A Charter for the Industry
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Our Versatile Contributor Has Received a Good Impression of the Policy of the Projected National Road Transport Fdera. lion as Submitted in the Second Report of the Joint Conference
By " Tantalus "
THE publication of the second report of the Road Transport Organization Joint Conference marks a further milestone along the roadway leading to the future destiny of road transport. There is every indication that the document willprove to be of historic interest and value. The conception is broad and displays statesmanlike qualities, . Moreover, aspects of post-war road transport have been envisaged and embodied and, so completely is the subject covered, that there appears to be no emissions.
The report is full of substance and should be studied by every operator of road vehicles. Indeed, to describe it as a charter' for the road-transport industry would be to indulge in no overstatement.
During the long and comparatively silent interval which has intervened between the two reports, there has been disappointment and many misgivings. After ail, a year is a long period to be spent in waiting for news of progress; so the marked impatience which existed was not unjustified.
A review of the pages of the report, however, soon dispels all apprehensions and, in. fact, turns gloom and depression into hope and optimism. Lord Perry is to be congratulated most warmly on his success; for the task he undertook was neither a light nor an easy one.
To reconcile conflicting interests, subdue personal issues and weld together a team which will work for the common cause is an achievement worthy of the highest credit and praise. It is, very truly, a victory of common sense and honest purpose over selfish and sectional interests, and records progressive development where all previous attempts have proved abortive.
A perusal of the report makes it apparent that the collaborators, during their labours, have shunned false trails. They have been governed by commendable sincerity 'in an effort to lay a solid and sound foundation upon which the future prosperity of the industry can be built. For the first time in history those engaged in road haulage; particularly, have grounds for a renewal of faith in their fellow men; and this because the report exudes a spirit of goodwill and friendship.
An Appreciation Of the Selection of Lord Perry as First President The industry is most fortunate in having Lord Perry as the first President of the new body. He is endowed with abundant tact and a vigorous personality. Also he is gifted with wise understanding, combined with sound judgment. These attribute's, added to the experience gained throughout a successful career as an industrialist, should see the Conference safely through the teething period. During this particular stage, obviously, there will be 'a number of loose ends which will have to be tied f as also •there will be a number of rough places demanding to be made smooth. This will call for the .exercise of all those qualities which predominate in the President, It is an excellent thing that an eminent personage outside' the industry should assume command during the first voyage. Lord Perry—free from prejudices, intrigues and personalities—will be able to navigate the ship in Filch a way that all his energy and attention can be concentrated upon steering the barque safely and successfully into harbour:
Probably there are operators in rural and country districts who are not so an fait with current affairs as those who reside in the industrial 'centres, but Ai-lite, nevertheless, are as deeply interested in the future. welfare of the-industry. Perhaps they arc wondering what the repOet means and what effect it will prelduce. The chairnian sums up the positiori in a few sentences when he states in the foreword:—" lVfany 'problems have to be faced be.
the industry. Two are outstanding—the preservation of individual enterprise and opposition to measures which discriminate against, or in any way hamper, the natural development of the road-transport industry." Such an outspoken and unqualified statement should reassure hauliers and restore their confidence. The retention of private enterprise will provide ample protection against any future attempts to bring operators under the control of " big finance" by the formation of cartels and the like.
That the Conference is pledged to the preservation of private enterprise should guarantee, in itself, the full support of all operators. So far as the industry is concerned, this disposes completely of any vacillation regarding the subject. It clears the ground ready for action, for the fighting out of this vital iSsue should a fight be found necessary.
The statement that neither the new Federation nor any of the associations will engage in ordinary commercial trading activities will be generally approved: This should prevent any effert being made to revive any such ambitions. In fact, the report pins down the Federation to work wholly and exclusively, for the good and welfare of those engaged in the industry,'
No Criticism of the Provisions for the Working Machinery
Regarding the provisions laid down for the working machinery, on this point there can be no criticism. Both control and government are based upon real. democracy. •
It is stated that the door of opportunity, as regards the occupying of high positions, will be open to the smallest operators. That being so, it is to be hoped that the road leading to the door will be made easy for those with the necessary qualifications to enter, untrammelled by clique or any form of caucus. In the event of this avowed principle being carried out loyally, a new medium of thoughts and ideas should become available. This would work advantageously, charging the representative side of the industry with new blood and life. . It is only by such means that inertia and mental staleness can be removed.
Further perusal of the general policy of the Federation reveals clarity of vision regarding the post-war requirements of the industry. The 21 items are fully comprehensive and include matters regarding which information has been sought through the columns of this jOurnel. Acceptanee by the participating bodies will place the industry', at long last, in the position of being able tc speak with one voice. No longer will it he possible to play off one large association against another. In this conneCtion, it is hoped that the Government will accept the Federation as the most competent authority to speak onbehalf of the industry.
Much satisfaction will be derived from item 20, which deals with problems created by the war and post-war conditiOns. In this there is a clear-cur attitude regarding eX-Servicemen, which reads as follows:—" To ensure the rehabilitation of operators with legitimate claims who have been unable to continue to operate." To such men this ' is the first message of hope from any quarter. There is no suggestion in the report that the fate of these men should be left to the decision of the Road Transport COmmissioners, as was proposed by the A.R.O.
The Federation is prepared to accept the rightful respOnsibility of protecting the interests and _moral claims of these members of the Forces when they return to civilian life,
ft is sincerely hoped 'that when the Federation is launched it will be accorded the goodwill of all member:, of the industry throughout its future endeavours, provided that it adheres to its admirable precepts.