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will be seen from the short statement of the Conference work appearing in another portion of this Report the resul exceeded expectations. It was indeed remarkable that, wit representatives of the most backward nations (from a industrial standpoint) brought into consultation for the fir time with representatives of the most highly-develope nations, questions affecting the industrial workers of th world should have been discussed with such keenness an with a genuine desire on the part of the former to brin their countries into line industrially with the more advance and better organised countries. Common agreement wa reached on many points, and it now remains for the variou Governments to give legislative effect to Recommendation from the Conference.'
The arrangements for the second session of the General Conference were made by the International Labour Office with such expedition that it was possible to hold it at Genoa about six months after the close of the first. The conditions of the work of seafarers was the sole subject of discussion; but it proved so intricate and refractory that it was not possible to come to a definite conclusion on the chief question, of the application of the principle of the eight-hour working day to seamen. The Commission which considered the matter succeeded, after long and vehement debates, in framing a Draft Convention. But this failed by a fraction of a vote to secure the necessary two-thirds majority when it came before the General Conference, and no decision on the subject was reached. Draft Conventions, however, were agreed to on the following questions: (1) The minimum age for admission of children to employment at sea. (2) Unemployment indemnity in case of loss or foundering of the ship. (3) The establishment of facilities for finding employment for seamen.
Recommendations were also passed dealing with: (1) Limitation of hours of work in the fishing industry. (2) Limitation of hours of work in inland navigation. (3) The establishment of national seamen's codes. (4) Unemployment insurance for seamen. Further, a Joint Maritime Commission, consisting of representatives of shipowners and seamen, was elected to consider the drawing up of an international seamen's code and other questions affecting seafarers.
Although the Conference at Genoa did not arrive at conclusion on the main item on the agenda which it ad met to discuss, nevertheless, it demonstrated, by an interesting sequel, the value of the International Labour Office as an instrument for finding solutions to complex industrial problems. Shortly after the close of the Conference the International Seafarers' Federation Congress was held at Brussels. The delegates, disappointed at the negative outcome of the deliberations at Genoa on the eight-hour working day, were naturally in a combative mood, and a resolution was proposed that steps be taken to organise an international seamen's strike to enforce the reduction of the hours of labour in accordance with the seafarers' demands. To this, however, an amendment was carried which provided that, before action was taken, the International Labour Office should be requested to endeavour to bring about a conference of shipowners' and seamen's representatives for the purpose of securing an international agreement on the matter. The International Labour Office responded to this request and entered into negotiations with the International Shipping Federation. That organisation agreed to meet the seamen's representatives; and at a recent sitting of the Joint Maritime Commission at Geneva, it was agreed that a conference should be held at Brussels in January 1921, and that the Director of the International Labour Office should be invited to act as chairman. This Conference will be the first at which employers and workers organised on international lines will have met to discuss labour problems.
The next session of the General Conference will be held in the spring of 1921 at Geneva. The International Labour Office is now actively engaged in preparing the various reports on the subjects to be discussed, which include the regulation of the hours of labour, unemployment, the work of women and children, technical educa
tion, living-in conditions, protection against accidents
and sickness and provision for old age (all in relation to gricultural labour); the use of white lead in paint; the evention of anthrax; the weekly rest-day; and certain estions concerning the employment of children at sea.
This full programme includes only a small proportion of the suggestions brought forward at Washington (and those sent to the Office since from various quarters) for consideration at future meetings of the Conference. So great was the number of the subjects proposed that the Washington Conference referred the final selection to the Governing Body. The number and variety of questions brought forward indicate not only the vitality of the Conference, but the vast opportunity confronting the Permanent Labour Organisation.
The question arises as to how far the States which took part in the Washington Conference have tended to ratify the Draft Conventions which were agreed upon It is one of the foremost functions of the Internationa Labour Office to enter into communication on this subject, through the League of Nations, with the Govern ments of these States. The latest information in regard to the stages of procedure towards ratification in various countries is as follows:
'Austria: The application of the Conventions will involve only insignificant changes in the existing law. They will be ratified speedily.
'Belgium: The Conventions have been signed by the King, and a Bill ratifying them en bloc will be introduced in the present Session of Parliament.
Chili: Three Bills, which in their main provisions correspond to the Conventions, have been presented to the National Congress. One dealing with hours, however, departs to a material extent from the Washington Convention.
'Czecho-Slovakia: The adoption of the majority of the Conventions and Recommendations will not call for any important modification of present legislation. It is expected that all necessary measures for the adoption of the Conventions will have been taken before the end of the present year. A Government motion to this effect was submitted to the National Assembly on Sept. 4.
'France: Bills to ratify five of the Conventions (the exception being that relating to unemployment) have been presented to the Chamber of Deputies. French legislation already contains almost all the provisions of the Washington decisions, but difficulties of procedure have arisen in connexion with the formality of ratification.
Germany: The Government have in preparation a Bill to give effect to the Convention concerning hours of work
They do not yet see clearly the legislative measures which it may be necessary to take in respect of the other Washington lecisions; but they intend to submit the Conventions and Recommendations to the Reichstag shortly.
'Great Britain: The Hours of Employment Bill is under revision before being again introduced into the House of Commons. Bills have already been introduced dealing with night work of women and young persons, the age of employment for children, and the employment of women and children in lead processes. The question of the employment of women before and after childbirth is still under consideration by the Ministry of Health. The Conventions and Recommendations concerning unemployment do not necessitate new legislation.
'Greece: Parliament has passed six laws ratifying the Conventions, and a further law embodying one of the Recommendations which related to the prohibition of the use of white phosphorus in the manufacture of matches. The Government has sent formal ratification of all the Conventions to the League of Nations.
'India: The Conventions are being examined by the Government, in consultation with the provincial Governments and organisations concerned. No decision has yet been taken.
'Italy: A Bill consisting of a single clause ratifying the six Conventions has been presented by the Government to the Chamber of Deputies.
'Japan: Drafts of Laws for the purpose of carrying out the Conventions have been prepared for the consideration of the Legislative Office of the Cabinet.
'Luxemburg: The Government has pronounced itself in favour of ratifying the Conventions by legislative means.
'Norway: Committees appointed by the Government are examining the Conventions and Recommendations, and if any changes in existing laws are found necessary a Government Bill will be presented to the Storthing.
'Poland: The Ministry of Labour is studying the Conventions and Recommendations. It has asked whether the Polish Government could ratify them, subject to reservations in regard to the employment of women before and after childbirth, the employment of women at night, and unemployment. The question has been answered in the negative. 'South Africa: The Government is bringing the Conventions before Parliament with a view to their ratification en bloc.
'Spain: The Conventions have been sent to the Institute of Social Reform, which is engaged in preparing the necessary
legislation. As soon
as the new Parliament meets Bill ratifying the Conventions will be brought before it.
'Sweden: An Act limiting hours of work, which is i general agreement with the Washington Convention, i already in operation. The Conventions and Recommenda tions will be examined by Parliament during the next Session which begins in January 1921; it is doubtful whether th Convention concerning the employment of women befor and after childbirth will be accepted; but no difficulty i anticipated in regard to the rest.
'Switzerland: The Department of Public Economy i examining the procedure to be followed with regard to ratif cation. A conference of employers' and workers' organisa tions has considered the Conventions and Recommendations except that relating to hours of work, and has approved them subject to some reservations.
'Venezuela: The Conventions and Recommendations hav been submitted to the National Congress of the United State of Venezuela. No decision has yet been reported.'*
Occupation with the ratification of Draft Convention. and preparations for approaching sessions of the Genera Conference do not, however, by any means exhaust the list of the activities of the International Labour Office Space will permit only of a brief summary of the more important of the other matters which it has in hand Investigations, world-wide in extent, are being made into the urgent problem of unemployment, the results of which are to be considered by a special Commission of experts. In the same way reports are being prepared for discussion by a Commission on Emigration, with the object of arriving at an international agreement for the regulation of emigrant traffic and the treatment of working-class emigrants. A special section is concerned with the subject of co-operation. Another branch is making inquiries and preparing reports on insurance against sickness, disablement, old age and accidents, and on widows', orphans', and maternity insurance. A de partment, created by a decision of the Washington Conference, is engaged upon the question of industrial
Information relating to the progress in the process of ratification of Draft Conventions by the member-States is given in the Bulletin of the International Labour Office, which is issued at intervals of about one week. This publication also records the activities of the Office.