By DOUGLAS HYDE
employers and workers. It is upon these that Christians will want to • seize and build in the hope that a new and better mood than has prevailed in recent weeks may be created.
What might he interpreted as a hint to managements and, possibly, to some of his own Ministers, came from Mr. Harold Macmillan when he addressed the annual conference of the Institute of Directors at the Royal Festival Hall, London. " We have a lot of trouble to face in this world together," he told the 3,000 employers' representatives. " We had better not knock each other about."
Even Mr. Hugh Gaitskell's I. prophecy " last Sunday that the Cost of living will probably be stabilised before long, may also be interpreted as an attempt to lower the industrial temperature. For wage demands today are often prompted by the belief that the cost of living is bound to continue to rise and that sensible trade unionists must therefore try to keep " one junip ahead."
For several weeks hardly anything has been said on either side which could do anything to help produce a more conciliatory mood. Government employers and workers alike have engaged in publicly flexing their muscles in readiness for the big fight.
Now, behind the wild battle cries which served as a substitute for thought, there would appear to be the beginnings of an attempt to avoid a nation-wide clash which would help no one.
Particularly refreshing was a constructive suggestion aimed at breaking through the present vicious circle, which came from Lord Chandos, President of the Institute of Directors, at the conference at which the Prime Minister made his speech.
His proposal is that there should be a wage agreement covering a five-year period, giving an annual increase of, for example, two-anda-half per cent a year to every employee who had been with his firm for a given period. The agreed annual increase would be based on an increase in productivity. Government employers and trade unions mould all have to combine to see that these advances In wages were real. and represented a real increase in living standards.
The suggestion was too new and different to be at once endorsed by