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and both were re-introduced into Parliament in 1894
with slight modifications. It was in this same year
that the Royal Commission on Labour issued its final
report containing its recommendations. As we have
already seen, the Commissioners expressed themselves
as opposed to the investment of voluntary boards with

* These will be dealt with in detail under French
LegiBlation. See page 11 G.



VOLUNTARY STATE. 107

legal powers, but favoured proposals similar to tliose
of Mr. Mundella. In their opinion a central depart-
ment, possessed of an adequate staff, might do much
by advice and assistance to promote the more rapid
and universal establishment of trade and district
boards, adapted to circumstances of various kinds.
Such a department would, if it thought fit, inquire
into the causes and circumstances of a dispute ; invite
the parties to a difference to meet together, with a
view to an amicable settlement of the difference ;
and also, upon the receipt of a sufficient ap-
plication from the parties interested in a dispute,
or from the local boards of conciliation, appoint a
suitable person to act as arbitrator.

In 1895 two Acts were again before Parliament, but
it was not till August, 1896, that the Royal Assent
was given to the Conciliation Act, which embodied
the proposals of the Royal Commission on Labour.
In the first place the Statute,* which is entitled " An
Act to make better provision for the Prevention and
Settlement of Trade Disputes," provides for the
registration by the Board of Trade of any board
established for the purpose of settling disputes
between employers and workmen. A board
apparently derives no advantages from registration
under the Act, so that it is not surprising to find that
the majority of the most important boards have not
registered. By August, 1897, fifteen boards had
registered; at the end of June, 1899, four further
boards had registered, and the figure has remained at
♦ 59 and 60 Viot., ch. 30.



108 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

nineteen ever since. The majority of these boards —
viz., ten — are district and general boards, and the
reader will be able to convince himself, by referring
to the figures given on page 54, that these particular
boards have not been very active iu the past in
settling disputes, seeing that the average number
of such boards settling disputes during the ten
years, 1894-1903, was just two.

The provisions of the Act for the settlement of
disputes are as follows* : —

" Where a difference exists or is apprehended between
an employer, or any class of employers, and workmen,
or between different classes of workmen, the Board of
Trade may, if it think fit, exercise all or any of the
following powers, namely :

"(1.) Inquire into the causes and circumstances ot
the difference.

" (2.) Take such steps as to the Board may seem
expedient for the purpose of enabling the parties to the
difference to meet together, by themselves or their
representatives, under the presidency of a chairman
mutually agreed upon, or nominated by the Board of
Trade, or by some other person or body, with a view
to the amicable settlement of the difference.

" (3.) On the appUcation of employers or workmen
interested, and after taldng into consideration the exist-
ence and adequacy of the means available for conciliation
in the district or trade and the circumstances of the
case, appoint a person or persons to act as conciliator
or as a board of conciUation.

" (4.) On the application of both parties to the
difference, appoint an arbitrator."

* The Statute will be found printed in full at the end of
the biennial Reports on the working of the Act, the last
of which appeared in 1903 (Od. 1846).



VOLUNTARY STATE.



109



" If any person is so appointed to act as conciliator,
he shall inquire into the causes and circumstances of the
difEerence by communication with the parties, and other-
wise shall endeavour to bring about a settlement of the
difference, and shall report his proceedings to the Board
of Trade.

" If a settlement of the difference is effected either
by conciliation or by arbitration, a memorandum of the
terms thereof shall be drawn up and signed by the parties
or their representatives, and a copy thereof shall be
delivered to and kept by the Board of Trade."

It now remains for us to consider what results have
"been achieved by this Act. The tables which follow
show us the number of cases which have been dealt
with and analyse the figures in three diSerent ways.

TABLE SHOWING THE SOURCES OF APPLICATIONS
RECEIVED UNDER THE CONCILIATION ACT, 1896,
AUGUST, 1896, TO JUNE, 1903.*







Number


of Applications.




Source
of Applications.


Aug. '96

to
June '97.


July '97

to
June '99.


July '99

to
June '01.


July '01

to
June '03.


Total.


Applications from
both sides

Applications from
Employers only

Applications from
Workmen only.

Actions taken with-
out application


6

9

16

4


12

4

14

2


24
3

16
3


29
4
8


71

20

54

9


Total -


35


32


46


41


154



* Compiled from the Reports of the Board of Trade of
Proceedings under the Conciliation Act, 1896.



110 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.



The first table shows the source of applications, and
the most interesting point in connection with it ia,
that nearly 50 per cent, of the applications were made

TABLE SHOWING THE ACTION TAKEN UNDER THE
CONCILIATION ACT, 1896, AUGUST, 1896, TO JUNE,
1903.*






Aug. '90

to
June '97


July '97

to
June '99.


July '99

to
Juno '01.


July '01

to
June '03.


Total.


Disputes settled
under the Act :

By the appoint-
ment of a con-
ciliator or chair-
man

By negotiations of
Board of Trade
officials -

By the appoint-
ment of an arbi-
trator


2

12

5


4

8

10


3

3

23


2

27


11

23
65


Total -

Disputes settled
between the par-
ties during nego-
tiations

No settlement, in-
cluding cases of
appUcation re-
fused by the
Board of' Trade


19

4

12


22
3

7


29

3

14


29
4
7


99
14
40


Total -


35


32


46


41 t


154 t



* Gompiled from the Reports by the Board of Trade of
Proceedings under the Oonciliation Act, 1896.

t Including one case pending at the date of the Report.



VOLUNTARY STATE.



Ill



TABLE SHOWING THE TRADES AFFECTED BY THE
CONCILIATION ACT, 1896, AUGUST, 1896, TO JUNE,
1903.*



-




Number of Cases.




Trade.


Aug.'96
to


July '97
to


July '99
to


July '01
to


Total.




June '97.


June '99.


June '01.


June '03.




Building -
Mining and Quar-


7


9


24


16


56


rying -

Metal, engineer-
ing and ship-
building -

Transport -

Clothing -


4

12

4
4


9

6
3


3

7
6
o


5

6
1


21

31

14

6


Textile


3


2




3


8


Printing, book-
binding, paper
making -
Other t -


1


1

2


1
3


4
6


7
11


Total .


35


32


46


41


154



by both sides. We shall notice lower down that only-
some 2| per cent, of the applications under the French
Law of 1892 were joint ones. The explanation of
this contrast lies in the fact that in England
we have a well-developed system of voluntary ar-
bitration and conciliation, which the Conciliation
Act, 1896, simply supplements. Both parties may

* Oompiled from the Reports by the Board of Trade of
Proceedings under the Oonciliation Act, 1896.

t These consist of pottery (3) ; woodwork (2) ; horse collar
making (2) ; bakers (1) ; fish dock labourers (1) ; coopera
(1) ; and cabinet makers (1).



112 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

be willing to arbitrate, but may be unable to agree
about the umpire. In this case nothing is more
likely than that they should avail themselves of the
Board of Trade. It will be noticed in the next
table, showing the action taken, that in almost
two-thirds of the cases settled under the Act, an
arbitrator was appointed. When dealing with French
legislation we shall learn that exactly the contrary
happened in France, where roughly 80 per cent, of the
oases were settled by conciliation and only 20 per
cent, by arbitration. In France we have already
noticed that voluntary conciliation and arbitration
arc little developed. Hence applications are often
made for arbitration and conciliation under the French
Law of 1892, which in England would have been made
to voluntary boards. Just as in the latter case settle-
ments are almost always effected by conciliation,
80 they are under the French Law. Applications
are usually made to the Board of Trade, only after
attempts at conciliation have failed ; hence it is not
surprising to find that a majority of the cases are
settled by arbitration. In France a first attempt
at a settlement can usually only be made under the
law of 1892, and consequently it is natural to find
that conciliatory methods predominate. Figures
for some of the American State Boards of Mediation
and Arbitration* show us that a very similar state
of affairs exists in the United States as in France,
though in a less marked degree.

* See p. 142,



VOLUNTARY STATE. 113

This difference between Great Britain on the
one hand, and France and the United States on
the other, is also illustrated by the number of in-
terventions made by the Board of Trade, Justices of
the Peace, and the State Boards respectively, without
any application from either party. It will be seen
from the table showing the sources of application,
that the Board of Trade intervened on its own initia-
tive on nine occasions only during seven years, and
that none of these occasions fell in the two years
ending June, 1903. On the other hand, in France
the justices of the peace intervened on nearly
GOO occasions during the eleven years ending
December, 1903, or, in other words, on 40 per cent,
of the occasions in which the Act of 1892 was
put into operation, the initiative came from the
justice of the peace, as compared with 6 per cent,
of all occasions upon which the Conciliation Act
of 1896 was set in motion by the Board of
Trade. Similarly, in the case of the Illinois State
Board, action was taken by the initiative of the
Board in some 50 per cent, of the total cases reported,
and in Massachusetts this figure was even exceeded.
"Whilst these figures undoubtedly speak highly for
the excellent organisation of the English voluntary
system of conciliation and arbitration, one must
remember, when comparing the figures of the different
countries, that the French and American
authorities have always been zealous in offering their
services in cases of dispute, and that the policy of
the Board of Trade has" largely been one of

I



Ill CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

non-intervention, for which they have not infre-
quently been blamed.*

If we turn our attention to the last table, showing
the trades affected by the Act, we shall notice that
the building trade has been more affected by it than
any other two trades put together. Two exjjlana-
tions of this fact may be offered ; in the first place,
the building trade is particularly liable to disputes,
partly owing to the want of clear lines of demarca-
tion among the different branches of the trade, and
partly owing to the great fluctuations in prosperity to
which the trade as a whole is liable ; in the second
place, though this trade possesses numerous trade
boards, the great majority of them are entirely inop-
erative, and the activity of the rest is insufficient to
meet all the requirements.

Before turning our attention to French legislation,
there remains for us to consider, whether, at any time
since the passing of the Conciliation Act of 189G,
there has been any demand for further legislation
in Great Britain. There undoubtedly has been,
and we get it clearly expressed in the following
resolution, carried at the thirty-sixth Trades Union
Congress, held at Leicester in September, 1U03 : —

*' That in the opinion of this Congress, a court shall
be formed, which shall have power to call compulsorily

♦ Mr, G. Howell, in his recent book " Labour Legislation,
etc.," is not of this opinion, however, for he says of the Act :
" Its success has been mainly due to the cautious and care-
ful way it has been administered by the Board of Trade."
p. Uo,



VOLUNTARY STATE. 115

for evidence in any dispute, where the parties have not
agreed to settlement within one month of the duration
of a strike or loclcout. Either side of the disputants,
or a pubUc governing authority, shall have power to call
for an investigation and shall issue a public report,
the latter only to be issued on the ground of disagreement
between the parties concerned. The court to be con-
stituted by equal numbers of employers and Trade Union
representatives, and to be presided over by a chairman
mutually agreed upon, or, failing agreement, the Board
of Trade to appoint one under powers of the present Act.
The court shall be movable, and shall have power
to call for special commissions of investigation and re-
port. This commission to be subsidiary to the central
court of conciliation, but shall, if the parties affected
agree to report and accept decision of the same, settle
the dispute. The subsidiary courts shall be represen-
tative of the industries affected. That the Parliamentary
Committee draft a bill for the purposes aforesaid."

So far nothing appears to have come of this resolu-
tion and at present there is no prospect of the Concilia-
tion Act, 1896, being amended, and it is doubtful
if an amendment, empowering boards of conciliation
to call compulsorily for evidence, will be passed in
the near future, seeing that this is directly opposed to
the recommendations of the Royal Commission on
Labour, though it is true, as we shall see later, that
a somewhat similar proposal has worked success-
fully in Denmark on a small scale.*

* The principal works dealing with English Legislation
have aheady been mentioned above ; namely : the Reports
of the Royal Commission on Labour ; De la Conciliation et
de I'Arbitrage, etc. ; Reports of the American Industrial
Oommission ; the biennial Reports on the Conciliation (Trade
Disputes) Act, 1896 ; Jevons, State in Relation to Labour ;

I 2



IK, CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

French Legislation. — In France a very clear dis-
tinction is drawn between disputes arising out of
the interpretation of existing contracts and those
concerning the terms of future contracts ; and there
are two distinct State methods of settling the two
different classes of disputes. The former have been
settled for almost 100 years by the compulsory
system of the comicils of prud'honimes ; in the case
of the latter, for some twelve years a voluntary
system has existed, by which the Government places
the services of its ofificials at the disposal of disputants
in case of a threatened or existing strike, with the
object of assisting in the settlement of the dispute
by conciliation or arbitration.

Councils of Prud'honimes. The first council was
established by the law of March 18th, 1806, in Lyons.
In the 18th century many of the old corporations,
which had been dissolved in 1791, had had what



and Howell, Labour Legislation, Labour Movements and
Labour Leaders. It is important to add that it is often
neeessary, and also sufficient, to refer to the original statutes.-
In the majority of English works on Arbitration and Oon-
ciliation, the English Legislation on the subject is dealt with,
and it is only necessary to refer the reader to the bibliography
at the end of this essay. It might be mentioned that
the Acts of 1824, 1867 and 1872 are discussed in a short
and concise manner b}^ J. D. Weeks in his Report on the
Practical Working of Arbitration and Conciliation in the
Settlement of the Differences between Employers and Em-
ployees in England. The best and most accessible source
for obtaining information about the agitation for further
English Legislation since 1893 is to be foimd in the Annual
Reports of the London Labour Conciliation and Arbitration
Board,



VOLUNTARY STATE. 117

was known as a common tribimal {trihuval commvM)
for the settlement of disputes, but after 1791 these
had to be referred to justices of the peace, and this
method proved both costly and unsatisfactory.
In 1805, when Napoleon was passing through Lyons,
the silk merchants petitioned him to create some
institution similar to their old " common tribunal,"
and this was done by the Act of the following year.
The council consisted of five merchant manufacturers
and four heads of workshops {chefs d' atelier), them-
selves employers of labour, which practically amounted
to nine employers forming the board. A committee
of two was to be present daily from 11 to 1 at an office
of conciliation, to settle small differences by means
of conciliation whenever possible, and the council
was to meet at least once a week to decide definitely
those matters where conciliation had failed, and not
more than 60 francs were involved. Between 1806
and 1809 councils were established in Rouen, Nimes,
Miilhausen and several other towns.*

By the decree of June 11th, 1809, the procedure
to be followed in the future, in order to create councils,
was definitely fixed. They were to be established
at the request of a Chamber of Commerce or of a
Consultative Chamber of Arts and Manufactures.
The request was to be made to the prefect, who was
to investigate it and forward it to the Minister of
the Interior, who, on being satisfied that the industry
of the town was important enough, would grant it.

♦ These were Avignon, Thiers, Sedan, Carcassonne, Nar-
bonne, Saint-Quentin, Limoux, Rheims and Tarare.



lis CONCILIATION AND AKBITKATION.

This is the method followed more or less to the present
day. By this same decree workmen were allowed
to sit on the councils, but for many years afterwards
the number of manufacturers on the council exceeded
that of the heads of workshops and workmen.

It is not necessary to deal in detail with all the
small reforms which have been introduced into the
councils by legislation* during the course of the 19th
century, but we may at once consider the
present constitution of these councils. They
are created at the request of a local Chamber of
Commerce by a State decree, which specifies the
number of experts {prud' hommes) who are to
form the council — the smallest number being six,
including the presidents, who are elected by the
council from amongst its members — over what district
its jurisdiction is to extend, and what industries
are to be subject to the council. Only those trades,
in which materials undergo transformation, can
elect these councils. The sufirage is given to all
employers, heads of workshops, and workmen over
twenty -five years of age who have resided three years
in the district, and who have engaged in industry for
at least five years. No one can sit upon the council
who is not thirty years of age ; and an equal number
of members are elected by each class. The president
and vice-president must each represent difierent

* The laws of 7tli August, 1850, 1st June, 1853, 4th June,
1864, 7th February, 1880, 23rd February, 1881, 24th Novem-
ber, 1883, and 10th December, 1884, all deal with the CJouncilfl
of Prud'hommes.



VOLUNTARY STATE 119

classes. The term of service of members is six years,
half the members retiring every three years. The
members generally serve without pay, though the
communes may fix rates of remuneration if they
choose to do so. The council is divided into two,
namely : (1) a committee of conciliation {bureau
particidier), consisting of one employer and one
workman, who endeavour to bring the disputants to a
friendly understanding and, (2) a committee of judg-
ment, consisting of a president (an employer) and a
vice-president (a workman), who preside in alternate
months, and two other masters and two other work-
men. All disputes, which have not been settled
by the committee of conciliation, come before the
committee of judgment, which can pass final judg-
ment in all cases arising out of the interpretation
of a contract, not involving more than 200 francs.
If the amount exceeds that sum, an appeal can be
made to the tribunal of commerce.

With regard to the work done by the councils, it
is worth noticing, that the great majority of the
disputes dealt with, are directly concerned with
wages, e.g., questions concerning the exact amount
agreed upon, the time and mode of payment, the
amounts of fines, hours of labour, absences from
work, defective workmanship, apprenticeship, valua-
tion of piece-work and delay in completing task- work.
The most striking feature about the councils is the
preponderance of conciliation. The average
annual number of cases dealt with during the
"eighties" slightly exceeded 40,000, and of



120 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

these two-thirds were settled by conciliation or
withdrawn. At the present time more than 50,000
cases come before the committees of conciliation,
some GO per cent, of the cases are settled
by the committees or withdrawn, and only in about
15 per cent, is final judgment passed.

On several occasions the Chamber of Deputies
have passed bills to alter the existing law with
regard to Councils of Prud'hommes, but in each
instance the Senate has rejected them. The chief
changes proposed are : that experts should be elected
for commerce, agriculture and mining, that the mini-
mum age of electors should be reduced to twenty-one
and that of members to twenty-five, that foremen
and chiefs of workshops should be counted as em-
ployers, that employers and workmen should remain
electors and eligible for membership on the councils
for ten years after retirement, that the franchise should
be extended to women over twenty-one, and that
judgment should be final when the amount involved
does not exceed 2,000 francs. The only suggestions
which the Senate countenances are the extension of
the jurisdiction of the councils to mining, and the
raising of the limit, under which judgment is to be
final, from 200 to 300 francs. It is possible that
some alteration of the existing law may be made in the
future, but so long as the proposals of the Chamber of
Deputies remain as radical as they are at present, there
seems little chance of a compromise being effected.

The Law of December 21th, 1892. — There was
nothing in the^'general law of France to prevent



VOLUNTARY STATE. 121

the parties to a dispute from referring the matter to
another party for settlement. On December 27th,
1892, however, a law was passed for the purpose of
encouraging such references and making provisions
for the means by which it could be done. It provides
that " whenever disputes of a collective char&cter
arise between employers and employees regarding
the condition of employment, they may submit
the question at issue to a board of conciliation, or,
in default of an agreement being arrived at by this
board, to a council of arbitration." In case a dispute
arises, the employers and employees, jointly or
separately, may notify a justice of the peace of this
fact and within twenty-four hours he must inform
the opposing parties or their representatives. If the
parties accept, they must designate the names of the
delegates, not exceeding five in number, whom they
choose, to assist or represent them. The justice of
the peace then invites the delegates to organise a
committee of conciliation, and presides over the
discussions. If an agreement is arrived at, it is set
down in writing and signed by the delegates and the
justice of the peace. If no agreement is arrived at,
the justice of the peace invites each party to appoint
one or more arbitrators, who in their turn, if they
cannot agree, may choose a new one as umpire. If
an agreement is come to at any time by arbitration,
it must be set down in writing, and be signed by the
arbitrators and sent to the justice of the peace.
When a strike occurs and neither party to a dispute
takes the initiative, the justice of the peace may



122 CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION.

invite the employers and workmen to submit their
dispute to arbitration.

Toundcrstandfully the law of December 27th, 1802,
it is necessary to consider along with it the circular
of the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Colonies,
addressed to the Prefects on the application of the
now law, and the circular to the Attorneys-General
(procure (ivs (jen^i'dux) from the Minister of Justice.
The former points out that conflicts between capital
and labour re-^ult, for the greater part, from industrial


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