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Truck Acts (Voluntary Wage Deductions)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 1 April 1943

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24.

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider introducing amending legislation, or a Regulation under the Defence Regulations, to regularise the position of employers who, with the consent of their employees, make deductions from wages in respect of the provision of accommodation in the nature of lodging, or in respect of contributions to the Red Cross Penny-a-Week fund and similar charities, as the former practice is, and the latter may be held to be, contrary to the requirements of the Truck Acts?

I recognise the force of the considerations which my hon. Friend has in mind, but any amendment of the Truck Acts is by no means a simple or easy project; and I am anxious to avoid at the present time the large expenditure of time and labour which would be required in framing a satisfactory scheme for the modernisation of their provisions.

The right hon. Gentleman did not answer that part of my Question suggesting it might be done by some form of regulation, and would he consider this method very carefully, owing to the widespread feeling which has grown up in the country that this can be done by agreement between the employers and trade union representatives, as it is all done to help the war effort; and will he consider the possibility of regularising the position not by legislation but by some form of regulation?

If it were so restricted, it is conceivable, I agree, that it might be done by Defence Regulation, and I will consider my hon. Friend's points. I assure him that this Truck Acts issue bristles with difficulties and controversy, and I am a little nervous about going into it.