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W. J. (William James) Ashley.

The adjustment of wages; a study in the coal and iron industries of Great Britain and America online

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*Mr. Ford S. Jobling, Sunderland.

Mr. J. W. Reed, Jarrow.
*Mr. E. Roger, Stockton-on-Tees.
*Mr. C. W. Taylor, South Shields.

Mr. J. W. Thompson, Sunderland.

Mr. A. Laing, Wallsend.

Mr. J. Walker, Newcastle.

Mr. G. O. Wallis, Sunderland.

Emp)loyers' Secretary : Mr.
James Robinson, Clarendon House,
Clayton Street West, Newcastle.



Moulders' Bepresentatives :
Mr. E. Bishop, Gateshead,
Mr. J. Liddle, Hartlepool.
*Mr. James Clasper,

Stockton-on-Tees,
*Mr. Alf. Burn, DarHngton.
*Mr. T. E. Johnstone, Sunderland.
*Mr. R. Lawson, South Shields.

Mr, G. Noble, Jarrow.
*Mr. T. Eeid, Wallsend.
Mr. M. Waddington, Blaydon.
Mr. J. Laidler, Newcastle.
Mr. M. Stoves, Durham.
Moulders' Secretary : Mr.
Arthur Henderson, Windsor Ter-
race, Park Lane, Darlington.



* Members of Standing Committee,
CONSTITUTION AND RULES.

1. Title.— Hhe title of the board shall be ' The Board of
Conciliation for the Ironfounding Industry of the North-East
Coast.'

2. Parties. — The parties to the board are the Associated
Employers of the Tyne, Wear, and Tees and Hartlepool
districts, and the Friendly Society of Iron Founders of Eng-
land, Ireland, and Wales.

3. Constitution. — (a) The board shall consist of eleven
employers and an equal number of moulders' representatives.

(6) Each party shall elect its own representatives to act
on the board, and they shall be deemed to have power to bind
their respective constituents.

The representatives so elected shall from their own



X 2



3o8 THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES



number elect five representatives to act on the standing
committee named in Sub-section C.

(c) The standing committee shall consist of five employers
and an equal number of moulders annually elected as afore-
said.

(cZ) The board shall from their number annually elect a
chairman who shall be an employer, and a vice-chairman
who shall be a moulder.

(e) In addition to the standing committee provided by
Sub- section C, the chairman and vice-chairman of the board
shall be ex-officio members of the same, and when present at
any meeting of the standing committee shall occupy the
chair by virtue of their office.

(/) No matter or question before the board shall be sub-
mitted to vote unless by mutual agreement of both parties.

4. Objects.— The object of the board is to regulate general
advances or reductions in the wages of the moulders ; but any
other general question may by common consent be brought
before the board.

If any question arises which one of the parties considers
it desirable to submit to the board, although the question
may not be of a general nature, the same may be submitted
by the secretary of the one party to the secretary of the other
party to be considered ; and if both parties agree, it may
thereafter be brought before the board.

There shall be no stoppage of work in the nature of a
strike or lock-out ; and pending the decision of the board
upon any question, all working conditions shall be those
current at time of notice given.

5. Notice. — Four weeks' notice in writing, terminating on
a total time day, shall be given by the secretary of one party
to the secretary of the other party, of any question intended
to be dealt with by the board.

6. Treatment. — All questions shall in the first instance be
referred to the standing committee, who shall investigate
and endeavour to settle the same. In the event of the stand-
ing committee being unable to settle a question, it shall, as
early as possible, be referred to the entire board,

7. Meetings. — A meeting of the standing committee



SLIDING SCALES 309

shall be called, after notice in writing, stating the business to
be transacted thereat, given by the secretary or secretaries
of one party to the secretary or secretaries of the other
party. Such meeting shall be held not earlier than seven
days, nor later than fourteen days, after receipt of notice of a
question as provided in Eule 5. But the parties may mutu-
ally agree to alter time of meeting.

8. Quorum. — Not less than three representatives for each
party, inclusive of the chairman or vice-chairman of the
board, shall constitute a quorum for a meeting of the
standing committee ; not less than six representatives
for each party a quorum at any general meeting of the
board.

9. Workmg Expenses. — Each party shall bear costs and
expenses of its own representatives, and the other expenses
incidental to the ordinary working of the board shall be
borne equally by both parties.

10. First Board. — The first board shall be formed as
early as possible, and continue in office till December 3,
1895. On that day the board shall meet to pass the
accounts and close the business of the past year ; and the
new board shall then proceed to elect chairman and vice-
chairman for the next twelve months.

Names of representatives to act both on the board and
the standing committee, together with name and addresses
of secretaries, shall be handed in at the first and any
subsequent annual meeting of the board. Any change in the
rules or constitution of the board, of which at least four
weeks' previous notice in writing has been given by one party
to the other, may then be considered and disposed of as
deemed most expedient.

11. Death, dc. — If any representative die, resign, or
otherwise cease to be qualified, another shall be appointed
within four weeks, and should any representative be un-
able to attend a meeting, a substitute may attend in his
stead.

12. Beferences. — Failing settlement by the board of any
question referred to it by the standing committee, the same
may, by common consent, be submitted to three disinterested



3IO THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES

gentlemen mutually approved by the board, the decision of
whom, or of the majority of whom, shall be binding and con-
clusive. But if the board fail to agree in the choice of three
gentlemen willing to act, each party shall elect its own
referee, and the two referees so elected shall nominate a
third to sit with them, and their decision, or the decision of
the majority of them, shall in like manner be binding and
conclusive.

13. Proceedings on a 'Reference. — Upon any submission
or reference under the board, the referees shall arrange the
place, day, and hour of hearing, and may adjourn as to them
may seem most expedient. It shall be competent for either
side to present its case by a legal adviser, but notice of
intention so to do shall be given to the other party at least
seven days before the hearing. It shall, however, not be
obligatory upon the party receiving such notice to send the
like to the other party.

Both parties are to obey notices of meetings issued by the
referee, and to attend the same.

Any facts, considerations, or elements, may by mutual
consent be agreed upon or eliminated from any reference.

The referees may examine any witness or witnesses on
oath, or may allow any fact or facts to be proved by affidavit,
provided that a copy of or the substance of an affidavit to be
used at any reference shall be sent by the party intending to
use it to the other party at least five clear days before the
hearing day.

The cost and expenses of a reference shall be in the
discretion of the referees, who may order that the same be
paid equally by both parties, or that either party bear
the whole or any particular part or parts of the entire costs.

Overtime Begulations for Tyne, Wear, and Tees Foundries,
Agreed to on November 1, 1894.

The employers undertake to discountenance systematic
overtime as much as possible.

Overtime to be paid for at the same rates as at present,
but to be subject to the following restrictions : —



SLIDING SCALES 311



New Work. — No man to be required to work more than
sixty-five hours in any one week, nor more than 230 hours in
any four weeks calculated from total time to total time.

Commercial Bepairs. — No man to be required to work
more than sixty-five hours per week, but systematic overtime
to be avoided.

Break- downs in Blant or usual Shop Bepairs. — Accord-
ing to previous custom, and therefore exempt from above
restrictions, but overtime under this head to be discoun-
tenanced as much as possible.

Definitions.

For the purpose of computing overtime the following
definitions are adopted : —

Neio Work. — That all work required in the construction
of ships, engines, machinery, or other work appertaining to
the engineering trade, or work required for a complete renewal
of the same, shall be classed as new work. Converting old
engines and supplying new engines to old ships shall be
classed as new work.

Commercial Bepairs. — That all work required in the
repairs of ships, engines, machinery, or other work apper-
taining to the engineering trade that does not require a
complete renewal, shall be classed as commercial repairs.

It is agreed that the above overtime regulations do not
apply in case of emergency or necessity, such as the closing
of a mould or casting, or when the work is in such an
advanced state as to necessitate its completion without expos-
ing it to the danger of being spoiled.

(Signed) A. Noble, Chairiiian, Conciliation Board.
T. E. Johnstone, Vice- Chairman.

T. ScARTH J Delegates,

Arthur Henderson, )

Friendly Society of Iron Founders.



312 THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES



VI.— IRON AND STEEL IN THE UNITED STATES:
JOINT AGREEMENTS, &c.

1. Statement conceening the Sliding Scale in the Iron
AND Steel Industry and concerning Wages, 1837-97.

Presented by Mr. Garland, late President of the Amalga-
mated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of America,
to the United States Industrial Commission, March 6,
1899.

The diversities of wages and methods of payment to the
working classes for labour of the present century are so
complex that it would require much study of each trade and
calling in each part of the country to get at the origin of the
controlling cause of the present wages.

A part of the functions of organised labour is to arrange
a specific price for labour for each position and the material
or ware worked, and to curtail the supply of labour so far as
possible except at this specified price. The demand for labour
controls the employer to a large degree in the acceptance of
the price established by organised labour ; but if the trade or
locality be unorganised, the natural law of supply and demand
asserts full sway, and the necessities of starving humanity
during times of depression and a surplus of labour alone forms
the basis of minimum of wage, while in times of prosperity
the necessity of the employer fixes the maximum. The
simple idea of giving and getting employment at a stated sum
per day, without specific agreement as to time and continu-
ance, gives assurance to neither employer nor employee. The
employer may attempt to reduce wages at any time that
conditions or climatic changes are favourable, and may refuse
to advance the wages when prosperity warrants him in doing
so. On the other hand, the employee may demand better
pay when conditions may not warrant it, or on the eve of a
depression in prices. In fact, he is quite likely to do so, as
he judges of ability to get more by past prosperity rather
than by considering the future.

Fixing wages for a period of time by agreement, while



SLIDING SCALES 313



being in advance of the system just described, inasmuch as it
does not permit unwarrantable demands by either, does not
give the possibility of sharing in prosperity by the workmen
when the advanced price of the article warrants the payment
of a better wage ; and a system that does not give a share of
prosperity to those who create the wealth of the land as well
as those who hold the wealth, certainly cannot be recom-
mended as the means of harmony.

Sliding scales, as they have been termed, are, in our
estimation, a step in advance of any system now in use. The
wages of the iron and steel worker have been based on and
determined by this plan till 1866, and in fact the iron and
steel workers claim to be the pioneers of the sliding-scale
system. As a test of its efficiency, when fair employers are
concerned, we recall to mind some of the most successful
firms in the iron and steel trade that have been treating with
labour in this way during all that period and who partici-
pated in drawing up the conditions of the first sliding scale.

Since its first adoption by the iron and steel workers, new
features have been introduced from time to time, as it was
necessary to adjust the system to new conditions as they
arose. Under this system of sliding scale a rate of wages is
agreed upon for each position, to be governed by the scale,
and then a selling price for the material is selected as being a
fair minimum price while that particular rate of wages is
paid ; a percentage of advance in the selling price of material
is then listed as requiring a slight percentage of advance in
the wages of the men in the several positions. The ratio of
advance in wages is thus listed with the advance in material
until the probable highest figure the material will sell at has
been reached. A corresponding reduction of wages is agreed
to as the material recedes in price. But a minimum price is
agreed to as representing a stoppmg point in the decline in
wages ; and although the employer is free to sell his material
lower than the minimum, he is not permitted a further
reduction in wages. Certainly there can be no plan more
equitable than one under which, when the price of material or
goods goes up, the labourer's wages advance as well ; and if
prices fall, he shares in the decline. But to adopt this



314 THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES

system without establishing a minimum to its downward
tendency shifts the effect described in disorganised trades and
localities from advantage taken of necessity to advantage
taken because of competition in trade, or, in other words, from
wanton attack to competitive manipulation.

Experience in the sliding scale has taught that a cheapen-
ing in price may be the means of enhancing the profit of the
employer and reducing the wages of labourers at one and the
same time, unless proper safeguards are embodied. As an
instance of this, the discovery of the great steel ore mines in
the Masaba and other ranges of mountains in the North-west
has had a very decided effect in reducing the price of both
steel and iron. This is due to the fact that before these
discoveries were made steel ore was not found in plenty and
was expensive to mine and haul. These new mines were
easily operated, and created an abundance of ore in market,
introduced new and improved methods of handling, created
competition in the hauling lines and built new ones, and gave
to ore buyers a cheaper material. This enabled the manufac-
turers to convert this cheaper ore into pig iron and sell to the
steel or iron rolling mills and yet retain their former margin
or even a greater margin, as it suited them, to give to the
consumer or not the benefit of the difference in the cost of
ore. The same rule can be carried on by the manufacturer who
purchases the pig iron and transforms it into steel or iron, as
the case may be. The sliding scale, by reason of the cheap-
ening of the article, would of necessity reduce wages to the
minimum established. And were there none established, the
wage-earner would be reduced to the extreme limit governed
by the prosperity of the employer.

One of the advantages, and perhaps one of the chief
advantages, of the sliding- scale system is the bringing together
of employer and employee in conference and discussion of
trade, duties, conditions, prospects, and ability to pay a fair
wage. The intricacies and details of the sliding scale re-
quired full investigation into all these points and many
others. After all, it is the getting together of employer and
employee with fair intentions that cultivates reason on both
sides. . . .



SLIDING SCALES



315



Comparison of Scale, Selling Rate, and Material for
Past Years.



Year


Month


Selling
price
bar
iron

per ton


Pud-
dling
rates


Bar

mill
heating

and
rolling


Selling
price
24 G.
sheet


Rolling
price
24 G.
sheet


Tin
plate

box 10,
full

weight


Rolling
10,
full

weight






%


$


$


%


§


$


%


1837







7.00













1838








7.00

















1839








6.50

















1840








6.00

















1841








5.50

















1842








5.00

















1844





89.92


5.00

















1845





95.75


6.00

















1846





91.66


6.00

















1847





86.04


6.00

















1848





79.33


6.00

















1849





67.50


6.00





- —











1850





59.54


4.50

















1851





54.66


4.50

















1852





58.79


4.50



















October


56.00


4.50

















1853


March


100.80


4.50


.70
















June .


100.80


4.50


.70 —













September .


78.40


5.00


.70 1 —





■ —





1854


>i


78.40


5.00


.70 , —











1855


February


78.40


4.00


.75 1 —













March


67.20


4.00


.75 i -













May .





5.50


.75 1 -











1856


March


61.60


4.50


.621 —











1857


February


95.20


4.50


.75'! —











1858


)j •


95.20


3.50


.62^ —













Noveraber .





3.25


.62^ —











1859


March


95.20


3.75


.60
















October


61.60


3.75


.60














1860


February .


50.40


3.75


.62i —













May .


95.20


3.75


.621 _













July . .


89.60


3.75


.62^
















August


95.20


3.75


.621
















September .


95.20


3.75


.62|
















December .





4.00


.62^














1861


January


50.40


4.00


.60
















February





3.75


.60














October


50.40


3.56


.60












1862


April .


100.80


4.00


.70
















July .


61.60


4.50


.70
















August


67.20


4.50


.70
















September .





5.00


.70
















October


72.80


5.00


.70
















December .


89.60


5.00


.70














1863


February .


95.20


5.50


.70
















April .








.70















3i6



THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES



Comparison of Scale, Selling Rate, &c. — continued.



Year


Mouth


Selling
price
bar
iron

per ton


Pud-
dling
rates


Bar
mill

heating

and
rolling


Selling
price
24 G.
sheet


Rolling
price
24 G.
sheet


Tin
plate
box 10,

full
weight


Rolling

10,

full
weight






%


%


%


$


$


%


%


1863


May .





6.00


.90













August


95.20


6.00


.90












September .


95.20


6.00


.90





— i —







December .


123.20


6.58


.90





— —





1864


January


134.40


6.50


.90





— ■ —







February


134.40


6.50


.90





— 1 —







March


145.60


6.50


1.25





— 1 —







May .


156.80


7.00


1.25














156.80


7.50


1.25














June .


156.80


8.00


1.25















September .


156.80


9.00


1.25















December .


168.00


9.00


1.20





— —





1866


January





8.00


1.20
















March


123.20


7.00


1.00











. —




April .








1-00
















May .





6.00



















August


103.48


5.75



















September .


123.20


8.00

















1866


July . .


112.00


8.00


1^

o
















November .


112.00


9.00















1867


August


100.80


8.00


%t


. — .












October


95.20


7.50


9 g
















)> •


95.20


7.25


\Vi














1868


January





6.75


-2 5!
















February


78.40


6.75


35
















March


84.00


6.75


ce














1869





78.40


6.75


\p








— —


1870


June .


72.80


6.25


.80








— —


1871


July . .


72.80


6.25


.80
















September .


78.40


6.50


.80














1872


January
February .


85.12
92.96


6.75
7.00


.80
.80











z




March


100.80


7.50


.80


— .













April .


107.52


7.75


.80
















July .


112.00


8.00


.80















August


112.00


8.00


.80
















September .


116.48


8.00


.80
















December .


103.04


7.50


.80














1873


June .


85.12


6.75


.86
















October


73.92


6.25


.86





— .








1874


March


67.20


6.00


.68















December .


56.00


6.00


.68













1875


January


56.00


6.00


.68
















August


56.00


5.50


.68
















November .


56.00


5.50


.68














1876


March


56.00


4.75


.70





. —










April .


56.00


4.75


.70















SLIDING SCALES



317



CoMPAEisoN OF ScALE, SELLING Eate, &c. — Continued.






Selling
price


Pad-


Bar

mm


3eUing


Elolling


Tin

plate


Jelling


Year


Month


bar
iron
per ton


dling heating
rates and
rolling


price
24 G.

sheet


price
24 G.
sheet


DOX IC,

full
weight


IC,

fuU

weight






%


$


%


%


$


$


$


1876


June .




5.00


.70 —








1877


February


44.80 1


5.00


.65 —













April .


39.20 5.00


.65 —













» . . !


44.80 5.00


.65 —













October


44.80


5.00


.65
















December .


44.80


5.00


.65














1878


January


44.80 !


5.00


.65
















December .


44.80 1


5.00


.65 ]














1879


January


39.20


5.00


.65
















"


35.84


5.00


.65
















July . . 1


42.56 !


5.00


.65 ,
















August


56.00


5.00


.65 !
















September .


67.20


5.50


.65
















December .


76.16


5.50


.65














1880


January


78.40


6.00


.721
















February


89.60 :


7.00


.91
















March


89.60


7.00


.91
















April .


71.68


5.70


.68
















May .


56.00


5.00


.65


4.30


8.00










August


50.40


5.50


.65


4.30


8.00










September .


50.40


5.50


•65


4.30


8.00










October


50.40


5.50


.65


4.30


8.00










November .


50.40


5.50


.65


4.30


8.00










December .


50.40


5.50


.65


4.30


8.00








1881


January


50.40


5.50


.65


4.00


8.00










11


47.04


5.50


.65 i 4.00


8.00










February .


47.04


5.50


.65


4.00


8.00










Online LibraryW. J. (William James) AshleyThe adjustment of wages; a study in the coal and iron industries of Great Britain and America → online text (page 26 of 31)