16 JUNE 1950, Page 6


THE dispute between the London Society of Compositors and the London Master Printers' Association does not concern the Spectator directly, but indirectly it touches it very closely. The dispute is partly over wages and partly over an increase in the number of apprentices—the L.S.C., in its anxiety to maintain full

employment, has always guarded entry into the printing profession very' jealously. The wages dispute is one of the frequent current comments on the parable of the Labourers and the Vineyard. Not long ago the Typographical Association, representing provincial printers, got a rise in wages. That reduced the " differential " between T.A. and L.S.C., and the L.S.C. applied for a rise sufficient to restore it, reinforcing their demand iy a refusal to work any overtime Writ was conceded. Since overtime is regularly worked on periodicals like the Spectator, the ban on overtime means that less type-setting can be done, and the paper has to be reduced in size (as this paper necessarily has been in the last few weeks). The employers brought the dispute before the National Arbitra- tion Tribunal, whose award is binding, and though the men promptly withdrew their claim—because they preferred to deal with the masters direct rather than be ruled on by the Tribunal—it seems likely that that body will feel free to award either the 2s. 6d. a week which the masters have offered or some higher figure.