19 AUGUST 1905, Page 3

The dispute in the Lancashire cotton-spinning industry was discussed this

week at a Conference at Manchester between the employers and representatives of the operatives. The difficulty arose over a demand by the card-room hands at Oldham for a rise of wages because of the recent great prosperity of the spinning trade, a demand in which the spinners joined, and which shortly became universal in the industry. The employers refused the request on the ground that any rise would have to run for a year, and that they might have to face another shortage of cotton before the time was up. Various compromises have been suggested, and it is sincerely to be hoped that the provisional solution arrived at by the Manchester Conference will lead to a permanent settlement, for, as a correspondent points out in Tuesday's Times, it is a test case for the whole system of higher industrial organisation. The cotton-spinning industry has been so organised as to provide a simple means cf solution for all questions that may arise between masters and men. The Brooklands Agreement of 1893 forbade the encourage- ment of any agitation till the secretary of the local Trade Union and the secretary of the local Employers' Association had considered the matter, and, if necessary, referred it to further Joint Committees. Since then there has been no dispute of any importance, and it now remains to be seen whether this admirable organisation for industrial peace is to continue its success.