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ommendation (9) of the Majority Report are agreed that such an exemption as is proposed in the case of trade disputes from the general law of conspiracy would be highly injurious to the community. It is impossible for me to disregard the evidence which has been given before us, and I must most strongly dissent from this recommendation. The law of conspiracy is a general law affecting everyone of His Majesty's subjects. It is true that, at the desire of the Trade Unions of workmen, the Conspiracy, etc., Act of 1875 exempted combinations in trade disputes from the consequences attaching to criminal conspiracy. The Trade Unions of employers, so far from desiring any extension of this privilege to cover civil conspiracy, have come before us and unanimously and categorically expressed themselves against any such exemption from the general law being granted in the case of trade disputes. The Trade Unions of workmen have, as we know from outside sources, desired this extension, but they have given no evidence before us to that effect and have allowed the evidence given on the other side to go unchallenged. When the exemption from criminal conspiracy was granted by the Conspiracy, etc., Act, 1875, to combinations in trade disputes, the subject of civil conspiracy was not discussed, as the civil liability of Trade Unions had not then, though existent, been brought before the Courts. The remarks of the promoters of that legislation referred only, as it appears to me, to that which was present to their minds; they cannot be taken to imply a promise that a limited privilege granted in the knowledge of certain facts should when new circumstances have arisen be made absolute so as to cover these new circumstances and conditions. The new circumstances and conditions must be viewed in the light of the present, with the experience gained from our acquaintance with the practices prevailing in trade disputes in the past.
The Trade Union of workmen's complaint is that the judg ments given against them in the law courts in the Taff Vale case, Quinn v. Leathem, and Lyons v. Wilkins entirely alter the law in what has been understood to be its meaning for the last thirty years. This erroneous belief is evidently not considered by my colleagues who have signed the Majority Report to be a ground of relief, for they recommend the maintenance of the Taff Vale decision in Paragraphs 1-35 of the
Report, with which paragraphs Sir Godfrey Lushington and I also concur. Their decision to recommend the overruling of Quinn v. Leathem cannot, therefore, be based on the ground of compassion for erroneous belief. They remark in Article 60:
The protection conceded was at that time (i.e., 1875) confined to the criminal side. We think it can fairly be said that the civil side should be equally dealt with.
I am afraid I fail to follow the argument. Surely the mere fact that combinations in trade disputes are already exempt from the law of criminal conspiracy which applies to every other body of persons is, in itself, no argument for exempting them from all liability, civil as well as criminal. Moreover, as is pointed out by my colleagues in the Majority Report, Article
The civil action of conspiracy differs in this respect from the criminal, that the conspiracy is not complete by mere agreement, but must result in something being done from which damage results in order that the action may lie.
In view of the inherent differences thus shown between the civil and criminal aspects of conspiracy, there appears to me to be no inconsistency in the present position, under which, in trade disputes, a conspiracy may be actionable, although not punishable as a crime, by reason of the exemption from criminal liability granted under the Conspiracy Act.
Moreover, my colleagues who have signed the Majority Report in Article 33 remark:
When Trade Unions come in contact by reason of their own actions with outsiders and ex hypothesi wrong those outsiders, there can be no more reason that they should be beyond the reach of the law than any other individual, partnership or institution.
If my colleagues had acted consistently with their own maxim as laid down in Article 33, Recommendation 9 of the Majority Report would never have been made, it seems to me.
11. There is one passage in Mr. Sidney Webb's Memorandum which I cannot allow to pass without comment. He refers to the system in New Zealand and Australia as being "to
the general satisfaction of employers and employed." no information as to the satisfaction or otherwise felt by the employed with that system, but from the information I have received from employers out there I should be inclined to say their feeling was better described as one of general dissatisfaction, rather than satisfaction, with the system.
12. Whatever may be the explanation of the Recommendations made by my colleagues in the Majority Report, I have no hesitation in saying it will not be found in the evidence given before us. We called before us no less than 58 witnesses representing all the leading trades and industries, and their evidence was heard for 28 days; yet, to my surprise, my colleagues who have signed the Majority Report have thought it right to entirely ignore this evidence, except only so far as it relates to the maintenance of the Taff Vale decision, as to which we are unanimous (Majority Report, Articles 1-35, 39). My surprise that these Recommendations should be made will be shared not only by the witnesses who, at our request, gave evidence before us and whose evidence, though practically unanimous, has been absolutely ignored, but will be equally felt by any impartial person who will peruse the Volume of Evidence issued simultaneously with our Report. My recommendations which are entirely based upon the evidence, confirmed as it is by my own personal experience, may be summarized as follows:
(1) That no statute should be passed which would in effect repeal the decisions in the Taff Vale case, Lyons v. Wilkins, and Quinn v. Leathem, the beneficial effects of which to the community generally have been emphasized by all our wit
(2) That Sub-section 3 (a) of Section 4 of the Trade Union Act, 1871, be repealed in order to give members of a Trade Union a right of action against the Trade Union to which they belong for improperly refusing to apply for their benefit the benefit funds to which they had contributed and that Sub-section 4 of Section 4 of the Trade Union Act, 1871, be also repealed in order to make agreements entered into between Trade Unions of workmen and Trade Unions of employers legally enforceable.
(3) That the proviso only of Section 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, be repealed in order to prevent watching and besetting under any circumstances. This Recommendation is also made by Sir Godfrey Lushington in his Report.
(4) That in view of the overwhelming evidence we have received as to the cruelty and oppression to which non-Unionists are subjected at present, the practicability of devising legisla tion to prohibit strikes against non-Unionists should be considered in order to prevent, if possible, the existing gross infringements of the liberty of the subject.
CHRONOLOGICAL SURVEY OF BRITISH LEGISLATION AFFECTING THE STATUS OF TRADE UNIONS, 1824-1906.
Prior to 1824 the law of England treated the workingman who endeavored to secure an amelioration of his condition with great severity. The combination laws, so-called, which were in operation from 1799 to the time of their repeal in 1825, were very stringent. The preamble of the act of 1799 (39 Geo. III, Chap. 8) recited that "great numbers of journeymen manufacturers and workmen in various parts of this Kingdom have by unlawful meetings and combinations endeavored to obtain advance of their wages and to effectuate other illegal purposes; and the laws at present in force against such unlawful conduct have been found to be inadequate to the suppression thereof." It was therefore held necessary "that more effectual provision should be made against such unlawful combinations; and for preventing such unlawful practices in future and for bringing such offenders to more speedy and exemplary justice." This law declared null and void all agreements between journeymen manufacturers or workmen entered into for the purpose of obtaining an advance of wages or altering their hours of labor, and workmen entering into such agreements were, upon conviction, to be committed to jail.
1824. A law was passed (5 Geo. IV, Chap. 67) repealing the law prohibiting combinations of workingmen, many acts thus repealed dating back to Edward I. (This act was repealed by the act of 1825.)
1825. The act of 1824 having been found to be unsatisfactory, an investigation was had by a Parliamentary Committee. which resulted in a new law (6 Geo. IV, Chap. 129) abrogating the act of 1824. This new law provided that it should not be held unlawful for persons to meet "for the purpose of consulting upon and determining the rate of wages or prices which the persons present at such meeting should demand for their work." The right of collective bargaining, involving the power to hold labor from the market by concerted action, was