Mr. MACDONELL moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 23) to amend the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, 1907. He said: This Bill is a copy of the Bill which I introduced towards the close of last session, and time was not afforded to reach a conclusion upoh it. Its object is to amend the Industrial Disputes Act in several more or less important respects. First, it asks that the authority which the Act now requires to be obtained from a labour union desiring to strike, in the shape of a meeting, and the proceedings consequent thereon in the way of notice, &c., &c., be dispensed with. That is found expensive and cumbersome, and not conducive to the best working out of the Act. The next provision deals with the fees that are payable to the arbitrators. I have not inserted any fees here, leaving the amount to be considered by the government. At present the chairman receives a larger fee than the other members of the board, although he performs no greater service. The present fee is $15 per day. It is thought that a general charge of $25 per day for every member of the board would be reasonable, especially in view of the fact that most of the sittings are continued well on into the night. A further amendment is proposed to section 57 of the Act, which provides that only investigations regarding intended changes in wages and hours of labour can take place. It is desired that these should be extended to any conditions affecting employment. Then, at present the onus of proceeding with an investigation does not rest on anybody. That is found to work hardship, and the provision of the Bill is that on those who set the Act in motion by giving notice of a desire or intention to effect a change in working conditions, shall rest the onus of proceeding with the appointment of the board of arbitrators, and that no change in the conditions shall take place after the notice is given. At present the conditions can be changed by either party up to the time the board is appointed. That is found to work hardship, certain interested parties taking advantage of the delay between the serving of the notice and the appointment of the board to change the conditions of labour. The spirit of the Act is that no change in the conditions of labour shall take place after the notice is once given, when the parties are at arms length and the issue is on.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.