HC Deb 03 July 1919 vol 117 c1229

The other great condition of Peace is the Labour Convention which has been added to this document. That is a matter of very vital importance to the future industrial conditions of the world. It is intended to secure better and more uniform conditions of labour. When you bear in mind that at least three-fourths of the armies which won this great victory were drawn from the working classes of the various nations, you feel that they have won a right to a corner of their own in this great Treaty, and I am very glad that, largely through the negotiations of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Barnes), this charter has been added to the Treaty. Competition is becoming keener, and the markets of the world have been invaded from low-paid countries, where the conditions are very degraded, and the mere existence of these conditions in other countries made it difficult to effect improvement in our own, notably with regard to child labour. I hope, that by means of the machinery set up in this document, it will be possible to establish some permanent means by which you can raise the level of labour throughout the world, without the countries that are treating labour well being handicapped in the neutral markets, where they have to compete with lands in which labour has inferior conditions. That is the great purpose of that great charter, and I have no doubt these conferences, representing not merely workmen, but employers of labour, as well as officials of Government Departments, will in themselves promote goodwill and a better understanding among the nations of the earth.