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Triple Alliance of Industrial
Trade Unionism



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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




Library
3iifltitute of Industrial Ralationfl










NEW EDITION

The Significance & Fossibilities National & International

for Industry, Commerce. Finance, Politics and

Trade Unionism

THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE




OF



Industrial Trade Unionism

IS IT THE ENGLISH EQUIVALENT OF THE
RUSSIAN COUNCIL OF DEPUTIES?

BY

GEORGE R. /garter, M.A.,

(formerly university research worker at the
london school of economics)

WITH

INTRODUCTORY PREFACE

BY

J. H. THOMAS, M.R.,

(GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF RAILWAY-
MEN, AND TREASURER OF THE TRIPLE INDUSTRIAL
ALLIANCE).



2nd IMPRESSION.



PRICE 3d. ; Post Free 4d.




HUDDERSFIELD:

The Advertiser Press Ltd., Printers, Page Street.

1917.




THE INCOME TAX ON WAGES.

WHAT INCOME TAX IS, and what Income is Liable to the Tax!
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By H. W. HOUGHTON. A.G.I.S. Edited by GEORGE R. GARTER, M.A.

PREFACE BY

JAMES PARKER, Esq., M.P.,

LORD COMMISSIONER OF THE TREASURY



EARNED and UNEARNED INCOME liable to Tax;

ABATEMENTS, ASSESSMENTS. ALLOWANCES for EXPENSES;

APPEALS AND REPAYMENTS;

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS on DIFFICULTIES;

SPECIMEN FORMS duly completed, &c.

Compiled from Returns of Trade Unions; the Instructions of Income Tax
Authorities and Acts of Parliament.

Revised to include the 1917 BUDGET Regulations.
PRICE 1/-, Post Free 1/2.



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which has arranged for A WAGE-EAfWING TAX-PAYERS' SECTION with a
Consultative Committee including officials of leading Trade Unions, and for
Parliamentary Reference for General Grievances, and for STRICTLY CONFI-
DENTIAL ADVICE on Individual Difficulties to members of the Association.

For particulars, Handbook, Diary and Tables, apply to the Hon. Sec. :

4 Norwood Road, BIrkby, Huddensfield.



AUTHOR'S FOREWORD TO 2nd EDITION.,,

THE TRIPLK AIJJANCE OF INDUSTRIAL TRADE UNIONISM.
Progress and Possihiuties.

In order to indicate the nature and vast possibilities of the 'J'riple Industrial
Alliance the first Edition of this booklet was issued; its rapid circulation within
cne month of issue encourages the author to believe that some, at any rate, of the
opinions expressed meet with considerable sympathy. Some according the latter,
suggested slight alteration in form of the second edition.

Recent events have proved that Re-construction in Industry, Commerce,
Finance, Social and Political Activities, must be -preceded by organisation, co-
ordination, and the intelligent impulse of the individual stimulated by Education.
lo emancipate Humanity from the holocaust of War, economic and social evils, to
achieve the Commonweal, the individuaV s powers of thought and initiative must
be developed and also the means of organising and co-ordinating the co-operating
action between individual persons and organisations.

In both respects, the T.I. A. has justified itself. It has stimulated constructive
thought and co-ordinating action, within the individual mind, the Trade Union
and the Co-operative movement. Hence the present efforts for ' union by industry '
in the metal, transport, and textile trades, the fusion schemes among the oft-neglected
Cinderellas of Trade Unionism and of the nation — the general labourers; the ' triple
alliance,' for co-ordinate action between the Co-operative Movement, Trade
Unionism, and political Labour is an accomplished fact in Scotland, and a proposal
for even the English Co-operative Congress, 1917. Trade Unions are looking to
' organisation by industry ' and action with the Alliance as a pivot for policy in
the future. Thus the Postal and Telegraph Clerk's Association prepares means
" which will facilitate its inclusion into what is at present known as the Triple
Industrial Alliance." The latter would then affect another vital ' key ' industry — • .
mines, railways, general transport, postal and telegraphic communcation.

What could an organisation like the Alliance not do, especially if a pivot for
action by the unions of working producers and the co-operative organisations of
consumers ! The past success of the Alliance is an indication that even the dullest
can see a hole in a ladder. To whose demobilisation scheme did Mr. Asquith gi -'e
such careful consideration and promises? Why was the attempt at sectional
nationalisation of the coalfields. South Wales first, abandoned (divide the miners
and rule). Why were millers ordered by telegraph to supply flour to a Co-operative
Society (boycotted because it dared sell bread cheaply) immediately after a member
of the Triple Alliance made complaint? Why was surrender made to the South
Wales miners four times successively in 18 months? A resolution of the T.I.A.
calling a Delegate Conference of the members states that it •' observes with
misgiving the various signs of attempts to introduce by gradual stages the
principle of Industrial Compulsion, and warns the responsible authorities against
the dangers of any efforts, open or hidden, to destroy the influence of trade
unionism by labour conscription ; and declares that for every reason which could
be adduced in favour of conscription of men, ten could be given in favour of the
Conscription of Wealth and Property.'''' (Italics mine.)

And as a matter of hard fact, is Money to be deemed more sacred than Human
Lifel Surely not, unless we are to be savages worshipping Gold, yet " civilising
the heathen " by missionary efforts not always deemed necessary at home.

This resolution indicates the boomerang nature of policies of Prussian type.
Witness its effects in Russia. It illustrates also a fact not yet sufficiently
appreciated by any section of the community — the organisations of miners (who
inspired) and their colleagues in the Alliance's ideal of co-ordination are the most
effective guardian of democratic ideals.



923r?5S



And why? The Triple Industrial Alliance has a constructive policy of
deliberate procedure and vast economic and ■politico-economic fowers on the
very throttle controlling the vital sources and nerve centres of national life. It
was this control o/ vital economic and military functions that made the Council of
Deputies of Soldiers and Workmen supreme in Russia. It is this economic and
politico-economic power to paralyse that commands the situation. Similar organisa-
tions to the T.I.A. in every country, acting in concert, could, if they so willed, make
war as impossible as the continuance of economic, social, and political injustice.

And in the heart of hearts this is known ; the rank and file of the miners know
it, the railway and transport workers, even the craft unions and Co-operative Move-
ments (always hard to move) are realising this; and the dilettante and bureaucrats,
despite narrowed vision, are seeing the light. The ' General Federation of
Employers ' is also a sign of the times.

The T.I.A. is the most practicable policy yet put forward for achieving the
Commonweal, the Co-operative Commonweal of Humanity ; if it can inspire the
rank and file, and co-ordinate the efforts of all and organisations seeking a better, ;i
real civilisation.

Similar advances in every nation opens the way to Internationalism (of land,
materials, routes, as well as merely political and human) ; and this is the only
alternative to war ad infinitum.

The Transport Workers' Federation — a partner in the T.I.A., has already
declared its " continued belief in the principles of international solidarity of
labour." The miners are international by instinct and traditional policy.

The Message to the Peoples of the World from the Russian Council of Workers
and Soldiers is : " The time has come to begin a decisive struggle against the
conquest aspirations of the Governments of all Countries. The time has come for
the peoples to take into their hands the decisions of the questions of war and peace.
Workers of all countries, in extending to you a fraternal hand over mountains ot
brothers^ corpses, across rivers of innocent blood and tears, and through the smoking
ruins of towns and villages and the destroyed treasures of civilisation, we summon
you to a renewal and strengthening of International Unity.'''

Xe.xt to the Miners' Federation of C-reat Britain there is no other organisation
which could do more than the Alliance to realise for the World and for Humanity
the Safe Watchword of ' Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.' These are the forces that
can please Mr. Lloyd George by adopting the advice he gave : — " I believe the
settlement after the war will succeed in proportion to its Audacity. . . . There-
fore, what I should be looking forward to \ am certain, if I could have presumed
to have been the adviser of the working classes, would be this : I should say to
them. Audacity is the thing for you." We must ' Wait and See ' what we shall see.
Meantime Mr. Law confesses he has drawn 47% on Shipping Shares.

GEORGE R. CARTER.



4, Norwood Road,
Huddersfield.



Ill



AUTHOR'S FOREWORD.

TO THE FIRST EDITION.



Part of this booklet appeared in the Journal of the Royal Economic
Society, in September, 1910. It is re-printed in the present form as the result of
requests from a number of directions, and with the kind permission accorded by the
Editor of the Economic Journal — J. M. Keynes, Esq., M.A. The author also deems
himself fortunate in securing the favour of a Preface written by J. H. Thomas, Esq.,
M.P., the new General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymea and
Treasurer of the Triple Industrial Alliance. For Mr. Thomas is known throughout
the Kingdom as the strong advocate of constructive Trade Union policies. lati-
mately associated with his work, for the nation and not merely for orgaaised
Labour, must always be the organisation of railwaymen into a compact nationai
" Industrial Union " in place of the former heterogenous medley of workers and
unions.

The success of the N.U.R. since its formation, its value to the State as an
organisation facilitating the latter's relations with railwaymen in maintaining
essential war services afford sufficient evidence of the sound and statesmanlike policy
which led to its formation.

The broad-minded policy of " Constructive" Trade Unionism which has
marked the wonderful growth of the N.U.R., the Miners' Federation of Great
Britain and the National Transport Workers' Federation has certainly animated
the development of their " fusion of forces " in the Triple Industrial Allance.
This is all the more encouraging because the trend of Trade Union affairs generally,
and especially in the T.U. Congresses, has previously indicated stagnation and
incapacity as regards the evolution of any broad constructive policy for reorganis-
ing industrial forces. The old-established ' respectable ' craft unions in particular
seemed to revolve in their usual orbit, with routine unvaried save for an occasional
strike or conflict with one of the newer " industrial " fighting unions.

The disputes between the " craft " unions and the " industrial " unions as to
demarcation of spheres, overlapping, and so on, has smouldered for years, breaking
into flame annually at the T.U. Congress, the pendulum-like decisions of which only
added fuel to the fire. The lack of a central co-ordinating authoritative organis-
ation within trade unionism has aggravated the weakening of the latter, as a
national force for reconstructing industrial, social, or political life through the
internal conflicts of sectionalism, skilled v. unskilled, craft union v. industrial
union, federation v. federation.

The formation of the Triple Industrial Alliance has brought matters to a head.
It is a decided advance for the Industrial Unions advocating organisation by
industries on a national scale. Also, at the 1916 Congress the increased voting
power of the M.F.G.B. removed the alleged General Federation of Trade Unions
from the T.U. Joint Committee directing the T.U. Congress and the Labour
Party. The latter's functions must remain mainly political; the Congress is much
of a casual, general meeting and unwieldy at that, the General Federation may
amble along awhile with even less " Kick and Yield " than formerly as a kind of
financial cow which affiliated trade unions try to avoid feeding but to milk dry
despite its avowed sterility.

The plain fact is that there is an urgent need, national and industrial, as well
as a trade unionist, that organised Labour in the United Kingdom should have a
pivot, some authoritative central organisation, co-ordinating, consolidating and
directing trade union activities and resources in general; the initiative of industrial
unions could also thereby be developed to the full; organisation is an essential
preliminary.

The question naturally arises can such central organisation be developed from
the policy of which the Triple Industrial AUiance is so powerful a nucleus. As the
succeeding description of the latter indicates, the allied unions have the strategic
position, the industrial power, the vast potentialities that give it a dominating
position not merely in trade unionism, but in the economic and political affairs of
the nation, nay, of the world.



IV

Already the inclusion of other big unions, saj' Textile, has been mooted. As
the President of the Alliance remarks : — '" It may well be found advisable later on
to extend the scope of the Alliance in the general interests of Labour as a whole
(page 12). No wonder even the staid ' craft unions ' have taken fright at last for
one of the most stolid — the Ironfounders — has suggested a scheme for co-operative
action with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers.

Whether the T.I. A. develops as a central organisation of Trade Unionism or
not, in its present sphere its T.U. possibilities are vast (p. 14). There is need for
a re-shuffle and re-grouping of T.U. forces on logical group bases.

'I"he ' national ' possibilities of the T.I. A. are equally vital. Nearly two million
workers in essential ' key ' industries I Could the community, let alone the State
authorities, resist such a force, determined, vigorous, well lead and also well
organised. The collapse of the country before these very unions in the strikes of
l'Jl"2-ll, that is even previous to their alliance, and the surrender four times consecutively
since July, 11)15, to one section alone (the South Wales Miners' Federation) supplies
the ready answer. Also consider the increased importance of the miners, railwaymen
and transport workers if the State takes over their industries permanently, or if the
Channel Tunnel is constructed.

The nation cannot blink at the hard fact that iJie T.I. A. may become an in-
valuable acting fartner or a vitally dangerous opponenl of the State itself. Neither
can the .State risk allowing itself to become involved in what Mr. J. II. Thomas, in
his Preface, rightly describes as the '" great catastrophe which would follow a
lonflict between Capital and the Triple Industrial .\lliance." \ et this is what the
policy of drift and materialistic industry, commerce, finance and politics inevitably
lead to ; especially so after the complications of demobilisation set in.

The " industrial revolution " in South ^^'ales shows already the dangers of
" the soulless, dehumanised, commercial machine for the extraction of gold from
Labour," described by even the Times, November 22nd, 1916. " The wage earners
in South Wales demand a human interest and an intelligent share (something
besides the mere cash links) in the working of their industry. If not 'taken into
the business on part terms,' the Syndicalist will force his sectional, narrow, com-
munity-neglecting policy of the ' Mines for the Miners,' the ' Railways for the
Railwaymen,' and ' Five per Cent Terminable Annuity for Capital.' The Coal
Mines Act has already conceded the miners a large share in management as regards
safety conditions."

Compare the attitude of the Clyde shipbuilders : — •

" Recently the shipbuilding employers on the Clyde told the Covernment that
the only way to accelerate the completion of cargo steamers was by the introduction
of total prohibiticm of intoxicants.

"The workmen's federation (representative of 97.000 Clyde workers) has
rt'j^iicd that the essential steps required are these : —

" 1. A more stringent organisation of the industrs , which can be attained
by the workers having a share in the control and management through direct
representation ;

" 2. The annexation of all profits derived from building vessels which arc
necessary for the security of the Empire ;

" 3. The complete control by the State of all the ships of this country,
thus ensuring their utilisation for the national needs and not for private
profits ; and

" 4. State accjuisition of the licjuor trade. The entire elimination of
private enterprise W(Hild effectually control excesses and C(mduce to greater
efficiency."
U'ncontroUed " officialdom nationalisation " without a voice for the workers

in the industry, the Unions will not have because they distrust routine, soulless

bureaucracy as a substitute for capitalistic control.

A change of the industry system, of the " wage system " of working is neces-
sary. The most likely solution seems to be a compromise behveen the three now con-
■flicting interests of the commnnity :— The State, us representing the community of
citizens and consumers ; the Trade Unions, as representing labour and the



producing workers, Co-oferative organisation of Commercial and Financial Interests as repre-
senting enterprise and capital. l^nless industrial discontent is to precipitate
industrial, social, and perhaps political revolution, there must be adopted some
reasonable, practicable middle way of co-operation, i.e., the delegation under a
democratic, representative authority of the State, of control of the various essential
industries to groups of employers and employees therein, where they are organised
with sufficient stability and completeness. There must be industrial or economic
as well as political Devolution and Self-Government.

An essential preliminarv is obviously organisation and development of the three
possible partners in another national " Triple Alliance " — a National Co-operative
Production and Distribution I'nlimited. From such an angle of view the present
war exj)eriments with such co-operative procedure made by the State, and the
structure of voluntary co-operative organisations are thus to be welcomed as index
methods; and the T.I. A. takes on a character more vital to the nation than even its
Trade Union position as a " bulwark for the wage-eorners against materialistic
industry, commerce and finance."

Xay, more, s.me there are who, with true prophetic instinct, look even further,
especially among the miners, who have long been strong advocates of " inter-
nationalism." political, social and industrial. Such alleged " visionaries " regard
with approval the comments of the Detroit P'ree Press on the improved organisation
of the wage-earners as a means whereby the latters' representation in Peace Con-
gresses, foreign political relations, may prevent secret diplomatic intrigues from
again leading humanity into the slaughter house: — '' If the working men of the
world were as determined upon universal peace as they are ujjdu higher wages,
the riyht hour law, and the recognition of the Unions, war wnuld ha\e been
abolished many years ago.

This ideal can be realised only through organisation. Hence may the Triple
Industrial Alliancs prove a nucleus of such development till Tennyson's wonderful
prophecy be fulfilled : —

" For I dip't into the future, far as human eye could see,

Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens filled with commerce, argosies of magic sails.

Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales ;

Heard the heavens frll'd with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew,

From the nation's airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south wind rushing warm.

With the standards of the peoples, plunging thro' the thunderstorm ;

Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer and the battle flags were fnrl'fl

In the Parliament of men, the Federation of the \\'orld."

GEORGF R. CARTER.



VI

PREFACE.

Modern industrial conditions made a change in Trade Union
Structure and Methods inevitable. During the past 15 or 20 years
we have seen the gradual growth of monster monopolies and the dis-
appearance of the thousands of competing companies with which trade
unions had formerly to deal. Competition is dying out; the chief
industries are now almost entirely controlled by a few great magnates.
A survey of the Mines, Railways, and Shipping of Great Britain will at
once reveal the great changes that are taking place — even at an
accelerated pace, since the outbreak of war. These great monopolies
are riot STATE, but CAPITALIST Institutions; their predominant
motive is — not the welfare of their employees, neither is it the provision
of services or commodities for the community, but it is divdends for
shareholders.

At one time Trade Unions could bargain with local employers with
considerable success — the competition in the industry having not a little
to do with the result. But accompanying the elimination of competition
and the pooling of resources we found employers much more stubborn
when treating with organised labour. These gigantic concerns, taking -
advantage of their monopoly, began speeding up and resisting every
effort on the part of the workmen to improve their conditions. Who
does not remember the grave industrial unrest of 1911-1912-1913? And
the many transport workers' strikes, the National Railway Strike, the
Miners' Strike, and so on? Trade Unionism was then on its trial; its
very existence was in the balance. The National Strike had to be
resorted to.

Apart from the immediate results of these unprecedented, strikes,
the notable feature is the many valuable lessons learned by the rank and
file of the workers. They saw that sectional unionism had become
obsolete, and that even occupational unions would have to be put into
the melting pot and recast. Not only must future organisation be on
industrial lines, and in marking off the units of industry paying some
regard to the employer, but there must be co-operation between the
various industrial unions. It has been experienced that a big dispute
in one industry affects certain othcM" industries almost as much as if they
were actual combatants. Is there any wonder, then, at the Fusion of
Forces of the Railway Trade Unions — and the creation of the Triple
Industrial Alliance?

It was only on these lines that Labour could continue to bargain
with Capital on anything like equal terms. Thanks to past experience
and foresight, workers in the Mining and Transport Industries have a
powerful weapon in the Triple Alliance. Let us hope that in the future
wise counsels will prevail, and that the natural desire of the workers for
the highest possible standard of life shall be gratified, as far as the
present capitalist svstem can do it, and so stave off the great catastrophe
which would follow a conflict between Capital and the Triple Industrial
Alliance.

London, J. H. THOMAS.

December, 1916.



THE TRIPLE INDUSTRIAL ALLIANCE.
Its National and Trade-Union Significance.



The war has caused great chang^es in the " news value " of current
events, matters of vital economic significance have been overshadowed
by political and military events. Thus little reference has been made
in the Press to the formation of the " triple industrial alliance " between
the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, the National Union of Railwav-
men, and the National Transport Workers' Federation — three of the
strong-est trade unions in the couiilry. This important event is more


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Online LibraryGeorge R CarterThe triple alliance of industrial trade unionism → online text (page 1 of 4)