Full text: British engineering industry

It is human nature that they should seek to save themselves from 
unemployment by limiting the kind of work which can be done by 
the new branch of their industry. Illustrations of this process can 
be found in plenty. 
It is particularly evident, for instance, in shipbuilding, which, 
as we have seen, so immediately affects the Engineering Industry. 
From wood to iron and steel, sails to machinery, steam to oil and 
electricity, here are developments within the short space of about 
half a century which have necessarily created a number of new 
occupations and therefore limited the amount of employment 
available to older industrial workers who once may have done most 
of the work. 
But to admit that many restrictions, not existing in other 
countries, can thus be explained is not also to admit that they must 
or can be perpetually maintained. They cause very often greatly 
increased costs because one skilled man must stand by, doing nothing 
for the time-wage he is receiving, while another is brought in to do 
work which the first is fully qualified to do if the trades unions 
concerned would permit. It is evident that in order to speed up 
work and reduce costs, some arrangements are necessary which may 
make the process of production as far as possible continuous, and 
avoid costly and time-wasting interruptions. This means a greater 
extent of interchangeability of men. Two men, limited at present 
to two different parts of two jobs at different places, must be able 
each to complete one of the two jobs. It is impossible for trade 
to progress and employment to improve if methods of manufacture 
in the future are to be regulated solely by the records of the past. 
1. The principal industries of the country have been 
briefly reviewed and their present position explained. 
2. In every case there is declining employment and in 
competitive industries a decline in exportation. 
3. The country is experiencing an unprecedented de- 
4. Production costs are much too high. 
5. There is immediate necessity for a national stock- 
taking. The degree that we in common with other 
countries suffer from the world-wide slump and the degree 
to which the depression in our industries is due to causes 
special to ourselves are questions of compelling urgency.

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