By F. C. PRICE THEbishops of England, Wales and Scotland have expressed their willingness to support the setting up of more associations of Catholic employers in industrial centres. This was stated by Mr. A. J.
Hartley, chairman of the North Staffordshire Association of Catholic Employers and Management, at its annual general meeting in liurslem last week.
Mr. Hartley said in his review of the year: "At the last Spode Conference, held in May, it was agreed to send a letter to each of the ordinaries of England, Wales and Scotland to ask their support and approval for the setting up of local associations of Catholic employers and managers in their dioceses, and many favourable replies have been received
At present there are local associations in North Staffordshire, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. The oldest is the North Staffordshire, founded more than 15 years ago following an appeal by the late Cardinal Griffin.
In his address Mr. Hartley said: "The basis of our association is that it is a social apostotate. if it ceases to be that. then it becomes no different from countless other associations who are considering the technical and material problems of industry.
"That does not mean that we are not concerned with those problems. in fact our aim is to study industrial problems in the light of the social teaching of the Church," Mr. Hartley pointed out that it was only in North Staffordshire that Catholic employers and Catholic trades unionists met twice a year to discuss various industrial problems in the light of the teaching of the Church.
In addition, members of the association delivered papers at the ordinary meetings and from time to time meetings were arranged with other associations such as the Institute of Personnel Management,
Mr. B. J. Devaney, the secretary, said the next few meetings would concentrate on the question of dialogue between the employers and employees. This was to be the subject of next year's Spode Conference and it was one of the most vital aspects of industrial relations at present. because both sides of industry often understood something different when they used the same word.
A thorough exploration of this topic, he continued. would be of great benefit to all concerned. Dialogue will he the theme of their next joint meeting with the Association of Catholic Trades Unionists in November and Mr. Ronald Slater, district secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering Union would discuss it when he addressed the association in December.
Mr. Devaney told me afterwards that the North Staffordshire Association would be willing to offer advice and help to any other district wishing to set up a similar employers' association.