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December, 1941 AIRCRAFT ENGINEERIN G 329 most unfortunately handled. Those in the Government responsible for these matters do not seem to have the courage to give a proper Aircraft Engineering lead to the working classes. The latest figures issued by the Ministry of Labour, for instance, reveal that the average increase in Devote d to th e Science an d Practice of Aero the earnings of all workers in July 1941, as compared with October nautic s and to Allied and Subsidiary 1938, was 42·3 per cent.—in the metal, engineering and shipbuilding industries, 48·7 per cent. The cost of living index figure had, up Branche s of th e Engineerin g Industry to February this year, increased by 26½ per cent only. (It would be interesting, incidentally, to have the corresponding per Editor: Lieut.-Col. W. Lockwood Marsh, O.B.E., F.R.Ae.S., M.S.A.E., F.I.Ae.S. centage decrease in the average incomes of what are commonly known as the salary-earning classes.) The only effect of the Vol. XIII, No. 154 December 1941 Government's issue of a " White Paper " on the need for stab ilization of wages, to avoid inflation, was the immediate issue of a Trade Union memorandum refusing to co-operate; while VER since MR. BEVIN'S unfortunate broadcast address one the Government exhortation to those engaged on munition work Sunday nine or ten months ago the position in regard to the only to take one day's holiday at the end of the year specifically " calling up " and employment of women has been chaotic in safeguards the right of the worker to extra rates of pay. the extreme. The obtaining of the desired quantity of female labour Th e Effect of Wage Increases has been left mainly to women interviewing clerks in employment At the moment of writing, the engineering industry awaits the exchanges, whose methods have varied from bribery, through all award on a claim for a still further increase in wages. These high stages of cajolery, to intimidation. Consequently, all women wages do not, unfortunately, lead to improved output. In some between the ages of 20 and 30, and many up to 40, have been living instances the men in shops set for themselves an arbitrary " quota," ever since in a state of hysterical tension, which has had a most which enables them to earn what they consider enough and on disturbing effect on normal life, to say nothing of the war effort. attaining which they therefore " knock off." It is possible to Damping Patriotism compel a man to conform to certain hours of work, but it is not One of the more undesirable results of this confusion and unsettle- in practice possible to ensure that he produces his maximum output ment is that it has completely removed any patriotic desire any during the whole of the period. young woman originally possessed to be of service to her country. The Position in the U.SA. Confirmation of this was given in a most interesting graph, I t should be pointed out that this constant demand for increases published in a Sunday paper, showing the responses to various in wages is not confined to England but is becoming just as much a types of appeals for A.T.S. volunteers. Free offer of tuition in feature in America. On the morning this is being written the car driving brought far the biggest response, in marked con settlement of a strike in the United States was announced by the trast to similar offers in regard to cooking and typing. An B.B.C. with the statement that it had resulted in an increase of official statement on the national need for " woman power" wages for the strikers. So let not any American reader urge that caused a slump, while recent publicizing on the self-interest motif we in England should pluck out our mote before he has removed (happiness, comfort, etc.) has produced a steady rise in the curve. the beam in his own eye. Anyone who has anything to do with women coming in to factories is painfully aware of this and knows well that one of two questions Right s and Duties only is asked by a woman. This is " how much do I get?" or The fact is tha t leaders of Labour are still too occupied in watching "wha t are the hours?"; according to temperament. "Where over, and talking about, the rights of the workers without any can I be of most service? " is the question that is seldom heard. concomitant emphasis on their duties. Every employer of labour is sick and tired of the constant stream of exhortations issued by Th e Question of Compulsion the Ministry of Labour calling attention to the need for doing this Whether a woman could legally be " directed " to leave her em and that to safeguard the interests of employees. If some small ployment, whatever it might be, and go into a factory, or other portion of this effort were directed to inculcating in the worker an occupation, has never been made clear. understanding of how obstructive of output, of items higher up in Strictly speaking, under the very wide powers given under Defence the general production scale, his own slackness inevitably is, it would Regulation 58A, the Minister of Labour and National Service can without doubt be much more helpful to the war effort. " direct" anyone (of any age, male or female) " to perform such services as may be specified by the direction." These powers are The Export Position assumed, in specific instances, by virtue of various ad hoc Orders; We are asked to reiterate the statement that " the fact that goods the relevant one, in this case, being S.R. & 0 . No. 368 which only made of raw materials in short supply owing to war conditions are seems to order the individual to register and give full particulars advertised in this paper should not be taken as an indication that of herself—the practical interpretation of which has been a summons they are necessarily available for export." We are again giving it to the famous interview. prominence in this personal column because we wish to urge our friends in the American industry to use their influence to fight a Reasons for Prosecution development which is rearing an ugly head in the United States. It is worth noting that all the prosecutions that have been We are well aware, from a study of good-class American magazines, instituted up to the time of writing have been for failing to carry that the best quarters over there realize the dangers of the attitude out instructions to do specific work after the individual concerned which this announcement is intended to meet, as clearly as we do has " volunteered " to work in a factory; either on the charge that A Frank Statement she refused to carry out the particular work she was called upon to do, or because she was unwilling to leave her home town. To be perfectly frank, the Lease and Lend Act is being used, probably at the instigation of enemy agents, as a means to hamper The Position Unchanged the British export trade ; which may have serious repercussions on The much-publicized new Bill introduced in the House of Com both sides of the Atlantic when reconstruction comes up for discus mons early this month does not, unfortunately, seem likely to sion after the war. It is no use statesmen from both countries clarify the position very much. Powers of compulsory recruitment paying lip service to the need for post-war co-operation in freeing into the women's auxiliary services (which at present means only, international trade from restrictions if a feeling is to develop that in practice, the A.T.S.) are being taken, but apparently a woman the present position is being unfairly exploited to serve certain still has freedom of choice between them, the Civil Defence Service selfish interests. and munition work, so that compulsion for the two latter is still We hope our liberty in writing thus frankly will not be misunder only indirect. stood. Our object in doing so is to avoid the widening of an already The Situation Mishandled visible rift between the two countries which is fraught with dangerous The whole question of labour, male as well as female, has been possibilities.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1941
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