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Industrial conciliation and arbitration online

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[For explanation, sec (he opposite par/e.)



To face pnijr l-il.



CONCLUSION.



181



seeing we know nothing about the system upon which
the figures have been collected. The only satisfactory
thing is to compare the figures for different years of
any one country. This has been done, and the results
can easily be seen from the diagram opposite.*
The following table indicates the meaning of the lines
and letters used.



Country.


Initial.


Line.


United Kingdom

United States

France . - . .

Germany ... -


U.K.
U.S.
F.
G.




— .—.—.—.—.





Nothing is clearer in this diagram than the great
growth of industrial peace in the United Kingdom
during recent years, and it would appear that
the year 1904 has been more free from strikes and
lockouts than any of its predecessors. f It is equally
clear, that no other great industrial country can

* The figures used are the official ones, (for the United
States the number of lockouts being added to the number
of strikes), except in the case of Germany for the years 1892-
1898, where the figures used are those quoted by R. della
Volta in L'Arbitrato degli Scioperi, Giornale degli Econom-
isti, June, 1903. These figures are practically identical with
those given in Conrad and Lexis, " Handworterbuch der
Staatswissenschaften " (second edition, 1898), vol. i, page
768, except that the dictionary gives no figures for 1898.

t This is best seen by comparing the statistics for 1£03 with
the preliminary figures from the Labour Gazette for 1904 : —
No. of Strikes Workpeople Days

and Lockouts. affected, lost.

1903 387 116,901 2,338,668

1904 334 83,922 1,416,265



182 CONCILIATION AND ARHITRAnON.



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CONCLUSION.



183



claim to be in a position comparable with that of
the United Kingdom.

We are enabled to study the industrial situation
of our own country more closely than the diagram
permits, thanks to certain statistics published annu-
ally by the Board of Trade since the middle of the
" nineties." We have already noticed that wages
questions are the principal cause of industrial dis-
putes. On the opposite page a table will be found,
showing the number of individuals affected by
changes in rates of wages, without and after strikes
respectively. The following figures briefly sum-
marise this table, and all comment is unnecessary : —





Percentage of Workpeople affected by Changes in




Rates of Wages arranged


Year.






Without Stoppage.


After Stoppage.


1896


89-7


10-3


1807


92-6


7-4


1898


94-9


51


1899


97-1


2-9


1900


95-2


4-8


1901


98-4


1-6


1902


98-6


1-4


1903


98 -.5


1-.5



Alterations of the hours of labour are a minor
cause of strikes and on page 184 a table is given,
showing how far these are affected by peaceful
methods.

No further proof of the growth of industrial peace
in the United Kingdom is necessary, and it now
remains for us to consider to what this desirable



184 CONCILIATION AND ARHITRATION.





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CONCLUSION.



185




186 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

state of affairs must be attributed. There cannot
be the least doubt, that it is due to the excellent
private systems of collective bargaining, conciliation
and arbitration established in the United Kingdom.
This will be clearly seen from the table on page 185,
where the steady increase in the organised methods
of arranging changes in wages, as compared with the
unorganised methods, and the great growth in the
activity of trade boards in particular, are strikingly
revealed.

Throughout this essay, past and present attempts
to encourage industrial peace by means of
conciliation and arbitration have been under discus-
sion. In conclusion, one word may be said as to the
future. There can be no doubt, that in economics,
what is true of one generation, is not necessarily
true of the next, so that it is all the more remark-
able, that words written over twenty years ago can
be quoted to-day and are as correct as when first
written. No one was better fitted to speak on in-
dustrial and social problems than the late Arnold
Toynbee, from whom the following passage is
quoted : *

" We should do all that lies in us to establish Boards
of Conciliation in every trade, when the circumstances —
economic or moral — are not entirely unfavourable. I
know it is not easy to form tliem and difficult to maintain
them. But notwithstanding failures and obstacles, I

♦ Industry and Democracy, pubb'shed in his Industrial
Revolution, p. 201.



CONCLUSION. 187

believe these boards will last and more than that, I
believe that they have in them the possibilities of a great
future ... I may point out that Boards of Conciliation
may grow into permanent councils of employers and
workmen, which — thrusting into the background, but not
superseding Trade Unions and Masters' Associations —
should, in the hght of the principles of social and in-
dustrial science deal with those great problems of the
fluctuations of wages, of over-production and the regu-
lation of trade, which workmen and employers together
alone must settle. However remote such a consum-
mation may appear — and to many it must seem remote
indeed — of this I am convinced, that it is no dream, but
a reasonable hope, born of patient and historical survey
and sober faith in man's high nature. And it is reason-
able above all in England, where, owing to a contin-
uous, unbroken history, some sentiment of mutual obli-
gation between classes survives the dissolution of the
ancient social system,"

The bright future Arnold Toynbee foresaw for
England twenty years ago, is already being fulfilled.
Everything points to the growth of good feeling
between employers and workmen. " The era of great
strikes and lockouts, notwithstanding some of the
severest conflicts which have occurred, have taken
place recently, is really passing away, and I believe
that the rule of reason is asserting itself. When this
rule shall hold sway more completely, capital and
labour will learn that their interests are not identical
and are not antagonistic,but that they are reciprocal.
When this is learned it will be more fully understood,
that voluntary conciliation in industrial matters is
one of the highest and broadest features of co-opera-
tion, and at the same time one of the simplest methods



188 rONriTJATTOX AND ARHTTT^ ATTO\.

for restoring harmony, when conflict is threatened,
or even whore it already exists." *

How loiif^ it will take of her great industrial countries
to reach a position even as satisfactory as that at
present enjoyed by the United Kingdom, it is impos-
sible to say. The road to peace is through war and
no panacea for industrial disputes can be found, but
it is possible to do much by building up and consolidat-
ing a voluntary system of conriliation and arbi-
tration, in which trade boarils are given the first
place. Absolute industrial peace is impossible, as
long as the problem of distribution remains what it
is to-day, but there is no reason to believe that indus-
trial warfare cannot be reduced to a minimum*
which lies far below that at present achieved. The
number of strikes and lockouts may increase for a
time, until employers and employees have learnt to
understand the problems of industry better than they
do at present ; but given a good system of voluntary
conciliation and arbitration, the prospects of a relative
industrial peace in the future, if not brilliant, are at
least bright and hopeful.

* The passage in inverted commas is quoted from C. D.
Wright, Forum, May, 1893.



APPENDIX I. 189



APPENDIX I.

Mote to Section 6 of tjie Industrial Concilia-
tion AND Arbitration Amendment Act 1903 (see
footnote, p. 159).

Wishing to understand, what the above section really
involved, I communicated with the Hon. W. P. Reeves
on the subject. The following was the question to which
I desired an answer : —

'■ Would an employer, dismissing a workman, who
in his opinion is incapable of earning a new minimum
wage imposed by the Court of Arbitration, or suspending
such a workman till a certificate of incompetency is
obtained, have committed a breach of the award and be
liable accordingly under Section G of the Amendment
Act of 1903 ? The particular case I am thinking of
is the one referred to on page v. of the Report of the
Department of Labour for 1903. There the president
laid down, that an individual employer is competent to
dismiss his workmen, although concerted action would
constitute a lockout. The Report expresses the
opinion that an amendment of the Act is desirable in the
direction of preventing a worker at minimum wage being
deprived of the advantage of a rise awarded by the
Court. Had this section been in existence when the so-
called ' lockout in Auckland ' occurred, would the action
of the employers have been a breach of the award ? "
In reply Mr- Reeves kindly wrote to me as follows :
" The right of an employer to dismiss an incompetent
workman is clear, and if the alleged cause is the true
cause — has never been doubted or contested."



190 APPENDIX I.

** Your view of the action of the Auckland employers
will depend upon whether you believe their assertion,
that their simultaneous dismissal of some sixty work-
men was not a concerted attempt to defeat an award."

" Of course, whenever wages arc put up by an award,
an anpry employer may assert that his workmen are not
competent to earn fairly the higher wage. But that
would not make them incompetent workmen in the eyes
of a suitable judge. An employer must have a boria
fide reason for alleging personal incompetence. Then
he may dismi.ss. There is no doubt that a good many
inferior wt^rkmen have been (juietly shelved, man by
man, ami nothing said. But such men have usually
been taken on again or engaged by other employers.
Some of them have had to change their occupation."



APPENDIX 11

WAGES AND PRICES IN NEW ZEALAND, lbU2 AND l'JO'2.

Althouijh the flgiiros quoted below from the New
Zealand Otlirial Year-I^ooks, iSy.J and 1903, are by no
means complete, they show the great increase in tlie
cost of living due largely if not entirely to the generol
rise in wages occasioned by the working of the Industrial
Conciliation and Arbitration Acts. Quite recently the
New Zealand Labour Department issued a short report
comparing the price of certain commodities in 1893 and
1903. In some ways it supplements the information
contained in the New Zealand Official Year Books.
House rent (Wellington) rose 25 per cent, from 1893 to
1903, and over the same period the price of men's clothes
(to order) increased 16 per cent. The other figures in
the Report confirm those quoted below.

[A short notice of the Report will be found in the
Labour (Jazette, August 1904.]



APPENDIX 11.



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APPENDIX III. 193

APPENDIX III.

Letter of Mr. F. G. Ewington, of Auckland, to
THE Auckland Star.

Compulsory Conciliation and Arbitration.

[From the " Auckland Star" Thursday, May 16, 1901.]

(To the Editor.)

Sir, — In last night's issue " Earnest Hope," blushing
behind a mask, asked me why I am opposed to compul-
sory arbitration.

I leply : First, because our New Zealand Act is in-
herently unjust in giving preference of labour to trade
unionists, making non-unionists, who are hable to be
called on to lay down their lives in defence of the
colony, and who pay taxes, equally with unionists, stand
cap-in-hand like beggars behind unionists in the labour
niarkei, and making employers criminals, unless they
employ particular men. It is as wrong to compel masters
to employ particular men as to compel men to work for
particular masters, which is slavery.

Secondly, I object because of the harm the Act has
done, is doing, and will do. It has set class against class,
e.g., unionist against non-unionist, master against
servant, and servant against master, and has been used
as an instrument of political tyranny and industrial
and social persecution. It has forced up nominal wages,
and lowered real wages, scared capital, restricted in-
dustrial enterprise, induced a larger resort to machinery
and the consequent dispensing with manual labour, till
at last we have got about 5,000 men employed on pablic
co-operative works which are partially public relief
works, and that whilst the banks are glutted with capital
which people are afraid to use. In 1894 co-operaave
workers were only 2,066. The Act, moreover, fosters?

O



194 APPENDIX TTT.

big commercial coucerus aud crushes out Utile ones, and
fixes a rate of wages in the North merely to suit a section
in the South, where industrial and social conditions
differ, thereby entailing a higher price on consumers who
are utterly ignored both by the Act and by trade unions.

Thirdly, it keeps the colony in a state of perpetual
unrest, as is proved by the immense number of industrial
disputes now pending.

Fourthly, it has failed in its operations. Mr. John
Ross says so, and he is a (Jovenimont supporter, a large


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Online LibraryDouglas KnoopIndustrial conciliation and arbitration → online text (page 14 of 18)