HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc1997-8

The second point is that it will be desirable, if possible, to give workers a more real financial interest in the success of the industry. Unfortunately, owing not to the merits of the proposal, but rather to the circumstances under which it was adopted profit-sharing has been discredited in trade union circles, and it is very difficult to get back upon an old suspicion. I wish that the problem of securing an interest for the worker in the business could be considered anew apart from these prejudices. It ought not to be used, and it must be clear that it is not to be used merely as a weapon to fight trade unions.

There have been many suggestions. One is that the workers should have an interest in the increase of output. With regard to these two problems—the problem of the co-operation of the worker in the conditions of the industry and the problem of giving the worker a more direct financial interest in making the industry a success—I wish that employers and workmen would once more, meeting together, discussing the matter together with such aid as a Government Department can give in the circumstances, make another real effort to secure the joint action—I dislike using the term joint partnership—of the worker and the employer in seeing that the industry upon the success of which both of them depend, and upon the success of which the whole life of the community depends, is made one which will bring prosperity to themselves and to all classes of the nation. Until we secure greater co-operation and a greater feeling in the breast of the worker that the prosperity of the industry is something which concerns him, it will be difficult to induce him to regard with the same sympathy appeals for an increase in the production of a particular trade.