The 50 Years Ago column from the December 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard
One of the things Labour Governments are supposed to do is to keep up wages. Since the present government came in there have been big reductions in the wool, cotton and jute industries and there are now pending movements to reduce wages in building, agriculture, mining, boot and shoe production and railways. These applications for reductions cover about three million workers. Mr. Snowden, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, controls the Civil Service. Their cost of living bonus is governed by an agreement, made as a temporary measure in 1920. The agreement never gave them the full increase corresponding to the rise in prices, and it is admitted that their cost of living has not fallen by as large a percentage as is indicated by the Ministry of Labour index. The staff’s claim for a revised agreement was side-tracked by being referred to the Civil Service Royal Commission, and they therefore contend that until the Commission reports, no further reductions should have taken place. Mr. Snowden replied by giving them a five point reduction. When they protested, he replied by lamenting the ‘ingratitude” of the Civil Servants. Why workers in Government employment should be grateful when a Labour Government, contrary to the whole theory of the Labour Party, reduces their pay, it is difficult to understand.
From an editorial in the Socialist Standard, December 1930.