6 JUNE 1931, Page 2

Hours and Wages There are three conferences of importance this

week. At the first, on Tuesday, Mr. Bevin gave the reply of the Transport and General Workers' Union to the demands of the employers' representatives in the dock industry, which were for reductions of pay and revision of working conditions on a large scale. The constitution of the National Joint Council makes it impossible for the Union to refuse to discuss these proposals, but they were unwilling to do so, and have obtained a postponement while a small joint sub-committee examines the state of the industry. After we have gone to press the employers in the shipbuilding industry will lay before the unions similar proposals, which significantly include tentative approaches to greater interchangeability of labour between different crafts in the shipyards, an important problem for the unions and one on which they will be well advised to give way, since the question affects neither the wages nor hours of their members.