I beg to move, in page 59, line 30, after "with," to insert "national."I move this Amendment in the absence of hon. Members whose names have been attached to it. The one thing we want to avoid, everybody will agree, is a deplorable situation such as that in the mining industry, arising from the fact that in every district there are anomalies. No one wants to see that sort of thing in connection with the teaching profession. One does not want to see the position in one district different from that in another district, with anomalies at one set of schools and different anomalies at another set of schools. We wish to avoid the setting up of all sorts of advisory committees and ingenuous devices to try to overcome these difficulties.
The result of putting in the word "national" would be so opposite to that which the hon. Member desires that I do not see why he should press his Amendment. He made the extraordinary assertion that if we accepted the Amendment, we would avoid, in the world of teachers, some of the difficulties which are facing the mining industry. It is owing to the machinery—with which I do not propose to interfere—for the arrangement of teachers' salaries that we have managed to preserve a situation in this country during war-time and before of which we should be extremely proud. It is the result of the Burnham machinery, with which I, as Minister, do not propose to interfere, and if I did, we would have some trouble. I am anxious to retain the Burnham machinery. There would have to be a national scale and we would at once get into trouble with Wales, as we would have to have two bodies, one for Wales and one for England.
I beseech the hon. Member not to press the Amendment, and would remind him that the Bill does not affect Scotland.
Give us a Bill of our own.
According to the Burnham machinery the matter is not done on one national scale but on different scales affecting teachers in different circumstances. I hope that the hon. Member will not press the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Key) and other hon. Members, but that the Committee will leave the Bill as it is, and allow scales to be approved by the Minister as put forward under the Burnham machinery.
If it had been my own Amendment, I might have pressed it. As there was nobody here to move the Amendment perhaps hon. Members may have been ashamed of it.
I would remind the hon. Member that his hon. Friend and I have been sitting in a committee all day inquiring into the whole question of rent control, and it is most unfair to say that hon. Members do not think anything, of their Amendment.
In view of that serious reprimand, I must be very careful in my remarks. I took it for granted that each of the hon. Members whose name was attached to the Amendment was satisfied that his Amendment was of a desirable character, and in view of the explanation made by the Minister I will, as gracefully as possible, ask leave to withdraw it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in page 59, line 31, at the end, to insert:
In moving the Amendment which stands in my name and the names of other hon. Members, I do not wish, even if it were in Order, to argue the question of equal pay on general grounds to-day. It has often been discussed in this House, and it has been twice accepted in principle in regard to the Civil Service, the first time being nearly a quarter of a century ago. To-day we are discussing teachers. There is no doubt that the existing Burnham Committee which, as hon Members know, settles the scale of salary, will have to be reconstituted in order to be brought into line with this new Measure. In this Amendment, all we ask the President to do, is to say in this Clause that he accepts the principle that the basic rate of pay shall not be decided on sex, but on the worth of the job, so that the Burnham Committee can go forward on this basis, knowing that it has the sanction of Parliament and the blessing of the Minister. The teaching profession seems to be a completely clear-cut case of equality between men and women, which scarcely needs arguing. Men and women enter the training colleges at the same age, with the same entrance qualifications. They take equivalent courses of training for exactly the same length of time; when they emerge from the training colleges, they receive the same certificates from the Board of Education or the university, and they enter their professional lives in exactly the same way by applying for teaching posts when vacancies occur. When they get into the schools they are confronted with the same problems, responsibilities and conditions of work. In a mixed school they are, as a rule, entirely interchangeable. The Committee will see that everything is equal until they assume responsibility, and then they become unequal. I will give the Committee only one example. I will take a London school, a mixed central school, which many hon. Members have visited, where boys and girls, from II to 16, are taught side by side by a mixed staff—five men and eight women, with a headmistress in charge, all at their maximum salaries. The teachers specialise in all subjects. There is no difference in the work of the men and the women and all take equal shares in the exchange of duties, such as in the provision of meals and milk. The men receive £84 a year more than the women, and cases like this could be multiplied a hundredfold. It is difficult to see any grounds why women teachers should receive less pay for their responsibilities and work in schools than men. The argument always advanced—and I feel certain that it will be advanced here again—is that men as a rule have families to support. These arguments will be far less impressive when the Government scheme for family allowances is introduced. Let me assure the Committee that the effect of two sucessive wars has been to increase, by an amazing percentage, the number of women supporting dependants, and as the war proceeds, this number will be still further increased. From every possible point of view, I beg the Minister to look with favour on this Amendment. I am certain that public opinion is ready, anxious and waiting to accept the principle which it embodies."not differentiate between men and women solely on grounds of sex and shall."
I rise to support my hon. Friend the Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) in this Amendment. There are two points involved. The first point is whether she is right in principle in saying that men and women teachers ought to be paid on an equal basis, and the second is whether this is the right place and the right way in which to get that principle accepted. With regard to the principle, "Should men and women teachers be paid the same?" the answer is undoubtedly, "Yes." I am not a feminist, at least not in any generally accepted sense of the word. I would not go the whole way with the hon. Member for West Fulham (Dr. Summerskill) in the matter of juggling with the household accounts, but I firmly hold the view that, in the state of society into which we are going, the job should go to the most efficient person, whether man or woman, and that payment should be based upon that principle. I do not think there is really any serious argument against paying men and women teachers on a similar basis. As my hon. Friend pointed out, one works just as hard as the other, and the women sometimes work rather harder.
Their clothes do not certainly cost them any less. They do not pay a reduced rent for the house which they occupy, and, as my hon. Friend pointed out, alas, many of them to-day have, through the loss of a husband or a brother, dependants for whose support they are responsible. It is sometimes said, in the case of the woman who is married and whose husband is earning, that she would be in a very favoured position. We so often in this House pay lip service to the importance of family life, that we should hesitate before we resist a reform which might mean, in some homes, an added income. I do not want to argue the general point, of whether the place of woman is in the home or elsewhere. I am convinced that nothing that we say or do in this Committee will make the slightest difference. I am confident that we shall not drive women into the home by cutting their wages when they are working. If I may say something which will make me unpopular with feminists, I would say that, if we put the pay of men and women in the teaching profession on an equal basis, it will probably mean, on the whole, that fewer women will be employed.There is often the fear that, if such an Amendment as this were accepted, the effect might be to depress the wages of the men employed. I believe that to be an entirely false approach. I believe that if there is one way to make certain ultimately of depressing wages, it is to allow a whole class of labour to exist at cut-throat prices. I can imagine the attitude which would be adopted by the Trades Union Congress if coolie labour were introduced in this country at cheap rates and expected to live at a lower standard of living. It would not be tolerated, and yet even to-day we are prepared to tolerate a section of the community which is paid at a lower rate and therefore expected to live at a lower standard of living. It seems to me that that is nonsense. I have no doubt that the principle is right, but I imagine that my right hon. Friend in his reply will deal perhaps not so much with the principle but will advance very good administrative, financial or political reasons for doing nothing. There always are administrative, financial and political reasons for doing nothing. One is told, and I have no doubt we shall be told, that we cannot deal with the teachers unless we deal with the whole of the Civil Service, and that one cannot do that in this Bill. One is told that one has to wait for a Committee to report, or otherwise to wait for a Committee to be set up, or one is told that a Committee is set up and one must not give it any form of instructions. If a Labour Minister is advancing the Bill, one is accused of stabbing him in the back, and if a Conservative Minister is in charge, one is letting one's own side down. All those arguments are always put forward. If one has a good Lobby one is threaten- ing to bring the Cabinet down, and if one has a bad Lobby one ought to have chosen a better cause. I am familiar with all those arguments. I know that the path of a reformer, may I say even a Tory reformer, is a hard one. It is probably right that there should be difficulties in the way of reform. At the end, those reforms are probably all the better because they have to be fought for, but surely, in this case, we have carried caution almost to pedantic lengths. For a quarter of a century we have been discussing in this House of Commons the rights and wrongs of equal pay. I feel that the time has come to discard discussion and get on to action in the matter. My right hon. Friend is in the course—With great ability and, if I may say so, also with great courtesy —of putting through a great reconstruction Measure. I believe if he accepts my hon. Friend's Amendment, not only will it be a great social reform but it will also be better attuned to that sense of social justice which is commonly held to-day throughout the country.
I am very glad indeed to hear the speech which has just been made, the first pink dawn of a red awakening. I hope the hon. and gallant Gentleman and his friends will decide to "go the whole hog" and come out a real red, because there is no doubt whatsoever that while we on this side of the Committee have been, for all the 25 years to which the last speaker referred, firmly in favour of this reform, it is only comparatively recently that it has penetrated the penumbra of the benches opposite. We are very glad indeed to see this change of heart, and we welcome it heartily. As a member of the medical profession where, of course, we have had this beneficent reform in operation for some time, I am extremely glad indeed. No one would think of paying men doctors and women doctors at different rates, and no one ought to think of paying men and women teachers at different rates. It is ridiculous. The real reason is an inherent desire to keep the working classes in their place, which is one of the foundation principles of the great party opposite.
May I ask the hon. Gentleman, has the whole trade union movement been against paying men and women equally for equal work?
Why not surrender immediately, pay a little bit more, and get on with it?
I think my trade union friends on these benches have answered the Noble Lady's interruption with regard to trade unionism itself, but undoubtedly there is a tendency in this country to keep wages at low levels as far as possible. You have it in the case of the payment of soldiers. I know many cases at the present time, and the only real argument against paying women as much as men is that it will cost the Exchequer more and the Exchequer does not want to have anything costing it more at the present time. It will be resisted simply because it is more expensive. A great deal of the wages structure of industry in the past has been based on the appalling assumption that the man earning most really keeps the show going. That has been one of the foundations of sweating in the past, and this business of paying women less than men teachers is simply a form of sweating. I hope very much that the Amendment moved in such excellent terms by my hon. Friend and colleague in the representation of Islington will be accepted by the Minister as a piece of elementary commonsense long since overdue.
I would like to support the Amendment. The hon. and gallant Member for Stafford (Major Thorneycroft) told us he was not a feminist, but I listened with great interest to him putting forward every feminist argument that I have ever used myself. I think there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what constitutes a feminist. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) said earlier to-day that the one thing which would make this Bill a reality would be the quality of the teachers, and that is, indeed, true. I venture to suggest that however good a woman teacher is, she is unable to put forward her best—and teaching is a very exacting profession—unless she is free from financial care, and able to employ the same labour to look after her in her home, as a man would expect to have in his. If she is paid at a much lower rate, she must, inevitably, have worries and preoccupations which her male colleagues have not got, and this must militate to a certain extent against her being able to put forward the highest measure of efficiency. The Minister will tell us of course, as the hon. and gallant Member for Stafford said, that this is not the moment and this is not the place and this is not the time and that, indeed, it will not be possible to take this step in this Bill. I hope for once the Government will show themselves willing to keep abreast of public opinion. I do not ask too much. I do not ask that the Government should lead it. I merely ask that the Government should keep abreast of what is now really the public opinion of the country, that men and women should, when doing precisely the same work, be paid at precisely the same rate.
Surely, if ever there was a case for equal pay for equal work, it is the case of the teachers. They have to have the same qualifications as men teachers if they want to get a situation, they have to accept the same responsibilities. I know it has been argued that married male teachers have families to support, but in other occupations it is a case of the same wage for the same job, whether a man is married or single. Many women teachers have widowed mothers to support, and surely that is as great a responsibility on them as it is for family men. Therefore I hope that the Minister will accept this Amendment.
I listened to the speeches of the hon. Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) and the hon. Member for Frome (Mrs. Tate) as compared with the speeches of the men who have spoken in the same Debate, and I do not really think they can claim, as Members of Parliament, to be put on the same level. Do they really think, those ladies who have addressed the Committee to-day, that they are equally competent to do their jobs as Members of Parliament? Yet we pay them the same salaries. I wonder why? I imagine it is accepted as being a right and proper thing, even by the President of the Board of Education and by all the Conservative back-benchers who may go into the Lobby against this Amendment. I think, if it were proposed in this House that the women Members should be paid at a lower level of remuneration than the men, there would be an outcry because, among other things, it would bring a most undesirable element into the House of differentiation between Member and Member, not on the grounds of competence or anything else, but merely on the grounds of sex. I do not know how it slipped in to begin with. I expect it was because there was only one lady here and we said, "What can we do about her? She will be herself in any case." I do think that the women Members of the House have demonstrated on a field of operations of some considerable importance that in all our activities here they can play their part with the same competence as the rest of us.May I explain, because apparently it was not evident, that my opening remarks were intended to be ironic, that I do not think the presentation of the case to-day either by one lady or the other could have been improved upon by any Member of this House. I have been a teacher. I would not like to claim that I was a very great teacher—I know none of the headmasters that ever I worked under would admit it—but I was reasonably satisfied with my own relations with my children.
As far as one could judge. The quarrels I had were not with my pupils or my colleagues but with my chiefs. But whether I was good, bad or indifferent as a teacher, at every stage I was teaching in schools where there would be, perhaps, about four men and a dozen women, sometimes more, sometimes less, and I was never on a school staff yet in which there were not some of the women who were obviously clearly superior to the men—[An HON. MEMBER: "They always have been"]—clearly much more capable of handling children, and frequently much more cultured and of finer abilities.I have had the tremendous advantage of seeing for myself the fine men who have served in this walk of life, men with the touch and quality for the job. But in every school I was in there were always one or two women who were superior to the best men and I never came across a woman who was inferior to the worst man. I also had the advantage of having a father and mother who were both teachers, although my mother was never a teacher after she became a mother. I was able to estimate the relative capacities of my two parents—and they were ideal parents—and if I had had to come down on one side or the other as an educator of the young I would have put my money on my mother every time. So, I have personal, professional and family reasons for supporting the Amendment which has been moved. But I have also very much wider social reasons. In this Parliament we have already, in one or two small matters, recognised this principle. I do not think the Minister should resist the Amendment on the ground that it is opening the door. The door is open, it leads to a good road, and I hope it will be pushed open a little further.
I will not detain the Committee long, because I do not think I have ever heard an Amendment which has been better moved and supported than this one. There has been only one discordant tone, when party prejudice was introduced. This is not a party question at all; no party can look with pride on the part it has played in trying to get equal pay for women for equal work. To the hon. Member who said he was not a feminist I would say that an ordinary feminist would not go as far as an extraordinary feminist. His voice was like one crying in the wilderness among reformers. When young men talk about reform and equality they mean it. During the years I have been in this House I have heard much nonsense about equality; the time has come to treat women on equal terms. If this were the last vote I ever gave in my life I would give it in favour of this Amendment, because I have watched teachers pressing for equal pay for 24 years and I have seen the prejudice with which they have been met. There has never been any real, constructive argument behind the opposition; it has been pure prejudice by people who knew little about teaching. Let these people go into our schools and watch the women teachers at work. I guarantee that every one would say that on the whole, if there were to be any differentiation, it should be on the part of the men teachers and not the women. Go to any part of the country and see the great work which women teachers are doing.My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) is right. On the whole, a good woman teacher is far ahead of a good male teacher. She gives more because she has more to give. Some of us are a little worried about the spiritual barrenness of some members of the community. Generally speaking, women teachers are more spiritually minded than men. You have only to go to churches and chapels, and see the number of women in proportion to men, to realise that this is so. At the back of all real teaching is a profound love of children. I beg my right hon. Friend to listen to our plea, and I hope anyone against the Amendment will have the courage to speak against it, because we want to know where we are. I am sure that my right hon. Friend, in his heart, is with us, and it is for those who are against us to let us know where they are.
I would like the Committee, which has taken a businesslike attitude on this Bill, to realise exactly the spot on which I am being put by this Amendment. They can then decide what to do. In the meantime I must address myself to the facts of the situation. Here we have a perfectly legitimate issue, raised in a moderate and excellent manner by certain hon. Members in the form of an Amendment to this Bill, for which I have the honour to be responsible. I have attempted to indicate to those who have moved and supported the Amendment, that it is difficult for me to accept it and insert it in this Clause. I am informed that the subject is one of importance, that the matter is one of principle and that it appears that a clash upon this issue is likely. Well, if that is the position I am ready for that clash, but it seems to be unfortunate that it should be so, because the high-minded approach to the matter which has been made by hon. Members on all sides, not least of all by the mover, ought not to lead us into an impasse on an issue of this sort. If I explain the businesslike side of this matter, perhaps they will take a more reasonable attitude and confine themselves to making a demonstration on a subject on which they feel so strongly. But if that be so, let them decide after listening to what I have to say.First, is this a question of some sort of political issue in which hon. Members are indulging? I will certainly say that it is not, and that we can remove that atmosphere from our Debate altogether. We have not had any such atmosphere in Committee on the Bill and I do not propose that education should be used as a stalking-horse for people's political views. We have been remarkably successful on all sides in avoiding that. I hope the country will understand that, when people express themselves on some of these issues, they are not necessarily expressing themselves along political lines, but are using our Committee procedure to indicate what they feel on certain major issues of national importance. If that is so, we can clear the ground and start from that basis. I will bring in a few arguments in the end indicating my general attitude to the question, but I must be businesslike in regard to the Amendment. The object of this Clause is not to substitute the Minister for the present machinery which negotiates teachers' salaries, but to secure that agreements made under the Burnham machinery, as it is called, between teachers and authorities, if approved by the Minister, shall be mandatory upon authorities. The first thing the Committee must keep in mind is that I do not employ the teachers, nor does the Committee. The teachers are employed by the local authority, and their relations are with the local authority. In order to maintain proper conditions of service for teachers, we have perpetuated the Burnham machinery and it is not usual—it is certainly not my practice or intention — for the Minister to give directions to the Burnham panels before they come to their decisions about teachers' salaries. The effect of the Amendment would be to turn over all that priceless machinery, by insisting that the Minister should not differentiate between the scales given to men and those of women teachers. That would mean that the Minister would have to come into the Burnham machinery in an entirely new capacity, and I refuse to adopt that role. It would be very wrong. Tributes have been paid to the work of the teachers in the war, and I have been glad to pay those tributes myself. The teachers have done a magnificent service. But it does not mean that we can, by this sort of suggested Amendment, corning into a Clause like this, impose the Minister on top of their own machinery for deciding their own conditions. It would be a very different matter if the Burnham panels decided to consider the question of differentiation of rates themselves. If the Burnham panels want to consider the question, whether there should be equal pay for equal work, they are perfectly entitled to do so. That brings me to the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Stafford (Major Thorneycroft), that there is, first of all, the principle and, secondly, the best way of giving effect to it. I maintain that the method adopted by the Mover of the Amendment is not the best way of giving effect to it. It upsets the balance of the machinery under which teachers' salaries are arranged, and it brings in the Minister in a way that he has not been brought in since the inception of the machinery. It destroys a form of machinery on which we have depended for the teachers' contentment for a very long time. One of the reasons why the teachers have been satisfied is that they have their own machinery for regulating their own affairs.
Has the Burnham Committee ever been given any guidance?
I have investigated very carefully the question of the guidance which might or might not have been given to the Burnham machinery by my predecessors and I cannot find instances in which they have gone to anything like the extent of interference suggested in the Amendment. I myself am not intending, in answer to an Amendment in Committee, to upset the very valuable precedent which has been created by my predecessors and is followed by the teachers themselves. Therefore, I do not consider that the bringing in of the Minister on this question is a thing that I ought to be asked to take up. It would be unfair to me in my responsibility towards the teachers; it would be unfair to the Burnham machinery, and it is the wrong method of approach.
If the House decided to relieve the Minister and the Burnham Committee also—
I am not prepared to advise the Committee to insert this Amendment. I think it would put the Minister in an entirely false position in regard to the Burnham machinery and one which I am not prepared to adopt myself. I have been administering the Department for three years and I can give the Committee my experience that it works very well without being interfered with by the Minister. That is one of the reasons why it works well and I do not propose to upset it.
Is it not the case that the House of Commons has created precedents galore as far as negotiating machinery is concerned in regard to hours of labour and terms of employment?
Would it not strengthen the President in what he wants in his heart if this was carried out?
It is ingenuous of the Noble Lady to suggest that I should not vote but the Committee should. I am here to give a lead to the Committee. If they do not like my lead, they can find someone else to give them one. I have stated my position without fear or favour and not according to any desire to avoid difficulties by undertaking obligations which I cannot fulfil. If I am obliged to make this insertion in the Bill it will put me in a position in regard to the Burnham machinery which I am not prepared to take up and I do not think, in view of the relations between the teachers and the authorities, a decision on this very large issue should be imposed upon the Burnham machinery by the Committee. If the Burnham panels, in the light of national considerations, consider that it is right to have equal pay for equal work, I should like them to have a debate about it and to make a submission to me. If they do, I can judge it in the light of their own views. But I have no evidence that they desire this reform and I have no evidence of a debate that has taken place in their ranks recently on the subject. I do not doubt, as a great many of the teachers in the Burnham machinery are women, that many of them would like this reform, but I have no recent evidence to show me that that is the case. I take the view that it would be right to let the Burnham panels and the teachers themselves submit their views to me, on the best course to adopt.Here I must warn the Committee that this question of equal pay for equal work for teachers is obviously linked up with the national position and we cannot decide it absolutely in isolation. I cannot stand before the Committee and advise them to impose upon authorities the need for making this experiment, if this is not the practice in the Civil Service and other great branches of employment. It would be wrong for me to tell the Committee that I can give them that lead. The Committee seems to imagine that I am a dictator. Unless I get evidence that the authorities and the teachers desire this, I cannot advise the Committee to accept it. I understand that my hon. Friends have been to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer and have discussed with him the question of equal pay for equal work. They have received from him some very valid arguments explaining the difficulties of the position. He has also explained to them some of the economic results which would flow from this major innovation of policy in the field of the Civil Service. I understand that they have no absolute undertaking from him or the Government that this reform can be introduced. I beseech them not to ask me to insert by force this provision in an Education Bill before the matter has been decided as a national question first. It would be very unfair from the point of view of the authorities and those who employ the teachers. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor spoke to the deputation he received with that courtesy which one always associates with him and the he listened to their arguments. Let me say that I will equally listen to the arguments that have been raised to-day. I will discuss the matter with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, and if the issue comes to a general Debate on another occasion I will bring in the whole weight of my experience of the teaching profession to see what value there is in the arguments, what difficulties might be created, and what advantages I think would arise. In discussing the matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer I shall be armed with the arguments that have been put forward to-day, and I shall regard the Debate to-day as a valuable Debate on this subject. But to request me to put in this provision before the general question is decided would be wrong for the reasons I have given. My final argument is this. In speeches made by reformers, whether they be Tory reformers or others, there are always arguments about the Government doing nothing and such similar approaches to the subject. These no doubt are put forward with the usual dialectical skill of those who use them, and no doubt in a very good atmosphere, but I am asked by the hon. Lady the Member for Frome (Mrs. Tate) to keep abreast of public opinion. I could make a long speech on the merits and demerits of equal pay for equal work, but this is not the occasion for me to do so. I can, however, give an earnest to the Committee that I am as much desirous of reform as anybody else, including any member of the Tory Reform Committee. I have already shown that by the practical work of reform which I hold in my hand. They have not taken my advice on one occasion hitherto and they have, with others, taken part in a Division against the Government. In my view, a Division against the Government is not just a demonstration; it is a serious thing; and if they decide to vote against the Government instead of taking the advice I have given a second time the responsibility must be theirs. I cannot help feeling that this is not an occasion when we should have a large demonstration insisting that the Minister should insert in the Bill an Amendment which he has shown is contrary to the whole machinery by which wages are decided in the teaching profession. If hon. Members will take it from me that I will listen to their point of view and discuss it with the Chancellor, I shall do so in a perfectly good spirit, but if they say that they can only decide this matter by mobilising forces and voting against me, I can only say that I do not think it is in the interest of this great reform which I hold in my hand.
Speaking for my hon. Friends, I would like to say that our party have definitely taken the line that equal pay for equal work is party policy, with due apologies to the hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor). If this matter is pressed to a Division, we shall vote for equal pay for women teachers on this Amendment. We take the view that it is high time, when an important issue of this kind is brought before the House, as it has been on a number of occasions, that the House should make clear what its view is and give a lead to the Government. There is nothing wrong in this Committee laying down to a body like the people running the Burnham machinery the kind of lines which the Committee think they ought to follow. There is nothing wrong in laying down general principles and marching orders to a negotiating body of that kind. We do not think that is an undue interference with such a body. The House of Commons has, in the past, made pronouncements in favour of equal pay for equal work in the Civil Service, and it has never been used as an argument that it might break up the Whitley Council negotiating machinery. The people operating the Whitley Council machinery have not carried out the wishes of the House, but the House has made clear what it thought ought to be done.If we want this important reform carried through, the House of Commons must avail itself of every opportunity to make clear what its views are. Only by getting changes made one by one to begin with will we get the general principle established and the change carried through. This is one of the occasions, and an important one, on which the House should definitely state what its view is. Then the Government can pay attention to the view, of the House, not only with regard to this particular question, but with regard to the general question. The Committee, in taking a decision on this issue, will help to get a decision taken by the Government on the general issue. I do not think that the hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth strengthened her case. She rather overstated the feminist argument. I do not think it is true 'to say that all women teachers are necessarily better than men teachers. There are many men teachers better than women teachers, just as there are many women teachers better than men teachers.
It was another Member who said that.
If the hon. Lady looks at her speech to-morrow she will find that she made some such remark. Most of those who are in favour of the Amendment take the view that a good man and a good woman doing the same kind of job should be entitled to the same conditions and remuneration. If this matter is carried to a Division we shall, as a party, support it because it is in line with our party policy and we think that it is a good thing with regard to this Bill.
I am sorry that the Minister has not been able to speak more favourably of this Amendment. The objections he raised are not such as have carried conviction to Members as a whole. The first argument, that it would be interfering with the Burnham Committee, cannot, I think, be pressed too far. It would not be inter- ference if the Committee merely decided that as a matter of general principle, in negotiating wages questions with the teachers, they should not differentiate solely on the grounds of sex. The argument that it would be interfering with the negotiating machinery is not really sound.
The view I expressed is the unanimous opinion of all the people from whom I have obtained advice on this Amendment and of all those concerned in this vital question of keeping the Burnham machinery going.
I accept that. I am only saying, as a Member of the House, that it ought not to be regarded as an interference with the teachers' negotiating machinery on wage matters. The second argument was that it was not wise to deal on a specific piece of legislation with a general question without deciding it in all matters at once. This House has disregarded that argument on so many occasions that it cannot be used with special effect to-day. The hon. Member for Frome (Mts. Tate) waged a battle for equal remuneration for women in the matter of civil injuries. The same point was made against her then that this was a general question of national policy which should not be raised on a specific issue, but although she did not carry the House, if I remember aright, she got such a strong expression of opinion on the part of the House that the Government themselves brought in a Measure later on, in which they gave equal compensation to women in the matter of civil injuries.It is time that this House made this matter quite clear. We have decided, as it has been said, many times, in favour of the general principle, on ordinary Motions. When we have had an opportunity on specific Measures, there has been a very considerable vote always in favour of the principle. It is time that the principle was acknowledged, and adopted as a general question of national policy. Until that is done, we can deal with it only on specific issues. After all, it has been adopted in many particular cases. We have equal franchise. That was given as a concession, without the broad principle being granted in every respect. If there is one thing in my political life that I have stood for firmly it is for the equality of the sexes. I was lucky enough, as long ago as 1923, to draw a position in the Private Members' Ballot. The Measure I put down I was lucky enough to get on to the Statute Book. It was the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1923, which established the principle of equality in a very important matter which has affected the lives and happiness of very many thousands of people. I have already referred to the Measure which the hon. Lady the Member for Frome was able to get through. We ought to maintain this principle. It is far too late in the day to say that there is any argument whatever against the merits of the principle of equal pay for equal work. Remember what that means. It does not mean that a woman must be paid the same as a man irrespective of the quality of the work done. There is plenty of scope for distinction and differentiation between a woman and a man, if it can be genuinely shown that the woman is not doing the same work for the same remuneration. There is no argument that can be raised to-day against that principle. I am speaking on the broadest possible grounds in raising this question. I am in favour of the general principle of equal pay for equal work, and I see no reason why the Amendment ought to give rise to any undue difficulty if it is adopted.
I rise to support the Amendment, but not to reiterate the many arguments that have been so excellently used by previous speakers. Indeed, I would rather not have spoken at all. It is better that this principle should be urged by men speakers, rather than by women, but I want to put forward one principle which has not been referred to. There is only one respectable objection which is usually brought forward to equal pay for equal work in the teaching profession. The President of the Board of Education did not allude to it, because he was dealing with the general principles of the Bill. As to the Bill, I would only observe that, as someone must take a lead in establishing the principle, what profession is more suitable for doing so than the teaching profession, which has such special claims in regard to the wellbeing of children?The one respectable argument to which I referred is that of the greater family responsibilities of men. The hon. Lady the Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) suggested that the difficulty might be overcome by family allowances and children allowances. Might I just embroider that suggestion briefly? If the excuse for higher pay for men than for women teachers is the greater family responsibilities of men, then the present differentiation between the sexes in the teaching profession is ridiculously inadequate. There is a difference in the scales which benefits large numbers of men who have no family responsibilities and penalises many women who have family responsibilities, and for the men who have children the difference in pay is inadequate. The one way in which we could benefit the people with children without interfering with the sacred principle of equal pay for work of equal value is by family allowances and marriage allowances. If the Committee decide to endorse this principle or if it does not, and whatever the result of the Division, if there is one, it has been strongly shown in the Committee that the Government have to take this matter further. The Minister should work for establishing the principle. Then he should provide for the difficulties that arise out of the established principle by introducing a really adequate scheme of family allowances, but not on the scale contemplated by the Government, which is a children's allowance of 5s. a week beginning with the second child. That would not meet the family liabilities of the teaching or any other profession. He should supplement any flat rate Government scheme by a really adequate scheme adapted to the needs of the profession. If that were done, it would remove the one respectable reason for differentiating in pay between men and women teachers.
I want to suggest to the Committee some considerations which ought to be in our minds and which have not been uttered in this Debate. Let me give my own experience from my own constituency. I ask other hon. Members to do the same. I have had hundreds of letters of all kinds asking me to support wholly and wholeheartedly this Bill intact. I have received deputations from representatives of trade unions, the National Union of Teachers and other bodies. In none of the deputations and in none of the correspondence has anything been said about equal pay for the teachers, except in the case of the schoolmasters' deputation on Saturday morning. That was a totally different proposition. [An HON. MEMBER: "They were against it."] Yes, they were against equal pay. Before we take a vote on this business I ask hon. Members to think once, twice and thrice.
I must confess that I have had a very great deal of sympathy with my right hon. Friend in the speech he was obliged to deliver some half-hour ago. Let me say at once that I admire the courage with which he stuck to his guns; I admire his loyalty to his colleagues and to his Department, and the very last thing any of us would desire to do would be to throw any reflection at all upon the sincerity and determination with which he has brought forward and is carrying through his great measure of reform. I must say, however, that I was just a little distressed at part of the tone which he allowed himself to adopt in some of his remarks. He seemed to think that those who were proposing, to use his own phrase, not to take his advice, were doing it for some light or frivolous reason. He impressed upon us more than once that it was not a light thing to vote against the Government, and he seemed to complain that twice in a week we should have seen fit to disregard the advice of a Minister of the Crown. It seems to me a little unjust to suggest that because, as we know, he is a great reformer and a sincere believer in reform, we should be bound to take his advice on every occasion, or if not on every occasion at least not to disregard it more than once a week. Let me assure my right hon. Friend that it is precisely because we recognise him as a friend of reform that we think it unfortunate that he should distress his own closest supporters by trying to treat us in that way. Let me add this, since it is suggested that some of us think it a light thing to vote against the Government, that during the last month the Government have had cause to be very grateful indeed for the help we gave them in a Division which was very distressing for us and difficult for us in our constituencies. It is an ill service with which to requite those who support the Government when they are in danger of falling to suggest that they must follow their advice every time on a Committee point in the course of a Bill.It did occur to me that my right hon. Friend was driven by circumstances to be a little below his best form on this particular issue. Admire as we necessarily must the cool and persuasive eloquence with which he put his case, what he said in fact was that this Amendment was inapposite, it was inappropriate, because he was afraid it would overturn the Burnham machinery. It occurred to me that he had misread this Clause of the Bill and the Amendment which it is proposed to insert. This Amendment does not overturn the Burnham machinery. This Amendment does not even put my right hon. Friend in the position which he feared. This Amendment does not challenge or interfere with the Burnham machinery. The words which it is proposed to insert simply say that, he shall not differentiate between the sexes in matters of pay. That is not an interference, I should have thought, within the meaning of his argument. On the contrary it is the Statute which does any interference which has to be done, and not the Minister. The Statute which it is proposed to pass and the interference which it is proposed to adopt is not the kind of recurring interference which would interfere with the working of the Burnham machinery. It is a statement laying down once and for all, without any recurrence, the guiding principle which should govern the working of the Burnham machinery in a matter which has hitherto been a question of controversy. It is not my desire to make any debating point. If this Amendment is a bad Amendment for some reason, if it is not the best way to establish equal pay for teachers—I understand my right hon. Friend takes that line—by all means we would withdraw it, on one condition, that we could get an assurance that he would put us right, that he would do the thing which we seek to do in the manner most appropriate to him and to the Department. If he refuses that assurance we have to divide on the Amendment before the Committee and not on any other possible alternative. If he refuses to give an assurance that he will do the thing in the way most appropriate to him and most convenient to his Department he can hardly complain if some of us do it in the way in which it has been proposed by those who have the principle at heart. For that reason I cannot accept the argument that this particular Amendment is not the appropriate way in which to deal with this question. The only other argument with which the Minister supported his case was that it was impossible to deal with this question in isolation from that of the Civil Service. It was here that I felt my sympathy for the Minister, but it was here particularly that I felt the weakness of his plea that we should take his advice, because of course the Minister of Education must take this line. We should all of us, if we held the high responsibilities of my right hon. Friend, have to take this line. It is certainly true that if this Amendment is passed it will affect the position of the Civil Service. It is intended to do so, and it is quite clear that the Minister of Education, speaking as a Departmental Officer, finds himself somewhat embarrassed in his dealings, for instance, with the Treasury by the mischance that his own Bill should be the occasion when this principle falls to be determined by the House. But Parliamentary time is a very precious commodity these days. The House cannot demand, as it demands in days of peace, the opportunity to debate an issue on the particular occasion on which it is most convenient to do so. It has to take its issue when it comes, and we have no evidence whatever from anything my right hon. Friend has said, that if we do not press this matter to a Division now we shall get a Debate on equal pay for civil servants within a reasonable time. If the Debate were given before Easter on the Civil Service generally, it might well be that we should change our minds. We do not wish to force my right hon. Friend into a difficult position as between himself and his colleagues, or as between his Department and other Departments, but it is quite plain that in the absence of any set assurance we must take the opportunity which Providence has placed in our hands, and raise this matter in the form in which it has been raised by my hon. Friend.
Do I understand the hon. Member to say that if the Government will give a Debate on civil servants' pay he will withdraw the Amendment dealing with teachers' salaries?
What I did say was—I did not think that there had been any misunderstanding—that there had been no such assurance, and that if such assurance were forthcoming we might have to consider our position again.
Does the hon. Member say that he would be satisfied merely with the assurance of a Debate on equal pay for the Civil Service?
The hon. Member has not interpreted me aright. What I said was that there had been no such assurance, and that in the absence of such assurance, whatever we might do if such assurance came, surely the course of the Committee is a fairly plain one. That is the only point I was making. The fact is—
May I ask my hon. Friend whether he has, through the usual channels, asked for a day for discussion of equal pay for equal work in the Civil Service before Easter? If so, I am ready to put myself immediately in touch with the Chief Whip and find out the result of their discussion.
I think my right hon. Friend is too ingenious.
The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) has said that if he could get a discussion on the major issue he would be ready not to press his Amendment just now. I have said in my speech that I am ready to put before the Chancellor the arguments used in this Debate. I am simply asking him whether, through the usual channels, he has asked for a day for the discussion of this matter before Easter, because if he has I would immediately find out the result?
My right hon. Friend, owing to his high duties, is evidently not sufficiently familiar with the situation on the Order Paper. For a long time now there has been a Motion down, in the names of certain of my hon. Friends, which I have supported, asking for this very thing.
Surely the hon. Member does not suggest that I do not read the Order Paper. I have had this Motion before me during the whole time that I have been considering this question. What I asked the hon. Member is, whether he has asked the Government for a day before Easter to discuss this question?
As I understand, it is the responsibility of those who put the Motion on the Order Paper to press the Government for a Debate, and they have been constantly pressing the Government for such a Debate ever since the Motion was put down.
I have been informed, from the other end of the channel from that for which the hon. Member speaks, that there has not been a request made for a Debate before Easter. Why is the hon. Member pressing his request to-day?
My right hon. Friend is overlooking the fact that neither the Motion nor the Amendment is in my name, and that the responsibility for pressing for such a Debate is on those, who put the Motion down.
Is it not the fact that the hon. Member has such control over his followers that he must be responsible for everything they do? I understand that the discipline among his followers is of a very high standard.
My right hon. Friend misunderstands the position altogether. I understand that we were informed that no day was available.
Is it in Order, on this Clause, to discuss whether there shall be a Debate on Civil Service pay?
So far the discussion has, I think, been in Order, and I hope that it will continue to be in Order.
I am obliged to you, Major Milner, for that Ruling. It was, in fact, only the interest of my hon. Friend the Member of Keighley (Mr. Ivor Thomas) which caused me in any way to digress from the topic of the Amendment. It is because we have, so far as we know, no other immediate opportunity to take this matter to a definite decision that we have to take the opportunity that we have before us. It seems to me that the real effect of this Amendment, if it were carried, would not be to divide teachers from the Civil Service, but to compel the Government to do something for teachers in the way most appropriate, and to assimilate its practice with regard to civil servants to what has been decided by this Committee in relation to teachers.
Would the, hon. Member not extend the principle also to coalmining, quarrying, the Army, and other occupations?
They have not yet descended so far as to have women in coalmining.
That is exactly the observation that I was proposing to make. But to follow the rather enticing line of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Rear-Admiral Beamish) would be to take the Committee too far. It is sufficient for me to say that this appears to us to raise a question of principle and that none of the various arguments which have been put forward alters the fact that the principle has been raised and that we have no other Parliamentary opportunity of expressing our views. Without the smallest desire either to embarrass or to distress my right hon. Friend, we are bound to stick to what we have said on the Order Paper.
After so many speeches have been made the other way, I intend to say a word or two in support of the Minister. In view of the serious consequences which this matter may have, we ought not to hasten the conclusion of this Debate unduly. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) I thought was rather tiresomely virtuous when he explained, early in his speech, how self-sacrificing and noble it was of him to have supported the Government on another occasion. He seemed to imagine that, as a result of that, he should receive more consideration from the Minister now. Other Members have quite as much virtue as he has, but they do not always make quite so much noise about it. I doubt whether there is any real difference of opinion regarding equal pay. The issue is whether or not this Amendment will satisfactorily achieve what many Members on all sides of the House desire. The Minister says that, under present conditions, without having had the opportunity to discuss and decide upon the arguments, he is not prepared to go past the Burnham scale. It seems to me wrong on what is only a matter of approach, to tell the Minister that he can either go or, if he stays, go against the Burnham scale. Whatever the hon. Member for Oxford says, the Burnham scales are differential; and if the Minister says that the scales shall not be differential, he is taking upon himself an utterly new position. We ought to be sure, in view of the efforts to make this Bill useful and workable, in view of the fact that neither the Minister nor anybody else on the Front Bench has come down against the principle of equal pay, that, because we do not quite like the way the Minister is approaching this issue, we shall not do anything which will bring the Minister down if we are successful.
I shall be very brief, because I think that the case for equal pay for men and women can be put much more effectively by the male Members than by the women Members. We have heard the Minister and other Members call this Bill a great Measure of reform. If this Amendment is not carried, the right hon. Gentleman will no longer be justified in calling this a great Measure—it will be a Measure of reform, but not a great Measure. A great Measure of reform, and, with respect to the Minister, a great man, would not continue to perpetuate this injustice. He would not continue the perpetuation of an injustice among employees who are serving the State and serving his Department. Seventy per cent. of the teachers in this country are women, and there is no need, of course, for me to elaborate what has been said about them. I only draw attention to one point. We have heard to-day about the principle involved. We have heard that women have not the same responsibility as men, but I want to ask the Minister this, Why is it that, in his Department, he pays women doctors who work for him at equal rates with the men? Why is it that he pays women who work in his schools examining the children's bodies at the same rates as men, but fails to do the same justice to the women who examine the children's minds? This is very important, and I regret to say that the reason why the Board of Education do justice to their women doctors is because we have been able to bring more pressure to bear on the Board than have the women teachers. We have, I may say, with due respect to the representatives of the teaching profession in Parliament, been more forceful in the interests of women doctors than they have in the interests of women teachers. While I have been in the House, many men on both sides of the House have come to me on many occasions and said, "I agree with you" on certain matters concerning equal status of men and women. I appeal to these men on both sides of the Committee now to put their precepts into practice. In a few minutes' time, they will have the opportunity either to support this principle, and vote for equal pay for women in the teaching profession, or to oppose it.
I am going to support the Government. I think the time has come when I should take the opportunity to say why. I am not going to do it by trying to make a long and eloquent speech; I want to give my reasons briefly. I am not going to try to debate the question of the principle of equal pay for men and women. I have strong views, which do not differ very much from those of some of the hon. Members who have already spoken, but I am not going to put them now, because I do not think that now is either the time or the place, on an Education Bill. The principle, if it is just, must be applied equally; otherwise, it is not a principle, but an injustice. If you are going to apply this to teachers only, it will be an injustice to a good many other women. [Interruption.] Well, I am entitled to my views. Remember this, that the money to pay for equal payment for women teachers will have to come from the public, and there are quite as many women ratepayers and taxpayers who would not he receiving this same advantage. In my opinion, the time and place for this would be when there was a proper discussion of equal pay to be applied all round. I shall support the Government on those grounds, and I believe I am speaking, not only for myself, but for the vast majority of local authorities. [Interruption.] I believe that the vast majority of them would say that it would be unjust to make them pay to one section on a principle which is denied to the others.
I want to put forward two arguments to refute the statements of the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb). I beg of the Minister not to treat this matter as if we are all opposed to the Bill. There are sections of us on this side who are strongly behind him, and yet who will vote for this Amendment.
I did not say I was speaking for the local authorities. I said I was speaking for myself and, I believe, for many local authorities.
We are not necessarily going to be bound either by what the teachers say or the local authorities. This is the House of Commons, and the nation pays 60 per cent. of the cost, and I think it will pay rather more before this Bill is through. One in four of the girls who go from the secondary schools to-day—if this Bill is to be implemented—will have to be teachers, and we want to get them. This is an educational question, and it has got almost nothing to do with equal pay for equal work. My hon. Friend the Member for, East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) are dead right. It is a case of teaching, and there is no arguable case against it. I. want this House not to fetter the Minister in relation to Burnham, but to allow him to give guidance to the Committee, and for those and many other reasons I hope there will be an overwhelming majority to back up the President in tendering such guidance.
I think the hon. Member is, perhaps, to be congratulated on setting a lead to the Labour Party for the second time in a short space of time, and perhaps the Labour Party is to be congratulated on following a lead set by the Conservative Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Our Amendment was down fsirst."] In listening to this Debate, I have made up my mind how to vote. I am quite clear that this is not the time or place to decide a principle of such great importance. It is perfectly clear, from the words of the Clause, that if we, as a body, decide as a matter of principle that there should be equal pay for all women, the Minister can in fact do it by improving the scales. To bring it in here and raise this issue at this hour, and shout "Divide" when anyone wishes to speak, seems to me to be a negation of the rights and duties of Members of Parliament. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) talked about us being compelled to take the advice of the Minister. I listened to what he had to say, and, listening to his speech, the more satisfied I was that this was neither the time nor the place to decide this issue.
I think we do want to make a little progress with the Bill. [Interruption.] Even—
On a point of Order, Major Milner. You called the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher).
I did not complete the hon. Member's name.
I certainly think, Major Milner, you called the hon. Member for West Fife, and I say, quite frankly, that I am not going to have anybody break Rules for the Front Bench.
I have listened to every speech since the Amendment was moved, and I have been very interested in this Amendment. I am very interested in the Minister and in his Bill. I consider it differently from some hon. Members, and I think it is a good and desirable Bill. I consider that the Minister is doing a very good job, and, while I am for equal pay and will support this Amendment, I have very great sympathy for the Minister. I heard the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) compliment the Minister on his loyalty to his colleagues. I certainly could not compliment the young Tories on their loyalty to their colleagues. Whenever the young Tories get an opportunity they seize upon some particularly feasible proposal and use it for unscrupulous demagogy.— [Interruption.] I likened to the young Tories making a case for equal pay. What is it that we are faced with here?Women teachers are not -paid less than men teachers because of any loss of quality; whether they are better or whether they are worse is not taken into account. What is the cause? A short study of Marx would provide the answer to that. It is based on the fact that those who give services or labour whether in factories or in the teaching profession are only paid the amount necessary for their maintenance and their reproduction. In arguing the case for equal opportunity, or payment according to worth, the young Tories are arguing for something which is very desirable—the elimination of themselves and their own class, for they are worth nothing. The Minister did not make a good case in facing this Amendment. The fact that the Burnham Committee has not had representations of this kind before, is no reason why it should not have representations now. It would not affect the working of the Committee, in any consideration of the wages of teachers, if, by the principles laid down by the House, distinction had to be avoided. The leader of the young Tories said that in this House for the past quarter of a century we have been doing nothing but righting wrong. With that sentence the young Tory leader paid the greatest tribute to hon. Members on this side of the Committee that has ever been paid. It is a quarter of a century since the main body of the Labour. Members came into this House, and it is only because we have a Labour movement fighting for better conditions for the people as a whole that we can get such a thing as young Tories running around as though they were concerned with the welfare of the working classes. The Minister did not make out a good case. I would have liked to hear him make as good a case on this as on other matters. He claimed that he had paid as high tributes to teachers as others have paid. It is possible to pay high tributes, but the Amendment deals with the paying of higher wages to women teachers and not high tributes, and it would be more desirable if the Minister was less concerned with paying high tributes and accepted the principle of equal wages for all. To refer once again to the young Tories, the hon. Member for Oxford said that if they could not get anything from the Minister they would have to use the opportunity that Providence placed in their hands. If Providence has no other means of giving effect to its desire than through the young Tories, then Providence must be in a very sad way.
I do not desire to come between the Committee and its wish to get to a Division, for more than a moment or two, but I would like to remind the Committee that they are facing a very serious decision. This is not a matter to be lightly undertaken. We are now going to decide, if there is a Division, on a matter of somewhat grave principle. We shall not be deciding whether there is to be equal pay under all circumstances for men and women, but only whether there shall be equal pay for men and women providing they are doing the same job and doing it equally well. I was sorry when I heard the Minister tell us that this was not the right time or the right place in which to establish this principle, that he did not tell us how we were to convey to the Burnham Committee what I venture to suggest is the opinion of a majority of the Mem bers of this House, namely, that the time has come when the principle of equal pay for equally well done work should be established.If the Minister could enlighten us on how we are to convey to those who will have the responsibility for paying teachers under this Bill, that the House of Commons feels that men and women teachers who are doing the same job equally well should receive equal pay, I think the House would be satisfied but he has not told us that. He has only told us that he will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer so that the whole question of equal pay may be discussed. But we are discussing an Education Bill and therefore I do not think that this is the time for enlarging the matter into whether equal pay for equal work should exist in all industries, because in some it probably would be impossible. I believe that the view of many people in this House on what is a matter of real principle is just this: that when a man and a woman with equal qualifications are teaching similar classes and doing it equally well, then this House at this time in the history of this country desires that they shall be paid an equal sum.
I only want to say that the profession, as a whole, endorses the principle of equal pay. There is no difference about that in the profession. I realise the difficulty of my right hon. Friend but at least 90 to 95 per cent. of the profession are in favour of equal pay for equal work. Therefore I have no alternative but to support that principle.
I have no doubt in my own mind about the principle of equal pay for men and women for equal work. I have listened to the Debate very carefully but I cannot see that that is what we have to decide to-night. The question we have to decide is whether Clause 82 is or is not the place to put in this Amendment and to deal with this question. I felt there was very great force—and I am sorry that the Committee has not given sufficient attention to it—in the Minister's argument about interfering with the existing machinery for dealing with these questions. If from the machinery there comes up a demand for equal pay for men and women teachers, there is nothing in Clause 82 which prevents the Minister giving his assent to it. From some of the speeches, one would almost think that Clause 82 says that if a demand is made for equal pay for equal work for women teachers, the Minister would be obliged to refuse it. There is nothing of that sort in the Clause. Moreover, I would like to bring home if I can the danger of the principle that we are establishing if we do this in this form. We are not dealing with the principle of equal pay for men and women. What we are dealing with is this question of how far, and in what way, the House of Commons should impose its wishes upon tribunals which are set up to deal with questions of wages. We have just had a most disastrous experience. Everybody in this Committee is in favour of the minimum wage, yet we have just had a minimum wage award given which has thrown a whole industry into chaos, and there could be no question—
The hon. Member must not bring that in. It has nothing to do with this question.
On a point of Order. That is not a matter which should be brought up now.
That argument must not be brought up now.
I gave that as an illustration, with respect, Major Milner, to show that if you interfere with negotiating machinery, you are apt to create as many anomalies as you try to abolish. Therefore I think that in this instance we should be making a fatal mistake. No one can doubt but that from the Burnham machinery there will come, very shortly, a demand for this particular thing, but when that comes forward—
Why should we assume that?
We have just been told by the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) that the profession is 95 per cent. in favour of equal pay. If that is so, does he mean to tell me that the Burnham Committee and representatives of all the branches of teachers will not bring this matter forward? Of course they will. But how will they bring it forward? They will bring it forward as part of a scheme for discussing anomalies that may arise, and it will then come forward in what I venture to think will be a more constitutional way and we shall avoid the anomalies which may be created if we pass this Amendment. I am quite willing, as I believe most Members are, to pledge myself to vote for this principle, if it comes up in any general way, but to insert these words here—
Here is an opportunity.
But to bring this in at the tag end of a Clause dealing with a relatively minor matter otherwise, seems to me a great mistake, and for that reason I shall certainly vote for the Government.
I am anxious about the progress of this Bill. It is, after all, rather an important Bill and we want to get on with this. This is also a very important issue. I fear that I cannot add anything more to what I have said. I realise the very strong feeling in the Committee. I cannot impose, by Statute, duties upon the authorities and on the teachers and on their negotiating machinery in the way suggested to the Committee. The Committee, therefore, are putting me in a very difficult position and I am extremely sorry that I cannot take up a more helpful attitude so as to get them all out of their troubles. But I am afraid I cannot do it. I cannot be put in this position and I would not be ready to accept the responsibilities of being in such a position. In the circumstances, I think it would be as well if we came to an early decision. The only thing I can do for the Committee is, as I say, to put the horse before the cart, and to discuss with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer the main issues involved in this question, so that the main issues can be decided before the teacher issue is decided.
The right hon. Gentleman can still do that.
Yes, I could still do that afterwards, if I were still there. The other thing I can do is to see that this matter is properly considered by the Burnham machinery, but I am perfectly certain that the Burnham Committee will wish to have an indication of what is the attitude towards civil servants, for example, before they make up their minds. Therefore I cannot at this stage give the Committee any further guidance. If I thought I could, I would. The only thing which remains for me to say is that if people do not like the way I have expressed my case I am very sorry. I have been put in a difficult position and it would be much worse for me to undertake to do what I know I cannot conscientiously carry out and, therefore, I must put
Division No. 11
|Adamsan, Mrs. Jennie L. (Dartford)||Frankel, D.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Montague, F.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Gallacher, W.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. (Rochdale)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Gates, Major, E. E.||Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge)|
|Barnes, A. J.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Mort, D. L.|
|Barr, J.||Gibbins, J.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Glanville, J. E.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bartlett, C. V. O.||Gledhill, G.||Owen, Major Sir G.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Granville, E. L.||Parker, J.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Pearson, A.|
|Benson, G||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Price, M. P.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale)||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Islington, N.)||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Guy, W. H.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Bower Norman (Harrow)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Ritson, J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Harvey, T. E.||Silkin, L.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Silverman, S. S.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Holdsworth, Sir H.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Horabin, T. L.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Burke, W A.||Hubbard, T. F.||Storey, S.|
|Cadogan, Major Sir E.||Hughes, R. Moelwyn||Suirdale, Viscount|
|Cape, T.||Hunter, Sir T.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Cocks, F. S.||Hutchinson, G. C. (Ilford)||Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.|
|Collindridge, F.||Hynd, J. B.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Cove, W. G.||Isaacs, G. A.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Daggar, G.||Kendall, W. D.||Thomas, I. (Keighley)|
|Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Key, C. W.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, D.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leslie, J. R.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Doland, G. F.||Lindsay, K. M.||Woodburn, A.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Linstead, H. N.||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|Dunn, E.||Lipson, D. L.||Wright, Mrs. Beatrice F. (Bodmin)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Logan, D. G.||Wright, Group Capt. J. (Erdington)|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||MacLaren, A.||York, Major C.|
|Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel)||Mathers, G.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Foster, W.||Messer, F.||Mrs. Cazalet Keir and.|
|Adamson, w. M, (Cannock)||Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R. (C. Ldn.)||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hon. L. W.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gt'n. N.)||Keatinge, Major E. M.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Ede, J. C.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Leach, W.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C||Ellis, Sir G.||Liddall, W. S.|
|Beaumont, Maj. Han. R. E. B. (P'ts'h)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)|
|Beech, Major F. W.||Evans, Colonel A. (Cardiff, S.)||Loftus, P. C.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Fermoy, Lord||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Oliver|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)||Mabarte, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Berry, Hon. G. L. (Buckingham)||Gibson, Sir C. G.||McCallum, Major D.|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Gower, Sir R. V.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Greenwell, Col. T. G.||McKie, J. H.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Gretton, j. F.||Magnay, T.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.|
|Bull, B. B.||Grimston, R. V (Westbury)||Mander, G. le M.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Hammersley, S. S.||Manningham-Buller, Major R. E.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Channon, H.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C.||Hepburn, Major P. G. T. Buchan-||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Holmes, J. S.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. G. I. C. (E'burgh)||Petherick, M.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||James, Wing-Com. A. (Well'borough)||Pilkington, Captain R. A.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||James, Admiral Sir W. (Ports'th, N.)||Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.|
|Denville, Alfred||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Pym, L. R.|
myself and the Government in the hands of the Committee.
Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Ayes 117; Noes 166.
|Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Rankin, Sir R.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Sandys, E. D.||Sutcliffe, H.||Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U.|
|Schuster, Sir G. E.||Thomas, J.P. L. (Hereford)||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)||Tomlinson, G.||Woolley, Major W. E.|
|Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Shute, Col. Sir J. J.||Turton, R. H.|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A.||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Smith, T. (Normanton)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.||Mr. Boulton and Mr. Drewe.|
|Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. Oliver||Waterhouse, Captain Rt. Hon. C.|
May I now put to the Leader of the House a point of some substance? I hope that the Leader of the House and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education will not think this is a vote against the Bill.
My right hon. Friend must bear with me on this.
The right hon. Gentleman if he wishes to be in Order must move to report Progress.
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."I do not believe that the Committee, in any quarter of the Chamber, wishes to press any kind of vote of lack of confidence on my right hon. Friend.
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman why a Member of his party, from the Front Bench, announced that the whole of the Labour Party would vote against the Government?
What my party does is my concern and not the concern of the hon. Member. I am really trying to help the Leader of the House, if he will bear with me. I am saying that this vote is not a vote of lack of confidence in my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education. Nobody would challenge me on my sincerity in trying to get the Bill on the Statute Book, but we have been grappling with a problem today which is not one for my right hon. Friend. It is a problem which, I think, in the circumstances, was bound to be raised but the right hon. Gentleman is not, as Minister of Education, the person to decide a matter of policy which will affect all State servants.Therefore, I hope that the Government may think again. I hope the vote in the Committee will be an indication to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the mood of the House of Commons with regard to equality of treatment of public servants of either sex because this is, broadly, what it amounts to. If only by one vote, at least it has indicated the great change in public opinion with regard to the treatment of the sexes. This is the first occasion in a Committee of the House or in the full House when we have had a vote of this kind. I would hope, therefore, that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Laughter). Well, Major Milner, it happens to be technically true at the moment. I hope that the Leader of the House will agree to my Motion to report Progress so that the Government may reconsider their attitude and we may have some undertaking in this matter, which goes far beyond the province of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education. [Interruption.] All I am saying to both my right hon. Friends is that we have been dealing with an issue which goes far wider than the Board of Education and the teaching services of this country, and if the Leader of the House would give some undertaking in these very difficult circumstances and deal with the Bill which I think the majority of the House of Commons desires to see on the Statute Book, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give some undertaking to consider the wider issues that lie behind this Debate, then I think the Committee will be satisfied.
Perhaps it would not be a bad thing if the Leader of the House and the President of the Board of Education had a minute or two more to think over what they intended to say before they said it. I also make the suggestion, in support of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), that there are others who might want to think over the situation that has been created. I suggest to the Leader of the House that the proper precedent in circumstances of this kind is that the Government should adjourn the House, consider their posi- tion and make a statement the first thing on our next Sitting Day.
Let me first answer the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood). Of course, I could give no kind of guarantee or undertaking of any sort. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education, in the closing remarks which he made before we went to a Division, made the position abundantly clear, I think, to the Committee. I agree that the Government are not going to make a statement on the position now. I only want to make it quite plain that no kind of undertaking was contemplated. What we shall do, is to consider the result of this vote and make our view upon it plain at the earliest possible moment. Meanwhile, I accept on behalf of the Government the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield.
I hope the attempt which has been made on this occasion to formalise the situation, as though we were in pre-war days, will not be pushed too far. After all, this is a Government supported by every main party in the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, by every main party in the House. Hon. Members ought to be anxious to avoid exacerbating the situation. It has always been regarded by many as a desirable thing that the House of Commons should be able from time to time to express an opinion on principles without necessarily involving the fate of the Government. It therefore would surely be an extremely undesirable thing from the point of view of the country as a whole, and particularly from the point of view of the future conduct of affairs while this Parliament exists, for the House of Commons always to have over it in these special circumstances the fact that it must not express an opinion on any particular matter without at the same time involving national unity and the fate of the Government.Therefore, I earnestly hope that the Government, in considering this matter—the right hon. Gentleman opposite shakes his head—must not, and ought not, to put the House of Commons into the position in which it would be put if they formalised it, because the House of Commons would know that it must not express any opinion on any important matter against the wishes of the Government without, at the same time, taking the consequences which the whole House is anxious to avoid. Therefore, hope the Minister will not act and think irresponsibly in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, I said "act irresponsibly." I hope they will realise that in this matter the House of Commons itself might be nearer the view of the country than the Government itself.
I would like to associate myself with what has been said. We have just had an extremely close Division in which the Government have been beaten. I believe, as a matter of fact, that the Division does not reflect any real doubt in the minds of most Members as to what should be done. In the first place, I believe that amongst those who supported the Government were many besides those who spoke who support the principle of equal pay. In the second place, I know that, of all those of my hon. Friends who thought it their duty on this great matter of principle to refuse to be blackmailed and to insist on our principles—
I think the hon. Member ought to withdraw that.
I withdraw the word unreservedly and I say, who refuse to submit to pressure of the wrong kind and to support our principles. I say that deliberately. I know that amongst those of us who did that there was no desire whatever either to defeat the Bill or to defeat the Minister. I hope the Government will not attempt to pretend that there is any real cleavage of opinion on the subject. If there has been a close Division it has been because the two things that the Committee have had closely at heart seemed to conflict and we were driven in opposite directions, with a very close result. I hope that, instead of taking umbrage, the Government will try to give effect to both the things the Committee clearly desires, the first, equal pay for teachers and the second, the continuance of the Government and the continuance of my right hon. Friend, for whom no one could have a warmer regard than myself.
I think one of the most remarkable things about the Debate has been that some of those Members on the opposite side who have been most active in lecturing Members of other parties on how they should conduct themselves at by-elections have shown themselves singularly unsatisfactory supporters of the Government. I hope they will not have the audacity to undertake a task of that kind again. With regard to the situation in which we find ourselves now, I hope the President of the Board of Education will go on with his splendid Bill. We all want to see it passed. I hope he will not allow this unfortunate incident, as I think it, to deflect him because, whether it is done by having a general Debate on the whole question of equal pay and reversing the decision we have come to, I do not think it matters, but I want to put it to the Leader of the House that, in view of the Debate that we have had, whatever course he takes, we ought to have in the near future a Debate on the whole question of equal pay for men and women.
I support the Motion. What is the situation? A Cabinet Minister responsible for pioneering a most important Government Bill was defeated after two serious appeals to the Committee not to divide. Anyone in his position would be bound to be annoyed.
I am not annoyed.
I should not be surprised if the right hon. Gentleman was annoyed. I never like to be defeated. I always like to win. No one wants the Government or the right hon. Gentleman to make a statement now. It would be better if it were held over for reflection. There is no question here about whether we are going back to party politics, although I would say to the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) that we are getting very near to that situation. I question very much whether after this vote it can be much longer delayed. The Motion to report Progress is the best way of escaping from an awkward situation, and I trust that the Government, for the sake of all of us, will come back on the next Sitting Day able to face up to the situation.
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be How put", but The CHAIRMAN withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
I think there is a general desire to come to a decision.
On a point of Order. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has accepted my Motion. That being so, I think that the Question ought to be put and there ought not to be a continuation of the Debate.
I would not have risen but for a remark of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg). As one of those who voted against the Government on a matter of conscience, I should like to put it on record that at no time was any pressure put upon any Member by anybody on the Front Bench to persuade him to vote against his conscience. It is only right that that should be said. I am glad that the word "blackmail" was withdrawn, because from first to last there was no attempt to prevent any Member voting as his conscience dictated.
May I make a suggestion to the Committee? I really think we should be wise if we agreed to the Motion of my right hon. Friend, which I accepted. I agree with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). I think we should be wiser to bring this discussion to an end.Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to. Committee report Progress; to sit again upon the next Sitting Day.