17 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 2

The dispute in the Mersey shipyards, where the boilermakers threaten

to strike, is typical of the attitude of some trade unionists to labour-saving inventions. Some years ago an oxy- acetylene lamp was introduced for welding damaged ship's plates together. It can be worked by two men. In the Northern shipyards it was readily adopted. On the Mersey the trade union objected to the lamp ; if it were used, they said, the whole gang of twenty-five men-formerly required for such work must still be engaged. The employers 3 Jakly consented. Thus when the lamp was in operation, twenty.three men drawing full pay looked on idly while two men did the -work. Such a grotesque anomaly could not continue in these times of bad. trade.. The Mersey shipbuilders announced last week that they must put

an end to it. The union might have been expected to agree that the practice was morally and economically indefensible. Instead of that, the boilermakers declared that they would strike if the restrictions on the use of the lamp were not main- tained.