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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner

BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES\
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS/
L A B O R

AS

A F F E C T E D

BY

TT
V
• • ' •
THE

INO.

WAR

S E R I E S

INDUSTRIAL UNREST
IN GREAT BRITAIN




REPRINTS OF THE—
1. REPORTS OF T H E C O M M I S S I O N
OF I N Q U I R Y I NTO INDUSTRIAL
UNREST
2. INTERIM REPORT OF THE RECON­
STRUCTION COMMITTEE, ON JOINT
STANDING INDUSTRIAL COUNCILS

OCTOBER, 1917

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1917

/




ADDITIONAL COPIES
OF THIS PUBLICATION M A Y BE PROCURED FROM
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON, D. C.
AT

25 CENTS PER COPY

CONTENTS.
Page.

Reports of the Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Unrest................................ 7-227
Minute of appointment and terms of reference.................................................
7
Minute of appointment of a special commissioner............................................
8
8, 9
Report by the secretary to the commission.............................. ......................
Summary of the reports of the commission.......................................................... 9-14
No. 1 Division. Report of the commissioners for the Northeast area..........15-32
Causes affecting the general com m unity.................................................... . 15-18
Food prices.................................................................................................. 15,16
Liquor restrictions..................................................................................... 16,17
Housing........................................................................................................
18
Causes specially affecting the working classes............................................ 18-29
Operation of the Military Service A cts................................. .............. 18-20
Operation of the Munitions of War A cts............................................... 20-25
D ilution................................................................................................20,21
Recording changes of practice.........................................................21, 22
Leaving certificates........................................................................... 22-24
Restoration o f prewar conditions...................... ............................ 24,25
Inequality of earnings of skilled and semiskilled or unskilled..
25
Delays in settlement of disputes............................................................
26
Piece rates or j>remium bonus system................................................... 26, 27
Industrial fatigue....................................................................................... 27, 28
Shop discipline.......................................................................................... 28, 29
Coalminers............... ..................................................................................
29
General recommendations*.............................................................................. 29-32
No. 2 Division. Report of the commissioners for the Northwest area— 33-64
General causes of industrial unrest................................................................ 38, 39
Reforms that are taking place......................................................................... 39,40
General industrial condition of the area....................................................... 40, 41
Condition of the cotton trade.......................................................................... 41, 42
Condition of the shipbuilding trade........................................ ..................
42
Causes of unrest.................................................................................................. 42-63
Increase in the price of food in relation to wages.............................. 43-47
Exercise of Government control in local m atters.............................. 48-54
Anxiety concerning restoration of prewar conditions........................ 54-57
Local administration of the Military Service Acts............................. 57-59
Liquor restrictions.................................................................................... 59, 60
Miscellaneous matters............................................................................... 60-63
Conclusion........................................................................................................... 63, 64
No. 2 Division, Northwest area. Supplemental report for Barrow-inFurness district...................................................................................................... 65-75
The housing problem ........................................................................................ 67-72
Causes of stoppages in Barrow........................................................................ 72-75
No. 3 Division. Report of commissioners for Yorkshire and East Midlands. 76-85
Causes of unrest.................................................................................................. 76-80
High price of food........................... .......................................................
77
War legislation.................................................... ............................
.
77
Distrust of trade-union leaders and Government departments....... 77, 78
3




4

CO N TE N TS.

Reports of the Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Unrest— Continued.
No. 3 Division. Report of commissioners for Yorkshire, etc.—Concluded.
Causes of unrest— Continued.
Page.
Dilution of skilled labor........................................................................... 79,80
Changes in rules and regulations............................................................
80
Relations of employers and em ployed.......................................................... 80-82
Recommendations.............................................................................................. 82-85
No. 4 Division. Report of the commissioners for the West Midlands area. 86-104
Unrest before the war....................................................................................... 87, 88
General feeling of distrust................................................................................88, 89
Military Service A cts........................................................................................ 90, 91
Munitions of War A cts.......................................................... ................. ......... 91,92
Munitions tribunals........................................................................................... 92, 93
D ilution............................................................................................................... 93-95
Inequality of wages between skilled and semiskilled............................... 95-97
Delay in securing settlement..........................................................................
97
Food prices.......................................................................................................... 97, 98
Liquor restrictions............................................................................................. 98, 99
Industrial fatigue...............................................................................................
99
Shop discipline.................................................................................................99,100
Relations of employers and em ployed...................................................... 100-101
An industrial code for war tim e.......................... *.........................................
101
Recommendations............................................ ............................................. 101-104
No. 5 Division. Report of the commissioners for the London and South, eastern area. ..................................................................................................... 105-116
Causes of unrest.............................................................................................. 105-112
Food prices.............................................................................................. 105,106
Profiteering..................................................................................................
106
Industrial fatigue.......................................................................................
106
Housing........................................................................................................
106
Inequality of. sacrifice........................................................................... 106-108
Minor complaints................................................................................... 108,109
Uncertainty as to the future...................................................................
109
Want of confidence in Government and resentment at interference. 110-112
Tribunals............................................................................................. ...............
112
Rem edies............................................................................................. ........... 112-116
No. 6 Division. Report of the commissioners for the Southwest area. . . . 117-123
Causes of unrest.............................................................................................. 117-119
Military Service A cts................................................................................
117
Munitions of War A cts.......................................................................... 117,118
Increase in food prices.............................................................................
118
Liquor restrictions.....................................................................................
118
Industri al fatigue.......................................................................................
118
Shop discipline...........................................................................................
119
Miscellaneous..............................................................................................
119
Representations.............................................................................................. 119-123
No. 7 Division. Report of commissioners for Wales and Monmouthshire. 124-204
Introductory.................................................................................................... 125-155
The fact of unrest........................................................................................... 155-158
Causes of unrest..................................................................................................
158
Permanent causes................................................. ..... ................................... 159-161
Temporary causes........................................................................................... 161-166
Future relations of employers and em ployed.......................................... 166-169
Recommendations......................................................................................... 169-171




CO N TE N TS.

5

Reports of the Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Unrest— Concluded.
No. 7 Division. Report of commissioners for Wales, etc.— Concluded.
Page.
Trade-union and employers’ organizations............................................... 171,172
Conciliation boards................................................. ,..........................................
172
Industrial councils......................................................................................... 172-175
Enforcement of agreements..........................................................................175,176
Equalization of wages........................................................................................
176
Decasualization of labor....................................................................................
177
A shorter working da y.......................................................................................
177
Improved conditions of work...................................................................... 177,178
Improvement of housing conditions............................ . ........................... 178,179
Improved educational facilities......................................................................
179
Restoration of prewar con d ition s............................................................... 179,180
Profiteering...................................................................................................... 180-182
Operation of Military Service A cts............................................................ 182-184
Operation of Munitions of War A c t................................................................
184
Reemployment of discharged soldiers and sailors......................................
184
Pensions and separation allowances.......................................................... 184,185
Improved Government machinery for the settlement of disputes.........
185
Restoration of old income-tax basis...............................................................
186
Amendment of Workmen’ s Compensation A cts..........................................
186
Provision of employment in certain areas................................................ 186,187
Redress of minor grievances........................................................................ 187,188
Recommendations applicable to special industries................................ 188-191
Mining....................................................................................................... 188-190
Railways.......................................................................................................
190
Seamen.................................. '.................................................................. 190,191
Nonproductive industries.........................................................................
191
Summary of principal recommendations............................. ........... 191-197
Witnesses and persons or associations submitting documentary evi­
dence........................................................................... ................................. 198-204
No. 8 Division. Report of the Commissioners for Scotland....................... 205-227
Causes of unrest.................................................................. ’.......................... 205-222
Cost of living........................................................................................... 206-208
Housing........................................................................................................
208
Munitions A cts........................................................................................ 208-209
Delay in settlement of differences..................................................... 209-212
Bad timekeeping........................................................................................
212
Systems of payment b y results........................................................... 212-213
Income tax.............................................................................................. 213-214
Uncertainty as to agreements............................................................. 214-215
Dilution of labor.......................................................................'................
215
Conditions of em ploym ent................................................................... 215-216
Arbitrary methods of foremen.................................................................
216
Unequal operation of Military Service A cts.................................... 216-217
Miscellaneous causes............................................................................. 217-222
Appendix A .— List of persons appearing before the commissioners.. 223-225
Appendix B .— Press advertisements and letters.................................... 226-227
Interim report of the Reconstruction Committee, on joint standing industrial
councils........................................................................................................................ 228-237
Appendix: Contents of other bulletins relating to labor in Great Britain as
affected by the war................................................................................................... 239,240




PREFACE.
In compliance with a resolution adopted April 7, 1917, by the
Council of National Defense, providing “ that the complete reports of
the committee appointed by the British Minister of Munitions to
investigate conditions affecting the health and welfare of workers be
edited so that the salient features thereof may be made applicable
to the conditions pertaining in the United States, and printed in
condensed form by the Department of Labor,” four bulletins have
been issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first (Bulletin
221) contains documents, official and unofficial, dealing with hours,
fatigue, occupational diseases, and the provisions of the munitions
of war act relating to labor disputes and the restoration of tradeunion conditions after the war; the second (Bulletin 222) contains
memoranda relating to welfare supervision and welfare work; the
third (Bulletin 223) contains reprints of official and unofficial docu­
ments dealing with the employment of women and juveniles, and the
fourth (Bulletin 230) contains official reports and memoranda relat­
ing to industrial efficiency and fatigue.
This bulletin (No. 237) is a reprint of the reports of the British
Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Unrest and the interim report
of the Reconstruction Committee on Joint Standing Industrial Coun­
cils. Although these reports were not issued by the British Health
of Munition W orkers Committee, and, therefore, are not covered by
the resolution above quoted, they deal in such a vital way with labor
problems growing out of the war as to warrant their publication
along with the reports named specifically in the resolution quoted
above.
ROYAL M EEKER,
United States Commissioner of Labor Statistics.
6




BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
WASHINGTON.

no. 2 37 .

o c t o b e r , 1917 .

INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.
REPORTS OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO
INDUSTRIAL UNREST.1
1.— MINUTE OF APPOINTMENT AND TERMS OF REFERENCE.

I appoint the following to serve as a commission to inquire into
and report upon industrial unrest, and to make recommendations to
the Government at the earliest practicable date:
F or the Northeast division,.— Sir Thomas Munro (chairman),
Mr. P. Bright^ Mr. H. Davies.
For the Northwest division.—His Honor Judge Parry (chair­
man), Mr. John Smethurst, Mr. J. R. Clynes, M. P.
F or the Yorks and East Midlands division.— Sir George Croydon
Marks, M. P. (chairman), Sir Maurice Levy, Bart., M. P., Mr. J. J.
Mallon.
For the West Midlands division.—Maj. J. W. Hills, M. P. (chair­
man), Mr. J. W. White, Mr. J. W. Ogden, J. P.
For the London and Southeast division.— His Honor Judge
O ’Connor (chairman), Mr. Allan M. Smith, Mr. J. Voce.
F or the Southwest division.— W. W. Mackenzie, Esq., K. C. (chair­
man), Sir Alfred Booth^ Bart., Mr. T. Chambers.
F or the Welsh division, including Monmouthshire.— D. Lleufer
Thomas, Esq. (chairman), Mr. Thomas Evans, Mr. Vernon Harts­
horn.
For the Scottish division.— Sheriff T. A. Fyfe (chairman), Mr.
Noel E. Peck, Mr. A. G. Cameron.
To be Secretary to thfr com/mission.—Mr. G. M. Hodgson o f the
Offices o f the War Cabinet.
(Signed)
D. L loyd G eorge .
12th June, 1917.
1 The divisional reports are issued separately as follows: (1) Northeastern (Cd. 8662),
(2) Northwestern (including supplemental report on Barrow), (Cd. 8663), (3) York­
shire and East Midlands (Cd. 8664), (4) West Midlands (Cd. 8665), (5) London and
Southeastern (Cd. 8666), (6) Southwestern (Cd. 8667), (7) Wales, including Mon­
mouthshire (Cd. 8668), (8) Scotland (Cd. 8669).
7




8

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

2.— MINUTE OF APPOINTMENT OF A SPECIAL COMMISSIONER.

I appoint Mr. A. I. Wadeson a special commissioner for the
Sheffield district, to serve as a member o f the Yorks and East Mid­
lands division o f the Commission to Inquire into Industrial Unrest.
(Signed)
D. L lo yd G eorge .
3d July, 1917.
REPORT BY THE SECRETARY TO THE COMMISSION.

To the Right Hon. G. N. B a r n e s , M. P.
1. The commission was appointed by the Prime Minister on the
12th June, 1917, and started work at various dates from the 13th to
the 25th June. Numerous instructions on points of detail have been
issued, but the total number of circulars which have been sent out
during the course of the commission is only 18. Most o f these dealt
with financial and accounting matters. One was, however, of wider
importance., and that authorized the communication to witnesses of
the interim report on joint standing industrial councils issued by
a subcommittee o f the Reconstruction Committee. This instruction
was issued in consequence of a decision o f the War Cabinet whereby
the publication o f the report was sanctioned, and the result of that
decision has been to add very materially to the value o f the com­
missioners’ reports.
2. On the 23d June a circular was issued suggesting that, in order
to comply with the Prime Minister’s instructions, no evidence should
be taken after the 10th July, and that the divisional reports should
be completed by the 12th July and be forwarded to me not later
than the first post on the following day. It is gratifying to record
that the majority o f the reports were in my hands on the night o f
the 12th July and by 10 o’clock on the following morning all the
reports were in the hands o f the printers. I wish to express my
thanks to the commissioners for the cordial way in which they
cooperated in carrying out the proposed time-table. A t the same
time, this satisfactory result could not have been obtained without
the self-sacrificing efforts of the local secretaries, to whose industry,
efficiency and ability I have great pleasure in testifying,
3. Whilst the commissions have been sitting, certain changes
affecting them have been made in the Government. A new food
controller has been appointed, and one o f the commissioners of the
Northwest division (Mr. J. R. Clynes, M. P .) has been appointed as
his parliamentary secretary.
4. The committee on production has been enlarged by the addition
o f a chairman and two additional members. The chairman in ques­
tion is the chairman of the Southwest commission (W . W. Mac­
kenzie, Esq., K. C.) and one o f the members is a commissioner for




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN

GREAT B R IT A IN .

9

the West Midlands district (Mr. J. W. W hite). These additions to
the committee on production will render it possible for the com­
mittee to have three courts sitting simultaneously, and should have
a most beneficial effect in reducing the delays in securing settlements
to which all the commissions have drawn attention.
5. The main reports have now all been received and advance
copies have been submitted to the Prime Minister to-day. With the
exception o f a note to the Yorks and East Midlands report, they are
all signed by the commissioners appointed for each district without
qualification or reservation o f any kind.
'
6. A supplemental report on industrial unrest at Barrow has
been submitted by the commissioners for the Northwest division,
but printed copies are not yet available.1
G . M. H o d g s o n , Secretary.
O f f ic e s

of t h e

W

ar

C a b in e t ,

#, Whitehall Gardens, SW ., 17th July, 1917.
SUMMARY OF THE REPORTS.
BY

THE

R IG H T

HON.

G.

N.

BARNES,

M.

P.

To the Right Hon. D a v id L l o y d G e o r g e , M. P. (Prime Minister).
1. Introductory. The Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Un­
rest, which was appointed by you on the 12th June, has now com­
pleted its work. The terms of reference to the commission were:
“ To inquire into and report upon the causes o f industrial unrest
and to make recommendations to the Government at the earliest ,
practicable date.”
2. The constitution of the commission is shown in the minutes of
appointment dated 12th June and 3d July, on page 2.
3. The number o f meetings held by the eight commissions has
varied from 10 to 30 in each case and the number of witnesses who
have given evidence to each commission ranges from 100 to 200.
4. Every effort has been made to carry out your instructions to
the commissioners that their report should be issued within a period
of one month. It has not, however, been found possible to carry out
a full inquiry and submit a report in less than five weeks from the
date o f appointment. While the limitation of time has to some ex­
tent narrowed the scope of the inquiry, it has also operated as a stim­
ulus to everyone concerned to carry out the work with the utmost dis­
patch compatible with efficiency.
5. A comparison of the reports shows that there is a strong feel­
ing o f patriotism on the part of employers and employed through­
out the country and they are determined to help the State in its
present crisis. Feelings of a revolutionary character are not enter1 This supplemental report was printed later and the reprint appears on pp. 65 to 75.
of this bulletin.




10

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

tained by the bulk of the men. On the contrary, the majority o f the
workmen are sensible of the national difficulties, especially in the
period o f trial and stress through which we are now passing.
6. While the eight reports agree as to the main causes o f industrial
unrest, important differences appear in the emphasis laid by the
various commissions upon specific causes.
7. In order that the principal points of agreement and difference
between the eight reports may be readily seen I submit the following
brief summary of the commissioners’ findings and recommendations:
(1) High food prices in relation to wages, and unequal distribu­
tion o f food.
(2) Restriction o f personal freedom and, in particular, the effects
o f the Munitions of W ar Acts. Workmen have been tied up to par­
ticular factories and have been unable to obtain wages in relation to
their skill. In many cases the skilled man’s wage is less than the
wage o f the unskilled. Too much centralization in London is re­
ported.
(3) Lack o f confidence in the Government.—This is due to the
surrender o f trade-union customs and the feeling that promises as
regards their restoration will not be kept. It has been emphasized
by the omission to record changes o f working conditions under
Schedule II, article 7 of the Munitions o f W ar Act.
(4) Delay in settlement o f disputes.— In some instances 10 weeks
have elapsed without a settlement, and after a strike has taken place,
the matter has been put right within a few days.
(5) Operation of the Military Service Acts.
(6) Lack o f housing in certain areas.
(7) Restrictions on liquor. This is marked in some areas.
(8) Industrial fatigue.
(9) Lack of proper organization among the unions.
(10) Lack o f communal sense.—This is noticeable in south Wales,
where there has been a break-away from faith in parliamentary
representation.
(11) Inconsiderate treatment o f women, whose wages are some­
times as low as 13s. [$3.16].
(12) Delay in granting pensions to soldiers, especially those in
Class “ W ” Reserve.
(13) Raising o f the limit of income tax exemption.
(14) The. Workmen’s Compensation Act.—The maximum of £1
[$4.87] weekly is now inadequate.
8. Universal causes o f unrest—Food prices and distribution of
supplies.— A ll the commissions put in the forefront, as the leading
cause o f unrest, the fact that the cost of living has increased dispro­
portionately to the advance in wages, and that the distribution of
food supplies is unequal. Commissioners are unanimous in regard­




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT' B R IT A IN .

11

ing this as the most important of all causes o f industrial unrest.
Not only is it a leading cause o f unrest in itself, but its existence in
the minds o f the workers colors many subsidiary causes, in regard
to which, in themselves, there might have been no serious complaint;
and the feeling exists in men’s minds that sections o f the community
are profiting by the increased prices.
9. Operation of the Munitions of War Acts.— The operation of the
Munitions o f W ar Acts has undoubtedly been a serious cause o f un­
rest, in particular the restriction upon a workman as regards the se­
lection o f his sphere o f labor. I f the leaving-certificate restriction is
removed the leading cause o f dissatisfaction under this heading will
cease to exist.
There will still remain, however, one element which is very im­
portant, because it projects itself into the after-war settlement.
That is the complaint that sufficient attention is not being paid by
employers to article 7 o f Schedule I I o f the 1915 act. Changes o f
working conditions, more especially the introduction o f female labor,
have been made without consultation with the workpeople.
10. Operation of the Military Service Acts.—The reports show
generally that the irritation occasioned by the withdrawal o f the
trade-card scheme within a few months o f its initiation and without
any previous intimation, has now subsided. At the same time, much
anxiety is occasioned by the working of the schedule of protected oc­
cupations, and the great majority o f the reports emphasize the im­
portance o f the greatest care being exercised in the issue o f red and
black cards respectively, and in the proper treatment of the subject
by the local officials intrusted with recruiting.
11. A ll the reports refer in general terms to what is called the
want o f coordination between Government departments dealing with
labor; but probably much of what is said on this head may have
been written under a misconception and without a clear understand­
ing o f departmental administration. It seems hardly possible that
any single department could during the war carry the whole of the
immense problems of the supply departments which have bearing
upon the control of labor.
Apart from the suggestion that one central authority should be
set up, the reports contain proposals for the formation of informal
local boards to settle local disputes, or for the appointment o f a local
commissioner with technical knowledge to settle disputes other than
those arising on questions of wages. A proposal which finds general
favor is that workshop committees should be set up.
12. Acute , but not UM
&versdl, causes of unrest.— Causes o f unrest
which are reported as acute in certain districts, but are not universal,
include—




12

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

(1) The want of sufficient housing accommodation in congested
areas— especially in Scotland, Wales, the Northeast and certain parts
o f the Northwest and Southwest areas.
(2) The liquor restrictions, which operate as a cause of unrest in
some districts, but not in others. For example, in the West Mid­
lands area, the need for a further supply o f beer o f an acceptable
quality is urgent, and to some extent the same is true in London and
Swansea; on the other hand, in Scotland the subject was never men­
tioned.
(3) Industrial fatigue, which is not a universal cause o f unrest.
There is a general consensus o f opinion that Sunday and overtime
labor should be reduced to a minimum, that holidays should not be
curtailed, and that the hours o f work should not be such as to exclude
opportunities for recreation and amusement.
13. Psychological conditions.— The great majority o f the causes of
industrial unrest specified in the reports have their root in certain
psychological conditions. Want of confidence is a fundamental cause,
o f which many of the causes given are merely manifestations. It
shows itself in the feeling that there has been inequality of sacrifice,
that the Government has broken solemn pledges, that the tradeunion officials are no longer to be relied upon, and that there is a
woeful uncertainty as to the industrial future. The reports abound
in instances o f the prevailing feeling that pledges are no longer
observed as they were in prewar days. Allusions to “ scraps of
paper” are painfully numerous. Perhaps sufficient allowance has
not been made for the difficulties which have beset all in authority
through the ever-changing phases of industrial conditions owing to
the war.
14. Special local causes.—It is noticeable that each of the eight
reports has an individual character and lays stress on one or other
o f the causes o f unrest in varying degree. I feel it would be in­
vidious to refer to individual reports; but I would draw attention
to the marked contrast in the character of the reports submitted by
the Southwest and Wales commissions, respectively. The reports
reflect a great many minor causes of unrest, which are local in char­
acter, but these are too numerous to specify in detail.
15. Relations of employers and employed.—The reports bear a
striking testimony to the value of the proposals made in the report
o f the subcommittee o f the reconstruction committee, dealing with
the relations o f employers and employed. This report was published
whilst the commissioners were sitting. Broadly speaking, the prin­
ciples laid down appear to have met with general approval.
16. Recommendations of the commissioners.— (1) Food prices.—
There should be an immediate reduction in price, the increased price




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E S T IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

13

o f food being borne to some extent by the Government, and a better
system of distribution is required.
(2) Industrial councils, etc.— The principle of the Whitley report
should be adopted; each trade should have a constitution.
(3) Changes with a view to further increase of output should be
made the subject o f an authoritative statement by the Government.
(4) Labor should take part in the affairs of the community as
partners, rather than as servants.
(5) The greatest publicity possible should be given to the abolition
o f leaving certificates.
(6) The Government should make a statement as to the variation
o f pledges already given.
(7) The £1 [$4.87] maximum under the Workmen’s Compensation
Act should be raised.
(8) Announcements should be made o f policy as regards housing.
(9) A system should be inaugurated whereby skilled supervisors
and others on day rates should receive a bonus.
(10) Closer contact should be set up between employer and em­
ployed.
(11) Pensions committees should have a larger discretion in their
treatment o f men discharged from the army.
(12) Agricultural wages in the Western area, now as low as 14
shillings [$3.41] to 17 shillings [$4.14] a week, should be raised to
25 shillings [$6.08] a week.
(13) Colored labor should not be employed in the ports.
(14) A higher taxation of wealth is urged by one commissioner.
17. In addition to the above recommendations, the recruiting sys­
tem is universally regarded as requiring most careful handling. In
some areas an increase in the supplies o f alcoholic liquor is demanded.
The coordination of Government departments dealing with labor is
reported as an urgent matter; and an appeal for increase of publicity
and fuller explanation o f Government proposals is made in several
o f the reports. Further, it is recommended that when an agreement
T
has been drawn up between representatives o f employers’ federations
and trade-unions, that agreement should be binding on all in the
trade concerned. It is also represented that local arbitration tri­
bunals for the settlement o f local disputes on the spot could with
advantage be set up.
18. The feeling in the minds o f the workers that their conditions
o f work and destinies are being determined by a distant authority
over which they have no influence requires to be taken into consider­
ation, not only by the Government, but by the unions themselves.
Taken as a whole, the reports throw a flood o f light upon the con­
ditions o f work and o f life in the various divisions, and the in­
formation which they disclose would amply repay the trouble o f




14

B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

perusal of the reports in detail and o f a careful comparison one with
another.
19.
In conclusion, I desire to draw attention to two points—the
practical unanimity of the reports, and the remarkable promptitude
with which they have been compiled. Had it not been for the whole­
hearted cooperation of the commissioners and their local secretaries,
it would have been quite impossible for a comprehensive inquiry into
the intricate subject of industrial unrest to have been completed
within the time allotted.
G e o r g e N. B a r n e s .
G . M. H o d g s o n , Secretary.
O

f f ic e s o f t h e

W

ar

C a b in e t ,

Whitehall Gardens, SW,, 17th July, 1917.




NO. 1. DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
NORTHEAST AREA.

The commissioners beg to submit the report of their inquiry into
the causes o f industrial unrest in the Northeast Coast district.
Exhaustive inquiry was made by the commissioners, and full op­
portunity was afforded to all who desired to do so of submitting to
the commission any views which they might hold on the subject of
industrial unrest. Numerous meetings were held with representa­
tives o f the various branches of organized industry in the Northeast
Coast district, employers as well as employees, and interviews also
took place with individual unions, societies, and persons who had
particular points of view to present to the commission.
The commissioners, as the result o f careful consideration o f the
evidence submitted to them, are of opinion that the causes of indus­
trial unrest are tw o: One affecting all members of the community,
the other more directly affecting the working or artisan classes as
distinguished from the business or professional classes.
CAUSES AFFECTING THE GENERAL COMMUNITY.
(1 )

FOOD P R IC E S .

A t a very early stage in their investigations it was forcibly borne in
upon the commissioners that the question of food prices was the most
general, if not, indeed, the most important present cause o f industrial
unrest. The high prices of staple commodities have undoubtedly
laid a severe strain upon the majority o f the working classes, and in
some instances have resulted in hardship and actual privation. It is
no doubt trjue that in some industries wages have risen to such an
extent as largely to compensate for the increased cost o f living, but
there are workers whose wages have been raised very slightly, if at
all, and some whose earnings have actually diminished, and on these
the high food prices have borne heavily.
Joined to the sense of actual hardship, there is undoubtedly a deepseated conviction in the minds of the working classes that the prices
of food have risen not only through scarcity, but as the result o f ma­
nipulation of prices by unscrupulous producers and traders, who, it is
alleged, owing to lack of courageous action on the part of the Gov-




15

16

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ernment, have succeeded in making fabulous profits at the expense
o f the consumers. It is alleged that importers have made unfair use
o f cold storage accommodation, and also that the scarcity o f certain
essential foods, such as sugar, has been accentuated by inequalities
o f distribution. In support o f this latter complaint it was pointed
out to us that while the membership of cooperative societies in
munitions areas has largely increased since the outbreak o f war—in
Newcastle and the Northern area alone from 300,000 to 400,000—the
distribution o f sugar is still made on the basis o f prewar member­
ship, with the result that the amount of sugar available for the so­
cieties’ members is insufficient to allow o f more than half the sug­
gested Government ration being given. A t the same time no diminu­
tion has been made in the quantities available to trades whose cus­
tomers may have become fewer, and there is consequently in some
areas a sugar famine, and in others a more than ample supply. The
commissioners understand that the attention o f the food controller
has already been directed to this grievance, which should in their
opinion be promptly remedied. It is generally believed that notwith­
standing the increase o f wages in certain trades the workmen were
better off with the prewar wages and the prices o f foodstuffs then
in force, the only exceptions being unmarried men without domestic
responsibilities. So strong is this feeling that it was repeatedly as­
serted that if prices were brought down to their former level the
workmen would forego all demands for increased pay and would con­
sent to abandon the increases already given. It appears to the com­
missioners imperative that no further increase in the prices of food­
stuffs should be permitted, i f this can by any means be avoided, and
that every effort should be made to reduce the present high cost of
living. Some articles, such as milk, and especially milk foods for
infants, are already almost beyond the means o f the working classes,
although they can still be purchased by those with larger incomes,
and this in itself causes a feeling o f unrest and gives force to the
allegation that the better-off people can buy anything they require
while the working classes must want. The commissioners are strongly
o f opinion that if the Government could devise a plan whereby staple
commodities were procurable at prices fixed by the State, coupled
with an arrangement for making up from State funds any losses
which might fall on producers or traders arising out of such limita­
tion o f prices, that policy would meet with general approval. The
commissioners commend this suggestion to the attention o f the Gov­
ernment as calculated to very materially allay unrest.
(2 )

L IQ U O R R E S T R IC T IO N S .

A s th e r e s u lt o f t h e ir in v e s t ig a t io n s t h e c o m m is s io n e r s a r e a b le t o
sta te th a t t h e liq u o r r e s tr ic tio n s h a v e n o t g e n e r a lly le d t o th e c r e a tio n




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E S T IN

GREAT B R IT A IN .

17

o f industrial unrest. There are two aspects of this question, viz.:
(a) The effect of the liquor control board’s restrictions regarding the
hours during which intoxicating liquor can be supplied, and (&) the
effect o f the shortage o f beer in consequence of the limited quantity
which may be brewed. As regards the first aspect o f the question
there is a general consensus o f opinion that the board’s regulations
have done good. It was, however, urged that the order which fixes
the evening closing hour for licensed premises in the Northeast Coast
area at 9 o’clock called for modification. It was alleged that the
usual hour for men working overtime to knock off work was 9
o’clock, and that they ceased work before that hour in order to
obtain refreshment before going home, or even refused to work
overtime at all— in one instance it was averred that 300 men had
declined to work any overtime—with the result in either case o f a
serious reduction in output. It was suggested to the commissioners
that the liquor control board should alter their order for the North­
east Coast, so as to bring it into line with the other parts o f England
in which the evening opening hours are generally from 6.30 p. m. to
T
9.30 p. m. Certain employers, however, thought that this would be
a mistake, and that the better plan would be to allow the men work­
ing overtime to get away at 8.30 p. m. or 8.45, so as to get refresh­
ment before the closing hour. The attention o f the central control
board has been called to this matter, and their local inspector has
been prosecuting inquiries on the subject. ‘ The second aspect of the
question, viz., shortage o f supplies of beer combined with the present
exorbitant prices, has led to rather more resentment. Eightly or
wrongly the workers are convinced that beer is an indispensable
beverage for men engaged in the so-called “ hot ” or “ heavy ” trades.
I f it were demonstrated that a reduction of brewing was necessary
in the interests o f food conservation, there is no reason to doubt that
all classes would loyally acquiesce in whatever diminution was
deemed essential, but the belief is prevalent that certain parties are
endeavoring to use the national exigencies as an excuse for forcing
on prohibition, and to this the great body of workers are bitterly
opposed. There was no evidence whatever that excessive drinking
existed, and the workers’ representatives made it clear that they had
no sympathy with men who drank to excess. It is the view of the
commissioners that unless the national demands for food require it,
no further curtailment of the supply o f beer in munition areas should
take place, and that if it were possible to give a reasonable supply of
beer to the munition areas at more moderate prices, this would in no
degree impair the efficiency o f the workers,, and would have a good
effect, as indicating sympathy with the legitimate desire o f the
workers for reasonable refreshment at a price within their means.
17841°—17—Bull. 237----- 2




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.
(8 )

H O U S IN G .

Although it was not specifically urged that the housing problem
contributed at the present time to greater unrest than formerly, it
was explained to the commissioners that in the Northeast Coast dis­
trict the lack o f adequate housing accommodation had been accentu­
ated by the great influx o f munition workers into the area. The
commissioners were informed that in very many of the houses lodgers
were now taken, and as in the majority o f cases, the workman’s house
barely suffices for his own family, it is clear that the practice o f
taking in lodgers must lead to great congestion and inconvenience.
It was frankly stated by the employers that they would welcome any
steps taken to improve the housing o f their workers, as life in con­
gested and sometimes insanitary surroundings was recognized as
calculated not only to impair physical efficiency, but also to produce
an atmosphere of unrest which it was undesirable to encourage. It
was pointed out that the question o f housing was to a large extent
bound up with the question o f transport. Provided there were
efficient railway or tramway facilities available, it would be possible
to distribute the industrial population over a much wider area than
at present, particularly where, as in the North Coast district, there
were large tracts of building land adjoining industrial centers, which
might be acquired on reasonable terms. The commissioners do not
think it necessary to refer to the housing question in greater detail,
as it is prominently before the nation as a problem which must be
solved as soon as circumstances permit, but they have thought it r.ight
to point out that it was put forward as one o f the general causes of
industrial unrest, which should in the national interest be dealt with
at an early date.
CAUSES SPECIALLY AFFECTING THE WORKING CLASSES.
(1 )

O P E R A T IO N OF T H E M I L I T A R Y

S E R V IC E A C T S .

(a)
Trade-card system.— It may be taken as agreed that any ob­
jection to the abolition o f the trade-card system has now disappeared,
and that opinion and criticism are now directed to the operation of
the substituted system o f protected industries. In passing it may
be said that we found considerable feeling to exist amongst certain
unions that only the Amalgamated Society o f Engineers had been
consulted when the trade-card system was initiated, and there also
exists some resentment in regard to the alleged failure o f the Gov­
ernment to confer with the unions before the withdrawal o f the
scheme.
As regards the substituted scheme, not a few complaints o f mis­
takes in the issue o f cards A and B were brought before us. W e can




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

19

understand the difficulties attendant on the inauguration o f a new
scheme, but these should be overcome as speedily as possible, for
nothing is more apt to give rise to local feeling, than what strikes
the public as capricious and unfair selection o f men called up for
military service. I f the scheme is worked with care and circumspec­
tion on the part o f the officials charged with its administration, and
if the recruiting officers are careful to exercise tact in those cases
where mistakes have been made, we have every confidence that there
will be little friction. But what we say as to methods o f execution
is an essential condition o f success, and we recommend that officials
should be warned that the utmost tact must be employed.
The commissioners may be allowed to record theii* opinion that
apart from a small minority, there is no section of the industrial
classes who are not prepared to take their part in military service.
It is true that a belief has sprung up that certain trades have a
right to claim exemption from service, but we think that this belief
is not general, and it probably exists as a result o f munition workers
having been repeatedly told that their work is essential for the win­
ning o f the war. That statement has, not unnaturally, been inter­
preted as implying that all members o f the trade are essential, and
will continue so to be throughout the war, notwithstanding the
relative claims o f military service and the demands on industry, as
these may from time to time vary and require to be adjusted.
W e believe that there will be no reluctance to comply with a call
on any o f the skilled trades for a contribution to the military arm,
but we think it essential that in every case this should be preceded
by a frank and full statement of the necessity, and an indication o f
the proportions in which the demand is to fall on each trade, and
especially that everything should be done to avoid the suspicion that
skilled men are being taken, while diluted labor of military age is
being left to occupy their positions. A clear statement to the effect
that although the members o f a particular industry had up to the
present served the best interests o f their country, it was now neces­
sary to make use o f their services in the field, would at once meet
with a response.
W e have discussed this point at various interviews, and the idea
now put forward seems to have received general acceptance. As to
method, it has more than once been suggested to us that the pro­
cedure now followed in connection with the miners’ levy might be
adopted.
(b)
The following, amongst other particular objections to the oper­
ation of the Military Service Acts, have been brought to our notice.
Employers are alleged to show a preference for the retention of
the younger men, and a readiness to part with the older men. We
can not believe this to be a prevalent practice, but one case of unfair




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

discrimination is often sufficient to cause irritation. The fact can
not be ignored that as the demands on older men with family re­
sponsibilities in all walks of life, and especially on the commercial
classes, have grown more exigent, feeling has arisen against the
exemption of young single men. The public can not be expected
to fully appreciate the reasons that may render the retention of
these young men necessary, and this fact adds force to the sugges­
tion that the Government should so distribute the country’s man
power as to be able to say that every man is in the place where he
is giving the most valuable service.
( c)
Some feeling manifested itself against the employment of Bel­
gians o f military age in munition factories, especially in responsible
positions, where it is possible they might exercise pressure which
would have the result o f sending older men into the army, while they
remained in comfort. W e think that if a clear statement were made
as to the Belgian system of army service, it would allay the suspicion
that exists that young Belgians are avoiding military service at the
expense o f others.
(2 )

O P E R A T IO N

OF T H E

M U N IT IO N S

OF W A R

ACTS.

(A ) Dilution.

W e find little real objection to dilution, which has been accepted
in principle and largely applied in practice. Indeed, so far as we
can gather, no objection, to its extension on an even wider scale will
be taken provided the skilled trades are assured, (a) that dilution
is really necessary, and that it is not being enforced where adequate
skilled labor not required for other purposes is available; (b) that
if it is introduced in order to free men for the army, this should be
clearly stated, and an assurance given that members of the trade
diluted will not be taken for the army so long as militarily fit men
who have been taken on under dilution schemes are allowed to re­
main; (c ) that the provisions o f the Munitions Acts and Circular L6
as to giving reasonable notice o f the intention to introduce dilution
are complied with by employers; (d ) that the recognized rates of
wages are paid in accordance with Circulars L2 and L3, as these
have been modified; and (e ) that if labor has to be displaced for any
reason, the members of the skilled trades should not be discharged
while the diluting elements are retained.
Several o f these points will automatically adjust themselves if the
present system o f leaving certificates is abolished, but sufficient will
remain to make it desirable to assure the skilled workers that their
position will not be undermined now or later, by the introduction
o f cheap labor under the guise of dilution to meet war-time exi­
gencies. This apprehension is deep-rooted, and has been to some




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E S T IN

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21

extent increased by the failure o f some employers to give proper
notice o f their intention to dilute, and to pay the proper rates of
wages.
On neither point should any difficulty arise. I f notice is not given,
an intimation on the part of the men or their unions to the proper
, Government department in the locality, should, as it generally does,
result in immediate investigation and redress. Equally, if the proper
wages are not being paid, and if, on similar representation and in­
vestigation, the matter is not amicably settled, the point becomes one
o f dispute as to wages, which can be determined by the national
tribunals or by the Board of Trade.
On the whole we have found that there has been a general effort
to comply with the proper procedure as to dilution, which was clearly
brought before both employers and employed by the Government
commission on dilution for the Tyne district, but the fact that the
generality o f employers have so complied, makes it all the more
necessary that all should continue to do s o ; otherwise, local difficulties
will arise which, small perhaps in themselves, are yet capable of
causing unrest by reopening old difficulties, and giving color to the
suggestion that there is an ulterior motive behind dilution.
Under dilution, various wage questions have from time to time
emerged. The wage questions that mainly arise have reference to
(a) women doing skilled men’s work; (&) members o f one skilled
trade doing work hitherto done by another skilled trade, and yet
being paid only the rate of their own trade, when that happens to
be less than the rate of the trade on which they are engaged; ( c )
apprentices’ rates o f wage; (d) inadequate pay o f skilled men en­
gaged on work of supervision, where dilution has taken place. It
is alleged that in many cases such men suffer by being debarred from
working piecework or premium bonus, and that even where some extra
allowance is made to them it is generally inadequate. W e consider
that this is a matter which calls for attention, as it must be galling
to a skilled man to find that those whom he instructs and supervises
are earning more than himself. One remedy would be a bonus on
output, or a percentage on the earnings o f diluted labor.
Cases have also been brought to our notice o f skilled men and
unskilled or semiskilled, engaged on the same articles, where the
unskilled or semiskilled men earn more wages than the skilled man
who is intrusted with the more intricate or accurate part o f the work.
We consider that cases o f this sort— if they exist— should be so dealt
with as to reward each workman according to his skill and output.
( B ) Recording changes o f practice.

The recording o f changes of practice is one of the many safeguards
on which the workmen rely for the protection o f the future of their




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

crafts. We are glad to be able to report that the system o f recording
in this district seems to be well conceived and carefully carried out.
Notwithstanding this, there still seems to be a want o f knowledge
confined to a few trades, of the methods adopted, and the right to
have changes o f practice adequately recorded. There is also some
objection to alleged changes o f practice which are not agreed, being
held over for final settlement until after the war. But on the whole
we are satisfied that no serious objection can be taken to the method
o f recording now in force.
(C ) Leaving certificates.

It may not be necessary to refer at any considerable length to this
matter, in view o f the proposal to do away with the necessity for
the grant o f a leaving certificate before a workman can seek work else­
where than in the establishment where he is for the time being em­
ployed. It should however be said that the leaving-certificate system
has been one of the most fruitful causes o f discontent, amongst which
the following may be mentioned:—
(a)
Workmen resented the idea that they were tied and as they
sometimes put it, virtually in a state o f slavery.
(5)
Men who alleged that they had gone voluntarily to munition
works at a distance from their own homes for patriotic reasons
(among them Canadians), informed us that they found it impossible
to obtain leaving certificates.
(tf) A certain amount o f criticism of the action of local tribunals
manifested itself, the suggestion being that these tribunals were in­
clined to lean to the employer’s side.
( d ) It was freely alleged that not a few foremen took advantage
o f the fact that the men were tied to the works to make things hard
for them, and to use threats of military service. There was consid­
erable strength in these allegations, and there may be some ground
for them.
(e ) The fact that workmen are tied to one employment, raises the
question of wages, as it wag stated that in this district tribunals did
not take into consideration the point that if workmen were to be
restricted to a particular establishment, this should be qualified by
paying them the rates prevailing in other similar establishments
offering them employment.
( / ) Restrictions preventing apprentices out o f their time, from
obtaining positions as journeymen, by insisting on their serving a
probationary period, hardship being caused by the fact that unskilled
men and perhaps women were doing similar work, and earning wages
which would otherwise have fallen to them.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

23

It may be said that there is a unanimous opinion on the part of
workmen in favor o f the abolition of the leaving-certificate system.
They are, however, very apprehensive o f the two conditions which
it is sought to import into the new arrangement, v iz :— (a) the power
conferred on the Ministry of Munitions to veto a workman passing
from a controlled establishment to private or commercial work, and
( b ) the so-called “ poaching” clause which prevents the inducement
o f higher wages being offered and taken advantage of. The work­
men say that these conditions mean that “ what is bein^ given with
one hand is being taken away with the other.”
Employers on their part regard the abolition of the system with
considerable apprehension. We see 110 evidence to lead us to believe
that this is due to any partiality on their part to the system as
affording them an undue restrictive power over their employees, but
they fear a sudden and unsettling disturbance of labor, as it is pertain
that a large number o f men will, for various reasons, immediately
seek to change their employment.
Should this prove to be the case it may be necessary for* the
Ministry o f Munitions to freely exercise its power o f veto. This will
inevitably give rise to many vexed questions, as will also the numerous
cases that will undoubtedly occur under the “ poaching ” clause. It is,
therefore, in our opinion, most necessary that the Ministry o f Muni­
tions should anticipate the situation, and take such steps as will mini­
mize friction. Otherwise the new procedure may be as fruitful o f
unrest as the old. It has been suggested that it should be indicated
to the trade-unions that the displacement o f labor must be so regu­
lated as to be gradual, so that it shall not upset existing arrangements,
or seriously diminish the output of munitions or ships.
A very general complaint which may be appropriately referred
to under this heading, is that a number o f the men who are now in
the unions fail to pay their dues or to support the unions. As the
unions can not exercise disciplinary measures in such cases by insist­
ing on the men performing their obligations, or bring matters to a
head by a threat to strike unless the delinquents are dismissed, it is
urged that the efficiency o f the unions is being impaired. W e have
considerable sympathy for the unions with regard to this grievance,
but it is hard to suggest a remedy. The Suggestion that the employers
should deduct the contributions from the wages, is distasteful to
most o f the unions, and to the employers.
It was also alleged by the unions that the powers which the em­
ployers possess o f retaining men has been used to keep their em­
ployees from leaving when owing to lack o f work or want of materials
their services would have been welcomed in other establishments
which were short o f labor, and were actually importing labor from




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

a distance at enhanced cost. The transfer system has to a certain
extent met this point, but we are inclined to think that more might
have been done to meet the men’s desire to transfer themselves to
other works under the circumstances named above.
( D ) R estoration o f prew ar conditions.

This is probably the question which most exercises the minds of
the industrial community— employers as well as employees. The em­
ployees in tEe skilled trades, willing though they have been to meet
the national emergency, and to permit encroachments on what they
consider the safeguards for which they have strenuously contended
in prewar days, have at the back of their minds the suspicion that
their sacrifices will be taken advantage o f in the postwar period.
We believe that most o f the trouble that has arisen would have been
avoided had the workers been convinced in their own minds that no
one was to take advantage o f what has been done in the present
emergency, to create an unfavorable position hereafter. Injudicious
utterances o f individual employers may have given color to the idea
o f exploitation, but we are satisfied from our inquiries that so far
as employers on the Northeast Coast are concerned, the idea o f ex­
ploitation is foreign to their minds. Indeed, we have frequently
regretted that the employers had no opportunity o f hearing the
reasonable expression o f the views o f the men on the amelioration o f
their conditions, and their desire to assist in increasing output, made
to us, and that the men had not the opportunity of being made
directly aware of the broad outlook o f the employers with regard
to labor, and their manifest desire to improve working conditions.
Where such feelings exist on both sides, all that seems necessary is to
bring about some means o f closer contact between the two branches
o f industry. On the Northeast Coast we find that the employers
express their appreciation o f the unions generally, and desire to see
the efficiency o f these unions maintained in the best interests of
industry. I f the Northeast Coast were wholly independent of other
fields o f industry, it might well be left to employers and employed
to settle by themselves any differences which might arise. But as an
important part of the industrial world, influences that are exercising
the mind o f the general industrial community indirectly affect the
Northeast Coast, and this question of the restoration of prewar condi­
tions, which is o f general application, is of paramount importance.
The vagueness of the expression is apparent. It is meant to cover
not only the protection o f existing craft industries, but also the im­
provement o f conditions o f labor, and the more adequate realization
o f the right o f the worker to secure his fair share o f the product




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

25

o f his industry; all these tending to an uplifting of the social condi­
tion o f the worker. As we have said, we find no hostility in the
minds of employers to these ideals, but rather recognition that the
better the social condition of the worker, the more probable an
improvement in production, and avoidance o f disturbance in industry.
There exists, however, a considerable feeling on the part of the
workers that the pledges o f the Government as to restoration o f pre­
war conditions will prove illusory. We believe that there need be no
hesitation in giving reexpression to any pledge that has been given,
as we feel satisfied that the workers will be the first to realize that
conditions in postwar times will be such as will call for the full em­
ployment at remunerative rates o f all skilled artisans, and that they
will not press for the reversion to prewar conditions merely because
pledges exist, as in many instances it will not be in their interest to
do so. But there must in our opinion be no going back on, or vary­
ing any pledges which have been given. I f circumstances have shown
that the pledges were given without realization of the circumstances
as they have emerged, it is better to trust to the good sense of the
workers than to raise any doubt as to the bona fides o f the pledges
given.
We believe that the doubt in the mind of the workers as to the bona
fides o f the pledges that have been given arise, not so much from the
belief that the Government are not sincere in their expressions, as
from the absence o f any tangible signs that provision is being made
for meeting the conditions that will arise after the war. The recent
issue o f the report o f the Whitley committee may have a reassuring
effect, as although time has not permitted o f either employers or
employed expressing approval or disapproval of the specific recom­
mendations o f that report, the fact that postwar conditions are
receiving attention is proved by its issue.
( E ) Inequality o f earnings as between skilled and sem iskilled or unskilled labor.

We have already incidentally referred to this highly controversial
subject. Circumstances have arisen which have rendered the prob­
lem acute, and no one can blame the skilled operator because he feels
resentment that he is debarred from earning what his less skilled
companion is capable o f making. Attempts have been made in va­
rious establishments to mitigate the grievance, but nevertheless it
still remains, and so long as this is the case friction will continue. We
suggest that the problem should be met either by an arrangement on
the “ fellowship ” basis, or by more liberal remuneration to the tool
setter or supervisor.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.
(3 )

D ELAYS IN

S E T T L E M E N T OF D IS P U T E S .

Evidence on this point is conflicting. Throughout the Northeast
Coast district the existence o f employers’ and workmen’s federations
has been productive of much good in effecting speedy settlements o f
disputes. As regards disputes which were not found capable o f local
settlement we found a general allegation that the machinery of the
Government departments was objected to on two grounds: (1) That
it was too slow, and (2) that awards when given were often couched
in terms which made them difficult of application.
As regards the first point, the most serious situation created was
in connection with the strike amongst the engineers, which took place
in the spring o f this year, and which is alleged to have been entirely
due to the long delay in securing arbitration on the question o f wages.
On the other hand we had testimony on the part of one union to
the commendable celerity with which wages disputes were settled
by the Board o f Trade. W e were, however, told o f a strike o f brick­
layers in certain steel works which delayed 7,000 tons o f shell steel,
and resulted in the receipt o f the arbitrator’s award within two days
o f the strike. We were told that a certain section o f the men advo­
cated striking because they were convinced that more speedy decisions
resulted.
As regards the second point, the question mainly turned upon one
award where a difficult question regarding the application of the
Munitions o f W ar Acts was concerned.
On the whole we formed the opinion that unrest arising from delay
in settlement o f disputes is less evident in the Northeast area than
it seems to be in other districts.
(4 )

P IE C E

BATES

OR P R E M I U M

BONUS

SYSTEM .

We recognize the antipathy o f certain sections of the skilled trades
to the introduction o f either piece rates or premium bonus. Certain
trades are in our opinion of such a nature as to make the introduction
o f either piecework or premium bonus inappropriate to either the
whole o f the operations or to parts thereof. Each trade should be
judged on its merits. We believe, however, that the main objection to
the introduction o f piecework, and especially to the premium bonus
system, is that the workmen are apprehensive that if they fully exert
themselves, prices or times will be cut, especially in the postwar
periods, when they fear that the extra efforts which they are pre­
pared to put forward now in the national interest will be used against
them. W e therefore consider that the expressed intention o f the
generality o f employers not to reduce prices or times in the absence
o f a change o f method, should be clearly brought home to the em­




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

27

ployees, with the assurance that no price or time will be reduced
unless, on clearly defined lines which it seems to us not impossible
to prescribe, a good reason can be shown for such reduction,
(5 )

IN D U S T R IA L

F A T IG U E .

While there were no actual complaints made to us o f overwork
or overpressure, it was nevertheless apparent that continued work
often carried out under anxieties caused by the war, has tended to
cause strain amongst the industrial classes just as it has amongst
other classes. The temptation to engage in Sunday work so as to
earn the higher rates o f pay, has been pointed out to us as being con­
ducive to overstrain, and we believe that it will be generally recog­
nized that Sunday work (which still prevails to some extent) should
be discontinued except to meet absolute emergencies. Overtime
should also be regulated so as to prevent an excessive amount being
worked either by individuals or particular classes o f workmen.
Where it is required, it should be fairly distributed so as not only to
prevent the overstrain o f individuals, but also to allay the feeling
which sometimes exists that overtime is unfairly allotted, and does
not allow individual workers to earn the extra rates paid.
Our attention was directed to the question of the lack o f adequate
canteen provision. It was explained to us that a serious obstacle
in the way o f establishing canteens was that however desirous em­
ployers might be to provide canteens, they sometimes found it im­
possible to do so owing to the fact that all the available space at their
works was occupied by expensive plant. In some cases canteen ac­
commodation had been provided and it was alleged that it had not
been taken advantage of. We believe that two o f the reasons which
have militated against the success o f canteens are:—Inadequate pro­
vision o f facilities for workmen to wash and tidy themselves, lead­
ing to men having to sit down to meals just as they leave their bench
or machine; and the difficulty o f serving meals with sufficient
dispatch without employing an unduly large, staff of attendants.
There are no doubt other minor causes, such as inability to obtain
reasonable refreshment in the shape o f beer, which need not be
referred to in detail. We are of opinion that notwithstanding the
want o f success which has in some instances attended the attempt
fco establish canteens, the provision of adequate canteens would be
o f great advantage to the workmen. Under present conditions men
have frequently to travel long distances to their work, and when
employed on overtime this involves the carrying o f food for several
meals; under such circumstances the food is apt to become unap­
petizing, i f not unwholesome. The existence o f a canteen where
good meals could be had at prices within the means of the workman,




28

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

would materially improve this state o f affairs, and might incidentally
have an indirect bearing on the housing problem, as tending to re­
move the workman’s objection to live at a distance from his em­
ployment.
(6 )

SH OP

D IS C I P L IN E .

We have already touched upon many aspects o f shop discipline,
but we may briefly state our views to be that the best way to secure
proper discipline is to see that ready and effective means are always
available for prompt inquiry into, and redress of grievances, if such
exist. Many disputes are merely local and personal, and can be
settled between the workmen and the employers, or their responsible
managers, and a large proportion o f the difficulties that arise can
and will be so settled, provided the workmen know that their em­
ployers are prepared to hear and deal with all questions that fail to
be adjusted by workman and foreman. But in any difference which
raises a question o f general application or principle, every encourage­
ment should be given to the workmen to bring the difficulty up for
consideration by the employers through the agency o f their trade
unions. We may again repeat that the past experience o f the ad­
vantages o f the trade-unions in adjusting labor difficulties and bring­
ing about good relations between employers and employed on the
Northeast Coast, convinces us that nothing ought to be done to in­
terfere with the usefulness of the unions. Indeed we think that in
view o f the greatly increased duties which have been thrown upon
the unions and their officials as a result of the war, a strengthening
o f the executive machinery o f certain of the more important unions
is very desirable.
Where it is not possible for employers to arrange for personal
access to them by deputations o f employees who have difficulties to
lay before them, we advocate the establishing o f shop committees
consisting o f representatives appointed by the men to confer with
representatives of the employers, at such times as may be agreed upon
fo r the discussion o f questions affecting labor as they may arise in
the shops. Should such discussions not result in settlement o f the
points in dispute, then the matter should be reported to the union
by the representatives o f the men on the shop committee.
It may be appropriate to state under this heading that the commis­
sioners have, as directed, considered the report o f the Reconstruction
Committee on joint standing industrial councils. Time has not per­
mitted o f exhaustive examination and discussion of the proposals,
but as will have been gathered from the tenor o f our report, we
are thoroughly in accord with the underlying principle of that re­
port. But confining ourselves to the conditions o f the area on which




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

29

we are specially reporting, some doubt exists in our minds as to
whether in view o f the existing machinery for the settlement of dis­
putes and the discussion o f policy affecting the regulation of labor,
there would not be considerable danger that the setting up o f new
machinery might impair the usefulness o f that which now exists. In
any case we would recommend that any new bodies to be set up
should not be too elaborate, lest the elaboration and consequent d if­
ficulty o f running the machinery should bulk larger than its use­
fulness.
COAL M IN E R S .

W e have deemed it proper to inquire into the circumstances o f
this industry, which is a most important one in the area covered by
our inquiry. The result o f our investigation has been that, speaking
generally, there is no unrest in the mining community. There exists
an arrangement between employers and employees which for a long
period o f years has secured amicable settlements o f contentious ques­
tions, and we can suggest no method o f dealing with disputes which
is likely to meet with more success in this very important field.
One point however emerges, which calls for immediate considera­
tion. Rearrangements rendered necessary for the adequate control
o f transport facilities are bearing hardly in the case o f individual
pits where the workers are not fully employed, with the result that
their earnings are so materially reduced that they can not earn a
living wage. Something must be done to meet this hardship.
Either arrangements should be made for the transfer o f the surplus
labor, or if this is impossible, the workers should be assisted by
grants from the Prince o f Wales’s Fund, which was established to
relieve cases of civil distress. Remunerative employment o f work­
ers on some form of national work would seem to be the most appro­
priate remedy.
GENERAL [RECOMMENDATIONS.

As the several recommendations that commend themselves to us
are made in the body o f our report, we think it unnecessary to re­
capitulate them, as their relative importance may be best estimated
when they are considered in context with the facts upon which we
base them.
W e may, however, be permitted to summarize as follows what ap­
pear to us to be the more salient points:—
1.
The relations o f employers and employed have on the whole
been, and continue to be good. W ith few exceptions difficulties that
have arisen have been found capable of amicable adjustment. This
result is largely attributable to the existence o f joint boards of the
employers, and federations o f trades-unions, which act in matters
affecting industry. W e were also impressed with the evident desire
o f the local officials of the Ministry of Munitions and of the A d ­




30

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

miralty shipyard labor department to help in the adjustment o f
local difficulties, and we had testimony borne to their efficiency, tact,
and to the good results o f their efforts.

T h e c o m m is s io n e r s h a v e b e e n s tr u c k b y th e f a c t th a t th e e m p lo y e r s
g e n e r a lly a p p e a r t o ta k e a b r o a d a n d s y m p a th e tic v ie w o f th e c o n ­
d it io n s o f th e e m p lo y e e s , a n d o f th e n e e d t h a t in m a n y r e s p e c ts e x is ts
f o r im p r o v e m e n t in p re s e n t as w e ll as in p r e w a r c o n d itio n s , w h ile
o n th e o th e r h a n d th e e m p lo y e e s c o lle c t iv e ly d o n o t a d v a n c e a n y
d e m a n d s th a t a re e x tr a v a g a n t, o r in c a p a b le o f b e in g m e t b y fr ie n d ly
c o o p e r a t io n b e tw e e n e m p lo y e r a n d e m p lo y e e .
2. The exceptional call that has been made upon industry during
war time has, however, accentuated the differences that were in ex­
istence in prewar days, and has created new difficulties. The de­
mands that have been made on labor; the need for continued exer­
tion; the encroachment on long-established customs (many o f them
regarded as sacred); the unavoidable changes of policy that have
been necessary to meet national exigencies, the necessity for which
is not always understood by the workmen; the accentuation o f the
difficulties and inconveniences attending the housing o f the working
classes; the increasing cost o f living, and the widespread belief that
persons other than the working classes are making undue profits out
of the w ar; the disparity in wages, and especially the higher wages
earned by unskilled as compared with skilled workmen; the anoma­
lies and occasional unfairness arising out o f the operation o f the
Military Service A c t; the restraint on free employment o f labor en­
tailed by the Munitions Act, the deep apprehension in the minds o f
workers that their concessions during war time may be used against
them in the postwar period; and the delays that frequently occur
in the settlement of differences, the causes o f which the workmen
often do not understand, have all combined to produce a state not
o f active unrest, but one capable o f forming a fruitful field for the
inculcation of ideas that unless controlled, may lead to active and
dangerous upheaval. It is to the credit o f the industrial classes
that they have taken a sane and patriotic view at this time; and
the fact that they have done so, is not, we believe, overlooked by the
other side o f industry—the employers— with the result, we hope, that
the relations of employers and employed are generally recognized as
not antagonistic.
3. But it is also true that on the one part certain employers have
failed to recognize the inherent right o f the workmen to fair treat­
ment, while on the other a section of the employees are not slow to
aggravate difficulties with a view to working upon them in order
to bring about such a state o f unrest as will lead to a revolution
in industrial relations. What is, therefore, necessary is that no em­
ployer shall be allowed to conduct his business in such a manner as




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

31

to give cause for legitimate complaint, by acting contrary to the
general sense o f his fellow employers or to the rights o f labor. The
complaints against individual employer^ usually concern trivial
matters, but they indicate an absence o f the fraternal interest that
should influence the relations o f employer and employed. When
they occur, they are often exploited by those who desire to bring
about industrial unrest. The unsympathetic employer is therefore a
danger not only to his fellow employers but to the State.
4. The war has introduced a new element into questions affecting
labor, viz., the Government. Apart from the fact that the Govern­
ment has itself become the largest employer o f labor, it has been
necessary that it should directly intervene in matters relating to the
proper utilization o f labor so as to secure the best results in the
national interest. In both relations the Government has entered
upon a new field, and it is not to be wondered at, that the best
solution o f the inherent difficulties o f labor, accentuated as they have
been by the abnormal demands o f a great war, has not always been
found at the first attempt. We have heard many criticisms o f the
action o f Government departments, but while we agree that these
criticisms are not altogether uncalled for, we desire to record our
opinion that there is general recognition that the officials o f the
various Government departments have, especially o f late, shown a
readiness to appreciate the difficulties that exist, and an earnest
desire to meet them. W e believe that by a careful selection of the
right type o f official appointed to deal with local difficulties, com­
bined with constant but not irritating control and direction from
headquarters, much more can be done to secure harmonious working.
5. But, however efficient the local representatives o f Government
departments may be, there will always be matters which it is
beyond their province to settle, as there will always be a proportion
o f both employers and employees who object to departmental meth­
ods. To meet this aspect o f the question, we recommend that some
form o f independent local advisory board should be established in
each large industrial center which would investigate grievances,
and also have the power (a) to settle disputes which are merely
local in origin and effect, and (b) to direct parties to the proper means
o f determining disputes which, while local in origin, raise questions
o f general application. There should be nothing formal about the
constitution or procedure o f such local advisory bodies, and they
should be constituted on a basis independent o f preconceived pro­
clivities as to labor questions, so that they may enjoy the confidence
o f both employers and employees. It should be one o f their func­
tions to see that when a dispute has been referred for settlement to
any existing department, no unnecessary delay should take place in
its settlement. Generally such advisory bodies should keep in touch




32

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

with labor conditions, and while not obtrusive in their actions should
be accessible in connection with any difficulty that may arise.
6. In regard to the general causes o f industrial unrest on which
we report, and to our recommendations as to how these should be
dealt with, we submit that the situation can be met if employers
and employees can be led to realize that they have common interests,
and that while employers are entitled to ask for loyal service on
the part o f their employees, the latter on their part are equally en­
titled to demand adequate remuneration for their efforts, as well
as reasonable conditions o f employment, and security against ex­
ploitation either at the hands o f individual employers or exacting
managers or foremen.
7. In order to bring about that closer relation between employer
and employee which is necessary for the harmonious working o f
industry, we favor the establishment in the larger industrial con­
cerns o f shop committees, the success o f which in certain large estab­
lishments has been brought to our notice.
8. Apart from matters that purely affect industry, we consider that
the paramount question at present is that o f food. We strongly
recommend that this question should be settled by the Government,
at once, by adopting the suggestion put forth in our report, viz.,
the fixing o f reasonable maximum prices for all essential foods and
commodities, with the consequent result that any loss that accrues
will be borne by the State, which means that all classes will share
according to their means in making good the national deficiency.
The urgency with which the inquiry has had to be conducted, and
our report prepared, will doubtless be accepted as sufficient excuse for
deficiencies that we are conscious of. W e believe, however, that our
investigation has been thorough, and that every opportunity has
been afforded for the expression o f the views o f those most concerned.
We desire to express our appreciation o f the manner in which all
classes have given their assistance to the commissioners throughout
the inquiry, and to record the opinion already expressed that the
spirit o f reasonableness that prevails in the area over which our in­
vestigations extended, justifies the view that such difficulties as exist
are capable o f amicable solution.
In conclusion we desire to record our recognition and appreciation
o f the services o f Mr. Robert Bryce Walker, who has acted as secre­
tary o f the commission, and whose advice and assistance have been
invaluable to us.
T h o s . M u n r o , Chairman.
P h i l i p B r ig h t .
H

enry

D

a v ie s .

R obert B ry ce W a lk e r ,
J u l y 12, 1917.




Secretary.

NO. 2 DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
NORTHWEST AREA.
INTRODUCTORY.

1. Your commissioners for the Northwest area, His Honor Judge
Parry (chairman), Mr. John Smethurst, and Mr. J. R. Clynes,
M. P.^ were appointed on Tuesday, June 12, 1917. The terms of
reference were “ To inquire into and report upon industrial unrest,
and to n^ke recommendations to the Government at the earliest
practicable date.” The Prime Minister instructed us that he desired
the inquiry to be conducted in a broad spirit without unnecessary
formality, and as rapidly as was consistent with thoroughness.
These instructions we have endeavored to carry out.
2. We held our first meeting on Wednesday, June 13, 1917, when
it was agreed that the chairman should at once proceed to Man­
chester, make arrangements to give publicity throughout the area to
the work o f the commission, and interview leaders o f labor, em­
ployers, and others, as to giving evidence.
3. The chairman proceeded to Manchester on June 14, 1917. He
appointed Mr. William Finlay Macdonald, secretary to the com­
mission, and arranged for a meeting of the commissioners with the
labor leaders of the Manchester district. This was held on Monday,
June 18, 1917, when the following were invited, most of w hom /in
spite o f the short notice, were kind enough to attend:
Councillor Fox, Labor Amalgamation; Councillor J. Binns,
Amalgamated Society of Engineers; T. I. Holt, Amalgamated So­
ciety o f Engineers; Fleming Eccles, National Union o f General
Workers; R. H. Coates, United Machine Workers’ Association; A. A.
Purcell, furnishing trades; J. Rowan, Electrical Trades Union;
Councillor W. Mellor, National Union of Bookbinders; Councillor
A. Legge, Trades Councils Federation; George Ashcroft; R. O.
Jones, Amalgamated Society of Engineers; R. Coppock, Building
Trades Group; W. H. Johnson, Metal Trades Group; W. Hunt,
Typographical Society; Councillor Titt, Workers’ Union; S. J.
Bardsley, Trades Councils Federation; R. Lundy, Operative Printers’
Assistants; Jesse Butler, miners; Tom Grenall, miners; W. Mullin,
Card and Blowing Room Operatives; F. Birchenough, Operative
17841°—17— Bull. 237------ 3




33

34

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Spinners’ Society; Joseph Cross, textile trades; A. Schofield, Amal­
gamated Society o f Engineers; Mrs. Pearson, Women Workers’
Union.
Questions o f procedure were discussed, and it was considered that
the most convenient course would be for deputations to meet the com­
missioners to discuss and elaborate by verbal evidence written state­
ments which were to be prepared and sent to the secretary. This pro­
cedure was afterwards approved by the employers and others, and
was adopted throughout the inquiry.
4. The commissioners also made it known that statements in writ­
ing sent to the secretary would be used as material for their report,
and a considerable number o f these have been received from repre­
sentative associations and citizens with special knowledge o f in­
dustrial conditions.
5. The chairman was received by the right honorable the lord
mayor o f Manchester, and the right honorable the lord mayor o f
Liverpool, who gave the commissioners valuable advice and assistance,
and placed at their disposal accommodation in the town halls.
6. The commissioners also held important interviews at the head­
quarters o f the commission, the Midland Hotel, Manchester, to obtain
general information upon the situation. The following gentlemen
gave us much practical assistance in the initial stages o f the inquiry,
and we desire to acknowledge the services o f all classes o f citizens
in the area, whose hearty cooperation made it possible to hear such
a considerable body o f representative views in so short a tim e:
Councillor T. Fox, Manchester; Councillor J. Binns, Manchester;
Councillor F. J. West, Manchester; Councillor W. Mellor, Man­
chester; W. Mullin, cotton trades; Col. Cooper, Admiralty, Liver­
pool; representatives o f press, Manchester and Liverpool; J. E.
Baker, Barrow; H. Smith, Warrington Labor Bureau; O. Mee, Man­
chester Labor Bureau; Bishop Welldon, dean of Manchester; Rev.
S. F. Collier, Wesleyan Mission; A. Foster, Dewhurst & Co.; Hans
Renold, Manchester; J. F. Watson, H. M. stationery office, Man­
chester; John H. Toulmin (T. Coulthard & Co.), James Connor,
William Dryden (Dick, Kerr & Co.), T. Phillips Conn (Leyland
Motors, L td.), representing Preston and District Engineering Em­
ployers’ Association.
7. Sittings were held on the following dates and at the following
places, when witnesses were examined and deputations received:




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E S T IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

35

TOWN HALL, MANCHESTER.
Date.

Name.

Society, firm, or department represented.

1917.
June 21 J. Watson, H. McGregor, J. F oy... Shop committee, heavy gun boring department, Armstrong
Whitworth’s.
W. Robinson, H. Williams, A. National Warehouse and General Workers’ Union.
Johnston.
J. H. W ilson...,........................... Ex-president, Manchester and Salford Boot and Shoe
Trades Association.
B. Ling.......................................... Messrs. Black & Green, provision merchants.
Coun. W. Forshaw........................ Lancashire and Cheshire Enginemen’s and Boilermen’s
Federation.
C. Byrne, A. Smith...................... Armor plate department, Armstrong Whitworth’s.
Mrs. Pearson.................................. National Federation of Women Workers.
A. J. Cousins.............................
Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners.
J. Bailey, T. Parton, R. Cooper, Ammonia Soda Co., Lostock Gralam.
R. Shakeshaft.
H. Cliffe........................................ Secretary, Oldham Master Cotton Spinners’ Association.
A. Hill........................................... Secretary, Bolton Master Cotton Spinners’ Association.
G. W. Fielding.............................. Secretary, Ashton Master Cotton Spinners’ Association.
C. A. Cave........................ ............ Messrs. Best & Co., engineers.
June 22 B. Brooke, D. Sheard................... National Union of Life Assurance Agents.
A. Rawlinson, J. Fiddiham, J. National Association of Prudential Assurance Agents.
Smith, T. D. Owen.
J. R. Thomson, H. Hughes, J ., National Association of Wesleyan and General Assurance
Agents.
Benson.
D. Plinston....................... .......... Associated Society of Engineers, and secretary, Warrington
local labor advisory board on war output.
E. J. Howarth............. ................ Newton Heath Branch, Amalgamated Society of En­
gineers, and secretary of Shop Stewards, Hans Renold
(Ltd.), Burnage, Manchester.
A. Fletcher, J. Whiting............... National Union of Railwaymen (Bridgewater Canal Co.
Carters and Ostlers), Manchester 20 Branch.
Geo. Peet, G. C. Ashcroft, E. Joint engineering committee, Shop Stewards.
Kemp.
G. Hall (secretary), Miller (organ­ Manchester and Salford District Retail Fruiterers’ and
Fishmongers’ Association.
izer).
June 23 J. Elsmore, H. Warburton, J. Dag- Shop committee, Messrs. Mather and Platt (Ltd.).
gatt, W. Miller.
T. W. Skerrett, T. Jackson, T. Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen.
Bowden.
H. Wheatley, J. Cunningham....... Northern Districts League of Beer, Wine, and Spirit Trades
Association.
Bolton.
June 25 R. Tootill, M. P ......................
Miss M. Quaile............................ . Manchester and Salford Women’s Trade Union Council.
Mrs. Dickinson.............................. Women’s Trade and Labor Council.
Miss Welch.................................. . Sewing Trades.
Miss Shear..................................... Shop Assistants.
Mrs. Tomlinson........................... . Women’s War Interests Committee.
Women’s Labor League, Manchester, Salford and District
Mrs. Robinson.......................
Women’s War Interests Committee.
J. Pye........................................... President, Bolton, and District Master Wheelwrights,
Smiths, and Motor Body Builders’ Association.
G. H. Morris.............................. . Chairman, Bury Branch Wheelwrights, Smiths, and Motor
Body Makers.
Rev. S. F. Collier.......................... W esleyan Mission.
Coun. J. Kendall, J. P................. . Secretary Manchester, Salford and District Grocers’ Asso­
ciation.
W. T. Miller (president), T. Eden Lancashire and Cheshire Colliery Firemen’s Association.
(vice president), P. Darbyshire
(secretary), H. S. Mather, II.
Ashcroft, J. O’Brien, F. Ry­
lance.
H. Taylor..................................... Shop committee, W. J. Bates & Co., Denton.
A. Mason, J. Gregory, G. Casey... Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen.
J. Kempster, W. Tyrer, T. Rob­ Preston Engineering Joint Trades’ Committee.
inson.
June 26 A. Hopkinson.............................. . Engineer, employer, Ryecroft Hall, Audenshaw.
T. O. Williams, J. M. Lucas, D. Amalgamated Society and General Union of Carpenters and
Joiners, Manchester, Salford and District.
Merson.
S. Hird.......................................... Friendly Societv of Iron Founders.
Mather & Platt''(Ltd.).
E. W. Buckley, M. I. M. E......... .
J. Rider, J. Howarth................... . Iron and Steel Wire Manufacturers’ Association.
T. Foster (Burnley), B. Talbot Northwestern Federation of Building Trade Employers.
(Bolton), S. Wigham.
F. Collins, ------- Wilson, ------- Provincial Grand Lodge of Manchester and District.
Early.
June 27 W. Chapman, J. Morgan, T. H. Central Board of Licensed Traders.
Simpson.
R. Graham................................... Chairman, Produce Section, Manchester Chamber of Com­
merce.
F. Eccles, R. Storey, C. Parker, National Federation of General Workers,
G. Hawksworth, W. Longley,
C. Sanford, C. Maher, Miss Maclenan.
Barrow.
Maj. Maples........................... .—




B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

36

TOWN HALL, MANCHESTER—Concluded.
Date.

Society, firm, or department represented.

1917.
June 28 L. R. Williams..............................
R. Johnson....................................
A. Schofield ( Oldham), T. Parkin­
son (Rochdale), T. Whitworth
(Bury), G. Gorman (Manches­
ter), W. Hawkins (Stockport),
A. Lamb (Manchester), T. J.
Holt (Manchester), J. Binns
(SE. Lancashire).
Sir Daniel McCabe, Capt. Wade..
F. J. West (president)..................
H. Mensforth (vice president)......
R. Matthews.................................
Sir Kenneth Crossley, bart...........
F. G. Goodbehere..........................
T. Coventry..................................
F. Yates (secretary)......................

Agent, Estate Office, Alderley Park, Chelford.
North of England Wholesale Grocers’ Association.
Amalgamated Society of Engineers.

Markets committee, Manchester Corporation.
West Gas Improvement Cov Ltd.
General works manager, British Westinghouse.
Armstrong Whitworth’s, Ltd.
Crossley Bros., Ltd.
Brooks & Doxey, Ltd.
Smith & Coventry, Ltd.
Manchester District Engineering Trades Employers’ Asso­
ciation.
On subject of Carlisle liquor control from point of view of
public inconvenience.

Rev. F. L. H. Millard (Carlisle),
J. Graham (Carlisle), C. H.
Whitely (Carlisle).
June 29 W. Cotton, E. Porter.................... Blackburn Local Labor Advisory Board of War Output.
A. Gill........................................... Amalgamated Street Masons, Paviors, and Stonedressers’
Society.
W. C. Robinson............................ Beamers and Drawers’ Amalgamation.
E. Duxbury.................................. Loom Overlookers’ Amalgamation.
G. W. Jones.................................. Bleachers, Dyers, and Finishers’ Amalga- The United
mation.
Textile FacH. Boothman................................ Spinners’ Amalgamation.
. tory WorkJ. Billington................................ . Spinners’ Amalgamation.
ers’ AssociaF. W. Birchenough....................... Spinners’ Amalgamation.
tion.
P. Bullough.................................. Spinners’ Amalgamation. *
J. Cross.......................................... Weavers’ Amalgamation.
Coun. W. Davy............................. Railway Workers’ Union.
H. Colgars, H. Gardner................. National Federation of Discharged Soldiers and Sailors.
W. Lander..................................... Cooperative Wholesale Society, Ltd.
A. A. Purcell (president), Coun. The Manchester and Salford Trades and Labor Council.
R. J. Davies (vice president),
Coun. W. Mellor (secretary), R.
Coppock (executive council), W.
H. Johnson (executive council),
R. Wallace (trade council dele­
gate), Miss M. Quaile (Women’s
Trade Union Council).
TOWN HALL, LIVERPOOL.
Name.

Date.
1917.
July 2

July

B. B. Moss.

Society, firm, or department represented.

Secretary, Liverpool Master Builders’ Association, War­
rington Master Builders’ Association, National Federa­
tion of Sawmill Proprietors of fcreat Britain and Ireland.
Liverpool Sawmill Proprietors’ Association, Liverpool
Cabinet Makers and Employers’ Association, Local
Branch of the National Federated Electrical Association.
National Warehouse and General Workers’ Union.
The United Alkali Co., Ltd.
Liverpool Retail Grocers and Provision Dealers’ Associa­
tion.

W. A. Robinson, J. Cleary...........
T. W. Stuart.................................
E. R. Thompson (president), W.
Chrimes, J. Summerhill (secre­
tary).
J. Francis...................................... St. Helens Trades and Labor Council.
C. Barker, Mrs. McArd, A. McArd, Liverpool Kensington I. L. P.
Miss De Charles, Miss Gabrielson,
T. H. Boscow................................ St. Helens and District Allied Engineering Trades Associa­
tion.
A. Halsall, S. F. Gould................. Association of Engineering and Shipbuilders and Drafts­
men.
3 G. Nelson...................................... Typographical Society.
H. Rose......................................... President, Trades Council.
Liverpool
F. Hoey......................................... Plumbers’ Society.
» T r a d es
W. Robinson................................. Warehouse Workers’ Union.
Council.
W. Citrine..................................... Engineering and Shipbuilders’ Federation.
J. Shannon.................................... Ex-secretary, Trades Council.
Williamson................................... National Amalgamated Union of Labor.
Aid. H. Wilson, Coun. C. Pearson, Liverpool Wholesale Grocers and Provision Merchants’
Coun. R. Rutherford, J. P., P.
Association.
Wall.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E S T IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

37

TOWN HALL, LIVERPOOL—Concluded.
Date.

Society, firm, or department represented.

1917.
July 3

July

Chas. Booth (chairman), W. A.
Jones (secretary), Galbraith
(steamship supt.), J. F. Gobey
(organizers’ committee).
G. H. Petter................................ .
Chas. Barnes................................ .
J. Evans (secretary).................... .
J. H. Perkins............................... .
J. Smythe, C. Wilson, H. Council,
W. M. Citrine.
4 G. J. Carter..................................
Col. H. Concanon (chairman),
Austin Jones (secretary).
A. B. Cauty, Harrison Hughes...

Shipowners’ General Labor Committee.
Chairman Mersey Ship Repairers’ Federation.
Employers’ Association of the Port of Liverpool.
Railway Clerks’ Association, Liverpool Branch.
Federation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Trades.
Managing director, Cammell, Laird & Co. (Ltd.).
Dock Labor Organization Committee.

Seafarers’ Committee, Employers’ Association of the Port
sf Liverpool.
Liverpool Shipwrights’ Trade and Friendly Association.
National Union of Railwaymen, Liverpool No. 1 Branch.
Admiralty representative, Port of Liverpool Shipyard
Labor Department.
5 J. M. McElroy............................. Shipyard Labor Department, Admiralty.
H, Smith (divisional officer)....... . Ministry of Labor, Warrington.
Coun. R. J. Davies (vice presi­ Manchester and Salford Labor Party.
dent), C. Priestley (executive),
G. Feamley (executive), Mrs.
W. E. Taylor (executive), J. A.
McGee (executive), Coun. W. T.
Jackson (secretary).
R. H. Davies, W. Dunham.........
T. Hesketh...................................
Col. Cooper...................................

July

8.
Written statements were received by the secretary and used as
material for the report, o f which the following is a list :
1. National Asylum Workers’ Union.
2. The Urban District Council of Padiham.
3. The Association o f Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughts­
men, Manchester Branch.
4. Dr. E. S. Reynolds, Manchester.
5. Dr. A. T. Lakin, Moston, Manchester.
6. British Cotton and W ool Dyers’ Association, Limited.
7. The Sheet Metal Workers’ Ems’ Association.
8. Workmen’s Committee, Armstrong Whitworth’s, Openshaw.
9. Messrs. Yates and Thom, Blackburn.
10. Edward G. Herbert, Ltd., Levenshulme.
11. National Union of Railwaymen, Liverpool No. 3 Branch.
12. No. 1, Makers-up Trade Sick and Burial Society.
13. Amalgamated Association of Tramway and Vehicle Workers.
14. Fitters and Machine Drillers, Armor Plate Erecting Shop,
Armstrong Whitworth’s.
15. “ A ” Punch Dept., British Westinghouse, Trafford Park, Man­
chester.
1(5. The Rev. Canon Green, Salford.
17. The Rev. S. Liberty (Barrow).
18. The Rev. Canon W. G. Edwards Rees, Gorton, Manchester.
19. Chief Constable, Lancashire County Police, Preston.
20. Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Opera- tives.




38

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

2 1 . U n it e d C a r t e r s a n d M o t o r m e n ’s A s s o c i a t i o n o f E n g l a n d .
22. The W orking Men’s Clubs Association, Manchester and Dis­
trict Branch.
28. R. Tootill, M. P., Bolton.
24. Lawrence Holt, Liverpool.
25. The Provincial Entertainment Proprietors and Managers’ As­
sociation, Limited.
26. Preston and District Engineering Employers’ Association.
9. Beyond this, a vast quantity of correspondence was received
from individuals, much o f which it might be interesting to analyze
more thoroughly had we the time at our disposal. These letters
have all been read by the chairman, who considered that they did
not deal with the subject on those broad lines on which we were
instructed to carry on the inquiry. They are useful, however, as
corroborative evidence o f the more important material on which the
report is based.
GENERAL CAUSES OF INDUSTRIAL UNREST.

10. We desire to preface our observations by saying that we have
directed our inquiries to causes o f immediate unrest in the local area.
The basic social and historical aspects o f industrial unrest are not
matters that we consider we can usefully discuss. In setting out
these local causes we do not pretend to have decided that in fact the
complaints we refer to are well founded, but we have endeavored
to report faithfully what working men and women have told us
is troubling their minds. W holly unfounded suspicions o f the mo­
tives and actions o f the Government, or o f departmental agents, or of
employers, are often causes o f unrest, and these things can only be
allayed by prompt and frank treatment, by discussion and publicity,
and by a readiness o f every one in authority to offer open explana­
tions.
11. Industrial ^unrest is no new thing. Mr. A. A. Purcell, presi­
dent o f the Manchester and Salford Trades and Labor Council, de­
clared that it was not caused by the war, but that it had been greatly
aggravated and intensified by war conditions. The Rev. Canon
Peter Green, who has lived and worked for 25 years among the
poorer class o f workers in the Old Kent Road, London, and in the
East India Dock Road, East London, and at the back o f the Market,
Leeds, and now for 15 years in the Greengate and Islington districts
of Salford, tells us that for many years before the war there had
been a discontent among skilled and unskilled workers alike. “ They
do not see,” he says, “ why their hours should be so long and their
wages so small, their lives so dull and colorless, and their oppor­
tunities o f reasonable rest and recreation so few ” ; and he asks: u Can




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

39

we wonder that with growing education and intelligence the work­
ers o f England are beginning to contrast their lot with that o f the
rich and to ask whether so great inequalities are necessary?” Un­
doubtedly the main causes o f unrest, which no Government, can
allay, arise from human selfishness in all classes, a narrow outlook
on the possibilities o f cooperation, and forgetfulness o f the Golden
Rule to do unto others as you would be done by. W e have, however,
found fine examples of businesses run on lines not narrowly commer­
cial. There are many employers and firms who fully recognize
the human needs o f their workmen, and weN
have heard from the lips
of workmen themselves their appreciation and desire to cooperate in
the splendid efforts o f such employers. Government departments
would do well to study carefully these experiments, which have done
a great deal in this area to allay unrest, and the authorities might
do much more by moral influence to level up other firms to adopt
more humane methods and call on workmen and unions to meet
these efforts in a cordial spirit.
REFORMS THAT ARE TAKING- PLACE.

12.
We find from the evidence given before us that many matters
which have caused serious unrest have already been dealt with by
the Government, and workmen have freely admitted their satisfac­
tion that this has been done. This has been invaluable to us in
explaining to the men personally that the Government are really
in earnest in pushing through without delay reforms to remove
existing grievances. W e trust that it will be impressed on the per­
manent officials of all departments in London that it is essential that
they should deal with the complaints they receive promptly, sym­
pathetically, and in a business spirit. I f this idea is thoroughly car­
ried out it will have a great effect, and improve industrial conditions
in thjs area.
O f the matters we have in our mind we may mention the follow-

ing:

A. The question of “ leaving certificates,” which were certainly
the cause o f great* unrest. Although on the whole it was probably
understood by the more intelligent o f the workmen that they were
not introduced from any ill motive, but merely as a war measure,
yet among the rank and file a belief got about that they were the
beginning o f industrial conscription.
B. The trade-card system was regarded as ill conceived by all
those workmen who were left out of the scheme, and the new list of
scheduled occupations will require very careful handling, and the
rights o f workmen to appear before the enlistments complaints com­
mittee will have to be dealt with tactfully, or there will again arise




40

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

trouble, owing to the suspicion of the men that the system may be
unfairly used to their disadvantage. We have written to the Muni­
tions Ministry on this subject during the sittings o f the commission,
because we found that the procedure did not inspire confidence in
the minds o f the men, and we felt that in a new system the matter is
one o f urgency. The idea seems prevalent that employers may use
the system for victimization, and the procedure of all these commit­
tees must be watched very carefully, since the men suspect that
their cases may be decided upon the written statements of the em­
ployer as to their status in scheduled occupations without their hav­
ing the right to explain personally what they alone can only know—
namely, the education and training they have gone through, and the
position in the workshop which in fact they have attained to.
C.
In the matter o f the food supply we find that already the
Government have taken big steps toward eliminating those who
are speculating and cornering certain food supplies. There are to­
day, as we understand it, only three profits allowed by law before
the food o f which the price is fixed reaches the consumer—namely,
the reasonable trade profits of the producer or importer, as the case
may be, the wholesaler, and the retailer. This has been clearly
described to us by men engaged in various food trades, but the
public seem to know little of it, and it would put an end to much
natural unrest if the Government in this matter would take imme­
diate steps to advertise to the man in the street the good work that
they have done.
GENERAL INDUSTRIAL CONDITION OF THE AREA.

13. In submitting our report, which is necessarily a recital o f
troubles and grievances, we wish to emphasize the fact that on all
occasions the witnesses before us prefaced their evidence with an
expression o f their determination to assist the Government o f the
country and their fellow citizens at the front to the best o f their
endeavor in prosecuting the war to a satisfactory conclusion.
Throughout the area the patriotic spirit of men and employers was
manifest and clearly expressed. They dealt with their difficulties on
the lines o f the Prime Minister’s declaration, which was heartily
echoed in Lancashire, that it was the common duty of all good
citizens at the present moment to get rid of*“ the grit in the wheels ”
which is obstructing our common purpose.
14. To illustrate what we mean we have appended a short state­
ment o f the general condition of the great trades o f cotton and
shipbuilding which are carried on in Manchester and Liverpool.
W e had evidence o f the highest authorities, as may be seen from the
names of the deputations o f employers and men who came before




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

41

us, to the effect that their personal relations were in very many
cases entirely satisfactory, though they concurred in recommending
many important reforms, which they hoped would be dealt with
rapidly and effectively.
15. At the same time, although the atmosphere of the area is
patriotic, the long continuance of the war has certainly brought
about an altered feeling. Men begin to ask themselves whether the
sacrifices they are making are really necessary. They chafe under
the restraints upon individual liberty, and are made angry at the
high cost o f living. Moreover, they fail fully to understand that
stoppages which often bring about reforms are a serious hindrance
to military operations. A ll these matters are causes of unrest which
the unpatriotic seek to magnify in a desire to injure the stability of
government. A ll causes of unrest therefore that can be and are not
removed are inflammable material which will be made evil use of
by those whose desire it is to promote disorder.
CONDITION OF THE COTTON TRADE.

16. Representatives of the cotton industry, both employers and
operatives, gave evidence before the commission, and satisfied us
that the machinery set up by agreement between the two sides for
dealing with disputes was speedy, efficient, and satisfactory. There
appears to be the most cordial relations between the employers’
organizations and the operatives’ unions, with the result that very
little difficulty is experienced in dealing with and settling the vast
majority o f disputes in their initial stage. These disputes may be
divided into two categories—v iz :—
(a)
Those which involve undue physical strain on the work­
people.
(5) A ll other classes of disputes.
17. In the first class (a) the whole procedure of negotiation can
be, and almost invariably is, gone through in 7 days, whilst in the
second class (&) the procedure may take 14 days. I f satisfaction
has not been obtained as the result of these negotiations, either party
to the dispute is at liberty to take whatever action they think proper.
At least 90 per cent o f the disputes (which might be more properly
described as adjustments) are settled locally in their initial stage,
and less than 1 per cent of the disputes result in stoppage of work.
18. The representatives of the Operative Spinners’ Amalgamation
reported a grievance in connection with the working of the Military
Service Acts, which merits the consideration of the authorities.
Many o f their members, working as spinners, coming within the
scope of the certified occupation list, and who hold exemption certifi­
cates, are being informed in many cases by local tribunals that ex­




42

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

emption can only be continued on their enrolling in volunteer training
corps. It should be remembered in this connection that the at­
mosphere o f a spinning room in a cotton mill ranges from 70 to 100
degrees, that the spinner is scantily attired, and works in bare feet.
In the course of a day’s work, the character o f which necessitates con­
stant walking about, a spinner will walk on an average from 15 to
20 miles. It is contended by the operatives’ representatives that
after a day’s work under these conditions the spinner is not fit to
engage in military drill. Representative employers agree with this
view, and express the hope that something will be done to meet an
undoubted grievance.
19. It is further contended that when a workman comes within the
scope of the certified occupation list, a military representative should
not have the power to challenge the right o f such a man to continue
in his ordinary civil employment.
CONDITION OF THE SHIPBUILDING TRADE.

20. In both the building and repairing branches o f this trade there
was a unanimous expression of opinion that, generally speaking, har­
monious relationships existed between the employers of the Port of
Liverpool and the men employed by them, and that they were very
ready to meet each other and discuss difficulties and troubles as they
arose, or even before they arose, the employers being ready to meet
the accredited members o f the different trade-unions as ambassadors
o f the men, and both parties were inclined to lay the blame for such
unrest as exists upon the departmental control which war conditions
have rendered necessary.
21. We might cite also the evidence o f the system o f dealing with
disputes in the chemical trade, and the good understanding that exists
in the main in the engineering trade, but for the purposes o f this
report all we wish to make clear is that the matters upon which we
are called upon to report are only at present matters of serious but
minor importance. These can be set right by prompt and energetic
treatment if the authorities in London can find men who are ready
to come into the area and learn the local conditions from those who
are engaged in the great industries, and help employers and men to
continue and perfect their harmonious relations, which are so essen­
tial to-day for national purposes.
CAUSES OF UNREST.

22. Coming to the local and temporary causes o f unrest in this area,
which require the immediate attention of the Government, the follow­
ing are the matters which seem to us to require consideration and
reform :




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

43

1. The great increase in the price o f food in relation to any in­
crease in wages.
2. Exercise of Government control in local matters, including the
delay in settlement of industrial disputes, and the inability o f the
Government to interfere with the refusal of some employers to meet
their workmen or submit causes of complaint to arbitration, and the
working o f the Munitions Acts. This includes all trouble about
dilution, inequality in wages between skilled and semiskilled labor,
the adjustment o f piecework rates, and other similar matters.
3. The anxiety concerning restoration o f prewar conditions, which
includes a consideration o f reconstruction schemes.
4. The local administration o f the Military Service Acts.
5. Liquor restrictions.
6i Miscellaneous matters.
INCREASE IN T H E PRICE OF FOOD IN

RELATION TO W AG ES.

23. There is no doubt that this is the chief cause of industrial un­
rest, and that if the Government can solve this problem satisfactorily,
and can assure to all workers and their women and children a fair
portion o f the necessaries o f life, it would go far to solve the problem
o f industrial unrest.
24. A ll the witnesses we examined put this in the forefront, and
stated very emphatically that in their opinion the problem had been
too long neglected. Although in many things there was a tendency
to blame the Government for the way in which they had handled the
matter, yet satisfaction was expressed at the recent changes in the
Ministry o f Food Control, and it was hoped that those in authority
there would be given a free hand. The Government will be expected
to fulfill their promises and deal firmly with any and every vested
interest which stands between the food supply, which the public does
not believe to be insufficient, and its distribution to the workers in
the country, especially to the poorest of them, and so remove a deep
cause of industrial unrest. No effort can be too great, no expense
can be considered bad economy which conduces to this end. The best
and most thoughtful of employees—men, women, and social workers—
all tell us that if we intend to win in this war we^have got to supply the
necessaries of life to the working population. They believe that it
can be done, and they expect the Government to do it.
25. The business proposition, as we understand it, is that the Gov­
ernment should undertake the full control o f all necessary foodstuffs,
in which we include milk and domestic coal, and that they must un­
derstand that the people will expect them henceforth to control the
supply and deliver the goods. I f they fail to do this there will not
only be unrest before the winter, but something much worse; nor can




44

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

we honestly say that the frame of mind o f the working classes is
altogether hopeful about the position. They grumble a great deal,
and not without reason, about the result o f Government control in the
matter o f sugar. They consider, rightly or wrongly, that their in­
terests in this matter have been neglected, and it has been put to us
that the real value of the experiment o f sugar control in relation to
the distribution o f sugar to working-class households is an example
o f how not to do it. It is certain that in the future, if bread and
flour and coal and milk are to be controlled and distributed as sugar
has been controlled in the past, it will be disastrous. W e have gone
very seriously into the question o f sugar control, which has been in
existence since 1915, treating it as a working example o f Government
control over a necessary foodstuff. The question we have asked our­
selves is, how far this has been satisfactory to the working classes,
and we regret to say that they are o f opinion that their interests have
not been adequately safeguarded by those in authority.
26. It is unnecessary to describe the system of supply adopted by
the Royal Commission on Sugar Supply and the Ministry of Food,
because that will be well understood by the W ar Cabinet. It is suffi­
cient to say that it seems to provide very adequately for the control
o f the sugar supply, the distribution to wholesale dealers, and the
distribution to retail dealers. There it seems to end. W e have been
unable to discover that any effective means have been adopted by the
authorities to guarantee to the resident householders o f the com­
munity the rations o f sugar which, according to public announce­
ments in the press, the Government considers they are entitled to.
27. It has been a matter o f surprise to us that there is no official
in this district who could give us any information on the subject,
and we desire to thank the Ministry o f Food for allowing a repre­
sentative from London to attend before us and explain the system on
which they work. With regard to the machinery o f distribution, as
far as it concerns traders in sugar, there seems to be no great cause
o f complaint. But our outlook on the matter is confined to the
consideration o f how far the control o f sugar has been satisfactory
from the point o f view of domestic households, and we feel bound
to report that the method o f distribution to the workers and their
women and children has been a cause o f unrest.
28. Nor can we wonder at it when we hear their story face to face,
and try to put ourselves in their place. Their position is this. A
working woman with young children wants to obtain a ration of
sugar which she reads in the newspaper the Government say she
ought to have. She hunts from shop to shop to get it, and she is
very often refused. Some receive it, some do not. The belief among
many working people is that rich people receive it and poor people
do not. This is probably incorrect, but the belief exists, and ob­




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

45

viously it is a cause of unrest. When the husband returns from
long hours o f labor, and he hears the complaints of his wife, he is
naturally indignant, and blames the Government for not carrying
out their widely advertised promises. Now, if you multiply this
picture in thousands o f working-class homes, you have a cause of
dissatisfaction and unrest which has been going on for a consider­
able time fn this area, and it has surprised us that the authorities
have not discovered this, and done something to inquire into the
working o f their system, and to better it. I f during the coming
winter other necessaries of life are controlled and distributed in a
like manner the position would, in our opinion, become exceedingly
dangerous.
29. Even when the authorities had machinery to their hand they
have made no thorough use of it. The Wholesale Cooperative
Society, which deals in one year with 174,000 tons o f sugar to the
value o f £6,000,000 [$29,199,000], has not received sufficient rations
to distribute to its working-class members and their dependents, who
number over 12,000,000. Unorganized consumers have been even
worse off, because they have been left to look after themselves.
30. In the future, therefore, from the point o f view o f distribution
to the households of the country, some entirely new system must be
adopted to meet the wants of the working classes, and in carrying
this out we consider that the principle which ought to be kept in
view should be that as regards sugar and all other necessaries o f life,
the resident householders o f the country who are doing the work of
the country must be the first mortgagees, as it were, of the available
supply.
31. Once this principle is granted, and all the witnesses before
us— employers, wholesalers, retailers, and leaders of the working
classes—unanimously concur that it is the right principle, then the
only thing to be done is to create a machinery to carry it out. We
take sugar as an example, but what is true o f sugar is equally true
o f any other necessary o f life. W e agree that resident householders
and their families, who cover the vast majority o f the people, ought
to be first mortgagees of the available supplies. The next thing is
that, having the control of supplies, the duty o f the Government is
to deliver the goods to those who must be trustees to see that the first
mortgagees get their rights. In the case of the cooperative societies
the machinery exists and can be made use of, and the Government
might well consider the question o f helping them to extend their
services to the community in areas where their good work is too
little known.
32. But* the problem is an immediate one, and we think it will be
best dealt with not by setting up new agents o f distribution, but by
taking up and controlling those that already exist. The average




46

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

householder deals with a retail shop, and working people generally
do so by means o f weekly books, which are counterparts o f actual
shop ledgers. If, therefore, resident families were to register with
their usual retailer the number o f men, women, and children in
their household, the shopkeeper should be able to receive in trust
for his registered customers such rations as are weekly available,
and be bound to deliver to his registered customers, as first mort­
gagees, their share of the supplies he receives.
33. Some such system as this would enable the Government in
control o f supplies to serve them out automatically, without fear or
favor, to all families alike, and it should be forbidden to registered
customers to obtain supplies o f similar foodstuffs from any other
source than their shop o f registration.
34. The Government, who alone can form the opinion o f what are
the available supplies, will of course deal with the army first, o f all,
who may be compared to debenture holders, and will then go on to
deal with the resident householders as first mortgagees, and they will
then, and not before then, deal with such surplus as they have in
endeavoring to supply manufacturers, casual customers, hotels,
restaurants, and others who are entitled to consideration. W e fully
appreciate that even when resident householders have been dealt
with, there would remain the difficulty o f dealing with the casual
and floating population. But this is not so serious as in normal
times, since traveling facilities have been reduced and the removal
o f workers restricted. W e are of opinion that similar machinery
to that we have described could be adapted to meet the wants o f these
classes. In any case, we are of opinion that this difficulty, however
serious, should not interfere with the setting up o f machinery for
dealing with the resident population by means o f registration. Once
the Government announce that registered resident householders are
to be first mortgagees on the supplies o f the necessaries o f life which
the Government are to control, you may trust the common sense o f
the workers to see that they get put upon the register.
35. The point we wish to emphasize is that in the distribution of
food necessaries, the only scientific way to proceed is to settle clearly
the priorities o f the right to receive food, and for our part we place
in the forefront the rights of the resident householders, who include
the vast majority o f the women and children in the country. The
grave mistake, as it seems to us, that those in control o f sugar have
made is that they have ignored this principle o f priorities, and,
while satisfying to a great extent the business necessities o f whole­
salers, retailers, and manufacturers who use sugar as a raw material
for making profit, have left the claims of the men, Women, and
children, to whom sugar is a necessary food, without adequate ma­
chinery for dealing with them.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

47

36. Assuming that the Government are successful in making and
carrying out a plan to distribute the necessaries o f life to domestic
households at fixed prices, this will go far to render unnecessary the
constant applications for increases in wages and bonuses, the differ­
ences over which are themselves a great cause o f unrest.
37. The statistics on this subject are well known to the Govern­
ment. The following are quoted to us as the increases in the cost o f
food and total living, taken from the Board o f Trade Labor Gazette
for June, 1917, as compared with July, 1914:
Increased cost o f food ______________________________
102 per cent.
Increased cost o f living_____________________________ 70-75 per cent.
Increased cost o f food on econom ical basis________
70 per cent.

The evidence as to increase o f wages varies enormously in different
trades and employments. Some have received little or nothing;
others have done better; but probably the highest figures put before
us only showed an increase in earnings of something like 40 per cent
or 50 per cent o f prewar rates.
38. In relation to the question o f profiteering, the wholesalers and
retailers, who are in the main patriotic men working under difficult
conditions, feel that much o f the criticism directed against them is
unfair. A director o f the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and
chairman of the produce section, Mr. Robert Graham, pointed out
that many other causes contribute to the present high prices. O f
these the most important were the high cost at points of production
both at home and abroad, and he cited as a cause of this the Govern­
ment buyer for the army in Montreal competing against civilian
buyers who were purchasing foodstuffs for the industrial world, and
by this means we ourselves were raising prices against ourselves.
This is a matter which evidently needs more careful control. Then
again, he referred to the high freight rates on the Atlantic routes,
the great increase in war-risk insurances, the difference in exchange
rates, and the inflation o f the currency. In his view, he expected
in the near future smaller imports, for which higher prices will
have to be paid to attract goods from abroad, and he was more con­
cerned that we should have an adequate supply of foodstuffs even
at high prices than not have enough. He thought that these matters
ought to be put authoritatively before the public, who are led by
newspaper articles to believe that the profiteer is the sole cause o f
high prices.
39. We think this point o f view deserves consideration, for, o f
course, if the public are allowed to believe that profiteering is the
sole cause o f high prices, they will naturally continue to blame the
Government for not dealing with profiteers so long as high prices
continue.




48

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
EXERCISE OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL IN

LOCAL M ATTERS.

40. There is no doubt that throughout this area there is grave dis­
content with the way in which the departments in London exercise
the control that is necessary during the war to maintain the upkeep
o f munitions. The complaints are that every little detail has to
be referred to London, that there are wholly unnecessary delays in
taking up and settling disputes that have arisen, that contradictory
orders and directions are sent out from different departments, and
that the industries in this area are being interfered with by London
officials who do not understand local conditions, and that this is very
detrimental to industrial peace.
41. The employers are even more outspoken in their discontent
about matters than the workmen. They complain very much of
what they call the vacillating and uncertain policy o f the Govern­
ment in dealing with labor problems. Promises are given one day,
threats are used another, and things that are said to be decided
upon and which are already half acted upon are withdrawn and
altered without any consultation with leading local employers.
They point out that since strikes were made illegal, many strikes
have occurred without penalty, and thereby the law and the Gov­
ernment are brought into disrepute. The men complain that their
grievances do not receive a hearing, or that the hearing is delayed,
or that it is brought before tribunals and arbitrators who are un­
sympathetic and untrained in the history and practice o f modem
industrial conditions.
42. W e ourselves have not been without experience o f what they
mean. W e wish to thank Mr. Hodgson for the great assistance he
has rendered to us by constantly supporting our endeavors in the
execution o f our mission, but on one occasion we received a notifi­
cation from the Treasury calling upon us to cancel our advertise­
ments, and on another we were informed by the stationery office
officials in Manchester, who were within a few doors of our head­
quarters there, that they had been instructed by their London office
to refuse us further assistance. These blunders were promptly set
right by Mr. Hodgson, but it involved our wiring to London, and
putting before Mr. Barnes petty details about which he ought not to
have been troubled. Moreover, if we had acted on the Treasury in ­
structions and canceled advertisements in Barrow, we should our­
selves have been a cause o f unrest there. We can not understand
how it is that officials in London, who must be assumed to have
known that we had received express orders to carry out our duties
with all possible speed, are permitted to interfere with our carrying
out those instructions by putting “ grit in the wheel.” W e put this
forward in no spirit o f hostile criticism, but merely because these




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

49

little instances of interference coincide with the great mass of evi­
dence we have heard from employers and men about what is ham­
pering their patriotic efforts to secure an adequate output of
munitions.
43. Nor do we wish it to be thought that we are laying wholesale
blame on the general body o f officials in London, whose splendid
services and devotion are well recognized in this area. But we think
that the system which tries to regulate every petty detail o f the
industrial machinery o f the area from offices in Whitehall imposes
upon the men who are asked to work it an impossible task. The
trenches of industrial warfare are in Lancashire, and other like
centers, and, in our view, it is not a business proposition to try and
command the great industrial army of these areas with a staff 200
miles from the base, and nearly all the generals and commanding
officers capable o f giving direct orders and taking immediate re­
sponsibility when labor troubles arise, away from the battlefield.
44. We have been surprised that in this area there are so few high
officials on the spot ready to undertake the settlement o f disputes
and the determination o f matters o f administration, and that so
much has to be referred to London for decision. It seems to us that
there is overcentralization, and that this is a cause o f unrest, and
that it should be considered whether it would not be possible not
only to leave employers and workmen to settle more matters them­
selves, but to arrange that high officials of labor and munition
departments should reside in the area, and be within close touch and
ready to visit at a moment’s notice localities where unrest manifests
itself at the earliest possible moment.
45. On this question we desire to refer to the evidence of Mr.
Stuart, the general technical manager o f the United Alkali Co.
(L td.), to show what is possible in a well-conducted business to deal
promptly and efficiently with labor unrest. He tells us that his
company employs about 10,000 men and 1,000 women. The bulk
o f the works are at Widnes or St. Helens, but the company has
other works at Newcastle, Glasgow, London, etc. Practically all
their men are trade-unionists, with whom they work in harmony.
Mr. Stuart’s main business in life is to handle labor questions, in
which he has had 50 years’ daily experience on the Tyne and in
Lancashire. This experience, he claims not without justice, has
taught him all there is to know and all there is to avoid in handling
labor questions. It is interesting, therefore, that in the forefront
he places promptitude in dealing with troubles directly they arise.
“ When,” he says, “ applications for advances in wages, or for the
adjustment of any grievances, are made, they are all forwarded at
17841°— 17— Bull. 237-------4




50

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS,

once to me in Liverpool. I then, figuratively speaking, take the
next train to Widnes, St. Helens, Newcastle, Glasgow, or wherever
the communication comes from, and meet the men quietly in the
office, all sitting around the table. I attach the highest importance
to seeing the men immediately after their application is received,
without a day’s delay.” The success o f this system, as worked by
Mr. Stuart, is undoubted, and the lesson to be learned from it seems
to be this: The company finds that it is a business proposition to
appoint a powerful works director to deal with their labor troubles.
He has no legal or police sanction to back up his efforts* He comes
to the men, or their trade-union, directly he is required, not as a
judge or an arbitrator or an official, but rather as a friend and con­
ciliator. He has no cut-and-dried procedure, no printed rules and
orders to fetter his discretion and promote quibbling discussion,
and the following statement o f how he does the business forms a
concise gospel o f the whole duty o f official man in dealing with labor
matters:
“ I sympathetically hear the men’s side o f the case, look at it from
their point o f view, and imagine myself for the time being one o f
the workmen, asking myself what would be my opinion o f their con­
tention if I were one o f them. Then I place before them the case for
our company, discussing the two sides of the question in a courteous
and friendly spirit, taking care always to recognize the important
fact that to manage men successfully you must learn to manage
yourself.”
46. The question which has forced itself upon your commissioners
is, W hy can an individual succeed in promoting peace in the indus­
trial world when Governments have for many generations failed to
do so? It is at least interesting that three men of widely different
experiences agree with absolute unanimity that what is at the bottom
o f the trouble is that Governments have relied too much on the aid
o f judges, tribunals, and officialdom, guided by cast-iron rules and
orders, with the sanction of police force at their back.
47. It would take a historical treatise on the law o f labor, going
back to a discussion o f the early history of trade-unions, and the
decisions in the courts relating to the doctrines of common em­
ployment and other like matters which your commissioners have
talked over together, to explain how they have arrived at their
conclusion. But, unfortunately, there is no doubt that one cause
o f labor unrest is that workmen have come to regard the promises
and pledges o f parliaments and Government departments with sus­
picion and distrust. Many an instance has been put before us of
what seemed on the face of it to be a clear announcement amounting
to a distinct promise, which has afterwards been interpreted by




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

51

judges and officials to be something quite otherwise. It was painful
to hear the common use o f the phrase, “ a scrap o f paper,” so con­
stantly used by workingmen in describing what they felt about
Government promises.
48. As was pointed out by a labor representative in talking with us
about the judicial history o f the Workmen’s Compensation Act,
many decisions on questions o f principle have been decided against
the workmen in the court o f appeal, and cost the unions considerable
sums o f money to take to the House o f Lords and get rectified. The
workingman does not understand the vagaries o f judicial interpre­
tation. A ll he feels is that the result is against him, and he becomes
naturally distrustful and suspicious. No doubt one cause of this is
that matters are handed over to lawyers o f learning to decide, which
really require the consideration o f men with a full knowledge o f the
modern outlook on industrial problems. Be this as it may, there is
no doubt that when arrangements are made between Government
departments and workingmen, the greatest care should be taken to
set them down in language clear and simple, and incapable of mis­
interpretation even by legal minds, or otherwise we are in grave
danger o f instilling into the p'eople what is not the fact, that in
some way or other the tribunals which ,have to decide these matters
are taking sides with employers or the Government against them.
49. An instance of this was cited before us in the case o f Binns v.
Nasmyth, Wilson & Co. (Ltd.) (V I Munitions Appeals, p. 177).
It is quite easy for a lawyer to understand the grounds of the deci­
sion and to see that it was correct, but you can not expect a working­
man to regard it in an academic light. The story of the matter is
this. On March the 25th, 1915, the Government and the labor leaders
signed an agreement on the subject o f “ The acceleration o f output
on Government work.” This was followed by the passing of the
Munitions o f W ar Act, 1915, in July. In Schedule 2 (7) of this
act it is enacted that “ due notice shall be given to the workmen
concerned wherever practicable of any changes of working condi­
tions which it is desired to introduce as the result of the establish­
ment becoming a controlled establishment, and opportunity for local
consultation with workmen or their representatives shall be given if
desired.” In November, 1915, a circular, L6, was issued by the
Ministry o f Munitions, setting out how clause 7 of Schedule 2 o f the
Act o f 1915 was to be carried out. It was headed “ Procedure.” In
the case before the court the procedure does not seem to have been
carried out, and the workmen took the matter up to the high court,
where it was held that Circular L6 was not “ an order within the
meaning of the section,” and was not legally binding on the em­
ployers. This, as we understand it; was the effect of the decision,




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

and it is very probable that it was legally correct, but we doubt
very much whether it is advisable to leave to a court o f law matters
o f this kind relating to industrial agreements between Government
departments and workingmen, and whether they would not be more
satisfactorily disposed o f by the industrial councils which the recon­
struction committee now propose should be set up to manage the
affairs o f specific trades, where they would receive the attention of
business men and workmen’s representatives thoroughly conversant
with the circumstances under which the agreements have been arrived
at, and the industrial conditions to which they refer.
50. We do not pretend that we have been able to do more than give
a patient hearing to the complaints of the various witnesses. These
were illustrated by many interesting examples within the personal
knowledge o f those who gave evidence o f actual facts that had
occurred in the shops where they worked. Nor would it be possible
to express an opinion on many o f these matters without hearing a
great deal o f further evidence from officials who, as we have pointed
out, are not available in this area, to explain to us why these things
have happened. But the general headings under which complaints
may be arranged are these. The workmen object to continual
changes and overfrequent suggestions o f coming changes, which are
made without due regard to and consultation with the trade-union
representatives. There is much dissatisfaction with payment by
results and the adjustment o f piecework rates, and clearly the
worker should be heard before a decision is come to. Then, there
are delays in securing decisions not only by officials in London, but
by the management in some o f the works; and there are also many
complaints that workers engaged on the same work are not receiving
similar wages, and that different rates prevail in different parts of
the country.
51. The whole question o f dilution necessarily renders trade-union
members very uneasy, and they complain that they ought to be more
consulted about the necessity and methods of its adoption. The
leaving certificates were undoubtedly a grave cause o f unrest. The
whole system has been entirely unsatisfactory, and the men no
doubt regarded them as a gross interference with the liberty o f the
subject, and a form o f industrial conscription. The workers com­
plain that the Munitions Acts have diminished their opportunities
o f settling differences with their employers. Employers tell their
men that Government control prevents their meeting them, and
when the men put forward complaints to the different offices in
London they do not get attended to. The awards under the Muni­
tions Acts are too limited in their application^ and once given are not
applicable to the whole o f the industry concerned.




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53

52. It would be quite impossible for us, with the limited time at
our disposal and without hearing the official explanations o f those
who are in control o f these affairs, to offer any useful opinion as
to who, if anyone, is to blame for the state o f things that exists, or
how in each particular case a remedy is to be found. W e thor­
oughly appreciate the fact that the officials who look after these
matters are probably giving them their most earnest consideration,
but we can not say that this view is shared by the working people of
this area. They have a vague and uneasy feeling that the authorities
are not really working in their interests, and that i f they permit
various things to be done which are new to them they will after the
war find that their conditions are altered for the worse. Nor do the
employers approve of a great deal o f Government control and its
methods. They, too, agree that it is the cause o f unrest in their
works, and there seems to be no doubt that there is a hearty desire
in this area to get rid o f it, wherever this can be done with safety
to the State.
53. We have, however, had very full evidence o f the working of
one department—namely, the Admiralty shipyard labor depart­
ment— and this seems to show that, as far as Government control
can be successful in its necessary interference with labor and em­
ployers during the war, this department has succeeded and is work­
ing on right lines. We wish to express our gratitude to Mr. J. M.
McElroy^ the director o f shipyard labor, who, as we think rightly,
volunteered to give evidence before us in this area, although he was,
o f course, not bound to do so. He described to us what in his view
were the true principles upon which Government regulation should
proceed, and we have no hesitation in saying that unless some such
system exists in the other Government departments which control
labor, or is put in force immediately where it does not exist, the
causes o f unrest will continue. W e can not do better than refer to
the report, Part IV , The Admiralty’s Recommendation for Efficient
Labor Regulation, the proposals in which meet with our hearty
approval.
54. We set out the synopsis of Mr. M cElroy’s evidence because in
our view it contains in a businesslike and concise form the proposals
we should have desired to make. It may be said that from a de­
partmental point of view these suggestions are revolutionary, and, no
doubt, in a sense this is true; but we urge their consideration from
a firm belief that a departmental revolution is the only kind o f revo­
lution that the people in this area desire.
55. The essentials of Government control, Mr. McElroy states, are:
The efficient and harmonious regulation by Government, during the




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

war period, o f labor in munitions industries, which involve three
fundamental and distinct things—
1. Formulation o f policy.
2. Administration—i. e., application of the policy.
3. Determination of industrial disputes.
He then tells us that a cardinal principle of his proposals is that
policy should be formulated by a superior authority. The nature of
the policy should be—
1. Conciliatory and sympathetic.
2. Considerate toward trade customs not involving restriction of
output.
3. Uniform.
4. Promptly determined from time to time.
5. The policy should recognize and provide for special local cir­
cumstances.
He then proceeds to describe how the policy must be administered.
A s to this he explains that—
1. Policy must be administered by the departments concerned in
production.
2. There must be consultation and cooperation between the admin­
istrating departments.
3. Local decentralization o f administration is necessary.
4. Simplicity of regulations and procedure is essential.
5. The fullest information as to, and the necessity for and nature
of, the policy must be afforded to the employer, the workmen, and
their trade-union organizations.
6. A ll necessary action to give effect to the policy should, as far
as possible, be taken by representatives o f the departments concerned,
and not by the employers.
7. Disputes between management and men which can not with the
assistance o f the superintending Government department be adjusted
must be referred to arbitration, which in cases of merely local ques­
tions should be conducted locally. In all cases the decisions should
be given with the utmost promptitude.
56.
It is not to be expected that on all these important matters we
could in the time at our disposal have prepared reasonable suggestions
o f useful reform. No human beings, after listening to the mass of
evidence we have heard, and reading very rapidly the interesting
statements that have been put before us, could possibly imagine that
they were in a position to assimilate and digest the material that we
possess. Still, we have formed some general conclusions on which
we are agreed. There is no doubt that after the war, and even before
the war is concluded, a great deal will be heard about “ scientific
management.” Unfortunately, this phrase, which should have a




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common meaning to men and employers, is already regarded with dis­
trust by the former. It is being put to them that the employers mean
by it a system which is to exact the last ounce of labor from them
for the sake of profit. As long as it means that to any worker, it is
a bad phrase to use; but if it meant to the employers—and they
could persuade the men that this was the true meaning of it—namely*
that “ scientific management ” was a way to shorten the hours o f work
and to return the worker to his home happy and contented—who
could doubt that “ scientific management” would be the industrial
election cry o f the future?
57. What is wanted in industry is a reconstruction of ideas, and
both capital and labor have got to meet together and carry on the
machinery o f industry on the principle that they must be ready to
reject all prospects of gain which involve loss to others. That this
ideal can be reached in the immediate future is no doubt something
o f a dream, but practical steps are, we believe, being taken by the
Government toward this ideal. We have been very much impressed
by the report o f the Reconstruction Committee on the “ Relations be­
tween employers and employed.” We have had the opportunity o f
putting before important deputations o f employers and men these
proposals, and asking their opinion upon them. Although they all
expressed a natural desire to consider them more fully, yet the prin­
ciple at the bottom o f them was received with cordial approval. This
principle, which seems to us to be a statesmanlike proposal of the
best method o f dealing with unrest, and includes within its scope
much that we have already said about the necessity for decentraliza­
tion and local control, is set out in section 14, which, to our mind,
is exactly what is wanted in this area to allay many causes of in­
dustrial unrest.
58. Section 14 suggests, after alluding to the national industrial
councils, which are to be the parliaments o f industry—
(a) The district councils, representative of the trade-unions and
the employers’ association in the industry, should be created, or de­
veloped out o f the existing machinery for negotiations in the various
trades.
(b) That works committees, representative of the management and
o f the workers employed, should be instituted in particular works to
act in close cooperation with the district and national machinery.
59. As it is o f the highest importance that the Scheme making pro­
vision for these committees should be such as to secure the support
o f the trade-unions and employers’ associations concerned, its design
should be a matter for agreement between these organizations.
60. We have no doubt that it would be a great message of hope in
this area, both to men and employers, if conferences were called to­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

gether, consisting o f the leaders of trade-unions and the directors o f
employers’ federations in each trade, to discuss how the program
o f the reconstruction committee can best be made a living fact. W e
have only one suggestion to offer, and that is that in explaining
it to workingmen (h) should be placed before (a). The man at the
bench is not greatly interested in district councils, and national in­
dustrial councils are to him as far removed from his ambition as the
House of Lords, but the shop or w orks committee is another thing
altogether, and this we think should be put right in the front when
any endeavor is made to explain the scheme to the workingman.
We know this by experience, because we have tried to explain the
scheme in the “ order of going in ” assigned to the various councils
by the reconstruction committee. When we approached the matter
by describing national councils first, the workingman was not inter­
ested, as, indeed, why should he be? But when we began to describe
the scheme, starting in the shop and gradually by a natural evolution
blossoming out into district councils and finally national councils, he
got a real grip o f what we were telling him, and seemed to think there
was a lot in it, and that it was a practical business affair touching his
daily life which he would like to take a hand in. W e therefore sug­
gest that the Government should approach the national organizations
o f men and employers and ask them without delay to consider and
report upon the reconstruction proposals and advise with the Gov­
ernment on the best methods o f putting them in operation. W e can
conceive no better method of impressing the people that the Govern­
ment is in earnest in helping to allay industrial unrest than by asking
representative bodies o f men and employers to start a national mis­
sion to the country to explain to workingmen that in the future
handling o f labor the workers themselves are to be part and parcel
o f industrial control. W e consider that this is an important sug­
gestion to make, because there is an uneasy feeling that prewar con­
ditions, in spite o f all promises, are not going to be restored and that
the employers will get the best of the struggle when reconstruction
takes place after the war. It is only fair to say that in our area this
is not the opinion o f the more thoughtful leaders o f employers and
labor. Generally speaking, labor leaders of intelligence believe that
the Government promises as to prewar conditions were honestly
given and will in the last resort be honestly kept. But, as we under­
stand it, they hope that they will be kept in the spirit and not in the
letter. That is to say, that the prewar conditions will be the min­
imum that can be restored to workers for their patriotic endeavors
and sacrifices and long hours of labor which they have placed at their
country’s disposal. These things are too little recognized by those
who know nothing of the conditions of industrial life and do not




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57

understand or appreciate the great work that has beer done by the
working classes in this area and their desire to cooperate with the
Government and their fellow citizens in the prime necessity o f bring­
ing the war to a satisfactory conclusion.
61. After the war we have abundant evidence that the real hope
o f the best workers o f this area is not a restoration o f prewar con­
ditions, but a far, far better thing. As a modern social reformer
writes, “ W e want life raised to a higher level, and while the keen­
ness o f our sufferings and the height of our exaltation are still with
us, the larger vision prevails,” and what they are waiting for here is
that someone should announce from the housetops that this is what
the Government are ready to carry out with the power o f the nation
at their back. We have been face to face with men and women who
are working for their country, and i f the right message comes from
those in authority, we can assure the Government that they are
ready to cooperate with them in bringing about a better condition
o f things in the industrial world.
LOCAL AD M INISTR ATIO N OF TH E M IL IT A R Y SERVICE ACTS.

62. We propose to deal with these matters very shortly, because we
feel that criticism o f army matters would be entirely out o f place
from this commission; still, we can not faithfully fulfill our mission
without saying that they largely contribute to industrial unrest.
Although we have not been privileged to hear evidence from the W ar
Office as to why certain things which to the civilian mind seem emi­
nently undesirable, are in some places typical o f army administra­
tion and in other places not so, we feel that we can best help the War
Cabinet by setting down concisely the class of complaint that we
have listened to, and assuring them that many things are resented
by working people, who feel that in some of their dealings with
civilians there are army officials who do not bring to bear upon their
duties a tact and discretion and humanity that the people have a
right to expect from them.
63. We find that there are many complaints that Government
promises made to the people by ministers in parliament have not been
kept. They say that the Government word was given, that national
registration would not be used for military conscription, that the
widow’s only son would not be taken for the army, that rejected
men would be allowed to settle down to work or business and not
called up again, that conscientious objectors, some o f whom in this
area are trade-unionists, would be entitled to exemption that they
have not received, and that businesses built up by one individual would
receive consideration from the tribunals that has been denied to




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

them. Instances were also cited to us o f artificers who had tendered
their services for special skilled work, passed trade tests at W ool­
wich, and were afterwards drafted into line regiments, despite the
official promises that had been given to them when they were in­
vited to join the army.
64. With regard to men who have fought for their country and
been discharged, the feeling is very strong throughout the area that
in calling them up again there is a breach o f faith, and that the
methods by which it has been done were wanting in humanity and
common sense. The Government having set up a special commis­
sion to consider these matters, it is unnecessary for us to report the
details which have been brought to our notice, and we have in all
cases advised men who stated their grievances to us— and we may
say that we feel these were very real grievances— to report them
without delay to the commissioners who are now sitting.
65. Trade-union officials have complained to us very strongly that
some army officials refuse to meet them, and throw obstacles in their
way when they are dealing with the affairs of their men. Here we
think the W ar Cabinet might interfere, because there is abundant evi­
dence that in other places the army officials work well with the tradeunions, and the cooperation brings about good results for the army.
The army has plenty of officers to-day who have had civilian and
business training, and are well fitted by their education to deal sen­
sibly with labor. Within our own knowledge there are many officers
who have been wounded or invalided, and are left doing nothing in­
stead o f being employed on these tasks, and the W ar Office might
well consider whether there is any truth in the criticism constantly
repeated to us, that it is itself one o f the greatest wasters o f man
power in the administration.
66. In relation to the red and black trade cards, which constitute
a new system, we have already received complaints that are worthy
o f attention, because it is said that their working is typical of mili­
tary methods, and there is certain to be further unrest unless with­
out delay the promises made to the men are fully adhered to. It is
said that a man has been promised a right o f appeal to enlistment
complaints committees, but that in fact this appeal is not a real
appeal. It may have been unwise to promise such an appeal at all,
but as it has been done the promise should be kept. To our mind the
use o f the word appeal includes the right to be heard, but it seems
to be the practice to decide an appeal against a man without hearing
him, and we think this a denial o f justice. To send a man a printed
form stating that his appeal has been decided against him is bound
to be a cause o f trouble. It may be that appeals in many cases are




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

59

dilatory and frivolous, but it passes our comprehension how any man
can claim that he is possessed of a judicial instinct acute enough to
decide this question merely by reading an official form filled up by
an uneducated man. The workman is suspicious that in deciding
the question at issue his statement in his notice o f appeals receives
no real consideration, whilst the written testimony of his employers
is accepted as the only thing that counts. It is contended, not with­
out reason, that this does not fulfill the promises which have been
widely advertised by the Munitions Ministry in leaflets which have
been distributed in the works.
67. We think that in all matters o f recruiting, the conduct o f
which may give rise to industrial unrest and thereby delay the
prosecution o f the war, the W ar Office would be well advised to take
the advice o f civilians who understand industrial conditions more
thoroughly than they do, and make a greater use of officers in the
army who have had business training in the area where they are
called upon to exercise these duties.
LIQUOR RESTRICTION S.

68. While we consider that the liquor restrictions are a cause of
unrest and are disliked as an interference with liberty by all classes,
we consider that they contribute to unrest rather than cause it. As
an employer sensibly observed to us: “ I should not call the liquor
restrictions a cause o f unrest, but I should unhesitatingly say they
are a source o f a considerable loss o f social temper.” This, we think,
was wisely said, and the matter should be sensibly dealt with, not
from the high ideals o f temperance reformers, whose schemes o f
betterment must be kept in their proper place until after the war, but
from the human point of view of keeping the man who has to do
war work in a good temper, which will enable him to make necessary
sacrifices in a contented spirit.
69. Now, from the days of that good Christian Socialist, Charles
Kingsley, until this present, there have been a large number of
human beings, some o f the best citizens in the country, to whom beer
is not only a beverage but a sacred national institution. They think,
perhaps wrongly, that it is necessary for their work, and when you
want them to give the nation their best work, it is an utterly stupid
thing to deny to them a small luxury which throughout their lives
they have been used to receive. There would be much more sense
in depriving England o f tobacco, but it would not help to win
the war.
70. The way the matter has been put before us by sensible men
and women who are not faddists—and it is only fair to say that the




60

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

teetotalers who have spoken to us on the subject recognize, like
sensible men, that this is not the time to seek to enforce their political
mission—is that a reasonable amount o f beer for workers who are
used to it and want it should be given to them. W e find that the hours
o f restriction are not seriously objected to by the community. The
women decidedly approve o f them, and the men generally are in­
clined to accept them during the war, but they consider that they
work hardly on certain classes o f men. Workers in foundries, such
as molten-metal carriers and others who work under terrible condi­
tions o f heat and have hitheto been used to a pint o f ale when they
leave work, say, at 5.30, hang about waiting for the houses to open,
and this is very undesirable. Again, in Liverpool and other places it
is found impossible to keep men on urgent work overtime at nights
past 9 o’clock, because they desire to quench a natural human
thirst in the way they are accustomed to do. Societies o f Buffaloes
and Oddfellows and similar institutions, who are used to meet after
their day’s work and take their ease at their inn and settle business
over a social glass, can no longer do so. The problem is a human
problem, and must be dealt with at the moment not from any ideal
standpoint, but by recognizing that you can not get the best work
out o f a human being by unnecessary interference with the course
o f life to which he has been accustomed.
71. Far more important than hours o f restriction, which could
probably be easily arranged by giving local privileges to special
classes o f men, is the more serious cause o f unrest about the price of
beer and the quality supplied. Government control, if it allows the
public houses to be open at all, should at least insist that the quality
o f the beer is good, and that reasonable quantities o f it are supplied
at fair and reasonable prices. The chief constable o f the county of
Lancaster, who thoroughly understands the conditions o f this indus­
trial area, writes to us that it would be a good thing i f public houses
remained open until 10 p. m., and he considers that “ the working­
men—especially colliers, iron-workers, and men engaged on the
land—have had a legitimate grievance in not being able to procure a
good wholesome beer at a reasonable price.” With this opinion your
commissioners heartily agree.
M ISCELLANEOUS MATTERS.

W arehouse w orkers.

72. These men, especially in Manchester, seem to have serious griev­
ances causing unrest. The chief o f these is their low wages, the aver­
age o f which they say is not more than 30 shillings [$7.30] per week.
Such advances as they have had amount only to about 15 per cent to
meet the 100 per cent rise in food prices. They are expected to work




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT BRITAIN*

61

overtime without payment, though sometimes they get a shilling as
tea money, or they are given bread and jam and tea without money.
Nevertheless, when their employers lend their men, as they some­
times do, to subcontractors, they are paid overtime by the subcon­
tractors. In order to maintain their families, many of them have
to obtain work after hours at cinema shows and other places. Where
they are employed by a controlled firm they have sought arbitrations,
and complain o f delays in the settlement o f their claims. They state
that the firms who employ them have a mutual agreement not to
take on each other’s employees should they seek better conditions.
They also say that many firms refuse altogether to meet their tradeunion representatives, even while all the employees of the firm are
members o f the National Warehouse and General Workers’ Union.
There seems to be no federation of warehouse employers, and it
would have been impossible for us, therefore, to have satisfied our­
selves as to the genuineness o f these complaints, but the alleged con­
ditions o f employment are applicable, it is said, to many thousands
o f general warehousemen in Manchester, and this class o f worker is
probably one o f the largest in any class o f industry in the district.
We suggest that this is a case where much good might be done by a
general inquiry into the conditions o f labor in Manchester ware­
houses, and that the moral influence o f the Government might be
brought to bear upon the employers to meet the union representa­
tives on the lines suggested in the reconstruction proposals, and see
i f some o f the grievances can not be speedily remedied.
W om en w ork ers .

73.
We had a great deal o f interesting evidence o f the condition of
women workers in this district, and their representatives gave us
valuable assistance. The chief causes of complaint seem to be that
the promises to pay women the same rate of pay as men for the
same work, and to give them the minimum wage which they are
entitled to, have not been carried out. Details of shop discipline, such
as the closing of lavatories, were rightly complained of, and there
seems to be an opinion among working women that the welfare
workers are not always drawn from a class that really understands
the needs and habits of the girls whose interests they are appointed
to safeguard. The position of women in these workshops is, how­
ever, a new experiment, and we can not honestly say that the mat­
ters which are mentioned here are a grave cause of industrial un­
rest. At the same time, we feel sure that the authorities will agree
with us when we state that, in our opinion, all matters connected
with the health o f women who have volunteered in the present crisis
to do munition work are worthy o f minute and sympathetic attention.




62

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS,

Insurance agents .

74. The complaint of the insurance agents was put before us by
several societies, representing many thousand men. These men visit
the homes o f the w orking class week by week, and have important
T
duties to perform in connection with national health insurance.
Their case is that their remuneration is inadequate; that the offices
refuse to grant them a war bonus; that the companies are pushing
forward new systems o f collection injurious to the agent’s interests,
and imposing new agreements upon agents which cut down their
remuneration, and will injuriously affect agents who have gone to
the front. They have endeavored by means of petitions, resolutions,
and meetings of protest, to obtain a hearing from their companies,
but, as they say, without result. It seems to us clearly inadvisable
that men who have a good deal of influence in working-class homes
should be left in this condition. They are unrestful themselves, and a
cause o f unrest in others. Here we think the Government, either by
legislation or moral influence, should compel an inquiry into their
conditions o f work, or an arbitration upon their complaints by the
industrial commissioner. If, as has been threatened, despair in hav­
ing their grievances attended to resulted in an interference with the
working o f the national health insurance scheme, the public would
be naturally indignant. The men put forward their case with
moderation; they are patriotic and law-abiding, but there is no doubt,
both in Manchester and Liverpool, they are in a state o f unrest.
R ailw ay men.

75. W e had several deputations from railway men who made com­
plaint about their conditions o f work, and, although these were in­
dividual complaints rather than statements of general causes of
unrest, yet the gist of them amounts to this: The old system of
conciliation boards seems to have fallen into disuse, and new systems
which are being discussed have net yet been adopted. Meanwhile,
the men consider that they are under Government control, and that
the Government is directly responsible for any grievances from
which they believe they are suffering. They do not complain o f the
way in which the important railway officials receive their com­
plaints and decide upon them. On the contrary, they say that the
decisions given are generally fair and reasonable, but they are not
carried out and put into practice in a fair spirit by those who have
local control. We think that nearly all the matters o f complaint of
which we have heard could be easily remedied if the chief officers
o f the railway world were to insist upon their decisions and settle­




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST I N GREAT B R IT A IN .

63

ments being strictly carried out by their lieutenants, not only in the
letter but in the spirit in which they have been given.
Railw ay clerks .

76. The Railway Clerks’ Association has for many years been agi­
tating for better wages and conditions generally. They, too, are
a patriotic class of men, who have no desire to take advantage of
public troubles to exploit their grievances. They have therefore
the stronger demand on Government sympathy. Their position is
this: that although they have received a similar bonus to other rail­
way workers, the companies refuse to meet their representatives.
As the railways are now in effect a Government department, they
contend, and we do not see the answer to their contention, that the
Government, as employers, i f only for the sake of good example,
should treat their association in the same way that they are calling
upon other employers to treat the associations of all workingmen.
CONCLUSION.

77. We have completed our report on the general conditions o f
unrest in this area on Saturday, July 7^ and as we were only able,
owing to important public engagements of two o f our members, to
hold our first meeting to hear witnesses on Thursday, June 21, we
claim that, though we may have exceeded in the letter the time limit
of three weeks laid down for us by the Prime Minister, we have
succeeded in obeying the spirit of his instructions.
78. We are now proceeding to Barrow in Furness, which has spe­
cial problems for our consideration, and when we have heard the
evidence there, we hope to make a special report upon these local
conditions at the end of the week.
79. We wish to testify to the serious interest that has been taken
in our mission not only by the workers, both employers and men, but
by all classes of earnest people who take a practical interest in
social matters. W e desire to offer them our gratitude for the help
they have given us in our work. The people in this gxea replied
enthusiastically to the call of the Prime Minister, and have done
their best to make the commission a useful success in investigating
the causes o f industrial unrest. We feel that it is our duty to say that
if the work we have done is to have a real immediate value to the
workers in this area, we are of opinion that the substance of our
report should be published. We do not urge this because we are
under any vain delusion that what we have been able to do in this
short period o f time is of any great public value. But we do think




B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

64

that the men and women who have come before us and given us
their confidences and their advice should at least know that we have
faithfully reported without fear or favor the things that we have
heard.
80.
We desire to express our gratitude to Mr. William Finlay
Macdonald for the devotion, energy, and secretarial ability which
he has displayed, and without which it would have been impossible
for us to have achieved such measure o f success as we have attained.
E d w a r d A. P a r r y .
J o h n S m eth u rst.

J. R. C l y n e s .
W. F i n l a y M a c d o n a l d , Secretary,
July

9, 1917.




NO. 2 DIVISION, NORTHWEST AREA.— SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT
FOR BARROW IN FURNESS DISTRICT.
INTRODUCTORY.

1. Your commissioners proceeded to Barrow on Monday, July 9,
1917. On the evening of that day they received the Rev. Stephen
Liberty and Mr. J. H. Brown, of the Barrow in Furness Labor
Party and Trades Council, and Messrs. G. Taylor and G. Henderson,
o f the Barrow Shop Stewards’ committee. These gentlemen made
a strong point of their witnesses giving their evidence in public.
To this we consented, and it was arranged that meetings should
be held on Tuesday evening, July 10, 1917, for that purpose. Later
on the Barrow Engineering Trades joint committee desired to give
evidence in public, and arrangements were made to carry out their
wishes.
2. The mayor o f Barrow placed at our disposal the council cham­
ber of the town hall, and the following deputations were received
and witnesses examined:
T O W N H A L L , B A R R O W IN F U R N E S S .

Nam e.

Date.

Society, firm, or department represented.

1917.

July 10

July U

Paul L ist.................................................
J. E . Baker.............................................
E . Price, R . Jackson......................... .
G. Gunning, A . Milne........................
J. McKechnie, managing director;
A . Miller, director; G. H . Banis­
ter, director; J. Barr, T . Fender,
works superintendent; E . Gra­
ham.
Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Hutchinson, Miss
E . Tyson, Miss M. Murning.
R ev. Stephen Liberty, ---------Heaton, Councilor C. G. B.
Ellison J. P ., J. H . Brown.
G. Taylor, G. Henderson, P. McKeating, F . Bollans, G. W hite,
G. P. S. Sharpe.
R . Croall................................................
J. Holmes, J. H ill, T . Sm ith........
J. Tyson, G. W ard , A . Barrie,
J. Breen, J. Price, T . Morton,
W . Moore, W . Hazelton, S.
Langford.
G. A . Harris.........................................
G. W yn n , J. R evell, A . Bird,
F. Postlethwaite, T . Macgregor,
R . Henry.
--------- Butterworth, S. Lowry,
--------- Jackson, J. W . Martin,
--------- W h iteh ea d ,-----------Standwood, ----------Smith.

17841°— 17— Bull. 237------ 5




General works manager, Barrow Hematite Steel Co. (L td .).
Ministry of munitions, Barrow.
Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, Lancaster
Branch.
Barrow W orkm en’ s Institute.
Vickers (L td .).

National Federation of W om en Workers.
Barrow in Furness Labor Party and Trades Council.
Barrow Shop Stewards, committee.
National Union of Railwaymen, Barrow Branch.
United Kingdom Society of Am algamated Smiths and
Strikers.
Barrow Engineering Trades joint committee.

For laboring c
Barrow Boiler Makers, Iron and Steel Ship Builders’ Society.
Barrow Local Shipbuilding and Engineering committee.

65

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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

3.
The general propositions as to industrial unrest are the same
in this town as in the other portions o f the area about which we
have already reported. Barrow, however, has special problems o f
its own to which it is our duty to call special attention. It is
geographically a very isolated place. It has had a very large influx
of new population coming into the town to work at munitions for
Vickers, and the wants of the citizens have undoubtedly been gravely
neglected.
When we say this we want to preface our report by a just appre­
ciation of the great services that have been rendered to the interests
o f industrial well-being by Mr. J. E. Baker, representative o f the
Ministry o f Munitions in all dilution and labor matters at Barrow,
and also for the past six months as Admiralty representative of
the shipyard labor department at Barrow. W ith the exception
o f Col. Cooper, who is the representative of the shipyard labor
department in Liverpool, and Mr. J. M. McElroy, o f the Adm i­
ralty, who, although a London official, saw the necessity o f volun­
teering to come down to Manchester to give evidence before us,
Mr. Baker is the one official that your commissioners have met who
seems to be endowed with the power to deal with things on the
spot. How far these powers are due to official regulations and
orders from London or are due to his own initiative and personality
and the common sense o f the higher authorities under whom he
acts, who recognize that it is their duty to give him a free hand,
we are unable to say. It is sufficient to state that whether his posi­
tion in Barrow is due to Government control or to the sane outlook
of himself and his superiors, who recognize that in Barrow red-tape
methods must be suspended during the war, the result o f his work
and the backing that he has received in London is the most hopeful
thing that we have met in the whole course o f our inquiry. His
work should be extended, men of similar broad outlook should be
discovered and they should be placed in command, and their deci­
sions should be upheld, and it should be known in every department
in London that during the war what they say is to be done must
be done, and done at once without any unnecessary departmental
interference. This, to our mind, is the only way to deal with indus­
trial unrest.
In saying this we do not desire to criticize the excellent efforts
that have been made by other representatives of departments who
have given evidence before us, because we feel that every official
we have met is inspired by a real and serious determination to do
his best in the circumstances in which he is placed. But the evidence
submitted to us invariably leads us to the conclusion that whereas
local men are ready to do good work, they are constantly hampered




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67

in their efforts to do what is right by officials in London who are
no doubt equally desirous to do what is right, but are naturally
ignorant o f local conditions and possibilities. The problem, there­
fore, seems to us a simple and clear one, and the solution o f it is
necessary to winning the war.
THE HOUSING PROBLEM.

4. We found a most unsatisfactory condition o f things existing in
relation to this matter. For nearly three years the population of
this important working center has been constantly increasing, and
there was no evidence before us that either the Government or the
municipality had up to now taken any practical steps to deal with
the problem that has been urgent during all this time and has now
become a crying scandal. W e venture to suggest that it is a matter
that the W ar Cabinet should at once hand over to some really au­
thoritative person to deal with. What is wanted is someone entirely
different in status and powers from the inspectors and other officials
who have from time to time visited Barrow and made reports to
London. Someone might well be sent down without delay, with a
proper staff, to formulate an emergency housing scheme and carry
it out with the full force of the cabinet at his back and with power
to insist upon every department in London, including the treasury,
obeying his orders promptly. It is a bit of work for the war that
wants doing—and wants doing at once. These may seem strong
statements to make, but we believe that if inquiry is made from those
officials whose duty it has been to report upon these matters it will
be found that they are in agreement with us.
5. The simplest method, as it seems to us, o f bringing home to the
minds o f those who are so far removed from the real conditions
which are largely responsible for industrial unrest in this town is to
set out without comment or criticism the facts of the case. The first
point to appreciate is the numbers of the population and the number
o f houses to contain that population. T o those who have the rare
power o f translating statistical figures into the facts o f human life
the following figures will be convincing. In order to understand
what a terrible indictment they form against the rulers and gov­
ernors, whoever they may be, who are responsible for providing
homes for the workers, many of whom are legally prevented from
leaving their employment without permission o f a tribunal, it must
be remembered that at the outbreak of war there was a well-recog­
nized shortage o f houses in Barrow, and this was, or ought to have
been, understood by the authorities. The following are the official
figures as given by the borough treasurer of Barrow for the last
six years:




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTIC S.

Population December 31:
191 1
191 2
191 3
191 4
191 5
191 6
Number o f houses March 31:
191 2
191 3
191 4
191 5
191 6
191 7

64, 594
65,257
68, 523
75,368
79, 206
85,179
12,902
13,259
13,626
13,983
______ 14, 588
14,791

6.
But for the fact that Barrow lies in a very isolated position and
that it is considered inadvisable to inform the public through the
medium o f the press of many of the evil conditions o f industrial life,
we can not believe that the facts we propose to set down could so long
have remained actual conditions o f domestic life in England in the
twentieth century. We had no power to examine witnesses from
London as to why no remedy had been attempted nor do we
desire to lay any blame upon officials for what has happened and is
still happening. The fault lies, o f course, in the centralization in a
corner of the south o f England o f the only people who have any
power to set things right, and their ignorance of the problems they
are supposed to deal with. The witnesses from whose evidence we
quote a few statements were not drawn from any one class and in­
deed no decent person who understands the conditions of housing in
Barrow could do anything but condemn them. One who thoroughly
understands these conditions made a report to us at once when we
were first appointed. “ I put,” he writes, “ the. housing question in
the forefront. F or the majority o f the workers here, there is no
home life. In some instances the wife is engaged on munition work,
but in the majority o f cases she is occupied with looking after lodg­
ers. The housing question is acute. The number o f beds occupied
by night and day on the Box and Cox principle is very high and runs
into thousands. The married man returns home to find his wife
clearing up for the lodgers and his own meal not ready—in fact,
with children, lodgers, and husband the wife has her hands full—
with the result that one or other is neglected, and naturally becomes
dissatisfied. Also I would point to the very inadequate provision
for maternity cases. In many homes it is impossible to deal with
them, at any rate, with decency. Cases have been brought to my
notice where 9 persons have lived in one room, 16 in one small house,
and a bedroom is occupied by two grown-up sisters and their two
brothers, 16 and 17 years o f age. The alteration in the train service




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69

and the reduction in the number of trains has made the housing
question even more acute, in consequence o f the withdrawal o f trains
to and from Ulverston, people in business have had to come and live
in Barrow, as otherwise they could not have got to work in time.”
7. Mr. Councillor C. G. B. Ellison, J. P., gave us the following in­
stances within his own knowledge o f bad housing conditions which
require no comment from your commissioners:
(1) W ife five weeks off confinement. Husband working on mu­
nitions. They were given notice to leave their apartments. A fort­
night after they were refused admittance, and their belongings were
put in the back yard and they were told to take them away and clear

off.
(2) House was sold over the people’s heads, and they had to go
into a one-room apartment. Six children, one working. The
mother was confined in this one room.
(3) Married woman, working on munitions until shortly before
confinement. Husband fighting in France. Landlady could not do
with her over confinement, as she had other lodgers. The woman
tried to get a fresh lodging in Barrow, but no one would take her
in as she was expecting confinement. She finally had to go to some
friends in the south o f England.
(4) A woman was confined in Barrow recently in one room, in
which were her husband, one child, and a man lodger.
(5) Father and mother and eight children, two of whom, a boy
and a girl, were over 17 years of age. A ll living in one room. The
mother was confined o f the ninth child in this same room.
(6) Husband in France fighting. W ife expecting confinement.
Told she must leave the apartments. Offered 25 shillings [$6.08] a
week to be taken elsewhere, but was refused. Had to leave the
town.
(7) Husband on munitions, earning good wages. No place for
the wife to be confined. Guardians had to take her into workhouse.
Husband paid the guardians for her maintenance.
8. A workingman who had taken some trouble to give us actual
facts stated the following instances o f overcrowding: “ A house
rented at 4 shillings 6 pence [$1.10] a week and consisting o f one
bedroom 12 feet by 12, kitchen 18 feet by 12, and a pantry 9 feet by
6. The bedroom is sublet to a man and his wife and four children
at 7 shillings [$1.70] per week. The family consists of three boys,
aged 18, 16, and 9 years, respectively, and a girl 4 years. The man
and the two elder boys are working at Vickers (Ltd.) In the same
street there is a similar house with four men, one woman, one girl 16
years and a girl of 4. A colonial, from Australia, had to live at U l­
verston and paid 16 shillings 6 pence [$4.01] a week and 2 shillings 6




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

pence [60.8 cents] for railway fare. He asked to be transferred to
Lancaster or Morecambe, but got instead a transfer from the depart­
ment he was in to another with the result that he had in his earnings
a reduction of 8 per cent. Ejectment orders have been applied for and
served in some cases. People not engaged on munition work have
bought the houses. Men who have been employed by Vickers (Ltd.)
have also been served with orders for ejectment.”
A t the same time the total of the ejectment orders is not large. Mr.
Major, the clerk to the magistrates, made us the following returns:
Statem ent o f eases under the Small Tenem ents A ct brought before the ju stices
during the 18 months succeeding the passm g o f the increase o f Land and
M ortgage In terests W ar R estriction A ct o f 1915.
Total number o f cases entered___________________________________88
Deduct number adjourned______________________________________ _17
Total cases dealt w ith____________________________________ _71
Dismissed, w ithdrawn, or settled_______________________________ _29
Orders made--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---42
T otal______________________________________________________ __71
N o t e .— T he num ber o f cases in w hich ord ers w ere m ade include seve ral w here ajo.
a rra n g e m e n t w a s m ade fo r th e in co m in g te n a n t t o ta k e th e o u tg o in g te n a n t in as a lodger.

W e acknowledge that the magistrates and the county court are
called upon to deal with very difficult matters, and these courts are
being brought into disrepute, not so much by the decisions they have
to give as by the law which shackles them in making decisions which
are sensible and humane.
9. What adds to the troubles of the worker is that he must'find
accommodation somewhere he is bound to pay any price, however
exorbitant, for lodgings when he can not obtain a house of his own.
A witness pointed out that although “ the house owner is prohibited
by act of Parliament from raising his rents in munition areas, there
is no prohibition as regards tenants increasing the price they ask
for lodgings or rooms, and I have come across many cases where
12 shillings [$2.92] per week is the charge for one room unfurnished
in a house of which the rent is from 7 shillings 6 pence [$1.83] to
9 shillings [$2.19], and I believe in many cases even more than that
is being charged.”
10. While the State, either in the form o f Government or depart­
ment or muniicipality, has as far as we could learn, failed to grapple
with this problem up to the present, we ought to record that Vickers
as employers have done a great deal to provide houses in healthy
situations for their workers. Since the war the workpeople of the
Vickers’ establishment at Barrow have increased from 16,000 to
35,000, of whom 6,000 are women. It was therefore necessary for




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71

Vickers to take some steps in their own interests to see that their
workpeople were properly housed. From what we saw o f their
work we were much impressed by the spirit in which it was carried
out. Those who seek for an ill motive when any good thing is done
suggested that in the housing scheme of Vickers excess profits might
be hidden aay and that the rents they charged were exorbitant, but
we are not in a position to express an opinion *on this suggestion.
Perhaps it might have been better if there had existed some depart­
ment or municipality who could have done a tithe of the good work
Vickers have done. Apart from any political or economical criticism
to which it may be subjected we are of opinion that the building of
Vickerstown was a great public benefit to the inhabitants o f Barrow.
11. At all events it did not take Vickers three years to discover that
there would be such a thing as a housing problem in Barrow. When
the war had only been in progress two months the company foresaw
that a scarcity of houses was bound to arise, and although they were
already the owners o f 1,000 houses, or about one-fourteenth o f the
whole town o f Barrow, they took steps to have 150 cottages erected on
their own account, and by financial inducements to builders had 120
others put up close to the works. By the time 150 were under way
the plan was developed, and 250 further cottages were ordered to be
erected, so that by the end o f 1915 the Vickers Co. had seen to the
creation o f no less than 520 modern cottage houses, each containing
three bedrooms as well as two rooms on the ground floor. Advantage
was taken of the summer o f 1916 to supplement the new houses by
another 90, making a total of 610, and in addition they subsidized the
building of another 111 houses belonging to the Cavendish Syndicate,
which otherwise would not have been erected. The erection of so
many new houses, nearly all of which were within the area of
Vickerstown, promoted new responsibilities for the owners, if con­
tented, healthy and vigorous workmen, able to withstand the strain
o f war work pressure were to be the inhabitants. The firm recog­
nized this, and concurrently with the housing scheme they erected in
the center of Vickerstown a theater. This .was opened November,
1915. Further indoor recreation o f another type was also considered
desirable, in the result that a new institute with reading rooms, card
rooms, billiard tables, etc., was put up and opened December, 1916.
12. This, then, is the housing problem at Barrow. To anyone who
can read this bald statement of it without appreciating what it must
mean to a workman to be tied to such conditions of life and to find
himself, his wife, and his children forbidden under the force o f a
penal statute to get away from such a place without the leave of a
tribunal, is incapable of understanding the origins of industrial un­
rest. To us it seems that i f these conditions are beyond the power of
the Government to alter they ought to take steps to make the mu­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

nitions they require under more humane and decent circumstances.
W e can not believe, however, that this problem is insoluble. On the
contrary, we feel sure that there are many able men among the de­
partments who could deal with the matter in a practical and busi­
nesslike spirit if the system allowed them to do so. The condition,
to our mind, is a very serious and urgent one, and if not dealt with
at once will naturally be the cause o f serious unrest in the future.
CAUSES OF STOPPAGES IN BARROW.

13. T o this serious housing problem, which is a special feature in
considering the troubles which have arisen in Barrow, we must re­
member that the isolated position of the community makes the ques­
tion o f food prices a very acute one. A civil administrator o f Bar­
row, i f such a person can be imagined by the official mind, would
have full power to deal with the question of food supply and to our
mind the engineers engaged day by day in the supply o f munitions
are worthy o f a similar sympathy from the Government in this mat­
ter to that given to the army in the field. A t present there are great
complaints that the prices here are abnormally high. Even fish,
which is caught on the coast and arrives at the harbor or by rail, is
said to be cornered and sold by individuals at enormously high prices.
A herring was said to be priced at 3 pence [6 cents]. Instead o f vege­
tables being brought into the market from the neighboring country
and sold at reasonable prices, these things are exploited by private
persons and sold at unreasonable prices. This the Food Controller
should stop at once, and owing to the peculiar position o f the locality
it should be as easy for him to corner the supplies as it seems to have
been to those who in time of war have placed their own interests
before those o f the State.
14. The beer question, too, is one which causes great industrial
unrest among the people. They complain that the amount of beer
coming into Barrow is the same now or less than it was prior to the
w ar; that the public houses are apparently closed to the public, but
that favorite customers can obtain entrance by the back door and
consume not only their own share, but more than is good for them.
The result o f all this is to drive such men as are in receipt o f good
wages to buy bottles o f spirits, take them home, and consume them
too rapidly. This evil, it is said, is also spreading among women.
In the present crowded state of the houses, i f this be true, it is a tragic
picture, and the remedy for it is to reopen the public houses, consider
carefully local needs in settling the hours of opening, and supply an
honest beer at a fair price to all well-conducted clubs and public
houses. Nor do we find that the more thoughtful o f the real temper­
ance men differ from ourselves in their outlook upon this important
matter. The same view upon it was well expressed by a workingman




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

73

who said to us: “ I have yet to taste my first pint o f beer, but I think
it a great hardship that those of my mates who desire it can not
get it.”
15. Men who are living under the conditions we have described,
some young and thoughtless, others young and thoughtful, and all
undoubtedly infected by a spirit o f revolt that is not altogether un­
natural, are inspired by a feeling that the Government andv the
departments so far away from them, are not taking any human
interest in their affairs. They therefore attempt to remedy their
grievances and bring about a better condition o f things by calling
attention to their wrongs by methods o f stoppages and strikes which
interfere with the output o f munitions, but which in their lack of
knowledge they consider is the only language that reaches Whitehall.
16. In order to fully appreciate the way in which some o f these
men regard their rights and their position in the State as helpers in
the war we must not forget the early history o f recruiting, and i f it
is necessary to call to the colors the younger engineers of this district
to serve in the line great discrimination should be used by the army
in calling up the men. Those who have come into the industry since
the war should be called up before those who were in it when war
was declared. It must be remembered that at the outbreak o f war
there was a rush to the colors of all classes o f workpeople, including
skilled mechanics. Their enlistment was then encouraged by em­
ployers in so far as special conditions by way of half pay, etc., were
given. Early in September, 1914, however, it was realized that if
the enlistments continued at the then rate there was likely to be a
great shortage of workpeople, which would render employers unable
to cope with their orders for war material. A notice was posted
intimating that after the beginning o f September no allowance would
be made by Vickers on behalf o f workmen joining the army after
that date, and it became necessary to convince workpeople that they
were doing national service by remaining in the workshops, and
Lord Kitchener wrote to Vickers to the effect that he would “ like
all engaged by this company to know that it is fully recognized that
they, in carrying out the work o f supplying munitions o f war, were
doing their duty for their King and country equally with those who
had joined the army for active service in the field.”
This communication was printed on a card, on the reverse side o f
which read the following:
“ Vickers (Ltd.) require your services for the manufacture o f
munitions, without which your comrades in the trenches can not
fight. Your services therefore can not be spared.
“ For V i c k e r s ( L t d . ) ,
“ V. C a i l l a r d ,




“ Director.”

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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

This card was addressed individually to workmen. Although these
things may perhaps have been forgotten by those who thoroughly
understand the changed condition of the present, yet they are well
remembered and dwelt upon by the workers who regard messages so
delivered to them as promises for all time. This may be an un­
reasonable outlook, but it is a very human one, and should not be
disregarded.
17. The taking away the right to strike has greatly destroyed the
influence o f trade-unions and thrown the power into the hands of
irresponsible people, who make the most o f the unhappy conditions of
the town to press forward very extreme views o f social and political
reconstruction which we do not think they themselves fully under­
stand, and which we are sure have at present no great hold upon
the loyal and law-abiding community of Barrow. Moreover, many
o f the extreme men approached us in a kindly spirit and stated their
views with reasonable moderation. They made a great point o f their
loyalty to the country and repelled openly and with indignation
the suggestion which they said had been made against them that
u they were bought with Prussian gold.” Still, the causes o f unrest,
as we have shown, are serious, and the Government should without
delay do something very clear and evident on entirely different lines
to the way in which things have been allowed to drift on in the past
to show the people that they are in earnest in shouldering their re­
sponsibility. I f not the Government will only assist the extreme
men by leaving inflammable material to their hand and they will lose
the support of the large body of moderate sensible workingmen,
who will feel that they have been deserted and thus even these men
may in time become adherents o f a wild cause in which at present
they have no real belief.
18. From the shopworkers’ point o f view the best practical method
o f abolishing unnecessary stoppages is to set in motion at once that
portion o f the reconstruction proposals which deals with the estab­
lishment o f works committees. In reference to this, we might call
attention to the fact that on April 25 o f this year an agreement was
made between Vickers and the representatives o f the Barrow Engi­
neering Trades joint committee for a procedure to be observed in
connection with “ the adjustment o f premium bonus basis times.”
19. Complaints were also received from day wageworkers, doing
highly skilled work, that their case was not fairly dealt with, owing
to their earnings not being regulated in some way by the increased
earning power of pieceworkers, which was largely due to their work
as day-wage men. Their wages, they state, were much below those
o f pieceworkers. This matter undoubtedly deserves consideration.
20. W e can not but believe that i f in the different departments
joint works committees dealing with detailed matters connected with




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

75

the industry were to be set up it would be a message of hope to those
who are rightly dissatisfied with their conditions. Many a sensible
young man who now thinks that the only hope o f betterment for
himself and his class lies in the spreading of advanced doctrines
would understand how far more useful he would be to himself and
his fellow men by taking a seat on the shop committee and doing
direct work in improving the conditions o f the shop. We think that
what is driving many well-meaning enthusiasts into very extreme
propaganda is the hopeless feeling that they have no place or voice
in the management o f the work they are doing, and that the only
way in which they can assert their knowledge and individuality is
by promoting disorder and thereby calling the attention of the au­
thorities to things which all reasonable men agree are wrong. It
would do away with a great deal o f industrial unrest if these shop
committees were formed and seriously and honestly worked. The
reconstruction proposals of the Government have been well received
throughout the area by men and employers, and as to these we can
only again refer to what we have said in paragraph 57 o f our former
report on the whole area.
E

dw ard

A.. P

arry.

J o h n S m e t iiu r s t .
J. E . C l yn e s.

W.
J uly

F

in l a y

M

acdonald,

Secretary.

16, 1917.

(Printed under the Authority o f H is M ajesty’s Stationery Office. By Percy
Bros. (L td .), the Hotspur Press, W hitw orth Street West, Manchester, and 317
High Holborn, London.)




NO. a DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
YORKSHIRE AND EAST MIDLANDS AREA.
J u l y 1 2 , 1917.

T o the Right Hon. D. L l o y d G e o r g e , M. P., Prime Minster.
S i r : We have the honor to submit the following report on indus­
trial unrest as affecting the Yorkshire and East Midland areas.
1. Having in view the varied industries carried on in the different
areas, we decided to advertise in the Yorkshire and district papers,
publicly inviting any desirous o f attending before the commission
to communicate in writing to the commission at the town hall, Leeds,
and in addition, the chairman personally invited the trades-unions,
employers’ federations, trades councils, chamber o f commerce, and
other persons and associations likely to be affected, to send representa­
tives or delegates to the meetings o f the commission.
2. The commissioners selected as centers for their sittings, Leeds,
Keighley, Halifax, Nottingham and Sheffield, hearing evidence not
only from witnesses resident in those districts, but from delegates
sent from Bradford, Castleford, Derby, Huddersfield, Hull, Leicester,
Rotherham, and other places; 167 persons in all attending and stating
in detail their views and experiences upon the questions involved
in the investigation. Written communications were also received
from some societies and bodies o f workers and employers setting
forth opinions as to the causes o f unrest existing in their own indus­
tries and localities.
3. The commissioners found the greatest willingness upon the part
o f the officials and all those attending before them, in whatever
capacity, to give with the utmost frankness and sincerity their con­
victions and views as to the causes of industrial unrest and the
present widespread injurious effect o f the same upon the national,
and particularly the poorer class, life o f the community.
4. The causes o f industrial unrest as demonstrated by all those
whom we examined and confirmed by the statements sent us, are
clearly associated, not only with the industries and the technicalities
related thereto, but to the wider social, domestic or national ques­
tions affecting the homes and domestic concerns o f the people,
It became unnecessary to ask each witness to state in detail many of
their points, it being found that in every case from every district and
76




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E ST IN

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77

classy the primary causes were asserted as being relative to the com­
mon domestic difficulties and actual privations following upon the
high price o f food and the necessary commodities o f life with, in
many cases, the utter inadequacy o f wages, even though higher than
the prewar rates, to secure the bare essentials for living at a much
lower standard o f comfort than was considered essential in their
homes before the war.
5. In connection with the high price o f food, complaints were
general as to profiteering coupled with statements that the discom­
forts experienced would be borne with comparative composure were
such felt to be necessary to win the war, but from the published
results o f trading and shipping companies and from speeches and
other information everywhere obtainable, the conviction was general
that insufficient steps had been taken by the Government departments
to prevent profiteering, exploiting and plundering, such as made the
poor contribute heavily to the abnormal advantages o f those traders
and others, who by their selfishness secured immense gains from the
sacrifices and sufferings o f the poor.
6. Were the food problem immediately and drastically dealt with,
a very large measure o f the unrest, it was stated, would be allayed,
and there might then be restored some measure o f faith and confi­
dence in the Government, such as unquestionably does not appear to
exist either in employers or employed in any one o f the various indus­
tries we have investigated.
7. Apart from the overshadowing question of food and the eco­
nomic and domestic questions involved, the industrial position has
been, and continues to be, seriously affected by causes associated with
war legislation, and the numerous and conflicting departmental regu­
lations following thereon, which, added to some disturbing condi­
tions and irritating experiences that were, accumulating before the
war in the relationship o f employers and employed, have given to
a minority o f very advanced and visionary workers their desired
occasion to inflame practically the whole body o f skilled men in the
engineering and other trades, in a manner that has already produced
strikes and serious retardation o f the output o f hundreds o f thou­
sands o f workers in our essential industries.
8. The Munitions o f W ar Acts, the Military Service Act, and the
Defense o f the Realm Act, in that they have necessarily restricted
personal liberty and restrained the protection that a trade-union was
assumed to secure for its members, have been enforced and employed
by methods that are deeply resented, and a belief has been engendered
in practically all the members o f the Amalgamated Society o f En­
gineers and kindred societies we have examined, whether o f the ad­
vanced or moderate section o f thought, that the executive officers of
their unions are now powerless to assist them in their present diffi­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

culties, while the continuous delays that have been experienced by
masters and men alike in securing attention from the Ministry of
Munitions has caused that department’s instructions and methods to
be distrusted. The distrust has become so general that men who were
indignant at the strikes brought about by those who promoted the
“ shop stewards ” or “ rank-and-file ” movement, contend that they
have lost all confidence in their trade-union officials, and consider
that the Government, when dealing with such officials, have not been
dealing with the general body o f workers, o f whose real opinions,
the executive or London officials of the unions are now in no way
representative.
9. The result o f this apparently universal distrust alike of the
trade-union executive and of the Government departments who act
with, and through them, has led to the formation o f a vigorous de­
fensive organization for the protection o f the workmen inside their
own separate workshops, known as the “ shop Qommittee ” or “ rankand-file ” movement, with shop stewards elected from the workers in
every shop. These men take upon themselves the duties o f swiftly
protecting and safeguarding whatever questions are involved, whether
o f wages or working conditions, that may arise between the workers
and the management, without requiring to lose time by communicat­
ing with any executive or central headquarters .group to intercede or
negotiate for them. From the success secured by this movement,
great bodies o f men who originally stood aloof, have joined, and now
are in accord with the methods until the “ rank-and-file ” organiza­
tion threatens to become, in our opinion, a most serious menace to
the authority and entire work of the Amalgamated Society o f En­
gineers and other skilled workers’ unions.
10. The distrust o f the trade-union leaders, and entire want o f
confidence in Government promises concerning the workers’ interests
and the recognition o f trade-union aims and objects, is felt by other
unions than those of the skilled engineering and electrical trades.
Members o f the National Union of Railway Men, the Carpenters and
Joiners, the United Pattern Makers, the Enginemen and Firemen’s
Mutual Protection Association, the Boilermakers, Iron and Steel
Ship Builders’ Society, the Association o f Tramway and Vehicle
Workers, the National Union of General Workers, the Workers’
Union, the Ironfounders, the National Amalgamated Union of
Labor, the Colliery Surface Workers, all alike, without a single ex­
ception, expressed distrust in, and total indifference to, any promise
the Government may make, while some referred to Russia and openly
declared the one course open for labor was a general “ down-tools ”
revolutionary policy to secure reforms that constitutional action was
failing, to effect.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

79

11.
The dilution of skilled labor has brought about everywhere
very intense disappointment and dismay in the minds o f the skilled
workers, who are fearful as to the subsequent status o f the industry.
The skilled workers are further perturbed by the very high wages
earned by the unskilled and semiskilled workers being so greatly in
excess o f the earnings o f the highly skilled men and actual instruc­
tors, who willingly assisted in dilution, and who have been constantly
assured that their work was o f far greater national value. In every
district typical instances were given in which unskilled workers,
laborers, women and girls, were earning more than double that of
the skilled men, thus provoking, discontent and acute unrest, not only
in the ranks o f the skilled men and in their homes concerning the
inadequacy o f their pay, but also in the other grades of ordinary
unskilled labor, where the earnings o f the workers have been but
slightly increased, and thus made a demand for higher rates of pay,
such as would provide the bare necessities o f living at the present ex­
orbitant prices.
The methods followed in fixing the prices for the pieceworkers
appear to have been o f a very haphazard and careless character,
arrived at generally without conference with those who could have
suggested more scientific and equitable methods o f securing that the
greatest output could have been insured by advancing skill and the
employment o f new and improved means o f production. Unskilled
workers in some factories are earning from £10 [$48.67] to £18
[$87.60] per week, and could easily earn more but are afraid to.
As an illustration of how one piecework rate was fixed, the director
o f a very large controlled firm explained that when invited to tender
for work then being done at Woolwich he visited the arsenal and
found that 130 could be taken as the standard output for one shift;
he, therefore, assumed that an additional 50 per cent might be ex­
pected from those in his works, but believed far more would be se­
cured by better plant. Instead of being permitted to thus produce
all that was possible and then to fix the prices, the price was quickly
fixed on the basis o f 200 as the unit. A t the present time, over 500
is the output, which could easily be exceeded,, but for the fear of price
reduction.
The skilled men appreciate that the system of paying unskilled
workers the rates previously payable to the skilled workers they re­
place was demanded by their own trade-union officials, but they con­
sider too little attention was given by their executive to the details,
in that they failed to provide against the skilled men’s earnings being
reduced when transferred to do more highly skilled national work.
It is alleged that the men had n o. opportunity o f expressing any
opinions or pointing out their fears upon the subject before they were




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B U L L E T IN OE T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

finally barred by official rules and regulations approved by their
executive, in a manner that has provoked universal distrust in any
further action they may take as the assumed representatives o f the
men in the unions concerned.
The present system o f payment by results, while advantageous to
one class o f worker engaged in a shop, is essentially unfair to fixed­
time rate classes who work equally hard and who have to keep up
their labor to suit the increased effort o f the pieceworkers.
A system o f “ fellowship 5 or shop bonus payment to all concerned
5
in speeding up the output is recommended by representative work­
men and employers.
12. The many and constantly varying rules and regulations and
requirements o f the Ministry of Munitions and the W ar Office, have
produced, alike in the employers and in the workers, serious irritation
and unrest. “ No one knows when one regulation of to-day is going
to be canceled by another issued to-morrow,” so that a feeling o f sus­
picion, anxiety and uncertainty pervades all working under such
instructions. There is evidence o f delay and o f the absence o f local
authority in dealing with matters affecting* output, and the conditions
of working. The power permitted to employers under the various
acts has been in some instances very greatly abused by their foremen
and others, who have threatened men either with the munition tribu­
nal or the trenches when dissatisfaction has been voiced, or when
they have been in any way perturbed. The constant issue o f threats
to the workers has led to a feeling of contempt for the actual neces­
sity concerning the man-power needs for our army, the workers hav­
ing been led to feel that it was an introduction o f their much-dreaded
“ industrial compulsion.”
13. The relations o f employers toward their men, on the whole, ap­
pear to have undergone in many districts changes for the better, and
there is evidenced a like improvement in the men’s attitude. Many
have expressed a willingness to cooperate with the management and
with those concerned in the industry to assist in a movement for
establishing more permanently some system that would make for the
betterment of the industry, as a whole, while safeguarding their posi­
tions as those just as interested and as essential for success as the
financial investors or principals o f the firms to whom they contribute
their effort in the form o f skill and labor.
Profit-sharing schemes have not been generally approved by all to
whom the question has been put, while, on the other hand, some have
considered their fellows fortunate who happen to be engaged with
firms having such systems in force.
Trade-union district officials have confirmed the men’s statements
as to there being far better relations and no cause for outside inter­




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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81

ferences in relation to points affecting the customs ajid conveniences
of those workers engaged with firms who give, in addition to stand­
ard wages, a fair share o f their balance-sheet profits, after a mini­
mum o f 5 per cent has been paid upon the capital c f the firm, to all
their works on a pro rata wages basis.
14. Workshop committees of management and men exist in some
industries, and those undoubtedly make for smoother and better
working relations and conditions.
The shop stewards, as distinct from the constitutional shop stew­
ards, or “ rank-and-file5 movement, is everywhere asserted by mem­
5
bers o f the Amalgamated Society o f Engineers and other skilled
workers’ unions to be founded on lines brought about primarily by
the war legislation, but a feeling had evidently existed prior to the
war that some closer touch and a greater measure o f local control
was needed than is possible under the existing trade-union rules that
impose central executive control.
The aims and methods o f some of the shop stewards acting uncon­
stitutionally are condemned, but the feeling is widespread that the
machinery they have created, i f based on constitutional lines, would
assist trade-unions to live up to the demands o f those who are
employed in modern specialized workshops.
15. We are convinced that the causes o f industrial unrest are not
local or peculiar to any particular industry, but are of a national
character, and a remedial policy must be adopted by the Government
quickly and vigorously, if the incipient and growing dangers now
threatening the industries for the victorious ending of the war are
to be averted.
The workers have been for three years working at high pressure
during too long hours and under strenuous workshop conditions never
before experienced. They have been denied all opportunities of
relaxation and recuperation, and this, too, at a time when there was
an ever-growing physical weariness and fatigue- There is among
some of them a regrettable amount o f uncertainty and suspicion as to
the aims and objects of the war, the issues o f which do not stand out
as clearly as they did in the autumn of 1914. The nerves of the men
and their families are racked by hard workshop conditions, low and
unfair wages in some cases, deficient housing accommodation, war
sorrows and bereavements, excessive prices of food, the vagaries of
the recruiting officer, and withal by a feeling that their privileges
as members o f certain trade-unions had been given up only to better
the condition of others, who had not served any apprenticeship to
their trades. Upon all these disturbing causes of disquiet has grown
proof upon proof that their sacrifices were greater than those selfishly
controlling the supply of food, that the Government made promises
17841°— 17— Bull. 237------ 6




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

that were not kept, that pledges were broken j that constitutional
trade-unionism was no longer of any avail, and that the authorities
in command were ignoring their grievances and troubles and threat­
ening them instead with military service by withdrawing their
protecting badges and trade cards, after they had been repeatedly
assured that their skill and labor were more needed in the shops
than in the army.
Following upon all these causes o f weariness, sorrow, disappoint­
ment and suspicion, came a further proposal from the Government
that had ignored their complaints and refused to listen to their griev­
ances as skilled workers and that had secured a voluntary surrender
of their right to strike or to maintain trade customs and practices—
to extend the system o f dilution and trade sacrifice, made for war
purposes only, to all work intended solely for commercial undertak­
ings, and enriching private owners, at the same time as they proposed
to destroy the system o f trade cards which had seemed to be the
corollary o f the assurances which had been given that skilled men
were and would be indispensable to their own trades at home.
Protests were in vain when made to their trade-union executive
committees, with the not surprising result that the shop stewards
seized upon the occasion as one in which to assert their power and
to secure a following of hundreds of thousands of men over whom
the dread o f ultimate trade and craft destruction had long been
apparently impending.
W e were assured by the testimony o f responsible heads of con­
trolled firms, from employers’ associations, from representative work­
men, from trade-union officials and from craftsmen engaged in
different districts in the various industries concerned with the strikes,
that such strikes were entirely preventable, and that the long and
repeated delays, constant indifference and neglect shown to the com­
plaints of the men, fostered the belief that nothing but a stoppage
of work would secure their attention and redress.
We recommend as proposals for dealing with the industrial unrest
we have thus ascertained, the follow ing:
1. Prompt measures for lowering the retail prices of the essential
foods, even if the Exchequer has to be further appealed to for financial
assistance.
2. The control for the period of the war of all essential food sup­
plies and a limitation of profit placed upon all transactions and sales
relative thereto.
3. To prevent the present very serious delays in connection with
differences that have been in the past referred to the various Govern­
ment departments in London for adjustment or advice, it would
appear to be essential to appoint for the period o f the war, a commis-(
sioner, preferably with technical knowledge, to be resident in the




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

83

district, with power to hear and settle all questions and disputes on
matters concerned with the workers, other than of wages in each
district.
4. The immediate introduction and setting up of workshop com­
mittees, composed o f equal numbers of workers and o f the manage­
ment, the workers being elected by those employed in each works, for
the consideration o f questions affecting the industry. Where agree­
ment is not arrived at, or where it may be desired, the committee
may refer any matter to a similarly constituted district committee,
who, in turn, may refer to a like national committee.
(a)
To a subcommittee o f the workshop committee appropriately
composed, offenses such as that of bad timekeeping, should be in every
case referred, prior to the submission of the offense, to a munitions
tribunal.
5. The inauguration of a system of an overhead bonus to be distrib­
uted among datal workers, and the recommendation to all tradeunions where mixed pieceworkers and day workers are employed,
that they assist their members by working out some scheme or pro­
posal involving a sharing or pooling of the results secured by piece­
workers, so that all day workers skilled and unskilled who are assist­
ing, contributing, or connected with the job, plant or workshop, may
participate in the results pro rata o f their standard day-work earni n g S ‘

6. The Government should immediately take steps to dispel certain
allegations now current that the aims of the allies are imperialistic
and illiberal, by a declaration of these aims in the spirit of the
various pronouncements of the past and the present prime minister,
and o f the formula that the object of the Allies is “ to make the
world safe for democracy.”
7. That the Government should at once and emphatically renew
their pledge to the unions that at the end of the war the prewar
practices o f the workshops shall be fully restored.
8. As the questions of military service and dilution on commercial
.work seem to be interrelated and it appears that the removal of uncer­
tainty with regard to the one would facilitate the acceptance of the
other, a new detailed and precise list of protected occupations should
be issued, and the unions which include men in these occupations
should be empowered to distribute exemption cards to their members,
cases of dispute being referred to an authority before whom a repre­
sentative of the executive of the union o f the particular worker con­
cerned should be allowed to appear.
9. The district committees of the various unions, preferably cooper­
ating, should be asked to convene regularly representatives of the
various shops in the district at which a Government official should




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84

attend to explain new regulations of the various departments, and to
receive suggestions and complaints.
10. No change either in orders, working conditions, rules and regu­
lations, should be made without first conferring with this committee
and with a similar body o f local employers, so that a clear explana­
tion in simple terms may reach all those affected, prior to such rules
being enforced.
11. That periodic holidays should be recognized as necessary to the
maintenance o f the health of the worker, and should be given on a
systematic basis, and that where spells of employment are abnormal,
there should be a substantial reduction of hours which need not
involve any diminution o f output, and therefore, should not be accom­
panied by any decrease in time rates o f wages.
12. Where munition workers are employed away from their homes,
they should be allowed to return there at reasonable intervals at
reduced railway fares, and the action of various municipalities in
increasing tram and ’bus fares should be deprecated.
13. It should be desirable that assurance should be given by the
Prime Minister that at the end of the war a large program o f social
reform will be introduced by the Government, this including espe­
cially sufficient increase in, and improvement of, housing accommo­
dation, and provision for the prevention and relief of unemployment.
We have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servants,
(Signed)
G e o . C r o y d o n M a r k s , Chairman.
M

L

a u r ic e

evy.

J am es J. M
A

rthur

I vy M . H
July

allon.

J. W

adeson.

armer,

Secretary.

12, 1917.
NOTE B Y MB. J. J. MALLON.

As two o f my fellow members of the Industrial Unrest Commis­
sion for Yorkshire and the East Midlands do not see their way to
agree to the insertion in our joint report of the subjoined recom­
mendation, I should be glad if this note could be attached to it over
my own signature.
It may be true as Sir George Croydon Marks and Sir Maurice
Levy may hold that the evidence submitted by witnesses appearing
before us was not specifically directed to the matter to which the
recommendation in question refers. The reason, however, is in my
opinion that by many of the witnesses the view that a more substan­
tial contribution by the rich could equitably be called for was re­
garded as so obvious as not to need express reference. In my opinion
it would be a failure in our duty, however, to ignore it and to base
recommendations on any narrower ground than those with which




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

85

we have become acquainted from any source whatsoever, whether ac­
tually embodied in witnesses’ statements or in the facts relating to
working-class opinion as gained by us in our individual capacities.
On the matter in question I feel very clear. The hardship follow­
ing upon the inflation of the currency, the increase in the rate o f
interest due to the extension o f credit and the consequent upward
movement in prices and the redistribution o f national income in
favor o f those who were already wealthy, is a profound and indeed
fundamental cause of industrial unrest, causing, as it has, a more
acute sense o f social inequalities.
I therefore think that no recommendations would be complete
without the inclusion o f a proposal such as the following:
To satisfy the feeling prevalent among the wage-earning classes fo r m ore
drastic dem ands on the rich, w hich is usually expressed by the phrase “ con­
scription o f w ealth ” the income ta x should be carefully reviewed and substan­
tially increased as regards those incomes w hich are capable o f curtailm ent
w ithout any real loss to the amenities o f life.

J. J. M a llo n .
J

uly

12, 1917.




NO. 4 DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
WEST MIDLANDS AREA.

The commissioners appointed for the West Midlands area, namely,
Maj. J. W. Hills, M. P., chairman; Mr. J. W. Ogden, J. P., Mr. J. W.
White, with Mr. G. Shann as secretary, have the honor to present
the following report:
1.
The commission held 18 sittings at Birmingham, 4 each at Cov­
entry and Stoke and 3 at Wolverhampton, and examined 138 wit­
nesses, both men and women, drawn from all sections of the industrial
world. The associations who appeared before us were as follow s:
OPERATIVES.

Birmingham Trades Council.
Wolverhampton Trades Council.
Coventry Trades Council.
South Staffordshire and Worcestershire Federation o f Trades
Councils.
Amalgamated Society o f Engineers.
Carpenters and Joiners.
Amalgamated Society o f Gas, Municipal and General Workers.
Workers’ Union.
National Federation o f Women Workers.
Deputation o f Shop Stewards.
Amalgamated Society of Toolmakers.
National Union of Railwaymen.
Steam Engine Makers’ Society.
Prudential Staff Federation.
National Association of Prudential Assurance Agents.
National Brass workers and Metal Mechanics.
Cradley Chain Makers’ Association.
Engineering and Allied Trades Societies’ Federation.
Temporary Employees of Post Office Association.
Birmingham Operative Tin-Plate, Sheet Metal Workers and Bra­
ziers’ Society.
Boiler Makers, Iron and Steel Ship Builders’ Society.
The Amalgamated Committee of Unofficial Shop Stewards.
Coventry Building Trades Federation.




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

87

North Staffordshire Miners’ Federation.
United Potters’ Packers’ Federation.
United Ovenmen’s Society.
Deputations o f Housewives, and Individual Workmen and Women.
EMPLOYERS.

Midland Employers’ Federation.
National Federation o f Building Trades Association o f Great
Britain and Ireland (Midland Center).
Messrs. Cadbury Bros.
Wolverhampton and District Engineering Trades Employers’ As­
sociation.
Coventry and District Engineering Trades Employers’ Associa­
tion.
Birmingham and District Engineering Trades Employers’ Asso­
ciation.
Malleable Ironfounders’ Association.
Warwickshire Colliery Owners’ Association.
North Staffordshire Colliery Owners’ Association.
The Staffordshire Pottery Manufacturers’ Association.
The English China Manufacturers’ Association.
OFFICIAL.

Prof. Tillyard, chairman, Birmingham Munitions Tribunal.
Mr. Parker, chief dilution officer, Birmingham district.
Mr. McElroy, and Capt. J. Langmaid, Admiralty representatives.
AREA.

2. The West Midlands area comprises Staffordshire, Shropshire,
Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire. It is divided into
five districts: Birmingham, Wolverhampton., Coventry, North Staf­
ford, and lastly Hereford and Worcester. In the first three by far
the most important trade is that of engineering with its allied metal
trades. The building trade is also of importance. In the fourth
district, Stafford, are the coal trade and the pottery trade.
The area generally has been free from strikes during the war,
which we attribute to the wise and patriotic action taken by the
employers’ federations and by the trade-union leaders, and by the
public generally.
UNREST BEFORE THE W AR.

3. Before dealing with the more particular matters which underlie
industrial unrest, we wish to make a few general observations.
Unrest is no new feature. It existed before the war, and will
exist after. Nor is it a sign of unhealthy conditions, but on the con­




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BULLETIN 0E THE BUREAU OE LABOR STATISTICS.

trary of a vigorous and growing community. Indeed, the war has
not essentially changed its character. It has no doubt accelerated
its course; it has brought certain features into special prominence,
and it has created its own peculiar problems. But the fundamental
causes of unrest are the same in war as in peace—a struggle by the
workers to secure a larger share o f the profits of industry and a
greater control over the conditions under which they work and live.
A t the same time we have no doubt that unrest is present to-day to
an excessive degree, but more in some industries than in others. It
is hard to say precisely how far it prevails, but we have satisfied our­
selves that it exists to a sufficient extent and intensity to merit the
immediate and serious attention o f the Government, and that some
o f its causes are removable. What these causes are we shall describe
later; but we wish first to call attention to a general feeling of dis­
trust which we find prevalent.
GENERAL FEELING OF DISTRUST.

4.
The war has involved restrictions on personal liberty; the war
has involved changes in policy whereby an agreement entered into
at one time has had subsequently to be varied; the war has involved
secrecy; and lastly, the war has entailed blunders and failures. These
four causes— restriction o f liberty, alteration o f agreements, failures
o f Government and want o f publicity are root causes of the distrust
to which we refer. T o deal with them in order: It is obvious that
war involves restrictions on liberty, and this is just as obvious to the
workers as to anyone else, but what the workers are entitled to ask,
and do ask, is that sacrifices should be equal and that they should be
imposed for national and not class interests. W e see little trace of
disloyalty or a slackening of the national determination to finish the
war. The distrust which exists is due to other causes—to the fact
that the Government and the men’s leaders have failed to some extent
to convince the people that the sacrifices demanded are necessary,
and that they bear equally on all.
We select leaving certificates as an example. Restrictions on
migration of labor were necessary; but the actual result o f leaving
certificates is that men can not leave their employers, whereas their
employers can discharge them. W e shall explain later what changes
in the system we think are advisable; we are here only concerned to
point out that though the restrictions have reasons in their support,
these reasons have not been understood. The same remarks apply to
the second heading: The alteration of agreements entered into. Now
we fully recognize that when a country is fighting for its life,
arrangements made at one moment have subsequently to be changed;
but here again the Government and the men’s leaders should take




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

89

great care to explain the reasons for the change and to prove that it
is required in the national interest. As an example we take the
trades-card scheme. This was certainly a doubtful experiment and,
in our opinion, worked unsatisfactorily; but still it was offered by
the Government and used by the trade-unions as a solution of a
difficult question. It had no doubt to be withdrawn, but it should
not have been withdrawn without a complete explanation of the
reasons o f its withdrawal, and then the Government would have
avoided the suspicion, which undoubtedly exists, that the present
system of protection was introduced because it was more in the
interest o f the employers. On the third head, that o f mistakes,
everyone recognizes that a gigantic undertaking such as converting
the country from a peace to a war basis can not be carried through
without many mistakes. But mistakes are one thing, incompetence
another. Men forgive mistakes, but what causes distrust is incom­
petence such as was shown by the bewildering variety o f contra­
dictory orders issued by the late food controller’s department. Inci­
dents such as this cause serious trouble, particularly when they closely
affect men’s daily lives.
This brings us to the last head—Want of publicity. The Govern­
ment have all through been too much afraid o f the public. They
have not realized how solid and unbroken is the determination to
finish the war, and they seem to have been led by a few spasmodic
outbreaks and irresponsible utterances to the opinion that there was
a dangerous element who might misuse any information it obtained.
The result has been that the public has been kept in the dark not only
on military matters, but on matters on which no necessity for secrecy
existed.
We take man power as an instance. A great part of the unrest
caused by the Military Service Act would have been avoided had the
Government been more open with the public. We have had witnesses
before us who have emphasized the degree to which ministers and
trade-union leaders have lost the.confidence of their followers. We
believe this is largely due to the want o f publicity. Many actions
o f the Government which were essential in order to win the war
have not been understood by the people and have lent themselves to
misrepresentation. In war even more than in peace the Government
must at every step bring the people along with it.
In saying the above we have no wish to impute blame, for we fully
recognize the heavy burden which war has laid on ministers, not
least on such as are labor leaders. A t the same time we should be
doing less than our duty if we failed to point out that the distrust
to which we refer is both widespread and deep.




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BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
A.— MILITARY SERVICE ACTS.

5. Though conscription has been generally accepted, the Military
Service Acts are causing disturbance. W e think this largely due to
the secrecy in which the man power question is wrapped. Men, being
told nothing, naturally believe that there are plenty available with­
out taking any more. W e think the Government should take the
country more into its confidence and tell it how many men are
required and how they will be secured; and if more are wanted how
they will be found.
The objections taken to the acts were chiefly—
(1) That they lead to industrial conscription.
(2) That they are unfair between one man and another.
(3) That promises are broken and all security destroyed; and
lastly
(4) There is the pacifist objection and that of those who, while not
pacifists, dislike the army.
We consider that greater publicity would be o f immense service;
more particularly, if arrangements once made have to be varied (and
we recognize that they have), the reason for the change should be
fully explained, or else it is open to misrepresentation. Furthermore,
the greatest care should be taken to secure and to demonstrate that
the decision whether a man joins the army or stays in civil life is
one, not for employer or employed, but for the State.
TRADES-CARD SY ST E M .

6. The system operated unfairly and in addition it was not always
properly worked by the trades-unions. It operated unfairly because
it assumed that skilled men were found in certain unions and certain
unions only. These unions received trades cards and could protect
their members. Other unions, containing a large number o f skilled
men, could protect none. This caused bitterness and dissatisfaction.
But a further cause o f dissatisfaction was the way in which trades
cards were undoubtedly used in some cases. Many unions made a
proper use o f the high responsibility intrusted to them but some did
not. The cards were used for increasing membership and men were
told that if they joined certain unions they would be protected, while
if they joined rival organizations they would not. Further, even
where this was not the case, the cards were issued by the unions in a
manner which, to say the least o f it, was haphazard. Altogether the
scheme was a bad one, and we welcome its withdrawal; but we are
bound to point out that the actual withdrawal caused discontent
among those whom the system protected. This is more especially the
case since the system now introduced—that o f the schedule of pro­




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

91

tected occupations, with “ A ” and “ B ” certificates, does not at present
work satisfactorily.
We consider that its working requires great care. What is hap­
pening is that men entitled to “ A ” certificates are receiving “ B,” and
vice versa. This has cast on the employer the wholly unjustified
suspicion that he has shown favoritism in the lists sent in. W e are
satisfied this is not the case. Great unrest is being caused and the
matter should be righted at once.
B.— MUNITIONS OP W A R ACTS.

7.
The Munitions o f W ar Acts have revolutionized industry. In
normal times the workman is free to leave his employment, whether
to secure better wages or on personal grounds, now he can do neither
unless his employer consents or the munitions tribunal grant a
certificate. In normal times, an employer can discharge a m an; now,
owing to labor shortage, that power hardly exists. In normal times
the man has the weapon of the strike and the employer that o f the
lockout, now both are illegal. In normal times wage changes are
settled by collective bargaining; now they are settled by the State.
In normal times the employer disciplines his own men, now discipline
is enforced publicly in a criminal court. Lastly, the trade-unions
have fought, rightly or wrongly, and in the engineering trades have
fought successfully, for the principle that certain men or certain
unions alone were entitled to certain work. Now this has been swept
away and men and women o f rival unions or o f no unions at all work
alongside skilled craftsmen. These changes are strongly resented
as infringements o f personal liberty, to which men are deeply at­
tached. But beyond this they affect profoundly everyday industrial
life. In many cases they are the renunciation of the gains of years,
and what renders the renunciation more bitter is the feeling that all
changes bear more hardly on the men than on the employers. This
is obviously the case. The employer has to submit to hardship; he
can not run his business in his own way, he is perpetually controlled
by the Government and he has a serious shortage of labor and limi­
tation of profits; but his grievances are not comparable to those of
the workman who sees his cherished possessions taken from him.
From this feeling, that the workman has lost more than his employer,
it is an easy step to the feeling that the restrictions have been defi­
nitely imposed in the employers’ interest. The more thoughtful men
may not feel this; they are content with stating that as a fact the re­
strictions do bear unequally on the workman and they do not impute
any base m otive; but it will readily be seen that the fact lends itself to
misrepresentation, and that when men are smarting under a real loss
it is not hard to insinuate that that loss was imposed with an im­
proper intention.




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BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The upshot o f this is that, in our judgment, all restrictions on
liberty o f action demanded from the workman should be scrupu­
lously reexamined to ascertain whether they are necessary in the
country’s interest; if they are, they must be retained, if not, they
must at once be abolished. But the Government have more to do than
to convince their own minds and the mind of Parliament that these
restrictions are necessary, they have to convince the men themselves,
and this up to the present they have failed to do. Many men, per­
fectly reasonable and educated, are not convinced that this is the
case, and this want o f conviction naturally becomes greater when you
approach the less educated ranks. We can not too strongly impress
upon the Government the need of publicity. No method should be
neglected in bringing all cases before the people. I f the cause is a
good one it will find acceptance.
8. The effect of the acts on trade-unions has been equally marked
and the acts have weakened authority all round. The munitions
tribunal settles questions which were previously adjusted in consul­
tation between the trade-union secretary and the manager. But a
still profounder effect has been the prohibition o f the right to strike.
This has undoubtedly taken authority out of the hands of the re­
sponsible officials and given it to shop stewards, and therefore the
acts have greatly stimulated the shop steward or “ rank-and-file”
movement. Altogether, owing to the feeling of distrust mentioned
in a preceding paragraph, coupled with the effect of the Munitions
Act, the trade-union w^orld is in a state of flux and ferment.
MUNITIONS TRIBUNALS.

9. This tribunal consists of a chairman, appointed by the Minister
o f Munitions, and two assessors, both chosen by the minister, one
from a panel representing employers and the other from a panel
representing workmen. The working of the tribunal depends on
the chairman, who is all powerful. We heard complaints against
some tribunals, but there was a general agreement that the Birming­
ham tribunal worked with fairness. The employers generally were
satisfied, but complained of loss of time. On the men’s side the
following objections were urged:
(1) That breaking o f rules, often trifling, becomes a crime.
(2) That the chairman is all powerful and the assessors powerless.
(3) That he belongs to the employing class.
(4) That he is usually a lawyer.
(5) That bias is shown both in the composition of the men’s panel
and in the choice o f assessors therefrom.
(6) That fines are excessive, and especially harsh on women.
(7) That no proceedings are taken against employers.




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

93

(8) That meetings are held in a law court or even a police court,
where there is an objectionable criminal atmosphere.
(9) That women particularly dislike it, and rather than face its
publicity will submit to injustice.
(10) That attendance involves loss of time and wages.
W ith regard to these we recommend that the work of all chairmen
be periodically reviewed and compared, and that an unsatisfactory
one be removed. He should preferably be versed in business and not
a lawyer. The names of both panels should be chosen after consulta­
tion with the organizations concerned, and the panels should be
public with a definite rota. -The meetings should not be in a court
o f law, certainly not in a police court.
We also consider that the system should be modified. The em­
ployer’s and men’s time which should be spent on munitions, is
wasted in attending the tribunal, often on trifling cases. The total
time lost each year runs into immense figures. The tribunal should
only be used in the last resort. Offenses in the first instance should be
discussed by the management with the trade-union secretary (or
shop committees if such are approved) and not taken to the tribunal
as a matter of course. W e find that many o f the best employers
hardly use the tribunal at all, and the rest should be brought up to
their level. Women should always be allowed to see the woman
assessor in private.
B (i).— DILUTION.

10.
Dilution must always be unpopular, but it has been accepted
by nearly all trade-unions. Opposition was and is shown by some,
but this has been largely overcome and at the moment the position
is fairly satisfactory from the employers’ point o f view. From the
men’s standpoint, it has been recognized that some change is neces­
sary. Considerable dissatisfaction. is felt at the greater earning
power o f men and women on repetition work compared with the
skilled men on a time rate, but we deal with this under another head.
A ll agree that women’s work has been extremely successful. The
men are still suspicious o f women’s work, partly because it is an
innovation and partly because they feel that it will reduce rates.
We are satisfied that in some instances the employment of women is
used to reduce rates. The readjustment after the war will be difficult
and will call for prudent statesmanship, but at the moment we can
not find that dilution causes much unrest. Such unrest as exists is
due rather to a suspicion that the Government are not in earnest in
their promise to restore prewar conditions.
I f dilution has to be carried further and applied to private firms,
great caution is necessary. We recommend that the Ministry o f
Munitions should consult those actually engaged in the trade, by




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BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

conference and other methods, and not only their leaders; no step
should be taken without full explanation.
LEAVING CERTIFICATES.

11. Section 7 o f the Munitions Act (1915) as amended by section
5 of the act of 1916 provides that a person shall not give employment
to a workman who has within the previous six weeks been employed
on munition work unless he obtains either from his employer or
from the munitions tribunal a certificate that he is free to accept
other employment. The intention of this provision is to assert the
right of the State to decide where a man works in war time. It
is not a matter for decision either by employers or workmen, but must
be settled in the national interest, and the tribunal by its constitu­
tion represents such interest. Whether it fulfills its object is another
matter. It can not be said that the leaving-certificate system works
satisfactorily. The employers who came before us were nearly unani­
mous in saying that some restriction of liberty is essential if we are
to avoid dangerous dislocation of industry, and while most of them
pressed for a retention of the existing system, others were satisfied
that some modification is possible. The men’s witnesses, on the other
hand, were unanimous in condemning it. Some asked for the imme­
diate repeal o f section 7; others, while wanting a modification, ad­
mitted that restrictions are necessary.
We are glad to see that the Government intend to repeal section
7. We consider that a system can be devised which will secure the
national interest, satisfy the employer, and meet most o f the men’s
objections.
RESTORATION OF PREWAR CONDITIONS.

12. We are not concerned with the legal meaning o f the pledges
contained in the Treasury Agreement of 1915 and in the Munitions
Acts, which is ambiguous, but with their broad effect. Nor have
we to consider in what manner and to what extent complete restora­
tion is possible. W e are concerned with industrial unrest alone,
and have to consider restoration in its relation to that. Viewed
from that standpoint, three broad considerations emerge. First
there is a belief, how widely prevalent we can not say, that imme­
diately on the declaration o f peace wages will drop to the prewar
level, bonuses will be withdrawn, and piece rates universally re­
duced. This belief is no doubt erroneous.
Secondly, statements have been widely made that complete resto­
ration is impossible, and this has led to the belief that the promise
was never meant to be kept. This belief is encouraged by the
general distrust of the Government, to which we referred in para­




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

95

graph 4, and by reference to pledges on military service which had
to be withdrawn.
Now, whether restoration is possible or not, there is no doubt
that a pledge was given and that it is unconditional. I f, therefore,
it has to be varied, this must be with the assent of those to whom
it was given. We do not think that any immediate action of the
Government is called for, but we wish to point out that nothing
should be said or done to encourage the belief that the pledge is
not binding.
Thirdly, the difficulty is not mainly one between the Government
on one side and workmen on the other, or indeed between employers
and workmen, but rather between different classes of workers. On
tlie one side are the “ craftsmen” and their unions; on the other,
men and women belonging to the “ general ” or “ unskilled ” unions.
These men and women have attained skill since the war, and are in
many cases doing the same work as “ craftsmen.” They will cer­
tainly object to any proposal to expel them from the higher grades
o f industry.
B (ii).— INEQUALITY OF WAGES BETWEEN SKILLED AND SEMISKILLED.

13.
The outbreak o f the war found the craftsmen’s unions, such as
the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, working mostly on a time
rate as against a piece rate. This was the case even where a piece
rate was applicable and would have paid the men better. This
feature o f trade-union policy is so well known that we need not en­
large on it. The war caused changes which can be grouped under
three heads:
First. The introduction o f semiskilled and unskilled men and
women into work previously regarded as skilled men’s work.
Second. The largely increased output of existing processes giv­
ing a greater earning power for the same piece rate.
Third. The introduction o f many new processes easily learnt
and yielding a high wage at the agreed piece rates. To this must
be added the great speeding-up which the beginning of the war
called out, and the fact that it was very wisely determined that
piece rates existing before the war should not be reduced. The
result has been as great a revolution in industry as any similar
period has witnessed. The output has been vastly increased, old
processes have been scrapped and new and more efficient ones in­
troduced. Our industries stand on a different plane from the pre­
war period. Now the effect o f increased production coupled with
a fixed piece rate has been a great increase of the earning power o f
workers doing repetition work. The rates were fixed in peace time,
when not only were conditions more leisurelv but orders were re­




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BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ceived in dozens and grosses where they are now received in thou­
sands and tens of thousands. Hence the machine can now be
worked for a longer productive period, the output is enormously
increased, and the wages earned have reached a height hitherto
undreamt of. In the engineering trade £4 [$19.47] a week for a man
or woman, who has entered the trade since the war, is not an unusual
wage; whilst in many cases the wage reaches £6, £8, and £10 [$29.90,
$38.93, and $48.67] a week or even more, all, be it understood, by
workers with no previous experience. A t the same time the tool­
maker and the gaugemaker, both skilled men whose skill is the basis
on which the machine operates, are still working on a prewar rate,
plus the bonuses and advances received since the war, but, taking all
these into account, are receiving considerably less than the piece­
worker.
The result may be imagined. The skilled man with a life’s ex­
perience behind him sees a girl or youth, whom perhaps he himself
has taught, earning twice as much as he does. The injury to his
self-respect is as great as that to his pocket. His grievance is
aggravated by the fact that the leaving-certificate system prevents
him from taking up repetition work himself. The hard case of
these men is recognized by the employer equally with the workman.
Many employers would welcome any scheme whereby a bigger share
o f the wages paid went to the toolmaker. Their difficulty is that
they are forbidden to take anything from the pieceworker and
give it to the day worker, for this would in fact be to reduce piece
rates, and unless they can do this they do not see their way to
increase wages. Various methods have been suggested:
(a) That the Government should withdraw the prohibition on
reducing piece rates, and that the amount saved should go to the
timeworker.
We can not recommend this. Not only would it cause more
unrest than it allayed, but it would mean breaking a Government
pledge— a most undesirable proceeding.
(b) That all wages, or those in certain processes, should be
“ pooled ” and a larger share given to the toolmaker.
This in effect involves a reduction of the piece rate and is open
to the same objection as (a).
(<?) That he should receive a bonus on the output of the factory
or some department of it.
This is being tried in some works. It involves, o f course, an
increase in the wage bill.
(d ) That the toolmaker should work on a piece rate.
The men’s witnesses were nearly unanimous that this was im­
possible. Possibly the well-known opposition o f some trade-unions
to piecework colored their view; but we are bound to add that the




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

97

employers, who naturally prefer piecework, are by no means unani­
mous in thinking that it is practicable in the toolroom.
We think that, where piecework is possible, it will meet the
difficulty. Where it is not, we are in favor o f (<?)— a bonus on
output.
B (iii),— DELAY IN SECURING SETTLEMENT.

14. It is notorious that appeals to the committee on production
and the Ministry of Munitions have met with great delay. This
is recognized in the reorganization which we understand is taking
place in the constitution of the committee on production in order
to speed it up. This is essential. Nothing causes more unrest
than that a demand for a bonus or wage increase, admitted to be
just by the employer, should be held up for weeks or months by
the body with whom decision rests. We see no reason why awards
should not be announced within a fortnight or three weeks, which
is the usual limit assigned for industrial arbitrations, and we think
that this should be a rule from which no exception should be
allowed.
A further delay arises from the ambiguous terms in which these
awards are sometimes drawn, for this involves a reference back and
great delay and uncertainty. It was freely stated by both employers’
and employed’s witnesses that some awards must have been drawn
by men ignorant of the trade, so difficult were they to interpret;
but as we had no opportunity of calling the officials concerned, we
can not say on whom the blame should rest. We are satisfied,
however, that awards in the past have been ambiguous, and this
should be remedied. It should be considered whether local tribu­
nals should not be set up for differences local in character.
C.— FOOD PRICES.

15. A ll witnesses concurred in considering this the chief cause
o f unrest, and we agree with them. The men’s witnesses were
unanimous, though the employers’ were not, in saying that the cost
o f living had risen to a greater degree than wages. This, o f
course, is not universal, as many people are getting high wages who
before the war earned little or nothing; but taking wages as a
whole, and ruling out exceptional cases, it is doubtful whether
workmen are anything if at all better off than they were before
the war. We have witnesses who quoted with assent the statement
o f the Eight Hon. J. Thomas, M. P., that the railway men would
gladly give up bonuses if prices could be reduced, and this opinion
is pretty general. Some witnesses went so far as to say that we
17841°— 17— Bull. 237------ 7




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BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

had got into a vicious circle; that every rise in wages was followed
by a corresponding or greater rise in prices, calling in its turn for a
further rise in wages, and they expressed the view that the only
remedy was to force wages up to such a point as would compel the
Government to deal with prices. Anyhow, the general opinion un­
doubtedly is that prices are more important than wages. Very
few witnesses were in favor of a rationing system, for its difficulties
are recognized; most favor fixed prices, with control by the Govern­
ment of food production. But besides the actual anger caused by
finding their increased wages all going in increased cost o f living,
there is a further feeling o f bitter resentment at the thought that
some one is making an excessive profit out o f them. This feeling is
both widespread and dangerous. It is supported by many cases
in which companies connected with food or transport have paid
enormously increased profits since the war. It is believed that these
are only examples o f a large class, and that intentional and organ­
ized profiteering is going on unchecked. The action o f the late
Food Controller did nothing to remove this impression. It is ab­
solutely necessary that the Government should take immediate
steps to reduce prices and to prevent profiteering. W e shall no
doubt be told that this is an easy thing to say but difficult to do.
We are, however, not concerned to find a remedy, which is the busi­
ness o f the Food Controller, but we are concerned to point out that
the present uncertainty and confusion are doing untold mischief
and that the question should be tackled at once in a resolute man­
ner. We wish to add that the measures taken should be fully
explained to the public.
D.— LIQUOR RESTRICTIONS.

16.
The commission were frankly amazed at the strength o f the
objections to the liquor restrictions. These came not only from the
men in the habit of drinking beer, but from those who were life-long
teetotallers and yet recognized the need o f beer to those working on
certain occupations. The question is threefold— one o f hours, price,
and scarcity. O f these the last is by far the most galling. The
limitation o f hours, though unpopular, has been accepted as a war
necessity. The increase of price is resented chiefly because it is felt
that brewers are making an undue profit, but the real grievance is
the difficulty o f obtaining the article. It must be remembered that
we are dealing with men who all their lives have been accustomed
to drink beer when they want it. We hold no brief either for
or against beer drinking, but we are convinced that that is a ques­
tion which men must settle for themselves, and that it must be
recognized that beer is more than a drink. Without going into the




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

99

thorny question of whether it is a food, it certainly is a social habit
or a custom o f life, as two witnesses expressed it. We recommend
to the Government that the supply should be largely increased. We
recognize that this may entail some weakening o f the article, but
we wish to impress upon the Government that besides supplying
beer they must supply the sort that men want, and that quantity
alone will not meet the case. In allotting the new supply special
regard should be had to areas which show largely increased popula­
tion.
E.— INDTJSTRIAL FATIGUE.

17. There is no doubt that the workmen are tired and overstrained,
and this is not the only result o f their work, but is also due to the
nervous strain o f the war. We consider that overtime and Sunday
work should be reduced as much as possible. We do not believe
that they increase production in the long run. We recognize that
things are much better in this respect than they were, but there is
still room for improvement. Holidays should not be curtailed, and
every effort should be made to provide suitable recreation.
F.— SHOP DISCIPLINE.

18. A great deal o f evidence was taken on the question o f shop
stewards and shop committees. There was a sharp conflict o f opinion
on the subject. The case for shop committees is as follow s:
There are advantages in having a committee elected from the
organized labor in the shop. It can meet the management and discuss
and settle grievances which are small and local. It can also meet
employers and bring them in touch with their men. It works more
quickly than trade-union machinery, and it has a local knowledge
which trade-union officials sometimes lack. It is in touch with all
the changing conditions in the shop, whilst the trade-union secre­
tary is not. It decentralizes trade-union procedure which at present
is too much “ officialized ” and too little controlled by the rank and
file. It creates solidarity among the workers and breaks down tradeunion particularism. By agreement between employer and workmen,
its operation can be extended to such questions as discussion o f piece
rates and control o f minor breaches of discipline. It gives the work­
men more control over the conditions of life.
On the other side, it was urged that the system o f settling griev­
ances by discussion between the management and the local tradeunion secretary works well. A shop committee would inevitably
weaken trade-union authority. It would be composed o f the wilder
and less responsible spirits who were out to make mischief. It
would weaken or destroy the employer’s authority and keep the shop




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BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

in continual turmoil. It would waste time. It would lead to unau­
thorized strikes. The local trade-union secretary is in touch with
conditions in the district. He settles small questions with the man­
agement and reports larger ones to his union for adjustment in the
ordinary course.
In view o f the conflict of opinion and o f the fact that the com­
mission are not unanimous, we do not feel able to make any recom­
mendation. The weight o f evidence on both sides is against the
change, but on the other hand, the local organizing secretaries both
o f the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and of the Workers’
Union, as well as some employers, were in favor o f it.
RELATIONS OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED.

19.
The best security for industrial peace is organization o f both
employers and employed. I f the men are badly organized the result
is unauthorized local strikes; if the employers are not strongly fed­
erated, you have a minority who refuse to pay the district rate.
It is this minority which causes trouble. W e are glad to say that
the large majority o f employers in this area are good employers, but
there is here as elsewhere a minority who are not, and they cause
unsettlement and disturbance out o f all proportion to their numbers.
This may occur in several ways o f which we select two. Certain
employers, few in number, neglect to grant the increases awarded
by the committee on production. The fact that one or two employers
do this unsettles a whole district. Again the position o f works
foreman, always important, has greater importance since the war;
for he largely decides who is to be prosecuted before the munitions
tribunal and also has some weight in determining who is to be exempt
from military service. Now, most employers are extremely careful
in choosing foremen, and only appoint those possessing character
and skill, but some employers act otherwise and appoint men ig­
norant of the trade and incapable o f handling their fellows. The
evils which result are not confined to the workshops affected, but
disturb the whole district.
We therefore recommend that employers5 federations representing
a substantial pa:rt of an industry should have disciplinary powers
over their own recalcitrant members. We also approve o f the con­
clusion in the Report o f the Industrial Council into Industrial
Agreements (Cd 6952 o f 1913) that “ an agreement entered into
between associations o f employers and o f workmen representing a
substantial body of those in the trade or district should, on the
application o f the parties to the agreement, be made applicable to
the whole trade or district concerned,” provided that the conditions
contained in that report are fulfilled (see pars. 58 and 61 thereof).




INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN GREAT BRITAIN.

101

In this connection we have read with approval the report dated
March 8, 1917, o f the subcommittee o f the Reconstruction Committee
on Relations between Employers and Employed, under the chair­
manship o f the Right Hon. J. H. Whitley, M. P. (commonly called
the Whitley report). We express a general approval o f that report.
We are also impressed with the advantages in large works o f fre­
quent meetings between men and their employers, not merely man­
agers or foremen. This takes place in several works where men,
either through a shop committee or otherwise, have regular and
frequent opportunities o f meeting a partner, i f the business is car­
ried on by a firm, or a director, if by a limited company. This
excellent practice should be made universal; it brings employers and
employed into touch, gives a chance o f settling incipient grievances,
and affords the employed some say as to the conditions under which
they work.
AN INDUSTRIAL CODE FOR W A R TIME.

20. W ar has necessitated a new industrial code, and this is con­
tained in the Defense o f the Realm Acts, Military Service Acts, Mu­
nitions o f War Acts, and other acts, as well as innumerable orders,
rules, and regulations issued under those acts or by Government
departments and officials concerned. The result is a chaos o f rules
and orders, often issued without any guiding principle, so numerous,
intricate, and confused that few, i f any, understand them. We think
that these laws, orders, and regulations should be examined and
codified; the result would be greater brevity and clearness. The
resulting rules should be reduced to the simplest language and pains
should be taken to explain them, and the reasons for their issue, to
those whom they affect.
RECOMMENDATIONS.

21. The commission make the following recommendations. The
order in which they are given is that contained in the “ Outline of
proposed arrangements” issued to the commissioners and dated June
12, 1917. Our additional recommendations are at the end, and,
finally, we have stated what we think the most urgent problems.
A .-----OPERATION OF M IL IT A R Y SERVICE ACTS.

22. There should be greater publicity on man power and the need
for military service and particularly on need for any change. The
decision whether a man joins the army should always and demon­
strably be that of the State and not o f employer or employed. (See
par. 5.)




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U R E A U *O F LABOR STATISTICS.

Trades-cards scheme.

23. W e concur in its withdrawal, but the reasons should be more
fully explained. The working of the new system, the protected occu­
pations schedule, should be closely examined. (See par. 6.)
B.---- OPERATION OF M U N IT IO N S OF W A R ACTS.

24. The reasons for all restrictions on liberty should be reexam­
ined and more fully explained. (See par. 7.)
M unitions tribunals.

25. The chairman should be a business man.
The panels of assessors should be settled in consultation with the
organizations concerned, and should be published and have a definite
rota. The tribunal should not meet in a court of law, certainly not
in a police court. A ll offenses should in the first instance come
before a body representing employer and employed, and the tribunal
should only be used for serious offenses as a last resort. A ll women
appearing should be allowed to see the woman assessor in private.
(See par. 9.)
B ( i ) . — DILUTION.

26. Any further steps required should only be taken after full
publicity, consultation, and explanation of the national necessity.
(See par. 10.)
Care must be taken that women’s labor is not used to cut piece
rates.
Leaving certificates.

27. W e approve of their withdrawal.

(See par. 11.)

R estoration o f prew ar conditions.

28. No immediate action by Government is called for, but if occa­
sion arises it should be stated that the pledge exists, and that it will
not be altered without the consent of the men’s organizations. (See
par. 12.)
B

( i i ) . ---- IN E Q U A L IT Y OF W AGES BETWEEN

SKILLED AND SE M ISK ILLE D LABOR.

29. No reduction of piece prices can take place in view of the
Government’s pledge. Where possible, the skilled man on time rate
should by agreement work on piece rate, but this may not be possible
in such trades as the toolmaker. In such trades he should receive
bonus on the output of the factory or department. (See par. 13.)




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

103

B ( H i ) . — DELAYS IN SECURING SETTLEM ENT.

30. W e welcome the proposed speeding up of the committee on
production. Awards of this committee and of the Ministry of Muni­
tions should be given within 14 or at most 21 days. A ll awards
should be drawn by men acquainted with the trade, and be free from
ambiguity. (See par. 14.)
C.— INCREASE OF FOOD PRICES.

31. An immediate reduction is essential, and this is the most urgent
matter of all. (See par. 15.)
Profiteering must be rigidly checked.
D.— LIQUOR RESTRICTIONS.

32. No increase in existing hours is required. A further supply of
beer of an acceptable quality is urgently needed. The price might
probably be considerably reduced without injustice to the producer.
(See par. 16.)
E.— T H E EFFECTS OF IND U STRIAL FATIGUE.

33. Overtime and Sunday work should be reduced to a minimum.
Holidays should not be abolished or shortened. All possible amuse­
ments and relaxations should be provided. (See par. 17.)
F.-----SHOP DISCIPLINE.

34. The commission make no recommendation.

(See par. 18.)

PUBLICITY.

35. Every means should be used to inform the public of the reason
for all orders importing change or restricting liberty, and their neces­
sity and fairness should be shown on all occasions.
Information about all such questions as man power, food supply,
and munition requirements should, wherever possible, be given.
(See par. 4.)
Besides the usual methods, such as the press and public speeches,
the Ministry of Munitions should hold periodical conferences in
different areas. The labor department of that ministry should have
a publicity section.
IND U STRIAL CODE FOR W AR TIM E.

3.6. The various acts of Parliament, regulations, orders, etc., should
be examined, amended, or withdrawn where necessary, codified in
simple language, and then fully explained. (See par. 20.)




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.
RELATIONS OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED.

37. Federations of employers and organizations of men should be
encouraged. The machinery outlined in the Whitley report should
be discussed, and if agreed to set up. Where a substantial body of
employers and employed in a trade or district agree to a wag 3 , it
should be made compulsory on the dissentient minority. Employers
should frequently and regularly meet their workmen either through
shop committees or otherwise. Employers’ federations should have
power to discipline recalcitrant members. (See par. 19.)
VARIATION B Y GOVERNMENT OF SC H EM ES ONCE IN

OPERATION.

38. Great caution should be exercised in varying an arrangement
once entered into by Government. These arrangements are, rightly
or wrongly, regarded as Government pledges, e. g., the trades-card
scheme, and their variation as a breach of faith, with disastrous
results. Such variation should only be made from urgent national
necessity, and then the reason for the change should be exhaustively
explained. (See par. 4.)
RELATIVE URGENCY OF PROBLEMS.

39. W e consider the food question and profiteering by far the most
urgent. Next in order we place want of publicity, variation of agree­
ments, liquor restrictions, and leaving certificates.
40. The commission appointed Mr. George Shann, M. A ., their
secretary. His wide knowledge of industrial problems, particularly
in this area, were of the greatest service and the commission are
deeply indebted to him.
W e have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servants.
(Signed)
J o h n W . H i l l s , Chairman.
J o h n W . O gden.
John W . W

(Signed)
J u ly

11,1917.




h it e .

G eorge S h a n n ,

Secretary.

NO. 5 DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
LONDON AND SOUTHEASTERN AREA.
UNREST.

The unrest is real, widespread and in some directions extreme, and
such as to constitute a national danger unless dealt with promptly
and effectively. W e are at this moment within view of a possible
social upheaval or at least extensive and manifold strikes. No
tinkering schemes will meet the requirements of the situation. It
is necessary to secure to the workingman a fair share of the product
of his labor, and a just participation in the establishment of the
conditions of industry. The workmen consider that they should be
dealt with as men.
CAUSES OF UNREST.

The causes are various, some of them manifest. Some are impor­
tant and pressing, requiring to be dealt with at once; others are
minor or more remote but contribute effectively to the existing
results.
In the order of importance these causes may be ranked more or
less as follows:
(а) Food prices, and in connection with this—
(б) What is called profiteering.
(<?) Industrial fatigue.
( d) Inequality of sacrifice.
(e) Uncertainty as to the future.
( /) Want of confidence in the Government and resentment at
undue interference.
(g) Various minor causes.
1. FOOD PRICES.

This is at present the chief factor among the immediate causes
of unrest.
The men realize the impossibility of maintaining prewar supplies
or prices; but they are convinced that the present prices are far
higher than they should be, and they ascribe the difficulty in ob­
taining adequate food and fuel to the failure of the Government
to establish adequate machinery for fair distribution. Advances




105

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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

in wages and a very considerable increase in earning power have
failed to enable the already overworked men to maintain their
standard of living which has suffered a grave decline, and this in
spite of the overtime worked without which, as they say, they could
not “ pull through.” And this is more marked in the case of the
lower paid grades. Statements of prices and profits in the news­
papers, admissions made in Parliament, their own sources of in­
formation and their personal and family experience make them feel,
to use their own language, they are “ being bled white.” This
threatens to create a very grave situation.
1.

(A )

PROFITEERING.

The feeling just mentioned is intensified by the belief, which is
general among the workpeople, that a large proportion of these high
prices is due, not to the necessities of the case, but to “ profiteering.”
The sense that many individuals are benefiting through the war at
the expense of the community, and especially of the poor, generates
a bitterness which intensifies the unrest.
2. IN D U STRIAL FATIGUE.

Only the workman can speak with first-hand authority on the
incidence of strain. There is ample evidence to show that the con­
tinuous labor and unduly extended hours during the war have caused
a state of nervous exhaustion in large numbers of workers which
has made them more susceptible to influences contributing to unrest.
Even in the case of retail shops and warehouses in which restric­
tion has been placed on the hours during which such establishments
may be open and carry on trade, these restrictions do not affect the
hours during which shop assistants may be required to be at work.
The want of proper ventilation in many places of employment is a
contributory cause of exhaustion.
3. H O U SIN G .

Further, owing to the large influx of labor into areas where muni­
tions work has been largely carried on the housing accommodation
has been a problem of considerable gravity, the accommodation being
wholly inadequate and the prices charged unduly inflated.
4. IN E Q U A L IT Y OF SACRIFICE.

Another important element in the prevailing unrest is the sense
of inequality of sacrifice.
O f the patriotism of the overwhelming majority of the workmen
and their families there can be no question. The experience of




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST I N GREAT B R IT A IN .

107

voluntary recruiting and the surrender of cherished trade customs
are sufficient to show their spirit to be at least as sound as that of
any other part of the community. But since the beginning of the
war there has gradually arisen a sense of injustice, and a feeling
that there is a tendency to treat them as though they were rather
the instruments of the community than members of it.
(a) While prices rise and those who control the necessaries of life
are making fortunes, the men can not obtain by negotiation with
the employers a single rise in wages without the consent of the Gov­
ernment. The leaving-certificate system, which bound the men and
left the employers free to discharge them; the Military Service Act,
which enabled an employer to part with a man for the army, but left
him free to refuse his transfer to another firm where he was wanted
and where perhaps he would have earned more; the vexatious ex­
perience of the men haled before local tribunals for trivial offenses;
the cruel suspension without pay of women engaged far from home,
because the employer is not furnished with material, or for some
other cause over which the employer has no control; the fact that
nonassociated firms could disregard any increase of wages agreed
to in associated firms, and yet keep the men; all these things and
many other provocations rankle bitterly in the minds of the men.
(b) Again, another instance of inequality of sacrifice is to be
found in the fact that workmen of the highest skill are mostly en­
gaged on day work, while semiskilled workmen and unskilled work­
men and women are for the most part engaged on a system of pay­
ment by results. Under this system the earnings of the skilled men
are much less as a whole than the earnings of the semiskilled piece­
workers. As this has gone on since the beginning of the war, and
there does not yet appear any satisfactory solution of the topsyturvey arrangement, the effect on the skilled men has been far from
good. There is a serious fear that the contract with the Government
as to the restoration of prewar conditions regarding dilution may
prove impracticable and not be carried out.
( c ) Further, the operation of the fair wages clause was enforce­
able in peace time by the threat to remove the offending firm from
the list of Government contractors. Such a step has become imprac­
ticable in war time, and the workman has the impression that many
cases which could have been dealt with promptly under the fair
wages clause have for this reason not been properly dealt with.
(d) Besides this, invidious distinctions are apparent in so far as
awards made in respect of differences between organized bodies of
employees and workpeople are not applicable to men in the employ­
ment of unorganized employers.
( e ) Irritation is manifested also owing to the impression enter­
tained by the workmen that the provisions of section 7 of the Muni­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OP LABOR STATISTICS.

tions Act result in industrial servitude. The employer is able to
dismiss or detain at his pleasure, while a workman is unable to leave
except under a penalty of six weeks’ idleness. This of course is a
restriction of the workman’s power to sell his labor in the best market,
and they further complain that the tribunals before which they, are
brought, as if criminals, pay no attention to the fact that while a
man may have sought work at the beginning of the war in existing
factories far from his liome under the impression that work and
employment would be temporary, and now he may be able to obtain
work in a converted or new factory nearer his home, the leaving
certificate system debars him from bettering his environment while
still working for his country. It is also pointed out that while the
opening of new factories, or the reopening of old factories with new
work, necessitating the employment of men of experience as charge
hands or foremen, affords opportunities for advancement of such
experienced men, they are refused leaving certificates because their
value to their present employers is held to justify their detention.
The ratio decidendi of this ruling inflicts special hardships in the
case of those whose apprenticeship has ended.
5. M INO R COM PLAINTS.

O f these there are several, such as:
(а) Liquor restrictions.
(б) Welfare— excessive interference with personal liberty.
( c) German prisoners.
(d) Enemy propaganda.
(a)
Liquor restrictions.— There is general recognition that the re­
striction on the sale of beer and the increase in the price of it has
produced hardship, ill feeling, and irritation among the large in­
dustrial population accustomed to take beer at their principal meals.
Even a teetotaller objected on behalf of his union to the bad effect
the restrictions had on men against whom no reflection of intem­
perance could be suggested.
In trades where heavy labor and heat rapidly exhaust the moisture
of the body the withholding of beer results not only in a sense of
hardship but also in bad effects upon health.
The institution of canteens has not had the effect of reducing the
feeling of irritation in regard to cost of food, and the inability to
procure suitable foods. In many cases the food provided at the
canteens has not been satisfactory, and the sameness of the food has
militated against the success of the movement. No adequate arrange­
ment has been made to meet the reasonable requirements of workers
in the matter of refreshment, a difficulty which is in great part due
to the large influx of outside labor. In the large munition areas




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109

difficulties have been experienced owing to the limitation of hours
during which liquor traffic is permitted, particularly in the case of
overtime and nightwork. There appears to be inequality amounting
to absurdity in the distribution of supplies, e. g., in Woolwich, a
place to which there is an enormous daily immigration, public houses
are frequently closed for days together on account of want of
supplies.
(&)
'Welfare.— The workpeople do not altogether approve of the
activities of welfare superintendents, particularly when these activi-_
ties are directed not so much from the general as from the individual
standpoint, and in reference to what the workpeople choose to do in
the way of occupying their time when away from the factory. The
proceedings of the welfare superintendents are in many cases con­
sidered, and are, inquisitorial, pergonal, and unduly interfering.
Instances have been given of women and girls being suspended
without pay for reasons over which such women have no control. In
a large proportion of these instances the women are engaged far
from home, and are living in lodgings. In the national interest it
is intolerable that women and girls under such circumstances should
be so stranded, and in the opinion of your commissioners it is a
matter which calls for serious and urgent attention of the Govern­
ment. And although it may seem that we here trench on what does
not come within the strict terms of reference, we feel bound to sug­
gest that in the national interest the Government should immediately
concern themselves with the problems which arise from the tem­
porary promiscuous employment of females in factories.
( g)
German prisoners.— The employment of German prisoners in
conjunction with British workmen, and the better conditions which
they enjoy while so employed, have been sources of great irritation.
( d ) Enemy propaganda*— Although we are aware that general
statements have been extensively, but without proofs, made that
some of the troubles with which we are concerned is due to enemy
propaganda, we feel bound to say that no title of proof of anything
of the kind has been adduced before us.
6.

U N C E R TA IN T Y A S TO T H E FUTURE.

Dilution was agreed upon by the unions only in respect of munition
work and on the undertaking that it would not be extended to private
work. The Government now proposes to take power to enforce dilu­
tion on private work. The men look upon this as a further breach of
faith which fills them with anxiety as to the extent to which they can
depend upon the Government’s undertaking to restore prewar condi­
tions. I f the work of dilution had been carried through on any welldefined principle, and not haphazard, there would, perhaps, not have
been the difficulties which have in fact been experienced.




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B U L L E T IN OP T H E BU K EAU OP LABOR STATISTICS.

7. W A N T OF CONFIDENCE IN T H E GOVERNMENT AND R ESENTM ENT A T U N D U E
INTERFERENCE.

{a) Owing to the number of cases in which the Government have,
in the judgment of the workmen, departed from undertakings given
to the men there appears to be only a fading confidence in Govern­
ment departments; and from the evidence it would appear that the
recent stoppages of work were directed rather against the Govern­
ment than against the employers. The danger lies in the possibility
'that the example set by the Government may be regarded as an
inducement to and a justification for the adoption by the men of the
same line of conduct and the treating of their own undertakings as
“ scraps of paper.”
( b)
The growth of officialism, the multiplication of departments
and the continual changes in personnel have resulted in delay and
in loss of confidence as to satisfactory dealing with labor prob­
lems. There is a distinct opinion amongst both employers and
workmen that the Government has intervened to a much greater
extent than is desirable, or useful, in the relations between employers
and employed, and that it would have been much better had the par­
ties been free to come to agreements and settle their difficulties be­
tween themselves. This feeling is accentuated by the fact that some
of the Government departments now dealing with labor are of re­
cent creation, and are not, at any rate in some cases, equipped in the
matter of experience or personnel for dealing with labor questions.
(o)
Representatives of both the employers and the trade-unions
concur in the complaint about the multiplicity of departments. Much
of the difficulty arising from this would appear to be due to the
want of complete coordination of the provinces or activities of the
several offices. Variations, and to some extent conflict, in regula­
tions and methods as well as instructions have been recognized, and
much uncertainty exists as to the department to which communica­
tions relating to labor should properly be addressed. Delay and
consequent irritation have resulted from this embarrassing position.
(d)
The Military Service Act has not tended to allay the unrest
which has existed—
The trade-card scheme appears to have been devised by the Gov­
ernment to safeguard the skilled men from recruitment. Pledges
given by the Government that skilled men should not be taken into
the nontechnical units o f the army have been consistently ignored.
The trade-card scheme was presumed to be a solution of the difficulty
and its introduction was a matter of agreement with the trade-unions.
Before it had been completely put into operation, but not before it
had involved one organization in the expenditure of £10,000 [$48,665]




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

I ll

it was withdrawn by the Government without any previous intima­
tion to the parties concerned.
(e)
The schedule of protected occupations was then introduced;
but, whereas the trade-card scheme gave specific exemption to cer­
tain classes, the schedule of protected occupations gave protection
only where a claim for protection was made out, thus throwing the
onus of proof on the workman who had not borne it before.
The administration of the scheduled occupation order and the con­
fusion of red and black cards has been a source of much irritation,
and the action of the Government in connection with this matter,
has intensified the belief that the workpeople can not depend on
pledges given by the Government.
( /) This loss of confidence in the Government is unfortunately
associated with a diminished reliance on the power and prestige of
the trade-unions, and the impairment of the authority and influence
of these executive bodies. In many cases the trade-union repre­
sentatives have by constitutional methods endeavored, but in vain,
to procure the settlement of difficulties. The workpeople have gained
the impression that if they wish for any improvement in their con­
ditions they must take the matter into their own hands and bring
pressure to bear upon the Government.
Action by the men them­
selves has been able to force the Government to do that which they
have refused or delayed to do when approached in a constitutional
way by the trade-union representatives. The result has been a loss of
confidence in the trade-union itself.
(g) The shop steward movement is a comparatively recent de­
velopment in trade-union activity, and its policy and objects vary
at present in different centers. The movement is broadly divided
into two sections, one of which seeks to strengthen and sustain the
constituted authority of the trade-union, and to improve and amelio­
rate the condition of the trade unionist by a policy of negotiation; the
other, consisting of more ardent and less responsible spirits is frankly
revolutionary and does not admit the possibility of improvement in
the workers’ condition without a radical alteration of the social and
industrial systems. The latter section consisting for the most part
of “ workers’ committees” is at present in a small minority; but
there is a danger that unless some satisfactory arrangement be made
for representation of the workpeople in shop negotiations a large
section of the shop stewards proper will make common cause with
the revolutionary group.
(h) Again the workmen have the impression that not all changes
in working conditions have been recorded by the employers in ac­
cordance with the provisions of the Munitions of War Acts. It does
not indeed clearly appear whose duty it is to see to this being done;




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

and the men, in view of what they consider broken pledges in other
directions, are anxious as to the effect of this failure in postwar
conditions.
(i)
Delays unintelligible and vexatious to the men in procuring
settlement by Government departments have undoubtedly con­
tributed to unrest. In some cases the settlement of questions has
been procured only by stoppage or threat of stoppage of work. For
example, in one case in which employers and men had agreed to raise
a maximum from 20 to 60 per cent (the Ministry of Munitions hav­
ing failed to consent) and the matter had been placed before the
committee on production, it took 14 weeks to get a decision. The
men affected stopped work twice in consequence; and it required all
the influence of the union officials to induce the men to resume and
continue work.
TRIBUNALS.

T h e s e t r ib u n a ls a r e c o n s id e r e d b y th e m e n p e c u lia r ly o b n o x io u
T h e y fin d i t d iffic u lt t o d is t in g u is h t h e m f r o m a p o l ic e c o u r t a
th e y re se n t th e s tig m a w h ic h a p p e a r s t o a tta c h t o th e m .
F rom i
fo r m a t io n p la c e d b e fo r e th e c o m m is s io n th e re w o u ld seem t o
s o m e ju s t if ic a t io n f o r th e c o m p la in t t h a t p e r s o n a l f e e li n g h a s b e
th e ca u se o f so m e o f th e p ro s e cu tio n s , m a n y o f w h ic h a re b r o u g
o n f r i v o l o u s o r in s u ffic ie n t g r o u n d s .
REMEDIES.

(1) The recently circulated report on joint standing industrial
councils is a document of a very authoritative character as being
the unanimous pronouncement of a really representative body. It
has met with general approval and appears to indicate the direction
in which natural and healthy development of the existing situation
is to be sought.

W e r e co m m e n d th a t w h a te v e r step s m a y b e ta k e n b y th e G o v e r n
m e n t s h o u ld b e in t h e s a m e d ir e c t io n .
Accordingly we urge the policy of immediately reducing all
Government interference between employers and employed to an
unavoidable minimum and restoring gradually, but with all prac­
tical expedition, the prewar conditions as far as may be found feas­
ible. This would of course involve the early abolition of leaving
certificates.
M IL IT A R Y SERVICE ACT.

( 2 ) W e h a v e a lr e a d y in o u r s ta te m e n t o f th e c a u se s o f u n r
p a r t ly d e a lt w it h t h is m a tte r . T o t h is w e w o u ld m a k e th e f o l l o w i n
a d d it io n :




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

113

We recommend that for the purpose of correct distribution of the
cards, the dilution officer should confer with the employers and the
representatives o f the workpeople in each establishment and decide
what card should be received by each man having regard to the skill
he possesses irrespective of the occupation in which he is engaged
for the time being.
M U N IT IO N S ACT.

(3) The principal grievance of the men under this head is in
connection with “ leaving certificates ” already referred to. It has
been a sore point from the commencement, and is felt to be very
unfair to the workmen. We suggest that it would be desirable to
do awT with them at the earliest possible moment, subject to rea­
ay
sonable safeguards against “ poaching,” or inducing workmen to
exchange employments, and also to insure that an undue amount of
change of employment shall not take place. For this purpose we
would suggest as one of possible provisions that the war munitions
volunteer subsistence allowance should be given to those, who prior
to the institution of the war munitions volunteer scheme, took em­
ployment away from home; and this for so long as they remain in
such employment.
No well-defined scheme o f dilution appears to have been arrived
at. The dilution which has taken place so far operates unevenly in
different districts and in different shops in the same district.
With regard to the proposed extension of the system of dilution
to private work we are from a review of the evidence strongly of
opinion, and we recommend, that a much more convincing justifica­
tion of such extension is necessary than has hitherto been given by
the Government. But as an alternative to the extension of dilution
to private work we would, in view of the shortage of war material
for national work, recommend that no raw material should be issued
for private work so long as such shortage continues.
We recommend also that where dilution is to be introduced the
provisions of Circular L6 regarding prior consultation with the
workpeople should be strictly observed.
M U N IT IO N S TRIBUNALS.

(4) We further recommend that in future the prosecutions before
these munition tribunals should be undertaken only by and in the
name of the Government, and confined to really serious cases, and
conducted in the national interest and not in that o f the employers.
We think too that any man against whom the prosecution fails
should be allowed costs to cover all the loss which the man may have
suffered by it, including pay.
17841°— 17— Bull. 237------ 8




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.
5 . . IN E Q U A L IT Y OF W AGES.

(a ) Fair-w age clau se; inequality as between skilled and sem iskilled labor.

(a)
Under this heading the first point which forces itself into
notice is the invidious contrast as between federated and nonfed­
erated firms, and we therefore recommend that where organized
bodies represent a majority o f the employees in any district any
award applicable to them should extend to and be enforceable against
any employer engaged in the same trade in that district.
We submit that the fair-wage clause should be strictly enforced
and the nonfederated firms compelled to pay at the least the wages
paid under award by the federated firms.
But this principle should be acted upon by the different depart­
ments o f the Government itself, and no disparity o f treatment
should occur as between men engaged under different departments
but on similar work in the same area.
<&) Skilled and semiskilled.

Your commissioners are o f opinion that the difficult problem pre­
sented by the inequality o f wages as between skilled and semiskilled
labor does not admit of a solution which shall be applicable gener­
ally. They suggest that the point requires settlement preferentially
by agreement between the employer and employed in each particu­
lar case? but failing such settlement then by prompt and final decision
by the State authority.
In this connection we must express our firm conviction that where
any question arises as to working conditions the parties themseh7
es
should have in the first place an opportunity o f meeting together
with a view to settling the question, and that the Government should
not intervene until the parties have failed to arrive at a settlement
within a reasonable time; and that when such settlement has been
arrived at it should be adopted by the Government.
6.

DELAYS m

SETTLEM ENT.

That there has been in the past an amount of delay in dealing
with the cases and questions referred to the different Government
departments can not be denied. It is equally beyond question that
much improvement has recently taken place; but we can not too
strongly emphasize the importance o f the utmost possible dispatch
in dealing with industrial complaints. Delay in the past has bred
misgivings; for the future promptitude should be a cardinal feature
in departmental administration.
Much of the delay is traceable to the uncertainty existing as to
the department properly to be approached in any particular case.




IN D U S T R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

115

W e would suggest that there should be one recognized channel for
all communications of the kind, and that ever}7 letter or applica­
tion should be directed in the first instance to the Ministry of Labor,
whose duty it would be to transmit it at once to the department
concerned, and the necessary intimation to the applicant or corre­
spondent that the future dealing with the case would be in that de­
partment. W ith a view to this it would be necessary to secure a co­
ordination o f all the departments, and clear demarcation of the
functions of each, so as to avoid overlapping and the danger of
inconsistent decisions.
(7 )

A D J U S T M E N T OF P IE C E W O R K R A T E S .

We have no observation to make upon this point.
(S )

FOOD P R IC E S .

But the matter which is of most urgent importance is the reduc­
tion of the price of the necessaries of life.
It is clearly unjust that the retailer should be limited to a maxi­
mum selling price if he can not obtain from the wholesale dealer
the goods which he has to sell at such a price as will enable him to
realize a modicum of profit; and similarly the wholesale dealer must
be able to obtain from the producer that which the retailer buys on
such terms as will secure to him (the middleman) another modicum
o f profit. The control by the Government of the distribution of
these necessaries involves therefore a fixing of three prices. E x­
treme as this measure may appear we do not shrink from recom­
mending it wherever it is found necessary; that is one price for pro­
duction, one for wholesale distribution, and one for retail sale.
Another matter of essential importance is the provision of ade­
quate food supplies in the various employment areas, having regard
to the labor immigration as well as the resident population.
(9 )

L IQ U O R

R E S T R IC T IO N S .

Some relaxations of the existing restrictions on the use of beer
might, we think, be made with advantage in cases of prolonged and
exhausting labor, especially where men are exposed to great heat.
It is obviously necessary that the administration should see to the
more equitable distribution of the supply, having regard to the num­
ber o f the day population as distinct from the resident population.
(10)

I N D U S T R IA L

F A T I G U E — H O U R S -----H O L I D A Y S .

We are clearly of opinion that prolonged hours o f work are not
calculated to secure a corresponding increase of output, while they




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

have a deleterious effect upon the health and efficiency o f the
workmen.
The amount of overtime and week-end and Sunday work should
be reduced to a minimum, subject to the exigencies of the national
requirements.
The present system of fixed single-day breaks (called holidays)
could be beneficially replaced or augmented by a substantial period
o f rest o f several days (say a week) taken together in the summer
time.
(11)

S U S P E N S I O N OF W O M E N .

O f all the suggestions offered in this report there is none which
we desire more strongly to urge than this, viz, that women sus­
pended where they are not at fault should be provided with con­
tinuing pay or furnished with sufficient means to enable them at
once to return home.
(12)

M U L T IP L I C A T IO N

OF ORDERS.

The multiplication of orders issuing from multiplied departments
bewilders at once employers and employed and results in confusion,
irritation, and consequent unrest and ultimate disregard of them.
Before closing this report we desire to express our appreciation of
the zealous and valuable service rendered by our secretary, Mr. J. J.
Chase.
A r t h u r O ’C o n n o r , Chairman.
A l l a n M. S m i t h .
J. V o c e .
J. J. C h a s e , Secretary.
J u ly

12, 1917.




NO. G DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR THE
SOUTHWEST AREA.

We have the honor to submit the following report:
In pursuance o f our terms o f reference—“ to inquire into and re­
port upon industrial unrest and to make recommendations to the
Government at the earliest practicable date,”—we held sittings at
Bristol, Plymouth, Swindon, Southampton, and London on June 19,
20, 21, 26, 28, 29 and 30 and July 2, 3, 4 and 11, 1917, when we heard
witnesses and received statements on the subject matter o f our
inquiry.
Several persons who appeared before us or sent us statements dealt
with matters which may be described as matters o f chronic unrest,
such as the endeavors of workers to improve their working condi­
tions and the nonrecognition of unions. In this report we do not
propose to deal with matters of this description but to confine the
report to such matters as are peculiar to the war period.
We find the following facts:
(1) Military Service Acts.— The operation of these acts is a cause
o f iritation. Those workers who are not in “ protected trades ” fail
to see the justice o f their being required to enlist while others who
are bad timekeepers and indifferent workers escape merely on the
ground that they happen to have chosen as their occupation a a pro­
tected trade.”
Another complaint is that owing to changing regulations, those
who are entitled to exemption do not know where they stand and are
put to much worry and inconvenience in not knowing to whom to
apply for protection when called up.
The withdrawal o f the trade card undoubtedly caused irritation
among members o f the “ protected trades ” ; on the other hand it has
giveii satisfaction to members of the nonprotected unions and to
nonunionists.
There is a considerable body o f opinion among the “ protected
trades” that the schedule o f protected occupations (M.M. 130), with
its inevitable anomalies, does not carry out Mr. Asquith’s statement
that no skilled mechanic will be taken into the army.
(2) Munitions of War A cts.—There is no unrest due to the opera­
tion o f these acts except in the following respects:




117

118

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Dilution.— There is undoubtedly a suspicion in many quarters that
dilution may be used to release men for the army and to prejudice
the position o f skilled men after the war.
Leaving certificate.— We found very serious grievance on this head.
The chief grounds were two: (1) Men were prevented from leaving
to better themselves or to take up more important work and men who,
at coming into operation of the Munitions of W ar Act, 1915, were
employed at a distance from home were prevented from leaving and
from obtaining work nearer their homes where work for them was
to be had, the result being that they had to keep two homes going
on wages which were sufficient only to keep one home going.
(2) The manner in which leaving certificates have been refused by
munitions tribunals. F or example, when there was little work in a
workshop men were kept on in anticipation o f plenty o f work turn­
ing up, and on this ground the munitions tribunals would refuse a
certificate. It was pointed out to us that this was not a proper
exercise o f discretion under the statute, and that the decision was
an injustice to the men, to the employer who was in need o f men and
also to the nation in relation to national output.
Restoration o f prewar conditions.— There is a general fear among
union workers that prewar conditions will not be restored.
Record o f changes.— Some of the unions do not believe that proper
records are being kept of changes in practice as required by the act.
Inequality o f %oages between skilled and semiskilled labor.— Any
grievance on this head is quite restricted in extent.
Delays in securing settlements.— Complaints were made by work­
ers in controlled establishments. On investigation we found that
many of these complaints were due to misunderstandings, and to the
confusion caused by the number of departments dealing with labor
questions. With respect to others, much was said against the Min­
istry of Munitions. The chief industrial commissioner’s depart­
ment was also mentioned, but we found that differences when re­
ported to that department were referred to arbitration with dispatch.
(3) Increase in food prices.—The one outstanding cause of unrest
which we found everywhere is the .high cost o f living, especially with
regard to food. This is accompanied by complaints of exploitation,
profiteering, and bad distribution.
(4) Liquor restrictions.— The limiting o f the hours during which
licensed premises may be opened for the sale o f intoxicating liquor
is no cause of unrest. There was some complaint, but not much, as
to the price and scarcity of beer in certain localities.
(5) Industrial fatigue..—Considerable evidence was given of in­
dustrial fatigue, especially among the classes who have been kept
continuously on long hours.




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST I-N GREAT B R IT A IN .

119

(6) Shop discipline.— There is no complaint on this head beyond
what is to be found in normal times.
(7) Miscellaneous.-—
The following are minor causes of unrest:
(a) The anomalies arising out of subsistence allowances.
(I?) Low wages in agriculture. Evidence was given that the
present rates o f agricultural laborers in parts of Somerset, Glouces­
ter and Wilts are between 18 shillings ,[$4.38] and 20 shillings
[$4.87] per week with a garden plot. We had no evidence before
us as to the rates in other counties in the southwest district.
(c) Autocratic management of dockyards by the Admiralty.
(d)' Anomalous position of railways under the Munitions o f W ar
Acts.
(■e) Shortage o f housing accommodation.
( / ) General opinion among workmen, union officials, and employ­
ers that the representatives o f the Ministry of Munitions, shipyard
labor department and Admiralty are not sufficiently conversant with
labor problems and labor difficulties.
(g) We were assured that there is a deep feeling of resentment
among wives who, with rising prices, can with difficulty make both
ends meet and who have husbands, sons or relations in the army,
and that this was particularly noticeable in rural districts where
recruiting has been high and wages are low and war advances are
much behind those which have been given in industrial centers.
( h) The belief that labor news from independent sources is sup­
pressed.
REPRESENTATIONS.

We premise this part of our report by the statement that in every
district into which we went we found that the relations between the
majority of employers and the unions and workpeople are on the
whole happy and harmonious. In particular in the Bristol area,
relations between certain of the employers and certain o f the unions
are enlightened and progressive. A scheme is on foot in the Bristol
district to set up industrial councils to deal with rates o f pay, and
working conditions, on the lines o f the Whitley report.
(1)
High prices of foodstuffs.— The initial cause of the rise in
prices was the financial policy of the Government, which has relied
too much on loans— largely credit loans— and too little on taxation
designed to check unnecessary consumption. The result has been a
great inflation o f credit followed by a very serious inflation o f the
currency. So long as the present financial policy is continued prices
will continue to rise. It is admitted that income tax and supertax
could not be substantially raised in general, or even more steeply
graded, without a comprehensive reform with regard to the treat­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ment o f family incomes. The problem will in any case have to be
faced after the conclusion of peace, and it should be tackled now in
order to reduce our dependence on further inflation as a means o f
financing the war.
The secondary cause of the rise in prices, which has become much
more marked during the last nine months, is actual shortage o f sup­
plies. The only cure for this, apart from more production at home,
is a diminution in the rate of submarine losses and a much bigger
program o f mercantile shipbuilding. With regard to submarine
losses the present Admiralty plan of bringing all ships into areas
o f concentration which are insufficiently patrolled has proved a dis­
astrous failure. With regard to shipbuilding, the present program
is ludicrously insufficient, and no definite steps have as yet been taken
by the Government. There is an uneasy feeling that we are living
from hand to mouth, and that no practical forethought is being
taken of the immediate future. A full program should be put in
hand forthwith and carried on with the same force and vigor as the
Ministry of Munitions carry on their great work.
Inflation and real shortage inevitably produce conditions favorable
to what is commonly called profiteering, which is really only a symp­
tom o f the disease from which we are suffering. Treatment of the
symptom may produce some alleviation but can not effect a cure.
The danger of fixing prices for any commodity is, o f course, that
the supply may cease. The general rule, therefore, should be not to
fix prices unless the whole supply is controlled. When this can be
done the control should extend from the field o f production to the
shop counter, and intermediate charges should be limited to a fair
remuneration for services rendered.
There is undoubtedly a widespread feeling among the working
classes that too great a share of the financial burden o f the war is
falling upon their shoulders. They have never been told plainly
enough that we can not get through without sacrifices on the part o f
all, and that the old standard of expenditure can not be maintained.
We have committed a serious mistake in making the excess-profits
duty the corner stone of our war taxation. This tax does not take
money out o f the rich man’s pocket in the same way that direct tax
on his income would have done, and it has consequently failed in its
moral effect on the working classes as a symbol of equality o f sac­
rifice.
(2)
Sugar, beer, coal.— There ought to be a more equitable distri­
bution of such articles as sugar and beer. The test of the propor­
tion of the quantity which was supplied to a district in 1914, is not
a fair one, as the bringing into a district of many workpeople en­
gaged on munitions work increased the consuming population of
that district. The supply to such a district has not proportionately




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121

kept pace with the increased population, whereas the districts from
which the workpeople have come have proportionately benefited.
In Southampton and the Isle of Wight the price of coal is for no
apparent economic reason very high compared with other districts
which we visited.
(3) Trade card.— The trade card ought not to be restored. When
it becomes necessary to enforce the schedule of protected occupa­
tions, M.M. 130, this should be done with discretion and circum­
spection. We were warned by the representatives o f the Amalga­
mated Society o f Engineers at some of our meetings that the moment
the schedule is enforced by calling up any of their skilled members
the members generally w ill a down tools.” Such a course is without
T
justification; at the same time, to avoid any excuse for a policy o f
this kind care should be made in putting the schedule into opera­
tion. Loss of faith in the “ pledges ” o f the Ministry of Munitions
and of the Government is most deplorable. The moral o f the tradecard scheme and its withdrawal is that the Government should not
commit itself to any policy without consultation w ith all sections of
T
labor and employers concerned, but once adopted, a policy should be
carried through.
(4) Prev'av conditions.— It would be well if workers received some
definite assurance by statute that prewar conditions which have
been suspended under the Munitions of W ar Acts will be restored.
(5) Whitley report.—The general principle of the Whitley report,
which we indorse, is acceptable to employers and workers.
(6) Dilution and payment by results.—Dilution and payment by
results can not be carried on to the best advantage without the coop­
eration of the workers. The Ministry of Munitions has set a good
example by establishing workshop committees on the lines recom­
mended in the Whitley report in their own munitions factories. We
recommend that similar steps be taken in the Admiralty dockyards,
in the railway workshops and, as far as possible, in all controlled
establishments. District councils in the various munitions areas
should also be instituted. Many of the smaller difficulties, which
now give rise to differences and have to go to arbitration, would thus
be settled on the spot. The settlement o f problems arising in connec­
tion with dilution, payment by results and inequality o f wages, would
be facilitated by the institution of such machinery.
(T) Industrial differences.—There should be one central authority
to deal with all industrial differences which can not be settled by the
parties themselves.
The evidence showed that in addition to boards already set up in
certain industries there are at least four different authorities at
present authorized to deal with differences:




122

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

(&) The Ministry o f Labor, including the chief industrial commis­
sioner’s department.
(6) The Ministry o f Munitions.
(c) The Admiralty shipyard labor department.
(d) The Admiralty.
These different authorities dealing with the same thing create delay
and confusion ag w ell as a waste o f time and public money.
T
The setting up o f workshop committees and district councils should
diminish the number of differences which now have to go to arbitra­
tion. For the rest the right course is not to institute local arbitration
courts, but to strengthen the central authority above referred to.
(8) Orders and regulation o f Ministry o f Munitions.— Both work­
ers and employers are confused and bewildered by the number of
orders and regulations issued by the Ministry o f Munitions. They
complain that they can not keep pace with the literature; some also
complain that the language is too formal and technical for them
to understand. We find nothing to complain of in the language of
the orders, but we think that it would be advisable that each order
should be accompanied by a memorandum expressing in simple and
popular language the purport o f the order.
(9) Leaving certificate.—We are o f opinion that the principal
grounds o f unrest in this connection would be removed if it were
provided that leaving certificates should not be withheld from men
who desire to return to their own homes or from men who can show
that they are offered more important work elsewhere.
(10) Agricultural laborers.—A clause should be introduced in the
corn production bill now before Parliament that able-bodied agri­
cultural laborers (whether time or piece workers) shall receive a
minimum cash wage o f 25 shillings [$6.08] per week as from the date
o f the bill receiving royal consent, without prejudice to any decision
as to a minimum rate which the agricultural wages board may here­
after fix and safeguarding all present conditions o f employment. It
is absurd to expect these skilled workers to be content on 18 shillingSL
[$4.38] to 20 shillings [$4.87] a week and garden, with food prices
at the figure at which they have been during the last 18 months.
(11) Extravagance, taxation and forced loans.—Our attention was
called to the contrast between the man who is compelled to serve as a
soldier and the man who voluntarily lends to the Government. It
was tersely put to us that the soldier is compelled to serve at 1 shilling
[24 cents] a day, while the man with money voluntarily lends to the
Government at 5 per cent. This it was pointed out is irritating and
unjust. Another cause of irritation is the apparent luxury and osten­
tatious display of wealth.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT' B R IT A IN .

123

It is evident that after an experience of nearly three years many
persons will not curb their extravagance and show o f luxury.
In order to remove the sense of irritation among workers and to
assist the national exchequer all unnecessary expenditure of the in­
dividual ought to be checked, and this can only be done by taxation
or by forced loans.
W
A

il l ia m
lfred

B

W . M

a c k e n z ie .

ooth.

T . C ham bers.
W .

Dated the 12th o f July, 1917.




D.

S o u t iiw o o d ,

Secretary.

NO. 7 DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR W ALES,
INCLUDING MONMOUTHSHIRE.

To The Right Hon. D. L l o y d G e o r g e , M. P., Prime Minister.
S i r : The members constituting the panel for Wales and Mon­
mouthshire on the Commission of Inquiry into Industrial Unrest
appointed by you “ to inquire into and report upon industrial unrest
and to make recommendations to the Government at the earliest
practicable date ” have the honor to present the following report:
On June 12, 1917, a preliminary meeting of the entire commission
was held in London. A separate panel of three members was allo­
cated for each of the eight districts into which Great Britain was
divided, the area of each district being coterminous with that estab­
lished for the administration of munition tribunals. Wales and Mon­
mouthshire form one such area. Throughout this report we shall
use the expression “ W ales” (unless otherwise stated) as including
Monmouthshire also.
On the day following the preliminary meeting we appointed a
secretary for our panel, made arrangements for offices and issued to
60 newspapers circulating in Wales an announcement as to the scope
o f the inquiry and as to our procedure in the matter o f taking evi­
dence. During the next few days we communicated a like announce­
ment to some 80 trades and labor councils and 60 trades-unions or
trade-union branches throughout Wales. We also addressed letters
of invitations to tender evidence to officials of all the chief tradeunions that have any considerable body of members in Wales, to all
the chief associations o f employers, and to many individual em­
ployers and emplo3dng firms. We also put ourselves at once in com­
munication with all Government departments concerned in our in­
quiry and represented in Wales. To supplement this we inserted an
advertisement in 10 daity newspapers, giving a time-table o f our
proposed sittings for the reception o f evidence and inviting pro­
spective witnesses to communicate with our secretary forthwith.
We held 10 sittings for the hearing of evidence, 7 of them being
held in Cardiff and 3 at Swansea. We had arranged to visit north
Wales and to devote two sittings at Chester to hearing evidence
from that part of the country. This arrangement we found it neces­
sary to cancel mainly owing to the shortness of time at our disposal.
124




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN

GREAT B R IT A IN .

125

Those who had signified their desire to give evidence at Chester,
however, forwarded us statements of their views, while representa­
tives of both the Coal Owners’ Association and the Miners’ Associa­
tion o f North Wales came at our request and gave their evidence at
Cardiff. The witnesses who appeared before us included 40 em­
ployers or representatives of employers’ associations, 97 workers,
trade-union officials and other representatives o f labor, and 7 Gov­
ernment officials. In addition w e received a large number o f written
T
statements and memoranda; a classified list of the witnesses and of
those who communicated memoranda to us is given in the Appendix.
INTRODUCTORY.
A R E V IE W

OF S O M E OF T H E

C H IE F IN D U S T R IE S

IN

WALES

AND

T H E IR D IS T R IB U T IO N .

Though the war has produced a great shifting of the population
and very extensive changes in occupation so as to render the census
returns of 1911 less applicable to the present state of things than
would otherwise be the case from mere lapse of time, still these re­
turns are the best guide at our disposal for the purpose of any
analysis o f the population and the occupations pursued by them.
Moreover, we have reason to think that (apart from recruiting) the
changes in occupations, except in the case o f women, have been less
numerous in Wales than in other parts of the country. From a table
(see Table A ) which we have compiled from the returns for 1911
(in which we have grouped together the figures for certain occupa­
tions o f a somewT
hat like character), it will be seen that of the total
male population aged 10 years and upward enumerated in Wales
in 1911 the industrial class formed 53.84 per cent o f the total as com­
pared with 10.06 agricultural, 9.87 transport, 3.84 professional, 2.84
commercial, 1.55 domestic, and 18.90 unoccupied. Those engaged in
industrial occupations and in transport work together amounted to
62.81 per cent. The industrial class in England formed 47.07 per
cent of the population of 10 years and upward at the same period,
and those engaged in the transport service 10.25 per cent.




126

TABLE A.—ANALYSIS OF OCCUPATIONS OF THE MALE POPULATION OF WALES.*
[Based on Table 15A in Census Returns, 1911, Vol. X, Part I.]

1. Professional.

Per­
cent­
age to Section 4,
census
male
popula- returns,
1911.
tion of
county.

14,792
387,677




1.3
1.8
1.7
1.9
2.4
2.6
2.6
3.6
1.7
1.7
1.7
1.4
2.6

1.55

27,057

2.84

85,481

2.83

663,316

4.89

1,399,394

4,216
4,392
4,933
11,768
9,443
li, 825
7,691
81,015
3,538
4,034
7,704
1,677
27,932

21.7
18.4
22.0
18.7
19.8
20.8
21.5
18.2
19.9
19.4
22.4
18.4
17.6

19,462
23, 790
21,872
62,829
47,555
56,685
35,799
445,757
17, 713
20,775
34,300
9,800
157,872

6,234
4.834
7,914
11,284
7,606
10,143
5,155
9,489
4,728
8,501
8,309
3,951
7,819

32.0
20.3
36.2
18.0
16.0
18.0
14.4
2.1
26.6
40.9
24.2
43.5
4.9

8.97

95,966

10.06

513,347

53.84

180,168

18.90

953,489

10.25

1,140,515

8.34

6,431,630

47.07

2,817,649

20.62

13,602,200

12.6
5.4
4.63
6.0
7.7
5.1
6.5
10.9
5.6
4.9
8.3
4.7
9.1

4,922
11,073
6,027
31,881
22,149
26,163
17,349
271,440
6,825
5,305
11,263
2,111
96,839

Total.

Per­
cent­ Total male
age to population.
male
popula­
tion of
county.

JThe term “ male population’7throughout this table means males aged 10 years and upwards.

25.3
46.5
28.0
50.7
46.6
46.1
48.5
60.9
38.6
25.6
32.9
23.2
61.3

STATISTICS.

3.84
6.0

2,456
1,270
1,014
3,747
3,664
2,899
2,350
48,376
987
1,013
2,851
428
14,426

249
429
364
1,190
1,157
1,451
918
15,886
296
348
559
123
4,087

Per­
cent­
age to
male
popula­
tion of
county.

LABOR

36,679
822,019

2.4
3.0
2.2
1.3
2.3
3.0
2.5
0.96
2.9
3.2
2.1
4.2
1.3

Per­
Per­
Per­
cent­
cent­ Sections 9
cent­
age to Section 6, age to Section 7, age to
to 22,
Census
Census
male
male
male
Census
popula­ Returns, popula­ Returns. popula­ Returns,
1911.
1911.
tion of
tion of
tion of
1911.
County.
county.
county.

7. Unspecified and
retired.

O
F

Totals for and percent­
age of each class to
total male popula­
tion of—
Wales and Mon­
mouthshire.......
E n g la n d and
Wales................

4.7
4.6
5.3
3.4
5.2
4.4
4.0
3.43
4.7
4.3
8.4
4.6
3.0

6. Industrial.

BUREAU

917
1,083
1,154
2,136
2,433
2,490
1,433
15,250
833
903
2,905
413
4,698

5. Agriculture.

THE

468
709
466
823
1,103
1,714
903
4,271
506
671
710
377
2,071

Anglesea..........................
Brecknock.......................
Cardigan.........................
Carmarthen.....................
Carnarvon........................
Denbigh..........................
Flint...............................
Glamorgan......................
Merioneth........................
Montgomery....................
Pembroke.......................
Radnor............................
Monmouth......................

Per­
cent­
age to Section 5,
Census
male
popula­ Returns,
1911.
tion of
county.

4. Transport.

O
F

Sections
1, 2, and
3, Census
Returns,
1911.

3. Commercial.

BULLETIN

County.

2. Domestic.

IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

127

As to the geographical distribution of the industrial population—
and therefore also of industries—in Wal£s, they are mainly confined
to and, in fact, found congested in two main areas:
(a) Southeast Wales, i. e., Glamorgan, West Monmouth, East
Carmarthen, and the southern and southeastern fringe o f Breck­
nockshire, or, roughly speaking, the area extending from Newport
and Pontypool on the east to Kidwelly and the watershed between
the Gwendraeth and Towy on the west, constituting in short the
south Wales coal field and its dependent seaport towns.
(b) Northeast Wales, i. e., East Denbighshire and the north­
eastern portion of Flintshire on the littoral of the estuary of
the Dee.
A reference to Table A bears out this statement. In Glamorgan
just over 75 per cent of the population of 10 years and upwards
are shown to have been engaged in commercial and industrial occu­
pations (including transport) ; in Monmouthshire 73 per cent, in
Carmarthenshire 58.6 per cent, and in Flintshire 57.6 per cent.
The industries carried on in other parts o f Wales outside the two
main industrial areas referred to are o f minor importance, espe­
cially for our present inquiry. They include the quarrying indus­
tries of Carnarvonshire and Merioneth, lead mining in Flintshire
and Cardiganshire, textile industries in the valley of the Severn,
and in some isolated centers in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire.
In south Wales the coal measures also extend into Pembrokeshire,
but the numbers engaged in coal mining there are only 543. There
is also a Government dockyard at Pembroke Dock.
The chief industrial occupations (or, in other words, the chief
subdivisions o f the class described as “ industrial ” in Table A
above) which will demand our attention are coal mining, the metal
industries (chiefly iron and steel manufacturing), and engineering.
To these should be added the transport services, which form a class
of their own in the above table. The numbers of those engaged in
the three classes of occupations referred to, in the six industrial
counties of Wales, are shown in the following table, extracted from
the last census returns;




128

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BTJKEATT OF LABOR STATISTICS.
TABLE B.—OCCUPATIONS IN 1911.
[Drawn from Table 15A in Census Returns, Vol. X, Part 1.1

County.

Coal
mining.

Iron, steel,
etc., manu­
facture.1

General
engineer­
ing and
machine
making.

Glamorgan................
Monmouth.....................
Carmarthen....................
Brecknock......................

146,111
51,883
10,792
5,562

24,993
10,339
6,810
175

14,840
5,706
2,048
448

Total.....................

214,348

42,317

23,042

Flmt...............................
Denbigh.........................

4,138
10,594

2,7f3
572

1,166
1,156

Total.....................

14,732

3,335

2,322

1Including the manufacture of iron, steel, and other or unspecified metals, and work m making tools
and miscellaneous metal trades.

1.
Coal, mining.— It is at once seen that coal mining stands out
as preeminently the most important o f the industries in Wales, and
especially o f south Wales. Next to agriculture, coal mining is also
the most profitable industry; profitable, that is, to the community
at large, not merely to the producer. In south Wales—and we shall
now confine our attention to that part of the principality—it
directly employs a larger proportion o f the population than any
other industry, w
rhile its needs have to be supplied and its output
handled by large numbers engaged in the transport industry (e. g.,
railways, shipping) ; indirectly it has contributed materially to the
establishment and development o f a variety o f industries which, in
its absence, could not possibly have attained their present large
proportions. Thus, to mention only three points, it is the very
basis o f the great shipping industry of the south Wales ports, and
it has been observed that from 1841 downwards the population of
Cardiff has, roughly speaking, increased 10,000 or thereabouts for
every additional million tons o f coal shipped from its port. The
fact that coal provides cargo in such vast quantities as it does for
outward bound vessels contributes most substantially to the reduc­
tion o f freights for all imports into this country, a fact o f the
greatest significance to our industrial and commercial position as
an island State. Secondly, the conveyance o f the coal to the ports,
to the various works, and inland generally has necessitated the con­
struction o f a vast network of railways and involves the employment
o f large numbers of railway men; and thirdly, the proximity of
ample supplies of fuel is a most important factor in all the metal
industries.
Omitting the small detached portion situated in Pembrokeshire,
the south Wales coal field may be said to include (1) the greater part
o f Glamorgan except the purely peninsular part of Gower, and the




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

129

fertile agricultural tract known as the Vale of Glamorgan, between
the mountains and the sea, (2) the whole of West Monmouthshire,
(3) the southern and southeastern fringe o f Breconshire, and (4)
the greater part of East Carmarthenshire. It extends from Pontypool to Kidwelly (again omitting Pembrokeshire), and its width,
at its widest point, is about 18 miles. Its surface is carved into a
series o f deep and narrow valleys by the forces of denudation, and
“ a map (o f it) showing the rivers and railways resembles closely a
gridiron, or a series o f gridirons,” a configuration which, as we shall
see later, greatly influences conditions in the coal field.
Geologically, the strata are more disturbed than those of any
other British coal field. Besides the frequent “ faults,” i. e., actual
fractures or displacements of the strata, there are also “ washouts ”
where the coal becomes very thin or disappears altogether for a few
yards without there being any “ fault.” In the anthracite area this
disturbed condition is generally so serious as to render it difficult
to work the coal on a very large scale, that is, in pits employing
anything approaching the numbers of men employed in the steam
coal collieries. It also renders operations in this area more specula­
tive and the adoption o f standardized rates o f wages more difficult
than elsewhere. Next, the character and quality of much of this
south Wales coal give it a practical monopoly in the markets to
which the bulk of it is dispatched. Thus, the best steam coal, so
essential for the navy, is absolutely unrivaled in any part of the
w orld; the best bituminous coals, owing to their hardness, can stand
all kinds o f climates, while the anthracite coal of the west has no
serious rival anywhere except that o f Pennsylvania. Now “ the same
causes which have given Welsh coals their superiority are also re­
sponsible for having made mining in this coal field more costly and
more dangerous than in the other coal fields o f the United Kingdom.
The Welsh coal is dry and fiery, and owing to the dryness of most
of the mines the fine coal dust is a constant source o f danger. Loosejointed coal and loose or rotten roof are also more frequent in south
Wales than elsewhere, so that there are numerous accidents, fre­
quently fatal, from falls o f the face o f coal, as well as from falls o f
the roof.” 1 Most of the collieries are also worked on a large scale,
about 80 mines employing more than 1,000 persons each, and the
larger ones over 3,000, though not all on the same shift, consequently
when explosions or floods occur a much larger death roll usually
ensues.
The death rate from accidents in the south Wales coal field exceeds
that o f any other in the United K ingdom ; for the years 1901-1910, it
i For several of the above statements we are indebted to The British Coal Trade, dy
H. Stanley Jevons.

17841"—17— Bull. 237------ 9




130

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

averaged 1.78 of every 1,000 persons employed, as compared with
1.03 in Yorkshire and 1.08 in Northumberland and Durham. The
average for the United Kingdom was 1.35. In 1915 the Scotch and
south Wales divisions, though employing only about 54 per cent of
the number o f men employed in the remaining coal fields o f Great
Britain and producing only 52 per cent o f the output, had more
than twice as many explosions from the use of naked lights. To what
extent this excess may be due to preventable causes is a question
that considerably exercises the minds o f the miners.
The number o f persons returned in the last census as employed in
coal mining in south Wales was 214,891 (including the Pembroke­
shire figures). The number employed underground in 1915 was
169,779 and the output was 36,226,805 tons—the output for Glamor­
gan, taken by itself, being in 1915, 2,737,137 tons less, for various
reasons, than in 1914. The industry is well organized. There is a
Coal Owners’ Association, o f which all the chief owners are members.
The great majority o f the miners belong to the South Wales Miners’
Federation, the actual membership of this federation in 1913 being
153,813. From 1875 to 1903 wages were regulated by a sliding scale
agreement. In 1903 a conciliation board was formed with an independ­
ent chairman, who gives his casting vote when the parties fail to agree.
In addition to the Miners’ Federation there are four craft unions—
the South Wales Colliery Enginemen and Surface Craftsmen’s Asso­
ciation (about 6,000 strong), the W inding Enginemen’s Association,
the Colliery Examiners’ Association, and the South Wales Colliery
Officials’ Union (which includes clerks, hostlers, farriers, etc.). In
April, 1916, it was agreed between the Coal Owners’ Association and
the Miners’ Federation that during the war the workmen employed
at the colliery shall be required to become members o f one or other
of the recognized trade-unions.
A notable feature of the industry, on the miners’ side, of recent
years has been the rapid growth of combinations. The first step in
this direction to attract the notice of the public, and probably also
to affect seriously the relations o f employers and employed, was the
grouping together of a number o f important Mid-Rhondda col­
lieries into what is popularly known as the Cambrian Combine, under
the direction of Lord Rhondda. During 1916 this movement was
continued by the acquisition by members of the same group of the
controlling interest in the Ferndale Collieries of D. Davis & Sons,
the Coed Ely Colliery of the Welsh Navigation Steam Coal Co.,
North’s Navigation and the Celtic Collieries in the Maesteg and
Tondu districts, the International Coal Co. in Ogmore Vale, and—in
the anthracite district—the Gwaun-cae-gurwen Colliery. Similarly
in Monmouthshire, the Ebbw Vale Co. and the firm of T. Beynon
& Co. acquired the collieries of Powell’s Tillery Co.




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

131

Other instances of like combinations in recent years might be
given such as that of the United National Collieries and Burnyeat,
Brown & Co., but enough has been said to show how strongly this
tendency has set in in the industry.1
2.
The metal industries (iron and steel and tin plate).— Though
coal mining now occupies the premier position among the industries
of south Wales this position was not attained until the special excel­
lence of the smokeless steam coal o f the district became generally
recognized about the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth
century.
The large scale industrial development of south Wales began not
with coal mining but with the revival of copper smelting at Neath
and its extension to Swansea about the beginning of the eighteenth
century, and the establishment during the next half century o f iron
works in Monmouthshire and north Glamorgan, the noted Dowlais
works being established in 1760. A t Pontypool the manufacture o f
tin plate was also introduced about the same period and extended
shortly afterwards westward into Carmarthenshire. The earliest
iT h e following particulars relating to the three combines above mentioned are given
to show the enormous extent of their activities. The combined annual output of the three
concerns exceeds 40 per cent of the total output for south Wales :
(1) Lord Rhondda’s group—
Output, tons.
Cambrian Collieries__________________________________
986, 000
375,000
Albion Steam Coal Co______________________________
Glamorgan Coal Co__________________________________
905, 000
Naval Colliery Co___________________________________
595, 000
Britannic Merthyr Co______________________________
230, 000
D. Davis & Sons (Ltd.) and Welsh Navigation---------- 1,900,000
North’s Navigation__________________________________ 1, 219, 000
Cynon_______________________________________________
180, 000
Celtic Collieries_____________________________________
160, 000
Gwaun-cae-gurwen___________________________________
310, 000
Imperial Navigation__
____________________
315, 000
International___________
- _____________________
180, 000
Total_________________________________________ 7, 355, 000
(2) United National (Watts, Watts & C o.)_______________ 1,450,000
Burnyeat, Brown & Co________________________________ 1, 000, 000
Total_________________________________________ 2, 450, 000
(3) T. Beynon & Co.—
Ebbw Vale__________________________________________ 1, 820, 000
J. Lancaster & Co__________________________________ 1, 120, 000
Powell’s Tillery_____________________________________
800, 000
Fernhill______________________________________________
500, 000
Newport Abercarn__________________________________
570, 000
Total_________________________________________ 4, 810, 000
In addition to the above, mention may be made of two very large firms, not in any
combine, which also have very large outputs:
Output, tons.
Powell Duffryn Steam 'Coal Co_____________________________ 4, 000, 000
Ocean Coal Co. (L td .)_____________________________________ 2,250,000




132

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

iron works were thus located on the northern fringe of Glamorgan
and Monmouthshire, not with the object of utilizing the coal found
there— for the smelting at first was done with charcoal— but for the
reason that in that district there existed abundant supplies of the
raw material, namely, the clay ironstone which occurs in the coal
measures and was capable of being most economically worked where
these measures come to the surface along the north and northeastern
edge of the coal field. Here, also, the two other requisites of ironmaking—limestone and furnace sandstone— were to be had in abun­
dance on the spot. In a very short time co^l naturally came to be
used for smelting, and this gave a great impetus to the iron industry
of the district, for all the requisites were then to be found in the
closest possible proximity to the works.
We thus discover the reasons for the “ localization ” of these indus­
tries in south Wales. “ The iron industry was first attracted to that
part by the presence of iron ore and the plentiful supply of wood
for making charcoal. Later, when pit coal was introduced (for
smelting), the district possessed still greater attracting power. The
tin-plate industry was first established to provide a market for the
iron produced locally; it was in every way subsidiary to the iron in­
dustry. The tin-plate mill was but an appendage to the forge.
* * * Gradually after the middle of the nineteenth century steel
displaced iron in many markets and the forge became increasingly
dependent upon the tin-plate mill. Early in the eighties, steel was
also substituted for iron bar used in tin-plate manufacture, and the
iron industry dwindled.” 1 Thus the iron industry attracted the tin­
plate industry and the latter in turn created the steel industry.
On the discovery in Cumberland and elsewhere of richer ores than
the ironstone of south Wales the working of the latter was grad­
ually abandoned, and many of the far inland works had to be closed
down as they had now lost their earlier advantage of having the raw
material at their door. They were replaced by new works estab­
lished on the seaboard where the raw materials could be more eco­
nomically assembled and the output more readily placed on the mar­
ket. The most notable instance of this was the transference of the
Dowlais Works of Messrs. Guest, Keen & Nettlefold from Dowlais
to Cardiff.
The changes here indicated account for the relative decline of the
pig-iron industry in south Wales. W e understand that the only
works in south Wales that now manufacture pig iron are those at
Ebbw Vale, Blaenavon, Cwmbran, and to some extent Dowlais
(Merthyr)— all inland works— and Dowlais (Cardiff), Landore
(Baldwin’s) and Briton Ferry, on the seaboard. The inland works,




1 The Tin-plate Industry, by J. H. Jones, p. vii.

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especially in so far as they continue to handle the raw ores and make
pig iron, have lost the benefit of the natural facilities which they
enjoyed at the outset. In a lesser degree this is also true as to all their
other output consisting of Bessemer steel. This may in time result
in burdening them with such costs of inland carriage as to render it
difficult for them to stand the competition of their more favorable
rivals, without attempts to rednce their labor bill, or if the owners
should be federated, it might tend to reduce the general rate o f wages
in all their works to such a level as the least favorably situated steel
works would be able to pay. For all the higher grade work o f the
tin-plate trade and tube-making steel produced by the Siemens
process or some modification of it is used. The result is that, as the
tin-plate trade has by this time become very largely localized on the
coast in and around Swansea, that too is the district where all the
Siemens steel works are to be found. Broadly speaking, the position,
therefore, is as follows: The blast furnaces which manufacture pig
iron, and the Bessemer steel works are scattered about in various
inland centers in north Glamorgan and west Monmouthshire, as well
as on the seacoast at Cardiff and (as to Bessemer steel) at Newport.
The highly specialized Siemens steel industry (o f which tin plate and
steel bars form almost the only product) as well as most of the tin­
plate works and a considerable number of the galvanized sheet works
on which they depend have their centers at Swansea.
This group o f interdependent industries have proceeded far in
the direction of “ vertical integration,” in which the interests of the
steel and tin-plate manufactures will be fully interlocked. These
trades are also well organized in so far as the relations o f employers
to employed are concerned. Thus, the tin-plate manufacturers formed
themselves into an association called the Welsh Plate and Steel Man­
ufacturers in April, 1899, which at present consists of 77 works with
a total o f 546 mills, or about 97 per cent of the whole trade.
On the other side tin-plate workers are now said to be the best
organized in the country, and over 99 per cent of them belong to one
or other o f six unions. This is all the more remarkable as about oneeighth of the total number o f employees are women, this being the
only large-scale manufacturing industry in south Wales which
largely employs women. A conciliation board for the industry was
established in June, 1899, on which the masters’ association and all
six unions are represented.
The subsequent history of the trade “ provides an excellent exam­
ple of extremely successful collective bargaining under difficulties
so great that at first they appear to be almost insuperable.” 1 Dur­
ing the 18 years of the existence of the board the industry has never




1 The Tin-plate Industry, by J. II. Jcnes, p. x.

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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

once been dislocated by any dispute or difference that the board has
failed to settle, and all its decisions have been loyally carried out. A
factor that makes it considerably easier for the conciliation board
to legislate, so to speak, for the whole tin-plate trade as, in fact, it
does, is that it is only on a very small scale that the industry is car­
ried on anywhere in Great Britain outside south Wales. In fact,
about three-fourths o f the total tin* plates manufactured in Great
Britain are made within 12 miles o f the port of Swansea.
There were in 1905 some 453 tin-plate mills in England and Wales.1
O f that number England had 25, namely, Staffordshire 3, Worces­
tershire 8, Gloucestershire 14. The English mills were thus scat­
tered and comparatively few in number. O f the remaining 428,
which were all in Wales, Glamorgan had 266, Monmouthshire 50,
Carmarthenshire 105, Breconshire 3. Flintshire also had 4 mills.
Since 1905, 146 new mills have been erected and their distribution
illustrates the strength o f the tendency toward the geographical con­
centration o f the industry, for of the new mills 105 are in Glamor­
gan, 33 in Carmarthenshire, only 6 in Monmouthshire and 2 in
Staffordshire. Fifty-seven of the mills in existence in 1905 and 50
o f the new mills are for the manufacture o f sheets and block plates,
while all the others are for tin plating. It should be stated that
owing to Government restrictions as to the supply of steel the output
o f these mills is reduced to only 33 per cent o f their normal capacity.
Pieceworkers are in a great majority in the tin-plate trade, as well as
in the steel industry generally.
The Siemens steel manufacturers have also their association and
most o f the workers are members o f the British Steel Smelters’ As­
sociation. It is the only union so far recognized by the association,
though a small number o f the men belong to other unions. The
organization is likely to be strengthened in the near future—on the
side o f the owners by the taking in o f three large works now outside,
on the men’s part by making membership of the predominant union
a condition o f employment— a policy strongly favored by the em­
ployers. No formal conciliation board exists, though one is likely
soon to be established. A meeting o f the Siemens Steel Association
always follows the annual meeting o f the Tin-plate Conciliation
Board and generally adopts the decisions o f the latter as to rates of
wages.
The north Glamorgan and Monmouthshire iron and steel manu­
facturers (producing pig iron and Bessemer steel) are not, we un­
derstand, associated and have no conciliation board, but work under
an old sliding-scale agreement about 30 years old. There is a stand­
ing sliding-scale committee, on which masters and men are repre­




1 The Manufacture of Tin Plates, by R. Beaumont Thomas.

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sented, but no trade-union officials are allowed to sit on the com­
mittee. This is a source of some dissatisfaction. There is no joint
organization for considering general conditions o f employment or
for dealing with disputes; union officials are, however, recognized
by individual owners and managers for the purpose of discussing
and settling disputes. In connection with the Mannesmann Tube
Works at Landore, Swansea, where the employees number 1,776,
there is also a conciliation board which works most satisfactorily.
It is not only a wages board but is a final court for the settlement o f
all disputes between owners, management and workmen. A ll the
employees belong to the General Workers’ Union.
The extent, distribution and the relative importance o f these and
other metal industries in south Wales may be seen from the follow ­
ing statistics drawn from the census returns for 1911:
T a b le

C.—PERSONS ENGAGED IN METAL INDUSTRIES, 1911.
Glamorgan. Monmouth. Carmarthen.

Total.

Iron and steel manufacture...... .....
.............
Tin-plate manufacture—
Hales............................................................... .
Females......................................... .....................
Galvanized sheet........................................................
Copper (including brass and bronze)1............. .
Zinc............................................................................
Other or unspecified metals.........
...........

6,858

6,641

852

14,351

12,052
1,821
523
2,266
974
718

1,785
167
'840

4,840
731
144
575
12

18,677
2,719
1,507
2,841
974
730

Total................................................................

25,212

9,433

7,154

41,799

i The figures include 165 workers m brass and bronze In Glamorgan; also 7 females in Glamorgan and
13 in Carmarthen.

As might be expected, the tin-plate workers of the Swansea district
(and, to some extent, the steel workers o f the same area, especially
those in works that are closely “ interlocked” with the tin-plate
trade), while having many characteristics in common with the
miners, have also developed traditions and standards o f their own.
The special skill o f the tin plater is somewhat of an inherited quality.
That the existence in the district o f a supply o f labor possessing this
special skill is a “ vital consideration is abundantly proved by the
difficulty experienced by the Americans in establishing the industry
in their country ” some 20 years ago, and it is a difficulty that has
also been experienced in other countries. The more this fact is recog­
nized the greater should be the effort to maintain and develop the
present spirit—the practice of cordial cooperation between all the
parties engaged in the industry.
Without adopting it in its entirety, we reproduce the following
description o f the Welsh tin-plate worker from the pen of one who
is intimately acquainted with the industry, and as a trained econo­
mist has carefully investigated its conditions:—




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“ The average tin-plate worker is highly intelligent and a keen
politician. Many of his class read widely, and are enthusiastic book
collectors. As a body they form perhaps the largest group of Welsh­
men employed in manufacture— for the industry is still mainly in
the hands of bilingual descendants of natives. They possess the wellknown Welsh characteristics, imagination, enthusiasm, and lack of
perseverance; they also possess the lesser known but equally pro­
nounced ones— they are as cynical as most people imbued with the
spirit of idealism, and they possess a capacity for organization and
construction which has not yet been fully recognized. It is to the
combination of imaginative and constructive powers * * * that
the sustained success of the present method of collective bargaining
is probably due.” 1
3.
Other metal industries ( copper, spelter, nickel, etc .).— W e have
already mentioned that copper smelting is an old established in­
dustry in the Swansea district. It dates in fact from the reign of
Queen Elizabeth. In the census returns of 1911, some 2,841 persons
are returned as being engaged in this industry and in the treatment
of other “ yellow metals”— brass and bronze— between Port Talbot
and Llanelly; of these 20 were females. Work is carried on at
eight establishments, two of them being owned by the same firm.
Two firms also have chemical works attached partly for the produc­
tion of the chemicals required in the industry. There are other
chemical works without sulphuric acid plant in the district.
The workers in these industries (including the chemical workers)
are organized in a special branch of the Dockers’ Union. There is
no conciliation board, but the project of establishing one is being
considered. Though the work done in the copper works is largely
of the same kind as that of a steel works (e. g., rolling), the wages
of the men are said to be 50 per cent below those of tin-plate workers
and 100 per cent below those of steel workers. This was entirely
attributed by the representative of the Dockers’ Union to the poorer
organization of the workers, whose attitude to their employers was
described as of a quasi-feudal character.
As to spelter, which is the commercial name for zinc, Swansea pro­
duces about nineteen-twentieths of the total manufactured in Great
Britain, and close upon a thousand men are engaged. It is expected
that this industry will be greatly developed in the near future. The
work is disagreeable and exhausting; the men work excessive hours
with no Sunday rest and are paid considerably lower wages than are
earned by the steel and tin-plate workers. The employees at four of
the works are attached to the Workers’ Union, those at the other two
belong to the general Workers’ and Dockers’ Union, respectively. A t




1 The Tin-plate Industry, by J. H. Jones, p. xi.

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present the work is carried on at eight establishments; with one or
two exceptions these are old-fashioned and the conditions of work­
ing highly unsatisfactory. Better organization is required; there are
works committees at the various works, but a conciliation board for
the whole industry would further help matters.
Nickel refining and the manufacture of copper sulphate and nickel
salts are carried on by the Mond Nickel Co. at Clydach, 5 miles
north of Swansea. The number of persons employed is 1,270, in­
cluding 140 women and 80 boys under 19; they are mostly attached
to the Workers’ Union. There is no conciliation board. The wages
paid are recognized as being higher than those paid by other works
in the district for a similar class of labor. There are no piece rates
as the industry is not suitable for piecework. There is a scheme of
long service bonuses commencing on the completion of the first six
months. The company has built some 200 houses for their workmen
and there are welfare institutions.
It will have been observed that in so far as the metal industries of
the Swansea district are concerned— steel, tin plate, sheet, tube,
copper, spelter, and nickel— they all enjoy a high degree of “ geo­
graphic concentration.” This has a most important bearing on the
relations of employers and employed. This concentration simplifies
the task of the various conciliation boards, secures greater uniform­
ity and renders easier the enforcement of agreements. It insures
that the men intrusted with the task of legislating for each industry
are acquainted both with its technique and its personnel. What has
been said of the Tin-plate Conciliation Board is applicable to those
who have to negotiate agreements in the other industries, namely— that
“ the precise conditions obtaining in nearly all the factories are well
known to most of the members of the board, and such knowledge
tells in every discussion.” Further, most of the captains of industry
live in the near vicinity of their works and are in almost daily con­
tact with their men.
4.
Engineering.— In 1911 Glamorgan had 14,840 persons engaged
in engineering work and machine making, Monmouthshire, 5,706,
and Carmarthenshire, 2,048. A large proportion of these are em­
ployed in the engineering workshops of the railway companies
(chiefly at Cardiff, Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypool, Newport, Neath,
and Swansea), while the others would be distributed among the
various other industries of the country. Their industry is therefore
not localized; it has not the advantages of geographical concentra­
tion which the other industries already dealt with possess. So far,
engineering in south Wales is an almost entirely subsidiary industry.
The trade-union of those,engaged in the industry is the Amalga­
mated Society of Engineers. It is one of the six unions which have




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representation on the Tin-plate Conciliation Board in virtue of the
fact that many of the artisans in the tin-plate works are members of
it, though there are two other unions to which some of them belong.
In the event of the workers organizing themselves on the lines of
industrial union, the engineers who are distributed among the vari­
ous industries— a few here and a few there— would inevitably have
to join the dominant union of the industry to which they might
happen to be attached.
5. Ship repairing.— A considerable ship-repairing industry has
• been developed at Cardiff and Newport (and to a lesser extent at
Swansea) of recent years, but the number of men employed is not
yet very large. On the employers’ side there has recently been a con­
siderable centralizing of control in a few hands by the fusion of
numerous companies. The men have made no corresponding ad­
vance in organization. There is no conciliation board or other joint
machinery for settling disputes and no disposition to adopt one.
6 . Transport.— The persons enumerated in 1911 as engaged in the
various branches of the transport services in Glamorgan amounted to
48,376, in Monmouthshire to 14,426, and in Carmarthenshire 3,747.
Those employed on the railways probably form the largest group in
this total. Most of them are members of the National Union of
Railwaymen, which has an organizing secretary for Wales. The
locomotive engineers and firemen, as well as the railway clerks, are
organized in unions of their own. In consequence of the report of
the Royal Commission on Railway Conciliation, etc. (1907), there is
in connection with each railway a conciliation board to deal with
general rates of wages and conditions of employment. The multi­
plicity of railways operating in the south Wales coal field render it
difficult to secure anything approaching' uniformity of conditions,
and disparity in wages and differences as to conditions of working
cause much irritation. A t least one of the local railway companies
shows decided hostility to trade-unionism. In other cases a tradeunion official if not an employee of the company concerned is not
allowed to accompany an employee when questions of discipline or
individual grievances are investigated. It was urged that the spirit
of paragraph 72 of the report of the royal commission is not being
carried out.
The next important group of transport workers are the dockers
and wharf laborers. Between 1901 and 1911 their numbers went up
in Glamorgan from 4,289 to 6,256 and in Monmouthshire (i. e., in
effect, Newport) from 911 to 1,848. They are organized in the Dock­
ers’ Union, now one of the constituents of the Transport Workers’
Federation. Intermittently during 1915, and 1916 there was some
unrest among the cargo workers at the various ports. This was
most accentuated at Swansea during the latter part of 1916, where




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there were also disputes with the coal trimmers. A ll the ports have
had for some years conciliation or dispute boards of their own and a
central conciliation board was established in 1915 to which matters
unsettled by the local boards are referred. Toward the end of 1916,
the employers at Swansea initiated the policy o f meeting the men
from time to time in friendly conference. Since then there has been
no friction.
Just as we saw that the interests o f the metal industries—especially
those engaged in steel, tin-plate and galvanized sheet manufacturing—
were becoming continually more and more interlocked, so also are the
interests of the miners, the railway men and other transport workers.
To some extent they have the advantage o f geographical concentra­
tion, as their spheres o f interest meet in the coal fields, ports and rail­
way termini— at the very pivots of the industries concerned. The
significance for south Wales and for the country at large o f the
establishment o f an “ alliance ” between the labor organizations
representing these three great groups o f workers, can not easily be
exaggerated.
It has been pointed out that this movement toward solidarity is
based on remarkable similarities between the three groups as regards
their economic position and their trade-union structure and policy.
For instance (to illustrate the former point only) the industries con­
cerned are essential public utilities (being legally considered such in
Canada) occupying a monopolistic position, through their relation to
natural, legal, and economic conditions, e. g., the limited supply o f
coal, the necessity for it and the lack o f substitutes, and through their
operations being “ closely regulated by legislative enactments giving
the employees a common interest in increasing their political power.”
(G. R. Carter in Economical Journal, September, 1916, page 390.)
7.
Coal mining in north Wales.— There are no other industries in
south Wales which it is necessary for us to give an account o f in
this review, but a few words must be said as to the coal-mining in­
dustry o f north Wales. The coal gotten in this coal field, which
though small is of growing importance, is used mainly for manufac­
turing gas and for household purposes, and hardly any is exported.
The miners are organized in the North Wales Miners’ Association
(with a membership in 1914 of about 12,000) and there is also a
North Wales Coal Owners’ Association whose membership represents
collieries producing 54 per cent of the total output of coal in north
Wales— or for Denbighshire alone 68 per cent: North Wales does
not, however, constitute an entirely independent unit like south Wales
either on the owners’ or on the men’s side, but is linked up with a
number o f federated organizations in the various English coal fields.
There is a conciliation board with an independent chairman for the
whole federated area consisting of representatives of both owners




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U R E A U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

and miners for Lancashire, Yorkshire, North Staffordshire, Cannock
Chase, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire as well as
north Wales, there being only one owner from north Wales on the
board. There is, however, a joint district board with an independent
chairman for north Wales alone under the Minimum Wage Act,
1912, and also joint committees of management and men at each
colliery. The only complaint made as to either board had reference
to delays in getting the boards to meet or in the publication of
awards.
P H Y SIC A L AND GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS ; THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE INDUSTRIES
OF SOUTH WALES AND ON SOCIAL CONDITIONS.

We have already seen how the geology o f the coal measures, the
disturbed condition o f the strata, and the dry and fiery character and
the consequent high quality of the coal, have affected the past de­
velopment o f the coal field, as well as the present conditions o f work­
ing. W e have also seen how the geographical concentration of the
metal industries in the Swansea district has produced a high degree
o f inherited skill among the workers, and has given the industries
many advantages, not the least being a smoothly working system
o f conciliation boards. We have now to consider the wider influence
o f geographical conditions on the workers generally, and in par­
ticular on those engaged in the mining industry.
W e limit ourselves to the case o f the mining industry as it is the
most important. It is certainly the key industry of south Wales.
There, to use a colloquialism, “ Coal is King.” The public have been
slow to realize the full significance of this fact; they are far from
adequately realizing it even yet, but the miners themselves are fully
conscious o f the supreme position which their industry occupies.
So, too, o f course, are the coal owners. Both are well informed as to
their position, and both are well organized. The need, and the duty
o f acquiring a better insight into the economic and social conditions
o f the industry, are therefore paramount, both for the Government in
its corporate capacity and for all who recognize the social obliga­
tions o f citizenship. We would be traveling outside the limits o f our
inquiry if we attempted any full analysis o f these conditions in our
present report; we can only deal, and that all too briefly, with such
aspects as concern the subject matter of our inquiry. T o that, how­
ever, we desire to add an expression of our strong conviction as to
the necessity o f an exhaustive investigation at an early date into the
social and economic conditions prevailing in the south Wales coal
field.
A fundamental fact as to this industry in south Wales, is that the
life o f the workers engaged in it is conditioned at every point, and




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in every form o f activity, by the physical and geographical condi­
tions of the district itself. The physical configuration of the coal
field is markedly different from that o f any other coal area in Great
Britain, and is a factor that profoundly affects and largely conditions
the social life o f the inhabitants.
A ll the other British coal fields have fairly level or gently undu­
lating surfaces. In south Wales the coal field used to be spoken of
as the “ hills,” the earlier development having been on the higher
land o f the outcrop—but of more recent years “ the valleys ” is the
commonly accepted synonym. Scooped out by impetuous streams
which start from the central mountain range o f Brecknockshire, or
one o f its southern spurs, those valleys are for the most part ex­
tremely narrow, with inconveniently steep sides, some of them in­
deed being so narrow at some points that there is scarcely space
enough on the level for main road and railway in addition to the
river itself. Nevertheless, it is into these valleys, shut in on either
side by high mountains that the mining population is crowded, and
it is in this same narrow space, and often right in the midst of the
dwelling houses that the surface works of the collieries and any by­
product plants have also o f necessity been placed.
With the dwellings and other buildings ranged in streets that run
along the length o f the valleys in monotonous terraces, instead of
approximately radiating from a common center as would be possible
on fairly level sites, the civic and corporate life o f the community
has suffered owing to the absence of “ town centers ” and o f any con­
veniently centralized institutions. For instance, dignified municipal
buildings are extremely rare; not a single municipally maintained
public library is to be found in the central Glamorgan block o f the
coal field1 it is only on the seaboard and in the older towns of
—
Merthyr, Aberdare and Pontypridd, that any exist. There are, it is
true, many workingmen’s institutes, most o f them w ith collections of
T
books, attached to different collieries; there are also many clubs,
but we believe not a single trade-union or cooperative hall for large
gatherings and with offices for various labor organizations. Finally,
the Rhondda has an abundance of cinemas and music halls, but not
a single theater. Owing to this absence of municipal centers and
centralized institutions, the development of the civic spirit and the
sense o f social solidarity— what we may in short call the community
sense—is seriously retarded.
There is no part of the United Kingdom, with a population at all
comparable in numbers with that o f the south Wales coal field, where
the surface is so broken up by deep and narrow valleys. No part,
therefore, stands in greater need of having its building development
1 See Report on Library Provision and Policy to the Carnegie U. K. Trustees (1915).




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

scientifically studied and properly planned. Excepting the area
drained by the Ogmore and its tributaries, all the valleys in East
Glamorgan and West Monmouthshire run in a southeasterly direc­
tion, while those in West Glamorgan and East Carmarthenshire take
a southwesterly course, but as both sides o f each valley are usually
built upon, the right-hand (or southwestern) slopes throughout the
former area have an approximately northeastern aspect for their
houses, while the left-hand (or southeastern) slopes throughout the
latter front northwest.
In several o f the valleys (e. g., the two Rhonddas and that of the
Cynon and its tributaries, and Rhymney) most o f the houses have
been built on the less sunny side, often, indeed, in positions where it
is impossible for any sunshine to penetrate the houses. A serious
burden is thus thrown on the community owing to the ill health, and
consequent reduction o f efficiency, including the greater predisposi­
tion to fatigue, resulting from living in such sunless houses and in
dark back rooms giving on to the excavated portions o f so many hill
sites. O f recent years the houses in the valleys and on the lower
slopes are still further overshadowed by the huge coal tips which are
being piled on the breasts and upper slopes and which, besides
making the landscape hideous, will in time endanger the very lives
o f those dwelling in the valleys below. The cost of building is also
much enhanced by the expense o f excavating sites on the slopes and
o f road construction generally. Subsidence owing to mining opera­
tions prejudicially affects the habitable conditions o f the houses
owing to the injury to the gas, water, and sewerage systems. It also
adds greatly to the cost o f repairs and reduces the “ life ” o f all build­
ings, while much heavier rates are necessitated owing to the damage
by subsidence, heavy floods, and occasional landslides, to the sewers
and other mains, and to the roads, tram lines and public buildings
generally. The subsidence in the Rhondda Valley has been ascer­
tained by the Ordnance Survey Department to have amounted in
some localities to 8 feet during the 12 years from 1898 to 1910.
Land o f a suitable kind, available for garden and allotments, is
extremely limited. This enhances the cost o f living, and is of course
a factor in the wage rate; it also largely deprives the miner o f a
profitable and healthy open-air recreation which would react bene­
ficially upon his temperament and his relations with nature gen­
erally. Similarly there is a great scarcity of recreation grounds for
adults and o f open-air playgrounds (other than asphalted ones) for
children, a state o f things which is serious in its effects from the
7
moral, social, and public health point o f view.
Such physical considerations as we have mentioned and the kind o f
development which they have imposed upon the district account for




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the fact that the level o f wages in the south Wales coal field is neces­
sarily higher on the whole than that o f any other British coal field.
The geographical position o f south Wales also makes it more isolated
from the large centers o f population than any o f the English coal
fields, so that the supply o f labor from the adjacent counties, and
from towns like Bristol, is quite insufficient from the colliery pro­
prietor’s point o f view.
The high quality of the coal produced— especially the steam and
anthracite coal— and the virtual monopoly which these coals enjoy,
have created such a demand for them as has proved a sufficient in­
ducement for the continual sinking o f new pits, but, in order to
attract the requisite labor, good price lists have to be offered, and this
in turn has leveled up the rates paid at the older collieries. “ I f
the coal had not been so valuable, the development would have pro­
ceeded more slowly, limited by the supply o f labor which would
have been available at a lower rate.”
The development o f the coal field has therefore been very rapid,
the population o f Glamorgan being increased from 171,188 in 1841
to 511,433 in 1881, and 1,120,910 in 1911. During the last intercensal
period, the number o f coal and shale mine workers increased by 53.8
per cent in Monmouthshire, 40 per cent in Glamorgan, 69.6 per cent
in Carmarthenshire, and 55.9 per cent in Breconshire.
The higher cost o f living in the valleys, and the inadequate housing
accommodation, we have already seen, are also primarily dependent
on the physical conditions, and will have to come under our consid­
eration at a later stage.
To give greater concreteness to our general description o f the
coal field in its geographical aspects, we append some extracts from
the report for 1914 of the medical officer o f health o f the Rhondda
Urban District Council.
The district (that is, the Rhondda urban district) as a whole consists of two
narrow tortuous valleys, which gradually approach each other, in their course
southward and join at Porth, and thence the single valley so formed runs a
short course before merging into the upper end of Pontypridd urban district
at Trehafod. The two valleys are so arranged that they resemble an irregularly
shaped Y. The stem of the Y is formed by the portion of the district extending
from Trehafod to Porth, and is over a mile long. The limbs of unequal length
are formed by the Rho'ndda Fawr Valley, which is about
miles long and by
the Rhondda Fach Valley, which is of a length barely 6| miles. Both the
valleys at their upper extremities end blindly or form a cul-de-sac; their lateral
boundaries are formed by steep hills which vary in height from about 560 feet
on either side of Trehafod to 1,340 feet on the northeast side of Mardy and 1,742
feet on the southwest of Treherbert. The Rhondda Fawr and the Rhondda
Fach valleys are separated by a steep ridge—Cefn, Rhondda—which rises from
a point 600 feet just above Porth to an elevation of 1,692 feet near the upper
extremity of the district. The Rhondda River—formed at Porth by the junc­
tion of the Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr rivers—is 240 feet above the




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B U L L E T IN OP T H E BU R E A U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

sea level at the lowest point in the district, at Trehafod, while the Rhondda
Fawr River attains an elevation of 720 feet at Blaen Rhondda, and the Rhondda
Fach River the still greater elevation of 920 feet at Mardy. The highest point
in the district is Carn Molsau, which is 1,950 feet high, and is situated at the
upper end.
The valleys are very narrow, and allow in many places only sufficient space
for river road and railway. Although the district is a large one, the area
actually built upon is comparatively small, for the most suitable and con­
venient building ground is situated in more or less close proximity to the river.
Here and there, however, as at Treorchy and Ton, the valleys open out a little,
and it is mainly at these expansions that considerable numbers of houses have
been erected. Leading out of the main valleys are a few side valleys, of which
Owmparc, Clydach Yale, and Cymmer are the most important.

Dr. Jenkins has also been good enough to supply us at our request
with some further statistics in illustration o f the statement made in
his report that “ the area actually built upon is comparatively small,”
whence the density o f the population in certain parts must be ex­
cessive.
Excluding metropolitan areas-(London and Middlesex) the county
o f Glamorgan has, next to Lancashire, the greatest density o f popu­
lation o f any county in England and Wales, notwithstanding its ex­
tensive agricultural areas in Gower and the Yale o f Glamorgan, and
its central mountain range. In 1911 it had 1,383 persons in the square
mile, compared with 2,554 in Lancashire, and 618 for the whole of
England and Wales. In the Rhondda urban district, taken as a
whole, the number was 4,480, while in Mid-Rhondda it was as high
as 6,400 persons within the square mile. Dr. Jenkins has subdivided
the urban district into five natural groups o f mining centers, and the
figures for each and for the whole area are given in the table below.
It is noteworthy that the districts which have suffered most from
labor disputes o f recent years are those where the population is most
congested. Thus the prolonged strike o f the “ Cambrian Combine ”
miners in 1910-11 was in the Tonypandy district. Disputes have
been frequent also in the Porth district.
T a b l e D.— SHOWING THE DENSITY OF POPULATION IN DIFFERENT PORTIONS

OF THE RHONDDA URBAN DISTRICT.

Locality.

Rh ondda-Fach ( Y n y s h i r ,
Tylorstown, Femdale and
Mardy)...................................
Pentre Ton, Gelli and Ystrad..
Llwynypia, Clydach Vale,
Tonypandy, and Trealaw___
Porth, Cymmer, and Hafod_
_
Treherbert, Treorchy, and
Cwmparc................................
Rhondda urban district (in­
cluding small portions not in
the above)...........................




Popula­
tion.

Total
area in
acres.

Acres per
person.

Persons
per
square
mile.

Area Acres per Persons
person persquare
built
upon in in area mile in
built
area built
acres.
upon.
upon.

45,vn
25,207

5,852
3,210

0.13
.13

5,056
5,056

1,125
635

0.024
.025

26,240
25,600

31,847
18,000

3,194
1,899

.10
.10

6,400
6,080

875
500

.027
.028

23,296
23,040

33,938

8,466

.25

2,560

1,030

.031

20,480

166,873

23,871

.14

4,480

4,500

.027

23,680

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SOCIOLOGICAL FACTORS I---- RACE CHARACTERISTICS---- RAPID INCREASE OF POPULATION---LANGUAGE---- EDUCATIONAL AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES.

The next group of factors which should claim our attention are of
a sociological nature, and may be said to constitute the human, as dis­
tinct from the physical, geography o f the Welsh industrial areas.
W e can deal, however—and that very briefly—with only a few of
the more important.
1.
Race admixture.— The two main industrial areas o f Wales are
geographically “ border districts.” In pre-industrial times, a great
admixture o f races probably occurred in northeast Wales—the pres­
ent industrial area o f Flint and Denbigh—than in any other part o f
Wales. Several waves o f conquest and reconquest swept over it;
nearly every invasion of north Wales was made through it; and the
successive shifting o f the boundary between Wales and England is
evidenced by the existence o f the parallel dykes bearing the names
o f Wat and Off a, respectively. But the different racial elements in
the district were fairly thoroughly assimilated several centuries ago.
Quite recently, however, a new wave o f migration, mainly from
Cheshire and Lancashire, has penetrated the seaboard in this dis­
trict, especially the neighborhood o f Shotton and Queensferry, where
a large metallurgical industry is now carried on.
Events took a different course in southeast Wales. In early times
the mixture o f races was considerably less in that area, owing
largely to the protection which the Severn and Wye afforded it
from the east. The racial characteristics of the native tribes, known
in Roman times as the Silures, but generally described by ethnolo­
gists as Iberians, are still predominant among the mining popula­
tion. Speaking of this Iberian type, Prof. Lloyd, in his “ History
o f W ales” (p. 15), says: “ Its features and build are represented
in modern Britain by the short, dark Welshman of south Wales,
possibly its very qualities of soul and mind in the typical collier
and ‘ Eisteddfodwr,5 impulsive and wayward, but susceptible to the
influences of music and religion.”
During the last 50 years or so the rapid development o f the coal­
mining industry, as also, to a less extent, o f steel and tin-plate manu­
factures, and the transport service, has attracted to this district
exceptionally large numbers o f immigrants from all parts o f the
United Kingdom, with even a sprinkling from beyond the seas.
The resultant mixture o f people in any particular district often
presents great differences in their traditions and antecedents, in
their speech, habits, and temperament, in their mental and moral
make-up generally. Until some 15 to 20 years ago, the native inhabi­
tants had, in many respects, shown a marked capacity for stamp178410—17—Bull. 237------10




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U E E A U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ing their own impress on all newcomers, and communicating to
them a large measure o f their own characteristics; o f more recent
years the process o f assimilation has been unable to keep pace with
the continuing influx o f immigrants.
The census statistics as to the birthplaces o f the inhabitants, and
o f the language spoken by them furnish striking evidence as to the
existence and extent o f their racial and linguistic diversities. We
should explain, however, that we use the expression “ racial” as a
convenient term to indicate characteristics associated with different
counties or provinces o f the United Kingdom rather than with dis­
tinct races o f people.
The following figures extracted from the last census returns show,
for the counties o f Glamorgan and Monmouth, the proportion o f
the native to the immigrant inhabitants in 1911:
T a b le

E.—NATIVE AND IMMIGRANT POPULATION.
Glamorgan.

Of the enumerated population, number bom in—
Total.

Birthplace not stated.................................. ........................

729,969
151,877
215,940
11,419
11,705

Total............................................................................

1,120,910

County where enumerated...................................................
Other counties of Wales (or Wales, but county not stated).
Other parts of the United Kingdom, colonies, and at sea...
Foreign countries.................................................................................. .

Monmouthshire.

Percent­
age.
65.13
13.55
19.25

1.02
1.05

Total.
251,269
42,408
95,079
2,501
4,462

Percent­
age.
63.5
10.7
24.1

0.6
1.1

395,719

It is thus seen that of the total population enumerated in Glamor­
gan and Monmouthshire in 1911, only 65.13 and 63.5 per cent,
respectively, were returned as having been born in the county where
they resided. Other parts of Wales contributed 13.55 and 10.T per
cent o f the population o f each o f the two counties. About one-fifth
o f the population o f Glamorgan and one-quarter o f that o f Mon­
mouthshire were, however, English bom or born outside Wales.
2.
Rapid growth o f population.— The extent to which similar
migration into this area had taken place during the last 40 years
may be inferred from the fact that the population o f Glamorgan
went up from 397,859 in 1871 to 687,218 in 1891 and to 859,931 in
1901 and reached in 1911 the total o f 1,120,910, an increase o f 182
per cent in 40 years. The other coal-mining counties have also
grown very rapidly in population during the same period though
not to the same extent.
A large proportion o f the male immigrants are unmarried men;
this is naturally so for it is the unencumbered man that can most
easily migrate to a distance. In many cases, however, married men
come alone, leaving their families at the old home. The proportion




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147

o f females to males in the mining counties is consequently very low.
Monmouthshire stands lowest of all the counties o f England and
Wales in this respect with only 912 females to each 1,000 males,
Glamorgan comes next with 924, Carmarthenshire is sixth from the
bottom with 987, and Brecknockshire eighth with 991. Flint and
Denbigh, the two coal-mining counties o f north Wales, are third
and ninth from the bottom.
The full significance of such a state o f things we can not investi­
gate, but the low proportion o f females to males tends to increase
the economic dependence o f women in the mining community. On
the other hand the high proportion o f unmarried men and also o f
young men (whether married or otherwise) may to some extent
account for the tendency to rash and impulsive action on the part
of certain sections o f the community.
3.
Language.—The linguistic conditions o f the six counties o f
Wales which contain any considerable industrial population is also
shown in the following table:
T a b le

F.— LANGUAGE SPOKEN, 1911.

County.

Brecknock............
Carmarthen..........
Denbigh...............
Flint.....................
Glamorgan...........
Momnouth...........

Monoglot Monoglot
Welsh. English.

Bilin­
guals.

Per cent. Per cent. Per cent.
5.45
20.5
10.05
3.5
3.07
.41

57.1
13.35
41.66
55.35
58.90
86.27

36
64.5
46.62
38.75
35.03
9.25

Unknown
or foreign.

Per cent.
1.45
1.65
1.67
2.4
3
4.07

Most o f the characteristics, both geographical and sociological,
hitherto alluded to—the physical configuration of the coal field, and
its racial and linguistic diversities—have a divisive effect on the
population, and present obstacles to the growth o f social solidarity.
Even religion is able to produce less o f the spirit o f unity than
might perhaps be expected. Apart from the long-continued conflict
between the Church of England and Nonconformity, cooperation
between the various Nonconformist bodies themselves is, on the
whole, but spasmodic and confined to but few forms o f common
action, such as in connection with temperance, while the difference
o f language cuts clean across almost all denominations, separating
those who habitually speak Welsh from the English-speaking people
in the matter o f religious worship.
Many o f the immigrants, cut off from their old religious asso­
ciations and other restraining influences, drift into indifference, and
some, flushed with their larger earnings and freer life, into selfindulgence. Others are attracted by the more idealistic principles
o f socialism, while not a few of the more active spirits throw all




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

their energy into the work of their trade-union, aiming perhaps
too exclusively at the merely economic welfare o f their own class.
In the life o f the old-fashioned collier religion continues to play
a large part; his preoccupation with the affairs of his church or
chapel, and his other-worldliness o f spirit cause him to hold aloof
from active participation in the work o f his lodge or in trade-union
politics. Possibly the tone and spirit in which the business of the
lodge is sometimes, or in some instances^ carried on, might be dis­
tasteful to him, and, in former years, the fact of its meetings being
held in licensed houses also proved a stumbling block. The everrecurring nonunionist trouble is at least partly due to the constant
influx into the district o f immigrants, ignorant for the most part
o f the benefits, and unversed in the methods of trade-unionism, for
those who refuse to join are mostly newcomers drawn from agricul­
ture or some other ill paid or unorganized industry.
The introduction into the district of managers and other officials
who have no experience of the Welsh outlook and temperament and,
o f course, no knowledge o f the Welsh language, and who have had
their vocational training in some other coal field is also productive
to some extent o f misunderstanding and friction. Broadly speaking,
collieries manned by officials of Welsh sympathies and trained in
the traditions o f the Welsh coal field are much less troubled with
labor disputes than those managed by officials of a different training
and outlook. In this connection we must also mention the fact that
the Welsh collier, even though possibly addicted to bluntness o f
speech in conversation with his fellow workmen, is quick to resent
any ebullition of temper or violence o f language towards himself
on the part of those placed in authority over him. He is equally
sensitive to any disparagement of his nationality or native county,
or to any invidious comparison between the Welsh miner and those
o f other coal fields. Much avoidable friction is due to lack of selfcontrol in language and temper and the want of tact generally on
the part o f officials, though circumstances may often be such as to
test them severely in this respect. The more the personality of the
worker is respected the greater the likelihood o f industrial harmony.
4.
Political education and trade-unionism,—In the earlier stage
o f the development of the trade-union movement the union was not
regarded as a political instrument, nor even as a social unit. It was
largely a club into which subscriptions w^ere paid and from which
benefits were received. Gradually, however, owing to the recognition
of a need o f having the views of labor voiced in the House of Com­
mons the nature and spirit o f the work performed in the lodges be­
came changed. Yet in the early days there was none of the separatist
class— conscious program characteristic o f the modern workingclass movement. The elected representatives in Parliament were Lib­




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149

erals in spirit and policy, elected for the main purpose o f safeguard­
ing the special interests of. workers in a particular industry. The
broader aspects o f social and political reform or action were left to
the initiative o f each member; just as to-day the cooperative move­
ment is pressing for direct representation in Parliament, not with
the avowed object o f developing a broad scheme o f social reform
along cooperative lines, but rather for the purpose o f safeguarding
the interests o f cooperators.
With the spread o f elementary education and the slow develop­
ment o f the desire for a clear understanding o f the conditions under
which the workers live, a change has spread over the spirit of the
lodges. The younger generation, fed upon the writings o f the
Fabian Society, the Independent Labor Party and the works o f Con­
tinental and American writers, has tended more and more to formu­
late a theory o f reform and o f political action which is almost en­
tirely opposed to that o f the old. It demands that its representatives
in Parliament shall i>e first and foremost representatives of labor,
not labor as portion o f communal life but labor as the majority in
the country, as an economic and productive force o f vital and there­
fore paramount importance, with a program of social reform involv­
ing the reconstruction o f the whole basis o f society. The effect
upon the lodges and upon the trades councils to which they send dele­
gates has been twofold. In the first place, they have become centers
o f educational work from which lectures and classes on political and
social subjects have been organized, and secondly, they have become
centers o f social and political activity more potent perhaps than any
other o f the social movements in the community. Indeed it is often
within the lodges that the men seek and cultivate that spirit o f
brotherhood and good will which they have failed to discover in the
world outside. In this wider sense, then, political action means
“ Labor representation upon any public body from the smallest par­
ish council up to the House o f Commons, and the agitation and
organization necessary thereto.”
One effect o f this phase o f industrial evolution has been the wide­
spread movement for participation in local government and the
creation o f a labor party in Parliament. The other has been a
movement for reform within the trades-unions themselves. This has
been notably the case among the south Wales miners. The “ ad­
vanced ” men, holding no official rank, but often exercising great in­
fluence among their fellows, have o f late years been advocating a
form o f industrial unionism. They deny the efficacy o f political
action and devote their efforts to the elimination o f the small craft
and trade-unions and to the amalgamation of all labor within a
particular industry into one general industrial union. Believing




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

that the final and root causes of the conflict between employer and
employee lie in the relation between capital and labor, they see
in the strengthening o f the union a means o f forging a firmly welded
weapon which will ultimately be sufficiently powerful to overcome
and reorganize the capitalist forces ranged against them. To these
men political action is o f temporary and deluding value; to them
legal enactment is but a means either o f oppression or o f stupefac­
tion. Political government, they maintain, will have no effect when
faced by industrial unionism in the control o f production. In no
part o f the country is this creed so widely held and constantly
preached as among the miners o f Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.
Between these two movements, then—the one o f direct political
action, the other o f industrial unionism in its various aspects—there
is at present a distinct cleavage. But each is profoundly affecting the
other. Political action to-day is conceived of in quite a different spirit
from that of a generation ago. Not only is the working class alive to
the need for political action in the wider sense, but its elected officials
and representatives are taking an active part in the local life o f the
community, and throughout south Wales labor plays a very promi­
nent part in* local government. To-day, the activities o f the labor
member o f Parliament are o f a wider and more general scope than
the mere safeguarding o f the special interests o f an industry. On
the other hand, the domination of the trades-unions by their officials,
whose expert knowledge and intimate experience render them essen­
tial to the unions, and give them an almost unassailable position, has
engendered a spirit o f unrest and suspicion which found one outlet
in the recent demand in the S. W. M. F. for a “ lay executive ” and
for the relegation o f the official to the position o f adviser shorn
o f executive power. An educated body o f men, with a clear per­
ception o f the function o f their union and conscious o f the dis­
abilities— apparent or real— which seem to press upon them, is thus
capable, though often in a small minority, o f changing the nature
and scope of the trade-union movement in any industry.
And this leads us to our next point—the question o f education.
The comparatively late development o f industrialism in Wales has
hindered the growth of such working-class organizations as the coop­
erative movement, while university extension lectures, or the teach­
ings o f the younger school o f Oxford democrats, have had no direct
appeal to the Welsh workers. In contradistinction to the workers
o f Durham and Northumberland, or those o f the potteries, where
university work has been carried out with great effect, the closely
packed, easily accessible valleys o f Glamorgan have been given over
to propagandist work of a political nature, at first of somewhat unor­
ganized character. The I. L. P. has some scores of branches in the
Welsh coal field, each branch a center o f political educational ac­




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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tivity. Lectures are arranged and classes conducted in political and
social subjects, while there is a large sale o f propagandist literature.
To these branches the younger men, disappointed with the conven­
tions o f church and chapel, have flocked; these, too, have become
the centers o f the labor movement in local government which is
so characteristic o f south Wales.
The I. L. P. branches have, however, concerned themselves mainly
with political work. But the ill success o f the strike movement,
the menace o f combines o f employers, with the consequent centrali­
zation o f capital, and what an advanced section o f the workers
regard as the apparent, failure o f Parliamentary representation,
have all brought home to the worker the imperative need for
organization. Organization is, however, impossible to a community
only partially, if at all, educated. Hence the leading spirits in the
trade-unions have of late years been devoting themselves to an active
i f restricted form o f educational propaganda. The workingman,
it is held, must organize his own education, train his own teachers,
and work steadily for reform within his own union. Thus, to-day,
the South Wales Miners’ Federation and the National Union of Railw aymen have jointly assumed financial responsibility for a working­
7
man’s college (the Central Labor College) where the workers may be
taught the social sciences free from the bias and prejudice o f the
upper-class conception o f history and economics. In March, 1917,
the college conducted 41 classes, o f which 19 were in south Wales, 8
being in the Rhondda. The number o f students at that time in
south Wales would not be less than 500. Since March, 1917, how­
ever, the number o f the classes has; largely increased, and steeps
have been taken to organize classes in almost every district of the
South Wales Federation. The subjects taken are almost invariably
confined to economics, industrial history, and the modern workingclass movement.
These classes, then, together with the transformation of industry
into the combine on the one hand, and the fool-proof machine on
the other, have had their part in the revolution which has taken
place in the minds o f the workers. While in the old days the road
to reform appeared to lie in the direction merely o f the consolidating
and care o f local interests, o f late the workers have both widened
and narrowed their outlook. Improvement o f status, rises in wages,
have all proved ineffective against the more obvious pressure o f capi­
talist economy and the patent gambling in the necessities o f life.
This has been taken advantage of by teachers and leaders, and out of
it has developed a form o f class consciousness increasingly powerful
and deliberate of purpose. The worker, as a class, has, they maintain,
been exploited; as a class, he must seek and win his fredom ; it is this




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

which explains the general desire for tuition in economics, not the
prejudiced economics o f the older school, but a theory which will
give some explanation o f the conditions under which the workers
live and hold out some promise of immediate reform. Thus the edu­
cation which he asks for and receives tends, though intensive, to be
partial. Its motto is “ I can promise to be candid but not impartial.”
He studies along certain restricted lines, reads little outside his own
particular field, and grasps too readily the shibboleth for the reality.
Economics is often degraded into a gross materialistic conception of
cause and effect, and the essential spirituality of education is
neglected or forgotten.
Against this steadily increasing weight o f powerful determined
opinion, however, the employers are helpless. They may combine
in opposition, in which case each side fights with increasing bitter­
ness as the tide of battle ebbs and flows, or they may endeavor to offer
some solution of the more immediate problems. In both cases the
result is usually the same. The workers offer no immediate panacea,
whilst they tend to regard every innovation as detrimental to the
narrow interests o f the particular trade. Thus between the employer
and the worker a great gulf is fixed. On the one hand the worker
suspects and watches each movement o f the employer or his com­
bination, he finds himself tied to the drab monotony of arduous toil,
relegated to housing conditions which have despoiled the once lovely
valleys o f all their natural beauty; on the other hand (as a distin­
guished Welsh writer familiar with Welsh conditions has pointed
out) “ the employers and managers o f labor, too, are as a rule,
cramped by their industries, and not seldom the victims o f ignorance
and o f hard prejudice. They are as a class not much more liberally
educated than the workers; they are not less responsible for the
barbaric relations which now prevail in the economic w orld; and in
any case their ignorance and distortion of mind is a graver danger
to the community. * * * We do not wisely in committing hun­
dreds and thousands o f workers in the great centers of industry to
the charge o f ill-educated men. The service which such men are
rendering to their country by anticipating and meeting its economic
wants is incalculably great. They should receive their reward; the
spirit o f citizenship should be awakened and fostered within them by
means o f a more generous education so that their services shall be on
a better level and be to them whatTiis profession is to the minister
o f religion, or the doctor, or the man of learning and science, a thing
to live for, and not merely to live by.” 1
Whilst during the war the country in general has been somewhat
slow to recognize the importance of education (except in the field




1 Round Table, June, 1917, No. 27, p. 488.

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o f applied science), the recognition amongst the workers of south
Wales o f the importance o f educational reconstruction has been im­
mediate and remarkable. Old authorities have been destroyed. The
remote has been shown to have intimate and personal importance.
The trade-unions have therefore been forced, owing to the wider
claims of the war, to recognize conditions other than those of mere
industrial organization. Not only (it is asserted) has the worker to
organize against the employer, he is now told that he has to organize
against governments, against those who wage war upon him in the
shape of high prices and poor food. Throughout south Wales the
need for some form o f better organized education has therefore been
much emphasized. We wmild suggest that further facilities should
therefore be granted for the spread o f education and o f knowledge—
not knowledge in the narrow limited sense of equipment but knowl­
edge sought in the spirit of truth and pursued for its own ends.
1. CONTINUED EDUCATION.

In the past the local authorities have done much good work by
their various methods o f evening education for the adolescent. But
these are open to two main objections. In the first place most local
authorities have regarded these schools as existing almost solely
for vocational purposes. They have been required to turn out good
clerks, engineers, or draftsmen, but little attention has been paid
to those broader, more humane subjects which relate man to life and
living. In the second place these schools have been held in the even­
ing, when the students are often too fatigued for proper w ork; they
are voluntary, and tap but a very small percentage of the workers.
Means should be devised for remedying these defects and placing
continued education on a more satisfactory basis. The type of edu­
cation should not be merely technical, but should lay stress upon civic
and national responsibilities, should have regard for proper physical
development, and should bring the pupils into touch with the great
traditions both of their own and o f other races. Where education
o f a technical nature is required, the training should be broad and
humanistic: industry should be studied in relation to other indus­
tries and to the community. The keynote o f the training should be
“ the conception o f the industrial system as the handmaid of society ”
and of work as u a form o f public service.”
2. ADULT EDUCATION.

But the field o f adolescent education by no means exhausts the
problem. After eighteen the worker is still capable and often de­
sirous of education. But it is of another type. I f the education he




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has received has been worthy o f the name, it will have been chiefly
formative in character developing those qualities o f initiative, adapt­
ability and resource upon which industry and life depend. For the
adult worker, however, the problem is somewhat different. Experi­
ence riper than that o f youth has given him opportunities for sug­
gestion, comparison and reflection, and it is here that the university
should prove o f peculiar value. Not only does the university prepare
for the professions, institute and carry out research, it should also be
the center o f the life of the community, gathering to itself its aspira­
tions and hopes, fulfilling its deepest needs and ever shaping it to
nobler purposes. W e may assume “ that university teaching is teach­
ing suited to adults; that it is scientific, detached and impartial in
character; that it aims not so much at filling the mind o f the student
with facts or theories as at calling forth his own individuality and
stimulating him to mental effort; that it accustoms him to the critical
study of the leading authorities * * * that it implants in his
mind a standard of thoroughness and gives him a sense o f the diffi­
culty as well as o f the value o f truth. The student so trained learns
to distinguish between what may fairly be called matter o f fact and
what is certainly mere matter o f opinion. * * * He becomes ac­
customed to distinguish issues and to look at separate questions each
on its own merits and without an eye to their bearing on some cher­
ished theory. He learns to state fairly and even sympathetically the
position o f those to whose practical conclusions he is most stoiitly
opposed. * * *1
Upon the university then must depend the training o f the adult
mind. The scope and work o f the university colleges should be ex­
panded so that they may, by means o f classes and lectures, supply
the demand which is constantly arising. Already work o f this char­
acter has been successfully attempted in England where university
tutorial classes have for some years been run with considerable
success.2
A sufficient number o f these classes have also been established in
Wales to justify the belief that university education o f this type
may be carried on with benefit to the community. It would also
supply a valuable corrective to all methods o f study of a purely
partisan character undertaken for propagandist objects. In Wales
every industrial center should have its university class in close con­
tact with the life and culture of the university.
1 Special report of H. M. I. on W. E. A. Classes, Board of Education, 1910.
2 For further information on this subject see “ University Tutorial Classes for Work­
ing People/’ or “ What can the University do for the Higher Education o f the Adult
Workers in Wales.”
(D. Lleufer Thomas.)
Also evidence given on the subject before the Royal Commission on University Educa­
tion in Wales.




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155

JOINT SCHEMES OF LECTURES.

Many plans have been suggested for breaking down the barriers
which exist between the employer and employed. Perhaps one o f
the most promising is that where a recognized expert is called in,
preferably by a joint committee consisting o f representatives o f
workmen and officials, to make a detailed study o f the methods o f
working the factory. (Compare the Garton Foundation Report, A p ­
pendix B.) A fter some preliminary study series o f lectures are ar­
ranged, at which the whole of the staff attend. These lectures are
intended to be explanatory o f the working o f the business. The
lecturer goes in detail into the costs o f the working, the methods and
difficulties o f buying and selling, the history of the industry and
those technical details through ignorance o f which misunderstanding
often arises. Such lectures can but succeed in mutual exchanges of
opinion and advice. The difficulties o f organization reveal the diffi­
culties o f employment, and masters and men learn by mutual ex­
perience. Above all, such lectures should teach both parties that
each is not merely working for wage or profit, but that each in turn
is performing common service for common needs. Arrangements are
in course o f being made for the delivery o f such a course of lectures
under the auspices of the University College, Cardiff, in connection
with a large tinplate works in the neighborhood.
THE FACT OF UNREST.

A considerable amount o f unrest existed in south Wales for some
years previous to the war and the unsatisfactory relation existing
between employers and men frequently manifested itself in disputes,
many o f which attained serious proportions. As a result of thes >
conflicts a somewhat bitter antagonism has grown up between em­
ployers and workers in certain industries, and this has to some extent
been fostered by extremists and tactless partisans on both sides. A
sense o f irresponsibility has thus been created, and the men have
shown a tendency to strike on the slightest pretext, despite the advice
of their accredited leaders. Such class antagonism has been especially
pronounced in the mining industry, and in a much lesser degree in the
transport industries. Amongst the reasons for the greater discontent
manifested by miners as compared with other classes o f workers may
be mentioned the following:
(a) South Wales coal, being o f a specially superior quality, com­
mands very high prices, and the men therefore believe that the in­
dustry can afford them a higher standard of living. The prices o f
small parcels of coal quoted in the press give them an entirely errone­
ous view of the value o f colliery produce as a whole, and they draw




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

conclusions as to the disparity between the selling price per ton in
such press quotations and the amount paid to them for cutting—con­
clusions which a little investigation would show them are not war­
ranted by the actual facts.
(&)
During recent years there has been a pronounced tendency for
colliery concerns to be amalgamated or interlinked together under the
ownership of comparatively small groups o f people. This tendency
toward monopoly has aroused considerable alarm in the minds of
miners, and many regard the combine movement as being directed
toward their industrial subjugation.
(c) In the mining areas, practically the chief exceptions being at
Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Dowlais, and on the seaboard in the Swansea
district, coal-mining is almost the sole occupation of the men. There
is no variety o f industries and no choice o f occupation other than
coal-mining. This fact tends to induce in the men’s minds an exag­
gerated view o f the importance of their industry and o f their indis­
pensability to the employers and to the nation.
sameness of
occupation also induces an attitude of mind which is distinctive from
that o f workers in areas where occupations are numerous and varied
in character. In mining districts the “ Federation” is ever present
in the minds of the men, and although they often refer to the organi­
zation in harsh terms, their belief in it as a means o f securing their
economic emancipation is deep rooted.
(d) There is a further fact, that most o f the other industries of
south Wales are situated in or near large towns—in places where in­
tercourse with the inhabitants o f such towns and participation in
their public life and activities has an educative effect in correcting
any excessive bias as to the importance or special grievances of their
own industry, and provides a variety o f interests other than those
which are purely vocational or concerned with their own trade-union.
This is markedly so in the case of the workmen in the metal industry
in and around Swansea, where also the physical configuration o f the
district does not constitute obstacles to such free intercourse as we
have referred to. Disputes in other industries than mining are com­
paratively rare, and they never assume such serious proportions as
those which have characterized the latter industry during recent
years. In the metallurgical industries, for example, almost un­
broken peace has prevailed for about twenty years, and the relations
between masters and men are o f the most cordial character. This is
largely due to the fact that the conciliation board machinery in these
industries is of a very superior order, and has been worked on both
sides by men who realize that the welfare o f the industries depends
to a considerable extent on the maintenance of a spirit o f 4 give and
6
take” on both sides.




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Much unrest, however, has existed on the railways, due to low
wages, long hours of work, and the refusal in some instances of em­
ployers to recognize the leaders o f the respective trade-unions.
Broadly speaking, however, such unrest has not been purely of a local
character, and any action taken by way of strike has, for the most
part, been o f a national character. The refusal on the part o f some
o f the railway companies to recognize trade-unions, seem to us very
unwise, as being unnecessarily provocative of discontent. W e are
convinced that a change of attitude in this^respect is essential if in­
dustrial peace is to be maintained both now and during the difficult
period following the war.
With regard to industries organized on a more local basis, the chief
disputes have occurred in the seaport towns, and more especially in
the port of Swansea. It should be mentioned that the work of un^
loading certain ores that are imported to Swansea is of a highly disa­
greeable character and is extremely trying to the health of the work­
ers, and this is probably a factor in the unrest among cargo workers
in that port. It is pleasing to record, however, that recently a much
better spirit prevails in the latter town. This is, we believe, largely
to be attributed to the fact that the managements have adopted a
policy o f meeting their men more frequently and discussing with
them difficulties as they arise. A similar policy has also been adopted
with much success in the port of Newport. W e are convinced that
frequent meetings between employers and employed is an essential
condition for the establishment of good relations between both
parties.
The more or less chronic unrest which arises from the conflict be­
tween capital and labor and which is so characteristic o f the south
Wales coal field is at the moment not so very active. The work­
ing classes as a whole are strongly loyal and patriotic, and their
belief in the national cause has been clearly demonstrated by the fact
of the heavy recruiting that took place from their ranks during the
earlier months o f the war. W e are entirely convinced that there is
absolutely no foundation for the allegation sometimes made as to the
pro-German influences in engendering the unfortunate labor dis­
putes that marred the peace o f the coal field during 1915. That
strike, and others which have occurred during the war period, we
believe to be largely due to the suspicion that employers of labor
were exploiting the national crisis for personal gain.. It is the sus­
picion o f profiteering also, especially as conducing to the rapidly in­
creasing cost o f living, that mainly accounts for such acute manifestion of unrest as are now observable, and we are convinced that if this
suspicion could be removed, and if food prices could be brought down
to a reasonable level, no serious disturbance is likely to occur during




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the period o f the war, though we take a grave view as to the situation
that is likely to develop immediately after.
CAUSES OF UNREST.

As has already been pointed out unrest has become almost a per­
manent condition in so far as the south Wales coal field is concerned,
and it is, therefore, necessary to consider causes other than those of
a purely temporary character which at most have merely aggravated
the position during the war. Thus the south Wales miners have for
some years manifested a disposition to “ down tools ” on very slight
grounds, but it must not for this reason be supposed that the disputes
are necessarily of a trivial character. Often the immediate cause o f
an outbreak merely marks the culminating point o f a series of
troubles, most of which in themselves are of trifling importance, but
the cumulative effect o f which in view of the unfriendly relations
between both parties, constitutes a serious menace to industrial peace.
W e desire strongly to emphasize the view that most o f the disputes
that have taken place during recent years in the south Wales coal
field could and would have been avoided i f both sides had approached
one another in a conciliatory spirit, and it is our strong conviction
that the first step toward industrial peace lies in a change o f dis­
position on the part both o f employers and men. From the evidence
we have received from both sides we are led to conclude that the
cleavage between employers and men is not sufficiently great, in spite
o f the bitter hostility often manifested by one side towards the other,
to prevent more amicable relations being established, and we most
earnestly hope, in view of the serious industrial situation that must
be faced after the war, that both sides will make every effort to come
together in a less antagonistic and more reasonable spirit for the pur­
pose o f considering the economic and other problems relating to the
industry. I f the representatives of both parties on the concilia­
tion board o f the coal field could meet together for the purpose o f
friendly discussion o f any points at issue before formulating their
respective policies many disputes could be adjusted without much
difficulty.
Considerations of time and space will not permit us to discuss at
length all the numerous and varied causes that contribute to labor
discontent in Wales. We can only enumerate briefly those which are
known to have been largely responsible for the many strikes or
threats of strikes of which so much has been heard during recent
years. W e class these as “ permanent” and “ temporary,” the latter
being causes arising chiefly out of war conditions.




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159

PERMANENT CAUSES.
ECONOMIC.

(a)
While there has been an advance in money wages during recent
years, more particularly since 1895, there has been a decrease in real
wages and concurrently with this there has been a steady movement
for the raising of the standard o f living which naturally necessitates
an increase in real wages. Employers have, o f course, resisted the
demands o f the workmen for wage increases for the reason that the
concession o f such demands tended to reduce the margin of profits
or were not otherwise justified. This conflict o f forces has resulted
in a spirit o f antagonism between capital and labor.
(i)
The adoption by the workers of the principle that wages should
be fixed on the basis o f a satisfactory standard o f living, and the
advocacy of a still further view that even with the wage rate based
on the standard o f living workers should also share in the prosperity
o f their particular industry.
(c ) The adoption by a section of the workers o f the theory that the
restriction o f output is in the interest o f their class.
(d) The concession o f wage advances to one industrial class has
accentuated the disparity of wages between that class and a lowerpaid one in another industry or in another section o f the same indus­
try, and this has resulted in a demand by the latter for wage ad­
vances.
(e) The machinery for settling disputes and fixing rates o f wages
in certain industries has not always worked smoothly and the delays
that occur in the settlement o f disputes tend to exasperate the men
and cause them to resort to extreme measures.
( /) The refusal on the part o f a small section of workers to recog­
nize their obligation to join the trade-union of their industry, though
deriving the full benefit o f all advantages gained through the union,
is one o f the most prolific causes o f sudden stoppages and o f threats
to strike. The difficulty is especially pronounced in the coal-mining
industry o f south Wales, but is not confined to that industry.
(g) Some o f the employers, also, have occasionally manifested an
unsympathetic attitude towards trade-unionism, and his has con­
firmed the men’s impression that the employers are hostile to them
and their organization. Irritation is frequently caused also by the
fact that facilities are rarely given by the employers to enable the
unions to bring nonunionists into membership of their lodges.
(h) In addition to the above general causes there are a number o f
causes special to particular industries or groups of industries. O f
these we can only enumerate the follow ing:
(1)
In addition to lowness o f wages, railway workers feel ag­
grieved at their long hours of labor.




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(2) The casual nature o f the employment o f dock and wharf labor­
ers and general-cargo men prodoces an often paralyzing uncertainty
which tends to a certain irregularity o f habits and to reckless and im­
pulsive action.
(3) The employment on English ships o f cheap Chinese labor
while British seamen are unemployed is said to cause great indigna­
tion amongst sailors and threats of serious strikes are being freely
made. The feeling with reference to this matter is intense and is
likely to lead to serious trouble—almost at any time—unless the mat­
ter is promptly attended to.
SOCIAL.

The conviction that capital and labor are necessarily hostile, a con­
viction engendered by conflict on industrial matters, has been accen­
tuated by the fact that the social conditions o f the working classes
are o f an unsatisfactory character. This fact was brought out by
numerous witnesses both on the employers’ side and the men’s side,
and there can be no doubt that, although not always expressed, the
workers feel deeply discontented with their housing accommodation
and with their unwholesome and unattractive environment generally.
The towns and villages are ugly and overcrowded; houses are scarce
and rents are increasing, and the surroundings are insanitary and
depressing. The scenery is disfigured by unsightly refuse tips, the
atmosphere polluted by coal dust and smoke, and the rivers spoilt
by liquid refuse from works and factories. Facilities for education
and recreation are inadequate and opportunities for the wise use of
leisure are few. The influence of the social factors on the creation
o f industrial unrest can not easily be measured, but that their influ­
ence is great is undeniable.
POLITICAL.

The sense o f antagonism between capital and labor has been con­
siderably deepened during recent years by the propaganda of a small
but earnest group o f men whose teachings are rapidly permeating
the entire trade-union movement. Advanced causes feed on discon­
tent, and the indisposition of employers to concede the claims of the
workers to a higher standard of life has provided fuel for the propa­
ganda o f the Independent Labor Party and, more recently, of the en­
thusiasts o f the Central Labor College movement.
The influence o f the “ advanced ” men is growing very rapidly,
and there is ground for belief that under their leadership attempts
o f a drastic character will be made by the working classes as a whole
to secure direct control by themselves o f their particular industries.
Hostility to capitalism has now become part o f the political creed of
the majority o f trade-unionists in the mining, if not in other indus­




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161

tries, and unless the employers are prepared to meet the men part
o f the way disaster must overtake the mining industry in the south
Wales coal field. Nearly all movements initiated by the South Wales
Miners’ Federation during recent years, consciously or unconsciously,
are directed towards the overthrow of the present capitalist system
and the establishment of a new industrial order under which the
workers will have a greater measure of control over their industry
and a larger measure of the produce of their labor.
Opinions are as yet divided as to whether such overthrow is to be
accomplished by political or industrial action or by both. Until
recently the political method was most popular, but industrial action
is now in the ascendant. This is possibly due to the fact that the
miners have been disillusioned by the failure o f the labor party to
bring about a complete change in the industrial fabric during the
past 10 years in which they have held a number o f seats in the
House of Commons. The lack of confidence in Government action,
moreover, is not confined to the men. The employers are even more
emphatic in their condemnation o f governmental interference, and
the coal owners of south Wales allege that the chief cause o f trouble
in the coal field has been the “ action of the Government in assisting
the men to break their agreements.” They further state that the men
collectively never broke their agreements until the Government first
“ interfered ” in 1915.
TEMPORARY CAUSES.

Amongst the causes o f unrest due to war conditions may be men­
tioned the follow ing:
(a) The suspicion that a portion o f the community is exploiting
the national crisis for profit. This suspicion, rightly or wrongly,
was one of the factors that brought about the south Wales strike of
1915. The allegations of profiteering were applied at first to em­
ployers in various productive industries, especially coal mining and
shipping. Latterly the indignation has been focused on the agencies
engaged in the production and distribution of food commodities.
This is undoubtedly the chief immediate cause of unrest, and nearly
every witness raised the question. The abolition o f profiteering and
the provision of adequate food supplies at reasonable prices are es­
sential if industrial peace is to be maintained. The workers are pre­
pared to bear their portion of the war burden, but they decline to do
so whilst, as they believe, a favored few are exploiting the national
necessity.
(b) Lack o f confidence in Government pledges generally. Tlie
view is also widely accepted that the Government has encouraged
profiteering by their policy in respect of the excess-profits tax. The
17841°—17— Bull. 237------11




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imposition o f this tax instead of the prohibition o f all war profits on
commodities is regarded as tantamount to the Government’s con­
nivance with profiteering.
(<?) In some industries inequalities of wages as between skilled
workmen in cognate industries, or skilled and semiskilled or un­
skilled workers, have been greatly accentuated since the war, and
this has given rise to much discontent. The disparity, for example,
is particularly pronounced in the shipyards, where ship repairers and
boilermakers working 011 piece rates receive often three or four times
the wages of equally skilled engineers. The high wages paid to boys,
again, as compared with skilled men of many years’ experience has
induced considerable unrest. In regard to boy labor, also, it may be
said that owing to the high wages they are able to command the lads
lose all sense o f proportion, and frequently get out of control both
at their work and in their homes, and this fact must lead to future
as well as to present unrest.
{d) A condition of nervous strain produced by overwork, uncer­
tainty as to combing out, restrictions on liberty and the like, has also
tended to ruffle the tempers of the men and to make them highly
sensitive to real and fancied injustice. Similar nervousness on the
part of officials, produced by overinspection by Government depart­
ments and the dislocation of industries, likewise reacts on the men
under their charge.
(e)
A fruitful source of unrest also is to be found in the restric­
tions on individual liberty necessarily imposed, for the safety of the
State, under the Defense o f the Realm Act, the Munitions of War
Act, and the Military Service Act. Amongst other causes in this
group may be mentioned the follow ing:
(1) The imposition of military service and the combing out from
various industries. The actions of the recruiting authorities have
not always been characterized either by discretion or justice.
(2) The suspension of trade-union rules and practices, and the
dilution of labor in various industries.
(3) Delays in securing awards relating to wages and other dis­
putes. Numerous complaints were made under this head.
(4) The leaving-certificate system.
(5) Prohibition of public meetings, alleged unfair treatment of
pacifists, and conscientious objectors, and sympathy with such people
as have undergone terms of imprisonment for their principles.
( / ) Dislocation of industry consequent on the war producing un­
employment, e. g., in the anthracite and adjacent mining districts.
(a) Lack of coordination between Government departments.
An outstanding feature of our inquiry has been the unqualified
hostility on the part of witnesses both on the men’s and the em­




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163

ployers’ side to Government interference. This has arisen from two
main causes;
(1) The multiplicity of* Government departments dealing with
labor and the lack of coordination between them.
(2) The delays that have arisen in the settlement of disputes by
the committee of production and other Government bodies and the
interference o f departments with settlements that have already been
amicably arranged by employers and men.
The extent to which overlapping exists between Government de­
partments dealing with the reinforcement, the transfer and substi­
tution of labor may be gathered to some extent from a perusal of
the following list:
The Ministry o f Labor (employment exchanges) deals with all
classes o f labor—men, women and juveniles, soldiers discharged
through medical unfitness or wounds, soldiers in low medical cate­
gories, surplus to military requirements, Irish labor and colonial
workmen. It also keeps a professional and business register of
National Service volunteers, and cooperates with the Board of A gri­
culture in dealing with farm labor.
The Ministry of Munitions (labor supply and demand section)
deals with the transfer and supply of labor to munition works,
including controlled establishments and explosive factories, gener­
ally in consultation with the Ministry of Labor, the release of skilled
men from the colors, substitution in munition factories under the new
substitution scheme. The Ministry of Munitions consults the Adm i­
ralty in all cases where firms are engaged on Admiralty work. En­
listments complaints committees have been set up by the Ministry
under the new substitution scheme to deal with applications from
workmen who claim to be exempt under the new schedule of pro­
tected occupations.
The Admiralty shipyard, labor department deals with the transfer
and reinforcement of labor in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing
yards.
The Board o f Trade (port labor committees) provides for the
retention of sufficient labor at the ports to deal with transport work
and the release of surplus labor for service with the colors. Substi­
tution at the docks is carried out on the authority of the respective
committees,
The Board of Trade (coal controller) deals with the transfer of
surplus men in the mines in conjunction with the National Service
Department.
The national service general department deals with the enrollment
o f National Service volunteers, and placing them in employment in
trades o f primary importance, Special committees have been estab-




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lislied for effecting the transfer of men from essential trades. These
men will be known as substitution volunteers. In addition^ com­
mittees are set up in various towns to *deal with the transfer of
volunteers not dealt with by the trade committees. Substitution and
reinforcement in munition works are dealt with from National
Service volunteers, if and when the Ministry of Labor fail to effec­
tively deal with the vacancies in a specified period.
The National Service agricultural department.—Agriculturists
(men) are dealt with by a special department of the National Service,
i. e., the agricultural commissioners and subcommissioners in con­
sultation with the various county war agricultural committees.
The National Service { i d om en).— The National Service women’s
section deals with volunteers for the women’s auxiliary corps for
France and enrolls women for work on the land. The placing o f
women in the auxiliary is done through the National Service and the
W ar Office. Women for the land are found employment through the
cooperation of the Board o f Agriculture and the Ministry of Labor.
The Board of Agriculture.— War agricultural committees are estab­
lished in all counties for dealing with labor on the land. The board
has appointed special officers in connection with women workers for
the land, and established training centers for selected applicants.
The Ministry of Labor has appointed cooperating officers to assist the
department.
The Home Office.— Home Office inspectors advise the Ministry of
Munitions in regard to the dilution of labor in factories, and make
recommendations as to transfer and substitution of surplus labor.
The board of education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor,
set up choice of employment committees to deal with juveniles o f
school-leaving age.
The War Office (military authorities) —Military authorities deal
with “ man for m an” substitution without consultation with other
Government departments.
The employers of labor, as well as the workers, find considerable
difficulty in knowing which department to approach, and not infre­
quently when, after a long quest, they have found the right depart­
ment and interviewed or otherwise approached the local representa­
tives they find that the latter have no power to act without the con­
sent o f headquarters. Overinspection by Government representatives
is, too, a frequent cause of complaint both by men and employers,
while the latter also object to the large number of official forms which
they are called upon to fill.
The delays on the part of the Government in effecting settlements
of disputes have proved a frequent source of irritation and in more
than one instance have led to stoppages o f work in industries o f




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national importance. The machinery set up to deal with disputes
and claims for advances is too cumbrous, and the men who have to
deal with the matters are often entirely ignorant o f the conditions
obtaining in the industry affected. This latter disqualification on the
part o f persons selected by the Government to deal with matters of
this kind is a serious grievance on the side of both employer and
employed, and is productive of serious blunders in the carrying out
o f industrial operations.
In one case brought to our notice—that o f the Mond Nickel Co.— a
claim was made in the beginning of February. On March 31 the
workers held a mass meeting and passed a resolution to the effect
that unless an arbitrator was appointed and a date fixed for arbi­
tration by April 10 they would cease work. The resolution was sent
to the chief industrial commissioner, but apparently the matter was
left in abeyance, and on April 10 a stoppage duly occurred. A n­
other important instance o f trouble caused by Government inter­
ference and delay was that of the recent serious strike of engineers
employed in tin-plate works in south Wales. This was a case in
which employers and men had agreed on wage increases, which the
committee o f production would not sanction. The delay by the
committee in dealing with the matter caused a stoppage of the works.
Numerous other instances of a less serious but no less irritating
character have been brought to our notice and, in our judgment,
some radical improvement in this respect is desirable.
Even after settlements o f disputes have been arranged through the
agency of the committee of production or otherwise, difficulties arise
owing to the interference of other departments. Thus, after a
settlement had been arrived at in the case of the Mond Nickel Works
referred to above, an attempt was made by another department of
the Ministry o f Munitions to prevent it from coming into operation.
Moreover, w^hen an arrangement for the payment of time and a half
for Sunday work had been arrived at between employers and men
in a neighboring undertaking based on a similar clause in the Mond
arbitration award, the Ministry of Munitions refused to sanction it,
and the trade-union officials experienced considerable difficulty in
preventing the men from stopping work immediately. There may
perhaps be good reasons for such interference by Government depart­
ments in settlements arrived at between the various parties to dis­
putes, but these are not clear either to the employers or the men, and,
in our view, differences over matters o f policy should be dealt with
without delay in order that possible causes of irritation may be
removed.
Another complaint o f which we have heard a great deal relates to
the dates at which awards become operative. The men urge that




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awards should be retrospective to the dates on which the claims are
made, and that they should not be penalized for any delay on the
part of Government departments. It has been represented to us also
that any advances made in accordance with awards should be paid
immediately by the employers and not as now frequently happens
weeks after the settlements have been arranged. It has, moreover,
come to our knowledge that attempts have been made to whittle
down the advances due from awards by making reductions in rates
or wages which do away with any benefits which may accrue from
such awards.
FUTURE RELATIONS OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYED.

Having described the conditions now prevailing in south Wales,
and particularly in the coal field, we feel it necessary before we
formulate specific recommendations for modifying such conditions,
to draw special attention to the extreme gravity of the situation
more especially in relation to the events that may happen after
peace is restored. We do not anticipate any considerable measure
o f industrial strife during the w ar. W e have full confidence in the
T
loyalty and patriotism of the workers, and we believe that by adjust­
ing wages to meet the increasing cost of living or by reducing the
prices o f foodstuffs all industrial trouble can be averted while the
nation is at grips with the enemy.
When the patriotic motive is removed, however, and the ordinary
economic forces are again allowed full sway, serious trouble is to
be anticipated unless measures are taken without delay to establish
better relations between capital and labor. We do not think that
prewar conditions can be restored, and labor be induced to resume
its old relations to capital. There is good reason to believe that
labor will demand after the war a larger place in industry and we
strongly urge that efforts be made without delay to bring about a
readjustment o f relations by peaceful means rather than to subject
the nation to internal strife at a time when all her energies should
be concentrated on the important work of reconstruction.
We have come to the conclusion, as already stated, that apart from
the unrest, both acute and widespread, attributable to the high cost
o f living and the suspicion of profiteering in connection therewith,
and the less vocal but very general disquietude springing from lack
of confidence in Government pledges, together with the general ten­
sion and nervous strain produced by-war conditions generally, there
exists in Wales, to no appreciable extent, any purely temporary un­
rest to which temporary remedies can be applied. There does exist,
on the other hand, a widespread unrest of a permanent and chronic
character and it is our duty to ascertain and recommend what meas­




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ures, therefore, should be adopted for the removal not merely of the
temporary, but also, and chiefly, o f the fundamental and permanent
causes of such unrest.
Unless we take this larger view of our duty, it might be that any
measures recommended by us for dealing with temporary grievances
only would have the effect of aggravating the more permanent causes
o f mischief, or would otherwise render more difficult their effective
treatment at a later date. But we had to submit ourselves to the
strictest limitation as to the scope of our inquiry in this respect. We
feel it, however, to be our duty in this connection to report very
briefly the existence in Welsh industrial circles of various schools
o f thought as to the ultimate solution of the industrial problem, in­
asmuch as the views held by each school affects the relations of their
respective adherents to the employers and indeed to all other classes.
But beyond reporting such views, in so far as we are able to interpret
them correctly, we shall not attempt to offer any judgment upon
them.
We have mentioned earlier that with reference to trade-union
policy in the coal field there are two distinct and divergent move­
ments— one for political action, the other for industrial unionism,
and what is called 6 direct action ” outside politics. Broadly speak­
4
ing, there is a corresponding difference as to ultimate objects and
ideals:
(1) The believers in political action have generally looked for­
ward to and advocated State ownership and control of the mines—
as indeed also of the railways and land— and ultimately of the means
o f production generally. This was to be achieved by purchase, not
by confiscation. A bill for the nationalization of the mines was
drafted for and introduced into the House of Commons on behalf
o f the Miners5 Federation of Great Britain. In this it was proposed
that the interest on the purchase money should be made payable not
by the nation at large but by the industry itself. The adherents of
this view, once in a considerable majority, may be described as col­
lectivists or advocates of State socialism.
(2) Those who believe in direct action and industrial unionism
are opposed to the nationalization of the mines, and to their control
by the State, contending that the transfer of ownership from the
present owners to the State would not only not improve matters,
but actually worsen them by handing over the control to bureaucrats
and by dragging the workers into the meshes of the “ servile State.”
They look not so much to the State as to the trade-unions, and place
more emphasis on voluntarism. They advocate a policy of gradually
absorbing the profits of the coal owners and thereby eventually
eliminating them, the functions which they have hitherto discharged




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in managing and controlling the industry to be in time discharged
by the miners themselves through their trade-unions. This school has
gained considerable strength o f recent years owing to the growing
suspicion o f Government action, and the belief that the miners can
work out their own salvation. Its policy is summed up in the motto,
“ The mines for the miners,” as distinct from that o f “ The mines
for the nation ” or “ The land (including the mines) for the people.”
Here, however, comes a further divergence; one section, syndical­
ists who have adopted industrial unionism, advocates a very drastic
limitation if not the elimination o f the political functions of the
State, urging that the whole community should be organized in­
dustrially as producers, i. e., in trade-unions, and not politically as
consumers in the State; that the needs of the nation should be con­
sidered and the means of supplying them agreed upon in a national
congress o f all trade-unions— a truly national trade-union congress.
The other section, whose tenets are those o f guild socialism, while
aiming at the greatest possible freedom for the self-development o f
each industry by the workmen in that industry exercising complete
control over it, nevertheless recognize the need o f the State and o f
cooperation with it in developing the nonindustrial life of the nation.
In this latter case the ownership of the mines would remain in ths
State, but it is not clear what the view o f the syndicalist section is
in this respect.
These different schools o f thought, and various blends and con­
fusions o f them, are found in the coal field. It would appear that
the policy o f 4 The mines for the miners ” (apart from any definite
4
agreement as to the details o f putting it into operation) is now so
generally accepted by the miners’ leaders that its underlying principle governs all proposals and demands put forward on behalf of
the men. A particular demand may appear to be fully justified on
other grounds, but unless it harmonizes with the ultimate ideal or
tends to facilitate the realization of that ideal, it would not be put
forward. The owners, conscious o f this fact, regard each claim on
the part o f the workers and each concession made to them as merely
a starting point for a further advance toward the ultimate goal of
altogether eliminating the owners, who therefore resist each claim
all the more strenuously.
With reference to the miners’ strike after the expiration of the old
conciliation board agreement in 1915, we are however assured, and
have every reason to believe it to be the fact, that far from allowing
considerations of their ultimate aim to lead them to use the national
crisis as a means of extracting better terms from the employers, the
men were driven to strike by the belief on their part that the owners
were 4 exploiting ” the patriotism o f the miners, believing it would
4
inevitably prevent them from pressing home their claim by actually




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striking. It was this suspected exploitation of their patriotism for
the gain o f others, and not any lack of patriotism or o f failure to
appreciate the national difficulties, that caused them to strike. We
mention this, because it is our opinion that, strong as is the men’s
attachment to certain views as to the future of their industry, their
patriotism is stronger, and is likely to override their industrial faith
in any moment of national danger i f the reality o f that danger is
adequately brought home to them.
I n . leaving this statement of the various views held among the
miners as to the industrial policy of the future, we may mention a
proposal submitted to us by a commercial gentleman not directly
concerned in the employment o f labor. He urged the imposition
o f statutory restrictions and limitations on the profits of owners o f
industries, so that the'wages, so to speak, o f capital, as distinct from
those of management and labor, should be fixed and not variable as
at present. We, however, merely report this suggestion and do not
deal further with it. Other suggestions dealing more directly with the
regulation o f industry and modifications of, rather than fundamental
changes in, our industrial system have received much consideration
at our hands.
RECOMMENDATIONS.

We have repeatedly referred to the spirit of antagonism that has
sprung up— the hostility to capitalism and the employing class on the
one hand, and the too prevalent hostility to trade-unionism on the
other. To adopt a comnxon platitude, but one that nevertheless em­
phasizes a most important truth, we feel that what is wanted is a new
spirit; a more human spirit, one in which economic and business con­
siderations will be influenced and corrected, and, it is hoped, will be
eventually controlled by human and ethical considerations. To
bring this about it must be realized that the main cause o f unrest
lies deeper than any merely material consideration, that the problem
is fundamentally a human and not an economic problem. Theoretic­
ally, industry is carried on by the cooperation o f capital and labor;
in practice it is carried on by a system o f checks and balances, one
in which the equilibrium is easily upset by a little additional momen­
tum on one side or the other. It often appears as if it were the re­
sultant o f the constant conflict of forces rather than o f a cooperative
effort.
A new spirit o f partnership is therefore essential. The precise
mechanism o f that partnership, especially its details, can be left to
be invented and developed at a later stage under the influence of the
new spirit. It must be a growth from within, not something imposed
from without, and it will doubtless take different forms in different
industries and possibly in different localities also. But there should




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be a clear perception at the start of at least the leading principles
on which that partnership or cooperation of the parties engaged in.
industry is to be based.
Two such principles, if we may so call them, appear to us to be
fundamental:
(a) That the present system should be modified in such a way as
to identify the worker more closely with the control o f the industry
in which he is engaged.
(b) That every employee should be guaranteed what we may
call “ security of tenure ” ; that is, that no workman should be liable
to be dismissed except with the consent o f his fellow workmen as well
as his employer.
The frank acceptance of these two principles would, we believe,
constitute such a recognition of the personality o f the worker as
would instantly appeal to the better and nobler side o f his nature,
and would furnish a strong and steady stimulus to the development
o f a sense of responsibility within him. It would tend to remove the
impression which so widely prevails in the ranks of labor that,
to the ordinary employer, labor is but a commodity to be bought
cheap in the same way as its output is to be sold dear.
I f we may adopt the language of political philosophy it would
give industry a large measure of constitutional government in place
o f what in theory was an autocratic and absolutist system, but has
long since ceased to be so in practice.
The modification o f the present system which we suggest with a
view to identifying the worker more closely with the control o f the
industry in which he is engaged is a modification for the adoption o f
which industry has been in many ways prepared by the changes
brought about during the war. The trade-unions have time and
again been called in to cooperate with the Government in giving ef­
fect to decisions jointly agreed upon between them. The whole of the
trade-card scheme was in principle a devolution of certain self-gov­
erning powers by the State to the industries concerned. Labor as
such has been represented on an infinite variety of committees, both
central and local, and has amply justified the trust so reposed in it.
With a view to the prompt settlement of disputes and discussion o f
differences— vital at all times, but infinitely more so during the war—
a steadily increasing use has been made during the last three years of
joint committees of employers and employed, and of joint confer­
ences for the discussion of difficulties, and with the happiest results.
Outstanding instances of this came under our notice with reference
to dock labor at Swansea and Newport, but there were many others.
These new relations, this method o f common conferences, must be
maintained and extended. Means should be evolved, gradually and
experimentally it may be, but steadily and consistently all the same,




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for enabling the workers to participate in the control o f those con­
ditions of work which most vitally affect themselves.
In view o f the growing distaste for Government and departmental
interference, including even official inspections, the trend o f feeling
on the side of both employer and employed is strongly in favor o f
leaving all matters in difference to be settled between the parties con­
cerned rather than by any external authority, and obviously this
can only be done by the method of common discussion which neces­
sarily includes in our judgment the far closer identification o f the
w orker with the future in the control o f his industry than has been
T
the case in the past, As to the measures to be adopted to secure
this end, we have already suggested that they should develop natu­
rally, out of existing institutions so far as possible, and that they
should possess considerable elasticity.
We shall now pass on to the consideration of what machinery now
exists fo r this purpose and how it can be developed and improved.
(a) TRADE-UNION AND EMPLOYEES* ORGANIZATIONS.

A ll who appeared before us were agreed as to the advantages of
both employers and employed being thoroughly well organized.
That this should be so is essential. Both sides should be able to act
collectively—the trade-union in the name and on behalf of all the
workers concerned: the employers’ association on behalf of all the
owners. We, therefore, recommend:
(1) That it should be a statutory obligation on all workmen to
belong to a recognized union of their particular industry, in other
words, that this should be a condition of employment. Without
compulsory unionism there can be no stability in industry.
(2) That at least in certain industries, especially large-scale in­
dustries, all the employers engaged in a particular industry should
belong to an employers’ association, or if not, they must accept the
terms and conditions agreed upon by such an association.
(3) That where more than one union exists in any particular in­
dustry, an effort should be made either to amalgamate or to federate
them, so that there should be one organization to act and speak for
the men as a whole. “ One industry— one union ” is, generally speak­
ing, the most satisfactory arrangement. It eliminates all disputes
as to demarcation and overlapping, and reduces the possibility o f
divided counsel and sectional jealousies on the part of the men.
Where amalgamation is impossible, trade-union subscriptions should
be made uniform, so that “ poaching” be discouraged. In certain
classes o f industry, industrial unionism—that is the organization in
one union o f all the workers in that industry—is not only easy o f
accomplishment, but is essential. That is obviously the case with




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coal miners, seamen, and railway men. In more complex industries,
e. g., the metal industries, this is more difficult, and in such cases
means might be devised for federating the various craft unions.
Even with industrial unionism, i. e., the “ one union ” scheme, there
could well be, and indeed probably should be, sectional representa­
tion o f the various crafts and grades of workers in the collective
body.
(&) CONCILIATION BOARDS.

We are not in favor of compulsory arbitration, but believe that the
method o f conciliation is capable of great extension. Efforts should
be made without delay to establish conciliation, arbitration, or wages
boards in all industries which do not possess such at present, such as
the spelter, copper and chemical industries in the Swansea district,
the baking industry, all dock labor, ship repairing, gas workers and
municipal employees. Wherever possible one conciliation board for
the whole of the particular industry throughout south Wales is p ref­
erable to a separate one for each works or town.
As to the existing conciliation boards, e. g., in coal mining and
railways, their machinery should be improved with a view to secur­
ing greater promptness in dealing with disputes. The more concen­
trated geographically an industry is the easier it is to avoid delay,
but all obstacles to prompt action should be removed. Such delays
as at p r e s e n t occur are for the most part due to the fact that the
representatives both of employers and workers are usually very busy
men, and find considerable difficulty in arranging mutually suit­
able dates for inquiring into and arbitrating upon grievances. We
do not offer proposals for meeting this difficulty. The matter is
one for domestic adjustment. In our judgment, however, it is
highly essential that means shojld be devised for the speeding up
of the machinery of conciliation, and in every case where the parties
may fail to agree they should at once voluntarily submit their d if­
ferences to arbitration.
(c) INDUSTRIAL COUNCILS.

Conciliation boards have, as the name implies, limited themselves
mainly and perhaps too exclusively to the settlement o f disputes and
the fixing of the general rates of wages. They rarely, and perhaps
in some instances not at all, meet to consider any questions of gen­
eral interest to the industries at large, but the feeling has grown
up of recent years that means should be devised for insuring con­
sideration o f questions o f common interest by representatives of the
workers assembled in common council with the management and
owners. We have invited opinions from witnesses with reference




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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to the proposals for the establishment of joint standing industrial
councils made in the report of the Whitley committee. Quite a large
number o f witnesses drawn from the ranks of both employers and
employed have declared themselves in favor of the principles under­
lying its recommendations.
The representative o f the North Wales Coal Owners’ Association
reported to us that his association, after considering the report, had
agreed that the experiment of establishing such councils is one well
worth trying. The South Wales Coal Owners’ Association had
asked three o f its members to consider the report and present their
views thereon to us. Unfortunately only one o f them was able to
attend before us for this special purpose, and he had been unable
to meet his colleagues to discuss the matter. His view, however,
and we have reason to think that it would substantially represent
those o f his colleagues, was that the situation after the war in the
coal-mining industry would be so full of peril, and the relations be­
tween the parties so strained, that it would be absolutely essential to
try some experiment on the lines of the Whitley report. This might
be said to be a counsel of despair, still the witness in question had no
better suggestion to offer.
Indeed he recognized that in the existing machinery of joint com­
mittees for the purpose of the Minimum Wage Act, and any other
joint committees established during the war, as that for dealing with
absenteeism, there existed at least a germ of such an organization as
is outlined in the Whitley report. Up to the time of submitting our
report no statement has reached us w ith reference to the proposed
T
councils from the South Wales Miners’ Federation. This w prob­
ras
ably due to the pressure of other work at the meeting of their execu­
tive council, on the agenda of which we understand the matter h a d.
been put down for consideration. A series of resolutions bearing on
the subject has, however, reached us from the South Wales Branch
of the National Association of Colliery Managers. The more im
*portant of these represent:
(a) That though there was a diversity of opinion as to whether
some o f the suggestions if adopted would be instrumental in attain­
ing the desired effect, it was the unanimous opinion that several of
the suggestions would tend to a permanent improvement between the
relations of employer and employed.
(b) That the coal-mining industry is at present so highly or­
ganized that any machinery for the proper working of any joint
scheme for the attaining of better relations could be easily set up.
(c) That the joint councils suggested in the report are the best
means of securing a better relationship, but that some of the ques­
tions suggested for their consideration should not be relegated to
them.




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The view put forward by the coal owners’ representative that the
extreme gravity of the situation necessitated an experiment o f the
kind was also adopted by the colliery managers in the following
resolution:
That although w orking under the stress o f w ar and w ith the consequent
difficulties arising therefrom , this matter should not he unduly delayed but
dealt w ith promptly.

They further pointed out that such councils could be o f great as­
sistance in meeting difficulties consequent upon demobilization.
A still more emphatic and significant approval of these principles
was given by a representative of the Cardiff Master Builders’ Asso­
ciation, who brought to our notice the draft scheme for a builders’
national industrial parliament.
There was, however, one striking exception to the general in­
dorsement o f the proposals of the report; the owner o f a large steel
and tin-plate works, well known for his interest in the welfare of
the workers, expressed very strongly his own personal view that the
establishment of such councils would be fraught with much danger.
He thought that in his own industry it would tend to the manu­
facture of grievances on the part of the men’s representatives on
such a council. Being elected presumably by their trade-union or
lodge they would wish to be able to report that the}" had succeeded
in winning concessions for them on the councils, and as the result
o f desiring to report something at each such meeting they might
be led more or less unconsciously to make much of, if not actually
to manufacture grievances. We think on the whole that this view
is probably governed too largely by the idea that like the conciliation
boards the main function o f these councils would be to consider
grievances. The report itself, however, makes it sufficiently clear
that other questions should bulk far more largely among the duties
of such councils, and that in so far as w ages, for instance, are con­
T
cerned the councils should limit themselves to the consideration of
general principles rather than the actual fixing of definite rates.
W e are ourselves of opinion that the machinery of the proposed
threefold councils—works committees, district councils, national
councils— would provide the means for the developing of the policy
we have already advocated of identifying the worker more closely
with the control of his particular industry. We therefore gladly
adopt the main principles underlying the whole of the report and
believe that the adaptation and extension of the existing machinery
in the coal-mining and metal industries on the lines therein recom­
mended would be likely to contribute very substantially to improved
relations.
It is not expected that any particular works committee or district
council would immediately endeavor to undertake the consideration




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o f all the matters which are enumerated in section 16 of the report.
Most would recognize that they could do better work by devoting
their attention to a limited number o f subjects, though in course o f
time and as occasion would arise they could extend and vary the
scope o f their deliberations and activities. We shall indicate later
on, more especially in dealing with the mining industry, a certain
number of subjects which we think should from the start be dele­
gated to the local or colliery committees. One, however, is o f suf­
ficient importance to be specially mentioned at this stage. W e have
expressed a view that no employee should be dismissed without the
consent o f the workers as well as the employers. We think that the
consent o f the workers on a matter o f this kind should be ascer­
tained through the joint standing council o f the particular colliery
or works. The intrusting to the council of such a highly important
dutjr at the very start w
rould contribute immensely to giving its
members a sense of responsibility.
In our judgment the appointment and dismissal o f all colliery
firemen, examiners and deputies should also in future be intrusted
to those joint committees. Their duties as defined by statute (Coal
Mines Act, 1911, s. 14) are to inspect the state of the mine as to the
presence o f gas, ventilation, state of roof and sides, and its general
safety. To discharge these duties impartially, it is desirable that
neither their original appointment nor their dismissal should be at
the sole will of either employer or employed, but inasmuch as the
safety o f the mine is a matter of common interest, the guardians of
that safety should be chosen by the joint vote of both parties. We
contemplate that in future the duties of examiners should be strictly
limited to that o f looking after the safety of the mine.
(d) ENFORCEMENT OF AGREEMENTS,

Owing to the frequency during recent years of sudden stoppages
and “ down-tool ” strikes in certain localities, more especially in the
coal field, suggestions were made to us by employers and officials in
favor of rendering the trade-unions liable in damages for the losses
resulting to the owners from such action. At present, the owner’s
remedy is to sue the offending employees individually for damages
in the county court or a court of summary jurisdiction .under the
Employers and Workmen’s Act, 1875. We see no reason for recom­
mending any alteration in this respect. The prevention of such
strikes— recognized by most people to be, as a rule, if not always,
indefensible, can best be secured, however, not by frequent appeals
to courts of law or by the assumption of a too legalistic attitude on
the part o f employers toward their men, but by the fullest possible
recognition of the authority of the trade-unions as the proper court
for disciplining its own members in respect of breaches of agreement,




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as well as for other misconduct of a like nature. We do not suggest
the particular form which such disciplinary measures should take,
but feel convinced that the more the trade-union is looked to for the
exercise of such powers it will discharge that function both justly
and effectively. The establishment of the joint industrial commit­
tees would also in most cases provide an important check on the dis­
position to “ down tools ” without the previous submission of every
supposed grievance for the consideration o f the such committees.
As all these sudden stoppages are decided upon without consulting
the union officials, still less the executive council of the Miners’ Fed­
eration, their occurrence often is cited as an illustration of what is
regarded as a growing tendency on the part o f the men to repudiate
their leaders. Such repudiation is, however, not so prevalent as
is sometimes represented; indeed it is of exceptionally rare occur­
rence. The functions of the executive council are somewhat strictly
defined, and it has plenary powers only in so far as is conferred on
it by the rules of the federation or specially intrusted to it by the
general conference of delegates from the lodges. The seat of all
authority is therefore the conference and not the executive council.
It is true that from time to time the executive council recommend
certain measures or a certain policy for adoption by the conference,
but it is recognized that the conference is perfectly free to adopt or
reject them as its members may see fit, and that this rejection is by
no means equivalent to a vote of no confidence in the executive council
collectively or its members individually. It would be difficult to
cite an instance in which any decision or act of the council as to
which it has plenary executive power has been repudiated by the
men.
( 6 ) EQUALIZATION OF WAGES.

As we have already pointed out disparities of wages in similar
occupations constitute a very important cause o f discontent. The
differences usually arise because some work easily lends itself to the
application o f the principle of payment by results— a principle which
certain Government departments are endeavoring to apply more gen­
erally—whereas a day wage system alone is practicable in others.
In our judgment some effort should be made by the employers or
the trade-unions, or by both jointly, to remove as far as possible the
chief disparities. This may be done in some industries by abolishing
the system of subcontracting whereby one man may possibly obtain
wages in excess of those paid to half a dozen more men of very little
less skill than himself who act as his assistants. We have been urged
to recommend the abolition o f the piecework system and the adop­
tion o f a system under which every worker will receive a day w^age
based not on the value o f his work but on an approved standard of
life. This, however, we do not feel justified in doing.




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DECASUALIZATION OF LABOR.

We have already referred to the fact that the casual character of
employment in the shipyards and around docks is a factor which
contributes to unrest, and we desire strongly to recommend that
methods should be devised for regularizing such employment,
partly, perhaps, on the lines of arranging for the interchange of
any surplus labor between various departments and firms at such
ccnters of industry.
( g)

A SHORTER WORKING- DAY.

The need for a shorter working day in industries wdiere the work
involves considerable strain on the men has been recognized by the
enactment of the Miners’ Eight-Hour Act. The effect o f this measure
has been most beneficial, and we believe the time has come w^hen
similar legislation should be enacted for limiting hours of work
in other industries. We do not propose to make any specific recom­
mendations as to the length of the working day in different indus­
tries or to enumerate all the industries in which shorter working
days are necessary. We desire, however, to mention the cases of
railway men, spelter workers, and surface workers other than those
handling coal at the mines.
(7i) IMPROVED CONDITIONS OF WORK.

Much progress has been made during the war in regard to em­
ployers’ welfare work, and at many factories engaged in the manu­
facture o f munitions of war, a variety of institutions for the im­
provement of the conditions o f the workers at their employment
have been set up. We are convinced that further development
along these lines will prove of great advantage in establishing better
relations between the workers and their employers. In our judg­
ment, if greater regard were paid by employers to the health,
safety and comfort o f their employees, industrial troubles would
be far less frequent and the expenditure incurred in carrying out
such improvements would be recouped by the increased efficiency
of labor. In many cases, however, the whole of the cost of such
welfare institutions would not need to be borne by the owners of
industrial concerns; in some instances, if the employers manifest a
good spirit, the men w ill respond and will themselves bear their
T
share in the establishment of better working conditions. The pro­
vision of baths at mines and factories, of messrooms, of canteens, of
overalls for men and women employed in dirty occupations—these
are some of the improvements which, in our judgment, ought to
be set up wherever practicable.
17841°— 17— Bull. 237-------12




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

In connection with canteens, we desire to state that we have re­
ceived singularly little evidence of any resentment on the part of
the men against the imposition of restrictions on the sale of liquor.
Only one witness referred to the subject, and in the instance quoted
by him the need was felt only by the dock laborers employed at
the Swansea docks in the unpleasant task o f unloading calamite and
other ores. To meet such special cases we think it desirable to
establish canteens near the place of employment and possibly to
permit limited departures from the specified times of opening.
Closely related to the question o f improved working conditions
is the question of workmen’s train facilities, especially in colliery
districts. Some of the trains provided for the conveyance of men
to and from work are of a most unsatisfactory character, the men
being herded in the coaches with no regard for health or comfort.
Many o f the trains are not heated in the depth of winter, and the
dangers to the health of the men, traveling in cold, draughty
coaches in a damp and perspiring condition, is a source of much
irritation and discontent. This is much accentuated in cases where
the men have to wait a considerable time for their trains at bleak
stations often without shelter of any kind and without any means
o f heating themselves. In our view the provision of better facili­
ties for traveling to and from work in the colliery districts would
improve the relations between masters and men.
(i)

IMPROVEMENT OF HOUSING CONDITIONS.

It is clear from the large amount of evidence received that un­
satisfactory surroundings and the inadequacy o f housing accommo­
dation in Wales and Monmouthshire, and especially in the south
Wales coal field, is a factor of great importance in the causation
o f unrest.
It is estimated that the shortage of houses in the
period immediately preceeding the war was between 40,000 and
50,000, and owing to the practical suspension of building opera­
tions since the war the position is becoming daily more serious. W e
recognize the great difficulty of carrying on housing schemes under
present conditions. In our opinion, however, the matter can not
be ignored and we therefore strongly recommend action on the fol­
lowing lines:
(1)
In certain areas where an abnormal shortage of dwellings
exists “facilities should be provided for enabling local authorities
and other approved agencies to proceed immediately with the erec­
tion of dwellings, a substantial measure of Government assistance
by way of grant being made to cover all or part of the extra cost
necessitated by the operation of war conditions.




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(2) The Government should also without delay urge local authori­
ties and other agencies to prepare town planning and housing
schemes to be carried into effect immediately after the restoration
o f peace, and should make an immediate statement as to the terms
on which State loans for the purpose will be available.
(3) The Government should, too, either directly or through the
medium o f some approved body subsidized by the State, proceed
forthwith to organize house-building schemes, and to stimulate
and assist local authorities and other agencies to prepare plans
and schemes to be carried out after the war.
(/) IMPROVED EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES.

We have referred in an earlier portion of our report to the lack
o f proper educational facilities as a condition making for indus­
trial unrest. Lack of knowledge in regard to the social conditions
o f the wwkers and inability properly to appreciate the industrial
and political issues involved in questions of daily importance are
both expressed in the form either o f sullen discontent or open
rebellion. Evidence has been brought before us to show that the
workers view with alarm the shortage of teachers and the conse­
quent failure of the local authorities to provide proper education
for the children.
The need for uniform methods of adolescent and adult education
has also been urged upon us. We would suggest that continued
education should be further extended, that the scope of studies
should be widened to include courses in subjects bearing upon the
duties and privileges o f citizenship, and that due attention should
be paid to proper physical development. We would further sug­
gest that the university is the proper medium for the education of
the adult, and that university tutorial classes should be established
in every center o f industry in Wales in which political economy,
industrial history, and su£h other subjects as bear upon the condi­
tions and interests o f the workers, can be studied impartially under
the guidance of skilled and recognized authorities.
(fr) RESTORATION OF PREW AR CONDITIONS.

We have to report the existence of a deep-seated fear lest the
restrictions on liberty necessitated by the war, and especially those
which limit the freedom of industrial organizations, may not be
removed when peace is restored. The psychological effect of such
a feeling is most profound and we believe that, although possibly
not fully and freely expressed, this may be a potent and ever-present
factor in the creation of unrest. We therefore strongly recommend
that the Government should reiterate in clear and unequivocal
terms:




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

(1) That all measures enacted by Parliament for the safety o f
the State and the organization of industry for war purposes such
as the Military Service Acts, the Defense of the Realm Act, and
the Munitions o f War Acts should be repealed at the earliest possible
moment after the restoration of peace.
(2) That all the rights and privileges o f tracle-unions which
have been suspended during the war shall be restored immediately
after the restoration o f peace, except in so far as the trade-unions
themselves may otherwise desire.
(0

PROFITEERING.

In dealing earlier with the causes of unrest, we stated that one
of the factors which brought about the coal strike of 1915 was the
suspicion that a portion o f the community was exploiting the
national crisis for their own profit. Numerous events have since
occurred which, to the minds of the workers and the public gen­
erally, appear to confirm the suspicion. The accounts in the press
o f the constant rise in freights, the huge prices obtained for ships,
the high price paid for small parcels of coal, the activity of the
stock and share market, especially as to collieries, and the formation
o f combines, notably in coal, but also in ship repairing, and to some
extent in shipping—all lent color to this view. Even the wave
o f philanthropy that swept through the business community, and
the repeated announcements of large contributions to war charities
and hospitals, and to educational institutions, had the same effect
on the public mind. Still more so, perhaps, the ostentatious parade
of wealth and fashion in the streets of Cardiff, Newport, and Swan­
sea. More recently public resentment has been more particularly
directed toward all and sundry who are supposed to be making
excessive profits out of the food supplies. We have been largely
baffled in our efforts to discover who and w hat causes are really
T
responsible for the great increase in the cost o f our food supplies.
We have, however, succeeded to the extent o f eliminating certain
possibilities and so narrowing the field still to be explored. As a
result of the most searching examination that we w ere able to
T
make, we are unable to find evidence o f any considerable profiteer­
ing on the part of the retail trade generally, nor do we think, for
reasons to be stated presently, that any large part of the increase
is attributable to excessive freight paid to shipowners. In so
far as bread is concerned, we have similarly to exonerate bakers,
but we were unable to obtain any evidence from millers and whole­
sale grain importers. It has been suggested to us, and we are in­
clined provisionally to adopt the view that the major part of the
increased cost of food is due in part directly and in part indirectly
to the destruction of tonnage by enemy submarines.




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The great bulk of the British mercantile tonnage is requisitioned
by the Government at prewar rates of freight, although since the
commencement o f the war the cost o f repairs has trebled, the cost o f
marine insurance, inclusive o f war risks, and also the cost of stores
and provisions have increased in the same proportion. As a result
we are informed that the total profit for 1917 of a fleet of steamers,
requisitioned by the Government, will not exceed one-fifth of the
prewar profits or datum line of 1912-13.
Neutral tonnage on the other hand is being chartered at 50 shil­
lings [$12.17] per ton per month, as against 6 shillings 6 pence
[$1.58] per ton per month paid by the Government to British ship­
owners under requisitioned conditions. Most of the food is brought
into this country by British-owned steamers at the above requisi­
tioned rate and it is authoritatively stated that freights only account
for three-fourths pence [1.5 cents] in the price of the 4-pound loaf
and 1 pence [2 cents] per pound in meat. The price of wheat, how­
ever, at its export source has doubled since the war. The cost o f
insurance also against war risk has increased enormously since the
submarine peril became acute and its effect is to double the already
increased export price of wheat. Thus Lloyds now demand 25 per
cent for war-risk insurance on a three months’ voyage, and though
the Government does not actually pay premiums for insuring its
requisitioned shipping it has to see that its risks are covered and its
losses recouped. The effect of a 25 per cent war-risk insurance on a
cargo worth £50,000 [$243,325] carried in a ship worth £150,000
[$729,975], that is a total of £200,000 [$973,300], with superadded
cost o f insurance £50,000 [$243,325], is to double the cost of the
cargo. I f this be the method adopted by the Government then we
think it has the effect of placing on the cargo, that is on the food
supplies, the cost of war-risk insurance, which, however, in our
judgment ought not to be borne by the cargo but should be regarded
as general war expenditure and should be met accordingly.
So supremely urgent is the need of reducing the cost of food from
the point o f view of preventing the spread of unrest, apart from
other considerations, that we desire to represent the urgent neces­
sity of immediate action on the part of the Government with the
view o f reducing the cost of food and of effectually stamping out
all profiteering in connection therewith wherever it may be found.
We also recommend that—
(a) A ll excess profits derivable from the sale and distribution of
commodities for home consumption should henceforth be appro­
priated by the Government, so that the incentive to charge inflated
prices for such commodities be removed;




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU BEA U OF LABOE STATISTICS.

(&) That the Government should, in so far as possible, purchase
all imported food supplies direct from the producer, or at least in
the country where produced, and convey them to this country in
ships requisitioned for the purpose; and
(c)
Where this is not practicable that the Government should
take over all food supplies at the port of landing in this country,
and in any case should fix the prices to be charged by wholesale
dealer, middleman, and retailer respectively in respect of each ar­
ticle, as has already been done with reference to cheese.
While we recommend the total appropriation of all excess profits
made from the home consumer, we believe a different principle
should be adopted in the case o f trade with foreign countries and
that every encouragement should be given to the bringing of w ealth
T
into this country.
It has been suggested to us that at present the business man trad­
ing in foreign markets is restricted to such an extent by Govern­
ment departments that he can not develop his business to meet the
very heavy taxation. He is unable, it is said, to make or invest any
further capital because, however successful he may be, the 80 per
cent to 95 per cent excess war profits tax with the income tax added,
leave him, possibly, with an actual loss for his risk and labor.
It has been further suggested that it must be of the utmost im­
portance to the nation’s welfare that shipowners, coal owners, and
others should be encouraged rather than discouraged to do every­
thing possible “ to bring wealth into the country ” ; that the Adm ir­
alty, Board o f Trade, and other departments should peremptorily be
instructed by the Government to do all in their power to assist the
commercial classes to this end, and that some business men should
be appointed on advisory or other committees to see that this policy
is carried out.
Without necessarily adopting this view in its entirety it is in our
judgment most essential that every possible encouragement should
be given to wealth-producing departments and industries and that
a strong check should be exercised on spending departments. The
wealth which it is desired to create or bring into this country by
these means is not only required for prosecuting the war, but also
to help in maintaining our commercial supremacy after the war, and
more especially that of our mercantile marine.
( m)

OPERATION OF M ILITARY SERVICE ACTS.

The imposition of military service on the civil population has
naturally given rise to a considerable amount of disquiet, but on the
whole the fact has been loyally accepted as a national necessity.
Where manifestations o f unrest have been of a general character




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18S

they have arisen because of some injustice, real or assumed, in the
administration o f the measures. Amongst other factors which have
led to discontent the following should be mentioned—
(1) Resentment against the classification by medical boards o f
men notoriously unfit in medical categories which render them liable
for active service, and against the calling up o f such men by the
military authorities. This resentment is very widespread, and we
desire to urge that greater care should be taken both by the medical
boards and the recruiting officers to secure an improvement in this
respect.
Another matter closely related to this to which our attention has
been drawn by more than one witness is the treatment to which men
are subject while undergoing medical examination. Instances have
been brought to our notice where men, absolutely nude, have been
kept waiting for long periods in cold and draughty corridors or ante­
rooms. We do not think that men should be subjected to such in­
dignities and inconvenience, and we desire to recommend that more
satisfactory conditions should be arranged.
(2) Frequent complaint was also made o f the unfairness o f call­
ing up married men from mines and factories whilst single men are
sheltered, and also of the injustice o f combing out old employees
whilst leaving newcomers free.
(3) The system of exempting men in various industries has also
been severely criticized. The withdrawal in May o f this year of the
trade-card system, which was only instituted and agreed to in No­
vember, 1916, has been viewed with disfavor by the Amalgamated
Society o f Engineers, which organization we were informed had
spent about £10,000 [$48,665] on the issue of cards. Except from
this body, however, no complaint has been made to us on behalf of
any other union. Some amount of misapprehension has been caused
by the new scheme for the release of men from the munition factories
for service in the army. Under this scheme two forms of exemption
certificates are issued to all employees of military age in munition
works. Certificate A.F.W . 3476e, entitled “ Scheduled occupation
certificate,” is issued to men protected from military service under
the schedule o f protected occupations. Certificate A.F.W . 3476b, en­
titled “ Certificate of protection,” is issued to men not so protected.
The title o f the latter certificate, however, is misleading, and has
caused a considerable amount of misapprehension in the minds, not
only o f the men, but also of members of tribunals. The withdrawal
o f the latter certificate, we are informed, would remove a prolific
source o f irritation.
(4) Complaints have also been received of intimidation exercised
by officials in protected industries. A t some works men are threat-




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

enecl that they will be released from the industry if they persist in
their trade-union activities, or if they resent the imposition on them
o f some injustice. We can not too strongly condemn actions of this
kind, and recommend that such intimidation should be made a
punishable offense.
(») OPERATION OF MUNITIONS OF W AR ACT.

The difficulties in connection with the operation of the Munitions
of War Acts arise mainly from the fear of industrial conscription,
dislike of the leaving-certificate system and the introduction of
dilution. The first two o f these grievances are closely related and
we believe that the fear o f industrial conscription can not be removed
until the leaving-certificate system is entirely abolished. In our
judgment the time has now arrived when the restrictions on the
freedom of workers in such matters as that of changing their work
should be removed. We, therefore, strongly favor the abolition of
leaving certificates, the early dissolution of munitions tribunals, and
the repeal of the penal clauses o f the Munitions o f War Acts. It
has also been represented to us that greater* care should be taken in
introducing substitutes into various industries, and that steps should
be taken to consult and call in the aid o f the trade-unions when the
dilution o f labor is thought desirable.
(o) REEMPLOYMENT OF DISCHARGED SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

Growing resentment is felt among the workers against the failure
o f the Government or o f the employing classes to make adequate pro­
vision for the training and employment of men discharged from the
army and navy. We therefore desire to emphasize the importance
o f making early and adequate provision whereby such men may be
absorbed into industry and their prewar economic positions be
restored to them.
( p)

PENSIONS AND SEPARATION ALLOWANCES.

There is a pressing and urgent need for the provision o f adequate
allowances for discharged soldiers’ and soldiers’ dependents. The
separation allowances as well as the pensions granted to widows and
dependents are, owing to the great increase in the cost o f living,
quite inadequate to provide families with a reasonable standard o f
living, and much misery is caused amongst soldiers’ families owing to
lack of means. Moreover, much discontent is caused by the inability
of the local pensions committees to deal with cases where local
knowledge is essential. Considerable hardship is, for example, occa­
sioned by the fact that separation allowances are based upon pre­




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war dependency, that the committees are prevented from assisting
the dependents o f soldiers who become ill while home on leave, from
distributing grants to men in receipt of temporary pensions and
from assisting men transferred to class W , whose allowances are
stopped on their return home, and whose families have no means of
subsistence until the first week’s wages are brought home. Such
men have—in coal mining—to wait often a fortnight before receiv­
ing any wages. It is felt that provision should be made for the
soldier and his family in such a manner as to enable these men to
enjoy a few days’ rest before resuming work. It is felt, too, that
sickness grants should be payable to wives and dependents in special
cases when extra expense is involved. Cases such as the foregoing
can only be decided by local committees possessing the necessary
knowledge, and in our judgment the local pensions committees should
have greater powers conferred on them in order that they may
exercise their discretion in deciding cases w here a knowledge of the
T
local circumstances is essential.
( q) IMPROVED GOVERNMENT MACHINERY FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES.

We strongly recommended that immediate steps should be taken to
centralize all the Government agencies dealing with labor in one
department, say the Ministry of Labor, and that the local representa­
tives o f such department should have a larger measure of authority
to deal with matters submitted to them without reference to head­
quarters.
Delays in the settlement o f disputes, especially when such delays
as usually happen are accompanied by the ultimate granting of the
original demand, are dangerous, and w think that, instead of all dis­
re
putes being referred to London to be decided after considerable delay
most probably by men w ho are not conversant with the conditions
T
prevailing in any industry, some simple machinery should be set up
to deal locally and promptly with matters at issue between the em­
ployers and men as they arise. We favor the delegation of the
powers possessed by the committee of production for settling dis­
putes to a special court for Wales which shall consist o f persons
possessing a practical and intimate knowledge o f the industries
involved and which shall be granted powers for the enforcement of
the awards. It is desirable that Government departments should
interfere as little as possible with any arrangements made between
employers and men either directly or through the medium o f other
Government departments and that when such interference is neces­
sary any differences should be adjusted with the minimum amount
o f delay.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
(r) RESTORATION OF OLD INCOME-TAX BASIS.

The lowering of the income-tax basis from £160 [$778.64] to £120
[$583.98] has, we find, caused a large amount o f discontent amongst
various classes o f workers in south Wales, and there is reason to be­
lieve that unless the old basis is restored organized resistance will be
offered* to the collection o f the taxes imposed on the lower basis.
The South Wales Miners’ Federation has pressed the Chancellor of
the Exchequer for the restoration of the old standard of assessment,
but without avail. The workers contend that the present equivalent
value o f a prewar wage of £120 [$583.98], the point at which taxa­
tion commences, is only £60 [$291.99], while a prewar wage of £160
[$778.64] would be equivalent to about £80 [$389.32] to-day. It is
claimed that the latter basis is sufficiently low for taxation purposes.
In view o f the serious situation that is likely to arise if the demand
o f the workers in regard to this matter is refused, we recommend
that the old basis of £160 [$778.64] should be restored.
(a) AMENDMENT OF WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION ACTS.

Witnesses representing the mining industry have advocated the
following amendments in the Workmen’s Compensation A cts:
(1) That every workman if totally incapacitated by accident
should receive as compensation a sum equivalent to his full earnings
before the accident.
(2) That every workman who is partially incapacitated by acci­
dent, or who has so far recovered from total incapacity as to be
able to undertake light employment, should be paid as compensation
a sum equal to the difference between his earnings before and after
the accident.
W e report these suggestions but do not submit any recommenda­
tions with reference thereto.
In view of the increased cost of living, we think, however, that
the maximum weekly compensation of £1 [$4.87] payable under the
compensation acts has now become inadequate, as the purchasing
power of that sum is so greatly reduced. We recommend that the
above maximum limit be entirely done away with, and that power
be given to the courts, on application, to vary all existing orders
with a view to making them adequate to cover the increased cost of
living of the injured workmen, subject, however, to the proviso that
they should not exceed the amount of the earnings previous to the
accident.
(t)

PROVISION OF EMPLOYMENT IN CERTAIN AREAS.

Much discontent exists in the anthracite and bituminous mining
areas o f west Glamorgan and east Carmarthen owing to the unem­




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ployment arising from lack o f shipping facilities. The port o f
shipment for coal from these districts is Swansea. Since the war
there has been a great scarcity of tonnage at this port due in part to
the diversion o f boats to the port of Cardiff for the shipment o f
admiralty coal. It was represented to us by leading commercial
men in the Swansea district that the congestion of shipping at
Cardiff and Barry, with the resultant delay, could be avoided if
greater use were made o f the shipping facilities existent at Swansea.
The cost of exportation would be increased, if at all, only very
slightly, while, it was claimed, a considerable saving of tonnage
would be effected which would tend to ease matters in the adjacent
colliery districts. The South Wales Miners’ Federation, too, are
greatly concerned over the unemployment that exists and suggest
that the Government should provide facilities by way o f subsistence
allowances and cheap train fares to enable the unemployed men to
be absorbed into the mines in the more favored parts of the coal field.
We are only able to report these suggestions without necessarily
indorsing them.
( u ) REDRESS OF MINOR GRIEVANCES.

In the present highly nervous state of the population grievances
o f an apparently trivial nature assume large proportions and fre­
quently, unless dealt with, lead to serious trouble. In our judg­
ment, therefore, it is essential for the maintenance of industrial
peace that an effort should be made to deal with minor grievances
as well as with those of a more important character. Among such
grievances may be mentioned the follow ing:
(1 )

TA XE S

ON EN T ER TAIN M EN TS.

A number of witnesses have mentioned this as being a source of
some irritation, especially in cases where amusements are organized
for purely educational purposes and not for profit making. We
recommend that the taxes on lower-priced tickets, say those below
1 shilling [24 cents], should be abolished.
(2 )

CITEAP TRAVELING FACILITIES.

Strong representations have been made to us by influential bodies
representing both employers and men in favor of the provision of
cheaper traveling facilities. The increased prices, it is claimed,
restrict traveling only by the lower-waged and harder-worked
manual laborers who stand in especial need of occasional holidays.
The evidence seemed to us to demonstrate clearly that the imposi­
tion o f higher fares has pressed hardly on such classes, and we recom­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

mend that, in view o f the fact that railway congestion has to a con­
siderable extent been relieved, fares should be restored to their pre­
war level, or, if this is found impracticable, that special arrangements
for cheap traveling should at any rate be made during specified
periods.
(3 )

RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH.

We have had no evidence that the great majority of the workers
have any sympathy with pacifist viewT nevertheless when cases come
s,
within their knowledge in which conscientious objectors have been
harshly treated, even those who have no sympathy with the pacifist
attitude show considerable resentment with the harsh treatment
meted out. Much irritation, particularly at Llanelly, Port Talbot,
and Cardiff, has been caused by this and by the injudicious handling
o f public meetings. We suggest that people holding unpopular
views should not be singled out for differential treatment either by
the military and police authorities or by local councils. It is further
desirable that full police protection should be afforded as much to
the promoters of unpopular meetings as to those of a less disturbing
character, as it is essential to preserve as far as possible, and in so far
as the safety of the State will allow, freedom o f speech and the right
to criticize public action. A ll encroachments upon this right are
very jealously watched by the workers and are a source of much
disquietude.
(i?) RECOMMENDATIONS APPLICABLE TO SPECIAL INDUSTRIES.

Apart from the recommendations of a more general character made
above w e desire to submit the following suggestions for the improve­
T
ment o f conditions in special industries :
(a)

M INING.

1.
Many o f the price lists for pieceworkers operating in the col­
lieries of Wales were prepared many years ago, when conditions were
quite different from those which prevail to-day. In large numbers of
cases the lists have become obsolete and allowances have to be made
to supplement the list rates. Much trouble arises over these allow­
ances as the men frequently dispute the fairness of the additional pay­
ments proposed to be made to them by the managements. There
does not seem to be any particular reason why the lists should not
be revised, except that in some districts the making o f new lists
frequently leads to friction and stoppages of work. In our judgment,
however, this possibility is of less importance than the recurring and
irritating disputes which arise over the question of the adequacy or




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inadequacy o f allowances. We, therefore, recommend that an effort
should be made in the direction of modernizing and standardizing
colliery price lists throughout the Welsh coal field.
2. In south Wales price lists do not usually provide for the pay-*
ment of the miners for small coal brought out of the collieries. Such
coal was formerly regarded as of very little value, and in order to
discourage its production the owners adopted the policy of paying
for large coal only. During the past 30 years, however, itfe value has
increased from about 2 shillings 6 pence [60.8 cents] per ton to about
17 shillings [$4.14], and although the payments to the men for cut­
ting large coal are supposed to cover what they lose through non­
payment for small coal, the men feel deeply aggrieved. We recom­
mend, therefore, that some direct method of payment for small coal
should be adopted. Our proposal is that all price lists should con­
tain alternative prices for “ large” coal and “ through” coal (that is,
large and small combined), and that if the proportion of small coal
exceeds, say, 30 per cent of the whole, the men shall have the' right
to be paid on the “ through coal” basis, w hereas if the percentage is
T
below 30 per cent, the owners shall have the option to pay on the
“ large coal” rates.
3. A third matter which causes much dissatisfaction, especially at
the present time, is that of delay in the delivery of house coal to
miners. By agreement miners are privileged to receive at reduced
rates periodical supplies o f coal for their own consumption. For
various reasons considerable delays continually occur in the delivery
o f these supplies, with the result that the men feel very discontented.
The difficulty is one which can be dealt with only by the coal owners
themselves, and we feel sure that if the matter is brought to their
notice action will be taken to improve the organization of delivery.
4. Much trouble has arisen in several collieries in south Wales
during recent years owing to the men insisting on leaving the mines
when a fatal accident has occurred, and legal proceedings have been
instituted against the men for so doing. W e are convinced that the
feeling o f the miners in this matter is very deep-seated, and that any
attempt to suppress the practice by resort to legal machinery can
have the effect only o f irritating the men without achieving any good
result.
5. Recently considerable progress has been made in regard to the
organization o f colliery examiners and other officials, and much
information has been placed before us as to the conditions under
which these men work. We find that the rates o f wages paid vary
considerably from colliery to colliery, and that these disparities con­
duce to disaffection amongst those who are lowT paid. In our judg­
er
ment it is desirable that more uniform payments should be arranged,
and we recommend that wages boards be formed to deal with this




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR, ST ATISTICS.

matter. It is essential, however, if the boards are to be successful
that the men should be secured the right to organize and that the
officials of their unions should be recognized by the employers.
6.
Various other matters affecting colliery workers have also been
brought to our notice, upon which we do not propose to express an
opinion. We think these are subjects which may properly be referred
for consideration to the industrial councils. As examples we may
mention—
(1) The right o f the men with the employers to select an equal
number o f the workers engaged in carrying out tests in new seams
before price lists are arranged.
(2) Proposals as to the abandonment o f old-established customs in
mines.
R A IL W A Y S .

Numerous proposals were submitted to us on behalf o f the railAvay employees, but these were for the most part of a general char­
acter and have already been dealt with. O f the more special pro­
posals made to us perhaps the most important was that put forward
on grounds of safety in favor of the compulsory provision o f the
track circuit system and the withdrawal of Rule 55. While we
realize that the provision of a track circuit system involves great
expense we would, however, recommend that as far as practicable
steps be taken to further the establishment of the system on all rail­
ways.
Two other grievances of a minor character brought to our notice
should, we believe, be rectified without delay, v iz :
(1) Arrangements should be made whereby railway men going off
duty away from home and at a late hour should have facilities for
purchasing food supplies after shop hours or should have food pro­
vided for them at their leaving-off stations.
(2) The men should also receive from the companies a more gen­
erous allowance of “ lodging money” when away from home over­
night on railway service. The present amount allowed is only 1
shilling 6 pence [12.2 cents] per night, a sum which is quite in­
adequate.
SE AM E N .

The grievances o f seamen were placed before us in considerable
detail by a number of representatives of the National Sailors and
Firemen’s Union, and we fully indorse the following rather reason­
able demands which they make:
(1) The prohibition o f the employment o f Chinese labor on
British ships while British seamen are available.
(2) The prohibition o f the practice of importing labor from one
port to another when local'supplies o f labor are adequate.




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

191

(3) That sailors’ discharge books should be deposited .with the
Board of Trade during voyages, and that copies only should be issued
to the men.
(4) That the maximum amount for which seamen’s effects may
be insured should be increased from £5 [$24.33] to £12 [$58.40].
(5) The amendment of the Merchant Shipping Acts in the direc­
tion of requiring shipowners to pay wages to shipwrecked seamen
from the date of the sinking of their vessels to the date of their
landing in the United Kingdom.
NONPRODUCTIVE

INDUSTRIES.

Numerous offers of evidence were made to us by workers not
actually engaged in the manufacturing and transport industries,
such as clerks, insurance agents, shop assistants, and teachers.
Owing to the limited time at our disposal we were reluctantly com­
pelled to decline personal interviews to such persons, but on our
invitation many o f them submitted written statements for our con­
sideration. As in most of the oral evidence submitted to us, the
chief grievance was the inadequacy of wages to meet the increased
cost o f living. We can not, of course, make any specific recom­
mendation as to whether and what increases of wages should be made
to such classes, although we fully recognize that as a result of the war
their position may be relatively much worse than that of manual
workers, many of whom, at any rate, have been able to claim increases
or bonuses. We desire, however, to point out that discontent among
such classes is often a source of great danger, for their influence
with manual workers is frequently very great.
Unrest is contagious, and it appears to us, for example, that the
hundreds of discontented insurance agents visiting thousands of
homes at frequent and regular intervals may infect a large portion
of the community in a comparatively short time with their own
spirit of discontent. We think it desirable that some action should
be taken to deal with the grievances of a clean ” workers. In some
instances, for example, among shop assistants and clerks, wage
boards might be established and arrangements made collectively to
deal with any peculiar conditions that may prevail in such industries.
SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL RECOMMENDATIONS.
FOOD SUPPLIES AND PROFITEERING.

1. Immediate action to be taken by the Government to bring about
a reduction in the cost of food, and to stamp out all profiteering in
connection therewith.
2. A ll excess profits derivable from the sale and distribution of
commodities for home consumption to be appropriated by the State.'




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

3. The purchase by the Government, in so far as possible, of all
imported food supplies in the country where produced and the con­
veyance thereof to this country in requisitioned ships.
4. The fixing by the Government of the prices to be charged by
wholesale dealer, middleman, and retailer, respectively, in respect of
each article of food sold in this country, as is already done in the case
o f cheese.
5. A ll war risks insurance in respect of food supplies brought into
the country by the Government in requisitioned ships, as suggested
above, to be henceforth regarded as ordinary war expenditure, to be
met and provided for in the same way as all expenditure directly
incurred in prosecuting the war, instead of being added, as is now
believed to be the case, to the price of such food supplies.
6. In the event of its proving impracticable to bring about a sub­
stantial reduction in the cost of living, wages in all the lower paid
industries to be increased proportionately to the increase in the cost
o f living.
7. That while all excess profits made out of the home consumer
should be appropriated by the State, the Government should place
no obstacles in the way of, but should in every way encourage, all
such undertakings and commercial activities w ith foreign countries
T
as are calculated to result in the bringing in o f additional wealth
into this country, such policy being deemed to be specially necessary
in the shipping industry, with a view to the rehabilitation o f our
mercantile marine and the reestablishment of our commercial
supremacy after the war.
IN D U STR IAL CONDITIONS AND ORGANIZATION.

8. The modification of the present system of industry in such a
way as to identify the worker more closely with the control of the
industry in which he is engaged.
9. The guaranteeing of security of tenure to every worker by pro­
viding that he should not be liable to be dismissed except with the
consent of his fellow workmen as well as his employer.
10. Every workman to belong to a recognized union of his industry,
and this to be a condition of employment.
11. A ll employers, especially in large scale industries, to be simi­
larly associated in an employers’ association or, if not, to be bound
by the decisions of such association.
12. “ One industry, one union ” to be the ideal aimed at as far as
practicable in all large scale industries, and especially in those o f
public utility, such as coal mining and the transport service. The
prevention of all “ poaching ” on the part of competing unions.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

193

13. Conciliation boards to be established in all industries which do
not already possess such boards, e. g., in the spelter, copper, and
chemical industries, for all dock labor, gas workers, municipal em­
ployees, in ship repairing, and in the baking industry.
14. The speeding up of the consideration and settlement of all dis­
putes and differences by existing conciliation boards, and the im­
provement of their machinery wherever this is found necessary, e. g.,
by the establishment of standing committees with executive powers
that can promptly deal with disputes or difficulties.
15. The establishment of joint standing industrial councils, as
recommended in the report o f the Whitley committee, or the adapta­
tion and extension o f existing machinery (e. g., conciliation boards
and works committees) to enable them to undertake the duties sug­
gested for such councils in the report.
16. The removal, in so far as practicable, of all great disparities
between the wages earned on similar work, and especially the aboli­
tion o f subcontracting wherever it is productive o f such disparities.
17. An improvement in general conditions o f work by means of
greater attention to the health and safety o f the workers, and the
establishment o f welfare institutions, e. g., clubs and canteens, and
the organization of recreative facilities in connection with works
and factories. *
18. A reduction in the hours o f labor in the case o f railway men,
spelter workers, and surface workers at collieries other than those
handling coal.
19. The regularizing of the hours of employment of dock laborers
and ship repairers, partly by the interchange of any surplus labor
between different firms.
20. The raising o f the limit below which incomes should be ex­
empted from the payment of income tax to £160 [$778.64] instead
o f £120 [$583.98], as at present.
21. The amendment of the Workmen’s Compensation Acts by abol­
ishing the maximum weekly compensation payable, and giving power
to the courts to vary existing orders with a view to making them
adequate to meet the increased cost of living.
M U N IT IO N S

OF W A R

ACTS.

22. The abolition of leaving certificates.
23. The early dissolution of munitions tribunals and the repeal of
the penal clauses of the Munitions of W ar Acts.
24. The acceleration of the settlement of all disputes in munition
works and controlled establishments.
25. The substitution for the committee of production, in so far as
Wales is concerned, of a committee to be constituted o f members pos17841°—17—Bull. 237------13




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

sessing practical and intimate knowledge of the conditions prevailing
in Welsh industries, and the conferment on such committee of
powers to enforce and put into operation all awards made by it.
26. The centralization in the Ministry of Labor o f the powers o f
the various Government departments now dealing with labor and
the delegation to the local representatives o f that department in
Wales of larger discretionary powers to deal with matters promptly
as they arise.
27. Whenever dilution is deemed necessary the trade-unions con­
cerned to be first consulted.
M IL IT A R Y SERVICE ACTS.

28. The exercise of greater care and discretion on the part of the
military authorities in the medical classification and the calling up
for service of unfit men and others in low medical categories, and
also in the “ combing out ” of married men before single.
29. The immediate repression of a too general practice on the part
of medical boards to keep numbers o f men herded together for long
hours in a nude state, and in comfortless places, pending their medi­
cal examination.
30. The discontinuance o f the unnecessarily harsh treatment often
meted out to conscientious objectors, and especially the release from
the obligation to military service o f those who, by serving a long
term o f imprisonment or otherwise, have given adequate proof of
the genuineness of their objection to such service.
31. To render it a punishable offense on the part of any employer
or official to intimidate an employee by threatening to “ release ”
him for the army.
SEPARATION

ALLO W AN CES

AND

TREATM ENT OF DISCHARGED

SOLDIERS.

32. A revision of the scale o f allowances to soldiers’ dependents
and widows, so as to have regard for the increased cost o f living, and
more speedy provision on the part of pensions committees for the
training and employment of men discharged from the services.
RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM AND TH E RESTORATION OF PREWAR RIGHTS.

33. An emphatic declaration on the part o f the Government o f its
intention to repeal immediately on the termination of the war, the
Military Service Acts, the Munitions o f W ar Acts, and the Defense
o f the Realm Act, together with all regulations made thereunder
with a view to the complete restoration o f the liberty o f the subject.
34. A similar declaration that the Government will also on the
conclusion o f peace restore all trade-union rights and privileges,
except in so far as the unions themselves may otherwise desire.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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195

35. The more judicious handling on the part of the police of all
meetings organized and addressed by pacifists or others holding like
unpopular views with reference to the war, so that the protection of
the law may be equally enjoyed by all law-abiding citizens, irrespec­
tive o f whether their views may be popular or unpopular.
36. The removal, partial or total, of the restrictions imposed on
traveling, by means o f increased railway fares, particularly with a
view to enabling workers to take an occasional week-end or other
holiday, accompanied by members of their families.
37. The abolition o f the tax on all lower-priced tickets for enter­
tainments, especially those organized for educational and nonprofitmaking purposes.
SPECIAL IND USTRIES.

Mining.

38. The appointment and dismissal in future of colliery firemen,
examiners, and their deputies by joint committees o f the manage­
ment ahd the men.
39. The revision o f old price lists with a view to the abolition of
the “ allowance ” system.
40. The provision o f direct payment in respect of small coal by the
adoption o f rates for “ large ” and “ through ” coal respectively.
41. Standardization o f rates of wages for colliery “ officials” and
the recognition o f their unions by the employers.
Railways.

42. The extension as soon as circumstances will permit o f the
u track circuit ” system over all railways.
Seamen.

43. The prohibition of the employment o f Chinese on British ships.
44. Provision to meet circumstances of hardship in the case o f the
crews o f vessels, torpedoed or otherwise destroyed or disabled, e. g.,
the raising o f the limit for insuring a sailor’s outfit from £5 [$24.33]
to £12 [$58.40], and the making of provision for the deposit of
sailors’ discharge books with the Board of Trade, giving each man
instead a card with a copy o f all essential particulars. Also the
amendment o f the Merchant Shipping Act so as to entitle seamen to
claim wages from the date of the sinking o f their vessels to the date
o f their landing in the United Kingdom.
H OU SIN G.

45. Government assistance (including the necessary facilities and
authorization) to local authorities and other approved agencies for




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the immediate erection of a number o f houses in certain areas where
there exists an abnormal shortage, and the taking o f measures, by
the preparation o f housing and town-planning schemes and other­
wise, for the provision immediately after the war of at least 50,000
houses in Wales.
EDUCATIONAL.

46. The extension o f the system of continued education for young
persons between the ages of 14 and 18 and the widening o f the scope
of studies to include subjects bearing on the duties and privileges of
citizenship and o f right living.
47. The development of adult education by the establishment
through the joint agency o f the university colleges and of labor
organizations, of classes in industrial centers in which subjects of
general human interest may be studied in an impartial and systematic
manner under expert guidance, whereby the relations of industry to
the community and the desirability of a broad and sympathetic out­
look upon the complex factors of modem society may be adequately
realized.
48. The provision of lectures, by arrangement with the university
colleges or other independent bodies, to the employees and manage­
ment o f works and factories, dealing with the nature o f the industry,
the costs and methods of working, and such cognate subjects, as a
basis for a mutually clearer understanding of the methods and con­
ditions o f employment.
PROVISION FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

49. Finally, the institution by the Government at an early date o f
a royal commission or other committee of inquiry to conduct a
thorough investigation into the social and economic conditions o f the
south Wales coal field.
We desire to express our acknowledgments generally to all who
have so freely assisted our labors by submitting to us both oral evi­
dence and written memoranda; also to the lord mayor of Cardiff,
and the mayor of Swansea, for placing at our disposal accommoda­
tion at the law courts, Cardiff, and at the guild hall, Swansea,
respectively.
We regret the many defects of the report as to form and arrange­
ment. Had there been a longer time and a larger staff at our dis­
posal a more concise and orderly presentation o f the facts and a more
logical arrangement o f our recommendations would have been
possible.
To cover so vast and complex a field, and to investigate problems
o f such difficulty as we have had to do, would have been impossible




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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197

but for the invaluable assistance which our secretary has been able
to render us. We have had the benefit of his intimate knowledge of
industrial conditions, and of the personnel of industrial organiza­
tion in Wales. To this he has added unremitting industry in all the
exacting duties that have devolved upon him as secretary.
It is a matter o f profound gratification that we have arrived at our
conclusions with complete unanimity, and that we are therefore all
able to sign this our report without any individual reservation or
qualification whatsoever.
(Signed)
D. L l e u e e r T h o m a s , Chairman.
T

(Signed)
J u l y 12,

1917.




homas

E

vans.

V

ernon

H

artshorn.

E d g a r L . C h a p p e ll,

Secretary.

APPENDIX.— LIST OF WITNESSES AND OF PERSONS OR ASSOCIATIONS
WHO SUBMITTED DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE.
COAL MINING.
EMPLOYERS.

Oral.— Monmouthshire and South W ales Coal Owners’ Association.
Mr. Fred L. Davies, president.
Mr. Finlay Gibson, secretary.
Mr. H ow el R. Jones.
Mr. Evan W illiam s.
North W ales Coal Owners’ Association.
Mr. W . D. Haswell, secretary.
OFFICIALS.

(i) Oral.— South W ales and M onmouthshire Colliery Officials’ Association.
Mi\ Jacob Ray, past president o f association.
Mr. Tudor Davies, president o f M erthyr branch.
Mr. W . W . Hood, secretary.
South W ales and M onmouthshire Colliery M anagers’ Association.
Mr. John Kane, president.
Mr. D. L. Thomas, member o f executive.
Mr. Rees H owells.
South W ales and Monmouthshire Colliery Officials’ Union.
Mr. W. M. Lewis, general secretary.
(ii) W ritten .— South W ales and Monmouthshire Colliery E xam iners’ Asso­
ciation.
Mr. Tom Morgan, agent.
North W ales M ining Officials’ Association.
Mr. John Davies, secretary.
Eastern Valley Colliery Exam iners’ Association.
Mr. Isaac Powell, president.
Mr. W . Ferris, secretary.
South W ales and M onmouthshire Colliery M anagers’ Association.
Mr. E. S. W illiam s, vice president o f National Association o f Col­
liery Managers.
EMPLOYEES.

(i) Oral.— South W ales M iners’ Federation, executive council.
Mr. Noah Ablett.
Mr. Frank Hodges.
Aberdare district, South W ales M iners’ Federation.
Mr. Francis Leach.
Mr. Noah Tromans.
Maesteg district, South W ales M iners’ Federation.
Mr. Edwin Barnett and tw o other representatives.




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

199

( i) Oral ( concluded).— Anthracite district, South W ales M iners’ Federation.
Mr. S. O. Davies.
W estern district, South W ales M iners’ Federation.
Mr. D. R. Grenfell, district agent.
Mr. W illiam Jones (G w ilym B ed w ), secretary.
Copper Pit Lodge, South W ales M iners’ Federation.
Ten members o f w orks committee.
North W ales M iners’ Association.
Mr. Thomas Row land, president.
Mr. Hugh Hughes, secretary.
(ii) W ritten .— Statements from districts or lodges o f South W ales M iners’
Federation.
T aff and Cynon d is tr ic t,---------------------- .
Caebryn Lodge, Llandebie, Mr. Eben Griffiths.
Cwmaman Lodge (A b erda re), Mr. G. E. Jones.
Gwauncaegurwen Lodge, Mr. Tom Jones.
Mountain Lodge, Gorseinon, Mr. J. Powell.
Ty Trist Lodge, Tredegar, Mr. Fred Bennet.
Tynybedw Lodge, Mr. T. Phillips.
W ernddu Lodge, Pontardawe, Mr. Gwilym D avies (ch eck w eigh er).
STEEL, IRON, TIN-PLATE, AND KINDRED INDUSTRIES.
EMPLOYERS.

Oral.— Siemens Steel M anufacturers’ Association.
Mr. Frank W . Gilbertson, J. P.
Tin-plate and Sheet M anufacturers’ Association.
Mr. Henry Clement, secretary.
Mond Nickel Co.
Mr. D. Owain Evans, secretary.
Mr. F. J. Bloomer, works manager.
Mr. — Gibbon, works accountant.
CONCILIATION BOARD.

Oral.— Mannesman Tube Conciliation Board.
Mr. A. Hethey, Mr. E. S. Smith, representing employers.
Mr. Victor Morgan, Mr. Phillip John, Mr. Thom as Clarey, Mr.
Thomas Norman, representing employees.
EMPLOYEES.

(i) Oral.— B ritish Steel Sm elters’ Association, South W ales district.
Mr. M. R. Rees, district organizer.
Mr. George H. Morgan, Ebbw Vale, chairman o f executive.
Mr. G. Davies, ex-chairm an o f executive.
National Union o f General W orkers.
Mr. Victor Morgan, Swansea, district secretary.
Mr. W . H. M orris, Cardiff, district president.
Mr. Frank Quick, Newport, member o f executive.
W orkers’ Union.
Mr. Matt Giles, divisional organizer.
Mr. Evan James, organizer (Swansea and D owlais district).




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

( i) Oral ( concluded).— D ockers’ Union, (tin-plate section).
Mr. W . Pugh, organizer.
Mr. S. James, executive member.
Port Talbot (m etal trade) branch.
Mr. H. S. Batey.
Mr. J. A. Brown.
British Steel, Iron, and K indred Trades Association— Newport (No. 10)
branch.
Mr. W . H. Morris.
Mr. A. B. Fennell.
(ii) W ritten .— Associated Society o f M olders— Llanelly branch.
Mr. Tom Charles.
British Iron, Steel and K indred Trades Association— Llanelly branch.
Mr. F. H. Harris.
D ockers’ Union— Connahs Quay branch.
Mr. G. H. Bennet.
TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES (INCLUDING R A ILW AYS AND DOCKS).
EMPLOYERS.

( i ) Oral.— Great W estern R ailw ay Co.
Mr. It. P. Glover, chief assistant to general manager and perma­
nent member o f various conciliation boards.
Mr. J. C. Pole, secretary, G. W . R. conciliation boards.
Newport and Alexandra D ocks & R ailw ays Co.
Mr. J. H. Vickery, general manager.
Swansea H arbor Trust.
Mr. P. W . Phillips, acting general manager.
M aj. C. S. Harris.
Swansea Trim m ing Board.
Mr. A. W . E. Wynne.
(ii) W ritten .— Port Talbot D ocks & R ailw ay Co.
Mr. E. Lowther.
B arry R ailw ays & Docks Co.
Mr. H. J. ‘ Rendell.
EMPLOYEES.

( i) Oral.— National Union o f Railwaymen.
Mr. Arthur J. W illiam s, district secretary fo r south W ales and Mon­
mouthshire.
Councillor E. Charles, president o f South W ales council o f National
Union o f Railwaymen, and employees’ secretary to Great W estern
R ailw ay Conciliation Board.
Mr. G. B. Smith, Cardiff railw ay tippers.
Mr. W . T. Evans, Cardiff No. 9 branch.
Mr. H. H. Rosser, B arry branch.
Mr. W . East, Barry branch.
Mr. Gwilym Davies, Barry railw ay tippers.
Mr. J. Cole, Barry railw ay tippers.
Mr. M. Curtis, T. V. R. shopmen.
Mr. J. Cox, T. V. R. shopmen.
Mr. A. G. Jones, T. V. R. shopmen.
Mr. Tal Davies, T. V. R. shopmen.
Mr. B. Dupree, Swansea No. 1 branch.
Mr. W. H. W illiam s, Swansea No. 1 branch.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

( i ) Oral ( concluded).— Associated Society o f Locom otive Engineers
Firemen.
Mr. W. J. R. Squance, member o f executive.
Mr. J. Sweeney, secretary G. W. R. delegation board.
Mr. Sam Smith, secretary Pontypool road branch.
Councillor Percy Davies, chairman Pontypool road branch.
Dockers’ Union, Swansea district.
Mr. Jonah Charles.
Mr. George H. Hollett.
National Sailors’ and Firemen’s Union.
Mr. James Henson, secretary, Bristol Channel district.
Mr. Matt. Tearle, secretary, Cardiff branch.
Mr. George Jackson, secretary, Newport branch.
Mr. G. Marston, secretary, Barry branch.
Mr. James Griffiths, member o f executive.
National Union o f Ships’ Stewards, Cooks, Butchers, and Bakers.
Mr. W . W. Jones, district secretary.
Mr. C. Harburn, secretary, Barry branch.
(ii) W ritten .— Penarth Branch, National Union o f Railwaymen.
Mr. Bert Halton.

201

and

ENGINEERING AND SHIP REPAIRING.
EM PLOYERS.

Oral.— Bristol Channel D ry D ock and Ship Repairers’ Em ployers’ Association.
Mr. W . H. Diamond, chairman.
Mr. Robert Munro, honorary secretary.
Mr. T. Allen Johnson (C a rd iff).
Mr. H. Simpson (N ew port).
EM PLOYEES.

( i) Oral.— Amalgamated Society o f Engineers.
Cardiff district.— Mr. W . Hughes, secretary.
B arry district.— Mr. P. W. Thompson, member o f committee.
Newport district.— Mr. T. Thomas, member o f committee.
Pontypool district.— Mr. Thomas Jones, member o f committee.
Steam Engine M akers’ Society.
Cardiff and Barry district committee.— Mr. W illiam Thomas.
( ii) W ritten .— National Amalgamated Laborers’ Union.
Mr. John Twomey, secretary.
Cardiff R ailw ay Boilermakers, Holders-up, etc.
Mr. C. J. Lewis.
Amalgamated Society o f Smiths and Strikers.
Pontyclun branch.— Mr. W. W atkins.
The Fitters, Blacksmiths, and Coppersmiths o f the G. W . R. in the New­
port Division.
Mr. C. W. A lford, secretary.
( ii) W ritten .— Associated Society o f Locom otive Engineers and Firemen.
Mr. H. Parfitt.
Pell W agon W orks Repairers, Newport.
Mr. B. Halton.




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B U L L E T IN OP T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
BUILDING INDUSTRY.
EMPLOYERS.

( i) Oral.— Cardiff Master B uilders’ Associations (con tra ctors).
Mr. W atkin W illiam s, chairman.
Cardiff and D istrict Builders’ Association (speculative builders).
Mr. Charles Hoare, chairman.
Mr. Henry Jones, ex-chairman.
( ii) W ritten .— E lectrical Contractors’ Association, South W ales branch.
Mr. H. W intle.
EMPLOYEES.

( i) Oral.— South W ales Building Trades Federation.
Mr. W illiam W illiam s, president.
( ii) W ritten .— Operative Bricklayers’ Society, Newport branch.
Mr. W. Smart, secretary.
Operative Stonemasons’ Society, Swansea branch.
Mr. T. W illiams, secretary.
Electric Trades Union, Swansea branch.
Mr. W. Hewlett, secretary.
Amalgamated Society o f Carpenters and Joiners.
General Union o f Carpenters and Joiners.
Statements from members employed at factories and shipyards at Queensferry and Saltrey, Flintshire.
MISCELLANEOUS TRADE-UNIONS.

( i) Oral.— Am algam ated Union o f Operative Bakers, South W ales district.
Mr. H. Hiles, organizing secretary.
Mr. J. Hall.
Mr. J. C. Julian.
Municipal Em ployees’ Association.
Mr. Rees Llewelyn, organizing secretary.
( ii) W ritten .— National Amalgamated Furnishing Trades Association.
Mr. Alex. Gossip, general secretary.
North W ales Quarrym en’s Union.
Mr. R. T. Jones, secretary.
National Association o f Shop Assistant, Warehousemen, and Clerks—
Cardiff branch.
Mr. F. C. Howells, secretary.
Railw ay Clerks’ Association, Cardiff district.
Mr. E. C. Millard, executive member.
Glamorgan Federation o f Teachers (N. U. T .).
Mr. D. H. W illiams.
County Court Clerks and Officials’ Association.
Mr. J. Keane.
National Union o f L ife Assurance Agents, Neath branch.
Mr. W. Lewis.
National Association o f Prudential Assurance Agents.
Cardiff district.— Mr. L. Ridgeway.
Swansea district.— Mr. W. J. Owen.
Chester district.— Mr. W. Brown, Mr. F. Gawthorne.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

203

MISCELLANEOUS ORGANIZATIONS.

( i) Oral.— Cardiff Chamber o f Commerce.
Mr. T. E. W atson, president.
N ewport Chamber o f Commerce.
Mr. J. H. Vickery.
Newport and D istrict Labor Party.
Mr. W illiam Holder.
Swansea Food Control Campaign Committee.
Mr. John W . D avies and others.
Swansea and D istrict M aster Bakers’ Association.
Tw o representatives.
Cardiff and D istrict Master Bakers’ Association.
Mr. John Elkington, secretary.
Mr. Idris Evans, Mr. W . D. Saunders, Mr. H. Thomas, members o f
committee.
Swansea G rocers’ and Provision Dealers’ Association.
Mr. Henry F .H o o d , secretary.
W elsh H ousing and Development Association.
Mr. S. O. Davies.
Mr. W illiam Harris.
( ii) W ritten .— National M aster F arriers’ Association, Swansea district.
Mr. Evan Evans.
Independent Labor Party, Cathays (C ardiff) branch.
Mr. Pryce James.
TRADES AND LABOR COUNCILS.

( i ) Oral.—
North W ales.— Mr. Hugh Hughes, Mr. Thomas M orris.
Cardiff.— Mr. H. Hiles, president, Mr. J. Edmunds, secretary, Mr. J. T.
Clatworthy, Mr. Jas. Henson, Mr. H. Ridgw ay.
Newport.— Mr. W . J. Davies, J. P., Mr. S. G. W atts.
Swansea.— Mr. W . H. Clement, president, Mr. J. G. Davies, secretary.
Abercarn.— Mr. W illiam Harris.
Abertillery.— Mr. W . Bowen.
Ebbw Vale.— Mr. D avid Evans, Councilor George Davies.
Pontypool.— Mr. A. Gay, Councilor G. Evans.
( i) W ritten .—
Aberdare.— Councillor E. Stonelake, secretary.
Barry.— Mr. H. H. Rosser.
Bedwas.— Mr. W . J. Milson.
Brynm awr.----------------------------.
Gelligaer.— Mr. Fred Lloyd.
Llantrisant, Llantwit-Fardre and Cowbridge.— Mr. A. Jones, secretary.
M orriston.— Mr. M aurice Davies.
New Tredegar.— Mr. W . Jones.
Pentre.— Mr. T. C. Morris.
Pontardulais.— Mr. D. Jeff. W illiams.
Port Talbot.— Mr. D avid Rees.
Y stalyfera.— Mr. W . Guerrier.
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS.

M inistry o f Labor.— W ales and M onmouthshire division.
Mr. Owen W . Owen, divisional officer.
Mr. Charles, assistant divisional officer.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

M inistry o f Labor.— W ales and Monmouthshire division— Concluded.
Mr. John Chappell, inspector.
Mr. T. Owen, manager, Llanelly Employment Exchange.
M inistry o f M unitions.— W ales and Monmouthshire division.
Mr. George P. Simpson, chief investigation officer for W ales.
Capt. E. Latham, chief dilution officer fo r Wales.
M unitions Tribunals.—
Swansea district.— Mr. Vaughan Edwards, chairman.
C ardiff and Newport districts.— Alderman J. T. Richards, chairm an (w rit­
ten statem ent).
North W ales district.— Mr. J. Glyn Jones, chairman, Mr. Charles A. Jones,
clerk (w ritten statem ent).
A dm iralty Shipyard D epartm ent.—
Mr. M cElroy, Capt. Pellow, Mr. W . Y. Seath, docum entary evidence only.
INDIVIDUAL WITNESSES.

( i ) Oral.—
Mr. W illiam Evans ( o f Messrs. Thomas & Evans, provision merchants,
P orth ).
Mr. H. T. Jones (C a rd iff), member o f A. S. E.
Mr. W illiam Rees (L landebie), ex-colliery manager.
(ii) W ritten .—
Mr. W. A lford (N ew bridge-on-W ye).
Mr. G. Bowden (C a rd iff).
Mr. J. Brow n (Pem broke D o ck ).
Mr. T. R. Campbell (Joh n stow n ).
Mr. S. E. Edbrooke (C a rd iff).
Mr. C. H. Eden (S w ansea).
Mr. J. J. Ellis (M ilford H v en ).
Rev. J. D. Evans, M. A. (P on ty p rid d ).
Mr. John Evans, insurance agent.
Mr. T. H. Evans, M. E. (F ish g u a rd ).
Mr. H. T. H atherley (Penarth)
Mr. W . Gray.
Mr. W . A. Jones (W h itch u rch ).
Mr. H erbert Jones (P resta ty n ).
Mr. F. H. Lambert, ex-president Cardiff Chamber o f Commerce.
Mr. E. P. Law lor (N ew port).
Mr. T. Lew is (C a rd iff).
Mr. James M eadows (T reh a fod ).
Mr. E. Morgan (C a rd iff).
Mr. E. G. Nicholls (B ridgen d ).
Mrs. Lydia Morgan (Tumble, Carm arthenshire).
Mr. J. W . Parry (C arn arvon ).
Mr. A. D. Perkins (S w ansea).
Mr. Jas. Phillips (R u ab on ).
Mr. Fred. Potter (S w ansea).
Mr. F. J. Rathley (C a rd iff).
Mr. Tom Rees (N ew port).
Mr. Ephraim Thomas.
Mr. G. B. Thomas (K ilg erran ).
Mr. R. Thom as (A beravon ).
Mr. J. T. W right (Bynea, Llanelly).
Also numerous other statements, anonymous or unsigned, or where the pub­
lication o f names is forbidden by the writers.




NO. 8 DIVISION.— REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS1 FOR
SCOTLAND.

The terms o f the remit to the commissioners by the War Cabinet
were—“ to inquire into and report upon industrial unrest, and to make
recommendations to the Government at the earliest practicable date.”
The commissioners by public advertisement invited all employers
and workmen in Scotland to state their desire to be heard, and in
response to requests the commissioners held 10 sittings, at Glasgow,
Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen, and they have interviewed, as
well as received representations in writing from, a large number of
federated associations of employers, trades-unions, individual em­
ployers and workmen, and persons possessing knowledge of indus­
tries, and o f labor conditions.
These are set forth in appendixes.
The commissioners have the honor to present the following report
to the War Cabinet.
1. The commissioners desire in the first place, gratefully to
acknowledge the great assistance they have received from the repre­
sentatives o f both workmen and employers, without whose prompt,
and cordial, cooperation it would not have been possible to undertake
this inquiry in the limited time available. One result of the commis­
sion having to be overtaken within a brief time has been that the
workers’ and the employers’ representatives have discussed the
various points together. The proceedings have taken the form o f
round-table conferences, which is a very much more satisfactory
mode of inquiry than the formal examination of witnesses, outside
the presence o f each other. We venture to think that for workers and
employers to sit down and reason together is, in itself, a valuable
means of preventing that failure to understand each other’s point o f
view, which is so great a cause of industrial unrest. I f confidence
in each other, and good will, could take the place of the present
suspicion and ill feeling, that would go very far to remove industrial
unrest.
2. That a certain amount o f unrest exists in Scotland is undoubt­
edly true, although it is not so acute as it was at an earlier stage o f
the war. It arises from various causes. There is an aspect o f the
matter which is not a result of the war, although probably accentu1 Commissioners— Sheriff T. A. Fyfe, Glasgow, chairman; Mr. Noel E. Peck, Glasgow;
and Mr. A. Gordon Cameron, Manchester. Secretary— Thomas F.Wilson, Glasgow.
205




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ated by it. Within some unions, in some districts, there exists an
element inclined to methods tending to undermine the authority
o f the duly authorized executive councils and district committees o f
the unions, and who are desirous of using the machinery o f the
unions to further their own extreme views. This tends to aggravate,
rather than to allay, industrial unrest.
3. Quite distinct from this revolutionary element there is another
class who perhaps do something to creatc a form o f unrest, not alto­
gether to be deprecated, although the middle o f a war may not per­
haps be the appropriate time to air such views. We refer to the
growing class among the workers of this country who are taking
an interest in economic questions, and are studying the principles o f
political economy. This class, who are not at all in sympathy with
the extremists first referred to, are, it is recognized, inspired by a
genuine desire to better the conditions o f the workers, by obtaining
for them a larger share in the results of industry. A strong feeling
exists that the workers are not fairly treated in the apportionment
o f the results o f the joint efforts of employers and employees. The
commissioners, however, do not consider that they are called upon
to deal with the political aspect o f unrest, which is not confined to
the industrial circles in the community.
4. There is no doubt that the chief, and fundamental, cause o f the
existing unrest is the increased cost of living, which, in the mind o f
the workers, is the result o f the Government having failed timeously,
and effectively, to control the production, supply, and distribution, o f
food and thus opened the door to what the worker terms 4 profiteer­
6
ing,” by which he means the amassing, by a few people, o f abnormal
wealth out o f the necessities o f the country. The actual increase o f
the cost o f living does not appear to be so important a factor in the
workers’ mind as the belief that 4 profiteering ” exists. No doubt
6
wages have been greatly advanced, but the feeling of the general
body o f workers is, broadly speaking, that wages not having ad­
vanced corresponding to the increased cost o f living the worker is
really worse off than before the war, instead of greatly better off,
as is frequently supposed. It was stated that workmen would gladly
give up their war-time increases, i f the cost o f living could be re­
duced to prewar figures. These are indications, indeed, that, despite
high prices of commodities on the whole among the industrial
workers, there is no serious difficulty in meeting the cost of living,
at least among the workers engaged in the largest industries in
Scotland. The experience of shopkeepers and cooperative societies,
the reduction o f cases in the small debt courts, the savings-banks
returns, the reports of poor law authorities, etc., seem to indicate
that, on the whole, the aggregate weekly incomes o f industrial
workers keep pace with the cost of living, a conclusion which seems




IN D U S T R IA L U N R E ST IN

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207

supported by knowledge o f the large amount o f overtime worked,
o f the large amount of money paid to women workers not previously
engaged in industry; of the numerous families in receipt o f separa­
tion allowances, and sums from the sailors’ and soldiers’ funds, and
other agencies. The grievance of the workers is not so much in
regard to the money coming in, but rather that the increased receipts
(in many cases arising from increased exertion or prolonged hours
o f work) are absorbed by the increased living costs, a state of affairs
which they believe to be owing to certain privileged classes not shar­
ing in the general sacrifice, and indeed profiting by the sacrifice of
others.
5. The publication in the press o f the balance sheets of trading
and shipping companies, showing large dividends, and occasional
reports o f the increase o f the price o f commodities having been
caused by intermediate agency commissions, etc., tend to create in
the workers’ minds the belief that the few are making fortunes at
the expense of the many. The worker sees in the press, for instance,
that beef from abroad can be laid on a British wharf at 6^ pence [13
cents] per pound, and he knows that his wife has to pay three times
more per pound for it. He naturally thinks that somebody is making
undue profit out o f the consumer. He reads reports o f bacon lying
rotting at the port o f London, or herring in the north o f Scotland,
or o f potatoes being in some places superabundant, and in others
nonexistent; and he has a feeling of deep resentment that the possi­
bility o f such things was not timeously prevented. This matter
o f the increased cost of living overshadows and aggravates all the
other causes of unrest. Many complaints which, in themselves, are
o f small account, and many increases and even privations, which
have to be borne on account of the war, would be cheerfully accepted
as forms o f war sacrifice, were it not for this overshadowing element
o f the increased cost o f living, which in the workers’ mind ought to
have been a preventable evil.
6. It is not to be lost sight of that labor unrest is not a new thing
and not by any means a creation of the war, but that its causes have
deep roots, and its remedy covers a wide field of operation. While
special measures may be taken perhaps to ease the immediate tension,
we feel that its complete dissipation will be a matter of considerable
time, and that the main direction in which relief can be looked for
in the future is a better system of education, with a greater insistence
on the corporate spirit and recognition o f the principle that there
is a national, as well as a personal, element in all industry. This
may, we hope, in course o f time remove that ignorance and lack o f
perspective on the part of both employers and employees, which is
at the root of so many o f the labor troubles.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

7. As the Government is dealing with the food question direct, the
commissioners do not think it necessary to enter in detail upon the
possible remedies for this cause of unrest except to say that they are
most emphatically o f opinion that the prevailing unrest is likely
to grow more acute, unless the matter o f food control is promptly
dealt with, in the direction o f either— (a) taking steps to reduce
the cost of the necessaries of life, or, if this is not possible (&), con­
vincing the public that the prevailing high prices are inevitable.
The increased cost o f living presses with great hardship upon oldage pensioners, and is a cause of unrest among their relatives and
friends.
8. Closely related to the cost of food, is the question of housing.
We have had startling revelations o f the acute need o f houses in in­
dustrial centers. The want of housing accommodation is undoubt­
edly a serious cause of unrest, as well as a danger to public health.
This is specially acute in Lanarkshire (including the city of Glas­
gow) ; in the city of Dundee; and in the district o f Eosyth dockyard.
In round numbers, the present situation appears to be that in Scot­
land there is immediate need for somewhere about 100,000 workers’
houses, that practically no building has taken place during the war,
and that, for some years before that, the number o f such houses built
was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand for them. The
industrial unrest attributable to this cause, it is strongly represented,
can only be allayed by the Government taking steps to grapple with
a problem which appears to have grown too great for private enter­
prise now to meet, by in some way having land in tHe near neighbor­
hood o f congested industrial districts made available on reasonable
terms for building working-class houses, and by rendering financial
aid for building expeditiously the urgently wanted houses.
9. A cause of unrest which has been everywhere emphasized is Gov­
ernment interference with the conduct of industry, notably the Muni­
tions Acts having in the workman’s view deprived him o f his right
to sell his labor in the market o f his own choice. The leaving certi­
ficate has been endured, because the Government said it was neces­
sary, but it has never been cordially accepted, and the feeling now
exists among the workers that, whether it was necessary or not in
the early stages of munitions production, it is not necessary now. In
view o f the fact that it has been publicly announced that the Gov­
ernment, in the munitions amendment bill, has decided to repeal
section 7 o f the 1915 act, the commissioners do not feel warranted
in offering any opinion on this already decided policy. While the
repeal o f section 7 would no doubt tend to lessen the unrest, the em­
ployers in Scotland certainly fear that, if the leaving-certificate
system is abolished, the condition of affairs which the Munitions Act
was designed to remedy will reappear, and another form o f unrest




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

209

be created. The leaving certificate was the chief matter commented
upon in connection with the Munitions Acts, which do not otherwise
seem to create unrest, so far as their provisions are concerned. There
was, however, very loud complaint that some employers ignore the
direction o f article 7 o f Schedule I I of the 1915 act by omitting
to consult workmen or their representatives when introducing changes
of working conditions, more particularly when female labor is intro­
duced. This appears to be a cause of unrest.
10.
A cause of unrest which seems to be universal is dissatisfaction
with the machinery for the prompt settlement of differences. Com­
plaint is made, in the first place, that when men state grievances they
are not promptly considered by the employers, and, in the second
place, that when such grievances have been considered, and no ad­
justment has been arrived at, they are not then promptly dealt with
by arbitration. The chief complaint appears to be the length o f time
which elapses before the workmen get a matter of difference taken
up at all. There is apparent ground for this complaint. But a
workman is apt to forget that, whilst his particular grievance, quite
naturally, bulks very large in his own eyes, most grievances have not
merely an individual, but a collective, significance. In the federated
trades, for instance, the statement of a grievance in one shop may,
before it can be dealt with, necessitate inquiry into the practice o f a
large number of other shops, and that takes time. Then, when the
failure of employers and workmen to adjust a difference comes to be
referred to the Board o f Trade, it is sometimes forgotten that, in the
exceptional circumstances created by the war and the Munitions Acts,
the department of the chief industrial commissioner is an overbur­
dened Government department, and that, if cases are taken in the
order they are reported (as in fairness to all they no doubt are)
some time must necessarily elapse before each case, in succession, can
be taken up. It appears also, from a good many of the instances
which have been submitted to us that, after a difference has been re­
ported, time is sometimes taken up in what may be termed negotia­
tion— correspondence between the chief industrial commissioner and
the differing parties— a very useful form of correspondence—the
object of which, and frequently the result of which, is that formal
arbitration proceedings are rendered not necessary at all, by a wages
claim being conceded or a difference compromised. The last phase
o f complaint on this head is that, after an arbiter has been nominated,
or a court of arbitration set up, an unreasonable amount o f time
elapses before an award is made. This, of course, is a matter which
depends very greatly upon the intricacy, or simplicity, of the subject
o f difference, the availability of witnesses, and other circumstances,
17841°— 17— Bull. 237------ 14




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

too varying to permit of any general time rule being promulgated.
The commissioners observe that it is a proposed amendment of the
new munitions bill, that it should be a peremptory statutory direction
that an arbitration award made under Schedule I of the 1915 act
should be issued within 14 days of the difference being reported
under Section I of the act. It is to be feared that this would in
many cases be impossible, and would probably create a new form of
unrest. A peremptory direction of a short time limit like this for
issuing an award is quite inappropriate to many disputes, which raise
most intricate questions, involving the examination of expert wit­
nesses. It has not been shown to us that when a dispute does get the
length o f being actually committed to an arbiter, or a court o f arbi­
tration, any serious inordinate delay occurs. The complaint rather
seems to be of delay in the period between the date o f the dispute
arising, and its getting into the hands of an arbiter or a court of arbi­
tration.
11. Another cause of complaint giving rise to unrest is that, when
a formal award is issued—more especially in the case of awards by
single arbiters—further delay occurs in having it made operative,
because o f the brevity with which it is expressed, and sometimes the
want o f clearness in regard to whom exactly it covers. This com­
plaint would be obviated, if awards were, when necessary, accom­
panied by explanatory notes. The ambiguity which so frequently
arises upon the meaning of an award quite frequently arises from the
indefiniteness with which a claim is formulated. I f the claim is in­
definitely stated, and the award simply gives a categorical answer
to a claim, without explaining what the arbiter’s view of the scope
of the claim is, and what, and whom, the claim covers, it is not sur­
prising that dubiety as to the scope and meaning of an award so
often arises, and for this the claimant is sometimes to blame.
12. But whether the delay in settling disputes is explainable with­
out necessarily attributing fault to any person or Government de­
partment, or whether it is not, is not o f any great consequence in the
present inquiry. The fact is indisputable that delay in settling differ­
ences does exist at present, and that the occurrence o f such delay is
a grave cause of industrial unrest.
13. The general consensus of opinion is that this cause o f unrest
might be removed, or at least greatly modified, if a system were
adopted of local arbitration before a permanent local chairman,
readily accessible, who would have a panel to draw upon o f carefully
selected employers and workmen’s representatives, two of whom he
could without delay call in as assessors; such an arbitration not to be
initiated from London, but to be initiated in the locality where the
dispute arises, to settle local differences (which are estimated to rep­




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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211

resent at least 50 per cent of the differences which arise)—thereby
lightening the congestion of work on the department o f the chief
industrial commissioner, by relieving that department of the work
o f dealing with many small, and purely local, disputes, and thus les­
sening the delay in the initiation of proceedings from London for the
settlement of the larger differences, which are of general application
to a trade or industry. O f course, such a system o f local arbitration
would have to be regulated by a carefully framed code o f rules,
which would provide, amongst other things, for the determination o f
what is a “ local ” difference, as distinguished from a difference affect­
ing an entire trade or industry. The opinion of both employers and
workmen’s representatives is that a court of arbitration is preferable
to a single arbiter, and this matter might be met conveniently by in­
vesting the chairman with a discretion, i f it appears from the state­
ment o f a difference, or if it emerges in the course of the proceedings,
that the difference involves more than a local question, to refer the
case to the committee on production. The munitions bill now before
Parliament affords a suitable opportunity for setting up such local
' arbitration tribunals, within defined districts, at all events for dis­
putes arising within the Munitions Acts. It has been suggested that
this duty might be tacked on to the duties of the existing local tribu­
nals ; but we do not think that this would be found practicable, for the
decisions o f such local arbitration courts must, of course, have the
statutory character of an award, and the local munitions tribunal pro­
cedure is not appropriate. Besides, the selection of assessors would
be an exceedingly important element in the success o f such local arbi­
tration courts, and they must be selected for each case, because of
special knowledge of the trade in which the particular dispute arises.
14.
We have dealt with this matter at some length, because we
have been very much impressed with what is an undoubted fact, that
the delays, and the expense, which are the concomitants of the present
system o f Board o f Trade arbitration have given a strong handle to
that section o f workers who would, if not prevented by the Munitions
Act, counsel resort to a strike in all circumstances. W e have been
frankly informed by many responsible representative men that the
feeling is growing in the minds of workmen that the Munitions Acts
do not, in fact, provide the quid pro quo for the strike prohibition
which the words of the act were designed to afford the worker, and
that workmen and their representatives find by experience that
prompt consideration of their grievances is only given when they
come out, or threaten to come out, on strike. It is exceedingly un­
fortunate that a feeling should prevail amongst workmen that the
only way to get their grievances promptly attended to is to defy
Section 2 (1) of the Munitions A ct; but we can not shut our eyes to




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the fact that such a feeling has been engendered by the delays in
getting differences adjusted, or arbitrated upon, and that the prev­
alence of an opinion that withdrawal o f labor, or the threat of it, is
the readiest weapon of the workman, has a most dangerously un­
settling tendency.
15. A cause of unrest in controlled establishments is the enforce­
ment of section 4 (5) o f the Munitions Act, 1915, in the matter of bad
timekeeping. Article 2 of the scheduled rules requires a workman to
work diligently, and prosecutions for failure to observe this rule are
frequently brought before the local munitions tribunals, sometimes at
the instance o f employers and sometimes at the instance of the Min­
ister of Munitions. Workmen complain that they are called before
the tribunal without sufficient inquiry being first made as to whether
the workman had a reasonable explanation for his absence, although
he may have omitted at the time to inform his foreman of it. We are
inclined to think that in some instances there has been ground for
this grievance, and we are, at all events, of opinion that it does tend to
create unrest that employers should prosecute at all. The men are
inclined to regard a prosecution by an employer as a vindictive pro­
ceeding—not perhaps by the employer personally (who probably
does not know the individual workman)—but by the foreman under
whom the man works. Private prosecution is not in accordance with
the spirit of Scottish criminal, or quasi criminal, proceedings, and,
although the Munitions Act makes it competent for an employer to
prosecute, we think that his doing so does cause unrest, and that this
would be removed by all prosecutions for bad timekeeping being in­
stituted by the Minister of Munitions. This is already done in the
western division o f Scotland, with good results, both in the way o f
promoting good timekeeping, and of allaying irritation.
16. It has been forcibly represented to us that the extension, under
Government departmental direction, o f systems of payment by
results in shipbuilding and engineering establishments, with the
object o f increasing the national output, is causing industrial unrest.
It appears that strong and determined opposition to a general adop­
tion o f payment by results exists amongst certain classes of workmen,
who have hitherto worked on a time-work system. On the other
hand, it appears that unrest also exists among certain classes of time
workers, through their not participating in the higher wages earned
by pieceworkers with whom they are associated, and in these cases
a desire is expressed that payment by results be extended to them.
Dissatisfaction and friction frequently arise when pieceworkers and
time-workers are associated, or when pieceworkers are transferred
to time-work, or time-workers to piecework. Apart from resent­
ment at the attempt to overrapidly introduce new conditions, the
chief objections to systems of payment by results appear to be fear




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

213

o f unemployment through overproduction, and fear of rate cutting,
by which, in the end, wages would be no better than under time con­
ditions, and probably exertion prejudicial to health would be de­
manded. This is a wide subject, upon which we have heard a great
deal, and upon which much might be said on both sides. W e think
it quite likely that, if satisfactory guarantees could be devised for'
the continuity of employment, and the maintenance of rates, com­
mensurate with increased production, the opposition to the system
would be greatly modified, and probably such unrest as exists, caused
by the present desire to extend systems of payment by results, would
largely disappear. In certain trades where payment by results is
prevalent (notably steel and iron production) and men are paid upon
tonnage rates, labor unrest is caused by the want o f check machinery.
This is an old-standing grievance, still unremedied. Committees
have made recommendations; -a “ check weighing in various indus­
tries bill ” was introduced in the House of Commons in 1909; and a
similar bill in 1912; but the cause o f complaint still remains un­
remedied.
17. One matter on which special emphasis was laid by a body of
trade-union officials (representing about 80,000 union workers) was
th6 difficulty experienced by the unions in dealing with certain of
their members who have fallen into arrears o f contributions. It
appears that the number of such defaulters is large, and that their
continued refusal to pay up their arrears causes resentment among
the other members and leads to much unrest. In prewar days the
workers could have brought pressure to bear upon a recalcitrant
member by refusing to work alongside of him, but the Munitions
Act precludes that at present. The men who are loyal to their unions
feel keenly that such men should enjoy the benefits secured by tradeunion effort while shirking the union responsibilities. It seems rea­
sonable that a man, having joined the union, should not be allowed
to take advantage of the present abnormal conditions to refuse to
implement his bargain, and as it is a result of the operation of the
Munitions Act, it may perhaps be considered whether a clause could
not be inserted in the new munitions bill, making such arrears of
contributions recoverable, at the instance of the unions, in the same
manner as fines imposed under the Munitions Act are recovered.
18. The bringing of workmen, earning what they regard as a bare
living wage, within the range of the income tax, is strongly repre­
sented as a cause o f unrest. This is especially so in the case of men
who would escape income tax were it not that they augment their
earnings by working overtime, and it is stated that many men refuse
to work overtime just because it would bring them within the income
tax range o f assessment. The unrest arising from this cause is,
perhaps, a healthy form of unrest, for the fact that they are liable to




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

income tax has undoubtedly roused the workingman to a sense o f
responsibility and opened his eyes to the fact that national taxation
is a matter in which all classes of the community are interested. The
suggested remedies are somewhat vague, but the feeling seems to be
that the workingman ought not to be required to pay a direct income
tax, seeing that his class pay a large share of the indirect taxation;
or, at all events, that the limit ought to be fixed at such a figure as
to exclude men who earn no more than sufficient to meet their family
needs. This is, of course, a matter which affects all classes of the
community, and to make recommendations upon it is scarcely within
the scope o f this commission. At the same time, we feel bound to
report that the great mass o f workingmen having been, for the first
time, brought under the income tax, is undoubtedly amongst the causes
o f industrial unrest.
19.
Another cause o f unrest, and a very important one, is the feel­
ing o f uncertainty that agreements regarding wages and working
conditions can be relied upon, even although they have been made by
the accredited representatives of employers and employees. Many
complaints arise and consequent unrest is created, through the nonobservance o f agreements, arbitration awards and shop regulations.
Such complaints are made both by employers against workmen, and
by workmen against employers. Sometimes the indefinite nature o f
awards is responsible, and frequently only some individual is at
fault; in other cases ignorance of the terms of the agreement or for­
getfulness o f its existence, may explain the failure to observe its
terms. It seems obvious in the interest of all concerned that agree­
ments entered into between associations of employers and of em­
ployees should be duly observed by the individual members of these
associations. Instances of organized disregard of agreements and
awards have occurred, but these appear to have a revolutionary sig­
nificance. We think that a large amount of unrest would be avoided,
if working agreements could be compulsorily enforced against em­
ployers and workmen alike individually or collectively as awards in
arbitration are under the Munitions Act, especially in the case o f
working arrangements which have been initiated under governmental
direction. One suggestion is that all industrial agreements volun­
tarily entered into by responsible representatives of employers and
employees should, if approved by the Board o f Trade* be registered;
and when so registered^ should be enforceable at law on all concerned
in that trade or industry. This suggestion is attractive on account
o f its simplicity, but we recognize, of course, that the matter may be
more complicated than appears on the surface, and, whilst recording
the undoubted fact that failure to observe working agreements is a
cause of unrest, we content ourselves with pointing out that the above
suggestion seems a practical mode of compelling parties who have




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

215

voluntarily made a bargain to stick to it. . This, also, is a matter
which might conveniently be dealt with in the munitions bill.
20. What is known as dilution of labor is a very fruitful source of
labor unrest. This unrest appears to arise chiefly from the fear that,
notwithstanding statutory undertakings to the contrary, dilution will
continue after the war, either through the bad faith of employers or
through industrial necessities. We believe that unrest on this score
would be largely allayed, if an undertaking were given publicly by a
responsible minister that if (as many people believe will happen) it
should be found impossible to restore exactly certain prewar condi­
tions, the ne^v conditions would be mutually arranged in conference
with employers and workmen and that any new conditions would
maintain the general principles of the original undertakings. A n­
other aspect o f the dilution unrest arises from the fact that skilled
tradesmen, engaged in supervising work or on highly skilled opera­
tions, are often in receipt of wages much less than those received by
unskilled and female labor, engaged on repetition work and paid on
piecework rates. O f the same nature is the complaint by apprentices
that their wages, when engaged on quite important work and after
many years’ experience, bear no proper relation to wages earned by
female labor recently introduced. The scheme of dilution being
based upon the principle that, if a semiskilled or unskilled man or
woman is put upon a skilled man’s job, he or she shall be paid an
equivalent wage, it does not very clearly appear how it can be an
employer’s interest, after the war, to continue diluted labor, when he
can get skilled labor, but undoubtedly there does exist in the mind
of the worker a suspicion that, in some way, the adoption of dilution
o f labor during the war, is going to prejudice his position after the
war, and that suspicion does give rise to unrest. It is hardly pos­
sible to make a recommendation to allay unrest arising from a sus­
picion, further than to say that, when opportunity offers^ public pro­
nouncements may usefully be made from time to time, designed to
remove the grounds of the suspicion.
21. At the sitting of the commission at Edinburgh, representatives
o f the workers in the dressmaking and millinery trades (then out on
strike) represented that much unrest existed among this class of
worker, owing to the conditions of their employment. Wages were
stated to be as low as 13 shillings [$3.16] a week, for a woman with
10 years’ experience. It was .said that women were often kept till
the factory and workshops statutory closing hour, and then required
to come out early next morning, and that no overtime was paid, and
that the working hours were most uncertain, the hours per week
ranging from 48 to 80. The remedy sought was that this class of
worker should be scheduled under the Trade Boards Act, 1909. No
employer’s representative in this trade appeared before the commis­




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

sioners, but, in another trade (the Scottish Printing and Bookbinding
Federation) a deputation of employers at a subsequent sitting of the
commission asked that all female workers in their trade should be
put also under the Trade Boards Act. This act appears to afford a
ready means, not only of protecting workers from unfair treatment
by employers, but also of protecting good employers who treat their
workers fairly, against other employers who do not.
22. A cause of unrest quoted by union officials was the tactless and
domineering methods of some foremen toward employees. It was
alleged that overtime work is not fairly distributed, so that all may
get a share; that workmen are sometimes victimized because they are
active trade-unionists; and that, generally speaking, there is a ten­
dency on the part o f foremen to take advantage of the fact that men
are tied to them under the Munitions Act, and to treat the men in a
manner which they would not have done in prewar days, when a
man’s remedy was to walk out. There are doubtless some tactless
foremen. The commissioners believe that some unrest is created be­
cause o f injudicious speech and behavior on the part of foremen and
undermanagers in establishments. But, on the other hand, at the
present time, the position o f a foreman is far from enviable, and
they have much temper-trying behavior on the part of the men to
put up with. W e had-before us a representative body of foremen,
who explained their attitude, and we have no doubt that this cause
o f unrest is attributable to fault on both sides. It is difficult to make
recommendations for the avoidance of this form of industrial fric­
tion. It is to be remembered that the pressure of war work falls
peculiarly upon the foremen, and we are inclined to regard the com­
plaints referred to as unduly magnified.
23. The unequal operation o f the Military Service Acts is un­
doubtedly a cause of much unrest. Strong feeling was created by
the withdrawal o f the trade-card scheme, after many unions had
gone to much trouble, and expense, in preparing to carry it out. On
the other hand strong feeling also existed in the minds of men who
were left, out of this trade-card scheme. Much dissatisfaction now
exists with the compilation of the list of protected trades. Skilled
craftsmen complain that unskilled men are receiving red cards, while
skilled tradesmen get black cards— or, in other words, that dilutants
(some o f whom are suspected of having gone into munitions work
with that very object in view) are getting the protection against
military call which was intended for the skilled men. On the other
hand semiskilled or unskilled men engaged in essential war work,
often married men, complain that young, unmarried, skilled trades­
men should get protection as against them. It is said, and occa­
sionally it is no doubt true, that tactless foremen or managers occa­
sionally intimidate men with threats of the Military Service Acts, and




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN

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217

there is a feeling abroad that compulsory industrial service is being
enforced, in the guise of exemption from compulsory military service.
There is also much indignation at the way in which so-called “ labor
battalions ” are raised, skilled men of the B and C class, engaged in
national work, being called up, and, after passing a trade test, being
drafted into labor or works battalions, spending months in work
which does not engage their technical skill. Calling up of workmen
who are physically unfit for soldiers, although capable of doing
skilled work in the national interest, is also a grievance, and much
indignation exists as to the delays in granting allowances to dis­
charged soldiers. The whole system of the operation o f the Military
Acts is, in the opinion of the great bulk o f the working classes, an
exhibition of bungling incompetence, and of exasperating dilatory
methods. W e do not, o f course, associate ourselves with all that is
said, and, it was not possible for this commission to enter upon an
investigation o f the methods o f administration of the Military Acts,
but there is no doubt of the fact that the opinions generally enter­
tained by the working classes as to the unfair working of the Military
Acts, whether such opinions are warranted or not, are a great cause of
unrest. One thing which would certainly greatly minimize this feel­
ing would be the avoidance of delay in making payments of allow­
ances to dependents of soldiers, and to discharged soldiers.
24. The insistence by the workers on the demand for higher wages,
and the dissatisfaction caused by the failure to obtain their full de­
mand, is probably to be attributed, in some measure, to the worker’s
view o f what he at any rate regards as the useless creation of depart­
ments to manage industry. He thinks, and says, that, whilst so many
demands on the public funds can be met for unnecessarily elaborate
schemes o f one sort or another connected with industry, it is only
fair that what he regards as his good claim to enhanced remunera­
tion should not be refused to be generously recognized, as he is doing
the actual work of producing the munitions of war. As he puts it,
the Government are really paying the bill and it does not matter to
the employer what advances the w
rorkers get, which is a relatively
small item in the cost of the war compared with the enormous cost
o f the system of the Government attempting, through multiplied
departments, to manage the industries of the country, which those
who have been practically trained to the conduct of industry could
manage more effectively, and more economically, if left alone, with­
out departmental interference.
25. There were some strong representations made to us by both
employers and workmen in regard to the want of consistent policy,
and especially the want of coordination, on the part of the Govern­
ment departments charged with the direction o f industrial affairs,
the varying policies of departments, coupled with the numerous




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

restrictive enactments of the Munitions Acts and the Defense of the
Realm Regulations, placing the workmen in a position of uncertainty
as to what he may, or may not, do within the law.
26. It was also represented to us with considerable force, and with
some apparent justification, by various employers of labor, that
several o f the causes of the unrest which are attributed by the work­
ing classes to the action of the employers should not be laid to their
charge, and that unrest would be allayed and misunderstanding
avoided if the workmen were made aware that such causes have
arisen partly through Government departments acting on their own
initiative, without taking counsel with employers, and partly through
the lack o f coordination which appears to exist between such depart­
ments and which may result in employers having to consult several
departments, or in contradictory orders and instructions being issued
by different departments. This aspect o f the situation was recognized
by several o f the trade-union leaders who have been in touch with
Government departments, but it is difficult for the ordinary working­
man to appreciate this point, and he, quite naturally perhaps, lays
every grievance at the door of his employer. The remedy obviously
is that all labor affairs should be directed from one department.
27. The trade organizations also are probably not altogether to be
absolved from contributing to creating labor conditions which lead
to labor unrest. The overlapping which exists in the trade-union
movement leads to endless confusion, and creates a deal o f unneces­
sary work, in connection with industrial questions, which require the
attention o f the workmen’s representatives. Probably there are too
many unions catering for the same class of craftsmen, or general
workers, and a reduction in the number o f unions might result in
more effective organizations, and expedite the settlement o f trade
disputes. Much time would be saved (and delay always causes un­
rest) if employers could deal with one union, representing workmen
o f one class, or one union representing cognate trades, instead o f
having to negotiate with, and make agreements with, separate
trade-unions, representing the same class of employees. Competition
among unions is probably also apt to create differences between offi­
cials and members, which may add to the difficulties met with when
endeavoring to effect a settlement in any trade movement, and it is
suggested that the trade-union representatives should give serious
consideration to the possibility of facilitating expedition in negotia­
tion, and expediting the making of agreements, and promoting more
prompt settlement of differences by improved methods of industrial
organization.
28. Compulsory membership of a trade-union, or an employers’
federation, is, perhaps, an ideal which may some day be attained,
but is probably not, at the moment, in the region of practical policies,




IN D U ST R IA L U N REST IN

GREAT B R IT A IN .

219

but we think there is no doubt that experience reveals the advantage
of combination for the purposes of consultation for trade agree­
ments must necessarily be come to by representatives. Every work­
man, and every individual employer, in the country, or in a district,
can not possibly be individually consulted. It is worthy of consider­
ation whether, in the national interest, nonfederated employers, or
nonunion workmen, should be permitted to obtain the benefits of fed­
erated agreements, without accepting corresponding responsibilities.
29. One suggested remedy for trade unrest met with general ap­
proval, namely, the scheme sketched in the interim report of the
reconstruction committee for the establishment of district councils
and work committees. None of the organizations represented had
had time to study it minutely or to consult upon it, but, without com­
mitting themselves to details, the principle of the report of the
reconstruction committee was favorably received.
30. We have dealt so far only with causes o f unrest o f general
application. There are many causes o f unrest applicable only to
particular trades, or arising in circumstances of a special character.
Some o f these we may briefly refer to as illustrating the great variety
o f elements which tend to create industrial unrest.
31. The representatives o f the Seafarers’ Union brought before us
the following grievances o f seamen and firemen as causing unrest
amongst them:
(1) The inadequacy o f the £5 [$24.33] allowed to compensate men
who lose their kits through a vessel being torpedoed or mined.
It
was suggested that seamen should declare the value of their effects
when they join a ship, and that compensation should be based on that.
(2) The fact that the compensation scheme applies only to trans­
ports and Government chartered vessels. It was suggested that it
should apply to all vessels destroyed by the enemy, as many private
shipowners refuse to compensate the men for lost effects.
(3) Delays in paying seamen who are entitled to compensation,
resulting in men being idle, for they can not go to sea without a kit,
which the compensation is meant to provide.
(4) The employment of Asiatic labor on British vessels. The com­
plaint here is really in regard to Chinese firemen. It is said that
shipowners engage Chinamen in place o f British seamen, and that
they do so because a Chinese crew is cheaper. The shipowners ex­
plain that the cost is not less and that the matter of cost is not a
factor at all, but that the sole reason for employing Chinese is that
better results are obtained with them, especially in these times, when
it is o f importance that the best possible speed should be got out
o f the steamers, particularly in home waters, where there is so much
danger to the mercantile marine.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

32. The trade representative of the Scottish shale miners (some
4,000 in number) stated a peculiar grievance. There are only six
‘mine owners in this industry. The men are not under the Munitions
Acts, and do not require leaving certificates. But it appears that the
mine owners have agreed amongst themselves not to engage each
other’s men unless they are leaving with their present employers’
consent. This agreement was stated to be a cause o f unrest, and
probably it is so; but we do not see what recommendation can be
made for its removal^ for there is no legal obligation upon any mine
owner to employ any particular man, and the mine owners say that,
in this very essential industry, it is of the utmost national impor­
tance that all the mines should be kept producing their full output,
and that the mine owners’ action in this matter is dictated by a desire
to keep all the mines fully manned.
33. Two matters were put before the commission relating to Eosyth
dockyard, which were strongly represented as causes of unrest. The
first was the refusal of the dockyard superintendent to recognize a
committee called the “ allied trades committee,” which represents the
unions to which belong the various classes of men working at Eosyth.
The superintendent, Admiral Bruce, who was present, was not aware
o f this grievance at the sitting in Edinburgh where it was put for­
ward, but he undertook to make inquiries, and the next day he tele­
graphed to the chairman as follow s: “ Ee conference at Caledonian
Hotel, Edinburgh, this morning telegram just received from Admir­
alty that allied trades committee are recognized as a trade-union
but with no privileged position.”
34. The other grievance from the dockyard was the great delay in
getting any difference adjusted, however trifling, because o f the su­
perintendent o f the dockyard requiring to submit everything to the
admiralty. It is quite easy to understand that, as regards matters
o f policy, a similar attitude must be adopted at all the Government
dockyards, and that the Admiralty must pay regard to whether the
introduction of any change of working conditions at, for instance,
Eosyth, would affect other Government dockyards,' and so a certain
amount o f delay must inevitably occur in regard to such matters;
but what gives rise to the irritation, and so becomes a cause o f unrest,
is in many cases not a question of dockyard policy at all, but some
purely local, and often trifling, question which the superintendent
could surely be trusted to dispose of on the spot. It would certainly
tend to allay unrest if the dockyard superintendent were intrusted
with a discretion to refrain from reporting every trifle to the
Admiralty, and were invested with authority, himself to entertain,
and if possible settle on the spot, such merely local questions.
35. A representative from the Association o f Shipbuilding and
Engineering Draughtsmen complained that, although they, to say




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

221

the least, are quite as essential to industry as the operative workman,
they get no recognition. They claim that economic concessions
granted to operatives should.extend also to draughtsmen; and that
when there is consultation in which the unions of the operatives take
part, the draughtsmen’s association should also be consulted. They
point out that, although they belong to a skilled profession and have
a higher standard of living to maintain, they are not as well paid as
the operative workmen.
36. A representative of the Railway Clerks’ Association (a body
with a membership of over 50,000, o f whom 6,000 are in Scotland)
reported that much unrest existed amongst this class o f workers not
only in regard to such matters as the lowness o f their wages, the
nonpayment for Sunday duty, and the absence of definition o f a
standard working day, but also and chiefly that the railway authori­
ties do not recognize their association and that representations made
to the railway executive and the Board of Trade have failed to get
them recognition as a consultative union.
37. The National Union o f Clerks made a somewhat similar repre­
sentation. They complained that vast numbers o f them had received
no war bonus or increase o f pay, and that overtime and Sunday work
was not adequately paid for and sometimes not paid for at all.
Their desire was to be considered as an essential part o f the estab­
lishment and when advances of wages were being granted to opera­
tives that they should at the same time get a corresponding advance.
38. The Locomotive Drivers’ and Firemen’s Association com­
plained that their wages had not been raised correspondingly to the
ever-increasing cost o f living; and that their hours o f work were
abnormally long. But their chief complaint seems to be that on the
railway systems in Scotland the running staff were paid on a much
lower scale than in England. We had no means of verifying these
somewhat vague statements, and the representatives who attended
from the railway management discountenanced the views expressed
on behalf o f the men.
39. W ar tension and industrial fatigue have been spoken of. We
have not seen any evidence that these are causes of industrial unrest,
although probably they are aggravations of it. The workers have
had, no doubt, a strenuous time and possibly not sufficient relaxa­
tion. The lack of holidays has been complained of and still more
so the lack of train service and other facilities for enjoying a holiday
when it could be got. But we do not think these are serious elements
in causing industrial unrest.
40. It is a somewhat remarkable fact worth noting that in the
whole course of the proceedings no complaint has been made from
any quarter o f the liquor restrictions being a cause o f industrial
unrest. No reference at all has been made to that subject.




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B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

41.
We have endeavored in this report to reflect the opinions we
have had put before us. We do not, of course, adopt everything
that has been said. But two things are very clear: (1) that unrest
has been created which, many people think, might have been pre­
vented; (2) that if it is to be removed the two main causes of it
should be dealt with, namely (a) the food problem; and (&) re­
moving the prevailing ignorance o f the public as to the actual facts,
so as to prevent them entertaining wrong notions of the causes o f the
troubles and so providing a field for propaganda by extremists of
all sorts.
T . A. F y f e (Chairman).
N oel E. P e c k .
A. G ordon C a m e r o n .
T h o m a s F . W il s o n , Secretary.
G l a s g o w , 10 t h J u ly , 1917.




APPENDIX A.— LIST OF PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE THE COMMIS­
SIONERS.
AT GLASGOW.

Mr. W. E. Whyte, clerk and treasurer o f the district committee o f the middle
w ard o f Lanarkshire.
Mr. Archd. Speirs, president, and Mr. T. M. Stewart, secretary o f the House
Owners’ Association.
Councillor Johnston Irvine, forem an bricklayer.
Councillor Johnston, Irvine, forem an bricklayer.
Mr. D avid Tait, insurance official on workm en’s compensation claims.
Mr. J. Armour, blacksmith, Glasgow.
Mr. A. K. M ’Cosh (o f Wm. Baird & C o.), Mr. John A. Balderston (o f Fuller­
ton, H odgart & B a rcla y ), Mr. Alexander Fraser (o f Strang & C o.), Mr. S. M.
H ay (o f H ay & C o.), and Mr. T. F. M ’Fadyen, assistant secretary, representing
the Ironfounders’ Association.
Mr. James Gavin and Mr. O. Coyle o f the Amalgamated Society o f Iron and
Steel W orkers.
Mr. John B row n and Mr. J. Fulton o f the Associated Iron M olders o f
Scotland.
Mr. Pickering and Mr. Beveridge for the Caledonian Railw ay.
Mr. H ow ie for Glasgow and South W estern Railw ay.
Mr. M’Lauchlin fo r North British R ailw ay Co.
Mr. Drummond for Locom otive D rivers and Firem en’s Union.
Mr. J. R. Richm ond (o f G. and J. W e ir ), and Mr. R. L. Scott (o f Scott &
Son s), representing the North W est Engineering Trades Association.
Mr. James Fullerton (o f Fullerton & C o.), and Mr. Kennedy (o f Ham ilton
& Sons), representing the Clyde Shipbuilders’ Association, accompanied by Mr.
A. Biggart, assistant secretary to these organizations.
Councillor George K err (W orkers’ U nion).
Mr. James Prentice (Brassm olders’ Society).
Mr. Alexander Turnbull (Coppersm iths’ S ociety).
Mr. W illiam B rodie and Mr. Sam Bunton (Am algam ated Society o f Engi­
neers ).
Mr. James Storrie and Mr. A. D avidson ( Smiths’ ^nd Strikers’ S ociety).
Mr. R. Reid (E lectrical Trades U nion).
Mr. J. M’K enzie (Gas W orkers’ U n ion ).
Councillor James W hitehead and Mr. S. Nimlin (Brass-finishers’ S ociety).
Mr. Ben. Smith (N ational Am algam ated Union o f L ab or).
Mr. L. Anderson (T oolm akers’ S ociety).
Mr. W. Herd and Mr. W . K eay (D raughtsm en’s S ociety).
Mr. M. T. Sanders (Tinsm iths’ S ociety).
Mr. Shaw, Councillor Shinwell, and Mr. Hunter, on behalf o f the Glasgow
Trades Council.
Mr. Shaw and Mr. Barron o f the Amalgamated Society o f Joiners and Car­
penters.




223

224

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Baxter, on behalf o f the Glasgow Master W rights’ Asso­
ciation.
Mr. John Dennison, electrician, Parkhead Forge.
Mr. Jolly and Mr. Prentice, on behalf o f Messrs. Beardm ore & Co. (L td .).
Mr. Prentice, Brassm olders’ Society.
Mr. Norman Donaldson, Captain Taylor, and Mr. Wm. Johnstone, fo r Ship­
ow ner and D ock Em ployers’ Committee.
Mr. Stewart and Mr. M ’Intosh, for W holesale Cooperative Society.
Mr. J. A. Fraser, Mr. A lfred Maloney and Mr. R obert Clark, representing
the Clyde D istrict Committee o f Am algam ated Toolm akers’ Society.
Mr. James W ard, steel smelter, Cambuslang.
Mr. Spence, engineer, Kilm arnock.
Mr. J. W . Anderson o f Young’s Oil Co., Mr. James Bryson o f Pumpherston
Co., Mr. W illiam Cuthbertson o f Broxburn Co., Mr. A. C. Thomson, Oakbank
Oil Co., and Mr. R. C. M ’Culley, honorable secretary, representing the Scottish
M ineral Oil Companies Association.
Mr. M ’Eleny, coppersmith, Greenock.
Mr. W. Turnbull, president, and Mr. J. Turnbull, secretary, Coppersmiths’
Society.
Mr. M ’Eleny, Coppersmith, Greenock.
Mr. W hiteside and Mr. Black, for Mine M anagers’ Association o f Scotland.
Mr. D. J. Highton, dep. chief inspector o f National Health Insurance Asso­
ciation.
Mr. W . W aterson (o f W aterson & Sons), Dr. M ’Lehose (o f M ’Lehose & C o.),
Mr. W ilson ( o f Pillans & W ilson ), Mr. Paterson ( o f Wm. Collins & Sons, L td.)
and Mr. Bisset, secretary, on behalf o f Alliance o f Masters in the Printing and
K indred Trades.
Mr. Galt fo r W om en’s Farm Laborers’ Union.
Mr. Lawson and Mr. Nimlin o f the North W est Federated Shipbuilding and
Engineering Trade-unions.
Mr. Aitkenhead, assistant works manager, G. and J. W eir.
Mr. M’Gill, foerm an fitter, Row an & Co.
Mr. Cunningham, forem an ironworker, A. Stephen & Son.
Mr. Herd, forem an joiner, Beardm ore & Co.
Mr. T aylor and Mr. McNeil, representing maintenance staff forem en o f Beard­
m ore & Co.
Mr. Graham Hunter, Glasgow.
Mr. Bain, Mr. Biggam, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Stewart, collecting agents o f
Prudential Insurance Co.
Mr. James Ferguson, on behalf o f the Railw ay Clerks’ Association.
A T EDINBURGH.

Adm iral Bruce, M. V. O., C. B., Mr. Cook, secretary, Mr. Cartwright Reid,
C. B., and Mr. Rabbit, on beh alf o f the Adm iralty authority at Rosyth dockyard.
Mr. H arry Richardson and Mr. Henry A, Jones for Allied Trades Association,
Rosyth.
Mr. D avid Anderson, A. S. E., Edinburgh district.
Mr. Thomas H am ilton o f the W orkers’ Union.
Mr. Beaton and Miss Cruden, on behalf o f the D istributing T rade Employees
in Dressmaking and M illinery.
Mr. T. M aynooth and Mr. Don. M ’Kenzie, electrical trades.
Mr. M. O’Hagan, fo r oil workers.
Mr. W illiam Dalrymple, joiners and carpenters.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

225

Mr. Eunson and Mr. Allan, representing the Edinburgh Trades Council.
Mr. Eunson, representing the furnishing trade employees.
Mr. Simpson, on behalf o f the Scottish Shale M iners’ Association.
Messrs. W allace, Miller, Milne, Hunt, Beale, Ireland, Ramage, Taylor and
Muir, on behalf o f the Engineering and Shipbuilding Em ployers’ Association
(Edinburgh d istrict).
AT

DUNDEE.

Rear Adm iral J. Hughes Adam s o f shipyard labor department, Mr. James
S. Brown, and Mr. John Kenneth, on behalf o f Dundee Trades Council.
Mr. J. Kenneth, on behalf o f Dundee Federation o f Engineering and Ship­
building Em ployees Trade Union.
Mr. Thomas and Mr. Hayes, representing Dundee furnishing trades employees.
AT ABERDEEN.

Mr. J. M. Henderson, chairman, Mr. A. H all W ilson and Mr. G. W . S. W alker,
jr., secretary, on behalf o f the Aberdeen Engineering and Shipbuilding Em ­
ployers’ Association.
Mr. John Duncan, local officer Adm iralty shipyard labor department.
Mr. Cowie, on behalf o f the Aberdeen Federation o f Engineering and Ship­
building Employees Trades Unions.
Mr. Fraser, National Union o f General Laborers.
Mr. Fraser, representing workers in granite trades.
Mr. M ’Lean, joiner, Aberdeen.
Mr. P. B. Bisset, house owners.
Mr. Stewart, m otor mechanic, Aberdeen.
Mr. Reginald Hendrickson, engineer, Aberdeen.
17841°— 17— Bull. 237-------15




APPENDIX B.-—PRESS ADVERTISEMENTS AND LETTERS.
IN D U S T R IA L U N REST IN Q U IRY.
NO. 8 DIVISION— SCOTLAND.

[Sheriff Fyfe, chairman, Mr. Noel E. Peck, and Mr. A. Gordon Cameron.]

The commissioners invite all interested parties including trade organiza­
tions and em ployers’ federations who may desire to lay views before the com­
mission to send, as early as possible, to the secretary, Mr. Thomas F. W ilson,
County Buildings, Glasgow, a written note o f points to which they desire to
draw attention. The places and dates o f sittings o f the commission w ill be
announced shortly.
T. A. F y f e , Chairman.
G l a s g o w , 16th June, 1917.
The above advertisement appeared in Glasgow Herald, Glasgow D aily Record,
Glasgow Evening Citizen, Glasgow Evening News, Glasgow Evening Times,
Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, and Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, in their
issues o f 16th, 18th, and 19th June, 1917.
The above advertisement appeared in Aberdeen Free Press, Aberdeen E x ­
press, Dundee Advertiser, Dundee Courier, Dundee Telegraph, Greenock Tele­
graph and Paisley Express in their issues o f 18th and 19th June, 1917.
IN D U S T R IA L UNREST COMMISSION.
NO. 8 DIVISION— 'SCOTLAND.

The commissioners w ill commence their sittings on W ednesday, 27th June,
1917. Parties desiring to be heard w ill please communicate w ith the secretary,
Mr. Thomas F. W ilson, County Buildings, Glasgow. The sending in beforehand
o f a brief note o f points intended to be raised w ill greatly facilitate the w ork
o f the commissioners.
T. A. F y f e , Chairman.
The above advertisement appeared in Glasgow Herald, Glasgow D aily Record
and Scotsman in their issues o f 20th and 21st June, 1917.
The above advertisement appeared in Glasgow' Evening News, Glasgow
•Evening Times, Glasgow Evening Citizen, Edinburgh Evening News and Edin­
burgh Evening Dispatch in their issues o f 20th June, 1917.
The above advertisement appeared in Aberdeen Free Press, Aberdeen E x ­
press, Dundee Advertiser, Dundee Courier, Dundee Telegraph, Greenock Tele­
graph, Paisley Express and Glasgow Observer in their issues o f 21st June,
1917.
L A B O R U N R EST COMMISSION.
NO. 8 DIVISION---- SCOTLAND.
G la s g o w ,

June 19.

S ir : May I beg the favor o f space in your columns to answer numerous in­

quirers who express a desire to assist the commissioners, but who, in regard to
procedure, have difficulties w hich may probably be shared by others who have
not expressed them?
226




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST I N GREAT B R IT A IN .

227

The remit to the commission is “ to inquire into and report upon industrial
unrest and to make representations to the Government at the earliest possible
date.”
The inquiry is not confined to w ar work, or to munition workers, but applies
to all form s o f industry.
In a speech which he made to the commissioners a week ago, and which was
w idely reported in the press, the Prim e M inister emphasized that the purpose
o f this commission is to furnish the W ar Cabinet with reliable inform ation as
speedily as possible, and he explained that the terms o f the rem it had been
purposely expressed broadly so as to leave the commissioners in each division
to adopt the methods they consider best calculated to meet the purpose.
In this division the commissioners feel assured that workmen and employers
alike are anxious to assist th em ; and they confidently rely upon their prompt
cooperation. The proceedings w ill take the form rather o f a conference than
o f a form al inquiry with sworn testimony. W hat is contemplated is a frank
expression o f views in conversational form. The meetings w ill not be open to
the general public nor to the press, and no person need have the slightest fear
o f anything o f the nature o f “ victim ization,” as it is termed, as a result o f
expressing views upon such matters as the relations between classes o f w ork­
men and employers, or between workmen and managers or foremen, or between
sections o f workmen themselves, or between trade societies or their officials
and employers, or sections o f their own m em bers; or in regard to customs or
practices prevailing either in an industry generally or in any particular trade
or establishment, or in regard to enactments in or the administration o f exist­
ing legislation, or in regard to anything having a bearing upon the subject o f
the inquiry. A hearing w ill be afforded to all shades o f opinion; but, at the
same time, it must be distinctly understood that this commission is not in­
tended for the airing o f merely individual or personal grievances. The com ­
missioners w ill expect, and they know that they can confidently rely, that
the spokesmen who attend the meetings, w hile they may be few in number,
w ill be representative men, w ith practical knowledge and experience o f the
trade interest they represent.
The purpose o f the newspaper advertisement asking parties to send in a
note o f points intended to be raised is not in any w ay to restrict the scope
o f the inquiry, but merely to facilitate discussion by enabling subjects for dis­
cussion to be conveniently grouped beforehand. It is accordingly sufficient to
state any point briefly and inform ally.
The secretary to the commission, Mr. Thomas F. W ilson, County Buildings,
Glasgow, w ill be pleased to furnish interested parties with any desired in for­
mation in regard to any matter which I may not have covered in this letter.
I am, etc.,
T. A. F y f e , Chairman.
The above letter by the chairman addressed to the editors o f the various daily
papers published in Scotland appeared in their issues o f 20th or 21st June,
1917.
COM MISSION TO IN Q U IR E INTO IN D U S T R IA L UNREST.
The commissioners w ill hold a sitting in the Caledonian R ailw ay Station
Hotel, Princess Street, Edinburgh, on Monday, 2d July, 1917, at 11 o’clock
forenoon. It w ill facilitate proceedings if parties desiring to be heard w ill
present their names, together w ith a note o f the points they intend to raise, to
the secretary, Mr. Thomas F. W ilson, County Buildings, Glasgow.
T. A. F y f e , Chairman.
The above advertisement appeared in Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News
and Edinburgh Evening Dispatch in their issues o f 29th June, 1917.







INTERIM REPORT OF THE RECONSTRUCTION COMMIT­
TEE ON JOINT STANDING INDUSTRIAL COUNCILS.1
T o the Right Hon. D. L l o y d G e o r g e , M. P., Prime Minister.
S i r : We have the honor to submit the following interim report on
joint standing industrial councils:
2. The terms of reference to the subcommittee are:
(1 ) T o make and consider suggestions for securing a permanent improvement
in the relations between employers and workmen.
(2 )' To recommend means for securing that industrial conditions affecting
the relations between employers and workm en shall be system atically reviewed
by those concerned, with a view to im proving conditions in the future.

3. After a general consideration of our duties in relation to the
matters referred to us, we decided first to address ourselves to the
problem o f establishing permanently improved relations between
employers and employed in the main industries of the country, in
which there exist representative, organizations on both sides. The
present report accordingly deals more especially with these trades.
We are proceeding with the consideration of the problems connected
with the industries which are less well organized.
4. We appreciate that under the pressure of the war both employ­
ers and workpeople and their organizations are very much preoccu­
pied, but, notwithstanding, we believe it to be o f the highest impor­
tance that our proposals should be put before those concerned without
delay, so that employers and employed may meet in the near future
and discuss the problems before them.
5. The circumstances of the present time are admitted on all sides
to offer a great opportunity for securing a permanent improvement
in the relations between employers and employed, while failure to
utilize the opportunity may involve the nation in grave industrial
difficulties at the end of the war.
It is generally allowed that the war almost enforced some recon­
struction of industry, and in considering the subjects referred to us
1 Reconstruction Committee. Subcommittee on Relations Between Employers and Em­
ployed. Interim report on joint standing industrial councils (Cd. 8606). The Right
Hon. J. H. Whitley, M. P., chairman ; Mr. F. S. Button, Mr. G. J. Carter, Prof. S. J.
Chapman, Sir Gilbert Claughton, Bart., Mr. J. R. Clynes, M. P., Mr. J. A. Hobson,
Miss Susan Lawrence, Mr. J. J. Mallon, Sir Thos. R. Ratcliffe-Ellis, Mr. Robert Smillie,
Mr. Allan M. Smith, Miss Mona Wilson. Mr. H. J. Wilson, Ministry of Labor, Mr.
Arthur Greenwood, secretaries.
229




230

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

we have kept in view the need for securing in the development of
reconstruction the largest possible measure of cooperation between
employers and employed.
In the interests of the community it is vital that after the war the
cooperation of all classes, established during the war, should continue,
and more especially with regard to the relations between employers
and employed. For securing improvement in the latter, it is essential
that any proposals put forward should offer to workpeople the means
of attaining improved conditions o f employment and a higher stand­
ard of comfort generally, and involve the enlistment of their active
and continuous cooperation in the promotion of industry.
To this end, the establishment for each industry of an organization,
representative o f employers and workpeople, to have as its object the
regular consideration of matters affecting the progress and well-being
of the trade from the point of view of all those engaged in it, so far
as this is consistent with the general interest of the community,
appears to us necessary.
6. Many complicated problems have arisen during the war which
have a bearing both on employers and workpeople, and may affect
the relations between them. It is clear that industrial conditions will
need careful handling if grave difficulties and strained relations are
to be avoided after the war has ended. The precise nature of the
problems to be faced naturally varies from industry to industry, and
even from branch to branch within the same industry. Their treat­
ment consequently will need an intimate knowledge o f the facts and
circumstances of each trade, and such knowledge is to be found only
among those directly connected with the trade.
7. With a view to providing means for carrying out the policy
outlined above, we recommend that His Majesty’s Government
should propose without delay to the various associations o f employers
and employed the formation of joint standing industrial councils in
the several industries, where they do not already exist, composed of
representatives o f employers and employed, regard being paid to the
various sections o f the industry and the various classes of labor
engaged.
8. The appointment of a chairman or chairmen should, we think,
be left to the council who may decide that these should be—
(1) A chairman for each side of the council;
(2) A chairman and vice chairman selected from the members of
the council (one from each side o f the cou n cil);
(3) A chairman chosen by the council from independent persons
outside the industry; or
(4) A chairman nominated by such person or authority as the
council may determine or, failing agreement, by the Government.
9. The council should meet at regular and frequent intervals.




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

231

10. The objects to which the consideration o f the councils should
be directed should be appropriate matters affecting the several in­
dustries and particularly the establishment of a closer cooperation
between employers and employed. Questions connected with de­
mobilization will call for early attention.
11. One o f the chief factors in the problem, as it at first presents
itself, consists o f the guaranties given by the Government, with par­
liamentary sanction, and the various undertakings entered into by
employers, to restore the trade-union rules and customs suspended
during the war. While this does not mean that all the lessons
learned during the war should be ignored, it does mean that the
definite cooperation and acquiescence by both employers and em­
ployed must be a condition of any setting aside o f these guaranties
or undertakings, and that, if new arrangements are to be reached, in
themselves more satisfactory to all parties but not in strict accord­
ance with the guaranties, they must be the joint work o f employers
and employed.
12. The matters to be considered by the councils must inevitably
differ widely from industry to industry, as different circumstances
and conditions call for different treatment, but we are of opinion that
the suggestions set forth below ought to be taken into account, sub­
ject to such modification in each case as may serve to adapt them to
the needs o f the various industries.
13. In the well-organized industries, one o f the first questions to
be considered should be the establishment of local and works organi­
zations to supplement and make more effective the work of the
central bodies. It is not enough to secure cooperation at the center
between the national organizations; it is equally necessary to enlist
the activity and support of employers and employed in the districts
and in individual establishments. The national industrial council
should not be regarded as complete in itself; what is needed is a
triple organization— in the workshops, the districts, and nationally.
Moreover, it is essential that the organization at each of these three
stages should proceed on a common principle, and that the greatest
measure of common action between them should be secured.
14. With this end in view, we are of opinion that the following
proposals should be laid before the national industrial councils:
(a) That district councils, representative of the trade-unions and
of the employers’ associations in the industry, should be created, or
developed out o f the existing machinery for negotiation in the vari­
ous trades.
(b) That works committees, representative of the management
and of the workers employed, should be instituted in particular
works to act in close cooperation with the district and national
machinery.




232

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

As it is of the highest importance that the scheme making pro­
vision for these committees should be such as to secure the support
o f the trade-unions and employers’ associations concerned, its design
should be a matter for agreement between these organizations.
Just as regular meetings and continuity of cooperation are essen­
tial in the case of the national industrial councils, so they seem to be
necessary in the case o f the district and works organizations. The
object is to secure cooperation by granting to workpeople a greater
share in the consideration o f matters affecting their industry, and
this can only be achieved by keeping employers and workpeople in
constant touch.
15. The respective functions o f works committees, district councils,
and national councils will no doubt require to be determined sepa­
rately in accordance with the varying conditions of different indus­
tries. Care will need to be taken in each case to delimit accurately
their respective functions, in order to avoid overlapping and result­
ing friction. For instance, where conditions of employment are
determined by national agreements, the district councils or works
committees should not be allowed to contract out of conditions so
laid down, nor, where conditions are determined by local agreements,
should such power be allowed to works committees.
16. Among the questions with which it is suggested that the
national councils should deal or allocate to district councils or works
committees the following may be selected for special mention:
(i) The better utilization o f the practical knowledge and experi­
ence o f the workpeople.
(ii) Means for securing to the workpeople a greater share in and
responsibility for the determination and observance of the conditions
under which their work is carried on.
(iii) The settlement of the general principles governing the condi­
tions o f employment, including the methods o f fixing, paying, and
readjusting wages, having regard to the need for securing to the
workpeople a share in the increased prosperity of the industry.
(iv) The establishment o f regular methods o f negotiation for issues
arising between employers and workpeople, with a view both to the
prevention o f differences, and to their better adjustment when they
appear.
(v) Means of insuring to the workpeople the greatest possible
security of earnings and employment, without undue restriction
upon change of occupation or employer.
(vi) Methods of fixing and adjusting earnings, piecework prices,
etc., and o f dealing with the many difficulties which arise with
regard to the method and amount of payment apart from the fixing




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

233

o f general standard rates, which are already covered by para­
graph (iii).
(vii) Technical education and training.
(viii) Industrial research and the full utilization of its results.
(ix) The provision of facilities for the full consideration and
utilization of inventions and improvements designed by workpeople,
and for the adequate safeguarding o f the rights of the designers
o f such improvements.
(x) Improvements o f processes, machinery and organization and
appropriate questions relating to management and the examination
o f industrial experiments, with special reference to cooperation in
carrying new ideas into effect and full consideration o f the work­
people’s point o f view in relation to them.
(xi) Proposed legislation affecting the industry.
17. The methods by which the functions of the proposed councils
should be correlated to those o f joint bodies in the different districts,
and in the various works within the districts, must necessarily vary
according to the trade. It may, therefore, be the best policy to leave
it to the trades themselves to formulate schemes suitable to their
special circumstances, it being understood that it is essential to secure
in each industry the fullest measure o f cooperation between employers
and employed, both generally, through the national councils, and
specifically, through district committees and workshop committees.
18. It would seem advisable that the Government should put the
proposals relating to national industrial councils before the employ­
ers’ and workpeople’s associations and request them to adopt such
measures as are needful for their establishment where they do not
already exist. Suitable steps should also be taken, at the proper time,
to put the matter before the general public.
19. In forwarding the proposals to the parties concerned, we think
the Government should offer to be represented in an advisory capacity
at the preliminary meetings o f a council, if the parties so desire. We
are also o f opinion that the Government should undertake to supply
to the various councils such information on industrial subjects as may
be available and likely to prove o f value.
20. It has been suggested that means must be devised to safeguard
the interests o f the community against possible action of an anti­
social character on the part of the councils. W e have, however, here
assumed that the councils, in their work o f promoting the interests
of their own industries, will have regard for the national interest.
I f they fulfill' their functions they will be the best builders o f national
prosperity. The State never parts with its inherent overriding
power, but such power may be least needed when least obtruded.




234

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

21. It appears to us that it may be desirable at some later stage
for the State to give the sanction of law to agreements made by the
councils, but the initiative in this direction should come from the
councils themselves.
22. The plans sketched in the foregoing paragraphs are applicable
in the form in which they are given only to industries in which there
are responsible associations of employers and workpeople which can
claim to be fairly representative. The case o f the less well-organized
trades or sections of a trade necessarily needs further consideration.
We hope to be in a position shortly to put forward recommendations
that will prepare the way for the active utilization in these trades
o f the same practical cooperation as is foreshadowed in the pro­
posals made above for the more highly organized trades.
23. It may be desirable to state here our considered opinion that
an essential condition o f securing a permanent improvement in the
relations between employers and employed is that there should be
adequate organization on the part of both employers and work­
people. The proposals outlined for joint cooperation throughout
the several industries depend for their ultimate success upon there
being such organization on both sides; and such organization is
necessary also to provide means whereby the arrangements and
agreements made for the industry may be effectively carried out.
24. We have thought it well to refrain from making suggestions or
offering opinions with regard to such matters as profit sharing, copart­
nership, or particular systems of wages, etc. It would be impracticable
for us to make any useful general recommendations on such matters,
having regard to the varying conditions in different trades. W e are
convinced, moreover, that a permanent improvement in the relations
between employers and employed must be founded upon something
other than a cash basis. What is wanted is that the workpeople
should have a greater opportunity o f participating in the discussion
about and adjustment of those parts of industry by which they are
most affected.
25. The schemes recommended in this report are intended not
merely for the treatment of industrial problems when they have be­
come acute, but also, and more especially, to prevent their becoming
acute. We believe that regular meetings to discuss industrial ques­
tions, apart from and prior to any differences with regard to them
that may have begun to cause friction, will materially reduce the
number o f occasions on which, in the view o f either employers or
employed, it is necessary to contemplate recourse to a stoppage of
work.
26. We venture to hope that representative men in each industry,
with pride in their calling and care for its place as a contributor to




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

235

the national well-being, will come together in the manner here sug­
gested, and apply themselves to promoting industrial harmony and
efficiency and removing the obstacles that have hitherto stood in
the way.
We have the honor to be, sir,
Your obedient servants,
J. H . W h i t l e y , Chairman.
F. S . B u t t o n .
G e o . J. C a r t e r .
S. J. C h a p m a n .
G. H. C l a u g h t o n .
J. R . C l y n e s .
J. A. H o b s o n .
A. S u s a n L a w r e n c e .
J. J. M a l l o n .
T

hos.

R. R

R

obt.

S m il l ie .

M.

A

llan

M

ona

W

H. J.

W

A

rthur

a t c l i f f e - E l l ig .

Sm

it h

.

il s o n .
il s o n ,

G reenwood,

Secretaries.
M

arch,

8?




1917.

APPENDIX.
The follow ing questions were addressed by the reconstruction committee to
the subcommittee on the relations between employers and employed in order to
make clear certain points which appeared to call for further elucidation. The
answers given are subjoined.
Q. 1. In w hat classes o f industries does the interim report propose that
industrial councils shall be established? W hat basis o f classification has the
subcom m ittee in v iew ?
A. 1. It has been suggested that, for the purpose o f considering the estab­
lishment o f industrial councils, or other bodies designed to assist in the im­
provem ent o f relations between employers and employed, the various industries
should be grouped into three classes: (a ) industries in which organization
on the part o f employers and employed is sufficiently developed to render the
councils representative; (b ) industries in w hich either as regards employers
and employed, or both, the degree o f organization, though considerable, is less
marked than in {a ) and is insufficient to be regarded as representative; and
( c ) industries in w hich organization is so imperfect, either as regards em­
ployers or employed, or both, that no associations can be said adequately to
represent those engaged in the trade.
It w ill be clear that an analysis o f industries w ill show a number which
are on the border lines between these groups and special consideration w ill
have to be given to such trades. So fa r as groups (a ) and (c ) are concerned,
a fa irly large number o f trades can readily be assigned to th em ; group ( b ) is
necessarily m ore indeterminate.
For trades in group (a ) the committee have proposed the establishment o f
join t standing industrial councils in the several trades. In dealing with the
various industries it may be necessary to consider specially the case o f parts
o f industries in group (a ) where organization is not fully developed.
Q. 2. Is the m achinery proposed intended to be in addition to o r in sub­
stitution fo r existing m achinery? Is it proposed that existing m achinery
'should be superseded? B y “ existing m a ch in ery” is meant conciliation boards
and all other organizations fo r join t con feren ce and discussion betw een em­
ployers and employed.
A. 2. In most organized trades there already exist join t bodies fo r particular
purposes. It is not proposed that the industrial councils should necessarily
disturb these existing bodies. A council would be free, if it chose and if the
bodies concerned approved, to merge existing committees, etc., in the council
or to link them with the council as subcommittees.
Q. 3. Is it understood that m embership o f the councils is to be confincd
to representatives elected by em ployers' associations and trade-unions? W hat
is the v iew o f th e subcom m ittee regarding the entry o f n ew organizations
established a fter the councils have been set up?
A. 3. It is intended that the councils should be composed only o f representa­
tives o f trade-unions and em ployers’ associations, and that new organizations
should be admitted only with the approval o f the particular side o f the council
o f which the organization would form a part.
236




IN D U ST R IA L U N R E ST IN GREAT B R IT A IN .

237

Q. 4. (a ) Is it intended that decisions reached by the councils shall be binding
upon the bodies comprising th em f I f so, is such binding effect to be condi­
tional upon the consent o f cach em ployers’ association or trade-union affectcd t
A. 4. (a ) It is contemplated that agreements reached by industrial councils
should (w hilst not o f course possessing the binding force o f law ) carry with
them the same obligation o f observance as exists in the case o f other agree­
ments between em ployers’ associations and trade-unions. A council, being on
its workmen’s side based on the trade-unions concerned in the industry, its
powers or authority could only be such as the constituent trade-unions freely
agreed to.
Q. 4. (b ) In particular , is it intended that all pledges given either by the
G overnm ent or em ployers fo r the restoration o f trade-union rules and practices
a fter the war shall be redeem ed w ithout qualification unless the particular
trade-union concerned agrees to alteration ; or , on the contrary , that the indus­
trial council shall have pow er to decide sueh question by a m ajority vote o f
the workmen's representatives from all the trade-unions in the industry?
A. 4. (b ) It is clearly intended that all pledges relating to the restoration
o f trade-union rules shall be redeemed without qualification unless the par­
ticular trade-union concerned agrees to alteration; and it is not intended that
the council shall have power to decide such questions by a m ajority vote o f
the workm en’s representatives from all the trade-unions in the indutsry.







APPENDIX.
CONTENTS OF OTHER BULLETINS RELATING TO LABOR IN
GREAT BRITAIN AS AFFECTED BY THE WAR.
Bulletin No. 221; Hours, fatigue, and health in B ritish munition factories.
Introduction.
Summary o f the committee’s conclusions.
Sunday labor (M emorandum No. 1 ).
H ours o f w ork (M emorandum No. 5 ).
Output in relation to hours o f work (M emorandum No. 12), reported by
H. M. Vernon, M. D.
Industrial fatigue and its causes (M emorandum No. 7 ).
Sickness and injury (M emorandum No. 10).
Special industrial diseases (Memorandum No. 8 ).
Tetrachlorethane poisoning (report o f the B ritish medical inspector o f
fa ctories).
Dope poisoning (leaflet issued by the British factory inspector’s office).
Ventilation and lighting o f munition factories and workshops (M em oran­
dum No. 9 ).
Effect o f industrial conditions upon eyesight (M emorandum No. 15).
British treasury agreement as to trade-union rules affecting restriction o f
output.
Munitions o f w ar act, 1915, relating to labor disputes and restoration o f
trade-union conditions after the war.
Munitions o f w ar (am endm ent) act, 1916.
Munitions tribunals (p rovision al), rules fo r constituting and regulating
munitions tribunals in England and Wales.
Compulsory arbitration in munitions industry in France.
Bulletin No. 222. W elfare work in British munition factories.
Introduction.
Summary o f committee’s conclusions.
Legal regulation o f w elfare w ork in Great Britain.
Value o f w elfare supervision to the employer, by B. Seebohm Rowntree.
director o f w elfare department, British ministry o f munitions.
W elfare supervision (M emorandum No. 2 ).
Industrial canteens (M emorandum No. 3 ).
Canteen construction and equipment (M emorandum No. 6 ).
Investigations o f w orkers’ food and suggestions as to dietary (M em oran­
dum No. 11).
W ashing facilities and baths (M emorandum No. 14).
Bulletin No. 223. Employment o f women and juveniles in Great Britain during
the war.
Introduction.
Summary o f the committee’s conclusions.
Replacement o f men by women in industry in Great Britain.




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Bulletin No. 223. Employment o f women and juveniles in Great Britain during
the w ar— Concluded.
Extension o f employment o f women in Great Britain in 1916.
Employment o f women in Great Britain (M emorandum No. 4 ).
M igration o f women’s labor through the employment exchanges in Great
Britain.
Employment and remuneration o f women in Great Britain— munitions
orders.
Output o f munitions in France.
Regulations as to wages o f workers in munitions factories in France.
Juvenile employment in Great Britain (M emorandum No. 13).
Juvenile employment committees in Great Britain.
Employment o f women and boys in munition work in Italy.
Bulletin No. 230. Industrial efficiency and fatigue in British munition factories.
Introduction.
Summary o f the com m ittee’s conclusions.
The com parative efficiencies o f dayw ork and night w ork in munition
factories.
Introduction.
Previous physiological observations.
Methods o f night work.
Female labor.
Male labor.
Conclusions.
The causes and conditions o f lost time, by Thomas Loveday, M. A.
Introduction.
Sickness.
Lost “ quarters.”
Summary o f conclusions.
Incentives to work, with special reference to wages, with an appendix on
wage systems.
Incentives to work, with special reference to wages.
Methods o f remuneration.
Instances o f failure o f wage systems to act as incentives.
Summary.
Further considerations.
Appendix on wage systems.
Systems o f piece rates.
Summary.
M edical studies.
Report on the health and physical condition o f male munition workers,
by Capt. T. H. Agnew, R. A. M. C.
Inquiry into the health o f women engaged in munition factories, by
Janet M. Campbell, M. D., and Lilian E. W ilson, M. D.
M edical certificates for munition workers (M emorandum No. 16).
Health and w elfare o f munition workers outside the factory (M emorandum
No. 17).




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