hon. Member. If, in his opinion, the payment of 3d. a week entitled a man to the provisions that he mentioned, the actuarial valuations here are altogether too high, and I am inclined to think the suggestion of the hon. Member opposite that it would be possible for an employer to give cards to the men who were not interested in the dispute is a solution of the question. There is no doubt that the men in many factories are high-priced men, and I have a great deal of sympathy with what has been said, because the number of labourers employed in these large engineering and shipbuilding yards is enormous. The labourer has absolutely no voice in the dispute. He does not gain any benefit when the other men get arise through the strike they have organised, and it should be possible, if this is going to be an unemployment benefit at all, that these men who have no interest in the dispute, and will get no benefit out of it, should receive unemployment benefit. I do not like to push the matter to a Division, but I feel it goes to the very root of the whole Section as to whether men who are thrown out of employment without being consulted or without knowing what the dispute is about should receive the benefit. If that man is thrown out of employment without being consulted and without having a vote 818 in regard to the dispute, surely he ought to have some benefit. If the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Wilkie) is correct in saying that a union is able for 3d. a week to give such large unemployment benefit as he indicated, surely out of the amount the Government are going to charge—almost double the amount charged by the trade unions—there ought to be some benefit paid to the men who are not interested in any way in the disputed question. I hope some way will be found to meet that point.
§ Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
I think the point at present before the House is one of vital importance, and all the more to the unskilled men than to the skilled men, because all experience teaches me that so far as the skilled men are concerned they are always well able to look after themselves. I have had some little experience in connection with this particular question. I happen to be connected with a union that takes in all kinds of labourers and unskilled workers. In that union there are two separate contributions. There is 3d. a week, which covers the labourer for strikes and lock-outs, and another contribution of 3d. a week which covers his unemployed benefit separate and apart from trade disputes. If my experience is worth anything at all in this matter—it extends over a period of at least thirteen years—it goes to show that with the two threepences in the union I am connected with we have been able to cover not only unemployment, but also strikes and lock-outs, and we have had a fairly good margin left as well. It is obvious from these facts that the amount to be paid under the unemployment section of the Bill will not only cover unemployment, but also the expenditure for disputes and lock-outs as well. That is to say, that the 6d. a week to be contributed by the employer, the workman, and the State will cover disputes, lock-outs, and unemployment. I think it will be seen from this that, so far as the unemployment fund is concerned, there is going to be a tremendous fund piled up as years go by. That is to say, the contribution is very much higher than the need will demand. It seems to me that the Clause remains exceedingly wide. After all, what is a factory? Some years ago I worked at Lord Armstrong's place in Newcastle, where they build warships and have blast furnaces. The factory extends two and a half miles up the river Tyne. It employs 819 all sections and kinds of men. It seems to me that if there was a dispute at one end of the factory, and the factory was laid idle, none of the men employed by that firm, numbering between 15,000 and 16,000, would be entitled to benefit under this Clause, as I understand it.
§ Mr. C. DUNCAN
I cannot see that at all. Some time ago there was a dispute on the Clyde. There was what was called a lock-out by the shipbuilders. The dispute between the employers and the men on the Clyde was not settled, and in order to bring it to a settlement the employers locked out the men not only on the Clyde but on the Weir and the Tees, and in my own Constituency at Barrow-in-Furness.
The whole dispute affected about 400 men, yet several thousands of men were thrown out of employment, men who had kept their agreements with their employers and had no dispute with them whatever. Yet these men who were drawn into this dispute in which they had no concern and took no part and were compelled for months to walk the streets of their respective towns, would receive no benefit under this Clause. Obviously great injustice will be wrought if this form of words is adhered to. I hope that the Government will consider the matter from that point of view. The real test of the matter is this: where you have a number of men concerned in a dispute, is there an element of gain in it? Where a number of men are involved, whether it is a dispute, a strike, or a lock-out, if they do not stand to gain as a result of the dispute they should be entitled to receive benefit from the unemployed fund. If the matter is examined from that point of view it seems to open a way out of the difficulty as argued here to-night.
§ 11. 0 P.M.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
When this Bill was introduced it was for the purpose of dealing with periods of unemployment. What we are now asked to do is to say that the State and the employers should subsidise the men in lock-outs in trade disputes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] You are going to take money for them from the employers and the State. That is the effect of it. There is no justification for this Clause as it stands in the speech of the last speaker. He told the House that his trade union made the 820 men pay 3d. per week lock-out contribution and 2d. per week unemployment contribution. His trade union will be much better off under the proposal of the Government than it is at the present moment. The members still continue to pay 3d. per week lock-out contribution, and the total contributions of 5½d per week will give them not only lock-out benefit but unemployment benefit on a much higher scale than anything which they have yet enjoyed. The hon. Member quoted the case of the Clyde in connection with the combinations of employers and trade unions. I may point out that it follows as a natural corollary that where men enter into a combination they must expect to be met by one, and therefore when he says that the men locked out were not concerned in the dispute it may be that in the case in question the union may have subsidised the particular strike. I do not think that the House should be asked, when this is after all a Bill dealing with periods of unemployment, to bring trade disputes into this question. I have every sympathy with the labourers. The aristocracy of labour have, however, very little regard for the unskilled labourer, and those distinctions do obtain among workmen. I have great sympathy with the unskilled labourers who do the sweeping up and the dirty work for the skilled worker. This Bill deals only with cases arising during periods of bad trade. If a workman is deprived of his wage for a week he will get the additional benefits which the society can give at the present time. If by any Amendment the Bill widens the application of the funds in connection with trade disputes it will be impossible to maintain that any Government Department could work the measure at all. We have the "down-tools" policy of Tom Mann, the universal strike as against sectional strikes, but that policy is supported only by a very small section, and it is not supported by the Labour party, I believe. Yet sectional strikes are far harder for such organisations as that of the hon. Member for West Ham, and upon unfortunate labourers and others who are affected by these disputes. The House will be well advised if it refuses to accept an Amendment which will only increase the difficulties connected with strikes.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The part of the Bill which is now under consideration is not merely to provide against unemployment when trade is bad, but, I take it, against all kinds of unemployment. The Solicitor- 821 General and the President of the Board of Trade have apparently either forgotten or have not listened to the arguments which have been brought forward. It is said that it is very difficult to discover where a dispute begins with a certain section of men, and where it leaves off. Will anyone in this House say that if there is a dispute between engineers and their employers there is any difficulty in determining whether the labourers are involved or not, or whether the plumbers who are employed by the same firm are involved or not? The thing is perfectly easy if we want to tackle it. You are for the first time saying that the man who earns very low wages shall pay 2½d. a week plus something else, and you say you are not able to differentiate him from the skilled workmen who have either some increase of pay or a decrease of hours. I have heard the hon. and learned Gentlemen on the Front Bench, but they have got out of bigger difficulties than this. It does not seem to be too difficult, and it appears to me that they are afraid of indirectly helping the men who are involved in the dispute. If you are not, you could find some form of words. You are the legal experts, and I think if you really wanted to help us out of the difficulty it ought to be quite possible. I do suggest that no one who has spoken against the Amendment has met our point, and that is that it is the labourer who by no stretch of imagination can direct the strike in any way, who has to pay the piper. My hon. Friends the Members for Manchester, West Ham, and Barrow can give you cases of thousands of men who have been brought not merely to starvation but to the workhouse and the poor-law to be supported in times of lock-outs and strikes without being in any way responsible. With regard to what is known as the sympathetic strike, the hon. Baronet and other hon. Members who are opposed to them must bear in mind that it is the great capitalist class who have taught the worker the benefits of combination. When you have the great shipping industry locking out indiscriminately thousands of men because of a sectional dispute you have taught us to understand that what is good enough for combined capital is equally good enough for combined labour.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
This is no doubt a very difficult question, and probably the most difficult in the Bill. On the one hand, there is the danger that has been mentioned that this provision, if it 822 is carried, may be made use of by means of sectional strikes to obtain practical subsidies by the unemployment part of the Bill. I am quite aware that the Solicitor-General has pointed out that in the public correspondence between the Board of Trade and certain employers they were very much afraid of a provision of this sort for that reason. On the other hand, it is perfectly true to say that there are many employers, some of whom are in this House, and one of whom has already spoken to-night, who do not hold that difficult, but who do feel very strongly that it is most unjust where a man is not concerned in a strike himself, and where he is put out of work because another grade strikes; that that individual should lose the benefit of this fund to which he has been a contributor, it may be for several years. I think that principle is so strong that the House ought to fully consider it. I do not see how you can justify it. My hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Bigland) told me of the shipbuilding trade where there is a quarrel between we will say the rivetters or some other grade which results in all the labourers in the yard being turned out of work. It is perfectly right and proper, I think we should all agree, that the rivetters as they choose to dispute with the masters, should not get the benefit of the unemployment fund.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
All those sectional disputes that took place on the North-East Coast have been on the demarcation of work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all."]
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to continue the case I was putting. I take the rivetters. I could have taken any other grade. They quarrel with their employers. We agree that they should not get the benefit of the unemployment fund. Through their action they put out of work every labourer employed in the yard. These men may have been contributing to the unemployed fund for five years. Why on earth should they not get the benefit? To my mind the principle is perfectly clear. I admit the practical difficulty to some extent, and that in certain trades a danger may be feared of the funds being used for the purpose of sectional strikes. But I feel that we must follow the broad principle and say that nobody shall be penalised by such action as has been described.
§ Sir J. SIMON
What we are asked now to do is to introduce a provision that every workman shall be entitled to come upon the unemployment fund so long as the trade dispute, though it is in his own factory, is not between his trade or grade and the employer. May I point out the difficulty. Members of the Labour party will agree that it is not true to say that a trade union consists in all cases of a single grade. A trade union often consists of a variety of grades. What the House is really asked to do is to provide that, if a trade union has a dispute with an employer because of the conditions of one particular grade connected with the union, when the funds of that union are being used to fight the employer, every member of the union who is not in that particular grade shall come on unemployment benefit. That is not fair. That is using money subscribed for unemployment purposes in effect for financing a strike.
§ Sir J. SIMON
That certainly is the result of the Amendment. The hon. Member desires to provide that everybody shall be entitled to come on the unemployment fund even though he is a member of the very trade union which is conducting the dispute, and even if he is employed in the very factory where the dispute is taking place, so long as the dispute is not between his trade or grade and the employer. It follows from that, as clearly as anything can follow from another thing, that the result will be that a great number of people who belong to this particular trade union and are engaged by this particular employer will be entitled under this Amendment to come on the unemployment fund. In this matter we desire to do nothing but what is fair to both parties. Take the reverse case. If you say that a man is to be deprived of benefit as long as the trade dispute is one by which his grade is affected, look at the power you put in the hands of the employer. An employer who desires to produce the maximum pressure not only against the particular grade of men with whom he is really in dispute, but against everybody associated with them, will issue lock-out notices against the whole body. He will not be content to lock out the particular branch with which he has the dispute, because, if he does that, under this proposal the rest of them will come upon the fund. Therefore you put it in his power to manipulate 824 the notices, with the result that he would be able to use this very provision as a means of striking a blow at people who are not otherwise in the dispute. Is that fair? Finally, take the case put, with great knowledge and effect, as a special case by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Wilkie). Are not these the facts with regard to his own trade union? There is strike benefit paid in case of a dispute, but, on the other hand, unemployment benefit is optional. Some members subscribe for unemployment, and some do not. What happened only last year when there was a dispute such as the boilermakers' lock-out? What happened was that those who never in times of work subscribed to unemployed benefit began to agitate and came upon the fund for strike benefit. The hon. Member quite rightly and wisely no doubt was forced to give strike benefit out of the strike funds to a number of people who did not join the unemployment fund.
§ Mr. WILKIE
That is not correct. We took a special vote of our members, and we gave all the men, idle and paid-off through the boilermakers' dispute, a special grant of unemployed benefit.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am sorry I did not put the facts exactly as they were. But the facts stated make the point I want to make better. It is not a practical proposal to draw this precise line between the grade that is engaged in the trade dispute, and the closely related trades that are unfortunately suffering. As I pointed out earlier, the proposal of my hon. Friend would work out in this way: A man comes and says to the insurance officer, "I want my 7s.," and the insurance officer has to decide the difficult and delicate matter as to whether the man is justified when he says that his grade is not the grade that is involved in this trade dispute.
§ Mr. WILKIE
Excuse me, but I would like the House to recollect that I have given actual cases. When there is a dispute in one grade of a society the employer treats all alike; they are all in dispute, and not one grade only.
§ Sir J. SIMON
When there is a dispute, the hon. Member tells us the employer deals with the whole body of men whether they belong to the one grade——
§ Sir J. SIMON
Then why change the Bill so that so long as a man is not 825 in that particular grade in which the dispute has arisen he has to have the benefits I ask the House to show what I am sure it is anxious to show, in the first place the courage to resist what is a very tempting, but a very, it seems to me, illogical Amendment. On the other hand, I desire to make a practical test which can be applied simply, swiftly, and certainly by the official who has to decide straight off as to whether or not the man has to have the 7s. a week. We are seeking to prevent this fund from being manipulated by one side or the other, just to suit the convenience of this or that secretary. It is said, but not accurately, that if the Government proposal is adopted that we are depriving the man of the benefit for which he has subscribed. Really, with great respect, that is not so. What we provide for is that he shall get the benefit when he is unemployed, to the extent of one week's benefit for every five weeks' contributions. The fact that he does not draw his benefit when his fellow-workmen are on strike does not mean that we take it away from him. It is there, and we have provisions in this Bill that if he does not, in the ordinary course of events, draw it all, he has the special right to get part of it when he comes to the end of his working life. It is not fair to allege that the proposal of the Government is that they desire to deny a man something for which he had contributed.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I think we are confusing things. I do not mean to suggest that the Solicitor-General is intentionally, by his legal argument, confusing the matter, but in fact we are confusing the question at issue. It is not an easy matter for the unions to discriminate between men who are not on dispute and men who are out of work. When an application was made on the North-East coast by my own society and other societies that those men should get lock-out pay, it was positively refused, and we paid them simply out-of-work pay. If the Amalgamated Society of Engineers have 400 men in Armstrong's yard and there is a dispute about wages which involves men and employers in a strike, those men get strike pay from the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, but if as a result of that strike the whole body of men of the society are locked out they do not get strike pay but out-of-work pay.
I do not think the Solicitor-General can get away from the fact that when a man is not in dispute with his employers 826 he is out of work. Let me reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield (Sir A. Markham.) In the first place we have now a contract with the employers in the shipbuilding trade to prevent the possibility of demarcation difficulties in the future. Secondly, demarcation disputes never affect the labourers; it is only between the skilled labourers that the quarrels arise on that point. Assuming there is a dispute as to demarcation between two bodies of men, and that the labourers are thrown out of work because of it, obviously they are not in a state of strike, but they are compelled to walk about the streets, and they are entitled to the benefits for which they have paid. With regard to the point that the Government's proposals do not deprive these men of out-of-work pay, that is all very fine, but, as a matter of fact, they do deprive a man of the unemployment benefit when he is actually in want of it. The Bill is absolutely no good unless a man can get his unemployed benefit when he is unemployed, although it might be kept back for a period of years. If a union took up that position, the first thing a man would do would be to break away from the union. If the Government cannot accept these words I hope it may be within the ingenuity of the Government to find a way to give these unfortunate unskilled labourers the benefits they are entitled to.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The Solicitor-General says that where there is a trade union with unemployment benefit and strike benefit, in the case put by the hon. Member for Dundee, it would fall under the head of strike benefit and not unemployment. I think that argument ignores the central fact that in a trade union a man subscribes if he likes, but here you are going to compel him to subscribe. I put aside all the arguments by analogy with trade unions. It is said that this Amendment would merely encourage employers to create a dispute with the whole of their men because in that way they would deprive them of the strike unemployment pay they would otherwise get. Under the Bill as it stands that will happen automatically because it will be a trade dispute in a factory and the whole of the men will be deprived always, without any action on the part of the employer, of unemployed benefit. I cannot see how a man could possibly be in a worse position from that point of view. The Solicitor- 827 General said trade unions comprise different grades and it might be that a strike would be initiated by one grade and the other members of the trade union all having a certain corporate responsibility, they all ought to suffer by the strike.
Surely it is not beyond the ingenuity of the law officers to meet this point. It is easy if you accept the principle to put in a proviso saying that where all the men were members of a trade union it should not apply. The Solicitor-General said a man might come and say he was entitled to 7s. a week, and that it would put too great a burden on the insurance officer for him to have to decide whether the man belonged to the particular grade or not which had struck work. I do not think there would be any difficulty of that kind in the majority of cases. I should have thought that generally speaking it would be quite easy to say whether a man did or did not belong to a particular grade. There might be exceptional cases, but in such an event why not let the insurance officer suspend the matter, and leave it to the umpire to settle. Surely you are not going to tell the House of Commons that because there is a mechanical difficulty which prevents you doing justice you are not willing to put in a proviso which will enable you to do justice in this case.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I firmly believe that unless this Amendment is carried the Bill will commit an act of the gravest injustice to a poor and suffering class, who are compelled to pay for unemployment benefits under this Bill. The two speeches delivered from the Front Bench have been keenly disappointing in view of the hopes raised by the statement of the President of the Board of Trade when we discussed the last Amendment, and from both those speeches I cannot make out upon what grounds the Government are opposing this Amendment. I submit that the unions in this matter have met the difficulties arising from their own experience. The Gas Workers and General Labourers Union meet the difficulty by giving benefits under the rules to the men if they stop work through someone else's dispute at their place of employment. Surely it is not impossible for the Government to frame words, or for the Commissioners to have the necessary authority, to locate or discover the men who are the actual combatants in a trade dispute, and the men who are not. If that is the practical difficulty and the Government is prepared to 828 meet it, I would like to put this to the President of the Board of Trade. I gather earlier in the discussion he alluded to the endeavours made upstairs and in interviews to meet this trouble, and I understood him to say he was still disposed to see what words might be framed to meet this claim. If the claim is in itself just, as it has mostly been admitted to be, I do not think the House ought to conclude the question to-night, assuming for the time being the mind of the President of the Board of Trade is still open for further endeavour to provide a set of words to meet the case.
The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division (Sir A. Markham) scarcely touched, if at all, the real kernel of this Amendment. I will endeavour to illustrate to him how it would work in the trade with which he is closely connected, assuming for the purpose that trade to be covered by the Bill, and I think he will see the injustice he is doing by opposing it. There is a strike among coal miners, and connected with the mines there are a large number of workmen who are not parties to the dispute. The attitude of the hon. Member is that you must not give these men who are merely stopped through somebody else's quarrel unemployment benefit, but if you cease cutting coal you throw out of work men who are engaged in other trades, and in other premises, because of the shortage of the coal supply, they would receive benefit because they would be engaged in other trades and on other premises. The Bill at present provides that the spinner who spins the web shall not have any benefit if he is in a state of dispute, but the weaver employed in other premises, close to but separate from the spinning mill, who is to turn that web into cloth will get benefit. If it is right to give this weaver, stopped through shortage of material, benefit, upon what ground do you withhold it from, say, the hod carrier, who carries the material to the man on the building? Both the brick setter and the hod carrier must pay for insurance, and I say the relationship between them is exactly the same as the relationship between the spinner and the weaver. The Solicitor-General has not met our case by telling us that when you give unemployment benefit during the time of dispute, you give it according to the number of payments and the period over which those payments are made. That is rather an argument on our side than against us. Most of us thought that 829 in the case of the labourers who are scarcely, if ever, unemployed except when thrown out of work through somebody else's disputes, provision should be made in order that these should have the benefit not when they do not want it, but when on account of being forced out of a job through somebody else's quarrels they stand in real need of it. There is no excuse for committing a great injustice merely because of practical difficulties.
We are not asking the Government to take sides in the quarrel. We are asking them not to take sides at all as between the combatants, but to see as an impartial party that those who are not participating in the dispute shall have such benefits as they would be entitled to under ordinary circumstances when out of employment. They talk about what the employers would do if this Amendment were incorporated in the Bill. I venture to assert that if any employers did as has been suggested—I do not say I should be sorry if they did—they would constitute themselves the greatest propagandists of Socialistic principles in the country. Suppose there were a thousand men employed in an establishment and only one hundred of them were engaged in a dispute with their employer. Is it likely the the employer, in order to prevent the labourers, who are not parties to the dispute, getting the unemployment benefit, would extend the quarrel to the whole thousand men? They would know better than to do that, as it would be one of the most effective steps for inducing men in every shop in the country to make common cause with his men. In the event of the employers attacking the whole body it is certain the whole body would have something to fight for, and would insist on gaining something from the dispute. The greatest sufferers during periods of bad trade are the lowly-paid labourers. The argument put forward from the Front Bench is that this Bill is designed to assist people who are out of work during periods of acute unemployment. It is just in those periods that the labourer suffers most. Why? Because he is the first to be thrown out. He can sooner be dispensed with. When employers propose to reduce wages or alter conditions of working they usually begin with the higher-paid men. That commences the quarrel, and it leads to strikes, and the labourer is a double sufferer: he falls between the employer and the skilled workman, and he does not profit by any benefits that may accrue to either party by reason of the dispute. My hon. Friend the Member for Barrow 830 put our whole case in a word when he said that the question amounts to whether a man was to gain from a scheme made by the employers, or, on the other hand, whether a man is to lose by the attack of the employer; that is the point that should really determine the man's right to have unemployment benefit, and I appeal to the Government not to do a thing which would not only be extremely unpopular and occasion the greatest resentment in the country, but which would to my mind be the greatest act of injustice that could be incorporated in this Bill.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment intends pressing it to a Division. If he does I should like to point out to him the effect which it would produce upon the whole finances of the Bill. The actuaries have provided a certain fund to meet all cases of unemployment in respect to all persons subject to unemployment owing to circumstances and cycles of depression and seasons of depression, and they have made their calculations accordingly. I have not the least objection to the hon. Member's raising this question, but seeing that the fund, if this Amendment were accepted, would become insolvent, are they prepared to increase the contribution from the workers which would be necessary to meet the difficulty?
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
I understand the whole Bill is experimental. The desire is that the experiment should be successful and so successful that its benefits should be extended to other trades, but this Amendment if accepted would start the Bill on a basis likely to make it insolvent, in which case there would not be much prospect of extending the Bill to other trades. Seeing the effect this Amendmentment would have upon the finances of the Bill, as pointed out by the Attorney-General, and seeing that it might lead to lock-outs, in which case you would lose the contributions from the employers and the consequent loss to the funds that would be involved, I urge the hon. Member not to press his Amendment.
§ Major H. C. GUEST
In view of the complexity of this question and in view of the fact that every Member is desirous of coming to a just and wise conclusion upon 831 the subject, I should like to ask whether the President of the Board of Trade can give us some of the reasons and deductions which lead him towards his Amendment which has been spoken of several times in this Debate. I think that would be helpful to many Members to come to an accurate and just decision.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
In answer to the hon. Gentleman I wish to say that as the House will see we propose to introduce a qualification upon the words as they stand in the Bill. The exact form of that qualification is a matter for subsequent discussion, but as it stands upon the Paper it would run where separate branches of work are ordinarily carried on, as separate business, in several departments of the same premises, each shall for the purposes of this division be a separate factor. The result would be, to take such a case as mentioned by the hon. Member (Mr. Clynes), that a weaver and a spinner, who commonly are found in separate factories, merely because they find themselves in the same factory, would not all suffer under the common disqualification, and this very provision of ours is designed to meet such a case. I suggest that is a fair matter for consideration whether the qualification we seek to introduce is in apt language, and no one is more willing than we are to consider any alternative language which is definite and practical, but the right way in which to cut down the appli-
cation of the Clause as it stands is by introducing some such qualification as the Government have suggested and is not to introduce into the Clause this test about a man being directly concerned. Although the Bill, when it was first discussed in Grand Committee, contained these words about being directly affected, the leader of the Labour party—the Labour party never thought of pressing any such proposal there—when I proposed these words which are now in the Bill in place of those less clear words said:—
We feel, and I think the whole Committee will agree with us, that the Clause as it was originally drafted might have been very oppressive; it was so vague.
§ I think after that we had two hours' discussion, as a result of which the House is asked to come to the conclusion that the reintroduction of the test as to whether or not the particular grade affected is the grade which is to claim pay will produce the effect. I suggest it will not. I ask the House to reject this Amendment, and let us by all means say to-morrow whether or not the proposal which the Government seek to add is unduly indefinite, and if anyone can propose definite and rather wider words there is no opposition to it as long as they work fairly between one branch of trade and another.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 69; Noes, 146.833
|Division No. 417.]||AYES.||[11.50 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Goldstone, Frank||Shortt, Edward|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hancock, John George||Snowden, Philip|
|Barnes, George N.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Stanier, Beville|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Sutton, John E.|
|Bird, A.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hodge, John||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Ingleby, Holcombe||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Jowett, Frederick William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Kellaway, Frederick George||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Lansbury, George||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Morrell, Philip||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Clynes, John R.||O'Grady, James||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Gill, A. H.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Rowlands, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Charles Duncan and Mr. J. Parker.|
|Glanville, H. J.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Agnew, Sir George William||Anderson, Andrew Macbeth|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Havelock Allan, Sir Henry||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, B.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Helme, Norval Watson||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Higham, John Sharp||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Boland, John Pius||Hinds, John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hughes, S. L.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Reddy, Michael|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Keating, Matthew||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clough, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cowan, William Henry||Lundon, T.||Rewntree, Arnold|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lynch, A. A.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Maclean, Donald||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Macpherson, James Ian||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||M'Callum, John M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Doris, W.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Stewart, Gershom|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Masterman, C. F. G.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Summers, James Woolley|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Molloy, Michael||Sutherland, John E.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Morgan, George Hay||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morrison-Bell, Capt E. F. (Ashburton)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Muldoon, John||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Gretton, John||Munro, R.||Webb, H.|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Murray, Cant. Hon. A. C.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Nolan, Joseph||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hackett, J.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nuttall, Harry||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
§ Lord HUGH CECIL rose.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE rose.
§ 12.0 M.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
On a point of Order. I wish to submit that it is not competent for the Government to move this Motion of which they have given notice. We are now upon one of the allotted days under the Guillotine Motion passed by the House. Those allotted days partake of two characters. On certain of them at half-past ten there is business to be concluded, and the procedure for that purpose of concluding that business is defined by the Order. On other days, for instance to-night, the proceedings upon which we have been engaged are not proceedings which are to be concluded tonight under the terms of the Order. There is a clear distinction drawn with this 834 Order between days for which business is concluded and days which do not come within that character. May I call your attention to Clause 4 on page 2 of the Order, which relates to private business.
I find that any private business which could have been put down for a quarter past eight o'clock may be proceeded with, though opposed after the conclusion of the proceedings under the Bill, and it is clear that that would mean any day, whether certain matters had got to be brought to a conclusion or not. But when you come to the exception at the bottom of the Order we find that nothing in this Order shall prevent any other business being proceeded with on any particular day or part of a day, and so on, after any proceedings to be concluded under this Order on that particular day or part of a day have been disposed of. The proceedings that we have been engaged on were not proceedings to be concluded, and have not in fact been concluded, because they have been adjourned. Therefore I submit that, although this Order was most 835 ingeniously drawn up, and intended to give the Government every facility and other Members none, yet the Government are bound by the Order which they themselves have succeeded in passing through this House, and whilst undoubtedly the Government could bring this Motion on on a day when at half-past ten the proceedings under the Bill have been brought to a conclusion, and concluded in accordance with the formalities, yet this is not one of these days, and it is not competent for the Government to bring this business on. That is no part of my duty; it is the duty of the Government to find some means of carrying on their own business. If they shut themselves out, and shut other people out from their right to go on with the business, they must take the consequences.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The argument of the hon. Member would mean that the Government would be precluded from taking any orders of the day after the conclusion of business upon the National Insurance Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is nothing about consent or opposed in the Order. I think the hon. Member is mixing up this Special Order with the Order which was passed on the first day of the Autumn Session, that Government business may be entered upon at any time though opposed. This proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is Government business. It comes under the General Order, and can be taken at any time, whether it is before eleven or after eleven o'clock.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It was an express understanding that no new Government business was to be entered upon after eleven o'clock. The Prime Minister used language quite clear that he did not intend new business to be taken after eleven o'clock.