Page 6, 31st October 1958

31st October 1958
Page 6
Page 6, 31st October 1958 — GOOD RELATIONS IN INDUSTRY
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Organisations: Trade Unions
Locations: Birmingham

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GOOD RELATIONS IN INDUSTRY

tN the statement, referred to by the Archbishop of Birmingham the Bishop of Shrewsbury said thai in Catholic Social Teaching the "person" has always been the first consideration.

" In the construction of good relations, therefore. between managers, workmen, and customers, the cornerstone is the recognition of the dignity of the human, individual personality," the Bishop said.

"Some there are who recognise this in the manager and the customer. hut ignore it in the workman; others uphold it in the workman while in the manager and the customer they refuse to see it. But whether you coerce a workman or a manager you coerce a man.

" Sonic method should be found, particularly in the larger and nationalised industries, which would allow more responsibility to the individual employee so that he is not just a tool. but a human being with a mind which finds self-expression in work that is humanly satisfying.

Responsibility

"A measure of decentralizing introduced into large industries, while not destroying the central guiding spirit. would nevertheless allow a certain initiative in smaller effective groups. These groups would give their members a sense not only of companionship. but also of responsibility.

"On questions such as automation and redundancy it is vital that there should be previous planning and consultation.

"Automation can help. not only to raise the standard of living, but to give opportunity for the further development of the individual person.

"Far from turning men into automata. it will call for more and more trained technicians.

" But temporarily it can Iced to hardship, unless foresight is used. Its immediate consequences such as displacement of labour and shift-work, demand consideration and consultation; and we feel that it is because employees have not been taken into the management's confidence, and full warning given to them of proposed changes, that there has been hardship at times, misunderstanding and social strife.

Workers and management

"1. Let trades unions take care that their newly-found power and organised strength be not used to coerce the management and the public unjustly. New power means new responsibility. The use of such power is only morally defensible when it provides a legitimate means of self-defence against actual or imminent violation of fundamental rights.

" Union officials have shown on

occasion great courage and patriotism in refusing to use their power to secure demands that were not justified.

" 2. Strikes too are morally justifiable only as a means of legitimate self defence Owing to the inter-relation of industries, the decision to strike nowadays is fraught with grave consequences reaching far beyond the immediate area of conflict and affecting the lives and prosperity of countless innocent people.

" It calls for careful deliberation therefore by prudent and just men. Members of Trade Unions should be on their guard against demagogues who think link of disrupting peace and order for selfish ends. 'Never to resort to violence in defending their cause" says Pope Leo XIII, ' and to have nothing to do with men of evil principles who work upon people with specious

promises . and excite foolish hopes. which usually end in useless regrets and grievous loss.'

Employment

"3. The assurance ot full employment, the pressing economic needs of the nation, and the demands of strict justice in the wage contract demand from everyone genuine conscientious effort while at work. The labourer and artisan should carry out honestly and fairly all equitable agreements ,freely entered into.'

" Ill-informed managements have sometimes statedt-at Is there will never • be an honest day's work until unemployment returns. It is a violation of human dignity to Use the fear of unemployment as a whip to production. Such fear as that humiliates a man, and insults him.

" But there is a fear of unemployment which is a just one: the fear of the unemployment which follows negligence and the open violation of a wage-contract. And, alas, organised labour, in days of full employment. has occasionally used its power to protect such delinquency."




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