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Catering Trade (Hours Of Work)

Volume 320: debated on Monday 22 February 1937

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the long hours worked by club and hotel employés; and whether he will introduce legislation to deal with this matter?

I have consulted my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour, and understand that no general information on this subject is available beyond that contained in the report of an inquiry into remuneration and hours of employment in the catering trade which was published in 193o. I would point out, however, that the hours of work of certain classes of young persons employed in hotels are already limited under the Shops Act, 1934, and that the hours of other juvenile attendants in these establishments have recently been the subject of inquiry by the Departmental Committee on Hours of Employment of Young Persons in Certain Unregulated Occupations, whose report is to be published shortly. As regards the second part of the question, I am not aware that any general legislation on this question is at present in contemplation; but so far as the case of young persons is concerned consideration will, of course, be given to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee.

Is it not clear, from my hon. Friend's answer, that the bulk of these people are not protected by legislation or by trade unions?

Could not this problem be easily cleared up if the hon. Gentleman would ask Members of his own party behind him to do some of their own work?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the only protection that these people can really have is a trade board; and will the Government press the people concerned accordingly?

In view of the hon. Gentleman's admission that he has not the amount of information that he would desire for dealing with this matter, and in view of the magnitude of the industry, will he not set up a Departmental Committee to inquire into the hours worked by adults in this trade as well as by young persons?