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Statistique des grèves en Belgique, 1901-1905. Office du Travail,
Ministère de l'Industrie et du Travail. 1907. lix, 243 pp.
This is the second quinquennial report on strikes issued by the Belgian labor bureau. A summary of the data contained in the first report, embracing the period from 1896 to 1900, is given in the Twenty-first Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, pages 812 to 817.
The present volume, which is substantially in the same form as the first report, consists of an introduction and analysis, giving the main results and a description of the methods used, general detailed tables, summary tables, and notes in regard to the most important strikes. In the detailed tables a list is given of all strikes, classified for each year by main branches of industries, and for each strike is given the following information: Industry, locality, cause or object, number of establishments involved in the strike, total number of persons employed in the establishments, number of strikers, number of employees forced out of employment by strikes, the dates of the beginning and ending of strikes, the duration, method of settlement, and result. Summary tables are presented showing (1) the number of strikes, establishments, persons employed and strikers, by industries; (2) the same information, by causes or objects of strikes; (3) results of strikes and number of strikers, by industries; (4) methods of settling strikes, by industry groups; (5) results of strikes, by causes or objects; (6) duration of strikes, by industries; (7) duration of strikes, by causes or objects; (8) duration of strikes, by results; (9) strikes and strikers, by months of the year and industries. Lockouts, which are stated to be very rare in Belgium, are not included in the statistics presented in this report. During the five years embraced in this report 474 strikes were registered, affecting 1,281 establishments employing 321,631 persons, while the total number of strikers was 149,987, or 46.6 per cent of all the employees. In addition, 66,520 employees, or 20.7 per cent, were thrown out of employment by the strikes, making the total number thrown out of employment 216,507, or 67.3 per cent of all the employees of the establishments affected. For the period covered by the report, 1901 to 1905, the number of strikes, number of establishments affected, and the number of strikers are given in the following table:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, AND ESTABLISHMENTS AFFECTED, BY YEARS, 1901
In 1903 the smallest number of strikes occurred. This year also shows the smallest number of strikers, while the year 1905 shows the largest number of strikes and the largest number of strikers during the period.
The following table gives for each of the five years the number of strikes and strikers, by industrial groups:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY INDUSTRIES AND YEARS, 1901 TO 1903.
Over one-half of the 474 strikes reported during the five-year period occurred in the mining and textile industries, namely, 102, or 21.5 per cent, in the former and 153, or 32.3 per cent, in the latter. During the same period the industries in which the largest number of strikers were engaged were mining, with 92,617 persons, or 61.8 per cent; transportation, with 15,193 persons, or 10.1 per cent; and textiles, with 14,052 persons, or 9.4 per cent.
The following table shows for each of the five years the number of strikes and strikers, by causes:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY CAUSES AND YEARS, 1901 TO 1905.
Questions of wages caused more than half of all the strikes in Belgium during the period, namely, 261, or 55.1 per cent of all the strikes, involving 119,697, or 79.8 per cent of all the strikers. Other frequent causes were demands for modification of conditions of work (58 strikes and 5,282 strikers) and demands for reinstatement of discharged employees (58 strikes and 8,154 strikers). Disputes as to hours of labor caused 22 strikes with 5,223 strikers.
In the table which follows, the strikes and strikers are classified according to duration of strikes:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY DURATION AND YEARS, 1901 TO 1905.
a The sum of the items (12,075) does not agree with this total, but the figures are reproduced as found in the report.
The majority of the strikes is found to be of very short duration, 336 out of 474 strikes, or 70.9 per cent, lasting fewer than 10 days. It appears from the table, however, that these 336 strikes included only 39,723 strikers, or 26.5 per cent. Of the total number, 77 strikes, or 16.2 per cent, lasted from 11 to 30 days and included 24,969, or 16.6 per cent, of the strikers, while 61 strikes, or 12.9 per cent, lasted over 30 days and involved 85,295 strikers, or 56.9 per cent. By dividing the strikes according to their duration into these 3 large groups, it is found that the average number of strikers per strike in the first or briefest group is 118, in the second group 324, and in the last group, of longest duration, 1,398 men per strike.
Of the 474 strikes recorded, 83, or 17.5 per cent, involving 11,205 workingmen, or 7.5 per cent of the total, resulted entirely in favor of the workmen; 325, or 68.6 per cent, with 125,974 employees, or 84 per cent, resulted in favor of the employers, and 66, or 13.9 per cent, with 12,808 employees, or 8.5 per cent, were compromised. The proportion of the strikes resulting in favor of the employees in 1901 was 11 per cent, in 1902 12 per cent, in 1903 14 per cent, in 1904 20 per cent, and in 1905 26.3 per cent. The large strikes were generally unfavorable to the employees, as is shown by the fact that during the five-year period the average number of employees per strike ending favorably for the employees was 135, per strike compromised was 194, and per strike resulting in favor of the employers was 387.
The following table shows the number of strikes and strikers, by results, in each year of the five-year period:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY RESULTS AND YEARS, 1901 TO 1903.
The number of strikes and strikers in various branches of industry during the five-year period are shown in the following table, by results:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY INDUSTRIES AND RESULTS, 1901 TO 1905.
A classification of the strikes and strikers during the five-year period with reference to causes and results is given in the following table:
STRIKES AND STRIKERS, BY CAUSES AND RESULTS, 1901 TO 1905.