I beg to move, in page 2, line 1, to leave out "existing methods of regulating the," and to insert "normal".The object of the Amendment, which I admit may not be very happily worded, is to draw attention to the undue emphasis, as I think, placed in the Clause on machinery, with special reference to a certain class of people engaged in the catering trade. I wish to ensure that, when wages and conditions are satisfactory, the Commission need not establish a wages board merely because there happens to be no machinery for regulating conditions, and it is in particular reference to the small hotel and country innkeeper that I raise the point. In large catering institutions, chain stores and establishments of that sort, the question of machinery for regulating conditions and wages is one of prime importance. Indeed, I spoke the other day in favour of Clause 1, which establishes a Commission for that purpose. What I have in mind is the type of hotel and innkeeper who lives on a more or less patriarchal basis and is very intimate and on good terms with his staff. This class of people is not much represented in my constituency, which is an urban district. It seems to me quite unnecessary to put people of that sort through this elaborate form of machinery when we know that for many years past, largely owing to shortage of domestic workers and to the fact that any shortcoming in this respect would soon make itself felt in the absence of clientèle, it is essential for the owners of these small establishments to treat their employees well, and no one will deny that in practically every case they do. I have met a number of persons who own these small establishments who are afraid that under this arrangement they will not be able to continue to operate. They have said, "If the House of Commons establishes this elaborate machinery, I shall be obliged to work my little establishment on the same basis as the Savoy Hotel or Lyons Corner Houses, and I shall have to increase my staff to an extent which will not be possible."
What does the hon. Member mean by "normal"—normal according to what standard?
I have not any given standard in mind. I am rather hoping for some reassurance on the point. I cannot lay down a yardstick at the moment, and I do not say that "normal" is the right word. It is only because of the existence of these small hotels and innkeepers, where the personal equation is far more important than any regulation of the nature proposed in the Bill, that I move the Amendment, in the hope of some assurance being given to this type of employer that, if he is giving good conditions and good pay to his small staff, who have to work on a very different basis from that of very large institutions, he need have no fear of being compelled to close down.
I would ask my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment, but I am glad that he has raised the point, if only for the opportunity which it gives me to give an assurance to the good employer in any section of the catering trade, whether a large or small employer, which he has specifically in mind that they have nothing to fear from the setting-up of a wages board. Indeed, for the good employer who pays good wages and keeps decent conditions the Bill will be of great benefit, because it will protect him from unfair competition from his neighbours who are not at present observing those good conditions.
I should not have intervened but for the remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary. I feel that there is some danger, not perhaps to the very small but to the rather small lodging-house or hotel keepers, if too great rigidity is imposed as the result of the Bill. It may be that that lodging-house keeper will have to take on one more servant. Although the conditions, broadly speaking, of the existing servants may be good, none the less, if the recommendations of the wages board are too rigidly imposed, it may be that one or more servants will have to be taken on, with the result that the lodging-house keeper may have to go out of business. I hope it will be clearly understood by the wages board and the Commission that great rigidity is not possible in an industry such as this where the hours must be irregular because of clients coming at all hours of the day and night. I hope attention will be paid to that aspect.
I agree with what my hon. and gallant Friend said, but surely we are getting into a little difficulty with regard to the general classification if we accept the Parliamentary Secretary's word. He said no one need be afraid that the good employer was going to be prejudiced in any way. I take it that he means that the good employer will not have to be regulated [Interruption.] I am glad my hon. Friend shakes his head.
I said the good employer had nothing to fear. I did not suggest that he was going to be left out of the scope of the Bill.
That is exactly my point. If he is brought into the scope of the Bill, he will have to be regulated in the same way that the bad employer will be regulated. If that is not so, what are we doing with this classification? The position is that the Commission decides whether or not a wages board should operate in any particular section of the industry, and, as I understand it, all the people within that section will have to obey dictates, Orders and regulations laid down by the board, and I see no difference between the treatment meted out to a bad and a good employer.
We must not get on to the wages board until we come to Clause 4.
Inquiry will be made by the Commission, and the Commission is responsible for the setting-up of the wages board. It will decide definitely whether or not a particular section of the industry will have a wages board.
I really must safeguard those who have Amendments coming later.
I take it that, if the Commission is dissatisfied with remuneration and conditions of employment, the only thing it is empowered to do is to set up a wages board?
That is the point. We come to the wages board in a later Clause. It is the Commission of inquiry at this point of the Bill, which is comparatively narrow.
It is as narrow as this. The Commission only has the power, if it is dissatisfied after its inquiry into any particular section of the industry, of setting up a wages board. Is there to be any difference in the treatment meted out within any one section? If I can have a reply to that, it will give me some satisfaction.
I think the Amendment is rather meaningless. The Clause has to do with inquiries. Either you make inquiries or you do not. To talk about making inquiries into normal conditions seems to mean nothing.
My object was that if the Commission, on making inquiries into the branch of the trade to which I was referring, found that wages and conditions were, roughly speaking, as good as those for which they had laid down the establishment of a wages board in other conditions, they would agree that that particular trade was one which need not be so dealt with. In other words, the absence of machinery should not in itself mean that a board should be set up. I only brought the point up in order to draw attention to the position of good employers, and, in view of my hon. Friend's assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
I do not understand how it is that good employers, according to the Parliamentary Secretary, have nothing to fear from this Bill. It might surprise him to know, and I hope it will not be too great a shock, that there are quite a number of employers and of people who are not employers who do not like regulation for its own sake. That being so, it seems to me that he is rather giving part of the case away by pointing out that people are to be regulated although it is obvious that there is no real need for them to be regulated by statute. They are behaving themselves properly, paying adequate wages and giving proper conditions of employment, and are exactly as they should be, but because an undetermined proportion of their competitors are doing the reverse all must be regulated and brought under this system. If anything, this strengthens the view expressed by so many Members on Second Reading that the right way to deal with this matter is not to set up a Commission but to hold an inquiry first to see how far there is a scandal and how far it is necessary to have this system of regulation.
We cannot go into that again.
I agree, but we are discussing whether the Commission should make inquiries into existing methods of regulating remuneration and so on, and the Parliamentary Secretary gives an assurance that no good employer has anything to fear on that score. I am pointing out that there are people who believe that regulation for its own sake is not desirable and, therefore, they sympathise with the view put by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment that certain good categories of people who are giving proper conditions and remuneration should be exempted from the inquiries which the Commission are to make. I understand that the Government refuse to accept that point of view, but I desire to say that I do not thing that refusal is right.
Can the Minister give us any idea of the proportion of the employees in the catering, hotel and restaurant trade who are members of trade unions?
That is a point we do not inquire into, and I have no intention of beginning. It has been said by a number of people that the proportion is not more than 5 per cent., but I do not know. All I know is that there are no collective agreements in this industry, except in one or two branches, which rest on organisation on either side.
The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper in the name of REAR-ADMIRAL BEAMISH: In page 2, line 1, after "existing," insert "system of tips."
I am not calling this Amendment, but I think that it will be in the interests of the Committee if we had a general discussion on tipping on the hon. and gallant Member's second Amendment, in page 2, line 3, after "into," to insert "tipping and."
I beg to move, in page 2, line 3, after "applies," to insert:
The effect of the Amendment would be that the Commission would be called upon to make inquiries into these conditions. Before I come to the arguments affecting this country, I want to refer to what has happened in Switzerland. About 10 years ago a Bill similar to this was passed by the Swiss Parliament and has been a great success. Those who have seen the working of the Swiss measure are satisfied that the reason for its success is that those occupied in seasonal work have been properly looked after. Switzerland divides itself up into five sections. There are the big towns like Berne, Zurich and Geneva, places for the winter sports, like St. Moritz and Pontresina, there are summer places round the lakes and elsewhere——"and in particular the conditions of employment in undertakings which are only open for seasonal periods."
The hon. Member is in Order in giving the example of Switzerland, but we cannot have a Debate on the various forms of sport and seasons in Switzerland, as it might become rather wide.
I was only giving the illustration of Switzerland to show that the seasonal places were those which had winter sports and those which were summer resorts, and to point out that the Commission set up under the Swiss Act have looked after the seasonal resorts in a different fashion according to whether they were winter or summer resorts. In this country the hotels and catering establishments which are subject to seasonal periods are mainly at the seaside resorts. I am putting forward this Amendment because my constituency contains five such towns on the East Coast—Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea, Frinton, Walton-on-the-Naze and Dovercourt. The proprietors of the hotels and boarding houses in those places make their money in a very short period of the year. Even in the same seaside town the seasonal conditions differ from hotel to hotel and from boarding house to boarding house. Some keep open all the year, but they run at a loss about nine months. Others open from Easter to the end of September and others from Whitsun to the end of September. Even those that open from Whitsun to the end of September get only about two months of good trade, but in many cases they get good week-ends. In one hotel at Frinton they had very few people during the week until the end of July, but every week-end it was full. The chef and a waiter from the House of Commons dining room went to Frinton every Friday after they had finished here and stopped until Monday morning, when they returned to this House. I had the experience once of having my lunch served in the dining room here and dinner served in the hotel at Frinton by the same waiter.The conditions at these hotels are exceptional. There is no comparison between them and the conditions in hotels in the big towns which are open all the year round. The seaside hotels are overwhelmed in August and September, and they cannot let any of the staff off. Everybody must be there from morning till night, and people are brought in from the towns and villages near to help. They do only two months' work in the hotels and are not regular hotel workers. In Switzerland similar hotels are allowed to keep their people on for seven days a week and to give them one extra day per week when they were employed at the end of the season, either allowing them to remain in the hotel free of charge and given their regular wages including the approximate tips they would have received, or given an appropriate amount of wages so that they could go away and spend their time where they liked. All these things show that the seasonal hotels work under exceptional conditions which are very different from those of the ordinary hotel in London or the provinces.
I support the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Holmes), because he has put before the Committee the special problem of the coast hotel. The conditions along the coast vary immensely. In Devon and Cornwall they have all-the-year-round trade, and to a less extent it is the same on the South coast, but on the Suffolk and Norfolk coast the season is short. In normal times people do not go there in any quantity till the end of July, and about the middle of September they start going away. If September starts with wet and cold weather, the season may be only for four or five weeks. In most cases the season is concentrated into five or six weeks, and the hotels shut down for eight months. About 50 years ago there were many hotels built on the Norfolk and Suffolk coast but so difficult are the conditions that the majority of them had to go into liquidation.
I studied the question of whether I should make representations to the Commission when the Bill was drafted, and I came to the conclusion that it would be a mistake to endeavour to set out in a Schedule the particular considerations which they should take into account, because that would lead to claims ad infinitum and we should never get to the end of things. On the other hand, I indicated in my Second Reading speech that this was one of the features to which I wished the Commission to pay special attention, not merely as regards the provision of staff and adaptations of the industry to meet the requirements of the new leisure, which I am sure will develop, but as regards other matters which I cannot mention now because they do not arise here. As to the point about the length of the seasons, I am hoping that the leisure season will be extended as a result of this Commission's work, in conjunction with industry. Therefore, if my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment asking me to define conditions in the Bill, I will give him the utmost assurance that as regards this question of extended leisure, which I regard as vital to the well-being of the community for the maintenance of health and for other considerations, I will see to it that in any directions in which I have the power to give this case is properly studied. It would be frightfully difficult to incorporate all these considerations in the Bill without extending it to cover many others.
As one who has large numbers of hotels in his constituency I should like to support what the Minister has said, and I would appeal emphatically to my hon. Friend to withdraw his Amendment. If I may say so, he has put the cart before the horse. What we want in this country, especially in some parts of the South of England, is to get the idea into the minds of the people that this is not merely a seasonal trade, but that it is possible for them to live in comfort and sunshine all through the winter. This Amendment tends to create the impression among the public that in this country there is some special seasonal period for the seaside, and it would be most unfortunate if the Amendment were adopted and most prejudicial to the hotels in my constituency.
May I ask the Noble Lord——
No, I cannot give way. The hon. Member can make a speech if he wants to. Some of the hotels in my constituency might claim that they wanted to be subject to seasonal conditions and close in consequence, and other hotels which might be trying to keep open all the year round in order to get a winter clientèle would be handicapped. Therefore, I very strongly support what the Minister has said.
I quite understand the reasons which prompted the Minister to reply as he has done, and I think there is a good deal of force in what he says, but I would remind the Noble Lord that while he is very fortunate in having in his part of the world hotels which can keep open throughout the year, my constituents invariably go to a place called Skegness—which is the nearest seaside place to Nottingham—and everybody knows that "Skegness is so bracing." It is extremely bracing at certain times of the year. It is quite impossible for any reasonable persons, no matter how much they desire to have organised leisure, to go to a place like Skegness in October or November, and unless the Noble Lord is in a position to change the climate, it is not of very much assistance to those who run establishments in such places to know that in other districts hotels can be kept open all the year round.
Would the hon. and gallant Member also tell the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) that working men like their holidays to coincide with the holidays of their children?
A very important point.
It is a very important point. They cannot have a holiday at any time, like the Noble Lord.
In his Second Reading speech the Minister pointed out that he was going to extend organised leisure in a most dramatic way and so as to include great numbers of people. I come back to the point I made originally, that there are parts of the country where the climate makes it impossible for hotel people, with all the good will in the world, to keep open for more than a limited number of months each year. I can understand that the Commission cannot be committed in advance by words in a Bill to consider certain problems in a certain manner, but I hope that when the Minister gives his directions to the Commission he will indicate that he would like them to deal sympathetically with matters of this kind. If such a direction is given to the Commission, it is very likely to raise serious questions about overwork, long hours and other things which are now alleged. In places where the trade is seasonal there is no doubt that people have to work very long hours and under very difficult conditions, and we should all wish to see those conditions remedied. Unfortunately, accommodation at small places is limited and vast numbers of people all want to go at the same time. Personally, when I am on holiday I do not want always to be surrounded by people, but that seems to be the penchant of a majority of the population, who feel that the more they are surrounded by other people the better the holiday they are having. In these conditions places become overcrowded, and the amenities for the staffs in hotels and boarding houses are probably very restricted, but all that can be made up to them in the eight or nine months of the year when the public are not there. I hope the Minister will sympathetically consider this point, so that those who run these places may get "a fair crack of the whip," if I may use that expression.
I should like to support most strongly the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Holmes). It raises a question which has been brought up in this House time and time again. The position of the seasonal worker has been very unsatisfactory, and whenever it has come up here we have been met with assurances of good will and sympathy. But that is not enough. Many of us do not like everything that is in this Bill but here is an opportunity for the Minister to do something practical and concrete. The catering industry in many of our resorts has suffered from seasonal employment. Many of the better workers do not want to take jobs there when they know they will be out of work for half the year and are not properly covered by unemployment insurance. If the Minister would give a more concrete and specific direction to the Commission there would be a chance of something good coming out of the Bill. It is no good passing us off with assurances that the holiday season is to be spread over the whole year. It just does not work. My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) may enjoy a holiday in the fogs of November and January, but such a holiday does not fit in with the ideas of ordinary English people. The Minister might help by spreading the holidays over the maximum period possible, but I think he should go a little further and make this Bill the means of rendering some concrete assistance to seasonal workers and not push them off once more with expressions of sympathy. I urge him before we come to the Report Stage to see whether he cannot introduce something to help seasonal workers.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool (Mr. Robinson) that seasonal workers always have expressions of sympathy passed on to them, and there it stops. The Minister of Labour has given us an assurance to-day, but what does it amount to? I took down his words as far as I was able to do so. He gave an assurance that he would ask the Commission to give special consideration to the difficulties in connection with these seasonal periods. Is that really sufficient? Is there to be nothing more tangible than that? Cannot we have something incorporated in the Bill? I do not say that the words of the Amendment are the most appropriate words, but cannot the Minister give us a definite undertaking that he will do something for the seasonal workers? My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein) expressed some satisfaction with the Minister's words. I am afraid that I cannot share that satisfaction, and I would press the Minister to tell us now that when the Report Stage comes along he will do something definite and concrete—will amend the Bill to make it definite that these seasonal workers shall have more consideration than they have had in the past.
I fully support the desire of the Minister to spread out the holiday season and to improve the position of this trade, which is at present a seasonal occupation. But I do not take any stock of the arguments about the weather, whether in Skegness or anywhere else, because we have a particular kind of weather in Scotland. In a play the other day one of the characters was looking out of the window in a drawing-room in Scotland and remarked, "One can see the rain coming down again." An Englishman asked, "Is it always raining here?" and from the audience there came a unanimous shout "Yes." That is not correct, of course, because, as an American soldier said to one of his friends newly arrived in Scotland, "We had a lovely summer last year, one Wednesday afternoon." That is the general condition of things in Scotland. I have been on holiday on the coast when there was snow on the ground, and it was lovely weather, and I have been there in what is called the summer season and had rain every day. There is another point about the holidays and children. In Scotland we have a staggering of holidays for school children. Part of the holidays are taken in the summer, part in the autumn, and there are certain holidays at the New Year, so that if the Minister of Labour is going to stagger the holidays of working people, they can easily be brought into line with the holidays of their children. I feel that it would be very much better for hon. Members to fall in with the desire of the Minister to make this trade a going concern and not something that is operating for only two or three months in the year.
I do not want to follow the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) in his very interesting and inspiring discussions about our climate, but should like to bring the Committee back to the Amendment. I am afraid that I must disagree with the right hon. Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking) in the plea he put forward on behalf of the Amendment, because I believe that if my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour gave way on this, he would find himself and the Bill in some considerable confusion. If it were made mandatory on the Commission to inquire into the conditions of one group of seasonal workers, at once there would come a perfectly reasonable demand that it should be mandatory on the Commission to inquire into the conditions in the brewery trade or in tea shops. If we start inserting categories of workers, we shall never come to an end of them; and when we think we have we shall find that one or two classes have been left out. The only thing to do is to leave the position as wide as possible—leave it to the Minister when the Commission is set up to draw the attention of the Commission, if it needs to have its attention drawn, to the fact that it would be right to inquire into the conditions of seasonal workers. This will not hamper the Minister in his general task or clutter up the Bill with rather unnecessary conditions.
Many hon. Members seem to have no idea whatever how this legislation has worked in the past. To put these words in the Bill will be a big mistake, because they cannot be limited to the people whom the Mover had in mind. They will bring in all classes of people connected with the catering trade who are employed in the busy part of the day. The Committee would be well advised to let the Clause go in the way which the Minister has indicated and which will be better for everybody concerned, employers as well as casual workers.
I was not in the slightest bit impressed with what was said by the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) with regard to this Amendment. He seemed to combine a maximum of heat with a minimum of sense. I am grateful to the Minister for what he said. If I understood him correctly, he does not want to put particular words or subjects into the Bill. I understand that he is willing to give us a guarantee that he will ask the Commission to inquire into the conditions of the seasonal trades. If that is so, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
I give that absolute assurance.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 3, after "into," to insert "tipping and."Although I see what is perhaps the futility of expecting to make tipping illegal, I should like to make sure that this subject is very widely discussed and that it forms part of the investigation which the Bill sets out to accomplish. My object in moving the Amendment is to remove from the worker the necessity of relying on charity, by paying him or her a full and proper wage. I realise the difficulties of trying to stop a custom which has grown for hundreds of years almost into a law, as customs have a way of doing, but none the less we should very carefully investigate the matter. All the high-sounding phrases about generous instincts and gratitude are very unconvincing to me. The conception that the customers in the catering trade should pay from 50 per cent. to 90 per cent., and sometimes more, of the earnings of the employees will not bear inspection by any fair-minded democrat. We are the slaves of custom in this matter. Tipping is an undemocratic system, invented in the time of serfdom, and even of slavery, to allow the rich to appear virtuous and generous. It sometimes gives rich people an unfair advantage, and unscrupulous people certainly take advantage of the system. The Minister of Labour has just left the Chamber. I was going to remind him that when he made his Second Reading speech he turned round to us, with that characteristic energy with which he sometimes puts his points and which I greatly appreciate, and said, "I hate tipping." I thought to myself, "How much I sympathise with what that man has said." "Tip" or "tipping" does not appear in the Bill, but a reference to it occurs in the Explanatory Memorandum. If the Bill passes in its present form, I believe there will be implicit in the Clause which we are now discussing a reference to tipping, but it will be buried under a mountain of verbiage. I want to bring it out from under that mountain in order to see that we force it upon the attention of the Commission. The Deputy-Chairman has ruled that we can have a fairly wide discussion on this question. Therefore, I cannot help saying that tipping is not an elevating but a degrading and demoralising system, both for the tipped and the tipper. It is as if one said to a man, "My good fellow"—he is usually as good as we are—"if you do your job for which you are paid, I will make you a present. If you can give me something that somebody else cannot get, I will make the present a big one." I say that that verges upon corruption. The Committee will be well aware that we have anti-corruption laws on the Statute Book. Tipping cannot be proved to be corruption, but there are certain aspect of it which verge upon corruption. I know that some hon. Members will get up and make excellent debating points, but I feel inclined to defy anybody to say that there is not a general truth in what I am putting to the Committee. If ever tipping was a virtue, and that is open to grave doubt, it has now become a degraded and distorted shadow of it. That it should be a custom in this Palace of Westminster, and in our own catering department, is no credit to us. We should give the workers thoroughly good wages. I do not say that tipping would then disappear, but the worker's conscience would at any rate be clear and so would that of the customers. If I were in the catering trade, which I am not, I should find it to some extent a burden on my conscience if I felt that people sitting at the tables in my restaurant were paying half the wages of the men who were making my fortune. I should not like it, and I should try by every means in my power to see that it did not happen. It has been said to me that I have what is called a liberal mind—I do not know why—which is trying to get out of paying subscriptions, or tipping, or giving money in any way. That is a very easy thing to say, but I confess that in my dealings in the catering trade my tips have never been less than 10 per cent. and are much more like 33 per cent. of any bill I have ever run up in that trade. I do not mind the suggestion that if one raises a subject of this kind one may be criticised, but what I do mind is being subject to the slavery of what I regard as a demoralising custom. If one goes to stay at a hotel or a boarding house, the bigger and more magnificent it is the more certain it is that in the last few hours of your stay your happiness will be removed because it will be clouded by the spectre and anxiety of "Who?" and "How much?" Everybody knows that, and it should not be so. There is the queue of expectant tipees. This House of Commons is the final arbiter on this matter, and however difficult we may find it to do so we should shake ourselves free of this system. We ought to try to do so, even if we recognise its importance only by putting the Amendment into the Bill, when we shall have done something in the right direction. The Bill at the moment does not contain a reference to the matter. I am by no means an opponent of the Bill. The Minister is very keen to put the whole catering trade to rights. He is anxious to control and regularise the employers. If that is so, and I have no objection, why should we not try to save the workers from the stigma—an unpleasant word—of this degrading dependence upon charity? In this connection I hear of what appears to me to be a very unpleasant aspect of the matter, which is that there are some—I do not know how many or whether they are a very large part—of the workers in the catering industry do not wish to have these degrading shackles removed from them and would like to remain subject to this age-long custom. They desire that the tips they receive should remain outside the ambit of the Income Tax. I do not like that. I do not believe any other Member in this Committee does. Some of these workers in the catering trade wear uniforms and look very fine. People have told me that some of them really ought to pay Super-tax. I do not know about that, but they appear to make a very considerable income. If a man in the catering trade says, "Give me a small wage and the right to keep all my other income from tips, clear of Income Tax, secret and untaxed," that is an unpleasant spectacle, and we ought to consider ways of checking it. The Committee have borne with me patiently up till now I rather expected to be interrupted.
The hon. and gallant Member is doing well.
I would just ask the Committee to consider a test which each of us can apply to himself on this matter. It is: Would you agree to depend upon such a system to earn your own living? Would you care to pay for a post in order to live upon the tips that would come to you if you got that post? We all know that such cases exist. I have no more to say except that I am anxious to see that we do not allow this matter to rest exactly where it is.
Before we come to the discussion I think I have made it quite clear that we are now, on this Amendment, discussing the whole question of tipping once and for all in this part of the Bill.
May I ask whether that includes an Amendment which comes later which asks that tipping shall be excluded from all considerations of wages? I am not quite clear whether that is so. I kept clear of that point in my speech.
I do not think I should care to decide that at this moment. I think that so long as we keep to the general understanding an Amendment like that may be moved so long as we do not have another general discussion on the subject of tipping.
Following on what the hon. and gallant Member said, surely if this Amendment was adopted, it would have the effect of making tipping illegal and there could not be any meaning in the other Amendment in his name. It would follow from this that there would have to be a sanction.
That may very well be, and we may have to discuss that later, but we must keep to the general principle of "tipping"; good or bad, it must be discussed now, and anything else comes later.
I cannot let this Amendment pass without taking the opportunity of identifying the party behind me with the expressions of opinion that have fallen from the lips of the hon. and gallant Member who moved it. I quite recognise, as everyone, I suppose, in the House must recognise, that the question must be to some extent academic in so far as the problem is a very difficult one, and is complicated by the fact that numbers of those engaged in the catering trade believe in the tipping system and have no desire to see it abolished. The practice in the Palace of Westminster has been mentioned. I would remind Members, or at any rate those who have been in the House as long as I have been, that a good many years ago an effort was made to do without the practice in the Palace of Westminster, and that effort was defeated by the employees of the catering department. They themselves objected to the abolition of the tipping system.
Surely the hon. Member is referring to the Report of the Kitchen Committee of 1936, in which the Treasury was invited to subscribe £3,000 by way of subsidy in order to abolish tips. I understand it was the Treasury which refused.
We cannot follow the Treasury in that matter.
No, I am perfectly correct in my statement of the facts that whatever there might have been in the Treasury point the employees did definitely object to the abolition of tipping. That, of course, indicates the fact that there are some people in the catering industry who make money out of tipping, make a good living, and I suppose they have the added advantage, if it is an advantage, of the uncertainty and the gambling suggestion attached to that uncertainty of income. There may be other reasons for it. I have heard it suggested that one of the reasons why waiters, for instance, would object to the abolition of tipping was not only that they were able to get out of paying a certain amount of Income Tax, but also that they were not compelled to tell their wives how much they earned. Whether these are the reasons I do not know, but it is a fact. But it only applies to those who do get a living out of the tipping system, and that does not represent the whole industry, or even the greater part of the industry. When I say "living," I mean a reasonable living.I am perfectly sure, from what little I know of the lives and attitude of mind of the catering world, that the majority of people in the catering industry would welcome the abolition of tipping. It is uncertain, and it does not by any means always work to the advantage of those who take the tips. But even if it did work to the advantage of those who take the tips, I agree, and I am sure my party agrees, with the sentiments expressed by the Mover of this Amendment. It is a deplorable thing that people should depend upon the idea of being tipped or having gratuities given them as part of the income upon which they depend. After all, it is a snobbish, class thing; it cannot be anything else. It does mean that one section of people can put their hand in their pocket and offer gratuities for service, the point being that if the service is required it ought to be given anyhow, quite apart from any kind of gratuity that might be offered. Either you give a service or you do not. Either the industry is organised for the purpose of serving the community, or it is organised for some other purpose. If it is organised for service, it ought to be part of the efficiency and machinery of that industry, as it is in every other kind of industry. No one in a shop would ask me or expect me to give him a tip in order to get preferential service from behind the counter [Interruption]—or a doctor or anyone else. It is degrading not only for those who accept or receive, but also for those who give, the tips. It is a degrading thing that would not be tolerated in a society which had any decent conception of human life and human companionship. I say that because I agree, and I am sure my hon. Friends agree, with the principle involved in this Amendment. As to whether you can abolish tipping or not, that is a matter which must be left to the Minister. It is an exceedingly difficult problem, I agree, and one which may not be solved by a Bill of this character, but I welcome the Amendment, and my party will give it every support.
I hope the Committee will not think me discourteous if I make a few remarks at this stage in an endeavour to put before the Committee something of the war in which this complicated business of tipping is carried on in the country, and how this Bill is designed to deal with it. With regard to the Amendment, tipping is, of course, a matter which the Commission already have powers to deal with in their general inquiry. "Any matter affecting remuneration" would cover tipping, and, as my right hon. Friend said in dealing with the previous Amendment, he is not anxious to put forward any specific views as to what they should consider, otherwise we should have to make a whole catalogue of things which the Commission should consider. But as you, Mr. Williams, have suggested that on this Amendment we might consider the whole question of tipping, I must come straight away to Clause 9, which is the operative Clause under which tipping would be considered in this Bill.
Tipping does come within the meaning of the word "remuneration"; there is no doubt about that, I take it? The Minister said just now that he felt this matter could be considered because the Commission had power to inquire into remuneration. Is he quite satisfied that tips are included within the meaning of the word "remuneration"?
If my right hon. Friend will bear with me while I make my statement, I want to show under what conditions certain things that could be classed as tips might be regarded as remuneration, and what would not. We have made no specific reference to tips in this Bill, because the view has been taken by my right hon. Friend that the treatment of tips—and the tipping habit is a deplorable habit, but unfortunately it is with us at the present time—in relation to remuneration is essentially a matter for the wages boards under Clause 9. The boards will be representative both of the employers and the workers in the branch of the trade under consideration, and we consider them to be the appropriate bodies to deal with this, as with other wages matters. The general position which the Bill establishes, therefore, is that it is open to the wages board to provide in what circumstances and to what extent and in what manner tips should be taken into account. It is also important, I think, for us to realise that tips might in some circumstances be legally regarded as remuneration under Clause 9 (1) or as benefits or advantages under Clause 9 (2). That is what we have to consider and what the wages board will have to consider. There are three classes of tips which I shall describe to the Committee in a moment, and the Committee will see how far tips might be regarded as remuneration or as a benefit, or as both.The first class of tip is the normal tip given by a customer to a worker. It is obvious that tips under this system are not any part of the remuneration obtained by the worker from his employer, and therefore Clause 9 (1) does not apply to them. Therefore, if the statutory wage fixed by the wages board is x pounds a week, the employer has to pay the man x pounds a week regardless of whether he gets any tips or not. It is not thought possible that tips received under this system can be regarded even as benefits, since they are not provided by the employer or by some other person under arrangement with the employer. There are other methods of collecting tips, the tronc and the service-charge system. I am advised that under the tronc system the tips are pooled and that the employer or head waiter, as the case may be, shares out the tronc, paying certain workers a fixed amount and certain grades of workers a fixed proportion, after certain other costs in connection with service have been met. Payments received from the tronc are not remuneration obtained in cash by the worker from his employer and therefore are not remuneration under Clause 9 (1), when we come to it in the Bill. But it is possible that tronc payments might be considered to be benefits on the ground that they are provided in connection with employment, by the employer or by some other person, for example, the head waiter, under arrangement with the employer. But, even so, this point is probably not of much importance, because the wages board is required to value the benefit, and in practice the value of tronc payments fluctuates week by week. Apart from treating the tronc as a benefit, it should be borne in mind that it is possible for the wages board to take tronc payments into account when deciding on the way the remuneration is fixed. The wage regulation Order could provide that the worker received from the employer a fixed remuneration, which, together with what he got from the tronc, amounted to the rate laid down. On the other hand, the wages board could follow a more general line and when settling the rate simply have regard to the fact that tronc payments are made. The wages board would have the right to take the tronc system into account in considering benefits, but not the other system. Then there is the service-charge system, which is spreading widely in this country. This is a system of charging an extra percentage on the customer's bill in lieu of tips. The amount reaching the worker is paid to him by the employer, and is therefore to be regarded as part of the cash remuneration obtained by the worker from his employment. Suppose that the statutory wage was £4 a week. If the employer paid the worker £4 in cash, he would have complied with the order, even although 10s. was obtained out of the percentage addition to the customers' bills. A wages order, on the other hand, could provide for £4 a week to be paid in addition to whatever sum the worker received from the employer on the service charge.
There is no legal obligation at present upon the employer to divide the service charge. He can keep the whole lot himself if he likes.
I do not know what the legal position is in regard to that. I am trying to show the legal position in regard to this Bill, and to lay down the principle that the man must get a definite guaranteed wage. It is possible that, in some circumstances, that definite guaranteed wage will be partly made up out of amounts collected under a service charge, or even conceivably through the tronc. But it is provided in this Bill that the wages board shall lay down a definite cash wage, which the worker must receive. I, therefore, think that this Clause and Clause 9 (1), operated wisely by a wages board, composed of the workers and the employers in the particular section of the industry—and therefore knowing the circumstances of that section of the industry—will remove most of the objectionable features of tipping which my hon. and gallant Friend described, and will guarantee the worker a wage.
How does it do away with the objectionable principle? What is the difference between adding a certain percentage to the bill and putting the money into the man's hand? It is all tipping.
I apologise if I have not made myself clear. I was referring to that point in my hon. and gallant Friend's speech about how objectionable it was that a man should have to depend for his livelihood on the generosity of the customer. This Bill will guarantee a definite wage. I hope I made a very complicated and obscure legal position as clear as I can.
The man is receiving a tip. That is the demeaning point. That fact still remains. You have not done away with it if you say, "We authorise these charges on the bill to be included in the man's wages."
I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend understands me. We are guaranteeing the man a wage. We are not making tips illegal; indeed, I do not think that under the Bill my right hon. Friend would have any power to make tipping illegal, nor do I think the House of Commons would pass such a measure. We are laying it down that a man is to have a guaranteed wage from his employer, and the amount of that wage will be fixed by the wages board, which will know from intimate association the conditions in that trade.
My sympathy is certainly with this Amendment, because if the wretched system of tipping can be abolished it will be a good thing. That system is one of the worst features of the trade. If we look back to pre-war days, what was the effect on many hotels and restaurants? They employed alien waiters at no wages at all, and those aliens had to rely on the generosity of the public to keep body and soul together. When the war broke out those aliens were sent to the Isle of Man or to Australia. Then we had the hotels and restaurants complaining about the shortage of labour, and telling the Minister of Labour that he ought to concentrate on winning the war instead of bringing in controversial legislation. These were the people who could always employ aliens to the detriment of British wage standards. The Parliamentary Secretary has dealt with the systems which operate at the present time. We know that one could not ascertain the exact amount of tips given to the individual, because the individual was not likely to give away the information; and under the tronc system, the waiters tell you, the manager or head-waiter runs away with the lion's share, and the poorest-off waiter gets the least. The service charge system is about the only one which could really be taken into account. If that system is still to obtain you will have to take into account and put a value on the tips, just as you would on the food, board and lodging under the living-in system.
I was a little surprised at the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary that the word "remuneration" cannot, in any circumstances, be held to cover tips. If that is so, it is desirable that some additional words should be put into the Bill. I think it most desirable that, as far as may prove practicable, tipping should be abolished. If somebody is asked to name a wage which is to be the fair equivalent, without tips, of some wage previously offered with tips, it is surely necessary for that body to know, approximately, what the tips represented. According to the Parliamentary Secretary, neither the Commission nor any wages board subsequently appointed, would have the right to inquire into what is happening now in the matter of tips.
Under the Clause which we are considering, the Commission obviously has the right to consider tips, and the wages board will have to consider tips when they come to make their rates of remuneration.
That, I should have thought, would be the reasonable thing. But the Parliamentary Secretary has told us that remuneration does not cover tips. What words in the Bill give permission to inquire into tips?
If my hon. Friend will refer to Clause 9, I think he will get it quite clear. Let us start with the words we are considering now:
If my hon. Friend will turn to Clause 9, he will see the words:"Into the existing methods of regulating the remuneration and conditions of employment of workers to whom this Act applies, and into any other matter affecting the remuneration…"
For the purposes of Clause 9, it is quite clear, as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said, that only one of the three forms of tipping to which he referred will come into it. But the Commission, looking at the industry as a whole, would be bound to take tipping into account as a condition of employment. Therefore, the Commission could consider it, and later on the wages board could consider it."For the purpose of determining whether the remuneration paid or agreed to be paid to a worker to whom a wages regulation order applies is less than the statutory remuneration, the net remuneration obtained or to be obtained by him in cash from his employer after allowing for his necessary expenditure, if any, in connection with the employment…"
Do I understand that while tipping is not included in remuneration, it is, in my hon. and learned Friend's opinion, included as a condition of employment?
I am sorry; I did not understand the Parliamentary Secretary to say that. After what the Solicitor-General has said, I am satisfied.
I feel that the argument used by my hon. and gallant Friend who moved this Amendment has covered almost every phase and every angle of the question of why there ought to be an inquiry into tipping, but I feel that the Committee are inclined to overlook one fact. When a wage is fixed for the industry, tipping will very largely disappear. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] The hon. Member may disagree. Let me give a concrete illustration. I speak not as an authority on catering, but as one who has had to handle labour for the catering trade, to help in determining what their rates of wages and conditions of employment shall be. I find that enlightened employers never raise the question of the value of tips. Their anxiety is to get the best type of worker, and to pay the right wage. Having used cafés where some of these workers are employed, I have never felt conscience-stricken when I did not leave a tip, because a trade-union rate of pay is assured for those who have rendered the service. Consequently why should anyone be conscience-stricken if a trade-union rate of pay is assured? [Interruption.] It is true in the main. I am speaking of a certain group; it covers many hundreds and possibly many thousands in the country. Many railway workers had set up their own canteens before the outbreak of war. There is no class of labour, at least affecting transport workers, more subject to the tipping system than railway porters. They run their own cafés, and, strange to say, paradoxical though it may seem, the railway porters never think of tipping the waiters or those who serve them in their own restaurants. We are going to spend far too much time in examining the tipping system and its results, because we are largely getting the London or seaside complex. If we face up to this question and attack it courageously and get somewhere near trade-union conditions and rates of pay, which everybody in the country will recognise is the workers' right, I believe that 95 per cent. of the contributions which may be made on this subject will be cancelled out by the public themselves, because we have made up our minds to eliminate tipping altogether and to substitute proper wages.
The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. E. Walkden) suggests that if and when wages are fixed, the tipping problem will more or less disappear. I do not subscribe to that view. Most hon. Members will agree that the tipping system is very objectionable, but it is rather like strong drink. Many hon. Members and people in the country are averse to strong drink. Tipping will continue, and, therefore, we really must face up to the position of tipping. It has been suggested that if it were possible to have an extra charge, say, 10 per cent., added to the bill, it would overcome my right hon. Friend's difficulty, and there again I cannot subscribe to that view. I have travelled in most parts of the world, and those of us who know Paris will recall the time when a 10 per cent. service tax was added to the bill, but the net result was that we found that we had to continue to give a tip over and above the 10 per cent. service charge.
It was so in France, but will my hon. Friend bear in mind that in Germany the system of adding a fixed charge on the bill and no tips worked admirably?
I appreciate what my hon. Friend has said, but my experience in Germany was that the tipping system was carried on, notwithstanding what he has said. I have known a case in Germany where a tip has been refused, but up to 1937 I myself offered tips, and they were accepted. Hon. Members know that in France the tip had to be given, if good service was required, over and above the ordinary charge. There is another point I will mention, which will perhaps come as a surprise to the hon. Member who said that no shop assistant would ever think of receiving a tip. There again, I do not subscribe to that view. Whether I am in a minority I do not know, but since the age of 20 I have always given a tip when I have purchased a new hat. I do not support the Amendment. We have to appreciate that tipping has come to stay and that, no matter how we may legislate, tipping will continue. Therefore let us face it and accept it as a matter of course.
There seems to be a good measure of agreement as to the undesirability of tipping but not so much agreement as to whether it can be stopped. I suggest that the Minister has, in this Bill, missed an extraordinary opportunity of striking a heavy blow at the tipping system in the industry in which it is most rampant. Most of the undesirable tipping, the Committee will agree, takes place in the catering industry. This is a very comprehensive Measure, and an opportunity of this sort is not going to arise again for a very long time. The Minister might have taken the bit between his teeth in this respect as well as in others. As we all know, it is an uncontroversial Measure. We are all, in every quarter of the Committee, whether we approve of the Bill or not, desirous of making it into a good Bill. I and my hon. Friends still think that it is a very bad one and that if the Amendment were accepted, it would be slightly better. I ask the Minister to accept the Amendment for this reason only, that it will have the effect of directing the attention of the Commission specifically to this point and therefore indicating to them that they are expected to do something really drastic about tipping.
I want to utter only one or two sentences on this very important point, and I trust that the Committee will make up their minds that in operating this Bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament a decent wage will be laid down for the catering industry irrespective of tips. I do not understand the emphasis upon tips in this case in particular. When I was a coalminer, I got coal cheaper than outsiders because I was a collier. That is a form of tip, surely.
It is part of his wages.
That is exactly what the Minister said about this Bill. A person employed in a warehouse in London or Manchester is very often able to purchase some of his goods from the warehouse at wholesale prices because he is a warehouseman. That is another form of tip and nobody objects to that. A railway man gets cheaper fares on the railway than I get, because he is a railway man. No one seems to object to that form of tipping either. The hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) will be interested in the next example. I am not sure of my ground here, but I understand that those who work in breweries get their beer for nothing, and I suppose that those who work in distilleries get their whisky for nothing too.
I think the hon. Member will find that those who work in breweries never drink beer.
Then there must be something wrong with the beer. I would like the Committee to clear their minds entirely from the problem of tipping. If you laid down a decent wage for this industry the tipping system would disappear. It has been my experience—and I have been long connected, as have some of my hon. Friends here, with shop life—that they used to decide wages upon whether a shop assistant lived on the premises or not. To be quite frank, the only way to abolish these extras or emoluments is to have strong trade-union organisation and trade-union rates of wages. If the hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth once again will forgive my appealing to her, there is one way of destroying the tipping system entirely, and it has been done in parts of America.
Yes, and I wish the Noble Lady would follow me. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where to?"] I was going to ask her to come with me in her imagination to the automatics in New York. There is no tipping in the automatics. That system of providing food in America is done on a very large scale, and waiters are not in sight at all, and therefore there is no tipping in that case. I repeat, therefore, that the Committee should give an indication, and I trust the Minister too—and I am sure he is right on this point—that the wages board will lay it down that, irrespective of tips, these people employed in catering are entitled to a definite rate of wages. I am sure the psychology of the public will then be this, that when they know there is a decent rate of wages and proper conditions prevailing in this industry, tipping will be abolished of its own momentum.
I think that all the speeches that have been made indicate that the step that has been taken in the Bill to try and tackle this problem is the correct one. If I may be allowed to give a tip at this moment, it will be to ask the Committee to help us to get on with the Bill and to come to a decision on this point.
It was agreed that we should have a general discussion once and for all on tipping. We have had something less than an hour on this very important point, which is a very extraordinary question in this particular trade. I hope that I shall not delay the Committee unduly in making a few observations upon some of the matters which have been raised. I associate myself with what the hon. and gallant Member said in moving the Amendment. We all, I think, feel a sense of embarrassment when the moment arrives for deciding how much we are going to give, but that, of course, is not shared by those who are going to receive our favours. I have discussed this matter with one or two waiters, who told me some interesting things. It might interest the Committee to know that, as far as waiters are concerned, they never refer to the word "tip" at all. They talk about a customer "paying." They say that such and such a customer pays well; Mr. "A," for example, but Mr. "B" is a "never," which I understand is a term of reproach. They do not talk about tips among themselves, and although the hon. and gallant Member who moved the Amendment used some rather hard language about it being very "degrading," "a stigma attaching to it," and "verging on corruption," and the hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Montague) in his Second Reading speech talked about a "humilitating system," there are a great number of employees in this industry who do not regard it in that manner. Whether they ought to is quite a different matter.I speak with certain embarrassment myself, because the profession to which I belong—and the Solicitor-General will bear me out—was rewarded from time immemorial by a system of tips. It was not considered proper for them to obtain money in the ordinary manner, so there was a purse fastened on to the back of their gown into which a grateful client put a tip. Taxi-cab drivers, barbers, porters and others partly live by tipping, which is a very widespread and ancient system which seems to have been founded upon the desire of the person who is being served to say to the individual serving him: "Here is something for a drink." You see it in the French word, "pourboire" and the German word, "trinkgelt." Tips vary for the services performed. That is the trouble with the system. So far as I can make out, a Freemason—and I have not the honour to be one—is a garrulous babbler about his secrets in relation to the person who receives tips and who has to tell you how much he receives in tips. That will be one of the serious problems when the wages board has to consider this question. I do not think you can abolish tipping by law. I recite an example. When Mussolini came into power in 1922 he decided to abolish tipping by law. I was in Florence in 1926, the usual queue formed up, and the manager had to escort me out of the hotel because the employees were not a bit minded to respect the law. It is quite clear that you could not carry on that system in this country; it would bring the whole law into disrepute. If you had the tronc system universally applied, it might go some distance towards curing the trouble. I believe that in some establishments the tronc system that is administered is administered by a committee of the staff. There is one representative of each section that receives part of the tronc. In that way the system is equitably administered. Of course, a service charge, which is the other suggested alternative, is not really the solution because, as one Member pointed out, notwithstanding that charge, tipping still continues. I would say this to Members of the Committee: I am not conscious of degrading the person to whom I give a tip, and I hope he is not conscious of being degraded, but if there is degradation in it, ought not this House, before it applies itself to bringing in legislation, do something about its own Kitchen Committee? The Kitchen Committee administers a system of rewarding our staff by wages and tips. Are we, who have so many friends among the staff and waiters in this House, to feel that we are degrading and humiliating them and that they cringe for the rewards we give them by tips? Surely not. Tipping is a system which a great many people dislike because they find it troublesome, but what the wages board is to put in its place is quite a different story. I think that we had much better leave the matter to the experts who have to consider it rather than giving any directions on the subject ourselves.
As the Mover of the Amendment, may I say a few words as quickly as I can? First of all, as a large measure of agreement seems to have been arrived at, I would, if it was of any convenience to the Committee, be prepared to withdraw the Amendment. The only thing I have in mind is that I should feel very inflexible in regard to another Amendment in my name which follows on the Order Paper later, and which enshrines what I think the Committee have in general agreed to during this long discussion. If it can be made clear that tips would not be taken into consideration with wages, I would be prepared to withdraw this Amendment. I want the Committee to put in something to safeguard the maximum wage, or the minimum wage as we call it.
Does the hon. and gallant Member wish to withdraw his Amendment?
I am quite ready to withdraw it.
I do not want to delay progress on this Bill, but this question of tipping is a very important matter. The point we ought to have at heart is that tipping, if possible, should be abolished. That is the general feeling of the Committee, but the difficulty you are up against is how you are to abolish tipping. Not only have you to consider the feelings of the people who have been getting tips, but you also have to consider how people who have been in receipt of tips would like it if they were abolished. When I was a small boy I used to enjoy tips for the messages I ran, even from my, own parents. Now I give tips rather than receive them, so that my mind is rather changed in this respect. I want to give an illustration which I think will prove the great difficulty of abolishing tips. There is, I understand, a system in operation in certain restaurants in London which is known as the "Serve yourself" system. Customers go into these restaurants, serve themselves from the counter, take their food to a table and pay for it when they actually receive the food. Having finished their meal, their plates are left on the table. It is necessary to have some sort of staff to remove these empty plates. One particular establishment in London not long ago paid their staff, before they brought this new system into operation, 24s. 9d. a week plus meals, plus tips. They wanted to get some girls to work at merely clearing tables, and obviously those doing that should not be in receipt of tips. The firm wrote to their staff and asked whether they would remain with them or return at a weekly wage of £3 a week, plus meals—which did not seem an ungenerous proposition—but they did not receive a single reply saying that the new proposal would be accepted. In other words, it was paying the staff to have 24s. 9d. a week plus meals plus tips. I give that as an illustration. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member wishes to make a speech, I will retire and speak later. I do not want to delay the proceedings, but I think I have the right to discuss this matter.
It has been discussed for three hours.
I have very little more to say. (An HON. MEMBER: "Do not be hurried."] I am not being hurried. I was about to say that you must consider the view of people who are in receipt of tips, and I ask that although we are all in favour of the abolition of tipping, if it is possible, nevertheless we must give some thought to those who are receiving tips. There are few of us in this Chamber who constantly receive remuneration of this kind, so that we are inclined to consider the point of view of paying out and not receiving. Let us take into consideration the point of view of those who receive. Apart from that, I welcome the proposal put forward in the Amendment. It is a pity that on balance we cannot abolish the present system.
May I request the Committee to negative this Amendment and reserve their arguments, convictions and pressure for a later stage in the Bill, when by that time the Minister might be able to give us an assurance that tips will not be taken into consideration with wages?
There appears to be a good deal of impatience with regard to this Bill. A number of us have complained very bitterly about legislation which never comes before the House. Now when legislation is before us, instead of it being properly examined, the idea seems to be that it should be rushed through. It is the duty of Members of Parliament to investigate the matters which come before them, and here is a case for investigation of the Bill before us. With regard to the system of tipping, it is quite obvious that whatever legislation comes in it is impossible to abolish it. There is no hon. Member here who does not give a tip to a taxicab driver or a barber. Abroad, tips were recognised as undesirable and 10 per cent. was fixed, but that did not abolish the system of tipping. What is the use of passing legislation which would make tipping illegal when no one would respect the law? The laws that we make should be of such a character that they will be respected by everyone. We are bringing legislation into disrepute if we seek to prohibit tipping when everyone knows that it will not abolish tipping, and we are making everyone who gives a tip perform an illegal action and committing a crime even if it is not brought before the courts. If the Government are of opinion that tipping is wrong and ought to be abolished, let them put their own house in order. As far as this House of Commons is concerned, it does not matter where you go or what you do, everyone expects a tip, and they get a tip, and no one considers himself degraded by receiving it, and no one who gives a tip thinks he is degrading the recipient. Therefore, I say look at home before you look abroad and, before you start legislating outside the House, set the example inside. If the Amendment is taken to a Division I shall certainly support it.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, to leave out "welfare" and to insert "comfort."I will try to set a new fashion and will be very brief. This is not really a very important Amendment, but I think it is worth while putting forward. I do not want to obstruct the Bill. That does not mean that I believe in it. I think it is a bad Bill, but I will try to make it as good as I can. Beyond that I do not propose to do anything to delay it. Some of us think that "welfare" is a very far-reaching word. There is a precedent for this alteration in the Shops Act, 1934. It works quite well and we think "comfort" is a better word.
I have taken the trouble to look up the meaning of these two words in the best dictionary I could find and have discovered that "welfare" includes health, prosperity and success. We are dealing specifically in this subsection with any matters affecting the remuneration, conditions of employment and health of such workers. In other words, we are making specific mention of health, prosperity and success, which words are included in the definition of "welfare," so that there is some question of overlapping if we include "welfare" in addition. The word "comfort" is defined as general well-being, absence of trials and anxiety. I think that definition applies much more reasonably than the word "welfare." Of course this is a comparatively small point and I cannot imagine that there will be much discussion on it. It is certainly not as important as the Amendment we were discussing previously. I do not suggest that we should press it to a Division but I ask the Minister to consider whether or not "comfort" would not be a more suitable word than "welfare," especially as there is the precedent already mentioned.
I should like to reinforce what my hon. Friend and my right hon. Friend have said. There is an admirable precedent for this word in the preamble to the Shops Act, the Road Haulage Act, and, unless the Minister has some weighty reason against it, I suggest that he might accept the Amendment following the sensible and useful precedent in former legislation.
I regret that I am unable to accept the Amendment. I took part in the framing of the Road Haulage Act and "comfort" was put in there for a specific reason. It dealt mainly with the question of sleeping accommodation on the roads, which was then in a frightful condition and is not too good now, and something had to be found to express it. The word "welfare" has acquired a definite meaning in industrial life and it includes the wider matters expressed in the definition. I do not think it would be wise to put in a dictionary definition of the word in the industrial sense now. It is true it is a comprehensive term and, to the credit of industry, it is constantly expanding with the healthy, intelligent development of industry that is going on from year to year. "Comfort" is a limiting word in the Shops Act sense. I want the wider word, because we are legislating not merely for the moment; we are not legislating for the pre-1939 period; we are legislating for the post-war period. In that sense, I am sure, the hon. Member will agree that you will give to the catering people the same kind of industrial relationship that is being given to other workers. It has had a vital result on the war effort and the expansion that has gone on, I believe, is altering the whole course of industrial history. Therefore I should like the word "welfare" included in the Bill.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to insert:
This does not apply only to buildings which have been affected by enemy action. In that case they probably have their claims under the War Damage Act. It applies to undertakings which have been affected by our action. In 1940, when invasion was thought to be possible, a great deal of the country became a restricted area, from the Wash right down the East and South coasts as far, I believe, as Bournemouth. People who had hotels and boarding houses were compelled to shut up and to leave. Most of them left their furniture and equipment, locked their doors and left the local police to protect their establishments as far as possible. In many cases there has been robbery, damage to windows and that sort of thing; the places have become shabby and the furniture is nothing like what it was. This is going on all the time and will go on until the end of the war. The Minister wants to re-establish the catering industry as soon as possible after the war and to get suitable places to which our workers, who will have holidays with pay, can go. From Bournemouth right down to the West coast the hotels have been prosperous and will be ready to play their part when the war ends. But the people who were in the restricted areas have in many cases spent their savings and will not be able to start again at the end of the war, unless they are helped in repairing and re-equipping their establishments. The Minister does not want anything put into the Clause as to what the Commission should do but, if he is willing to say that this is a matter that shall go to the Commission for reconsideration, I shall be quite satisfied."including the restoration, repair and re-equipment of undertakings which have been affected by events and conditions during the war and in which such workers have been or will be employed."
I only wish to say a word on the Amendment because I expressed quite freely on the Second Reading what I felt about the Bill and the setting up of a wages board. I am not opposed to wages boards, and I am not opposed to a minimum wage in the catering or any other industry, but we are opposed to the Bill in its present form. My chief reason is that it deals with only one aspect of a very wide problem. It does not affect the chief aspect which is the rehabilitation of the hotel and catering industry in what are called protected areas—defence areas which cover a wide field. We were told in the House yesterday about the ban on these areas being replaced after it had been lifted for two or three months.Anybody who has not been connected, as I have been throughout the war, with these areas on the coast, from one end of Britain to the other and in particular with my own constituency, which has been a protected area since the beginning of the war, cannot realise the devastation they have suffered from the war through no fault of their own. One can go for miles and see boarded-up houses, shops and hotels in places where hundreds of thousands of people used to spend their summer holidays. If this Bill could deal with that aspect and the rehabilitation of the industry, I should be the last to oppose it but I do not think that that situation can be dealt with in a wages Bill. If the Minister is prepared to widen the scope of the Bill and set up a Commission which will have the power to rehabilitate the hotel and catering industry, especially in these areas, he will have the wholehearted support of many people. He will have to deal with a wide subject which will include questions of priorities, of materials and labour and questions of rate relief by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Burdens are piling up on the people in these areas, year after year, without any relief, and they do not know from day to day whether they are bankrupt or not. The banks are putting pressure on them for overdrafts and if the Minister could make a gesture and urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose name is on the back of this Bill, to take action now and to give some encouragement to these people, who are in such a distressed condition, I would be grateful to him.
I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment, as the Mover realised, because like the other Amendment it begins to extend the Bill to all kinds of subjects and problems. Nor can I, as a Member of the War Cabinet, be expected when we are discussing this Bill to give my hon. and gallant Friend an undertaking as to what I will do on a separate subject. I am prepared to give an undertaking that without waiting for wages boards to be set up and concurrently with the inquiries on that subject I will direct the Commission to inquire into and to focus specially on this particular point, in order that the Government may have the benefit of their advice on the problem. My hon. and gallant Friend suggested that I should broaden the Bill so that the Commission could apply the remedy but I would remind him that the remedy involves the expenditure of money and this must be the Government's responsibility and cannot be delegated to a Commission. Quite frankly, having looked at demobilisation and the holiday problem, and because of the way they affect me as Minister of Labour in the other problems I have to deal with, I can say that the question of the rehabilitation of these areas is absolutely vital. Not only do I say that, but I agree with the hon. and gallant Member when I say that for these people who have had the burden of bombing and the destruction of war in their worst forms, the priorities of labour and materials for reconstruction must rank very high. When we stop making munitions and look at our total building force, these are the kinds of things that have to be taken into consideration in allocating that force from the point of view of employment and for the creation of employment for people who are being displaced from the munitions industry.I assure the Committee that it is as vital to the Government to get these coastal towns and areas going again, as it is for hon. Members to see justice done to their constituents. There is mutual interest in this respect and I assure the Committee that there will be no lack of energy and effort to try to bring these interests together. I will not wait to deal with it from the point of view of the inquiry into wage regulation machinery. There is no reason why it should wait until we have settled all the ramifications of the Wages Boards. Both things can go on concurrently administratively quite easily. I give that undertaking and it will have my urgent attention in the interests of the people who have suffered. One thing this country will need at the end of the war is a holiday. I am clear in my own mind that when the "let-up" takes place, one of the vital things to save us from hundreds of other troubles will be to give a proper holiday to our people who have had a pretty tough time all through the war. But it is no good giving them a holiday unless we try to do what we can, even if we cannot do everything, to try to get the business of the holiday resorts going again. That involves assisting requisitioned places and a whole lot of things, and I shall be prepared to take every possible step in order that the Government can come to a final decision.
Will my right hon. Friend put pressure on the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
My experience of Chancellors and everything else is that a considered report of an impartial body which has investigated the facts, has far more weight than advocacy by fellow Ministers.
I do not think that this concerns the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is a matter of equipment and concerns the Board of Trade and possibly the Service Departments who might have the surplus equipment which will be most needed. It is not so much building, as equipment that will be needed.
It involves both. It is well known that there are in this country thousands of beds and if the casualty rate does not rise very high, there will be an immediate surplus. It is that kind of thing, stores, blankets, bedding and so on, that ought to be brought together in the inquiries to see to what extent they can be used for what I regard as not merely a question of restoring the hotel and catering business, but as an important social purpose.
While the Committee has great sympathy with my hon. Friend's plea for help in restoring property damaged by the war, I feel that such a provision as he proposes is outside the scope of a Bill dealing with living conditions within the industry. The Minister in his reply gave a great deal of encouragement to all of us. It is not only the resorts on the East and South-East coast that have suffered. War decay has taken place all round the coast, where Government Departments have requisitioned hotels and furniture. Many of them will be badly damaged and help will be required in replacing them and getting the industry on its feet. I feel confident that in raising this point my hon. Friend did not want to suggest that the resorts will require any priorities over other areas which have been damaged by enemy action. They will want help, but we realise that we shall have to take our share of help along with Coventry and other cities which have been blitzed.
I am glad to hear the Minister's assurance but I want to suggest that the Commission should be directed to examine the terms under which the requisitioning authorities took over various hotels. There has, unfortunately, in my opinion been no uniformity of practice in the terms of requisitioning. One Government Department have used their compulsory powers to take over hotels on such terms that in many cases the proprietors are so impoverished that they will not be able to reopen after the war, and so afford the opportunities for holidays which the Minister wants the people to have. I do want to urge that the Commission should survey the terms on which the hotels have been requisitioned.
I would like as one who represents a coastal district to say, as every Member representing these areas will say, how indebted we are to my right hon. Friend for the assurance he has just given. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein) said that the main trouble after the war would be equipment, but it is hard to say what the priorities should be, because, in some towns, hotels and boarding houses have been requisitioned and three out of four, possibly four out of five, will have to be largely reconstructed owing to the damage that has been done. That will be an urgent matter. I would ask my right hon. Friend to bear that in mind and to remember, also, that it will be no use waiting until the end of the war. These priorities will have to be fixed before the termination of hostilities so as to get the industry in order. Unless the industry in the coastal towns gets into working order, very soon after the war the effect on the finances of the local authorities concerned will be disastrous. The municipalities must depend largely on visitors and the catering industry. They have been hard hit by the war and, therefore, from the point of view of healthy local government, it is essential that immediately after the war the catering industry in coastal towns should be restored.
The Committee may be surprised that I should rise on this occasion in order to thank the Minister for his reply. I am sure that it was a proper reply, if I may be allowed to say so. It is wrong that consideration should be given to the restoration, repair and equipment of hotels, restaurants and boarding establishments under the terms of this Bill. The existing conditions will be dealt with; by that I mean the conditions which concern all hotels and restaurants at the present time or any particular time. We must all thank the Minister for his assurance. I am sure that he is right in saying that there will be no lack of energy on his part, and that he will focus the mind of the Government on the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich (Mr. Holmes). It is obviously not the duty of the Minister of Labour as Minister of Labour to deal with those questions, though no doubt it would be his duty as a member of the Cabinet, and it is a very good thing that he will undertake to use his great influence in the direction of persuading not only the Board of Trade but the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, and especially the Treasury, that something must be provided either in the way of cash or kind for undertakings which have suffered so much in the war.The right hon. Gentleman said that after this war everybody would require a holiday, and that is true, and he told us that he was proud of having founded the Workers' Travel Association. I am sure that Association will use its influence with the Government, because the Minister said it was just as well to have influences from outside brought to bear. I am interested in another travel association, whose duty it is to help with renovations of this kind. Again I express by gratitude to the Minister—and I hope he will chalk this up to me—for the consideration he has promised to give to the appeals which have been made to him, and I hope very much that he will be successful in his endeavours to get something either in cash or kind in order to help to restore these great dilapidations.
In view of what the Minister has said, for which I am very grateful, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to insert:
I am moving this Amendment in order to try to get it made clear whether matters of the kind referred to in the Amendment lie within the scope of the Measure. We all realise the tremendous value of these joint committees in industry during the last year or two, and in particular industries long before that. On those committees representatives of the management take their place with representatives of various groups of the workers, and there is an opportunity for suggestions to be made, for explanations to be given of why certain policies are being carried out, and for complaints to be put forward and considered. It introduces sympathetic human machinery, and in many cases that makes all the difference between continuous friction and misunderstanding in an undertaking and a spirit of good will and co-operation. If this machinery can exist in factories and is so successful, I cannot see why similiar machinery, suit- ably adapted, cannot be introduced into catering establishments. I do not, of course, mean small establishments with half-a-dozen or a dozen employees, but I should have thought one of Lyons' Corner Houses, for example, could very well do with a committee on which there would be the management, at the top, sitting with chosen representatives of the cooks and the waiters and the floor managers and any other classes of labour employed."including the advisability of setting up representative joint committees in catering undertakings."
What about the customers?
I was talking about employees. It is not the usual practice to bring in customers. I would not put forward such a revolutionary proposal as my hon. Friend has suggested. I hope that if the Minister does not accept this Amendment—and I do not want to cumber the Statute Book with a whole lot of special directions—he will at least indicate that it does come within the scope of the Commission to investigate a question of this kind and to make suitable recommendations.
I would remind my hon. Friend that though these committees are operating in factories to-day, they were not in factories in the original conception, and that to some extent it has been a case of growth. While I want to make it clear that this or any other form of organisation can be developed, I must say, as a colleague of mine remarked to me while the hon. Member was speaking, "One step is enough for me." I think I had better get on with the wages boards and all the other business in the original conception of this Measure. People who are not accustomed to organisation might wreck things if this were introduced too early. On the other hand, it is clear that the powers are in the Bill and can be exercised, and as the Commission are a standing Commission, they will be able to review the situation from time to time; but I could not agree to put the Amendment in the Bill. The only reason I am entering this caveat is that if the Commission should recommend a wages board for a particular branch of the industry, I want them to start right away; I do not want them to get on to the question of shop committees and all the rest before they have built their centre, because it must be remembered that we shall be dealing with people who in many cases have not been accustomed to any organisation. In that sense I just enter this little caveat On the other hand, I make it clear that the power is in the Bill for the thing to develop as time goes on.
I am not at all sure that it might not facilitate the working of the wages machinery to have some committee of this kind in operation. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for making it clear that the powers which I desire are already in the Bill, and that if the Commission are not directed to give their attention to this point at the beginning, they will be later on. No doubt the Commission will study this Debate, and, if possible, I shall direct their attention to this particular matter in order that they may apply their minds to a problem which I regard as of very real importance. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, to leave out paragraph (b).This paragraph says the Commission
This is not a very vital point, but many of us think it would be quite sufficient if the Commission were to report to the responsible Minister the result of their investigations. It seems wholly undesirable that the Commission should scatter their recommendations among all the other Government Departments which are not really concerned with the Bill. If those Departments are affected, they can be informed by the Minister of Labour who, after all, is answerable to Parliament for the action which the Commission have taken."shall make such recommendations (if any) as they think fit to any government department with respect to any matter affecting the remuneration, conditions of employment, health or welfare of such workers."
To accept this Amendment would, I think, handicap us in doing all the things which it was desired a few minutes ago that we should do. Then I gave a wide undertaking, and surely the Committee would not want recommendations made by the Commission upon a wide problem to be locked up in the Ministry of Labour. Surely if the Commission come across a problem affecting some Departments of the Government, it is far better that the Commission's opinion should go to the Ministers of those Departments with the weight of the Commission behind it. Otherwise, I shall become only a post office, and the Commission will not have their recognised place as the authoritative body to report to any Minister. I have agreed that the Commission shall present an annual report, and when that comes before this House if the Commission has made a recommendation to the Minister of a Department and it has not been adopted, the criticism should come on that Minister's Vote, because he would have received a report from the Commission. From the point of view of making effective use of the Commission, I should think my proposal is better than that of the hon. Member. I regret, therefore, that I cannot accept the Amendment.
Will the Minister kindly explain to us what Ministries could be affected?
Take just one point which was suggested to me, that in the restoration of buildings not only should labour be given priority to assist but material. Obviously, in that case the Ministry of Works are affected, as they control the material. The same thing applies to many things affecting the Ministry of Health. The point was put to me with regard to the equipment of the Services, and who should have the surpluses. You therefore need to bring the thing together. If the Commission focus these things, you want them to be able to send their report to the Department concerned.
I am not satisfied with the Minister's explanation. The case put forward by the Mover of the Amendment seems very much stronger. It would be rather unwise to turn this Commission into a roving Commission. I can conceive of very few Ministries that might not receive recommendations from the Commission. There is the Ministry of Works, about buildings, the War Office, the Admiralty and the Air Ministry on questions of demobilisation, the Board of Trade on general questions of supply, and the Home Office on the question of immigration. The Ministry of Agriculture would come in on the general question of the production of food and the use to which it was put by the employees in the catering industry, and, last but not least, there is the Treasury. That is a very wide choice for the Commission, and I am afraid the Commission might spend a good deal too much time chasing hares and recommending delightful things for the catering industry to various Ministries instead of doing the main job for which it will be set up, namely, to examine the question of wages and conditions. It would be far better if the Minister of Labour sat at the receipt of custom and—if I may mix my metaphors—acted as a sort of sieve. The Ministry of Labour have set up this elaborate machinery and were the authors of the Bill, and the Minister of the day should take very considerable responsibility. Is it not better that he should receive all the recommendations from the Commission so that he may examine them, vet them and pass them on if he thinks they are good?One further reason seems to commend that particular method of approach. The recommendations of the Commission may very well affect labour in other industries, and for that reason it is necessary that before these recommendations go on to further Ministries, the Minister of Labour should have a chance to consider them. Even if the Minister cannot accept the Amendment now, I hope he will not completely close his mind to the arguments that have been used and will consider between now and the Report stage whether there is not something in what we have said upon an aspect which has not previously been considered.
I tried in the Bill to give this industry and the Commission exactly the same facilities and powers that any industrial council have. Any joint body has this right in its constitution, and in practice uses it. I have gone through this process for many years. If a body representing an industry has been inquiring into a problem affecting the Home Office, it has reported to the Home Office and asked for its consideration. It is difficult in matters of this kind to make one Minister a sort of instructor to all the other Ministers, where an independent Commission is reporting upon a particular phase of the subject. Would there not be a little confusion? On all the wage board business, the Commission will report to the Minister of Labour, it is clear, but in all extraneous matters taken to the Commission for inquiry, the Commission will report to the appropriate Department. I am willing however to keep an open mind, or at least to see, between now and the Report stage, whether anything further ought to be done. I told hon. Members that I tried to give to the catering industry the same facilities as exist in all industries that enjoy their own arrangements, and I think that the catering industry is grateful for it.
I am sorry that the Minister has not accepted the Amendment. He does not seem fully to have realised what the effect of the Sub-section is. To appreciate it fully, one must refer to the Minister's speech on the Second Reading, a very powerful speech, in which he sketched out, I should imagine, fuller powers than any set of Commissioners has had. It is germane to the Clause to remind hon. Members what this Commission might do. The Minister said:
What will happen under the Sub-section? The President of the Board of Education, without his knowledge or consent, may have the Commission coming to him. If the Commission does what the Minister spoke of during the Second Reading, the President of the Board of Education is bound sooner or later to have the Commission coming to him and saying, "You are the President of the Board of Education. We have looked into this question of university procedure. You have to alter it."—I am using the Minister's own words.—"We are going to have the whole education system altered and we are going to start with the universities." It is no good the Parliamentary Secretary shaking his head, because that was stated by the Minister during the Second Reading of the Bill. In the Home Office there is an Aliens Immigration Restrictions Department. I had something to do with it at one time, and I know it was run very efficiently. Suppose the Minister goes into the whole question of aliens and asks the Commission to consider the matter, in accordance with any agreement that they may make with foreign Powers. One day the Home Office will wake up and find that the Commission has made an agreement with some foreign Power. The Immigration Department will find the same thing. This is a practical case, because it is set out in detail in the Minister's Second Reading speech as what he is going to do. In view of that speech, the Committee ought not to allow the Clause to stand in the Bill. In the form in which it has been given to us by means of the Second Reading speech it is a new principle in our Constitution. It means that no Department is free from the attentions and reports of this Commission. The same thing applies to the wonderful and glowing accounts of the tourist industry, which is not the responsibility of the Minister of Labour at all, but is specifically the duty of the President of the Board of Trade. What the President of the Board of Trade has been doing about the Bill I do not know, but the Bill cuts into his powers right and left, in this Clause in particular. The President of the Board of Trade is there to look after the trade and industry of this country. If any tourist industry is worth developing, that is his duty. Is he to do it? Not at all. He has to sit back and wait until a Commission under the Catering Wages Act comes along and tells him what to do. This is not a fantastic suggestion. It is based upon the Minister's Second Reading speech. He clearly says—I will read the words if you wish it—that he is going to take these powers. Who is to do that? The President of the Board of Trade whose duty it is? But no, the Minister says the Commission is to do it."That brings in a study of university procedure. It has nothing to do with trade at all. The universities will have to adapt themselves. We cannot have all the examinations in June. If we can get an examination of the problem by the Commission.…"—(OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th February, 1943; col. 1209, Vol. 386.]
May I draw the hon. Member's attention to the difference between legislation and recommendation? The only power here is that the Commission which is to study the development of the catering industry may make recommendations to the Government, and it is fantastic on the Committee stage of this Bill to say that that gives the Minister powers, and to quote a Second Reading speech to prove it.
The hon. Member has entirely missed the point. You do not, by making a report or recommendation, thereby bring in legislation. It has not, of course, the force of legislation. I am fully aware of that, but none the less I take it that the Foreign Office, the Board of Trade and the Home Office do not want a Commission under the Minister of Labour to make recommendations as to the legislation they should introduce, because the fact is that in that Second Reading speech legislation is foreshadowed and asked for on the report of the Commission. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that if the Commissioners recommend a change in university procedure, he is going to ask for legislation? If so, he is contradicting what he said in his Second Reading speech. Therefore this paragraph is very relevant to what I am saying. This Commission, unless their powers are much more clearly defined in the Bill than hitherto, can rove over the whole field of government and make recommendations to any Department on any subject it cares to do so.
I invite the Committee to study the Amendment now before it. The point under discussion is whether this Commission set up under this Bill, when it decides to make a recommendation to the Government, shall be obliged to send that recommendation to the Minister of Labour, or whether it may consider the exact nature of the recommendation it is going to make and send it to the appropriate Minister. The question is whether it should send its recommendations to the appropriate or inappropriate Minister. It is perfectly true that my right hon. Friend in his Second Reading speech did draw attention to the many ramifications of the catering trade and to the great developments that may take place in that industry after the war, and the immense assistance the Commission may be in indicating to the Government the kind of lines upon which various changes could be made including, no doubt, legislation. But as for suggesting that in allowing the Commission to make its recommendations to the appropriate Minister this Committee is in any way prejudging undrafted Bills which may at some time be introduced to give effect to unwritten recommendations of a Commission which has not yet been set up, that is surely a fantastic line of argument to take. I was at one time in some doubt as to whether it really mattered very much whether these recommendations were necessarily sent to the Minister of Labour or might be sent direct to the Minister of Health or whoever happened to be the appropriate Minister, to give effect to its recommendations. It was when I heard the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Major Petherick) that I realised how wide might be the scope of these recommendations and how immensely valuable it might be that these recommendations should be made to the appropriate Department. Therefore I hope that my right hon. Friend will not be willing to make any concession upon this point but will insist upon the Bill going through with this ample and wide scope.
I am in complete agreement with my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment that paragraph (b) has to be read with the remaining sentences which follow. You get under Sub-section (2):
What does that mean? [An HON. MEMBER: "What it says."] All right, it means exactly what it says, but what interpretation is the Department receiving these recommendations going to put upon it? [An HON. MEMBER: "Come and ask you."] The hon. Member is paying me a compliment I do not really deserve, but perhaps I shall be able to give just as good an instruction about it, certainly as my hon. Friend opposite who engages in such frivolity."Where any recommendation is made by the Commission under this section to a government department, that department shall forthwith take the recommendation into consideration."
There is an Amendment standing in my name to leave out the particular paragraph which has just been read. I do not know whether what is now going on will preclude any discussion from taking place on it, and I should like your guidance, Major Milner, on it.
No, discussion of the hon. and gallant Member's Amendment will not necessarily be precluded.
This Commission according to this paragraph is apparently receiving under this Bill far wider powers than were contemplated when we accepted this Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman wants it to make headway, he had better deal with it under his own regime than bring these various Government Departments into all these matters, a good many of which will be quite irrelevant in the issue as to the fundamental principles of this Bill.
This Sub-section is either meaningless or very dangerous. I dissent from the view expressed by the Minister that the assurance given earlier in the day will be covered by this particular Sub-section. If I might draw the attention of the Com- mittee to paragraph (b) the only thing on which this Commission may make recommendations to any Government Department is:
How can one find within those words the undertaking which the Minister has mentioned to-day regarding re-equipment, rebuilding and so on of property, and persons who are conducting an enterprise? This Commission is prevented from doing anything more than to recommend on the basis set out in (b). If that is right, I feel that the Minister must be wrong in the view he has expressed just now, and I hope that with the assistance of the Solicitor-General he will reconsider this whole point. I was impressed by what one hon. Member said just now. He wanted to know what particular Government Department is to be invited to consider all the problems arising out of the Sub-section. The Minister sought to raise matters which in my submission do not arise under this Sub-section. I particularly want to draw attention to this point, because the powers which are being given in this Sub-section are far wider than any we have previously given in any Statute that I can discover. The Minister just now claimed that under the Trade Boards Act the joint industrial councils had powers of this kind. I have looked at the Trade Boards Act, and, under Section 10, the only recommendation which a trade board may make to a Government Department is in reference to industrial conditions. That is a much narrower field than anything set out in this Sub-section. Without trespassing on the Amendment which I hope to move presently, I repeat that this is either extremely meaningless and useless or extremely dangerous. Of the two, I should say that it might well be meaningless; but if, as I suspect, the Minister thinks it covers a much wider field than I do, I hope that between now and the Report stage he will give serious consideration to the possibility of leaving this Commission to report to him, and to him alone. The duty of this Commission, as I understand it, is to deal on a wide basis with problems in the catering industry. After all, this is a Catering Wages Bill. The Commission has not a general roving commission to consider and discuss everything under the sun, such as, for example, the importation of foreign labour into this country. If I may say so without being out of Order, I welcome the conversion of the Minister of Labour and some of his colleagues to the good sound theory of protection. They have always believed in free trade, but apparently they wish to exclude foreign labour, which is a good step towards the principle of protection. But, in my submission, that goes much beyond what this Commission ought to deal with. Their job is"with respect to any matter affecting the remuneration, conditions of employment, health or welfare of such workers."
of workers in the catering industry. That is sufficient for them. The Minister tells us that there are 500,000 workers in this industry, and I should have thought that to consider the well-being of those workers would have been plenty for the Commission to do, without their embarking on other duties. I hope the Minister will see the force of what I am saying, and that he will keep in his own care such recommendations or reports as are made."the remuneration, conditions of employment, health or welfare"
I am very anxious that the approach which my hon. Friend the Member for Elland (Mr. Levy) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein) have given to this problem should be considered, and that our attitude should be made clear. I think that if that is done it will be found that the purpose behind this provision is such as would commend itself to both of my hon. Friends whom I am taking as examples. As I understand, a great deal of the activity pursued by my hon. Friend the Member for Elland, which he has mentioned to-day, is designed to secure the function of government should be tempered as far as possible to the governed in every aspect of their daily life. I think that represents his point of view as fairly as he would represent it himself. What is suggested here is that, instead of direct Ministerial action by my right hon. Friend or his successors, you should have a Commission, which would provide knowledge, experience, continuity and freedom from pressure in the consideration of the problems of the industry.
That is outside the scope of the Bill, I would say.
I do not know what my hon. and gallant Friend means by that interruption, but it is quite clear that the framework of the Bill is that the Commission should be established to perform the task which we have been dealing with to-day and to provide the qualities which I ventured to enumerate a moment ago. That is the position set up by my hon. Friend the Member for Elland. Now I come to the point which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Nottingham added to that. He says that Subsection (b)—this, I understand, is one limb of his argument—is restrictive, that the matters mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Minister cannot be considered. I ask my hon. and gallant Friend to consider the words of Subsection (b). They include not only remuneration, but
I cannot understand any interpretation of these words which would not allow anybody to whom they are directed to inquire into the problems which have been adumbrated to-day."conditions of employment, health or welfare of such workers."
How could they cover things like equipment and re-building?
That is a difficulty which I cannot understand. If a body has to consider conditions of employment and health and welfare, it is past my comprehension how it could be prevented from considering the physical structure in which the industry is carried on.
I am being misinterpreted. This is before anybody is employed at all. The Minister told us that when buildings which are in ruins were being reconstructed he was going to take certain steps, and that when equipment was lacking he was going to make provision. That is long before anybody is employed. It relates to physical things like houses in the neighbourhood. It has nothing to do with the worker.
I am not trying to be stupid, but I have the greatest difficulty in following what is bothering my hon. and gallant Friend. As I appreciate the point which was so eloquently put they had buildings which had been diverted to the catering industry, and which had suffered through war damage or through some other conditions of the war. Why the Commission should not be entitled, when asked to consider conditions of employment and health and welfare of the industry, to look into that problem, I cannot conceive. I am sure that, as a matter of interpretation of words, spirit or intentment of legislation, it is covered by the Bill. The point which I sought to make was a combination of these two points. We have the point on which I answered my hon. Friend the Member for Elland, that here we have machinery which in my submission provides these qualities—I ask pardon for referring to them again, because I attach so much importance to them—of knowledge, experience, freedom from pressure and continuity of work. All these qualities the Commission have. They will be applied to these problems.The next point is, what are they to do? Are they, having obtained their knowledge by inquiry, to come to the Minister, or are they to make their recommendations direct to the person concerned. Why should they go through the post-box of the Minister? Again—and I do not apologise for turning my hon. Friend's argument—either it means nothing and the Minister is just a post-box or else—and I wish my hon. Friend the Member for Elland to know this—it is just taking away from the position of the Commission and making them send it back to the Minister and increasing Ministerial control. We suggest that the Commission, having been put into this position, should be entitled, when they have examined the matter, to make recommendations in the quarter where they will be of the most use.
If the methods suggested by us were adopted the Solicitor-General said it would increase Ministerial control. I agree it would, by the Minister of Labour, but surely it would work exactly the same if the recommendation was sent to the Home Office. The Ministerial control would be exercised by the Home Secretary.
The point which I have been seeking to put before the Committee is that either the passing through the Minister of Labour means nothing at all, in which case there is no use in having that Minister, or else you are going to bring in the Minister of Labour, for a reason which is not apparent to him, in every consideration which concerns the Home Office or the Board of Trade or anyone else. I cannot understand why my hon. Friends, speaking from the angle they do, should desire that that should take place. Surely, if you are going to establish a body and trust it and give it responsible work, its recommendations should be sent to the quarter with whom those recommendations are concerned. That does not mean that the Ministry must accept them. It must consider them. I suggest to hon. Friends who, I know, have given consideration to this—and especially would I recommend it to my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin Division (Mr. Colegate), who has considered this seriously—that they should have in mind what has been recommended by every Committee and Commission which has considered the questions of government. My Noble Friend opposite will remember the Haldane Commission at the time of the last war, and ever since it has been recommended that you should have bodies who would conduct research and inquiry and transmit the results to the Government Departments. That has been the fundamental principle, and it is the only principle over which we are struggling.
I think we are getting very confused in regard to the matter. As I understand the learned Solicitor-General, he says that the buildings, the restoration, repair and re-equipment of undertakings, could be considered by this Commission. That point has been disputed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein). The Solicitor-General has made it clear that they have power to consider these questions and to submit them to any Government Department. I understood the Minister of Labour, when discussing the last Amendment, refused to give power to the Commission to deal with this question of restoration and repair. I think that was what he said. He refused to accept the Amendment and consequently, I thought, refused to give power to the Commission to deal with the question of restoration and repair. If I am wrong, perhaps the Minister will put matters right. I hope there is going to be no dispute between the Solicitor-General and the Minister of Labour on this very important point. I ask the Minister of Labour to clear up the question of whether or not restoration and repair of buildings is to be placed in the hands of the Commission to make any recommendation they may care to do, or, if it is not, perhaps the Minister will make the matter clear.
If it will facilitate a decision on this matter, I will try and make the point clear. I made it clear that I did not want to characterise the duties of the Commission or to give them the power to deal with this matter. Power to deal with it means power to take action. I made it clear that that must be a Governmental responsibility. These were the words I used. I said that in order to rehabilitate the industry, which, I would remind hon. Members, was an industry before the enemy blitzed it and has therefore been incapacitated by purely artificial conditions, I would cause inquiries to be made by the Commission. I would direct them to inquire under the powers already given me as far as the Clause has gone already, and to focus the various points and report to the Government Departments concerned. That is what I said, and that is what I propose to stand to in this Bill.Now I am asked, "What has this to do with wages?" Exactly the same as it has to do with wages under the concentration of industries scheme. Where a factory has been closed down the industry will come to the Board of Trade or to somebody else to ask for it to be restored. I want to make myself clear. Over the whole range of industry, at the end of the war, hon. Members must appreciate, every industrial council, every joint consultative body, every trade board, will ask respective Government Departments to do this, that or the other thing in order to get industry back on to a peace footing. No one will deny that. That is what they will do and must do. I am merely saying that the Commission will focus and investigate these things. What is the good of having remuneration if you have not created the physical conditions in which the remuneration can be earned? That is the whole basis of the thing. Therefore, I am not asking for a roving commission. I would make it clear to the hon. and gallant Member opposite that I intend to include the question of competition of alien labour—I do make that clear—where it has affected the remuneration of the British waiter?
Am I to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on being a protectionist?
The question of what my political views may be, whether protectionist or free trade, does not arise at all. If I want to indulge in an economic discussion with the hon. and gallant Member, we will do that at another time somewhere else. The point is that all these things affect the opportunity to earn the remuneration, and the equipment and tools with which to earn it have just as much effect in the rehabilitation of hotels that have been blitzed as that the people in industry shall start peace-time works. They are entitled to go back to the Department in order to get it done.
Am I to understand from what the right hon. Gentleman says that when the post-war period comes anybody who has had a factory and has gone away has to go to some Government Department for permission to start again?
If the right hon. Gentleman does not mean that, will he make it clear that permission will not have to be asked by all these people before they are permitted to open?
I beg to more, in page 2, line 10, to leave out paragraph (c).I am anxious not to disturb the amicable relations which the Minister seems to have established between himself and his critics and I hope to convince him that this Amendment, devastating though it may look on paper, is not factious and is not a question of principle but of machinery. As regards the machinery which will enable inquiries to be instituted into matters other than those which are concerned with wages and conditions of service in the catering trade, I am quite prepared to accept the Commission as a body which inquires into wages and conditions, but I feel convinced that this is not the proper body to deal with the future development of the industry. There is little doubt that as soon as the war is ended there will be, as the Minister has said, a very considerable development of tourist and holiday traffic. There may well be improved conditions of service for staffs but there is no doubt that accommodation will be limited. Hotels and boarding houses have been blitzed, others have been requisitioned and, on the whole, will probably require repair. Unless there is planning in advance, a great deal of discontent will be engendered in the public mind. I would like the Minister to explain to the Committee how the Commission, which is to be set up to deal with wages and conditions of service, can possibly deal with development. Surely a Commission of altogether different personnel is needed for that purpose. I should have thought that that would have come within the purview of the Board of Trade. I cannot believe that the right hon. Gentleman wants to trespass beyond his own domain; I should have thought that the Ministry of Labour had enough to do as it is. As I have said, I trust the Minister will not think I am putting up any factious opposition to his Bill; I would merely like him to explain how it is possible for this Commission to deal with matters other than those which come within the scope of this Bill. I would be prepared to withdraw this Amendment if he would give an assurance that this Sub-section does not preclude the possiblity of other Ministries dealing with the development of the industry after the war.
On a point of Order. Might we have, Mr. Williams, a discussion on this Amendment together with those immediately preceding and following it, because they all embody, I think, the same principle although the form of words and the implications are somewhat different?
On this Amendment I think we can have a moderately wide discussion, without necessarily dealing with the next Amendment.
I think my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bolton (Sir E. Cadogan) has not understood what his Amendment really does or what is the object of paragraph (c). If he will turn to paragraph (a) he will see that, already, the Minister has been given powers and that the Commission shall make such inquiries as may be directed by the Minister. Paragraph (c) gives them power, having made the inquiries which the Minister asked them to make, to report to the Minister the result of those inquiries. It would not be much use the Minister being given power to ask the Commission to make inquiries, if the Commission had no power to report the result of those inquiries. With regard to the second part of paragraph (c) there is an Amendment later with regard to an annual report and we can deal with that point when it arises.
But my hon. Friend has not dealt with my objection. How is it possible for this Commission which is to deal with wages and conditions in the industry, to deal with questions connected with the development of the industry after the war?
I was dealing with my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment. We have already, under paragraph (a) given the Commission power to make such inquiries as they may be directed by the Minister to make into these specific matters, and this Paragraph gives them the power to report to the Minister on such matters as he has directed them to look into, by paragraph (a), which is the governing paragraph. It is no use having the Clause at all unless the Commission has power to report to the Minister. I cannot see what my hon. and gallant Friend means.
I think I understand the difficulty. As I understand it, paragraph (c) refers to Paragraph (a) If my hon. Friend would direct his attention to my Amendment on the Paper substituting a new paragraph (c), he might get out of the difficulty. The words which I propose make it clear that there is no roving commission, in addition to the powers given under paragraphs (a) and (b). My Amendment merely says that the Commission shall report to the Minister on any matter on which they have been directed to inquire under paragraphs (a) and (b).
I understand that what my hon. and gallant Friend, the Mover of the Amendment, said arose out of something said by the Minister and not out of what was in the Bill. The Minister referred to certain things that he might direct. As I read the Bill, paragraph (c) is governed by paragraph (a), and under the Bill the Minister can only make recommendations after inquiry into the subjects covered by the Clause, that is, the remuneration, conditions of employment, health or welfare of such workers. The rehabilitation of the industry would not come into it. If that is so, that is the answer to my hon. and gallant Friend.
If I am given that assurance I will withdraw the Amendment.
I feel a certain disquiet after what passed on paragraph (b). May I ask the Committee to look at paragraph (b)?
No, we cannot go back to paragraph (b) now.
The words are exactly the same as in paragraph (a).
That is all the more reason for not referring to them.
Under paragraph (c) the Minister is entitled to call for a report on any matter into which he has directed the Commission to inquire. If we look at paragraph (a) to see on what subjects they make make a report——
That is what we must not do. We have done it once.
It becomes meaningless to discuss the deletion of this paragraph unless we look at what precedes it. After all, there must be a report to the Minister on any matter that he has directed them to inquire into.
On this paragraph it is only a matter of whether there should be a report or not. It has nothing to do with the other matters that we have already dealt with.
It is on any matter that he has directed them to inquire into. If he directed them to inquire into something not within their terms of reference, the Commission would be entitled to say, "We cannot inquire into that."
We cannot discuss that now.
As I understand what has been stated, when the Minister invites this Commission to submit a report to him, it must be on such matters as he has directed them to inquire into. I submit that it is open to me, in discussing whether this paragraph should stand or not, to inquire what it is that may be inquired into. If I am wrong on that, I must make my submission on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." If one was assured that paragraph (c) related only to the matters in paragraph (a), one would not feel the same fear, but having regard to what the Solicitor-General said when interpreting paragraph (b), I feel a certain fear that the scope of inquiry will be enormously widened, and we ought to make certain that the Commission's report should be directed solely to the matters within its power and not to some other matters, which the Solicitor-General has told us, on the assurance of the Minister, will come within the purview of his interpretation. Rehabilitation is one of those matters. That goes far beyond anything that the Commission has to consider. Perhaps the Solicitor-General will reassure us.
The Parliamentary Secretary seemed to think it rather extraordinary that I should have misunderstood the paragraph, but others have been labouring under the same experience as myself. If I can have an assurance that these words refer only to the matters covered by paragraph (a) I will withdraw the Amendment.
I can give my hon. and gallant Friend that assurance at once. There is no doubt at all that the words
relate back to paragraph (a). I see no room for two views upon that. I have given my view of the interpretation of the words we have already discussed and I do not depart from the interpretation I have given."shall report to the Minister on any matter which he has directed them to inquire into"
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 2, line 11, to leave out "from time to time as he may direct," and to insert "annually."This Amendment should be taken in conjunction with the Amendment in line 17, at the end, to insert:
Some of my hon. Friends put down an Amendment that an annual report of this Commission should be laid before Parliament. My right hon. Friend thought that that was a good idea. It will keep the House in touch with what the Commission is doing in the same way as the House is kept in touch by an annual report with what His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Taxes is doing."and the Minister shall as soon as may be lay every such general report before Parliament."
I am glad that the Minister has thought that this is a good idea. It appeared to some of my hon. Friends that it would be more in accordance with well-established democratic practice that this Commission, which has considerable powers, should report annually and that the House should, if it thought fit, have an opportunity of expressing its views upon the Commission's recommendations. It would be an unfortunate thing and lead to some confusion, if those concerned in the recommendations thought that there was going on behind the scenes, something they were not in a position to know about. The principle in all these negotiations should be that all the cards are on the table and placed face upwards.
The Amendment is a distinct improvement, but what does "annual" mean? Does it mean within 12 months of the setting-up of the Commission or within a calendar year?
It means a report every year.
Am I right in assuming that when this report is made, discussion of it can be raised in the House on the Minister's salary or some appropriate Vote?
There is a later Amendment that the Minister shall lay it before Parliament so that it can be discussed.
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move in page 2, line 13, at the end, to insert:
This Amendment is self-explanatory, but I would say in support of it, that it does seem right that, once the Commission has made a recommendation to the Minister that a wages board should be set up, and when that board is functioning in relation to some of the workers in the industry, there should not be duplication and that reports by both the Commission and the board should not be sent to the Minister. They might possibly be conflicting reports and might put the Minister in serious difficulty. I am suggesting that when the Commission has once decided that the wages board procedure shall be applied and a particular section has been put under a wages board, the Commission should be finished with that part of the industry. After that the wages board goes through all its routine procedure in making its report, the workers are completely protected by that procedure, and it ought not to be possible for further interference by the Commission to take place. I am sure the Minister would not want duplication and possibly conflicting reports from the wages board and the Commission and that he would prefer to deal with one body only."Provided that the Commission shall not make any inquiries or recommendations or general reports under the foregoing provisions of this subsection affecting the remuneration or conditions of employment of all or any of the workers in relation to whom a wages board operates under the provisions of this Act."
I assure my hon. and gallant Friend that there is no intention on the part of the Ministry of Labour to indulge in any duplication, but I would beg him not to handicap the Commission in doing work which, if the Minister was doing it, he could do now, that is, assuming he was operating under a trade board. Suppose a wages board were set up and it was found by experience that there was overlapping. To take a typical illustration, there is a laundry trade board, and it might well be that when a section of the wages board began functioning it would be found preferable for the laundries attached to hotels to be transferred from the laundry trade board to the wages board for purposes of interchangeability and general benetfit of the staff and everybody else. If I accept the Amendment, I cannot do anything, for it will certainly hamstring the Bill for all time. If my hon. and gallant Friend feels between now and the Report stage that I could find some words which would relieve his fears on the question of two bodies operating at one time on the same thing, I will try and see whether it can be done. We have no intention of having two bodies operating in one sphere, but we do not want to destroy the flexibility which enables us to make transfers. We must allow the Commission to be able to wipe out a wages board if something else takes its place. I am anxious to be able to take the advice of the Commission on this kind of thing and not to get into an inflexible position in which I could do nothing and would not be able to do the very thing that a section of the trade is asking me to do.
I am much obliged to the Minister for his statement. We do not want to have duplication or conflict between two bodies set up by the Minister. The wages board would be in a better position to effect transfers from one to the other better than the Commission, which could not be seized of all the matters of daily routine, such as would come before the wages board. I apprehend that the Commission, having once made up its mind that a wages board has to be set up, will push that section of the industry out of its mind, and it would be necessary to bring forward all sorts of further evidence if further action were required. I am grateful to the Minister for what he has said, but if he will do what I have suggested, by strengthening the wages board and using some sort of machinery such as I have indicated, leaving this particular question out of the purview of the Commission, I shall be very pleased.
I am afraid that I cannot commit myself any further than I have done already.
I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment made: In page 2, line 17, at the end, insert,
"and the Minister shall as soon as may be lay every such general report before Parliament."—[Mr. McCorquodale.]
Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Did you, Mr. Williams, call my Amendment to line 18 of Clause 2 to leave out Subsection (2)?
No. We have passed Clause 2, and we have now come to Clause 3.
I understood that it was the intention of the Chair to call the Amendment to line 18 of Clause 2.
The question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" has already been put and agreed to. It was not my intention to call that Amendment.
May I ask, with due respect, whether you did call that Amendment?
No. The last Amendment I called was the Minister's. We must now go on to the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment on Clause 3.
On a point of Order. May I point out that I was standing up? It may not have been noticed, but I was standing up. It is bad luck.
Bad luck is not a point of Order.