Slike strani

84. Except among the seamen and firemen in the shipping industry,15 closed-shop agreements are exceptional and do not appear to be seriously sought for. Nevertheless we were told by both union and employer representatives that in some industries there is virtually a closed shop in practice, as distinguished from one by contract, the employers preferring to engage union men and in some instances, at the request of the union, suggesting to particular individuals that they should join. The check-off 16 is very exceptional, and several union representatives stated their opposition to it.

85. While isolated instances of opposition to organization in some trades not covered by national agreements were reported to us, and there were instances of employers (with one of whom we conferred) who, at the conclusion of the general strike declined to deal further with the unions, nevertheless the evidence is that the attitudes described above are typical of the relationships in the major industries which we studied.


86. We were informed by many workers and employers that the social legislation enacted during the present century had improved conditions in Great Britain, and had created an atmosphere in which harmonious employer and worker relations could be developed. How great or little this effect has been we do not attempt to say. The most important social legislation 17 deals with unemployment insurance, old-age insurance, medical aid with sickness compensation, and improved housing. Unemployment insurance, begun in 1911, now covers over 13,000,000 workers, with equal contributions from workers employers, and the Government. In 1934 Parliament gave unemployment assistance to those workers whose unemployment benefits under the insurance plan had been exhausted. Health insurance with medical aid has also been in effect many years.

This fund is sustained by equal contributions from the worker and the employer, with Government aid. Old-age insurance on a basis of equal contributions from workers and employers with grants from the Government has been in effect many years. This has recently been extended to a higher income group on a voluntary basis.

87. One of the most important of the social services tending to improve the industrial relations is better housing, of which much has been done in England by private companies, many without subsidy, some with; and much has been done by municipalities and local boards with assistance from the Government.18

88. The cooperative movement should also be mentioned as a factor in decreasing the cost of the necessaries of life, especially to the workers. There are now almost 8,000,000 members of the retail cooperative societies with sales of over 1 billion dollars per year.

89. While the available strike statistics are set forth in appendix E, we do not feel that we can safely draw generalizations from them. We can, however, state with certainty that among the persons we conferred with there was a common feeling of confidence in the existing method of handling industrial relations, and that in those industries where collective bargaining between national unions and national associations of employers have long been established, strikes have been rare, and in a few instances nonexistent (with the exception of the general strike in 1926), since the very beginnings of the collective-bargaining arrangements.

90. There is a real determination upon the part of national officers and individual members of the employers organizations and of the trade unions to employ to the full the system of voluntary national agreements and to make these function as effectively as possible. In the last analysis, the continuing value of these agreements outweighs with both sides any particular dispute.

91. The national unions have great stability, without which such machinery could not continuously function. This stability, we think, may be explained by a number of factors. In the first place, in many of the unions the administrative officers are not subject to annual election but are appointed during good behavior by an elected executive council or board (normally elected each year), and in practice they generally continue in office until retired, provision being made for automatic retirement at a certain age with a pension. Measured in terms of the men's wages and superannuation benefits (which are provided by most of the larger unions) the salaries and retirement pensions of the officials compare favorably. With reasonably assured tenure these men acquire knowledge of the problems of their industries through repeated personal contacts with the employers and through the process of negotiating national agreements. The large funds administered by the principal unions in the way of unemployment, sickness, and accident, superannuation, funeral, and other benefits may furnish an additional element of stability.

92. Improved industrial relations in Great Britain have been reflected in the trend of hours of work which have been reduced, during the last 20 years, from 54 to 48 or in some cases less, and by the changes in the real wage level, which for manufacturing and railways has risen approximately 16 percent since 1924, according to the figures of the Ministry of Labor. These factors, together with improved machinery, better technology, and improved organization of industry, have contributed to a higher standard of living.

93. Finally, and most important, the acceptance and general practice of collective bargaining on an industry basis places upon the employers and workers' organizations, because of the sheer numbers of men and the magnitude of interests involved, a peculiarly heavy responsibility calculated by its very nature to call forth patience, understanding, and a desire to make and keep agreements and to achieve industrial peace.

1 We have used particularly, but not exclusively the following:

Report of the Royal Commission on trade disputes and trade combinations, 1906 (cd. 2825) LVI, 1 ; evidences and appendices, 1906 (cd. 2826) LVI, 137; reports of the Commission of Inquiry into industrial unrest : 1917–18 (cd. 8662–69) XV, 1; summary of the reports of the Commission by Rt. Hon. G. N. Barnes, 1917-18 (cd. 8696) XV, 149°; reports of the Whitley Committee on relations between employers and employees; interim report on joint standing industrial councils, 1917-18 (ed. 8606) XVIII, 415'; second report on joint industrial councils, 1918 (cd. 9002) X, 659; supplementary report on works committees, 1918 (cd. 9001) XIV, 951; report on conciliation and arbitration, 1918 (cd 9099) VII 763 ; final report of the committee (signed July 1, 1918). 1918 (cd. 915,;) VIII, 629; Committee on Industry and Trade-survey of industrial relations, 1926; survey of metal industries, iron and steel, engineering, eletrical manufacturing, shipbuilding, with a chapter on the coal industry. 1928; survey of textile industries, cotton, wool. artificial silk, 1928; final report, 1929 (cmd. 3282)"; report of Ministry of Labor on the establishment and progress of joint industrial councils, 1917–22; report of Ministry of Labor on collective agreements between employers and work-people, vol. 1, 1934; Industrial Relations in Great Britain, by J. Henry Richardson, M. A., 'Ph. D., International Labor Office, Geneva, 1938; British Methods of Industrial Peace, by Ducksoo Change,

Ph. D., Columbia University Press, 1936; The Whitley Council Scheme, Seymour, P. S. King, London (1932).

2 From the statistical table in Vol. 45, the Ministry of Labor Gazette, p. 380 (October 1937).

3 From statistics compiled for the Commission by the Ministry of Labor. (See appendix F.),

From Vol. 45 the Ministry of Labor Gazette, p. 381 (October 1937). The largest federations are there stated to be: The Mineworkers' Federation of Great Britain, the General Federation of Trade Unions, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions of the United Kingdom, the United Textile Factory Workers' Association, the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation, the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation, and the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives.

5 From the Twenty-second Abstract of Labor Statistics of the United Kingdom (192236), presented by the Minister of Labor to Parliament, Cmd. 5556, p. 136. The associations cover manufacturing industries, transport and communication, commerce and distribution, mining, quarrying, fishing, agriculture, etc. The figures do not include chambers of commerce or other associations which do not deal with labor matters. A list of the associations by industries appears in appendix G.

6 In 1928–29 proposals to establish a system of national consultation between employers and workers led to voluntary negotiations between the Trades Union Congress and the National Confederation of Employers Organizations (the Turner-Molchett conferences). This group recommended the establishment of a National Industrial Council with regular meetings for general consultations on the widest questions concerning industrial problems and progress. This proposal was not accepted by the two employer organizations, the National Confederation of Employers Organizations, which deals only with labor matters, and the Federation of British Industries, which deals with all other industry problems; but the proposal has resulted in a plan for formal consultations between these national bodies, adopted by them in December 1929. Under this plan any one of the three parties may propose a subject for consultation. Thereupon the confederation and the federation decide between themselves which one the proposed subject concerns, and the consultation proceeds between one or the other of them and the congress. If any organization declines to discuss a subject proposed it must give its reasons. We were told that only a few subjects have been so discussed, and under the present conditions little importance seems to be attributed to the plan.

7 These diverse features of collective agreements are summarized from pp. xiii to xxxiv of the Ministry of Labor's report on collective agreements between employers and workpeople (1934).

8 See appendix B.

9 From the reports of the proceedings of the annual Trades Union Congress in 1924 (pp. 136 to 157) and 1937 (pp. 89 to 91).

10 Set forth in the 1927 report of the annual Trades Union Congress, p. 83.

11 The act of 1875 provides summary action and penalties for the wilful and malicious breach of contract of employment by an employee of a municipal authority or publicservice company, knowing that the probable consequences would be to deprive the public of the supply of gas or water (by subsequent statute electricity was included); or by any employee knowing that the probable consequences would be to cause serious bodily injury, or to expose valuable property, whether real or personal, to destruction or serious injury. The Emergency Powers Act of 1920 was also directed to the assurance of the essentials of life to the community; excepting, however, from its provisions the mere act of an individual taking part in a strike or peacefully persuading others to do so. By the 1927 act, this exception was withdrawn with respect to illegal strikes (see appendix B).

2 Report of the chief registrar of the Friendly Societies for the year 1936, part 4, trade unions.

13 While the court issued 20 awards in 1937, a total of 1,691 awards have been issued since its creation, or an average of about 89 a year. (From the report of the Ministry of Labor for the year 1937, p. 70).

14 From the annual reports of the Ministry of Labor.

15 The joint hiring halls, described in Appendix A, constitute in fact a closed shop, though the term is not used in the agreements.

16 Check-offs in the shipping industry, as described in Appendix A, are in effect in the case of seamen and firemen, but only where the men themselves sign authorities therefor.

17 The information in this section has been summarized from the report on the Britisk social services (June 1937), P. E. P. ; the Ministry of Health report on house production, slum clearance, etc., England and Wales (1938); and the London County Council, housing estates statistics (1937).

18 According to the latest bulletin of the Ministry of Health on housing there were at the close of the war about 8,000,000 dwellings in England and Wales. Since 1919 about 3,660,000 dwellings have been constructed in the above territory of which over 2,000,000 have been built by private industry without subsidy and about 425,000 with subsidy. The remainder-abouť 1,200,000—have been constructed by municipalities and other public bodies.

[blocks in formation]



Prior to the war there was no national organization among the employers, and no negotiating machinery. Following a large-scale and protracted strike in 1911, the National Union of Seamen for the first time secured agreements with most of the operators separately. During the war the Government encouraged the formation of a national organization of employers (the Shipping Federation) which, with the Employers Association of the Port of Liverpool, were brought together on a National Maritime Board, in which Government and union representatives participated. In 1919, by agreement between the employer and union representatives, the Board was reconstituted in the form in which it now exists, with the Goyernment not represented. This Board is the agency through which, on the sea-going side of the industry, wages and other conditions of employment are established and from time to time modified, and through which local grievances and disputes are settled. The two associations of employers represent 95 percent of all British tonnage, or 1512 million tons. The National Union of Seamen has a mem

. bership of about 70,000.

The Board's functions are: a. The prevention and adjustment of differences between shipowners and masters, seamen, and apprentices (the catering department employees are now included);

b. The establishment, revision, and maintenance of a national standard rate (or rates) of wages and approved conditions of employment in the mercantile marine;

c. The establishment of a single source of supply of sailors and firemen jointly controlled by employers and employed in accordance with the following general principles :

(1) The shipowner shall have the right to select his own crew at any time through a jointly controlled supply office, already established or to be established on a basis to be mutually agreed. Special arrangements to be made by the National Maritime Board to meet special cases, such as coasting trade and shipping of substitutes;

(2) Equal rights of registration and employment must be secured for all seamen. Raw recruits to be registered as such ;

(3) The seamen shall have the right to select their ship.

Pursuant to these purposes, wages (graded save for firemen and seamen according to tonnage classifications) and other conditions of employment have been negotiated and agreed upon by the two sides, and joint "supply offices" (hiring halls) have been established. The Board of Trade has made a number of regulations relating to accommodations and food, in most instances upon the joint recommendation of the two sides.

In practice, except for the catering staff, where the union organization is still relatively weak, a closed shop exists for the unlicensed personnel. A seaman, for example, will be engaged provisionally

« PrejšnjaNaprej »