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appliances, improvements in working methods and organization, measures intended to retain existing traffic or to secure new traffic, and so on.
Similar functions, though somewhat broader in scope, are assigned to the joint sectional councils. We have already stated that these councils (each consisting of not more than 12 elected employees and not more than 12 company representatives, with not more than five councils for each road) consider and endeavor to settle "minor issues,” in the second stage of procedure after individual resort to management has failed. They similarly deal, in the second stage, with "medium issues” (questions of application of a national agreement which involve neither “minor issues” nor "major issues"). Apart from these two duties, the sectional councils play no part in the conciliation machinery, but they are given the function of considering “suggestions as to operating, working, and kindred subjects, e. g., cooperation with a view to securing increased business, greater efficiency, and economy; the well-being of the staff; general principles governing recruitment and tenure of service.”
By way of further promoting this collaboration, all employees are invited to submit written suggestions which may contribute to the progress, development, and efficient and economical conduct of railway business," monetary awards “or other suitable recognition" being given for any suggestion which is "considered useful or meritorious, irrespective of whether it is eventually put into operation or not.” We were informed that a great many useful suggestions had been received, resulting here and there in small savings and in improved ways of handling business and of dealing with customers.
The national agreements regulating wages, hours, and working conditions, as distinguished from the agreement relating to conciliation procedure, contain, in addition to seniority and promotion clauses, a number of features which should be noted. The wage cut negotiated in 1931 was restored under this new procedure, partly in 1936 and the rest in 1937. These agreements provide for a guaranteed day, and a guaranteed week with a week's notice of termination and overtime payment after a total of 48 hours of work; and guaranteed regular employment for the salaried staff. In the case of the salaried staff, when slack times occur new employment is curtailed or stopped and 'the rate of superannuation may be increased. There are also detailed provisions relating to disciplinary procedure, under which, in general, an employee charged with misconduct, neglect of duty, or other breaches, is informed in writing of the nature of his offense; may state his defense in writing; may be heard before the appropriate official of the company, and at such hearing may call witnesses and be accompanied by a union representative; is informed in writing of the decision; may appeal therefrom in writing to the appropriate superior official; and at the appeal may be accompanied by a union representative. These provisions, except the right of appeai, do not apply to cases “of a trivial character” or to cases “of exceptionally grave misconduct in which summary action by the management is justifiable.”
8. NEWSPAPER AND PRINTING
The printing industry is organized on the employers side into three associations, and on the workers' side into craft unions, which for purposes of collective bargaining on basic issues, and the adjustment of interunion disputes, form a single federation. Despite the distinctions between the crafts and between job and general printing on the one hand and various kinds of newspaper publishing on the other, labor standards are set and enforced by the action of a few central organizations. Within this organizational structure, regional, craft, and commercial variations are established. Collective and local agreements date back many years in sections of the industry, and union organizations were already strong in the latter part of the last century.
The employers are organized into three groups: The Newspaper Proprietors' Association, whose members are the publishers of the London papers; the Newspaper Society, which is made up of publishers of the so-called provincial papers, published out of London; and the British Federation of Master Printers, whose members do general and job printing.
On the workers' side, organization is very extensive and is along craft lines. Today there is a combination of 16 craft unions, including not only the mechanical trades but also the newswriters, comprising about 187,000 members united in the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation.
(1) THE LONDON NEWSPAPERS The Newspaper Proprietors' Association, founded in 1906, has been negotiating for its members with the various unions since that date. After the war it negotiated basic agreements with each craft union, which, with later modifications, are still in effect. There has been no strike since the general strike in 1926, although for 2 years before this time there had been a series of small strikes. The result of the 1926 strike was a series of supplementary agreements negotiated by the employers for each section of the industry and substantially identical." These new agreements were designed to clarify the issues raised both in the earlier strikes and in the general strike. Under them no sympathetic strike can be called. In each case it was specified that the management was to be free from any interference with the contents of the paper or the conduct of its business. The employers stated that they had found dealing with the union organizations, including the journalists, had had no effect upon the freedom of the press. Another section provides that there was to be no victimization on either side, and we were informed that the association disapproves any such action, and by union leaders we were told that any such question, either among the mechanical trades or newswriters, is always satisfactorily adjusted. Under the earlier agreement, which still also remains in effect, disputes are referred to a joint committee of three from each side with an impartial chairman appointed by the Ministry of Labor. It further provides that there should be no stoppages while the matter is under consideration. Whenever such a dispute concerns the interpretation of an agreement
the decisions of the committee are final. Unauthorized strikes are rare in the industry and have been quickly ended with the cooperation of union officials.
The agreements are terminable upon 3-months' notice by either side. Up to the present time the two sides have had no great difficulty in reaching an agreement upon modification of the basic agreement.
(2) THE PROVINCIAL PRESS AND GENERAL PRINTING The Newspaper Society brought together the publishers of most of the provincial papers, and signed its first national agreement in 1921. Before this period there had been a number of city and district agreements, and the employers felt the need of national negotiations and a single agreement, providing, however, for six different grades of wages for different sections of the country. The Newspaper Society, in negotiating agreements with the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation, usually acts jointly with the British Federation of Master Printers.
The Printing and Kindred Trades Federation holds an annual conference and in addition has an executive committee that meets every month. To either the annual conference or the executive committee every matter or dispute concerning more than one union or more than one locality is referred. There is within the federation adequate machinery for the compulsory arbitration of jurisdictional disputes, including those concerned with the right of a certain craft to a particular class of work.
The federation negotiates with the employer groups a national agreement covering all mechanical trades and the journalists and specifying hours, basic rates, and certain other conditions of employment. It maintains a strike fund for use in case of a general dispute in the industry, and which can also be drawn on by individual member unions if an approved restricted strike is in process. Wage changes for particular crafts are conducted separately. There has been no change in the basic level of wages throughout the industry since 1924. A general reduction was proposed by the employers in 1932 but this proposal was subsequently withdrawn. Except for the 1926 general strike and a few_local stoppages the last strike in the industry took place in 1911. Following the 1926 strike clauses similar to those covering the London newspapers, referred to above, were added to the basic agreement. The national agreement on hours has moved in 1911 from 521,2 to 50; in 1919 it was made 48, and a 2 weeks' vacation with pay was added; and in 1937 a 5-day week of 45 hours was established.
In order to assist not only in the negotiation of changes in the terms of the basic agreement, but also disputes arising either over the interpretation of its clauses or local grievances, the industry established in 1919 a Joint Industrial Council of the Printing and Allied Trades of Great Britain and Ireland. This joint council is an association of employers who are members of the British Federation of Master Printers and who employ members of a federated trade union, and the trade unions affiliated to the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation.
The council, consisting of 60 members, 30 elected by the employers and 30 by the various trade unions, meets at least once a quarter and has full power to consider all matters connected with the industry. No one outside the industry is connected with it, and the positions of chairman and vice chairman are held alternatively by representatives of the two sides.
In the case of any dispute of a national character in which there has been a failure to agree and which might lead to aggressive action, the parties to the dispute shall immediately advise the joint secretaries, who shall arrange for a meeting of its conciliation committee within 7 days.
The committee is expected to issue a joint finding. This finding is an opinion which is not enforceable on either side. As a matter of fact it has been accepted in all but one case since 1919 when the Joint Industrial Council was established. On one occasion the committee rendered two opinions, but the matter was referred back to them with instructions to evolve a joint finding.
If the conciliation committee fails to effect a settlement, the committee shall call a special meeting of the council within 14 days. During that period, the status quo must be maintained on both sides.
Local disputes and grievances are handled first by a district committee. In each important town this district committee consists of an equal number of employers and workers. It is entrusted with executive powers to deal with matters within and concerning its respective area. In case of nonagreement the matter is referred to the Joint Industrial Council. The constitution provides :
In the case of any dispute of a local character, no strike, lock-out, or other aggressive or coercive action shall be taken until the matter in question has been placed by the consent of all the parties before the district committee or, failing such consent, before the conciliation committee of the council and pending such reference the dispute shall remain in abeyance, the members of the union (or unions) to remain at work and the employer (or employers) concerned not to persist beyond the point of protest. Both parties shall conform to normal conditions pending the reference.
The joint council, as other Whitley councils elsewhere described, also considers methods of improving the economic positions of the trade and the effects of such improvements on the workers involved. For instance, in 1928 it issued a report 6 recommending that:
(1) Employers should be urged to improve the efficiency of their works by scrapping old and installing new machinery and adopting improved methods of organization and production of every kind.
(2) Modern time-saving machinery and other methods to reduce the cost of production are beneficial to all concerned. Employees should cooperate with the employers in the use of these methods.
(3) Employers are recommended, when time-saving machinery is introduced, to endeavour to retain all their employees by transfer to other duties.
(4) Employees should be encouraged to make suggestions, through works advisory committees, for improving methods of working and factory amenities, and should be suitably rewarded for suggestions adopted.
8 See Industrial Relations in Great Britain, J. H. Richardson, International Labor Office, 1938, pp. 141-142.
The pottery industry has been strongly organized on both employer and employee sides since about 1918, when, under the stimulus of the Whitley Reports elsewhere referred to, the Joint Industrial Council of the Pottery Industry was formed. In pre-war days the industry was weakly organized, and the various unions met separately with the then existing seven employer groups.
In 1918, after the formation of the council all of the manufacturers associations united to form the British Pottery Manufacturers' Federation, and the various unions amalgamated to form the National Society of Pottery Workers.
The council today is composed of 30 members chosen by the manufacturers' federation, 30 by the national society, and 5 honorary and 5 co-opted members. Meetings of the council are held quarterly, all expenses being borne equally by the two sides.
The main purpose of the council is “the advancement of the pottery industry and all connected with it, by the association in its government of all engaged in the industry.” On its formation a number of objects were included in its constitution, and the following committees deal with certain matters and problems relating to those objects: organization; demobilization; wages and conditions; statistical and enquiries; research, inventions and designs; and executive, general purposes and finance. The research committee has done significant work on health problems connected with the industry. An apprenticeship committee was subsequently appointed, and from time to time various ad hoc committees have been set up to deal with different subjects. The council, on occasion, has taken joint action in seeking legislation favorable to the industry.
A unique feature of this council is that through its agency, manufacturers from time to time furnish information as to the average percentage of profits on turn-over; relation of profits and turn-over to capital; average earnings; details of the numbers and classes of both sexes engaged in the industry, and other collective statistics.
The first object in the constitution of the council is the consideration of means whereby all manufacturers and operatives shall be brought within their respective associations, this being the basic principle necessary to an effective system of collective bargaining and to the forination of industrial councils. To this end posters are periodically displayed on factories recommending all operatives to join the National Society of Pottery Workers, and manufacturers are requested to grant facilities to the trade-union officials to go on the works at meal times, and at such other times as may be convenient, for propaganda work and enrollment. The manufacturers on their part have taken measures, with great success, to increase the membership of their associations and of their federation.”
Although in the constitution of the council there is provision for the consideration of wage questions, the union and employer organizations considered at the outset that it would be better to continue the methods then existing, i. e., direct negotiation between the organizations. Annual negotiations therefore take place between the specially designated representatives of the two sides. On three occasions only during its 17 years of existence have the services of the council
. From a published memorandum by the council submitted to the Committee on Industry and Trade, July 1925.