Sunday, April 24, 2022

Wages and Human Needs (1940)

Editorial from the December 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The apologists for Capitalism are all reluctant to admit the truth about the way wages are fixed. They do not like to admit in the first place that the means of production and distribution are owned by a small minority of the population and that society is divided into a propertied class that lives by owning and a working class that lives by the sale of labour-power to the owners. Nor do they like to admit that wages are fixed in a fierce, unequal struggle between employers and workers, so that the cost of the bare necessities of life of the various grades of workers provides the levels to which wages generally conform. Rather than admit that this is the way Capitalism works, those who defend it give much thought to formulating theories of wages which do not look so brutal and unprincipled. The theories differ in their phraseology. Some try to present the facts in terms of the so-called “value of work” of the different grades of worker, others point to schemes of co-partnership and profit-sharing, etc., but all have in common the assumption that the workers as a whole have little to complain about, although in particular occupations or industries there may be a need for some improvement. Social reformers who accept Capitalism, of whom Mr. Seebohm Rowntree is an outstanding example, have given years of study to the problem as they see it—but without the problem ever being any nearer to solution. Now the war has brought the question of engineers’ wages into the foreground and the theories are being examined again. The employers state that in their view it is against the “national interest ” to grant the wage increase asked for by the Amalgamated Engineering Union. They do not take their stand on “inability to pay” the increase, but on the plea that wages are already high enough and that the Government should exercise control. The view of the Union has been put in an interview with the Daily Herald by Mr. Jack Tanner, President of the A.E.U. :—
“We are still a democratic state,” he declared. “It is not for the engineering employers, or any other set of employers, to say what is in the best interests of the country.

“We are anxious that the industries of the nation, together with the Navy, the Army, and Air Force, should be put on a common basis.

“We raise no objection to the conscription of labour if that is necessary, provided that wealth is conscripted also.

“Take the profit motive out of industry. Let there be a common pool for using all the resources of the nation—employers to be on the same footing as the rest of the community. Let payment from the nation’s resources be on the basis of service and value to the nation.

“If the engineering employers are so concerned about the national welfare, I suggest that they agree that the industry should be nationalised as are the armed forces, so that the conscription of wealth may be the same as the conscription of life.”—(Daily Herald, November 29th, 1940.)
It will be noticed that Mr. Tanner, though he criticises the existing arrangements, offers as an alternative that “payment from the nation’s resources be on the basis of service and value to the nation.”

He is probably unaware that avowed defenders of Capitalism use the same nebulous phrase about “service and value to the nation,” a meaningless form of words which capitalist investors, who claim that they render “service” by their investment, will readily accept on their own interpretation. It also obscures the sectional point of view which permits workers with a non-Socialist outlook to believe that it is possible to measure the “value to the nation” of different types of work, and hence desirable to perpetuate different incomes for different grades of workers.

Coming back to the point of view of the open defender of Capitalism we find The Times (November 30th) expressing itself as follows: —
“In fact any increase of wages in an industry almost wholly devoted to munitions must be paid by the country. The questions to be decided are whether the wage rates and the earnings of engineering workers are fair and reasonable when related to human needs and to wages in other industries, and whether an advance, which the industry could pass on to the taxpayer, would be justifiable.”
The Times approaches the dispute cautiously and with an air of not being committed to either side. This is a reminder that there is a war on. In times of peace the issue would be fought out in the usual way by a strike or lock-out, but now that is the last thing desired. It is indeed one of the difficulties that beset Capitalism at war, for the normal cut-throat capitalist procedure cannot be reverted to when, for military reasons, output must not be interrupted. The employers, the Government, and The Times are all hoping that arbitration will avoid any such interruption, but notice the hollowness of the principle to which the National Arbitration Tribunal is to direct itself. It is asked to decide whether engineering wages “are fair and reasonable when related to human needs and to wages in other industries.” The Tribunal is therefore to take into account all those sections of industry where wage rates are at their lowest; for example, the agricultural workers’ 48s., and the Post Office and railway workers getting in some cases even less. (Mr. Tanner should notice Post Office wages when he pins his faith to nationalisation.) What kind of principle is this? All it does is to accept the fact of low wage levels in some industries and elevate it into a principle for regulating wages elsewhere.

And what of “human needs”? The simple minded, not used to the subtleties of arbitration tribunals, will suppose that human needs can only mean the needs of human beings. Nothing could be further from the thought of The Times ! The Times is not proposing that engineering shareholders, cabinet ministers, millionaire newspaper proprietors, church dignitaries, and arbitrators shall all be ranked together with engineers and labourers for the purpose of deciding what are the needs of all as human beings. What is meant is that the class division of society shall be taken for granted, and that “human needs” shall be considered solely in relation to the needs of that sub-species known as the working class.

This state of affairs will not be remedied until class-divided society has given place to Socialism. Then there will be no wages problem. Class struggle will have disappeared to make way for common ownership of the means of production and distribution and for the application of the Socialist principle, “From each according to his capacity; to each according to his need.”

Notes by the Way: The “Vision” of Firle (1940)

The Notes by the Way Column from the December 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The “Vision” of Firle

In these days, when the newspapers are telling us that all our time and energy should be given to the prosecution of the war, a number of journalists could be spared by their stunt-hunting editors to inquire into the “vision” that appeared above Firle, in Sussex, on Sunday, October 27th. Affirming that it was another “Angel of Mons,” the News Chronicle sent a special representative to investigate. This is the story (News Chronicle, November 8th, 1940) : —
“All the evidence I have been able to collect suggests that on a still, warm Sunday something strange appeared in the sky above the village.

There was no cloud and there is no evidence of any aerial activity. Four people—careful enquiries fail to reveal any others—claim to have seen the figure of Christ crucified, and on either side of Him six angels.”
Other villagers saw nothing, and the Vicar was sceptical. “Would it not have been seen by hundreds of people in villages all over the district, instead of by a handful in this particular one?” He said he thought “there must have been a trick of the light or cloud.” (Perhaps the Vicar, as a professional religionist, felt that any visions should be witnessed by him, not by laymen.)

Then the Daily Mail took it up, saying that they had received a “flow of letters from people all over South-Eastern England.” The Mail was rather more non-committal than the News Chronicle, and would only go so far as to say that it must have been “something far out of the ordinary.” (November 12th.)

One letter published by the Mail certainly bore out this claim. A writer from Boscombe said that he (or she) “also saw this wonderful sight, but a little different perhaps. The angels appeared in beautiful flowing robes, with arms outstretched pointing to the sky. They seemed to be appealing to those on earth.”

Here, you will see, is that richness of detail that is so convincing. Unfortunately the writer from Boscombe went on to give just one detail too many. He said that the vision appeared “when the sun was setting in a lovely sky.” The original, authentic vision was seen, not when the sun was setting, but in the morning, and the Daily Mail editor had to point this out.

Another witness of the vision had to admit that from Croydon, where he saw the vision, the “figures of Christ and the angels were not so definite,” but this was compensated by the harp —”I did very clearly observe the harp in perfect detail for several minutes.”

Then there was a letter from a headmaster of a school in Gloucestershire. He was, he said, “tremendously interested in the account of the Sussex shepherd’s vision of Christ and the angels. Obviously, as this was also witnessed by others in the vicinity, one can accept it in good faith as a ‘sign’ that Christ has, as we sincerely pray, ‘come among us in His great power and glory’ to succour us.”

Then finally came two letters (Daily Mail, November 12th) that explained the vision and all its detail. One described white trails left in the sky by aeroplanes flying in from the coast, and the writer added : “There was such a fantastical design that you could see not only angels, but any subject that was dear to your heart.”

The second letter was from a Flight-Lieutenant confirming that “the ‘sign’ was merely a trail of exhaust vapour from aircraft travelling in the cold upper air at about 30,000 feet or more.”

All of which goes to show on what flimsy evidence a “vision” and “strangest story of the war” can be built up.

* * *

The “Angel of Mons”

The News Chronicle (November 7th) had introduced its story about the “vision” of Firle with a reference to the “Angel of Mons.” Evidently the editor forgot that the Angel of Mons story was a pure invention and was admitted to be such by its inventor. In an article in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” (Twelfth Edition, Vol. 32, Page 198), that particular story is classed as “mere propaganda for the benefit of the superstitious,” and as one of the “successful appeals to primitive credulity.” The “Encyclopaedia” writer states that the story, “though published as fiction, was actually taken as fact” (italics his).

So when the News Chronicle calls its Firle story “a parallel of the famous ‘Angels of Mons’ legend,” it was hardly a reason for believing it.

* * *

Celebrating the Bolshevik Seizure of Power

Early in November the Daily Worker printed special articles on the 23rd anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power, and numerous meetings were announced at which the anniversary would be celebrated. Four celebrations were, however, not announced or reported in the Daily Worker, the following account being taken from the Daily Express (November 9th, 1940). The celebrations in question were those arranged in Washington, Tokyo, Rome and Berlin by the Russian ambassadors in those four cities: —
“Guests of the four Russian envoys included glittering figures in the capitalist world; occasion was the twenty-third anniversary of the October Revolution which was to end that world for ever.

In Washington nearly a thousand guests crammed the three floors of M. Oumansky’s gaily-decorated Embassy.

British and German diplomats helped themselves from tables heaped with rich Russian food. Japanese and Chinese amiably sipped beakers of sweet champagne.

Turks tried vodka; Italians experimented with whisky-soda; Balkan emissaries drank cognac that was laid down by the Czars.

At Stalin’s Embassy in Rome Count Ciano was the lion of the evening; in Tokyo little Matsuoka, Nippon’s Foreign Minister, took his War and Navy Ministers to the party for another hatchet-burying ceremony.

Berlin’s elite rolled up in force to do honour to M. Schwartzen’s caviare. And poor old Baron Weizaecker, Ribbentrop’s Foreign Office shadow, tendered (Dear me!) his “most cordial congratulations” on the Bolshevik coup of 1917.”
After this last touch it only remains for Stalin’s representatives to tender their most cordial congratulations on the Nazi coup of 1933.

* * *

Not so Cordial Happenings in Russia

In the meantime events of another kind were taking place in Russia. While the Russian ambassadors abroad were hobnobbing with choice gangs of Nazi and Fascist thugs in honour of the Russian “revolution,” Russia at home was showing the kind of corruption to which Bolshevik State Capitalism naturally lends itself. The first case was reported in the News Chronicle from their Moscow correspondent: —
“Moscow, Friday.—Eight people will face a firing squad and 34 others have received prison sentences up to ten years, as a result of the Moscow slaughterhouse theft trial.

Two gangs of thieves working undisturbed for two years, sold artificially-created meat surpluses to State-owned stores whose directors took half the proceeds of retail sales.

Thus, 500,000 roubles worth of meat had been pilfered since 1938.”—(News Chronicle, November 2nd, 1940.)
The other case was reported in the Manchester Guardian twelve days later : —
“Four Russian industrialists were sentenced to death at Kiev yesterday on charges of “damage to the State,” costing 1,240,000 roubles, the Moscow-wireless announces. One of the condemned men was the head of the Kiev State vodka factory, Mr. Galperin. It was alleged that he and his confederates stole petrol and spirit from the factory and sold it to private illegal dealers. Fourteen members of the group were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.”—(Manchester Guardian, November 14th, 1940.)

* * *

The Press and the Night Raiders

The British newspapers never tire of telling the world—and their patient readers—what noble, trustworthy organs of truth they are. Their attitude over the question of defence against night raiders is a little difficult to square with their protestations. Had they merely said that no doubt in time defence would catch up with attack, the history of weapons and methods of warfare would have made the claim a reasonable one. What, with few exceptions, they actually did was to hold out the hope of decisive and almost immediate counter measures, and it was only when readers were getting sick with hope deferred that the newspapers began repudiating each other’s earlier predictions. Here are a few out of a large number: —
“September 20th, 1940, Daily Express
The Royal Air Force already has a reply to the heavy bombs dropped by the Germans on London this week. The reply will be delivered shortly.
What it is cannot at present be revealed, but it will have a big effect on the future of the air war.

September 23rd, Daily Mail:—
Well, you have heard, I expect, about our secret measures against night bombing attacks. I am not allowed to hint at what they are, but I can assure you that there IS something coming along. It will be sprung on the Nazis as suddenly as our great A.A. barrage was sprung on them a week ago, only the effects are expected to be even more devastating.

September 26th, Daily Herald
A new type of fighter is coming into service with the R.A.F.
This, with its abnormal ability to stay in the air without refuelling, and its heavy armament, should, to put it mildly, disconcert the Luftwaffe (writes F. G. H. Salusbury, the Dally Herald War Correspondent).
These qualifications may be coupled with a novel method for the detection of the night raider.
A civilian population which is being bombed is apt to be impatient for results, but our experts have not been idle.”
A month later the Daily Herald was soft pedalling on the hope of stopping the raiders. Mr. Maurice Webb (Daily Herald, October 22nd) wrote: —
“I must pump a jet of cold water on all this extravagant talk about new devices to smash bombing attacks.

Novel methods of interception and protection will shortly surprise the Luftwaffe. But those who are hinting at some shattering secret weapon which will solve all our problems are just deluding themselves and others.”
The Times (October 17th, 1940) appears to have been one of the few newspapers which all along took the line that “forecasts of the imminence of miraculous defensive devices are certainly mischievous.”

It would be interesting now to be told by the newspapers which made those forecasts exactly how they justify their action.

* * *

Trade Unionists who Persecute C Os. 

The Manchester Guardian (November 13th, 1940) reproduces a statement issued by the Executive Council of the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers concerning the persecution of conscientious objectors by certain members of the Society. The Society’s Greenock branch asked the E.C. to circularise the branches “pointing out that workers who have appeared before the tribunal as conscientious objectors should not be hounded and victimised by members of the A.S.W.”

The Executive very rightly shared the views of the Greenock branch, and have informed branches that “if attempts are made by members to penalise other A.S.W. members they are liable to be dealt with under rule.” The E.C. add: —
“We agree with the branch resolution that “this type of persecution can easily be diverted into other channels to the detriment of the workers generally.” Harassing of men because of their conscientious scruples is obnoxious in any case; it becomes putrid when the persecutors are A.S.W. members, who are, above a certain age, protected by their job from any danger of having to accept military service.”

* * *

Why Not ? 

In a letter to the Daily Herald (November 16th) a reader put the following question: —
“To meet the hard cases of disabled workers, why not pay all contributions to one Government fund for compensation, old age, National Health, disablement and unemployment ?”
The question is one that has occurred to many workers. To them it does appear absurd that there should be separate funds to provide for various evils of working-class existence, each with its elaborate rules, big staffs and complicated organisation. But there is method in this apparent madness. The purpose of the funds is not that of making reasonable provision for the sake of the worker, but that of enabling the capitalist class, through the State, to deal with problems arising out of Capitalism as cheaply as possible; on the one hand preventing discontent from becoming too acute, and on the other avoiding anything which might lessen the pressure that drives the worker to work for the employing class.

The Daily Herald reader has begun to think and asks why not one fund for all purposes ? He will be surprised to learn that Socialists do not favour separate funds or one fund. Socialists make the logical proposal that the system of society should be reconstituted so that every individual should throughout his or her life have free access to the product of the co-operative labour of the whole of the population. Then, as a matter of course, the sick, the aged, and the disabled will be fully provided for not as a favour but as a right.

* * *

The Post-War Housing Problem

Lord Reith, Minister of Works and Buildings, has been instructed to report to the Cabinet on the appropriate machinery and methods for dealing with the problem of post-war rebuilding, for the Government has promised—was there ever a government which didn’t?—to abolish slums as well as make good the damage done by German raiders. It is safe to say that the task of providing houses fit for the workers to live in will not be carried out under the auspices of Lord Reith. To start with, the workers, if they had their choice, would hardly appoint to the task Lord Reith. Indeed, after reading his speech in the House of Lords on November 13th it is reasonable to wonder whether anyone who wanted any kind of practical problem solved would entrust it to him. A typical foggy passage is the following : —
“There must be an eager and even anxious looking forward to the better Britain of our dreams which, in part, devoted men and women were beginning here and there to make come true. One must not overlook what had already been done. The speed and complexity and materialism of life had confused and confounded, and, in some cases, had failed the vision, the divine impatience, the high resolve no longer to tolerate the intolerable. That phrase “no longer to tolerate the intolerable” might be as good a text as any Minister who had anything to do with this subject would find.—(The Times, November 14th.)
Lord Reith is not dreaming of the kind of better Britain the workers need. One feature of his dream is certain to be that monstrous insult to the wealth producers which goes by the name of “working-class houses.” The workers do not want “working-class houses,” but houses fit to live in. Not ugly, stereotyped, inconvenient, cramped and crowded sleeping-boxes, but real houses fit to live in and look at. Lord Reith and the Conservative Party are not filled with divine patience, high resolve, etc., to build such houses. To have that resolve would mean having a determination to abolish the system which has a propertied class and a working class.

If the workers want the thing done they might start by taking the advice given by Captain Balfour in another connection, and applying it to their own condition. Talking about winning the war, he said we must give up expecting plums of good fortune to fall into our hands. Instead, we must “be discontented, be angry, be intolerant” (The Times, November 14th). Or, as Lloyd George used to say, the working class should be “audacious” instead of trusting to fine words and promises from the Lord Reiths of the world.

* * *

Britain’s Ambassadors

Along with much criticism of the Foreign Office and its embassy staffs abroad, Mr. W. N. Ewer, in the Daily Herald (November 26th), makes the point that most of them are “conscientious officials—some able, some not—working, many of them very hard, for pretty poor pay.”

It is quite true that many of these men, having private incomes, are expected to be able to supplement their official pay. The pay of the staffs ranges up to £1,500 for the higher officials, plus large allowances for rent and for entertainment expenses. For the ambassadors, payment ranges up to £20,000 for the ambassador in Washington, but only £2,500 of that is salary, the rest being made up of entertainment allowances. Mr. Ewer might be right in suggesting that by comparison with other countries, and with the incomes of captains of industry, these amounts are not large. It will, however, be noticed that he is tacitly assuming the continuance of Capitalism and the existing relationship between capitalist States. He would no doubt admit that, except on that assumption, the need for all this expensive diplomatic parade disappears.

However, even viewed from a capitalist standpoint, it does not seem that any pay, however small, can have been small enough considering the poor show put up by some of the gentlemen in question. Apart from the actual results of their activities in recent years, it is only necessary to consider some of their recent utterances.

First, Sir Nevile Henderson, formerly ambassador to Germany, speaking at a meeting at Cheltenham on November 22nd. According to The Times (November 23rd), Sir Nevile said—
“That we would never get stable conditions in Europe until Anglo-German co-operation was achieved.

‘When this war has been fought and won,’ he said, ‘we can keep Germany down for a time, but you cannot keep Germany down always. You will not get settled conditions in Western Europe until Germans and British can work together. We are ready to do it. The trouble is, Germany, who has to be taught, somehow.’”
If it is not rude to mention the matter, it could be suggested that Sir Nevile’s job as ambassador to Germany was precisely in order to teach them how to co-operate.

But Sir Robert Vansittart, chief diplomatic adviser to the Government and former ambassador to France and other countries, doesn’t agree with Sir Nevile. He spoke on the overseas wireless on November 24th : —
“We must all drop the habit of making allowances for the Germans; it isn’t fair to ourselves,” declared Sir Robert Vansittart, chief diplomatic adviser to the Government, in an overseas broadcast last night.

“Hitler is no accident,” said Sir Robert. “He is the natural and continuous product of a breed which from the dawn of history has been predatory and bellicose.”

Sir Robert warned against “the hallucination that there is in Germany an effective element of kindly and learned old gentlemen, and of sweet, pig-tailed maidens.

“That is unhappily a myth. The German professors either vanish on the day of battle, or they turn out to be the worst of expansionists.

“Don’t count on the maidens either. You will even find in the Polish black book German girls gloating over the sufferings of the victims.”—(Daily Mail, November 25th.)
It looks as if Sir Nevile and Sir Robert ought to get together and compare notes. Perhaps, though, diplomatic relations have been broken off between them.

Mr. Ewer might explain how foreign representation will be improved by doubling the salaries of these two gentlemen, each with his own view as to the way we go from here.

One other statement made by Sir Nevile Henderson should be placed on record. It needs no comment: —
“When Mr. Chamberlain flew to Germany he had seven cards in his hand. One was a trump; the rest were duds. The trump was the prestige of Britain. The second card was our utter unpreparedness for war. Goring told me that at the time of the Munich conference London had only 14 anti-aircraft guns and nothing to prevent Germany dropping from 1,000 to 2,000 tons of bombs a day on London.”

Mr. Chamberlain’s other “dud” cards included the unwillingness of France to fight, the great unwillingness at that time of our Empire, the idea of collective security, and his own personal detestation of war. He decided on the compromise because it was certainly better than immediate war.”— (The Times, November 23rd, 1940.)

* * *

The Thieving Well-to-do. 

Magistrates from time to time have harsh things to say about workers who pilfer from their employers or from their employers’ customers. It seems, however, that the matter of pilfering has been put into a wholly wrong perspective.

The real wholesale thieves are the well-to-do who frequent hotels, but whereas the worker’s employer prosecutes, the hotels don’t. A reader of the Manchester Guardian who says that for over 20 years he has been associated with two of the most important hotel groups in the country, gives a detailed account of what is considered proper in the ranks of the “highly respectable.” Here are some extracts from his lengthy letter : —
“Guests in hotels do not confine themselves to thefts of soap, towels, and ash trays. They steal electric lamps, nail brushes, combs, notepaper, pens, glasses, coat-hangers, metal and composition pegs from the backs of doors, and even plumbing fittings —in fact, almost anything of light weight which can be unscrewed or simply lifted. As we were able to prove, many a small country cottage or houseboat on the Thames has been partially fitted up with articles purloined from restaurants and hotels in London. Knives, forks, spoons, pepper and salt containers, mustard pots, napkins, and small wine glasses have disappeared by the thousand, and nearly always during the early days of summer when the exodus to the country begins.

But to our soap. The greatest losses were sustained in two first-class restaurants with which I was associated on the occasion of military reunions and at “swagger” banquets when white ties and tails were the order ! “Tails” were ideal for soap secretion and for the purloining of nail brushes. The process is interesting. It runs : Wash the hands dry the soap on the towel, wrap the soap in a piece of toilet paper and drop it into the tail pocket.

To prevent the theft of nail brushes the manager of one first-class restaurant called in an expert designer to devise an unstealable brush. The result was a model three times as large as the customary brush, with an ebony back, loaded with four ounces of lead. The would-be acquirer of this article who hid it in his tail pocket was liable to make his exit from the lavatory walking “at the slope.” In most first-class hotels there is a reserve “fund” of replacements against theft. This fund embraces cutlery, glass, napkins, towels, and all kinds of oddments. One big company had a variety of small trinkets made bearing the firm’s sign and name, and they were left around in accessible places to be stolen. A cheap and semi-artistic product of this kind was considered an advertising investment and a protection for the more valuable articles about the hotel. Soap is going to be still greater temptation to pilferers if this war lasts much longer.”
The next time a magistrate prepares to inflict a heavy sentence, plus some moralising, on an unfortunate worker who has tried to make up his wages by pilfering, the magistrate might pause and ask himself whether he has among his highly-respectable friends people who habitually walk off with hotel fittings and think nothing of it.

* * *

Where’s George ? 

On Wednesday, November 27th, the News Chronicle published a photograph of two smiling gentlemen, the Soviet Premier, Molotov, and Marshal Goering, taken at their meeting in Berlin. It bore the words, “Soviet Premier, Molotov, received by Marshal Goering (wearing medals), when the Russo-German talks took place in Berlin this month.” It was at this meeting that the Bolshevik and Nazi plenipotentiaries declared their continued friendship.

As Goering is the gentleman who howled for the blood of Dimitrov (perhaps one of his many medals was given for that?) it would have been a nice gesture for the Russian Government to have sent Dimitrov along with Molotov; but that, of course, would have offended Goering. Perhaps, too, Dimitrov might have thought that humble visits from himself to his would-be murderer would be carrying the Bolshevik-Nazi friendly policy just a little too far.

* * *

Wages and Hours in War-time

The daily Press gave a good deal of publicity to figures published in the “Ministry of Labour Gazette” (November) of wages and earnings in a number of industries. They selected for special comment the fact that the average earnings of men employed in metal, engineering and shipbuilding trades amounted to 85s. 1d. in the week ending July 20th, 1940, compared with 59s. 5d. a week in October, 1938. They remarked on the fact that this was an increase of 43 per cent., but did not give equal prominence to the fact that the increase was due mostly to the working of long hours. The Daily Herald drew attention to this: —
“It is partly accounted for by advances in wage rates, but the main explanation is the very much longer hours worked last summer as compared with the autumn of 1938.

The Gazette itself puts the average rise in wage rates at 10 per cent, between the outbreak of war and July, 1940.

It was not found possible to get and compare the hours worked, but here is the Gazette on that point : —
The month of July, 1940, was a period when, in many establishments engaged in the production of munitions, output was being speeded up as much as possible, and very long hours, often until a seven-day week was being worked.— (Daily Herald. November 29th, 1940.)
It will be noticed, too, that between September, 1939, and July, 1940, the cost-of-living index figure rose by about 20 per cent.
Edgar Hardcastle


Blogger's Note:
Once again this Notes By The Way column was unsigned, but it was obviously written by Edgar Hardcastle.