UNITY THE ONLY WAY.
I 4718] We have a painful duty to perform, and that is to clean up our haulage industry : that means the enemy within and without. We cannot, and will not, pay Grade 1 wages. It is an imposition that the industry cannot stand, either in Yorkshire or anywhere else. Grade 2 ought to be paid by all. Twenty-five per cent. are trying to observe the agreement and are being severely punished by the 75 per cent. who vary considerably their wages and conditions, e.g., wages under or over as much as 20s. per week, hours over or under MO per week, and young drivers doing 30 hours without a break.
,Shall we call this type of employer Enemy No. 1? He has cut rates to such an extent as to cause the roadrail war . now raging. If we cure or kill this slave trading we shall have a better case to fight all other ills. It must eventually be done—why not now?
No doubt many of the slave drivers join some association, but do not pay their subscriptions, in which case the associations should cancel their membership. Many of them do not even pretend to be members of any association.
In my opinion, we should, without fear or favour, round up all offenders. Those who are financial members of any association should at once be called before a committee which would get them either to go straight or go before the Licensing Authority, who should revoke their licences or compel immediate observance of wages and conditions. The slave drivers who are out of any association should be dealt with by the Authority. The grade agreed upon is now the fair-wage condition of licences and failure to comply with licence conditions is a serious offence.
The C-licence holder, or ancillary user, is Enemy No. 2. He can pay any wage he likes, and we get more and more B-licence holders adding new C-licence vehicles to liberate the B-licences for more competitive work. Do not let the dustman shake his dust bag in your eyes. We have had more than enough. We are told that the ancillary user is paying more wages than A and B users. Do not believe it. If they were, they would not object. Ancillary users must toe the line with Aand B-licence holders. .
Disunity is another enemy. We must work together, but it must be in the right direction. I am wondering
how an association can be united when it has under its roof A, B and C licensees.
I know many ancillary users who employ haulage contractors at impossible rates, and although the . hauliers pays miserable wages for long hours, they are Still, financially, in a hopeless mess. I know lots of .cases in which sand, gravel and road materials are carted at a fraction over a penny per ton-mile, i.e., the total Miles out and back. In a case where I quoted a very keen rate for sand haulage, I was laughed at, and I can assure you that I allowed only a very doubtful margin of profit. The work was done at 3s. 6d per ton, .28miles with load to a bad' building Site; 28 allies return : 56' miles for 42 pence per ton. • Keep a keen eye on the ancillary user and make, him observe the same conditions as the haulier. It can be done by united effort. Let me beg of associations catering for...both sides to see that C-licence holders agree to wages and conditions, or they will fall between the two.
Another enemy is the police and magistrates, who dispense injustice: Here, I recommend trying to observe the law, although I know it is hard to keep clear. I made a resolution to avoid any proaecirtien this year. I have been lucky, but I have -done it. I should like to see a fund big enough to fight every case that goes before a court. I feel sure that we should then have less persecution.
We are threatened all round. Surely our livelihood, our freedom, our families, are worth fighting for? Let me suggest a New Year resolution: All put your. shoulders to the wheel and lift the industry out of the morass. All Put double subscription' in your associations this year to enable them to fight your cause more effectually. Your association subscription is the best . spent moneyin your business. Put your complaints, Observances and desires, such as reduction of tax, increase of speed limit to 30 m.p.h. on all pneumatictyred vehicles on four wheels, on paper and post it to your Member of Parliament. Put up a special effort to uplift the haulage industry and all will benefit.. Make a determined effort against Grade 1., It .is impossible except in a very few cases. . tiNrrxe Sheffield.
BRITISH TRADE IN THE NEAR EAST.
[4719) May we draw the attention of your readers to the great and increasing opportunities this year for British trade in the Near East, as the result of the regeneration of Palestine and the surrounding territory?
The development of this part of the world has been one of the few bright features during the recent years of depression abroad. Since 1931 the imports of Palestine alone have increased nearly threefold. In 1931 they amounted to £5,940,000. In 1934 they totalled £15,153,000, whilst the half-yearly figures for 1935 point to the imports being £17,000,000 or more.
Moreover, as anyone who has recently visited Palestine is aware, building and agricultural development are proceeding at a prodigious pace, and there is consequently a steady and increasing demand for machinery, building materials, etc.
British manufacturers are sharing in this development, but they are not sharing to the extent they should—and would, if they took a more active interest in this important market. For instance, during the half-year ending June 30, 1935, British exports to Palestine amounted to only £1,108,842 out of a total purchase by Palestine of £8,475,000. An opportunity for British trade to obtain a better share of this expanding market is oflered by the Levant Fair, which is to be held at Tel-Aviv, in Palestine, in May this year. There is a British Pavilion at this Fair, and arrangements have been made in Palestine for the formation of a British Exhibitors' Committee, which will attend to all matters in connection therewith. The Federation of British Industries and the Department of Overseas Trade are also taking a friendly, interest.
These efforts, however, will be of little avail unless British manufacturers themselves begin to take action in the matter before it is too late. Recent news indicates that many European countries are waking up to the gold mine available to traders in this rapidly expanding market, and it is, therefore, essential that our manufacturers and exporters should take early and practical advantage of the tendency which still obtains in Palestine to give first preference to the British-made article if no Palestinian one is available.
R. H. MORGAN. H. A. PROCTER.
W. F. STRICKLAND. TOM WILLIAMS. House of Commons.
THE HAULAGE OF ROAD ENGINEERING PLANT.
[47201 At the present time certain portions of our works are undergoing processes of reconstruction and it is necessary to convey materials and engineering plant over the highway to various branch works in the same district.
We shall be pleased therefore to have your views on the question of towing transportable tar boilers and concrete mixers, all of which are mounted on steel wheels having smooth treads.
Our motor lorries are not licensed for towing trailers, but we have a number of electric tractors authorized to run over the highway without payment of licence, and it is proposed to tow such engineering plant with these machines.
Perhaps you will be good enough, therefore, to give us reference to the regulations applicable in such cases.
[The question of towing vehicles such as tar boilers and concrete mixers is one of some difficulty, owing to the fact that, so far as we are aware, tl?ere has been no High Court decision as to whether such vehicles are "trailers" within the meaning of the Finance Acts, or within the meaning of the Road Traffic Acts. On the whole it is probable that they would be held to come within those Acts. We are not aware of any provision in the Finance Acts which exempts from the payment of taxation licences any electric tractor, but the Road and Rail Traffic Act (Exdmption) Provisional Regulations, 1935, exempts from the provisions of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, any vehicle used on a road only in passing from one part of any works or private premises to another, or to works or premises belonging to the same person in the immediate neighbourhood, provided that the distance travelled on a road by any such vehicle does not exceed six miles in any one week. We would, however, point out that the additional taxation licence duty for the right to draw a trailer applies only to motor vehicles which are constructed or adapted for the conveyance of goods in the course of trade. and which are therefore subject to duty at the rates set out in paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule to the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by subsequent Finance Acts. The additional duty for the right to draw a trailer does not apply to any tractor which draws a trailer, and there is, therefore, no reason, from the point of view of licence duty, why you should not draw the tar boilers and concrete mixers behind electric tractors.—En.]
THE HARDSHIPS OF THE SMALL BUS PROPRIETOR.
 I should be glad if any one of your readers could explain to me why the small bus proprietor is hounded around the countryside by Commissioners and hordes of officials, such as vehicle examiners. Something in their mentality makes them magnify the most minute details into enormous crimes under section soand-so of such-and-such an Act. One would be justified in assuming that this class of owner is being mistaken for a criminal.
It is usually the small operator who is before the courts on overloading charges, whereas the large concerns, some of which n-iake a practice of this, seem to escape. I often wonder what would be the fate of these officials if the big combines absorbed all the small fry. It would not surprise me if the death of the small operator were soon followed by the decease of the
Traffic Commissioners. BRANDONIAN. Suffolk.