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Boards of Conciliation.

At a meeting of the Hull Chamber of Commerce recently the following remarks were made :— "The Chairman said the important business of the meeting was to consider the propriety of forming a board of conciliation for the settlement of trndo disputes. It r/tusfc be apparent to all of them that differences between capital and labor would always arise. It must be equally apparent that it was m the interests of both labor and capital to find some via media by which those differences should be arranged, and it seemed not only to the council of the chamber but to all the chambers m the country that the chamber of commerce was the fittest body for the purpose of forming those boards. It was not intended that the boards of conciliation should be anything but voluntary. It was very desirable not to interfere with trade m any possible way, but it was desirable that there should be a method of meeting the difficulties when they arose, | and it was proposed m the first instance that the dispute should be settled m the various trade sections—that was to say, supposing the difference arose m any of the trade sections, the first persons to whom that difference would be referred would be the particular trade section. It was suggested that the committee should be formed of an equal number of employers and employed. Supposing that the differences were not settled by the trade section, then it was proposed that they should be submitted to the board of conciliation, composed also of an equal number of employers and employed, If that failed, then the other resource was that the matter should be submitted to arbitration, the board lending its advice and assistance to that end. In no case, however, was it proposed that the board of conciliation should approach those who had any differences ; the board must be approached by those desiring a settlement. The London Chamber had formed a number of rules, which were very pertinent to the subject, and he thought they would be adopted, if not m their entirety, m their spirit, by all' boards of conciliation that might be formed m the country. The first thing they had to decide at that meeting was whether it was desirable that such a board ! of conciliation should be formed m Hull. He might say that the. subject had been introduced before; that they had had some conferences with the leaders of the labor party, who were decidedly m favor of such a board. It now remained for the chamber to decide whether they would take the initiative m attempting to form such a board. He moved—' That, m the opinion of this chamber, it is desirable to form a board of conciliation for the pre-' vention or settlement of labor disputes.' "Mr H. F. Smith, J.P., had great pleasure m seconding the resolution which had been" proposed from the chair. He thought they must all fully recognise that the relationship between capital and labor had been very much altered during recent years, and recognising the fact, and seeing also that the altered circumstances must lead every now and then to differences of opinion involving a dislocation of trade, it became their duty to see the best way to avoid those dislocations, and when they occurred to remove them as speedily as possible. The working classes of this country had been taught by the capitalists the power of combination, and they were now adopting the same principle, so as to better their conditions of life, and to obtain better payment for their industry. .So far so good. He was a trades unionist thoroughly, and he believed that the trades union principle further developed would be of great advantage to all classes m the country. He was sure that it could beriefit no community to have a large trade based upon labor paid a*-, a rate which would only just sustain life, keeping the great bulk of the people only one remove from pauperism. He believed the prosperity of a nation depended Upon, as nearly as possible, a fair division of the results of trade and industry, and he for one unhesitatingly said that m the last few decades the industrial classes had not had their fair share of the grosa increase of the prosperity, through trade and commerce, which tha country had enjoyed. That share might have been reduced and had been reduced owing to many reasons. The ramifications of the question were so great and wide that he should be sorry indeed to intrude all his views ou that question, and so engross the time of the meeting. He believed that if the people of this country had been a little more provident and had a little more power these struggles would have come earlier. The working men were finding power now rapidly, and they only wished to approach such as those at that mooting on amoye equal footing, and to dis« cuss these questions m a mare independent and less servjle way than hitherto had been the case m a great many instances. He had been through a great many strikes, Some of them, he admitted, had been very foolish, and others had been justified, The individual employer was not always to blame, even if the men had right on their side, because he might form one of a class, or be tied down by trade regulations which tied hia hands from doing what he would do were he m an independent position. He hailed with very great delight the adoption of these boards of conciliation as one of the only means of cutting this Gordian knot. Cooperation had been triedj b^ut: \\, ]u\d riofc yet attained very great dimensions m this country; What it would do m the future they did not know, but m the meantime they wanted to recognise, as employers, that these men had' a perfect right to combine. Combination was the duty of the men, The latter had the. same $\\\ty to make, tjie b.est ci| tlielr, lafour' 'as employee?' 'had to make'th.e best qf the lnaterial they manufactured. The combination of the men, of course, ought to be kept within proper limits. There ought to be no intimidation, and to avoid that employers ought to recognise the rights of the men, meet them on an even footing, and discuss matters fairly as between ;v,en and men. Theso b^ar&j of. oonciliation, he thought, would bothe "easiest arid best method of. settling disputes. He gave the delegates of the men with whom he had been brought m contact credit for being very able and intelligent' Weil, and, «IP far as l|e &$ qe^n, $iqso. de^eg^fces, wisjiqei ' tq">aHe «v broad and faiV view of the difficulties of the oaso. The representatives of the men seemed to recognise their responsibility, and very heavy that responsibility was, affecting as it did the social happiness and misery of those who trusted fco thorn for guidfWjije,. Hes ghould bo very gfcici in^ deef t<>'d.o all h^fiowd 1 foV further the developmehli of this matter.' It was high time something was done, and the sooner they could get to work the better. There was a great spirit of unrest now aftoftt, and fcllP moaner, ooi^d. al^aiiy Irrita- [ tjon fincf remove all' cause for "conflicts, which involved so much trouble to em--1 "jlOyers fti'iyi 5.0 much misery to the emI ployed, so much better for them all,— (Anplau^.) I V'Jn reply to Mr Jackson, the President said the first thing to be done was for the chamber to decide whether they would form a board of conciliation, and then a committee would be formed to meet the men and fujly discuss the mutter, They sufficiently knew the feeling of the men on the question. "The resolution was carried unanimously." '

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Bibliographic details

Boards of Conciliation., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2500, 25 August 1890

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Boards of Conciliation. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2500, 25 August 1890