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Sunday Sports Bill Hl

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1987

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

9.5 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 2 [ Removal of restrictions on betting on Sundays]:

moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 22, after ("than") insert ("the").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. I simply improves the grammar. I do not think that it alters the sense of the provision; it expresses it in a little better English. I beg to move.

My Lords, I rise perhaps for the first and only time. As the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, has indicated, the need for these amendments was foreseen at the last and earlier stages of the Bill. At the Committee stage one recognised that, in some haste and perhaps confusion, insufficient attention had been given to the precise detail in the proposal that I put forward. Immediately thereafter the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, indicated to me that this series of amendments, to tidy up and to make more relevant and meaningful my amendment to the Bill, was best dealt with at this stage. At the last stage the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, gave notice that we would put this forward now.

I rise to make absolutely certain that we are considering not only employees in betting shops but also, when the schedule refers,
"to persons employed in licensed betting offices or in connection with sport",
all individuals who one recognises are part of the horseracing industry. When I moved the original amendment inserting this schedule into the Bill the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, on 5th November at col. 1167 of Hansard, in debating that amendment—which we are now seeking to tidy up—said:
"I object to this amendment".
The noble Lord objected to the amendment in the narrow context of racing on Sunday. It is no secret that an amendment of this kind—which gives statutory rights to allow employees to escape penalty or injury for declining to work on a Sunday—was not proposed by the supporters of the Bill. However, I am very pleased, and accept without reservation, that the supporters of the Bill accept the need for it.

In col. 1169 on 5th November, the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, in speaking to the amendment, indicated that the prospects of the Bill had already caused some change of attitude in a number of employers, and that the minimum wages, negotiated by the principal trade union (the Transport and General Workers' Union), were more likely to be adhered to in the future than in the past. In col. 1169 the noble Lord, Lord Wyatt, was frank enough to acknowledge that that matter would be put right by the schedule.

I was also delighted to see at col. 1170 of Hansard on 5th November the words of the noble Lord, Lord Trevethin and Oaksey. Regardless of the merits of the Bill he was anxious to see that the interests of stable lads were protected. The schedule seeks to give them statutory protection.

As one who has taken a leading part in seeking to amend the Bill in other ways, this series of amendments has my full support and I am certain that they will improve it.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 3 [ Rights of established employees concerning Sunday working]:

moved Amendment No. 2:

Leave out clause 3 and insert the following new clause:

( "Rights of established employees concerning Sunday working.

3. The Schedule to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of giving certain rights concerning Sunday working to persons employed in licensed betting offices or in connection with sport at the commencement of this Act.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a drafting amendment to ensure that all the workers affected will receive protection from the schedule.

To comment on what the noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, has just said, the reason I objected to the schedule when the matter was first raised was that the Home Office wished me to do so on the grounds that it was an impracticable arrangement and that we had not given it enough thought. However, so persuasive was the noble Lord that further consideration was given to the matter and we hope that we have now come up with amendments of the kind which will make the schedule do what it is intended to do. I am happy to accept the schedule and commend the amendments to it.

The noble Lord mentioned that the Transport and General Workers' Union was the major representative of the stable lads. I do not want to quarrel with him this evening but their major representative is the Stable Lads Association, of which my noble friend Lord Trevethin and Oaksey and myself are trustees. It was engaged yesterday in joint negotiations with the Transport and General Workers' Union and with the National Federation of Trainers. We hope that they will make some progress. It would be wrong to belittle the Stable Lads Association. I am sure the noble Lord did not intend to do so.

Amendment No. 2 is designed to ensure that the schedule gives effective protection to the workers. I beg to move.

My Lords, I accept that. When I mentioned the Transport and General Workers' Union it was in the context of the industry, including the betting shops. I acknowledge what has been said about the stable lads. I am delighted that there is rapport on all sides within the industry. That may be the wrong word to use, but I understand that some useful discussions are going on which are bound to benefit those who work in the industry. I am grateful.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule [ Rights of established employees concerning Sunday working]:

Page 3, line 5, leave out from ("in") to ("on") in line 6 and insert ("a licensed betting office or in connection with sport and was so employed")

Page 3, line 9, leave out ("connection with")

Page 3, line 10, after ("or") insert ("on")

Page 3, line 12, leave out from ("in") to ("on") in line 13 and insert ("a licensed betting office or in connection with sport and was so employed")

Page 3, line 17, leave out ("connection with")

Page 3, line 17, after ("or") insert ("on")

Page 3, line 38, leave out ("of") and insert ("to")

Page 4, line 8, leave out ("contract of employment",")

Page 4, line 8, at end insert ("and")

Page 4, line 9, leave out ("and "original contract of employment",")

Page 4, line 10, leave out ("53(1)") and insert ("153(1)")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, may I suggest that these amendments be taken all together because they are drafting amendments to give effect, as accurately as the Home Office and the Department of Employment think accuracy can be given, to the schedule which the noble Lord, Lord Graham, originally proposed and which I personally am now happy to accept? I am sure that the Government are also now happy to accept it.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

House adjourned at thirteen minutes past nine o'clock.