§ Mr. T. Smith (Normanton)
I desire to raise matters relating to the Essential Work Order and to the Restriction of Engagement Order, which applies to agriculture, and matters arising from them. I want to do so, in these days when we have a very delicate situation to handle in one of our principal industries, in no spirit of hostility either to the Orders themselves or to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. I recognise, as most hon. Members recognise, that something in the nature of these Essential Work Orders were absolutely inevitable in time of war, and I am not unmindful of the fact that the Essential Work Orders which apply to a large number of industries have conferred substantial benefit upon the workers. I am fortified in that statement on account of the attack which is now being made, in the Press and elsewhere, on certain parts of the Essential Work Order by people who are not unknown in the mining industry. But before dealing with particular cases I want to say that the advantages conferred by the Essential Work Orders upon the workers, in the sense of giving a guaranteed wage in some industries and of making it conditional that there should be certain welfare developments, is a step in the right direction, though nobody must run away with the idea that a man can get the guaranteed wage unless he fulfils certain conditions.