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Rights Of Established Employees Concerning Sunday Working

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 5 November 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Rights not be dismissed for refusing Sunday work

1. Subject to paragraph 3 below, the dismissal of an employee who is employed in connection with a licensed betting office or a track and was employed as such on the day before the commencement date shall be regarded as unfair for the purposes of Part V of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 ("the 1978 Act") if the reason for the dismissal (or, if more than one, the principal reason) is that he has refused to do work in connection with a licensed betting office or a track on a Sunday.

Right not to have action short of dismissal taken for refusing
Sunday work

2. Subject to paragraph 3 below, every employee who is employed in connection with a licensed betting office or track and was employed as such on the day before the commencement date shall have the right not to have action (short of dismissal) taken against him by his employer for the purpose of compelling him to do or agree to do, or penalising him for refusing to do, work in connection with a licensed betting office or a track on a Sunday.

Exclusion for contractual Sunday working

3. Paragraphs 1 and 2 above do not apply where the work in question is work which at the time of the dismissal or, as the case may be, of the taking of the action the employee was obliged to do on the Sunday in question by virtue of an agreement made by him before the commencement date or of a written agreement made by him on or after that date.

Modifications of 1978 Act in paragraph 1 cases

4. Section 54 of the 1978 Act (right not to be unfairly dismissed) shall apply to a dismissal regarded as unfair by virtue of paragraph 1 above regardless of the period for which the employee has been employed and of his age; and accordingly sections 64(1) and 64A(1) of that Act (which disapply the right not to be unfairly dismissed in cases where the employee has not been continuously employed for qualifying periods or has attained retiring age) shall not apply to such a dismissal.

5.—(1) Where in the case of a dismissal regarded as unfair by virtue of paragraph 1 above an additional award falls to be made under section 71(2)(b) of the 1978 Act (compensation where employee not reinstated or re-engaged in accordance with an order for reinstatement or re-engagement following unfair dismissal), the amount shall be not less than twenty-six and not more than fifty-two weeks' pay.

(2) For the purposes of this paragraph the amount of a week's pay shall be calculated in accordance with Schedule 14 of the 1978 Act.

6. Subsection (3) of section 57 of the 1978 Act (determination of question whether dismissal fair or unfair) shall have effect subject to paragraph 1 above.

Application of 1978 Act provisions in paragraph 2 cases

7.—(1) Sections 24 and 26 and 133 of the 1978 Act (complaint to industrial tribunal, compensation and conciliation officers) shall apply in relation to paragraph 2 above as they apply in relation to section 23 of that Act.

(2) The following provisions of the 1978 Act, namely—

  • section 129 (remedy for infringement of certain rights),
  • section 132 (recoupment of unemployment benefit and, supplementary benefit),
  • section 136 (appeals), and
  • Part IX (miscellaneous and supplemental provisions),

shall apply as if paragraph 2 above were contained in Part II of that Act.

General interpretation

8. In this Schedule—

  • "action", "contract of employment", "employee", "employer", "employment" and "original contract of employment", have the meanings given in section 53(1) of the 1978 Act;
  • "commencement date" means the date on which this Act comes into force;
  • "dismissal" has the same meaning as in the 1978 Act;
  • "the 1978 Act" means the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978;
  • "Track" means premises on which races of any description, athletic, sports or other sporting events take place;
  • "Week" means a week ending with a Saturday.")

The noble Lord said: This amendment is consequential upon an earlier amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

In the Title:

had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 21:

Line 2, after ("tracks") insert ("used after 2 p.m.")

The noble Lord said: May I have guidance from the Table as to whether this amendment is in order in the light of previous defeats? We are talking in terms of after 2 p.m. I simply seek guidance. If we have lost the argument about 2 o'clock, this amendment is a non-starter, is it not?

I think that the noble Lord is absolutely right and this amendment is pre-empted.

[ Amendment No. 21 not moved.]

The next amendment is No. 22. If Amendment No. 22 is agreed to, I cannot call No. 23.

moved Amendment No. 22:

Line 2, leave out from ("Sundays") to end of line 5

The noble Lord said: I am just trying to orientate myself. This amendment needs to be made in the light of the amendment that we carried in respect of the change. In other words, this amendment to the Long Title is in order. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[ Amendment No. 23 not moved.]

moved Amendment No. 24:

Leave out the Title and insert the following new Title—
("An Act to exempt races, athletic sports and other sporting events from the entertainments and amusements to which the Sunday Observance Act 1780 applies and to allow betting to take place on Sunday afternoons on tracks and in licensed betting offices.")

The noble Lord said: This amendment is consequential on another amendment which has already been passed. I beg to move.

I have to call, as an amendment to Amendment No. 24, Amendment No. 25.

[ Amendment No. 25 not moved.]

This is really for the noble Lord, Lord Graham, but the last amendment which was carried had an effect, and I am just wondering whether it is congruent with the last few words, "and in licensed betting offices", proposed in the new Long Title. I do not know what are the procedural requirements of the Committee, but I should have thought, if it was proper before the Bill was amended to have this Long Title, the Committee might be in order to accept it now and delete the last five words at a later stage. The only alternative would appear to be a manuscript amendment at this stage, and I do not think that we would wish to get ourselves into that procedure. I look for guidance on this. I have expended the sum total of my wisdom.

We seek guidance. We want to be consistent with the earlier amendments which the Committee has accepted. I am certainly willing to move, support or not move that which does precisely that. So I think we need some guidance from the Table.

If we are left with the old title, that in a way would suit me quite well. The original title was,

"An Act to permit the admission of persons by the payment of money or by tickets sold for money to tracks on Sundays and to permit betting on those tracks after the hour of twelve noon and in licensed betting offices on Sundays after the hour of twelve noon".

I take that, and it is not acceptable. I merely submit that if the Long Title is to be congruent with the Bill which it may be—I hope that we shall have a definitive decision in a moment—the Long Title which includes the words

"and in licensed betting offices"
should be amended since that effect has now been taken from the Bill.

All I ask is whether this is something that has to be decided now or whether an amendment can be brought in on Report. It would be much cleaner to do it now, but one does not normally proceed with words which are not printed on an Order Paper in this place. There is no doubt a standing order about manuscript amendments. Perhaps my noble friend is in a position to advise us on the matter.

It is because we are in the mess that we are that my noble friend and I now agree, having agreed to disagree earlier. Because this was a consequential amendment on an earlier amendment, which has now been overtaken by a result of a Division, we are in a mess. I could perhaps suggest to the Committee that this is accepted and that it is dealt with on Report in the normal manner.

If one does that, the Minister is saying that this matter is clearly without prejudice. If on reflection the accepting of this amendment (which is an alteration to the Long Title) does not fit properly with the amendments to the Bill that we have carried, there should be no dispute that we will be changing the Long Title at the next stage.

Would it not be better in these circumstances not to make any change and to leave the Long Title as it stands and to alter that on Report?

I have now received further advice from the Table and I believe that the right course is not to accept it. I am happy to change my mind.

That is done without prejudice. If the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt of Weeford, or others, after reflection, consider any changes should be made to the Long Title or to the words of the Bill they are free to move an amendment to either at the next stage.

Everyone is looking at everyone else for an opinion. If it were in order for me to move now that Amendment No. 24 be amended by the deletion of the last one, two, three, four or five words, I would do so, but I gather that it is not. Therefore, I am happy to agree with my noble friend who, before I said that, said that I was right and that he agreed with me and to continue that happy condition until the Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Title, as amended, agreed to; House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.