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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

"Workers, Increase your Wages."

"Workers, Increase your Wages."

"Speaking broadly," he says, "I should say that the average increase of our put due to the system has been from 25 to 35 cent., and the proportion of oremiums has been such as [unclear: to] the increased earnings of the work man rather less than one-half of the saving of the employing company."

Thus it will be seen that if the worker had got the whole increase their additional exertion instead of dividing it with the company (as under Mr Halsey's system), workers on, says 50s week needs wage, would receive with their exertion wage from 62s-6d [unclear: to] per week—a very substantial supplement.

A further illustration of another form of this exertion wage may be interesting and useful. Since 1891 until now as far as I have been able to learn there has been in force in the engine works of a large firm (Willans and Robinson of Rugby and Thames, Ditton as successful trial of the progressive wage or gain-sharing system. Their practice is as fellows:—(1) In respect of all work done in their works a certain sum termed a "reference rate" is fixed. (2) If the amount earned on the job as ordinary time wages falls below the reference rate, then the balance (i.e. the difference between the actual cost in time wages and the reference rate) is divided between the employers and the works man or the group of workmen employed on the job. That is, the employee receive by way of bonus (in a addition to their time wages) one-half of the amount by which the reference rate price exceeds the sum of these time wages of course the workmen receive their full time or needs wages in any case, even if they should amount to more than the reference rate.

It will be observed that here employers take half the product of the extra exertion of the worker. That is not an essential part of the scheme and the part the employers should take-if they should take any part at all-would in New Zealand be determined by the Arbitration Court.

A full report of all this, withe illustrative details, appears in the English Labour Department reports on gain sharing, and in Schloss's very valuable book, to which I have referral and from which I have largely extracted.

This scheme of Willans and Robinson makes a basic principle of keeping the reference rates—once fixed unchanged recognising, as it does, that any system of exertion wage to be successful must make the workman feel that if by increased exertion or skill carefulness, or by discovering improved methods of work he can reduce the time necessary for the execution of the work confided to him, the rate of his exertion wage will not on that [unclear: account] lowered.

Another point is that the workmen know before they start the work what the reference rate is, and what the rate of exertion wage is to be. Moreover the exertion rate is to apply to each job separately, so that any loss on [unclear: one] not to be taken into account against the workman in relation to future jobs. Lastly, the exertion wage, wherever pos- page 14 [unclear: sible to] be paid regularly with the or (as I call it) needs wage.