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THE PUPIL TEACHERS' CENTRAL…

ST. DAVID'S DAY IN DURBAN.…

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MAGISTRATES' COURT.I

THE PROPOSED FAIR FOR PONTYEATES.

DISTRICT NEWS. I

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THE UNITED SCHOOLS' GRAND…

ASHBURNHAM GOLF CLUB. I

THOSE WHO LABOUR.

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THOSE WHO LABOUR. By GEORGE H. WOOD. I mentioned, last week, the 1896 report on changes in wages and hours of labour. This week the Report on Trade Dis- putes in 1896 (preliminary figures) is presented. The labour horizon was very cloudy during last year, the number of disputes being 1037 as compared with 876 in 1895; but the number affected was less than in any of the seven previous years, being 199,600 in 1896, as compared with 263,758 in 1895, 324,245, in 1894, aud 638,386 in 1893." The building trades increased the number of those affected by their disputes last year greatly, but all other trades decreased theirs. We know that wages have been rising in the building trades: this is evidently the outcome of judicious strikes. A great feature in the disputes of last year was the large number of people concerned in disputes which were successful as compared with the two years previous. A good table) standing over eight years, is given in the report. This table shows the percentage of strikes 11 Suc- cessful," Partially Successful," "U nsuccess- ful," and Results not definite or not known." It says well for the efficiency of our labour department that the last division is only a decimal in magnitude. Comparing last year with some years previous, we find that the number per cent. unsuccessful has only beeit equalled twice in seven years. Last year's percentage was 34-4; in 1891, 34'8; in 1894, 42-1. In 1889 and 1893, however, the percent- age was only 12'0 and 12'1 respectively. Turning to the partially successful years, we find that 1896 was the lowest of the whole given, save two. In 1896 the percentage of those partially successful was 25'6, in 1893, 24.7; in 1890, 16-8. The highest percentage was that of 1889, when it reached, 56-2; the next highest was 1892, with 51-4 per cent. Turning again to the most important case ef all, the case in which complete success was obtained, we find that the highest was obtained in 1893, when 62 9 per cent. of the persons engaged were entirely successful. Of course, the great Scotch coal strike had a large influ- ence in determining these numbers. Bid; nevertheless, only once beside has the percent- age of persons completely suceessful been above that of 1896, and that was in 1890, when 54'4 were successful. What then are the conditions of success ? Emphatically, rising prices. If I read my facts aright, in 1890, and in 1893, but mere especially in the former year, the rising prices brought a more regular employment, and a great lessen- ing of the unemployed. The work provided for the men told then that trade was brisk and accordingly advances were asked for-and obtained. During last year, the total unem- ployed of the Trade Unionists of: the country kept fairly stable at about 3'5 per cent., thus increased power was given to those employed to demand higher wages. The proportion of successful strikes as compared with those of other years shows the result. It seems by this, as if the contention of the Bi-metallists, that given rising prices, employ- ment would be more regular and wages would rise. 1890 and 1896 point most unmistakeably to this conclusion. An attempt was made in 1889 to palliate the silver trouble. Its price rose, exchanges rose, exployment became more general, the total percentage unemployed being about 2 5, and wages rose, so that 54'4 per cent, of those demanding higher wages obtained them. If, in 1896, we have had no settlement of the silver trouble, we have had an inevitable, reaction after the depressed trade of 1894, and this reaction has brought advances in its train to many. Would that advances could come te those who, I am afraid, more urgently need them!

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