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SPORTS AND PASTIMES.I

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WOTlK AND WORKERS. I

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WOTlK AND WORKERS. I AMEXDIKO THE INSI RANCR A TRADE Uxiox KUNDKâ-CmVK:<S OX IRTISH SHTPSâKKXV FA KM LAnorKERs' PXM vvrsâ PROFIT SH\RIN<J WEAVERS' HOUDAYSâ- WORKING WOMEN AND MARRIAGE MIXE WORKKRS TO PAY FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT. ââ.ââââ âââââ The text lias. been issued of the bill which Mr. John Burns has introduced to amend Part II. of the National Insurance Ac! which deals with the unemployed. An accompany- ing memorandum says that the bill involves no considerable changes of policy, being directed mainly to the removal of certain ad- ministrative difficulties experienced by the Board of Trade, by employers, and by work- men. The net effect of the bill is to afford a considerable measure of relief both to em- ployers and to workmen's associations, to simplify an 1 thus to cheapen administration, and to diminish rather than to increase the total charge upon the Treasury, while not pre- judicing the financial position of the unem- ployed fluid. The bill provides, among other matters, for the simplification of the conditions for a re- fund to employers, under Section 94, the recasting of the provision made by Section H6 for remission of contributions in respect of workmen on short time; removing of the 12s. limit in connection with payments to associa- tions under Section 106, and its replacement by a somewhat higher limit in a different and simpler form; an increase of refund under Section 106 to associations having arrange- ments under Section 105, and paying benefit at a rate below 13s. a week; the abolition of the allowance of additional contributions under the Seventh Schedule, and an amend- ment of the definition of unemployed in re- spect of work done out of ordinary working hours. Supplementing the latest Baard 'of Trade returns of trade union membership and funds, just published, with later figures sup- plied by the national trade union leaders, it is now possible, a Labour correspondent writes, to show the <t:ffect of the epidemic of strikes during the ,last three years on trade union funds. At the end of 1910 the accumulated funds of the trade union movement repre- sented 74s. per head of the then membership. Tne gradual decline in the interval will be lIeen from the following table: 14 10 1911 3 1 0 1912 :2 510 '0 1913 2 >0 '1914 -2 3'0 The decline in value of the funds is attri- buted largely to the epidemic of disputes, either through strike-pay or (jut.of-work pay. It is true that the influx of new members in the period has been very large, but as these are mainly of the restless militant type, who are anxious to tight on every conceisable occa- flioll without waiting until reserve values have accumulated to bring the funds up to the re- quirements of the increased membership, it is held that the new arrivals are a source of weakness srather than strength to the unions. It is stated that the Board of Prade is con- sidering the draft of. and will shortly issue to shipping offices, a circular letter designed to make as stringent as possible the enforcement of the regulation relating to the employment of Chinese on British ships. It is stated that the Board intends to enforce the regulations strictly. "Iii this connection it is interesting to note that, following a protest meeting against the employment of Asiatic seamen on British steamers which was ii (I (Ir bv Mr. Havelock Wilson, there was an interesting sequel on (Friday at Hull Docks, when a large steamer arrived in the docks. It was intended to sign on the usual crew of Chinamen, but the Union officials negotiated with the cap- tain, who telegraphed to his owners, with the result that none but British seamen were signed on. This is regarded in Hull as a sig- nificant victory for British seamen and an in- dication of the action that xnill 'i)e takeii iii other ports. Through the National Amalgamated Union of Labour, farm workers in the Swanley and Crockenhill district of Kent have presented demands to their employers for higher wages and shorter hours. A minimum wage of 24s. per week is demanded for men and 2s. per day for women workers, with 6d. and 4d. per hour respectively for overtime. For boys a minimum wage Of 8s. per week is asked for, rising by 2s. -per week till they reach the age of eighteen. For male workers lwtweeii eighteen and twenty years of age the mini- mum wage required is 18s. per week. About 1300 employees at Old Trafford, Manchester, and in the firm's London show- rooms are to benefit, by the profit-sharing scheme inaugurated by the Ford Motor Com- pany in Detroit. U.S.A. The working hours are to be reduced from fifty to forty-eight per week at Old Trafford and in London, and the earnings of all male employees of twenty-two will be Is. 3d. per hour ( £ 3 i)-pr w,(,k).' pi-o- vided their mode of life is deemed satisfactory by the firm. Also, as employees become eligible participation ,in profits will be added to their wages. At the present time the mini- mum wage is lOrl. per hour. Labourers and floor-sweepers are to be included in the scheme. The members 01 the "Great Harwoo<l "Weavers' Association have decided to ask the employers to put the extra two days' holiday granted on the Whitsuntide stoppage, and to stop for the Whitsuntide break on Friday noon, resuming work on Thursday morning, instead of stopping on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. The annual holidays yow take place in the latter part of August, and it was felt ?, -s t and it NA-a,s felt that the holiday in September would 1)e too near the yearly stoppage. This suggested alteration is only for thl?'s'(? year, and a future meeting will discuss the entire rearrangement .of holidays. A vehement protest against "the most pestiferous doctrine that working women should be velibate" was made by Mrs. Swan- wick in her address at the Women's Kingdom Exhibition in London. It was bad, she said, for the workers and the work that married woHien should be forbidden to earn wages or salary. Parents were already unwilling to make sacrifices in order to fit their daughters for some professional career, and if marriage were to "be necessarily the end of that career they would be still less willing, while the girls themselves were not likely to take their work !f'rionsly :if tlh'y knew they must drop it on marrying. The association of mature married women worikers with unmarried women was of great value. If married women left their work it meUnt leaving just when their wages should be getting high. and that a number of raw recruits were always drifting in and wages remaining low. It was a monstrous thing to, say that a wife must surrender her pecuniary independence, or that, however skilful in her own line, she must drop her special work and substitute domestic or house- wifely duties. At Wakefield 111 surface workers employed at Lofthouse Colliery have been summoned foi- a breach of contract for leaving work without notice, and a. sum of 5s. damages per day in respect of two days, March 23rd and 24th, was claimed from each man. Clause 4 of the surfacemen's agreement provides that thirty minutes should be the acknowledged time for meals during the nine or ten hours' shift. There has been some demur on the part of the men, who previously had had allowed at this pit a full hour for what was known as snap time." Negotiations be- tween the men and the management took place, and the latter eventually offered to allow forty minutes for snap time with- out prejudice, and until the men had had an opportunity of further considering the matter. Ou March 23t-d, however, they stayed away from work, with the result that some 1.200 men and boys were thrown out of em- ployment. Work had not since been re- sumed, and it was stated on behalf of the company that this kind of thing had hap- pened so frequently before that they felt obliged to bring the cases to court with a view to stopping the practice. All the de- fendants were ordered to pay the amount claimed, with 6s. 6d. costs each.

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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I

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REVIEW OF THE CORN TRADE.

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