Page 6, 11th November 1938

11th November 1938
Page 6
Page 6, 11th November 1938 — WORK-FOR-ALL PLAN Training and Trade Unions

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WORK-FOR-ALL PLAN Training and Trade Unions

StR,—I feel, as you do, that the present situation is one in which an effort must be made to use the wasted labour of the country to meet the needs of the moment, and I agree that the solution of the unemployment problem has been made difficult, if not impossible, by the resistance of vested interests of one kind or another. To the uninitiated it may seem a simple matter to absorb hundreds of thousands into the armament industry, but, unfortunately, most of the instruments of modern warfare are precision machines, and the shortage is in highly skilled workers. Training is a long process even for the youngest and most intelligent of the unemployed. Up to recent times the Trades' Unions have been very suspicious of any suggestion of "

" and have resisted large-scale training of men who they fear might compete with them when demand for their labour might flag.

Trades' Unions have done much for the workers of Britain, but I cannot help thinking that their policy prevents that flexibility and mobility of labour which are enforced in countries like Russia, Germany, and Italy, and unless this difficulty can be overcome there is little hope of " Work for All."

Please do not imagine that I think the Trades Unions are the only obstacle. I know full well that influential people and bodies with axes to grind—merchants making money out of imports, shipping interests and so on—can see objections, but they Look at things with their own eyes and need a broader outlook.

The problem is—can these things be done under a democratic regime? I think they can, but we need a leader of tremendous courage and outstanding personality, untrammelled by party ties and with the ability to break down that class prejudice which is the curse of this country. Suspicion and fear stalk the land and must first be allayed.


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