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SPORTS AND PASTIMES. I

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WORK AND WORKERS.

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WORK AND WORKERS. AN INTERESTING EXPERIMENT—CHURCH AND DUBLIN STRIKE ALIENS AND INSURANCE ACT-AVY ARTISANS' COMPLAINTS-DIS- SATISFIED RAILWAYMEN — SHEFFIELD ENGI- NEERS' DEMANDS—CLERKS ON STRIKE. — Students of labour conditions are watching with particular interest the experiment at present being carried out by Sir Richard Cooper, M.P. for Walsall, and principal of the firm of William Cooper and Nephews, the well-known chemical manufacturers, at his Berkhamsted works. Impressed by the quality of the work done in the firm's Chicago fac- tory, where the hours are materially shorter than in England, Sir Richard told some 200 men at the Berkhamsted factory that for a trial period of three months work would begin at eight in the morning instead of six. The men's weekly wage remains unaltered. "The start at six on a practically empty stomach is altogether bad," declared Sir Richard to a Daily News representative. As it is, the men come after a good breakfast and get right on to their work at once. When I made the change I appealed too the men to show their appreciation by reducing the waste of time to a minimum, and eo far they have genuinely responded. It is, of course, too early to pronounce definitely on the scheme, but I have little doubt- that its permanent adoption will be justified." After six weeks' working Sir Richard's general verdict is that waste has been reduced, the standard of efficiency raised, and that the firm will have no cause to repent of the change it has made. In the case of piece-workers the wage is kept at its former level during the experimental period by a system of bonuses. Should the new hours become permanent wages will be raised so that no one will suffer by the reduc- tion of working time. A pastoral letter on the recent Dublin strike, signed by Cardinal Logue and the Archbishops and Bishops of the Roman Catho- lic Church in Ireland, was read in all the Roman Catholic churches in Ireland on Sun- day. In it the Bishops say that whoever shares responsibility for the failure in the past to set up conciliation boards in Dublin for the prevention and settlement of labour disputes has much to answer for, because had any rea- sonable system of arbitration or conciliation been in working order it is more than likely that the recent strikes and lockouts, with all their degrading consequences, would not have tdile,o place. They add that this wretched, long-drawn- out strife, like many another on Irish soil, would never have taken place, or, once begun, would have been readily composed, if Irish- men had their own strong and independent union and did not lean on outside support in their disputes. Syndicalism, however, wanted no employers in Dublin or anywhere else, and it preferred to use Irish workers and the Eng- lish unions for,its own purposes. As a result it would be difficult to say to which class it did the greatest amount of mischief, but the bitterest sufferings fell to the families of the poor. If Syndicalists must have a theatre for their operations. adds the correspondent, they should find some other place than Ire- land to experiment upon, and it is folly little short of madness for any of our own people to join in a cry to destroy the one class that makes some use of its resources to give employment to the working man when no other is ready to do so." In conclusion, the Bishops approve of the scheme of conciliation outlined in Sir George Askwith's report, after his recent visit to Dublin, and of the necessity for improved dwellings and rates of wages for the workers; The following resolution has "been -adopted by the management committee of the Amalga- mated Society of Tailors and Tailor-esses: "We are of opinion that in respect to aliens the National Health Insurance Act should be amended so as to secure for aliens who be- come members of an Approved Society, and who remain continuous members of such for five years from the date of entry, the same benefits as are now enjoyed by aliens who were resident in the United Kingdom five years be- fore the passing of the Act, and who were, on May 4th, 1911, members of societies which have been accepted as Approved Societies." The artisans of the Royal Navy—that w. folaeksmiths, coopers, painters, and plumbers —have formulated another request for a re- consideration of their rates of pay and other matters. They want the rates of pay to be brought into line with other tradesmen in the service, a uniform similar to that supplied to artisans in Classes Land II., nd the rating of chief petty officer to be extended to all classes. They point out that other artisans receive much higher pay. and suggest that it is time things were levelled up a bit." Considerable dissatisfaction is being ex- pressed by North Eastern Railway employees with the terms of settlement arranged by the Conciliation Board. Mr- Williams (general secretary of the National Union of Railway- men ) has been asked to convene a conference, but has refused to sanction this course, with the result that the local "Vigilance Com- mittee has decided to arrange a conference to be held in Newcastle next Monday. The men complain especially of the extension of the lodging system. Great Central Railwaymen, from every de- partment, at a meeting at Sheffield on Sun- day, unanimously passed a resolution express- ing the opinion that the statements of Lord Claud Hamilton in regard to the dearth of first-class English railwaymen were devoid of substance. The meeting considered that in the British railway service there were first-class, capable men eminently suitable for general managerships, and also first-rate men for minor appointments. The Executive Committee of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation held a meet- ing on Saturday to consider the position created by the ballot on the question of sur- facemen's wages at tie pits of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company. _Ie ballot showed a majority of eight to one in favour of an at- tempt to enforce In these particular pits the Leigh list as it applies to surfacemen. The monthly conference of the Federation, which was held last week. left it to the Executive to decide whether or not fictic?s should be ten- dered to enforce the men's demands. As arrangements have been made for a resump- tion of negotiations with the Lancashire and] Cheshire Coalowners' Association on a ques- tion of .surfacemen's wages over the whole area covered by the Federation, it was de- cided to postpone consideration of the matter. Men in the engineering trades in Sheffield are demanding more wages and sli-orter hours. The five years' agreement expires at the end of this month, and the men are ask- ing for 5s. per week advance all round, a forty-eight-hour week, and restriction of overtime. The engineers are at present re- ceiving 39s., the paite rn-makers 41s. and 42s., the steam-engine-makers and the black- smiths 39s. The demands affect 9,000 men. The notices handed in by the clerks at the Rees Roturbo firm. Heath Town, Wolver- hampton, expired on Saturday, and on Mon- day the strike commenced in real earnest. There are twenty-two men affected, and they are being supported by the National Union. The latter allege that the firm are paying small wages, and have put in a demand for scales of salaries ranging from 12s. to 70s. a week, payment for overtime at the rate of time and a-quarter from Monday to Friday, time and a-lialf on Saturday, and double time on Sunday, increased holidays, and the limi- tation of the number of juniors. Six of the clerks who received notice from their em- ployer a week before have been acting as pickets.

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