Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The endeavour to dictate to unions on the subject of their officers or leaders is equally short-sighted and unwise.
We have referred to the great difficulties confronting the movement, which make the employment of a proportion of outsiders inevitable. In some cases victimisation, and more frequently the fear of it, gives an additional value to the outsider. The claim to be allowed to deal only with " one's own men " is frequently little more than an endeavour to secure that the case of the men shall be presented by persons who are not likely to prove assertive. In every country much of the active work of trade unions, particularly in their relations with employers, is carried on by persons whose livelihood does not depend on the employers' will. We recognise, as do outsiders themselves, the weaknesses of the position of persons who have no direct experience of industry. But this again is mainly a question for the unions themselves, and we shall deal with it in that connection. As we have already indicated, the objections to outsiders are steadily diminishing, and there is every hope that the unreasonable attitude adopted by a number of employers a few years ago will soon be unknown. There is, however, still a disposition in some quarters to object to particular outsiders, and especially ex-employees and politicians. The dismissed employee, whose energy is whetted more by a sense of his own grievances than by a desire for the welfare of others, can be a severe trial to the most sympathetic employer; and the desire to prevent him from securing a position of influence is natural and intelligible. But in actual experience the attempt to suppress such individuals by repressing their organisations or by insisting on their exclusion has seldom been successful; several such men have gained notably in strength as a result of the employers' antagonism. The politician who hopes to divert a union to political ends can be equally drying, and it is frequently the case that his exclusion would be in the best interests of the men. But the employer, however pure his motives, is in a weak position when he attempts to protect his workmen by keeping their leader at arm's length. The leader who is not honestly working for the good of a union is not likely to have a long innings, unless he is assisted by persecution. The less healthy traits in a union are more likely to be eliminated by toleration than by repression.