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Workmen's Examiners. (Continued).…

Labour Notes.

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Labour Notes. Although there are rumours that a dis- cussion will take place early after the re- sumption of Parliament with regard to the industrial situation, so far as Parliamentary Labour is concerned no step has been taken to secure facilities from the Government. A meeting of the Policy Committee, which is composed of the officers of the Party and Labour Privy Councillors, will, however, be held on Wednesday, when the whole poli- tical and industrial situation will be re- viewed. ALIENS' RESTRICTION BILL.. An Aliens' .Restriction Bill is to be con- sidered when the House resumes. It con- tains very drastic amendments of the law, and the Labour Party is particularly inter- ested in Sub-section 2 of Clause 3, which is as follows: H If any alien promotes or at- tempts to promote industrial unrest in any industry in which he is not bona-fide en- gaged in the United Kingdom he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprison- ment for a term not exceeding three months." By way of illustrating the wide scope of this clause it is pointed out that if a dele- gate from the American Federation of Trade Unions was visiting this country during an industrial crisis, say, during a campaign for ationalisation of mines, and took part in any of the meetings, presum- ably proceedings could be taken against him as an alien under this clause. The Labour members in committee endeavoured to de- lete the whole sub-section, but the Govern- ment resisted the attempt. Further efforts, however, will be made on the report stage. SEX DISQUALIFICATION BILL. It will be remembered that the Labour Party's Women's Emancipation Bill passed through the House of Commons and was thrown out of the House of Lords. Subse- quently the Government introduced in the House of Lords their Sex Disqualification Bill. The Women's Emancipation Bill con- tained, among other things, provisions to give women the vote on the same terms as men, thus abolishing the age qualification, and to entitle Peeresses to sit in the House of Lords. The Sex Disqualification Bill, which has passed through the House of Lords, and is now before the House of Commons, does not contain these two pro- visions, and a strong attempt will be made to have them incorporated. THE TIMES & JOINT CONTROL. I The Times would appear to be the latest recruit to the Labour policy of Joint Con- trol in National Services. It has recently been publishing a series of articles on the Way to Railway Peace," which seem on first reading to be an offer of joint control between the railwaymen and the State, but Labour men are naturally somewhat sus- picious of their propaganda as it appears in The Times, and there are one or two inter- esting suggestions in these articles which are worthy of attention. I'heiTitiies first says that the subjects 011 which the work- men are to have a voice in control are to be industrial matters," that is to say, pro- bably matters relating to wages, hours, and conditions. This is, of course, far short of what is meant by a demand for Joint Con- trol. Secondly, though The Times admits that the right to strike cannot at present be abolished, it suggests that a condition of granting its joint control should be that notice should be given of any intention to strike, and that no strike should be allowed until a full ballot of the men has taken place. This, it will be observed, would in- volve a change in the constitution of the N.U.R., which is hardly a matter on which The Times is competent to dictate. Lastly, the suggestion is that the railways should be jointly controlled by the railwaymen and representatives of the community." It will hardly be believed that The Times con- siders that the community is adequately re- presented by tthe old Railway Executive Committee, that is, by the General Man- agers of Railways sitting in consultation. It seems, then, that what The Times means by joint control and what the railway- men mean are two very different things, and Labour would do well to t)e on its guard in order to secure that sham proposals are not forced on it. A WIN FOR OTHER TRADES. I If proof were wanting that the railway- men in their strike were fighting the battle of the whole of organised Labodr, it would be amply provided by this week's i&,iue of The Syren and Shipping, the organ of the ship-building ecployers, which is charming- ly frank about the annoyance it feels at the recent settlement and the railwaymen's vic- tory on the wages qutstion. We cannot do better than quote its own words:—"One of the uncomfortable legacies which the railway dispute has left to shipbuilding and other industries is to be found in the stabili- sation principle on which work was re- sumed. Since wages in the railway service cannot be reduced for twelve months, it follows as the night the day that there can be- no reductions in other trades. This means that shipbuilders may now give up all hope of decreased costs of production for at least a year. We are sorry for the dis- appointed shipbuilders, but we think that all other trades would be inclined to say "Well done, t.R. Incidentally, there arc other ways of reducing costs besides lowering wages, though the shipbuilders do aot appear to have thought of them. I ECHOES OF THE STRIKE. It may now he stated," says the Glas- gow Herald with pleasure, that in view of the possibility of the London amnibus drivers and conductors joining in the recent railway strike, no fewer than 2,700 men were in the first few days licensed by the- police to drive motor omnibuses. These men were all sworn im by special constables, so that they might help to maintain order if necessary. They were ready to take duty as drivers, and a dormitory was provided for them in Regent's Park." We do not know what the Licensed Vehicle Workers have to say to these organised attempts at strike-breaking, but we do know that at all costs Labour must see to it that its pro- paganda is so effected that in the event of another big strike the Government will not be able to call up 2,000 or even 200 men willing to undertake blackleg work for it. I WHEN MERCHANTS WERE HAPPY I I The Merchants' Committee of the Lon- don Chamber of Commerce have passed the following resolution The Merchants' Committee desire to report their strong ob- jection to Government trading in any form. In the opinion of the Committee, Govern- ment trading is always inefficient and cost- ly in comparison with private enterprise, which in the past has bten completely satis- factory to those interested; whether in mer- chandise or shipping." It may be useful to append to this one or two figures of shipping profits :— Khedivial Steamship and Graving Docks, 20 per cent. (1917). Orient Steam Navigation Company, 15 per cent. (tax free). France, Fenwick and Co., 25 per cent. Globe Shipping Company, 32A per cent. Smith Docks Company, 25 per cent. Moor Line, 20 per cent. (tax free). Tate Steam Navigation, 20 per cent. (tax free). British Steamship Investment Trust, 50 per cent. This is, of course, in addition to large amounts of distributed capital -and money carried over to reserve.. Also, steamers wercuchanging hands during the war at colossal prices, and so the shipowners and merchants scored again. No wonder the London Chamber of Commerce found the situation completely satisfactory." CATCH THE PROFITEER! I The Profiteering tribunals are now well under way, and from all indications it seems, as was anticipated, that the big sin- ners in the business world are to escape scot free. For instance, a woman in Bal- ham was charged by a draper at the rate of 2is. for a pound of knitting wool. This catK: was dismissed by the Tribunal, as the firm in question proved that it had been forced to charge this price as the charge made by the wholesaler was so high. The next step is thus to find the wholesaler, bring him before the Central Committee (which alone has power to deal with him), and find out what his profits were. Pre- sumably the wholesaler will put it on the merchant, and the merchant on the supplier of raw wool: Meanwhile the poor woman pays the price, nobody has to pay a fine, and the great game of hide-and seek goes on. The only remedy for profiteering is control all the way along, and the Profiteer- ing Act is proved the sham it was meant to be. TYRANNY. I It has been stated that" the C.O. 's are now all out of prison, and the public were left to conclude that a general amnesty had been arrived at. This, however does not appear to be the view either of the Government or of some education authorities. The Trea- sury has publishey its decision upon C.O.'s in the Post Office. These men are to be employed on Post Office work again, but they are only to have the status of tempor- ary employees, that is to say, they are to be mulcted in respect of the pensions they would otherwise have been entitled to at the end of their service. Presumably, the Treasury thinks it is enough to provide a C.O. with employment, and that it is a very suitable punishment for him to have nothing to look forward to in his old age. The Liverpool Education Committee have gone even further, and declined to reap- poitn C.O. creatures in spite of a strong protest from certain members of the com- mittee. A patriot called Alderman Bur- gesse remarked that Patriotism and its obligations was a subject in the schools, and children must be instructed to act in times of stress as the leaders of the Government thought fit MEANNESS. I It is not a happy thing to be an employee of the Board of Education. True, there is in existence a Teachers' Superannuation Act passed last year under which teachers will obtain hetter pensions than they have had in the past, but this is not retrospec- tive. Elementary school teachers who re- tired under the old system have still to exist on the miserable sums the were then en- titled to—never more than (96 per annum, which is equal to one day's salary for Sir (Continued at foot of next oolumn)

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Labour Notes.

Workmen's Examiners. (Continued).…

Surrender of 140,600 Milcti…