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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 167 pages of information about Rebuilding Britain.

C.—­INDUSTRIAL PEACE

CHAPTER X

INDUSTRIAL COUNCILS

To secure industrial peace on terms just and honourable to both sides would be to double the national strength whether in industry or citizenship.—­MEMORANDUM OF THE GARTON FOUNDATION.

Under this head it will be convenient to treat not only of the steps to be taken to prevent disputes or secure their settlement by peaceful means, and to promote a more hearty co-operation of employer and employed, but also of various other questions affecting industry, such, for example, as increased production and increased saving.  Without industrial peace there will be no industrial or commercial prosperity, and without a fair amount of prosperity it will be very difficult if not impossible to preserve industrial peace.  As the War proceeds these questions become more and more urgent; after it, they will be more serious and more pressing than ever.  Already the need for taking certain steps at once and for preparing a future policy is recognised.  Anyone who wishes to have before him a clear statement of the industrial situation and of the effects of the War upon it, cannot do better than read, and read with care, the revised memorandum prepared under the auspices of the Garton Foundation and published in October, 1916.  Singularly impartial and judicious, it does not gloss over the difficulties and perils which must be faced, but throughout there is a note of hopefulness—­an anticipation of a better state of things—­if while “the forces of change are visibly at work we do not allow them to hurry us blindly with them,” but “direct them along the path of ordered progress.”  Some of the specific remedies suggested, of the proposals adumbrated, may be open to criticism—­criticism is, indeed, invited—­but it is evident that nothing is suggested that has not been the subject of careful consideration of the facts.  Some of the proposals have already been put into fairly definite form in the Whitley Report, and have received the approval of the Government.  Industrial Councils are to be established.  The object of them will be to consider “constructive measures for the improvement of industrial conditions and the increase of efficiency.”  They will not be confined to specific points of dispute.  They are to be established in industries which are “highly organised,” where the employer and employed already possess some definite association or union which represents them respectively.  There are to be national, district, and workshop councils set up.  Their object differs from that of the Conciliation Boards for Arbitration or the Trade Boards established to settle some specific question such as a minimum wage to be paid, or some question that has given rise to a dispute between employers and employed.  Such a mode of settlement is a great advance on leaving differences to be settled by an industrial war—­a strike or lock-out. 

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