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It will be seen at once from this statement that among the Australasian countries the general tendency of legislation is to place a limitation, and with practically one exception, a prohibition upon the right to strike upon railway and practically all other classes of industrial workers. Complete machinery, however, has been provided for the settlement of controversies.

Another group of countries, on the other hand, such as Canada, the Transvaal, Spain, and Portugal, have not denied employees the right to strike, but have made the exercise of this right contingent upon certain conditions-a notification to the Government of the intention to strike or after a governmental investigation and report. In the case of other countries, as Russia and Roumania, the right of railway workers or other public-utility employees to strike is absolutely prohibited, and no machinery is provided for ventilating grievances. Belgium and Holland also prohibit strikes but have devised methods for employees to take up grievances or requests with railroad managers. Strikes are not formally prohibited in Germany or Austria among railway workers, but are practically prevented by the control of the authorities over the trade-union affiliations of employees. In Germany, however, administrative machinery has been provided through which transportation workers may have a vent for their grievances. Strikes are not prohibted by formal legislative enactment on French railways, but are practically impossible, because of the policy of the Government in calling employees to the colors and placing them under military orders in the event of a strike. Italy depends upon the same policy to prevent industrial conflict on her railways. In Great Britain and the United States there is no abridgment of the right to strike. Both countries have provided official machinery for the adjustment of wage and other difficulties between the railroads and their operating forces. In Great Britain the opportunities for conciliation and arbitration under the conciliation act of 1896 have also been supplemented by a general agreement between railway officials and employees which makes provision for compulsory conciliation of matters in dispute.


During the year 1912 the labor department of the British Board of Trade made an exhaustive analysis of the text and operation of laws in the principal countries of the world relating to strikes and lockouts, with special reference to the public utility service. There has been no legislative change of any consequence since the publication of this report, and its general conclusions afford an exceedingly valuable insight into the situation at the present time. The following extracts are, therefore, quoted in considerable detail:

The differences in the character of the legislation (antistrike legislation)the report states

turn largely on general scope and aim, and more specifically on the machinery set up under the various acts, on the penalty they impose, and as to their bearing on what are known as the "public-utility services."

It may be observed that this expression has no exact definition. Primarily the services of water, gas, and electric lighting, and those of public locomotion, transport, and communication are connoted, but, when recognized at all, the

exact interpretation and application of the term varies greatly in the different acts. Thus, in some cases public utilities have been closely grouped with other industries also regarded as of prime importance to the community, such as mining in the Canadian industrial disputes investigation act. The definition of "necessary commodities" in the New South Wales industrial disputes act of 1909 is pertinent in this connection and may be quoted as follows:

"Necessary commodity' includes (a) coal; (b) gas for lighting, cooking, or industrial purposes; (c) water for domestic purposes; and (d) any article of food the deprivation of which may tend to endanger human life or cause serious bodily injury.”

In New Zealand, again, in the industrial conciliation and arbitration act of 1908, special conditions are imposed with respect to lockouts and strikes in certain “specified industries and occupations," and these are enumerated as follows:

(a) The manufacture or supply of coal gas.

(b) The production or supply of electricity for light or power.

(c) The supply of water to the inhabitants of any borough or other place. (d) The supply of milk for domestic consumption.

(e) The slaughtering or supply of meat for domestic consumption.

(f) The sale or delivery of coal, whether for domestic or industrial purposes. (g) The working of any ferry, tramway, or railway used for the public carriage of goods or passengers.

In Russia the definition covers "all undertakings having a social or governmental character if the suspension of the work of the employees or workpeople threatens the security of the State or gives cause for fear of a national calamity.” In such fields strikes or lockouts are rendered illegal, but in Holland, on the other hand, the applied definition is much narrower, the special legislation prohibiting strikes in that country being confined to the main lines of the railway service; while in Belgium it covers all persons employed by the State, including those in the railway, postal, telegraph, and telephone services.

Although in the acts of New South Wales and New Zealand, to which reference has just been made, special penalties or conditions apply in connection with the public-utility services, the most general aim of the acts themselves is, apart from the improvement of industrial conditions in the weaker trades, the maintenance of industrial peace. In the foreign legislation, as a rule, the primary object is rather to insure to the public the provision of what are regarded as most necessary services and, although the two ends of industrial peace and the public welfare tend to converge, a characteristic difference in the nature and scope of the two classes of legislation emerges.


In the Dominions the legal right to take combined action in cases of industrial dispute had, previously to the adoption of legislation restricting that right, generally prevailed wherever the relationship of employer and employed existed, whether in the public-utility service or in general industry.

In most cases the employees of the public services, such as those of the post office and (when owned by the State as is almost universally the case in Australia, New Zealand, and the Transvaal) of the railways, are brought under special measures granting certain privileges and also imposing special obligations of discipline and obedience. These special measures appear, however, to impose no clear statutory limitations on the right of combined action.

Thus, such limitations of this right as exist in the Dominions are those found in the new body of industrial legislation dating from 1896. In this legislation limitations applying especially to the public-utility services are imposed only in four cases, namely, in those of New South Wales, New Zealand. Canada, and the Transvaal, and in all these the limitations are imposed by acts that have a wider application and that in imposing penalties for lockouts and strikes that take place under certain conditions, also set up machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes. It may be noted that in none of the Dominions save in Western Australia, where the public-utility services are put on the same footing as general industry, and possibly in New South Wales, are lockouts or strikes made unconditionally illegal.

While, therefore, special attention has been directed to such provisions in the Dominion legislation as apply distinctly to the public-utility services, most


of the legislation of which the provisions and operations are set forth has had a different and a wider scope, and, as regards Australia and New Zealand, such provisions against lockouts and strikes as are found are in all cases accompanied by others for the regulation of wages and other terms of contract. Thus, in New Zealand, Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania, as in the case of interstate disputes in the Commonwealth, the characteristic illegality of a lockout or strike is contingent on the contemplated or actual legal fixation of wages and other conditions of employment.

In Canada and the Transvaal, on the other hand, the characteristic illegality is different, since the administrative task imposed by the acts in those States is limited to the investigation of the grounds of industrial disputes and to report thereon. It is only pending such invesigation and report that the strike or lockout in these States becomes illegal and the difference in the duties of the bodies formed in these Dominions and thus of the acts under which they are created is fundamental.

There are, it may be noted, broadly, two main divisions of Dominion legislation, including that of the Transvaal, imposing restrictions on the right of resort to the lockout or strike-one in which the observance of prescribed or of agreed and filed conditions of employment as regards wages, etc., is potentially a matter of legal compulsion as in Australia and New Zealand, and the other from which this element of compulsion is absent, as in Canada and the Transvaal. The first class may be subdivided into three (1) in which a legal tribunal, an industrial arbitration court, is the principal instrument for the legal settlement of disputes, as under the Commonwealh act; (2) in which boards, composed, apart from the chairman, of employers and workers in, or representing, the trade concerned, take, with somewhat more narrowly defined duties, the place of the court as in South Australia and Tasmania; and (3) in which there has been evolved a combination of these two plans as now in New South Wales and in New Zealand. Victoria from this point of view forms a class apart, and in Queensland no legal restrictions of the right to the lockout or strike are imposed. Relevant legislation imposing fines on employers and loss of wages on employees in the case of noncompliance in coal-mining disputes, with the award of arbitrators appointed under the act, also exists in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Although much information is contained in the following pages as to the operation of the Dominion legislation described, no general conclusions as to its efficacy can well be drawn. The records illustrate the wide range of the application of the various laws, but an exact opinion as to the extent to which lockouts or strikes have been prevented by them would require more exhaustive and more intimate knowledge than is available as to the circumstances under which the reference of disputes to the various acts was made, and as to the extent to which the demands of those moving for such reference have been either conceded or refused.

The records of actual contraventions of the acts are incomplete and official returns of lockouts and strikes, whether involving infringements of the acts or not, are not systematically made.

As regards the responsibility for the enforcement of the acts, there is also some obscurity and there are few data indicating clearly where that responsibility lies; as to how it is usually interpreted; and as to the policy or practice adopted.


The dominion and foreign legislation have been classified in various ways, and the prevailing differences in their scope and aim are illustrated. Amongst the foreign countries covered by this return it will be observed that in Europe there are nine, the statute books of which comprise legislation specially designed to avert strikes on the part of those employed in public-utility services. While varying widely in range and stringency, these laws possess one characteristic in common, the workpeople to whom they relate are in every case placed on a footing different from that of the general body of industrial workers in respect to the right to engage in strikes, this right being either explicitly withheld or else subjected to specific limitations in its exercise. Of the nine countries referred to, five have enacted laws absolutely prohibiting workpeople employed in certain public-utility services from engaging in strikes. These countries are Russia, Roumania, Holland, Belgium, and Italy. In Russia and Roumania the law covers the whole field of what may be termed

public-utility services, whether governmental or local. In Belgium it applies to all persons in the service of the State, including the railways, post office, telegraphs, and telephones; in Italy it applies to all persons in the service either of the State or of a railway company; while in Holland only those employed on main lines of the railway service are included. Three countries, viz, Spain, Portugal, and the Ottoman Empire, have enacted laws applicable to all public-utility services, and declaring concerted stoppages of work illegal unless certain conditions have previously been fulfilled. In Spain the conditions are that notice of the strike or lockout shall have been given to the authorities either eight days or five days beforehand, according to the nature of the undertaking, and that such notice be accompanied by a statement of the cause of the strike or lockout. The Portuguese law insists on 12 or 8 days' notice being given of the strike or lockout, according to the nature of the undertaking, and requires that such notice be accompanied by a statement of the causes or objects of the strike or lockout. Under the same law all "officials, public servants, or those receiving salaries from the State" incur the penalty of dismissal, if they combine to suspend work.

The last of the nine European countries that call for mention in this connection is France, where the only persons employed in public-utility services who incur legal penalties for participating in strikes are the engine-drivers, guards, and brakesmen actually in charge of trains, and the outdoor staff of the postal service.

In the case of drivers, guards, and brakesmen the penalty (imprisonment up to two years) is incurred only in the event of those officials deserting their posts before the train reaches its destination. In the case of the postal officials the penalties (of which dismissal from the service is the severest) are incurred by participants in any "collective or concerted refusal of service." While attempts to avert strikes and lockouts in public-utility services by means of special laws withholding, or limiting the exercise of, the right to strike are confined to the nine countries just enumerated, there are two countries-Germany and Austria-where, so far as the railway, postal, and allied services are concerned, the exercise of such a right on the part of the staff is rendered impossible in practice by the policy pursued by the authorities toward any manifestations of trade union activity among members of these services--a policy based on the assumption that membership of a militant trade union is incompatible with loyalty to the department and with the safety of the State.

There are two examples of European legislation for the promotion of industrial peace which, although they can not, strictly speaking, be said to come within the purview of the present report, are, nevertheless, deserving of mention, since they embody a principle not yet adopted elsewhere in Europe, namely, that of creating permanent courts of arbitration equally representative of the interests of employers and of workpeople and endowed, under certain circumstances, with the powers of ordinary courts of justice as regards compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents. One of the two examples alluded to is furnished by Denmark and the other by the Swiss Canton of Geneva. Under the Danish law, the courts of arbitration have, moreover, the power to inflict and enforce penalties for nonobservance of agreements.

In the United States of America special measures for safeguarding publicutility services from interruptions due to strikes and lockouts have, from time to time, engaged the attention both of the Federal and the State legislatures. The laws specially enacted for this purpose are, however, concerned solely with the railway service, and in no case do they involve any derogation from the principle of freedom on the part of railway servants to engage in strikes, except in so far as engine drivers and other actually in charge of trains incur penalties of imprisonment or fine for deserting their posts before the train reaches its scheduled destination. Provisions of this nature, moreover, have found their way into the statute books of only eight States of the Union, namely, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. In three of these States (Delaware, Maine, and Pennsylvania) penalties of fine or imprisonment are also incurred by any railway servant who, for the purpose of furthering a strike on another railway, either within or without the State, refuses or neglects in the course of his employment, to aid in the movement of cars owned by the other railway over the lines of the railway by which he is employed.

The only example of Federal legislation enacted for the specific purpose of safeguarding public utilities from interruption arising out of strikes and lockouts is a law of June 1, 1898, relating to the arbitration of labor disputes on interstate railways. Under this law the President of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Commissioner of Labor are required, on the petition of either side, to endeavor to mediate whenever a dispute arises seriously interrupting or threatening to interrupt the business of any interstate railway undertaking. No power either of independent initiative or of compulsion is, however, reserved to the Government.

While "the right to strike for any cause or no cause is clearly and fully sustained by all authority" in the United States, injunctions are frequently issued by the American courts, restraining railway servants from striking on the ground that such action on their part is in contravention of the provisions of certain Federal statutes, more especially those of the antitrust act, the interstate commerce act, and the obstruction of mails act.

Finally it may be noted that the principle of investing permanent boards of arbitration with the powers of ordinary courts of justice as regards compelling the attendance of witnesses is one that has long been applied by many of the State legislatures of the American Union. In a few cases (Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio) such boards are given power to enforce their awards. In no case, however, do the provisions as to enforcement of awards amount to compulsory arbitration. In all the four States mentioned the compulsion provided either can be applied only when both parties have voluntarily agreed to the arbitration or (in Missouri) it can be applied in the case of a party who did not accept arbitration only when that party has voluntarily acquiesced in the award.

The question as to how far, if at all, any of the foreign laws mentioned above as involving limitations of the principle of freedom to concert for the purpose of suspending work have, in practice, prevented the occurrence of strikes, is a question as to which no general conclusions can safely be drawn from available data; nor, so far as can be ascertained, does it appear that in any of the countries concerned the authorities have themselves attempted to formulate any conclusions on the subject.


In the following summaries A, B, C, and D the legislation of the various countries has been classified mainly as regards its scope and the extent to which it deals with the regulation of industrial conditions.

In the first list (A) have been included those States in which a legal limitation of some description in the right of engaging in a lockout or strike has been imposed in any industry, a note being added as to whether the public utility services are also included in the scope of the acts, and, if so, as to whether there are any special provisions concerning these.


Form of limitation.

The Commonwealth of Australia__All disputes extending beyond the borders of any one

Western Australia--—.

South Australia____


New South Wales___


New Zealand.


The Province of Nova Scotia.


All industries, etc., including public utilities, "in which workers are employed."

Miscellaneous trades in which wage boards have been
formed or in which agreements have been filed under
the act.

As in South Australia, but with no provision relating to
filed agreements.
Miscellaneous industries, etc., including public utilities,
with special provisions applying to these and to
foods which are regarded as necessary commodities."
As in South Australia, but with a distinctive form of
penalty and with no provision relating to filed agree-


ments. Miscellaneous industries, etc., including public utilities, with special provisions applying to these and to those engaged in the supply of milk, meat, and coal. Mining and public-utility services.

---Coal mining.

-Various industries, including the public-utility services, but omitting railways, which are dealt with under special legislation.

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