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The Lock-out in the Engineering…

To TRADE UNIONISTS AND ALL…

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To TRADE UNIONISTS AND ALL PUBLIC- SPIRITED CITIZENS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. At this momentous crisis in the industrial history of our country, we call upon you for instant action. The engineers' dispute is no longer a sectional question of machinery or hours it stands revealed as a gigantic conspiracy of organized capital to destroy the only social force, outside Parliament, that has grown up to restrain and balance the enormous power of money in unscrupulous hands in our great national industries. The federated employers declare their determination to deprive English workmen of that right of collective bargaining b tD which all employers claim and exercise as a matter of course for themselves. Their shareholders are to be free to combine and appoint the ablest managers they can secure, advised by the acutest lawyers, to bargain in their name wifh the workmen but the work- men, they declare, must not combine must not appoint a skilled secretary to transact their business for them must come, one by one, each in his individual helplessness and ignorance of business, into the manager's office to drive his separate bargain on pain of being refused employment at every federated workshop. The employers make no secret of their resolution to forcibly sweep away industrial democracy and replace it by the ahsolute despotism of capital. They openly avow their intention of adopting the methods practised by Mr Carnegie in the United States, and Baron Stumm in Germany. Trade Unionists know what that means. But do other citizens know that it means the disorganization of English labour and the degradation of English home-life; the gradual loss of our high manufacturing character in the markets of the world; the transfer of industrial diplomacy from our public and responsible Trade Union Congress and its Parliamentary Committee to secret organizations; the confirmation of revolu- tionary doctrines and the spreading of the revolutionary temper and the beginning of an embittered class war instead of the give- and-take bargaining between capital ar.d labonr to which England is accustomed ? We plead for an overwhelming expression of public opinion against this disastrous attempt at social disorganization. We call upon Trade Unionists especially to unite their forces at once for the defeat of a conspiracy which, if successful, will undo at one stroke the work of a century of steady improvement in the condition of labour, and thrust back the most prosperous of trades into the misery and degradation which still prevail in the sweated trades where collective bargaining has not yet been introduced. We remind them that since the success of the employers in the engineering industry would be the signal for equally successful federations in all the leading industries, the standard of life of miner and cotton-spinner, carpenter and mason, compositor and papermaker, railwayman and boilermaker, stands or falls with that of the working engineer. Let every Trade Unionist insist that his Union shall put on a weekly levy in support of the general cause until the federated employers consent to recognize the trade and deal with its secretary instead of with the men individ- ually. Let the friends of social order and industrial peace from all classes subscribe what they can afford. And let those who have little money to give bring the franchise to bear. Remember the Cabinet and Government officials are helping the federated employers, the Board of Trade by deliberately refraining from using the powers given to it by the Conciliation Act, and the Admiralty by conniving at delay in the completion of our war-ships. Such an alliance between the Government and one of the parties in an industrial dispute is Class Government at its worst; but in England it only needs a breath of public ouinion to rouse the Cabinet to a sense of its wider duties and responsibilities. Call mass meetings in every town, and make your parliamentary representative speak out. Send up petitions from every political association and every Trade Union branch, insisting that the Government shall act on behalf of the nation and not of the federated employers. There is no time to lose. Send subscrip- tions to the Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress, Engineers' Lock-out Fund, 19, Buckingham-street, Strand, London, W.C. or to the Engineering Trades Central Joint Committee, The Lord Nelson, Nelson-square, Blackfriars, London, S. E. or to the Fabian Society. Keep the ranks open to sympathizers of all shades of political opinion and of all classes. The best men of every party and persuasion are on the right side in this struggle. Signed on behalf of the Fabian Society, EDW. R. PEASE, Secretary. Fabian Office, 276, Strand, London, W.C., Dec. 29th, 1897.

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