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while the association of operatives has full power
to withdraw its members from the service of the
employer. On the other hand, any member of the
operatives' association who shall violate a decision
must pay the costs of the inquiry. If he fails to do
so, the operatives' association must pay the costs
and must exclude him from all its benefits, or if it
gives him assistance, it must pay a fine of £10.

The Cotton Trade. — In most branches of the cotton
trade, wages are fixed by the piece and the great
complexity of the operations makes the determina-
tion of the rates a matter of extreme difficulty.
The settlement of minor technical points of dispute
in connection with piece-work scales of individual
mills, is mainly in the hands of the respective secre-
taries of the local associations of employers and
employees, who are practically permanent, paid
officials. When it comes to revising the general
agreement itself the machinery for collective bar-
gaining takes the form of a joint committee com-
posed of a certain number of representatives of each
side. This committee may either be a district
or a general one, according to the area affected.
The regulations of these conferences are, as far



PRIVATE. 63

as the spinning industry is concerned, generally
covered by what is known as the " Brooklands
Agreement." This provides, that every complaint
must first be submitted by the secretary of the local
association of employers or of employees to the
secretary of the other organisation. If these fail to
reach an agreement, the point at issue is to be
discussed by a committee consisting of the secre-
tary and three representatives chosen by the local
organisations on each side. Should these still fail to
reach a decision, the matter is referred, if either of
the secretaries of the local organisations deem it
advisable, to a committee consisting of four repre-
sentatives of the federated association of the em-
ployers and their secretary and four representatives
of the amalgamated association of employees and
their secretary. Until all these negotiations have
been gone through, no strike or lockout can be
countenanced. To settle the conditions of labour
throughout a district, a general conference is held.
It is provided that no change of wages shall
be sought by either side, until at least one
year after the date of the last change and no
change shall exceed 5 per cent. In April 1900
some small modifications were introduced into
the " Brooklands Agreement," but the leading
principles are the same as before.*

In 1899 and 1900 an attempt was made to
establish a conciliation scheme in the cotton

* For details of the amendments, see the Report on Changes
in Wages and Hours, 1900, p. 226.



64 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

spinning industry for the adjustment of wages
in accordance with the state of trade, but after long
negotiations the attempt proved unsuccessful.*

District and General Boards. — The work done by
these boards has already been referred to in the tables
on pages 52 and 55, where the number of boards
settling cases, the number of cases considered and
settled, and the number of strikes settled by boards
during the last years are given. In 1903 there were
seventeen district boards f and four general boards %
in existence. The majority of these boards have
never come into operation at all, and the only
one which requires any separate notice is the
London Labour Conciliation and Arbitration Board.
It was the London dock labourers' strike in
1889 which led to its formation. The rules were

* See Conciliation in the Cotton Trade, Report of Negotia-
tions 1899-1900, and Press Comments ; and L. L. Price, Con-
ciliation in the Cotton Trade, Economic Journal, June,
1901.

t The Boards were for Aberdeen, Birmingham and Dis-
trict, Bristol, Derby, Dewsbury and District, Dudley and
District, Halifax and District, Leeds, Liverpool and Vicinity,
London, Macclesfield and District, Manchester, Plymouth,
Ulster, Wakefield and District, WalsaU and District and
Warrington.

X These were the Industrial Union of Employers and
Employed ; the Joint Committee of Trade Unionists and
Oo-operators ; the National Industrial Association ; and
the Board of Arbitration composed of representatives from
the Scottish Section of the Co-operative Union, Ltd., and
the ParUamentary Committee of the Scottish Trades Union
Congress. This list and that of District Boards are
taken from the Board of Trade Directory of Industrial
Associations 1903, where the names and addresses of all
the secretaries of the Boards will be found.



PRIVATE. 65

adopted by the Council of the London Chamber of
Commerce, on February 6th, 1890, and were finally
revised and adopted at the first meeting of the board
on December 12th, 1890. The board consists of
twelve members, representing capital and employers,
who are elected by the council of the chamber,
and twelve members representing labour, elected
by the employed. For the purpose of facilitating
the election, twelve groups of trades" have been
selected, each of which sends one representative
to the board. The duty of the board is to
promote amicable methods of settling labour
disputes. They invite to friendly conferences parties
to disputes, and if these parties choose, they may
lay their case before the board. The board will in
no case act as arbitrators unless invited to do so by
both parties. The rules also permit of trade concilia-
tion committees being formed in any trade carrying
on its operations within the metropolis. Although
the number of cases considered and settled by the
board cannot be compared with the average work done
by trade boards, it may fairly be said of this board,
that it occupies an almost unique position in London
in assisting to settle industrial disputes.!

* The trades are as follows: — (1) Building trades; (2)
cabinet and furnishing trades ; (3) carmen, coach, tram
and 'bus employees ; (4) clerks, shop-assistants and ware-
housemen ; (5) clothing trades ; (6) gas, coal and chemical
trades ; (7) leather trades ; (8) metal trades ; (9) print-
ing and paper trades ; (10) provision and food trades ; (11)
railway workers ; (12) shipping trades.

t The principal works consulted in writing this section
were as follows : the Reports of the Royal Ooaimission

F



66 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

Sliding Scales. — It is not my intention to give liere
an analytical account of the advantages and disadvan-
tages of sliding scales, which has been well done
elsewhere,* but to offer a description of their present
position in the United Kingdom. The principle
upon which a sliding scale is based, is that wages
should vary according to profits, and though they do
sometimes directly vary with such, calculated from
the books of certain employers, prices or margins are
generally taken in preference. The system is restricted

on Labour ; De la Conciliation et de 1' Arbitrage, etc. ; the
Reports of the American Industrial Commission, Vol. XVII. ;
H. Orompton, Industrial Conciliation ; J. D. Weeks, Report
on the Practical Working of Arbitration and Goncihation in
the Settlement of Differences between Employers and
Employees in England ; J. B. M'Pherson, Volimtary Concilia-
tion and Arbitration in England ; S. and B. Webb,
Industrial Democracy ; Reports on Strikes and Lockouts ;
Report on Standard Piece Rates, 1900 ; Reports on Changes
in Wages and Hours ; ConciUation in the Cotton Trade ;
Report of Negotiations, 1899-1900, and Press Comments ;
L. L. Price, Conciliation in the Cotton Trade, 'Economic
Journal, Jime, 1901 ; the Rules and Annual Reports of
the London Labour Conciliation and Arbitration Board ;
the Board of Trade Directory of Industrial Associations,
1903.

For the most recent developments the following have
been used. The Labour Gazelle ; the Labour Notes of the
Economic Journal ; the daily papers, especially the Man-
chester Ckiardian, 28 Dec, 1903, 26 Feb., 1904, 10 March,
1904, 23 June, 1904, and 25 June, 1904 ; the Daily Dis-
patch, 27 Feb., 1904, 25 May, 1904, and 26 Dec, 1904,
and the Manchester Evening Chronicle, 2 June, 1904.

* See, especially, S. J. Chapman, Some Theoretical Objec-
tions to SUding Scales, Economic Journal, June, 1903. A
bibliography of this subject will be found at the end of the
sectiont



PRIVATE. 67

by its very nature to the production of commodities
in the earliest stages of manufacture, and has been
most largely used in the mining, quarrying and metal
trades. Some twenty years ago most colliers worked
under this system, but the last sliding scale in this
trade ceased on March 31st, 1903, and was replaced by
the South Wales and Monmouthshire Coal Conciliation
Board. In June 1904 an attempt was made to estab-
lish a sliding scale agreement within maximum and
minimum points for the coal industry of the Federated
Mining districts, but it was unsuccessful as the parties
were unable to agree to a basis between selling prices
and wages.* At the present time the only sliding
scales in the mining and quarrying trades are those
used by two single firms in the iron-mining and lime-
quarrying industries, and the use of sliding scales is
now almost entirely limited to the pig iron manu-
facture and the iron and steel trades. In the
former there are eight, by which the Cleveland
and Durham, Cumberland and North Lancashire,
North Stafiordshire, South Staffordshire, and Scottish
Blastfurnacemen, besides those of three single firms,
are afiected. In the latter there are nine, affecting the
North of England, Midlands,f South Lancashire and

* See the Goal Gonciliation Board, Manchester Chiardian,
23 June, 1904.

t Since this passage was written, three months' notice
was given on September 10th, 1904, by the workmen — 20,000
employed by 156 firms — to terminate the sUding scale
agreement in the Midland Iron Trade. It is the basis,
which was fixed in 1887, which has caused the dissatisfaction,
and it is very possible that some new agreement will be
come to.

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68 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.



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Online LibraryDouglas KnoopIndustrial conciliation and arbitration → online text (page 6 of 18)