« AnteriorContinuar »
Article 303 of the treaty provides that, of the 12 members who sit on the Governing Body as representatives of Governments, 1 shall be nominated by each of the "8 States of chief industrial importance,'
'8 while the other shall be nominated by 4 States especially chosen for this purpose by all the Government delegates present at the session of the conference at which the election takes place, except the delegates of the 8 States of chief industrial importance.
The question which were the 8 States of chief industrial importance was first examined in 1919 by the “organizing committee of the Washington Conference. Certain standards on which to base their decision were adopted by this committee, but these were not accepted by all the States. The records of these proceedings indicate that India, in particular, presented a formal complaint, upon which the Council of the League of Nations was called to give its decision. The council decided, August, 1920, to undertake a careful examination
a of the proper sense to be attached to the expression "industrial importance" and of the relative value to be attributed to the various standards adopted at Washington. The secretary general was consequently instructed to study the whole question in collaboration with the International Labor Office, and to present a report to the council in time for the next election.
In conformity with the council's decision, a mixed committee was constituted, including four members of the Governing Body and experts nominated by the secretary general of the League of Nations. The committee's report of May 31, 1922, is a careful examination of the criteria which had been employed, based upon statistics. The result of this report was that the Council of the League in September, 1922, passed a resolution deciding that the eight members of the International Labor Organization of chief industrial importance at that time were: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, and Japan. The International Labor Conference in October, 1922, gave effect to this decision.
The International Labor Office ARTICLE 396 provides that the functions of the International Labor Office shall include
The collection and distribution of information on all subjects relating to the international adjustment of conditions of industrial life and labor, and particularly the examination of subjects which it is proposed to bring before the conference with a view to the conclusion of international conventions, and the conduct of such special investigations as may be ordered by the conference. It will prepare the agenda for the meetings of the conference. It will carry out the duties required of it by the provisions of this part of the present treaty in connection with international disputes.
It will edit and publish in French and English, and in such other languages as the Governing Body may think desirable, a periodical paper dealing with problems of industry and employment of international interest.
Generally, in addition to the functions set out in this article, it shall have such powers and duties as may be assigned to it by the conference.
From the foregoing the functions of the office are construed as falling into four main groups:
1. It prepares the agenda of the Governing Body and the conference, and attends to the execution of their decisions.
2. It conducts research into a wide field of industrial and economic problems. 3. It issues a series of periodical and other publications containing information on social and industrial affairs, including international comparative studies on various questions.
4. It maintains relations with associations and institutions concerned with industrial and social affairs, collects information with regard to current events and movements in the world of labor, and supplies such information to inquirers.
The International Labor Office is administered by a directorate consisting of a director and a deputy director with their respective staffs. Its work is carried on by four divisions corresponding roughly to the four functions listed under (1), above. These divisions are named, respectively, “Administrative," "Research,” “Diplomatic,” and “Intelligence and Liaison.” These are in turn divided into “sections," "services, .” "groups,” etc.
External Organization In order to maintain direct and continuous contact with various countries, the International Labor Office has established "national correspondence offices” in the following countries: China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
There are also official correspondents” in the capitals of eight other countries where no office is maintained: Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Madrid, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, and' Warsaw.
Special reference may be made to the fact that, by an agreement made in 1927 between the International Labor Office and the Industrial Relations Counselors (Inc.), of New York, the latter organization maintains a member of its staff at the labor office in a technical and advisory capacity in connection with subjects falling within the field of industrial relations.
International Committees The Governing Body has from time to time set up various committees and commissions which, though responsible in theory to the Governing Body, are in their purposes and functions so closely allied to the International Labor Office that they may, in effect, be regarded as part of that organization. A "finance committee" and a
and a “standing orders committee," consisting of members of the Governing Body, were established very early, and the Governing Body also created the " 'joint maritime commission” to study questions relating to the maritime transport industry.
Other committees have been established from time to time. In general these committees have been created in response to a desire to obtain, and to coordinate, the services of experts to study special aspects of various economic and social questions. These committees are of various types. Apart from the committees which form part of the regular machinery of the Governing Body, e. g., the finance committee and the standing orders committee, which have been mentioned, there are committees consisting of members of the Governing Body, assisted, when necessary, by experts, which are intended to prepare the decisions of the Governing Body either as regards the fixing of the agenda of the conference or the carrying out of inquiries, e. g., committee on conditions of work in the textile industry, committee on conditions of work in coal mines. There are other committees which provide an opportunity for the interests of employers and workers to be represented, and to explore the possi
bilities of reaching an agreement even before a decision has been taken by the Governing Body or the conference, e. g., joint maritime commission, committee on automatic coupling. Other committees, again, exist to provide information on certain questions concerning classes of workers about whose collective activities little is yet known, for example, professional workers and salaried employees. Another type of committee is that composed solely of experts selected for their technical competence.
Technical Conference The Governing Body also has the power to call special technical conferences, whose work is also closely allied to that of the International Labor Office, e. g., the silicosis conference, the conference of labor statisticians, the preparatory technical conference on maritime questions, and the preparatory technical conference on the coalmining industry.
Relations with the League of Nations The constitution of the International Labor Organization provides for close association with the League of Nations.
The records of its proceedings indicate that the majority opinion of the members of the Commission on International Labor Legislation was to the effect that association with the league was essential not only to the existence of the International Labor Organization, but also to the success of the league itself. The main idea underlying the scheme embodied in Part XIII of the treaty of Versailles is that "the constitution of the League of Nations will not provide a real solution of the troubles that have beset the world in the past and will not even be able to eliminate the seeds of international strife unless it provides a remedy for the industrial evils and injustices which mar the present state of society. In proposing, therefore, to establish a permanent organization in order to adjust labor conditions by international action, the commission felt that it was taking an indispensable step toward the achievement of the objects of the League of Nations."
In detail, the constitution of the organization provides that the International Labor Office shall be established at the seat of the league, as part of the organization of the league (see art. 392); that the meetings of the conference shall be held at the seat of the league (see art. 391); that the office shall be entitled to the assistance of the secretary general of the league in any matter in which it can be given (see art. 393); and that the expenses of the office shall be paid to the director by the secretary general of the league out of the general funds
It is further laid down that a duly authenticated copy of all draft conventions and recommendations of the conference shall be deposited with the secretary general of the league, who shall furnish a certified copy to each of the member States (see art. 405); and that any convention ratified by a member State shall be registered by the secretary general of the league (see art. 406).
The assistance of the League of Nations is also specifically provided for in the determination of the "eight States of chief industrial importance" (see art. 393), and in connection with the procedure of sanctions in cases of nonobservance of ratified conventions (see art. 412, 415, 420).
of the league.
It is understood, moreover, that in order to act in accordance with the spirit of the constitution of the International Labor Organization, an effort is made to establish direct relations between the office and the league in all aspects of their work in which cooperation seems useful. Arrangements are made that a copy of the agenda of each meeting of the council of the league should be communicated to the director at the same time as it is communicated to the members of the council, and that the director should inform the secretary general as to the questions which might concern the office. The council invites the director to attend the meeting, and he thus has an opportunity of explaining the point of view of the office on the particular question.
Furthermore, the office is represented on all commissions and conferences of the league whose work is in any way connected with questions with which the office deals. For example, the office cooperates with the league's committee on intellectual cooperation, advisory committee for the protection and welfare of children and young persons, communications and transit committees, mandates commission, preparatory commission for the disarmament conference, health committee, and the economic and financial committees. The office was closely associated with the preparation of the World Economic Conference of 1927 and participated in its proceedings. In certain fields mixed committees have been set up. For example, the joint commission of experts on health insurance and public health administration consists of members representing public health services selected by the health committee of the league and members representing health insurance organizations selected by the Governing Body of the International Labor Office.
Financial Relations with the League, and Budget
As this is a matter concerning which there exists certain popular confusion, it may be useful to give some further explanation of the financial relations between the International Labor Organization and the league.
In accordance with the general principles laid down in the treaty of Versailles, a somewhat complex financial organization has been built up to insure unity among the institutions of the league, and at the same time to respect the administrative autonomy of the International Labor Office. The essential characteristics of this system are as follows: The budget of the International Labor Organization is preprepared in draft form by the director. The finance committee examines this draft and submits its proposals to the Governing Body. The draft budget, as drawn up by the Governing Body, is submitted to the supervisory committee, which acts for all the institutions of the league. The supervisory committee makes its recommendations and, according as circumstances require, proposes reductions or increases. The Governing Body meets again and gives its opinion on the recommendations thus made. The budget is presented to the member States by the secretary general of the League of Nations, who centralizes all budgetary proposals, and finally it is the assembly which votes the budget, after having referred it to its fourth commission for examination.
The budget of the International Labor Organization amounted in 1930 to a net total of 8,558,011 Swiss francs ($1,651,696).
German Trade-Unions and Their 1931 Congress
By Fritz KUMMER, BERLIN
General Economic Situation in Germany F THE large industrial States, Germany has been hit very hard,
perhaps the hardest of all, by the economic depression. Various facts, especially the extent of unemployment, may be mentioned as proof of this. 'In Germany the unemployed are registered and officially counted every two weeks, so that the state of trade can be determined continually, and to some extent exactly. The table following shows the number of unemployed in each quarter of each year since 1927.
TABLE 1.-NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED IN GERMANY IN EACH QUARTER, 1927 TO 1931
High as the unemployment figures were from 1927 to 1929, they can not be regarded as proof of an economic crisis in the real sense of the word. Assuming that a crisis shows itself in decreased production, there was no crisis during the three years mentioned, because production was high and new masses of workers (between 150,000 and 200,000 during 1929 alone) found employment. The decrease of production really set in during 1930, and to a greater extent than the increase in the number of unemployed would indicate. In that year there was also a considerable increase in the number of part-time workers who are not included in the official figure of unemployed. Evidence of this increase is furnished by the trade-union data on part-time workers; these figures, although limited to the members of the unions, may be taken as indicative of the extent of all part-time work without being far from reality.
The per cent of trade-union members working part time was, at specified dates, as follows: 1927 (October), 4.6; 1928 (June), 6.2; 1929 (June), 8.6; 1930 (May), 19.8; and 1931 (September), 22.2.
If the part-time workers are converted into an equivalent number of wholly unemployed and if this number is added to the officially registered unemployed, one can truly say that there were about 6,000,000 unemployed in Germany during the summer of 1931.
Effect Upon German Trade-Unions Of course, unemployment of such extraordinary severity and duration affects the trade-unions strongly. If hundreds of thousands of members are out of work for a long period, it means that they are exempted from paying dues and that they must get relief from their organization. The consequence is that the income of the organization decreases, while at the same time the expenditure shows an increase, and if the unemployed members have exhausted their benefit their interest in the organization diminishes and often they give up their membership altogether.