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the time rates or piece-work prices, or should be treated separately as advances given on account of the conditions due to the war.
Where machinery for negotiation exists in any trade or industry no action shall be taken by the Interim Court of Arbitration affecting such a trade or industry unless and until such existing machinery having been put into operation with a view to arriving at a settlement by agreement between the trade unions and employers' organizations concerned fails to arrive at an agreement by the 1st September, 1919.
Where no machinery for negotiation in any trade or industry, trade conferences representing the trade unions and the employers concerned shall be called by the Ministry of Labor within two months from the 4th April, 1919, and no action shall be taken by the Interim Court of Arbitration unless such conferences shall within that time have failed to arrive at an agreement in which case the Court shall consider and determine the difference under the powers conferred by the Wages (Temporary Regulation) Act. 3. That the parties should consider the desirability of instituting procedure for a national periodical review of the wages of the trade of the country as a whole.
METHODS OF NEGOTIATION BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND
On the subject of methods of negotiation between employers and workpeople the Committee recognized the importance of establishing an understanding on the question of "recognition." Their opinion is as follows:
(a) The basis of negotiation between employers and workpeople should, as is presently the case in the chief industries of the country, be the full and frank acceptance of the employers' organizations on the one hand and trade unions on the other as the recognized organizations to speak and act on behalf of their members.
(6) The members should accept the jurisdiction of their respective organizations.
(c) The employers' organizations and the trade unions should enter into negotiations for the purpose of the establishment of machinery or revision, if necessary, of existing machinery, for the avoidance of disputes, and the machinery should provide, where in any question at issue there are more than one employers' organization or trade union representing the same class of employers or workpeople, a representative method of negotiation, so that settlements arrived at will cover all parties concerned. The machinery should also contain provisions for the protection of the employers' interests where members of trade unions of workpeople are engaged in positions of trust or confidentially, provided the right of such employees to join or remain members of any trade union is not thereby affected.
The Committee feel that a satisfactory investigation of the problem of unemployment would involve a far-reaching inquiry and in the limited time at their disposal they have not felt able to do more than indicate briefly some of the steps which might be taken to minimize or alleviate unemployment.
A. Prevention of Unemployment
1. Organized Short Time. It is already the practice in a large number of trades to meet periods of depression by systematic short-time working. The Committee think that this method of avoiding displacement of labor and the consequent risk and inconvenience to the workpeople concerned has considerable value. In this connection they suggest that the machinery of the Joint Industrial Councils or other joint representative bodies in each industry affords a convenient method of controlling and regulating short-time working as a means of preventing unemployment.
Regard should be had at the same time to paragraph 8 below.
2. Overtime. During periods of depression in an industry overtime should only be worked in special cases which should be determined in accordance with rules laid down in the case of each industry by its Industrial Council or other joint representative body.
3. Stabilizing Employment. In order to provide against the fluctuating demand for labor, the Committee think that the Government should undertake the definite duty of stimulating the demand for labor in bad times by postponing contracts of a nonurgent character until it is necessary to promote a demand for labor owing to falling trade. For this purpose, in allocating-Government orders, consideration should, of course, be given to the circumstances of the industry concerned. The Committee are of opinion that much more effective action could be taken if all orders for particular classes of commodities were dealt with by one Government Department. It would further be an advantage in order that the policy which they have indicated should be carried out, that all Government contracting should be supervised by one authority. Local authorities should be urged to adopt a similar policy with regard to work under their control.
4. Housing. In order to meet the present crisis the Committee recommend that the Government should without delay proceed with a comprehensive housing program, in order to meet the acknowledged shortage of houses. By this means employment would be secured primarily in the building and furnishing trades, and indirectly in all other trades. The Committee urge that where local authorities fail to utilize their powers to provide suitable housing accommodation, the Local Government Board should take the necessary steps for the erection of suitable houses in the area of the authority, and under special powers compel, if necessary, local authorities to act in accordance with the housing needs of the district.
5. State Development of Industry. The demand for labor could also be increased by State development of new industries, such as afforestation, reclamation of waste lands, development of inland waterways, and in agricultural districts the development of light railways or road transport. These are some of the measures which, in the opinion of the Committee, might be adopted as a means of permanently increasing the demand for labor.
6. Underconsumption and Higher Production. While the Committee recognize that these questions have a most important bearing on the problem of unemployment, they are agreed that their importance is such as to demand that far closer consideration should be given to them than can be given by this Committee, and it has already been indicated in an early paragraph of this Report that this is a matter which might appropriately be the subject of consideration by the National Industrial Council.
7. Efficiency of Industrial Councils. The Committee feel that, in regard to unemployment, as well as for other purposes, the institution of industrial councils or other similar joint representative bodies will develop a sense of common responsibility among employers and employed, and that it will provide machinery through which the trade, acting as a whole, can in many ways minimize or prevent unemployment. In particular such councils would be in a position to collect information and make necessary adjustments in an organized way to meet the ebb and flow of trade.
B. Maintenance of Unemployed Workpeople
8. The Committee are unanimous in their view that the normal provision for maintenance during unemployment should be more adequate and of wider application than is provided by the National Insurance (Unemployment) Acts. They think, moreover, that whatever may be the basis of the scheme ultimately adopted, it should include provisions for under-employment as well as for unemployment.
9. Education and Training. Whether provision for unemployment is made on a contributory or non-contributory basis, the Committee think that it is very desirable that the scheme should include provisions for enabling the workers while unemployed and in receipt of unemployment benefit, to get access, without payment of fees, to opportunities for continuing their education and improving their qualifications. This is specially desirable in the case of young persons, that whenever unemployed, they should be required to continue their education at centers where such facilities are provided by the Local Education Authority.
10. Domestic Employment for Married Women and Widows. The effect on the labor market of the employment of married women and widows, particularly those who have young children, was brought forward, but owing to the fact that the Committee had no official information at their disposal they felt they were unable to express an opinion without having full particulars of the circumstances and conditions under which the employment of mothers is carried on. The Committee feel that the subject is so important that a special inquiry should be immediately instituted to investigate the whole matter, and thereafter submit a report.
11. Limitation of Child Labor. The Committee are of opinion that child labor is bad in principle, and in practice tends to decrease the chances of adult employment. For these reasons, without going into details, the Committee think that the age at which a child should enter employment should be raised beyond the present limit.
12. Sickness Benefit and Old-Age Pensions. The opinion of the Committee is that the amount of sickness and infirmity benefits should be examined with a view to more generous provisions being made.
In regard to Old-Age Pensions, they consider that the age of qualification should be reduced, that more liberal allowance should be paid, and that the disqualification in respect of income should be modified.
The Committee feel that these questions require immediate consideration, and they urge the necessity of appointing a Committee to investigate them and report.
NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL
As already indicated in this report, the Committee are impressed with the importance of establishing without delay some form of permanent representative National Industrial Council.
The considered views of the Committee are as follows:
A National Industrial Council should not supersede any of the existing agencies for dealing with industrial questions. Its object would be to supplement and coordinate the existing sectional machinery by bringing together the knowledge and experience of all sections and focusing them upon the problems that affect industrial relations as a whole. Its functions, therefore, would be advisory.
Such a Council would have to be large in order to give due representation to all the industrial interests concerned; at the same time, it should be as small as is consistent with an adequate representative basis. Since, in any case, it would be too large for the transaction of detailed business, a Standing Committee, large enough to insure that it will not be unrepresentative, will be needed. The Council must be elected, not nominated, otherwise its authority will not be adequate to the proper discharge of its functions. The method of election must be determined by each side for itself, subject to two conditions—first, that the members must be representative of organizations, not of individual employers or workpeople; and, second, that the organizations concerned adopt such a method of election or appointment that their nominees can be regarded as fully representative.
In order that the Council may have the necessary independent status and authority if it is to promote industrial peace, the