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suggested; but an equitable basis would be very diffic to arrive at. Prices rise or fall from causes over whi neither farmers nor labourers have any control, and a in no sense, a measure either of the profits on the a hand or the value of services on the other.

If any sliding scale for the automatic adjustment agricultural wages were adopted, probably the m equitable basis would be that of the gross output the farm. It is true that this also is largely determin by causes beyond human control, the weather being st the dominant factor. But, taking one season wi another, the efficiency of labour is probably the greate of sublunary influences on the amount of produ obtained from the land. If it were possible to devi some means whereby the worker would have a pecunia interest in securing the maximum output from the lar on which he works, the advantages are self-evident. is for this reason that the application of the princip of profit-sharing or co-partnership to farming attrac many of the wiser and more far-sighted occupiers land. There will be no stability in British Agricultur and no contentment among the rural population, unt the workers on the land feel a direct interest in i production. Agricultural labourers are the largest cla of food-producers in the country; but they have no re consciousness of it. When the farmer and the labour establish co-operative relations, when each, in his degre has an equal incentive to make the earth yield h increase, then, and not until then, will the labou problem in agriculture approach solution.



By establishing the Permanent Labour Organisation as a part of the machinery of the League of Nations, the authors of the Peace Treaty of Versailles were acting in accordance with the oft-repeated wishes of the organised international working-class movement. At international congresses and conferences of both Trade Unionists and Socialists the pressing need for an institution of this kind was frequently urged. Far-seeing and progressive employers had also demanded some form of international regulation and co-ordination of labour legislation; and since 1890, when the first international conference on labour legislation was held at Berlin, most of the industrial countries have been sympathetic to the idea. At the Berlin Conference, which was attended by Government representatives from Germany, AustriaHungary, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Norway (then united), and Switzerland, standards were adopted concerning the employment of women and children, work in mines, Sunday labour and factory inspection. But no conventions were then drawn up, nor were any further official conferences held for fifteen years. In the mean time, several unofficial conferences had been organised, and a pseudo-official body, the International Association of Labour Legislation, had been created for the purpose of bringing about the regulation of labour conditions by international agreement. This Association, however, carried on its activities in circumstances of great difficulty. Its office at Basel was chiefly supported by small subsidies from certain interested governments. Its total expenditure did not exceed 80,000 francs a year; while the staff consisted only of a Director with five or six assistants. In spite of its limited resources and powers, the Association, however, did excellent work. It issued a periodical Bulletin on Labour Laws in French and German, and, later, also in English, and published from time to time special reports on subjects, such as the systems of factory inspection in the various countries. But there was no driving force behind the Association. At the Official

Conferences it had no representatives, nor were employe or workmen represented. These gatherings lacke interest, and the officials who attended them showe little zeal for the subjects they were called upon t discuss. The results were disappointing. At the ou break of the war the position, from the point of view those who believed in international action for the in provement and general levelling-up of the conditions labour, was entirely unsatisfactory.*

The new organisation brought into existence by th Peace Treaty is built on more solid foundations, and furnished with a clear and definite mandate, as well a with the means for carrying it into effect. Part XIII the Treaty, under which the International Labou Organisation is constituted, contains the preamble:

'Whereas the League of Nations has for its object th establishment of universal peace, and such a peace can b established only if it is based upon social justice;

'And whereas conditions of labour exist involving suc injustice, hardship, and privation to large numbers of peop as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony the world are imperilled; and an improvement of thos conditions is urgently required: as, for example, by th regulation of the hours of work, including the establishmen of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of th labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provisio of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worke against sickness, disease, and injury arising out of his employ ment, the protection of children, young persons and wome provisions for old age and injury, protection of the interest of workers when employed in countries other than their ow recognition of the principle of freedom of association, th organisation of vocational and technical education and othe


'Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt human conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of othe nations which desire to improve the conditions in their ow countries;

The High Contracting Parties, moved by sentiments justice and humanity, as well as by the desire to secure th

'The International Labour Organisation: A Comparison,' publish by the International Labour Office, Geneva, gives a short account of th International Association for Labour Legislation and its work.





permanent peace of the world, agree to the following:' (here follow the articles establishing a permanent organisation for the promotion of the principles set out in the preamble).

In Article 427 of the Treaty the following methods and principles are laid down as being 'well fitted to guide the policy of the League of Nations' and to 'confer io lasting benefits upon the wage-earners of the world':


'1. The guiding principle . . . that labour should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.

2. The right of association for all lawful purposes by the employed as well as by the employers.

3. The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in their time and country.

4. The adoption of an eight hours' day or a forty-eight hours' week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already been attained.

5. The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable.

'6. The abolition of child labour and the imposition of such limitations on the labour of young persons as shall permit the continuation of their education and assure their proper physical development.

7. The principle that men and women should receive equal remuneration for work of equal value.

'8. The standard set by law in each country with respect to the conditions of labour should have due regard to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.

I 9. Each State should make provision for a system of Linspection in which women should take part, in order to d ensure the enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the employed.'


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This striking declaration of principles and methods obviously required for its execution the institution of an authoritative international body equipped with ample powers and resources. Hence the Treaty set up a Permanent Labour Organisation as a largely autonomous department of the League of Nations. The details of the Organisation, its constitution, powers, and duties are carefully worked out and set forth in forty-one articles

(387 to 427) of the Treaty.* It is provided that th original members of the League of Nations shall be th original members of the Organisation, and hereafte membership of the League of Nations shall carry wit it membership of the Organisation. Germany an Austria, although the former has not yet been admitte to the League, are also members.

The Organisation consists of a General Conference representatives of the members and an Internationa Labour Office controlled by a Governing Body. Fift States are now members; the United States an Russia being the only great States remaining outside i All States, irrespective of size or importance, have equa rights at the Conference. Each is represented by tw Government delegates, and one Employers' and on Workers' delegate, who vote individually. The Em ployers' and Workers' delegates have to be chosen b the Governments of each country in agreement with th industrial organisations which are most representativ In practice, for the Conferences which have been alread held, the National Trade Union Organisations hav appointed the Workers' representatives, and the Nationa Employers' Organisations the Employers' representative The Workers' representative of Great Britain is selecte in agreement with the Parliamentary Committee of th Trades Union Congress, the body having the greates number of affiliated workers' organisations; the Britis Employers' representative is selected in agreement wit the chief associations of the employers. In addition the delegates, technical advisers may be appointed assist in the discussions of subjects in which their exper knowledge would be valuable. A session of the Genera Conference must be held at least once a year.

The General Conference, which may justly be calle an International Social Parliament,' cannot pass legisla tion immediately binding on its members. Every countr still clings too firmly to its sovereignty to permit of thi

* For a complete statement of the constitution, powers, duties, a standing orders of the Organisation, see 'Permanent Labour Organis tion: Constitution and Rules,' International Labour Office, Geneva, 199 Also Labour and the Peace Treaty,' with an introduction by the Rt Ho G. N. Barnes, issued by the Ministry of Labour, H.M. Stationery Office.

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