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by the appropriate officer on board ship, but will not formally be employed until he has been approved both by the union and employer representatives. A modified form of check-off is also in effect, the union dues being deducted at the end of the voyage from the pay
of those men who have authorized the master to do so. We were informed by the Shipping Federation that about 90 percent of the men sign such authorizations.
The membership of the Board is divided into five panels (one each for masters, navigating officers, engineer officers, sailors and firemen, and catering department). Each panel consists of 12 employer representatives, selected by their respective organizations (except in the case of the masters, who have no organization and who elect by ballot from among their number. In practice this panel does not function). For practical purposes, therefore, the Board consists of 4 panels of 24 members each, or a total of 96 members. The full Board meets only occasionally, and the task of regulating wages and working conditions is substantially carried on by the separate panels. All expenses are borne jointly by the employer and union organizations.
When a panel meets to decide any question, each side is bound by a majority vote of that side. If the two sides cannot agree, the matter may be referred by joint determination either to the full Board or to a barrister nominated by the president of the bar council, whose opinion is not, however, binding. In practice references to a barrister are infrequent, and relate to questions of interpretation. When a matter is submitted to the full Board, again a majority vote of either side is binding upon that side; and if both sides agree, the decision is final. In case of disagreement no further machinery is provided.
A somewhat more elaborate machinery is set up for handling local disputes and grievances. Thus each panel in turn appoints a number of district panels, and each district panel appoints in the ports which it covers, one or more representatives of each side, who are called port consultants. There are no shop committees or union representatives on board ship; the union officials stated that, to maintain discipline, they "would not allow such a thing." All grievances are settled in port. Union men who give orders do not belong to the same unit of the Seamen's Union as the men who take their orders. Federation officials stated that the discipline on board ship was excellent. If the port consultants can not settle the dispute they obtain statements in writing from the parties, and forward the statements together with their joint or separate comments to the district panel. If the district panel cannot settle the matter, it goes finally to the full panel of the Board.
The constitution provides that “no stoppage of work or lock-out shall take place” before these steps have been completed, and that:
No indemnity, strike pay, assistance or encouragement, direct or indirect, shall be afforded by either organization or by any official or individual members thereof to any person or persons failing to submit a difference or dispute to the district panel as herein provided or acting in breach of a decision of a district panel or the National Maritime Board.
That this machinery works well is attested by the fact that in the nearly 20 years of its existence there have been no official strikes, and only two unofficial stoppages, one, an unsuccessful strike among the caterers (who at that time had a separate organization), and the other, a localized rank and file stoppage of seamen growing out of wage reductions which the Seamen's Union had agreed to. In the latter instance the union supplied other men to man the ships.
The dockers, of whom there are approximately 120,000, who belong chiefly to the Transport and General Workers Union but also to the National Union of General and Municipal Workers and the National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers, have a very similar collective bargaining set-up, dating from 1920, with national agreements fixing wages and working conditions, local and national joint conciliation committees handling local disputes and grievances, and a national joint council which deals with wages and other basic matters. A joint committee of the National Council and the unions has been studying, for more than a year, with the Government and with the members of their respective organizations, the question of regularizing the work of dockers (decasualization) and we were informed by both employers and workers that with Government help, which will require special legislation, they look forward confidently to a rational solution of this difficult problem. One alleviating factor is that in the hiring halls, where there are representatives of the employers and of the workers, there are also Government officers representing the unemployment assistance service, so that a man who has failed to get a job may immediately register with the unemployment office.
Aside from the general strike in 1926, there have been but few local stoppages among the dockers, and in each instance they were opposed by the union; and there has been but one breakdown in wage negotiations, which led to a 2 weeks strike in 1924.
Including manufacturers of machinery products, such as automobiles, electrical apparatus and appliances, aircraft, radios, machine tools, and so forth
Engineering, by contrast with shipping, contains a multiplicity of firms of various kinds, many of which in the United States would be regarded as separate industries; a multiplicity of unions, and a highly complex collective bargaining structure. Thus the Engineering and Allied Employers National Federation, which acts for approximately 95 percent of the employers and deals only with labor matters, is composed of subassociations containing over 2,000 firms employing roughly 1,000,000 workers. The federation makes national agreements with 41 unions, who generally meet together in one committee to negotiate with the federation on all important matters. Notwithstanding the intricate nature of the bargaining machinery, it has worked well for a long period of time.
To understand this machinery a word must be said about its origin. In 1895, following a steady rise of unionization, the employers began to federate for their own protection along regional lines. In 1897 there was a widespread and bitter strike which lasted for 6 months. At the start of this strike 180 employers were federated; by its close 702 were federated in a truly national organization, and the period of national collective bargaining began. A comprehensive agreement was then made between the industry and
the unions, settling all matters in dispute, and creating negotiating machinery which is the basis of that existing today. A series of national agreements, relating to that machinery, and each supplanting or supplementing its predecessor, but not fundamentally altering the general pattern, were negotiated in 1907, 1914, and 1922.
The nature of the machinery will now be considered, first as to wages, then as to hours, and finally as to local grievances and disputes.
The wage structure consists of both time rates and piece rates. Wages are fixed regionally, but general increases or decreases are usually determined nationally, as will be described later. All national wage adjustments have been made by flat additions to, or subtractions from the previous additions to, the basic time rate. There is also a cost of living bonus of so much per week depending on the cost of living indices published by the Ministry of Labor. These basic time rates are determined by agreements between the unions and the local associations who are members of the national federation. The various regional rates are historical and for a great many years their differences have remained unchanged. Additions to or subtractions from these basic time rates may be made either nationally, or by agreements with the local associations. The tendency, however, is to deal with the matter nationally and to avoid changes affecting only a portion of the industry or a particular area. Thus the national agreement of June 30, 1936, between the federation and a joint committee representing all the unions, after granting a flat addition of 3 shillings per week, went on to provide that:
The status quo shall be maintained in respect of local wage applications of a general character, i. e., applications promoted by a union or unions in respect of all classes of workpeople in an area and/or section of industry, for a period of 6 months after the first instalment here above mentioned has become effective. In the meantime the parties agree to resume negotiations in respect of the proposed machinery for dealing with such questions.
Similarly, in the national agreement of August 12, 1937, which granted a further flat addition of 3 shillings per week, it was provided that:
a. There shall be no local wages application for a period of 3 months after the final advance provided for above.
6. Thereafter local wages applications may be promoted only in respect of areas or districts or specific classes of workpeople where wages are claimed to be unduly low.
The present method of dealing with local wage applications of a general character is contained in the national agreement of November 25, 1936, which provides as follows:
1. A national committee, representative of the Engineering and Allied Employers' National Federation shall be created to deal with local wage applications of a general character promoted by a union or unions in respect of all classes of workpeople in an area or district.
2. In respect of such questions the national committee shall be the next stage in negotiation in the event of failure to agree at local conferences.
3. Claims referred to this committee will be presented by the national executive representative of the union or unions parties to an application the subject of discussion.
4. Failure to agree at this meeting shall be deemed to have terminated the procedure.
Applications for wage adjustments in a single plant, which do not affect a whole area, are dealt with in the same way as local grievances and disputes, to be presently described.
Hours and overtime rates are determined nationally; the working week was fixed at 47 hours in 1918 and has not since been altered. A week's vacation with pay was provided by voluntary national agreement in 1937.
The general policy is to have no contractual closed shop: The agreements made with the unions as above described determine the working conditions of all employees. The employers favor union membership, but no discrimination is made, and while many nonunion men are in the employ of the companies in the association, there are companies where union membership is substantially complete.
Local grievances and disputes are dealt with by a typical threestep procedure and both sides recognize the importance of handling them promptly. If the question cannot be settled by the management and the worker (or his local union representative, in which case a representative of the local employers' association sits with the management), it is referred to a joint conference composed of representatives of the local association (exclusive of the particular employer) and the local union, who must meet within 7 days after the reference. If the matter cannot be settled there, it goes to a central conference which meets monthly, composed of employer representatives not interested in the particular controversy, and national officers of the union.
The agreement provides that “until the procedure provided above has been carried through, there shall be no stoppage of work either of a partial or a general character"; and it is understood that if stoppages nevertheless occur there will be no negotiations while the men are out. Though we were informed that in over half the cases referred to the central conference the two sides have failed to agree, very few strikes have resulted; it was explained that disputes have a tendency to "evaporate” during their thorough airing before persons not immediately connected with them, and that frequently the parties arrive at their own settlement after the procedural steps have been completed. Moreover, only some 8 to 16 cases a month reach the central conference, most disputes being settled at the first or second stage of the procedure.
Apart from the general strike there have been only two widespread disturbances—a 3-month strike in 1922 by practically all of the unions, and a strike in 1937 throughout Scotland and in many parts of England, by apprentices, who sought and obtained the right to be represented by the unions and to be brought under the national agreement. General wage changes have been negotiated nationally without conflict-downwards in 1921 and 1922, upwards in 1924, downwards in 1931, and upwards in 1935, 1936, and 1937.
Despite the great extent and diversity of its membership, the employers' federation is a closely knit and centrally directed organization equipped for combat as well as peace. Thus, the federation exists not only to avoid industrial disputes by the process of collective bargaining but, in the language of its constitution, "to secure mutual
support and cooperation in dealing with demands made, and action taken, by employees or combinations of employees.” To effectuate this an indemnity fund, contributed to by the members, has been created “from which payments may be made or given to federated firms in respect of strikes or lock-outs occurring in their establishments.” Moreover, the constitution provides that "each federated association shall have a rule that in the event of a strike or lock-out occurring at the works of one or more federated firms the members of such association shall observe and conform to such regulations and directions as the federation may make or give from time to time in relation thereto." Finally, by majority vote of the member firms in a referendum (the votes of each firm varying according to its aggregate wages bill) an industry-wide lock-out may be declared by the council and enforced upon pain of expulsion from the federation.
In 1923 the threat of such a lock-out was made in connection with a dispute with the Draughtmen's Association, who were seeking increased salaries; in 1924 lock-outs were authorized by referendum vote (but not put into effect) in connection with two local strikes and another local dispute; in 1925 aid was given from the indemnity fund to two federated firms who successfully resisted a 3-month strike in their plants by the machine joiners; in 1926, in a strike involving 900 men, who had not followed the prescribed grievance machinery and whose union sought to induce them to do so, the federation was on the point of locking out the members of the union throughout the country when resumption was secured.
3. IRON AND STEEL
The iron and steel industry has been strongly organized on both the employer and employee side for some 50 years; collective bargaining dates back that far; and (except for the general strike in 1926 and a small number of unauthorized local stoppages) there has been an unbroken record of peace since 1905.
Most of the employers are members of one or another of the following national associations: The Iron and Steel Trades Employers Association (which covers the heavy steel trade); the South Wales Siemens Steel Association (steel melting and rolling in South Wales); the Welsh Tin Plate and Sheet Manufacturers Association (tinplate and light sheets); the Midland Iron and Steel Wages Board (wrought iron) and the Sheet Trade Board (steel sheets). The last two consist of employers and employees and are conciliation boards for collective bargaining.
Most of the production workers are members of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation. Employers reserve the right to employ and retain workers without reference to their membership in a union, although those employers with whom we conferred said that when requested by the union officials they encouraged the men to become members of the union.
The peaceful relations which have prevailed in this industry may, we think, be explained in part by the strength and character of the principal organizations; in part by the nature of the conciliation ma
1 Most of the blast furnacemen, and certain maintenance craftsmen, belong to separate organizations, and in the finishing end of the galvanized sheet trade and tinplate trade many of the workers are members of the Transport and General Workers' Union,