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ceedings in question were taken. The section quoted in full above does not impose any limit upon the character of the information which it is permissible to convey, and thus the only foundation for the decision is that a strike of this character would be in “restraint of trade," and would, therefore, lay those who conducted it open to an action for damages, though not to criminal proceedings.

" The result of this section section 3, quoted on page 41 supra), taken in combination with section 7 (quoted on page 41 supra), is to make it perfectly lawful for workmen, so far as criminal consequences are concerned, to threaten an employer " that they will leave his service in a body unless he discharges "a particular workman. But although protected by statute "from criminal liability, workmen would expose themselves by • such conduct to a civil action of damages at the iostance of a " fellow-workman discharged by his employer in consequence " of such threats.” — Fraser “On Master and Servant," p. 424.

This is directly in the teeth of Mr. Bompas's opinion, and the Times' says wisely: “The public at large will not be “satisfied unless the law, as laid down by Mr. Bompas, is “either affirmed or overruled in a Court of higher authority.”

Desertion of Service. The master's remedy in case of desertion of service by his employees is twofold. Under certain circumstances he may employ criminal, under other circumstances civil procedure. There are two sections of the Conspiracy Act dealing with this question. Section 4 makes special provision for employees of gas and water corporations. Section 5 is generally applicable.

Where any person wilfully and maliciously breaks a contract of service or of hiring, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequences of his so doing, either alone or in combination with others, will be to endanger human life, or cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property, whether real or personal, to destruction or serious injury, he shall, on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction, or on indictment as hereinafter mentioned, be liable either to

(1) January 12, 1891.


pay a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour.

With the view probably of testing the applicability of Section 5 of the Conspiracy Act to the case of the railway servants, two signalmen were prosecuted at Stirling for infringement of its provisions. The evidence showed that the men had given up the keys of their signal-box, and before leaving them had intimated that they would not return to duty. The Sheriff (Buntine) held that the men had no reason to suppose that their failure to return to duty at the hour fixed for their return would involve risk to life or property, and on that ground the charge against the men was found not proven. The breach of an ordinary contract of service renders a servant liable to an action of damages for loss that may arise through the breaking of the engagement. A mere absence, however, for two or three days has been held to be insufficient to entitle an employer to damages as against a servant.3 “If a master can prove actual injury to himself or his business, arising from the servant's breach of contract, the latter is not only liable to be dismissed and to forfeit his current wages, but he may be amerced in damages as well.”4 The extent of the damages awarded has been made to depend upon the degree of facility with which the servant's place could be supplied. Imprisonment for breach of an ordinary contract of service is understood to be no longer competent."

Several hundred cases were raised by each of the railway companies against their men. Some of these were defended on various technical pleas; these were withdrawn, and the

(1) See Scottish Leader, 7th January, 1891. (2) Periods of Notice to be given and received. Terms of notice on the various railways differ slightly. Caledonian Railway Company: Guards, enginemen, firemen, and platelayers, two weeks ; porters, signalmen, etc., one week. Servants are " liable to immediate dismissal for disobedience of orders, negligence, misconduct, or incompetency." North British Railway, Rule 16. It stated that “ No servant is allowed to quit the company's service without giving the notice required by the terms of his engagement-namely, stationmasters, clerks, checkers, inspectors, detectives, guards, brakesmen, collectors, engine-drivers, firemen, signalmen, marshalmen, yardsmen, shunters, pointsmen, and watchmen, one month ; porters, carters gatekeepers, horsedrivers, and platelayers, fourteen days." (3) See Fraser, op. cit., p. 115.

(4) Ib. p. 113. (5) See Fraser, op cit., p. 382.


remainder were allowed to go against the defendants, the avowed intention being to avoid intensifying the bitterness of the situation by defending them unless the strike should continue much longer, in which event the cases would be sisted and defended. At the close of the strike the suits were abandoned.

Trade. Disputes.—The Employer and Workmen Act, 1875, op. cit., supplied a form of procedure which has not been taken advantage of in this case, nor indeed almost at all in Scotland. By this Act extensive powers are given to the Sheriffs and their substitutes (in Scotland) and to the County Court in England, which were intended to enable them to settle industrial disputes. There is, however, no provision enabling one party in a dispute of such a nature as that involved in the recent strike, to force the other to submit it to the Court under the Act.

Season Tickets. In addition to the legal questions involved in the relations of the companies with their servants, there were other questions concerning the relations of the railway companies to the public and to traders. The season ticket holders who had been unable to use their tickets on the Glasgow City and District Railway, owing to its being closed for about a month, raised an action against the railway for declaration that the period of tickets so affected should be extended or a proportional amount of the cost of the ticket refunded.

Carriage.—The railways are, in theory, highways upon which anyone may run appropriate vehicles. During the strike many traders conducted their own traffic, using their own plant and paying mileage dues. It is questionable whether any action would lie against the railway companies for refusal or delay to carry goods during a crisis such as they have passed through. The loss of goods owing to the disorganisation of traffic must have been considerable, and would, no doubt, in certain cases have to be made good by the railway companies. A railway company by advertising that it has ceased for any reason to run trains may probably relieve itself of subsequent liability to the public.


Dwelling-houses.—The Caledonian Railway Company's rule is as follows :

“All dwelling-houses specially appropriated by the company for the accommodation of their servants, as such, are only let during their employment, and any servant taking or occupying such a dwelling-house shall be bound or entitled to remove therefrom on his receiving or giving notice of the termination of his employment."

It has been suggested that the letting by the company of the houses to its employees is an infringement of the Truck Act. This, however, is a mistake. It appears fairly clear that railway servants are entitled to be regarded as.“ artificers” in the sense of the Act, though they are not expressly mentioned. Under Section 23 (The Truck Act, 1 and 2 Will. IV., c. 37) it is provided that nothing in the Act shall be construed to prevent any employer “from demising to any artificer, etc., the whole or any part of any tenement, at any rent to be thereon reserved. . . . nor from making, or contracting to make, any stoppage or deduction from the wages of any such artificer for or in respect of any such rent." It has been held, however, that this must be made the subject of a written contract.?

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The railway men belong as a body to the skilled labour class. They are not, as the “dockers ”are, irregularly employed and shiftless. Certain classes of them occupy a unique position. Their skill is both specialised and localised. For example, an engine-driver of a passenger train accustomed to the Westinghouse brake is, without special training, unable to drive a goods train fitted with the ordinary hand-brake and ordinary (1) See on interpretation of scope of Act, Fraser, op. cit., p. 445. (2) See Fraser, op. cit., p. 449.


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couplings. It is more difficult to take curves and gradients with a goods train under such conditions than is the case with a passenger train. The driver's skill, too, is localised, because so complicated is the network of lines, so sharp many of the curves, so frequent the changes in gradient, that unless a driver "knows the road” he is helpless. The complicated and varying systems of signals is an additional incident of this localisation of skill. Knowledge of the signal system of one branch line is of no value on another. Specialisation and localisation of skill have thus together given the enginedriver and some other classes of railwaymen a practical monopoly:

Work is hard but wages are high. The men in the higher grades—first, second, and third class engine-drivers and guards

- live in good houses and have bank accounts. If the railway managers did not believe in the approach of a strike, the men did, and they saved against the evil day. When the Executive began to distribute strike pay, many of the men handed the money back to the strike funds. They fought largely on their own individual resources.

There has been so much speculation as to the motive which prompted the men to strike without notice that it seems necessary to give the men's own view of this question. The men conceived that if they gave notice of resignation, that such notice meant permanent severance from their employment, and

(1) It is probable that one of the reforms of the near future will be the fitting of continuous brakes to goods as well as to passenger trains.

(2) This seems very absurd; uniformity in the system of signaling is surely not beyond the wit of man.

(3) The extent to which this monopoly of skill is effective is, of course, limited. One of the chief sources of annoyance to the strikers was that the men who had taken their places were being coached in their work by the men who had remained loyal to the companies.

(4) The following are the wages paid on the North British system, according to The Citizen " Inquiry": Engine drivers,

45. 6d. to 6s. 6d. per day. Firemen,

198. od. to 24s od. per week. Guards,

245. od. to zos od. Signalmen,

2os. od. to 225 od. Cleaners,

ros. od. to 16s. od. Porters.

145. od. to 18s. od. Edinburgh Express Drivers,

75. od. per Brakesmen,

275. od. to 30s. od. per week.


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