The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 1889. THE SHOP HOURS BILL.
We are glad to see that the member for Lyttelton, Mr Joyce, has announced his intention of proceeding next session with his Shop Hours Bill, though m somewhat modified form. The Bill of last session never came up for second reading, and consequently was not discussed, but if it had done so there is reason to believe that it would have received a large measure of support. Its proposals were similar to the provisions of a like measure now m operation m Victoria and the principal of these, which indeed embodied the principle of the Bill, was contained m section 2, which read as follows : — " After the expiration of three months from the passing of this Act, all retail shops m the colony, except those mentioned m the schedule to this "Act, shall be closed except during the ! hours from 6 o'clock a.m. till 6 o'clock p.m. on Mondayß, Tuesdays, Wednes-r days, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, besides that such shops may remain open on Saturdays until 10 o'clock m the evening: Provided also that on any day next preceding a public holiday such shops may remain open until 10 o'clock m the evening." The establishments mentioned m the schedule as exempted from the operation of the Bill were " houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors, refreshment houses 6elling eatables and drinkables for consumption on the premises, and newspaper offices, but we believe it is Mr Joyce's intention considerably to widen the list of exceptions, and it is also stated that he proposes to substitute 7 p.m. for 6 p.m. as the compulsory closing hour. With these amendments there should be no very serious opposition to the Bill, for nineteen out of twenty employers m retail establishment!, as well as their emfiloyeesj woufd gladly welcome legislation which will secure to tfreni reasonable hours. It may be said, indeed will be said, that employers can secure this by mutual agreement without legislation, but those who argue thus forget the fagt that such voluntary agreements nearly always prove ineffectual through the selfishness of one or two who are ready to break through upon the slightest excuse, or without any excase at all, and experience has oyer apd over again demonstrated that the only way to protect the majority against the minority is by some such measure as Mr Joyce's.