National Industrial Council WILL IT BREAKUP? I WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVES CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT. The Trade Union side of the Provisional Joint Industrial Committee at a meeting last w eek had under consideration* the posi- tion which has risen with regard to the for- mation of the National Industrial Council. In the course of the meeting the following statement was approved for publication It is true that a crisis has arisen in con- nection with the establishment of the Na- tional Industrial Council which it was pro- Posed to set up as a result of the Industrial conference of employers and Trade Union- ists which was called together by the Prime Minister last February; but since many of the statements which have appeared in the Press concerning this crisis arc seriously misleading, the Trade Union side of the Provisional Committee elected by the Con- ference has thought it necessary to issue a statement setting out briefly the true facts of the case. IIACTS OF THIR CASE. I Apart from the proposal to form the Na- tional Industrial Council, the most import- ant of the recommendations unanimously lgrecd to by the employers and Trade > Unionists were those dealing with hours of labour. It was agreed that a Bill should be illtroducc-d, laying down a maximum 48 hours' week, with provisions under strict -Safeguards for variation of the hours in either direction, and that this Bill should apply generally to all employed persons." This recommendation, together with others, Was unanimously accepted by the Second Industrial Conference, which met on April -4th. At this meeting, the Joint Conference Unanimously carried a resolution agreeing to proceed with the formation of the Na- tional Industrial Council as soon as the Government had promised to give full effect to the unanimous recommendations of the employers and the Trade Unions. It might have been anticipated that no difficulty would have been encountered in Persuading the Government to agree to pro- posals unanimously endorsed by the whole of the employers and Trade Unions repre- sented at the Conference. In fact, however, the whole time between April and now has been spent in a vain endeavour to get the Government to accept these joint proposals. The main difficulty has arisen in connec- tion with the Government's desire to ex- clude altogether from the Hours' Bill cer- tain classes of workers, of whom the most important are agricultural workers, sea- men, and supervisory workers. The chief difficulty has arisen in the case of agriculture. In the original draft of the Hours Bill presented to the Joint Commit- tee by the Ministry of Labour, agricultural Workers were definitely included. At a .later date, however, for some reason which has not been made known, the Govern- ment changed its mind, and determined to exclude agriculture from the Bill, at the same time making an attempt to add the question of hours of labour to the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on Agriculture. The Trade Union side of the Provisional Committee promptly protested Against this exclusion, and secured from the employers' side a renew ed expression of their willingness that agriculture should be hicluded. The Government was then again approached with a view to the inclusion of agriculture, both by the Provisional Com- mittee and by the agricultural workers' Trade Unions; but, although negotiations Jlax7c been proceeding until the present time, the Government has so far refused to -agree to carry out the terms of the joint Report in this respect. In the case of seamen, the first draft of the Bill definitely included workers en- gaged in transport by water," which was understood by the Trade Union side to ap- ply to seamen. At a later stage, it was sug- gested that there would be special difficul- ties in applying the Act to seamen, and the Government proposed their exclusion. The Trade Union side were unable to agree to this, and urged the Government, before making any decision, to confer directly with the organisations representing sea- men, with a view to overcoming the difficulties in the way. To the best of our knowledge, no such Conference has £ ver been convened, and yet the Govern- ment has persisted in excluding seamen from the Bill. The remaining difficulties in the way, al- though important, are of a somewhat tech- nical character, and need not be further re- ferred to here. It should, however, be noted that the Joint Committee proposed that power should be taken in the Act for the subsequent inclusion of any of the classes of workers which it was proposed to exclude. This proposal has not so far been accepted by the Government. In face of these facts, the Trade Union side of the Provisional Committee felt that they were definitely debarred by the terms of the resolution carried by the full Confer- ence on April 4th from proceeding further with the formation of the National Indus- trial Council as long as the Government's attitude remained unchanged. They note that, in certain newspapers, the attempt is being made to represent this attitude as a sudden change of position on their part, and that it is being stated that, when the original invitations to Trad. Unions to join the National Industrial Council were issued, they already knew that agriculture was to be excluded. This is not the case. The circulars asking Trade Unions to join the National Industrial Council were approved by the Trade Union side before it was realised that any serious difficulty was going to arise concerning the exclusion of agricultural or other workers. The cireu- lars were actually issued at a subsequent date by the Ministry of Labour while nego- tiations were proceeding, and while the Trade Union side felt no doubt as to their successful completion. As soon as it was realised that the Government was deter- mined to persist in its refusal to exclude agriculture, the issue of further circulars was stopped, and numerous applications for them are held over for the prosent. All the Societies which applied before the crisis arose were informed as soon as possible that a difficulty had arisen, and that considera- tion of their applications would be ad- journed pending a solution of the difficulty. The Trade Union side note that allega- tions are being made that there is some sin- ister motive behind their present attitude. and that this attitude represents a sudden change 'of front. In reply to this, they de- sire to state categorically first, that no change of front on their part has occurred, and secondly, that they had no other desire, as long as the attitude of the Government seemed to hold out a prospect of a satisfac- tory accommodation, than to proceed with the least possible delay with the formation of the National Industrial Council proposed in the agreed Report. If there has been a change of front it has been solely on the part of the Government; for the difficulty has arisen entirely out of its persistent re- fusal to give full effect to the terms of the Report on which employers and Trade Unionists were able unanimously to agree. At one time the Trade Union side believed that the Government were prepared to agree. They thereupon took the pre- liminary steps to bring the National Indus- trial Council into being. If the Govern- ment is prepared to carry out the terms of the agreed Report they are willing to pro- ceed immediately with their work; but, while the attitude of the Government re- mains what it is to-day, the resolution car- ried unanimously by the Joint Industrial Conference on April 4th leaves them no alternative to taking up, however regret- fully, the attitude which they have been compelled to adopt. The Trade Union side has now arranged to meet the Government to discuss the whole position on Tuesday next. In the event of the Government's reply being satis- factory, steps will be taken to proceed at once with the constitution of the National -Industrial Council. In the event, however, of the Government's reply still being un- satisfactory, after this joint meeting, it will be necessary for the Trade Union side to demand the re-assembling of the Industrial Conference in order that they may report to their constituent bodies the unsatisfac- tory position in which they are placed, and ask for further instructions as to their method of proceeding in face of the refusal of the Government to give effect to the terms of the report. Signed for the Trade Union side of the Provisional Industrial Committee A. Henderson (Chairman), M. G. Bondfield, W. Bradshaw, J. Compton, A. Conley, W. J. Davis, J. Hill, J. Hindle, G. W.. Jones, W. T. Kelly, A. Logan, J. J. Mallon, J. Marston, H. Parker, E. L. Poulton, A. A. Purcell, W. F. Purdv, G. H. Stuart-Bun- ning, J. Turner, R. B. Walker, W. J. Went worth, G. D. H. Cole (Secretary), F. Bramley and W. W. Henderson (Assistant Secretaries). 16th October, 1919. v
Tom Mann's New Job. Congratulations to Mr. Tom Maun on his election as Secretary of the A.S.E., his own old union. The post was relinquished by Mr. Robert Young, on his election to Parliament for the Newton Division of Lan- cashire. The election was by ballot, and Mr. Mann secured a large majority over his opponent, Mr. J. Kaylor, a member of the executive. Born in Warwickshire 63 years ago, and working first on a farm and then as a pit lad at the age of 11, Tom Mann was apprenticed to engineering at 13, and became first organising secretary of the National Democratic League. With John Burns and Ben Tillett he came into pro- minence in 1888, during the great dock strike, as organiser and speaker, and later as president of the Dockers' Union. He was a leading orator at Labour meetings for many years, also secretary of the I.L.P., and at various times has helped to organise not only dockers and engineers, but railway- men, warehousemen, and unskilled workers. For several years he lived and worked in Australia; for a period just pre- ceding this he kept a public-house—the En- terprise, in Long-acre-tand once he con- templated entering the Church. He has contested Parliamentary seats on four occa- sions; been arrested in Hamburg and Mel- bourne, and expelled from France, and has made many lasting friends in all parts of the world. When lie retired in December last year, to start poultry farming, the Sailors' and Firemen's Union subscribed ^250 and the Transport Workers' Federa- tion ,£100.
The New World' Speaks Out. AN EX-SOLDIER STATES THE CASE. The article Back-Pay-How to get it," by A. E. Mander, General Secretary of the National Union of Ex-Service Men, which appears in the current issue of the New] World, the official organ of that Union, is so able a presentation of the case that the liberty is taken of reproduction. "In the last issue of the New World I gave, as clearly as I could, the chief argu- ments in support of the demand for back pay which the National Union of Ex-Ser- vice Men is now making. I pointed out that, although the troops were being shame- fully underpaid while the war was on, yet they could not then, without giving the country into the hands of the enemy, stop to enforce their demands for fair and propeT treatment. So the Service men tacitly agreed to carry on, to see the job through. and then to put forward their demands w hen the crisis was passed. I pointed out that, while the UniteQ Kingdom troops were working and fighting for the ridiculous rate of about a shilling a day, the Australian troops were receiving 6/- a day for doing exactly the same work. And I drew attention to the fact that, di- rectly the war was over, the rate of pay was raised; so that the peace-time soldiers of to-day (largely youngsters without ex- perience of war) are getting anything up to three or four times what the veteran troops were getting for working and fighting in hell. In view of these facts can anyone say that the demand of the Union is an unrea- sonable demand ? The demand is that r every man who served during the war shall receive as back pay the difference be- tween what he actually received and the rate of 6/- a day.' Can any one tell me that the ex-Service iiiem are asking for more than, by every canon of justice and moral- ity, they are fully entitled to? Dare any man get up and say that, for an average eighteen-hour-day, normally under fire, with death always at his elbow, living in ditches and holes in the ground, carrying on amid all the horror and hideousness of war, the rate of 6/- a day would be exces- sive for the war-time Service man ? Sometimes the objection is raised— But the country is already nearly bank- rupt, and it cannot afford to meet this de- mand.' That is sheer, unadulterated rub- bish. Look at it this way. The country has two demands to face-the demand of the people who invested their money and the demand of the men who invested their lives. Very well, which ranks first ? Is the nation going to pay the people who lent their money at a rate of 5 per cent. while ignoring the claims of those who in- vested their lives? Or is it going to recog- nise that, if cithci- of these debts is to be repudiated, then it must not be the latter > But, apart from this, there is another source from which the back pay funcl.can be obtained. All the land belongs to the State, nominally to the Crown. That is a funda- mental principle of English law, a survival, I suppose, of the old feudal system. Those who own the land to-day, own it mere- ly on sufferance. The land was originally given into the possession of individuals only upon one condition-that when it was necessary for them to go and fight for it, they should do so. Tiut gradually, as the feudal system died out, the terms of tenure I were altered, so that instead of having to fight for the land they held, the owners were allowed to pay rertt for it. And gradually they stopped paying even rent. (I am not, of course, speaking of the rent one pays to one's landlord, but of the rent that the landlord himself should pay to the State for allowing him to be a landlord.) Well, this Union has, by referendum, decided that the demand that the land shall be' restored to the people. By this we mean that the State shall at once proceed to collect the rent which every freeholder ought to pay (to the nation) for the privilege of being a landowner.' For the owners of small plots and holdings this would be very little. For the ow ners of large estates it would be a cor- respondingly large amount. The rate of interest suggested is 5 per cent. per annum on the capital value of the land, the same rate that the capitalists demand when they lend their money to the Government. By taking up this demand the ex-Ser- vice men are killing two birds with one stone. They are showing how their own demand for back pay can be met; and they are fighting to recapture Britain for the people. THE LAND FOR THE PEOPLE that is the cry to-day. We have worked and fought to prevent the Germans getting it: now we must fight to prevent a small clique of Britishers (some of them !) keep- ing it. Royalty owners—landowners under another natue-are the greatest curse of the mining industry, contemptible parasites upon the workers who get the coal. The people who own great estates which they use for pleasure, who keep the land idle so that they may butcher birds for sport, are preventing the thousands of men and women who desire to do so from settling on the land (as workers who will help to produce the nation's food). So everywhere we have high prices; coal is so dear that many homes will be fireless during the coming winter; eggs and milk and bread and bacon cost more than the average worker can afford to pay, while the people who could produce more food, and so tower the price, are unable to get the land they need, because the favoured few require it far sfcort. "So once again I say: THE LAND FOR THE PEOPLE. Let those who are putting the land they hold to proper use retain it, subject to the payment of a fair rent to the nation. But let all the land which is not being put to full and proper, use be taken from them, and let it be given into the charge of those who will use it in the best interests of the community. We demand our Back Pay; and we de- mand the restoration of the land. It is up to the ex-Service men of Britain to get both, the former for themselves and the latter for the nation as a whole."
Unwary Shopkeepers. I FOOD ORDER INFRINGEMENTS AT MERTHYR. Messrs. Henry Woodley and Co., but- chers, of High-street, Merthyr, were fined £ 15 on Tuesday -by the Merthyr Stipendi- ary (Mr. R. A. Griffith) on a summons for supplying meat to an unregistered custo- mer in contravention to the Rationing Or- der. Their branch-manager, Mr. Bevan, was fined f,2 for aiding and abetting. The evidence was that an attractive young woman, Miss Marion Hawkins, of Cardiff, an inspector for the Ministry of Food, called at the shop and requested "about a pound of chop. The manager obliged her with lib. ioz. of frozen lamb chop, and charged her the scheduled price of 1/9 for it. Mr. Griffith Llewellyn (solicitor for the defence) You went there for the purpose of getting "a cop"?—I can't catch but- chers on prices without buying meat. Mr. Llewellyn stated that Bevan realised his oversight in not demanding his custo- mers emergency card immediately after supplying the meat. He had taken lier to be a member of a theatrical company in the town that week. Mrs. H. Wall, of the Central Restaurant, High-street, Merthyr, was fined (2 for' an overcharge of one half-penny on a 2lb. pot of gooseberry jam sold for i/ioi to the same Miss Hawkins. Miss Georgina Wood, who served the woman inspector with the jam was summoned for aiding and abetting., but the case against her was dismissed on the payment of 5/- costs. The defence put forward hy Mr. J. W. Lewis (solicitor, Merthyr) was that the girl, Miss Wood, was unaccustomed to serving behind the counter, and made the over- charge in error not knowing what the scheduled price was. For not exhibiting a price list Mrs. Wall also was fined £ 1.
Not Going. I ARTHUR HENDERSON CANCELS AMERICAN TRIP. Mr. Arthur Henderson has written to the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress intimating his withdrawal as one of the appointed advisers to the Washington International Labour Confer- ence. Mr. Henderson points fcut that the American Secretary of Labour (Mr. Wilson) has publicly stated that should the Peace Treaty not be ratified on October 29th, the date fixed for the opening of the confer- ence, the assembled delegates must deter- mine their own future case, and that America might be represented only unoffi- cially. In his decision to withdraw from the de- legation, Mr. Henderson has been in- fluenced by this uncertainty, as well as by the claims of the industrial and political situation at home, and by the strong repre- sentations made to him by prominent Trades Union members urging him to re- main in this country and take his place in Parliament. He has cabled to the American Labour Party expressing his deep regret at his in- ability to assist them this year, but hoping that circumstances may enable him to make an extensive tour of the United States aiM Canada early next year.
The German Metal-workers' Union have called out the stokers and mechanics in the power plants of Greater Britain; employees in the food and coal distribution offices arc also on strike, and skilled municipal work- men propose to join them. A strike of muncipal clerks is in progress in Berlin.
the British Army to stop strikes in the oc- cupied territory in Germany, and now a re- cent message of Reuter brings the subject up again. On April 16th a proclamation was issued by the .British Command declar- ing strikes illegal. Nevertheless a strike occurred recently in a tube factory near Berrak. The men were immediately ar- rested, brought up for trial by court-martial and sentenced to imprisonment. It is not surprising to hear that stsikes are rare in the Rhineland.
Labour Abroad. THE STRIKE FEVER. Industrial unrest in the United States has produced a series of strikes, and others are threatened. The general Labour situation is extremely tense, and temper is not likely to be improved either by the discussions at the conference of employers and trade unionists summoned by President Wilson, or by the attitude of some Senators towards the workers. As an illustration of the spirit in yhich industrial warfare is being con- ducted in America, it is reported that the Senate Commerce Committee has just de- cided by 14 votes to one to embody provi- sions for penalising strikes of railway em- ployees in the permanent railway legisla- tion under discussion. Among the strikes already reported is the stoppage of 10,000 teamsters and truckmen in New York, the effect of which has been to paralyse every railway terminal in the State. Between seven and eight thousand men, practically the entire staff of the Pen- nsylvanian railway shops, have struck work in sympathy with the engine-house me- chanics, who are demanding the enforce- ment of the seniority rule. Thousands of longshoremen, ferry-boatmen, tugboat men, and lightermen on the Hudson River are on strike for increases of pay. Army tugs and soldiers have been employed to unload vessels; on the other hand the strikers, in agreement with the State Food Administra- tion, decided to clear accumulations of per- ishable foodstuffs from the quays. The United Mine Workers have decided to call a strike of the bituminous coal miners on October 31st, following the failure of a conference between the union representa- tives and the coalowners. The demands of the miners include a 60 per cent. increase in wages, a 6-hour day, and a 5-day week; they requiTe. a new contract incorporating these demands in place of the one made under war condiitons, which the coalowners want to continue to April 1st, 1920. The, strike will affect nearly a quarter of a mil- lion miners. NATIONALISATION IN AMERICA. In the United States the leaders of or- ganised Lahour know how to conduct pro- paganda. In connection with the Plumb Plan, which is a scheme to secure the pub- lic ownership and democratic control of the United States Railways, a propaganda league has been formed which has started a weekly newspaper that may presently be- come a daily. The league have brought to- gether representatives of the Railway Bro- therhoods with delegates of other or- ganisations like the blacksmiths, machin- ists, boilermakers, metalworkers, electrical workers, and other trade unions, for the purpose of carrying on organised propa- ganda in support of the Plumb Plan. The weekly journal has started with a circula- tion of SOtOOO, and the 100,000 mark is likely to be reached immediately. I UNCONCILrATORV CONFERENCE. The discussions at the Washington In- dustrial Conference called together by Pre- sident Wilscn to discuss remedies for the Labour unrest in America arc not proceed- ing smoothly. The conference consists of three groups, representing the employers, the workers, and the public. Much time has been spent in discussing a proposal made by the Labour side that the steel- workers' strike should be submitted to ar- bitration. The proposal was referred to a committee of fifteen, which suggested to- the conference that if arbitration is under- taken, the arbitrators should be chosen from each of the three groups; the commit- tee itself was not unanimous, but a majority approved the arbitration proposal. Mt. John Spargo, well known as a Socialist, one of the representatives of the public, pro- posed that the conference should endorse the principle that the workers had the un- qualified right to form unions, and making it a penal offence for any organisation or in- dustry to refuse to negotiate with trade union officials; and the labour delegates sought to get the conference to accept the demand for arbitration, but without suc- cess. The attitude of the conference to- wards the proposal threatens to break up the conference. The employers' represen- tatives want the conference to denounce collective bargaining, the closed shop," sympathetic strikes, blacklists, and the boy- cott, as anti-social and immoral. I FRENCH CO-OPERATORS. The French Co-operative Congress just held reveals a striking development of strength. Although only the sixth annual Congress of the National Federation of French Co-operative Societies, it covered 2,036 societies. The report declared that the forces of the co-operative movement had tripled since 1914, and now brought within their operation one million families and a turnover of ^40,000,000. Strong resolu- tions were passed on the subject of the Gov- ernment's economic policy, demanding the- reorganisation of the national resources on a non-proift-making basis, and in particular the recognition of the place of the co-opera- tive societies as the true organ of public distribution. I RHINELAND STRfKE-BREAKING. I Attention has already been called to various announcements revealing the use of (Cbatinow at foot of preceding oafoma)*