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chinery; and in part by the method of adjusting wages to prices in the production of pig iron, tin bars, steel rails, and steel sheets. Here the wages are determined quarterly (in some instances every 2 months), according to averages of selling prices and pursuant to agreed upon formulae. The calculations are made from the companies' books by accountants jointly selected and paid by the employer and union organizations. These selling-price scales date back, in one form or another, to 1870 in the case of malleable iron, and to 1905 in the case of heavy steel. The method appears on the whole to be mutually satisfactory. The bulk of the workers are on piece-rates; the time-rate production workers receive bonuses based on sliding scales of tonnage output.
The conciliation machinery varies according to the particular section of the industry. In the tin-plate section of South Wales a joint industrial council is the final agency for collective negotiations and settlements; it also concerns itself (by its constitution, as some of the other agencies do in practice) with considerations of economic and technological problems, safety, and so on.
In the heavy steel section, which is concentrated largely in the Lincolnshire, Sheffield, South Wales, Tees-side, Tyneside, and Clydeside districts, there is a long-standing procedure for negotiation and settlement which, though not embodied in a written agreement, is fully accepted and followed. Wage negotiations and other matters affecting the trade generally are dealt with by a joint committee composed of representatives of the Iron and Steel Trades Employers Association and the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation. This is not a standing committee but meets at the request of either side whenever occasion arises. In case of disagreement, matters at issue are generally submitted to arbitration. The procedure for handling local
, grievances and disputes normally comprises two steps: (1) if the controversy cannot be adjusted between the management and the union shop representative or local union official, it is at once reported to the national employers association and the national union; (2) these two organizations thereupon appoint a “neutral committee, consisting of two employer representatives unconnected with the works in question, and two union representatives likewise selected from other works. A decision by a majority of this committee is binding, if ratified by the two national organizations. In case of deadlock, there is no fixed procedure; the matter may be referred back to the organizations, or it may be submitted to arbitration. Usually arbitration is the last resort. There is a definite, but again unwritten, understanding that until this procedure has been completed there will be no stoppages and that, if stoppages nevertheless occur, there will be no negotiations while the men are out.
More formalized arrangements are in effect in the malleable iron section in the Midlands, and in the sheet trade section of Staffordshire, both of which have standing joint wages boards, with written constitutions that are almost identical.
The Midland board (The Midland Iron and Steel Wages Board) was created in 1888 and, with amendments and revisions in 1905, 1928, and 1933 has functioned successfully since its inception. Its constitution provides, first of all, for appointment to the board, in equal number, of employer and union representatives from each plant. This large board, in turn, appoints a smaller joint standing committee of 24 members, and elects a neutral president who must not be connected in any way with the industry. Wage negotiations and other general questions are dealt with by the standing committee, which may call the whole board together if necessary, “and in case no agreement can be arrived at it shall be referred to the president, whose decision shall be final and binding on all parties. To promote uniformity, it is provided in effect that local changes in wage and other agreements must be approved by the board or the standing committee.
A four-stage procedure is laid down for settling local grievances and disputes, which are handled, failing settlement, in the following order: (1) Works committee and the management; (2) divisional office of the national union, and the management; (3) joint standing committee (or a joint subcommittee thereof), which must meet within 14 days, and may make retroactive awards; (4) the president, who may hear the witnesses de novo, and whose decision is binding.
The Sheet Trade Board constitution, unlike that of the Midland Board, does not provide for a neutral president but relies solely on the efficacy of joint agreement. In other respects it is substantially a copy of the earlier Midland constitution. It adds at the end, not as a part of the constitution, but in the form of an admonition from the Board, the following:
Above all, the Board would impress upon its subscribers that there must be no strike or suspension of work. The main object of the Board is to prevent anything of this sort, and if any strike or suspension of work takes place, the Board will refuse to inquire into the matter in dispute until work is resumed, and the fact of its having been interrupted will be taken into account in considering the question.
It is recommended that any changes in the modes of working requiring alterations in the hours of labor or a revision of the scale of payments, shall be made a matter of notice as far as possible, or arrangement beforehand, so as to avoid needless subsequent disputes as to what ought to be paid.
It is notable that in one and the same industry (and a relatively homogeneous industry at that), dominated by national organizations of employers and workers, there should be three distinct types of adjustment machinery, which seem to have succeeded equally well; the two-stage procedure in the heavy steel section, with joint boards convened for particular questions; the four-stage procedure in the Midland, with a standing board and ultimate power of decision in a neutral president; and a similar procedure in the sheet trade section, without, however, any neutral. This seems to suggest that it is not the detail that counts, but the character of the national organizations, and the fact that they remove local disputes from the local
4. BOOTS AND SHOES
In the boot and shoe industry, as in the iron and steel industry, a national employers' organization developed in the latter part of the nineteenth century for the express purpose of combatting the rising power of unionism; the movement on both sides culminated in a national stoppage; and after the struggle ended, collective bargaining relationships were established, and joint negotiating methods were evolved, which have endured with but minor changes to
the present, and which have brought peace to the industry. Since 1895, save for a small number of unauthorized local stoppages, there have been no strikes or lockouts in that portion of the industryby far the greater part—which is subject to the national agreements. We were informed that while only about half of the nearly 700 firms in the industry are members of the Incorporated Federated Associations of Boot and Shoe Manufacturers, those members manufacture about three-quarters in value of the annual product; and that about 90 percent of the nonfederated firms have contracts with the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives,? containing substantially the same provisions for wages, hours, and working conditions as those under which the federated members operate.
While changes in piece-rates are determined locally, as will be described, national regulation plays an important part. Thus successive agreements have laid down minimum wage rates for adults, and graduated scale rates for boys and girls (as well as fixing hours of labor-now 45—conditions of employment, and vacations with pay). Moreover, general upward or downward 'wage adjustments are negotiated nationally, the national agreements stipulating the basic minimum time rate for each type of operation, and providing that the piece rates must be so set locally as to yield the average worker 3 not less than 25 percent above his minimum time rate. Finally, these minimum rates are adjusted automatically once each year in accordance with the cost-of-living indices published by the Ministry of Labor, and pursuant to a formula laid down in the national agreements.
Piece-work rates and other local questions are settled under the national agreements by local boards of arbitration and conciliation, whose origin dates back to the seventies. These boards are composed in equal numbers of employer and union representatives, who each select an arbitrator. If the two arbitrators fail to agree, they in turn select an umpire, or request the Ministry of Labor to appoint one; and his decision is final and binding upon all parties. In practice, because of the vast number of piece rates and the constant changes with changes of styles, the local boards delegate their work to expert departmental joint committees, and are called upon for decisions only when these committees cannot agree. We were informed that arbitration has had to be restorted to in only a very small fraction of the
These joint boards not only determine piece rates but also decide grievances and local disputes. If a dispute cannot be settled in the plant, the local board appoints a joint committee of inquiry, composed of employer and union representatives not connected with the controversy, who go to the plant and endeavor to effect a settlement. If they fail, the matter is referred to the board for conciliation. If the board fails, the question is determined by arbitration in the manner just described. The award is binding, and strikes and lock-outs are prohibited.
2 This union was established in 1874, and arose out of a still earlier union. There is another small union in the industry, but it is confined to a particular area and a particular type of product.
8 The output of an “average worker” is determined in each particular instance by calculating the average output on the same operation in 12 factories in a given town (eliminating factories which for one reason or another are concededly exceptional).
To further the observance of this and other clauses, as a part of the terms of the national settlement in 1895 and carried over in the subsequent agreements, a guarantee fund of £2,000 was set up, half by the union and half by the federation; and it was provided that in case of a stoppage lasting more than 3 days, or any other breach, the injured side would be entitled to damages from the fund and the other side must restore the balance in the fund. Claims are heard before a national umpire appointed by the Ministry of Labor, but there have been very few claims and still fewer have been allowed. There is a similar penalty fund provision in the national agreement governing the pottery industry, but we found no other examples in the industries which we studied.
One other provision should be noted. There is a joint standing committee of six to deal with any disputes that may arise as to the interpretation of this agreement."
The latest national agreement (January 1938), like its predecessors, lasts for 2 years, and thereafter until terminated. Six months' notice of termination is required. When such notice is given a joint national conference is called to negotiate a new agreement, and at this conference an impartial chairman, appointed by the Ministry of Labor, presides. He has no vote, and his function is merely to assist the two sides in arriving at a meeting of minds.
If the two sides cannot effect a new agreement, they are free to take such action as they wish. It is only in such a contingency-the expira
— tion of a national agreement and the failure to make a new one-that strikes and lock-outs are permitted in the industry. This restrictive arrangement, though legally unenforceable,+ has never been violated; the 6 months' notice requirement affords ample time for negotiation, and both sides are anxious to avoid strife.
In many other industries there are no similar restrictions. Thus in the shipping, engineering, and iron and steel trades (except in the Midland area) any grievance or local dispute may terminate in open conflict, which is perfectly permissible if the agreed conciliation procedure has first been followed through and has failed; and either side may at any time move for a change in the terms of employment, and may properly take direct action if the joint negotiations provided for have first been carried on and have broken down.
5. COTTON TEXTILES
The cotton textile industry is one of the oldest and most important in Great Britain. It is concentrated largely in Lancashire and adjoining counties and is divided into three main divisions—the spinning section, the weaving section, and the finishing and dyeing section. Like many of the other export industries of Great Britain, it has suffered from increasing foreign competition. This has resulted in a marked decrease of both looms and spindles; since the war the looms have been reduced from 800,000 to 400,000 and the spindles by an equal percentage. We were informed by both operators and workers that the number of men and women now actually employed is about 236,000, of which about 192.000 are members of the various textile unions.
The penalty provisions of the guarantee fund, previously referred to, could doubtless be enforced, since these provisions are contained in a separate trust deed and the funds are held in trust in accordance with its terms.
Union organization in the cotton textile industry began early in its history. The first unions were local in character and usually limited to the spinning, weaving, or finishing trade in a given town. In 1932 there were 171 such local unions. Gradually many unions in each section of the industry became affiliated in sectional federations and, finally, in national organizations. The weavers became federated in the Northern Counties Textile Trade Federation; the spinners in the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners and Twiners, and the cardroom help in the Amalgamated Association of Cardroom Operatives. While the various unions are loosely federated according to their sections of the cotton industry, there is no strong central federation of all the unions in the industry and there is a considerable difference in labor conditions between the various sections.
The employers, like the workers, are united in various federations. Employers in the weaving section are organized in 16 local associations representing 560 firms. These associations are federated into the Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers Association, which represents about 80 percent of the weaving industry. The spinning companies are organized in the Federation of Master Cotton Spinners Association, Ltd., which is made up of 14 local associations and 650 firms.
The finishing trade, both on the employers and workers side, is divided into three main divisions: the dyers, the bleachers, and the printers, each of which has its own federation of workers and of employers.
Wages in the cotton industry are based upon a complicated system of piece rate lists for various classes and kinds of cloth. One of these basic lists was established in 1853; others at more recent dates, but nearly all of them date back to the nineteenth century. As changes have been made in wages, it has been done by adding or subtracting a certain percentage to or from the basic lists, and, as many such changes have been made over the years, it is not easy to determine the exact piece rate for a given type of goods. Because of this difficulty and also for the purpose of settling local grievances, rather elaborate bargaining machinery has been set up.
In the case of a dispute over piece rates or because of a grievance, the matter is first taken up by the worker with his employer. If settlement is not arrived at, the secretaries of the local trade union and of the local employers federation endeavor to effect an agreement. In most cases they do so. If these officials fail, the question is then dealt with by a joint local committee of both employers and workers, and, if they cannot agree, then by a joint national committee of both employers and workers. It is agreed that until this procedure has been completed, there shall be no stoppage of work because of a local grievance or dispute. After the strike of 1932 a provision was added for a conciliation committee consisting of not less than four persons from each group with an independent chairman selected by the committee, or, failing agreement, by the Minister of Labor.
Requests for changes in the wage scales or in the hours of work come from the national federations of the workers or the employers and are negotiated by a joint committee of the national organizations.