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Fighting on Every Front
By Roger W. Sewill, .
National Director, Associated Road Operators
T" year 1939 has begun with the campaign of the railways for a square deal " still going " full steam ahead' Readers will perhaps remember that this particular attempt on the part of the railways to gain the sympathy of the public may be said to have begun with a number of articles which appeared in a certain section of the Press early in November. The A.R.O. immediately took up the challenge and made contact with hundreds of trading and manufacturing bodies in all parts of the country. In the midst of all this, the main attack by the railways was launched.
• The A.R.O. was then, and continues to be, equal to the situation. An appeal was sent out to all members for co-operation, and the response was magnificent. A constant stream of propaganda, irr the shape of leaflets and posters, has been going out from the London headquarters to every part of the country.
Countering Railway Propaganda.
The campaign is by no means over. At the beginning the railways appealed for hurried legislation to assist them, but the A.R.O. agitated against this in Parliament and throughout the country, and in the end the appeal was referred by the Ministry of Transport to the Transport Advisory Council. What further steps will be necessary depend largely upon the decisions of this Council, but the A.R.O. feels confident in its ability to ensure that all transport services alike will be granted a "fair deal," Propaganda, although it looms large at the moment, is only one of the important activities which will be occupying the attention of this Association during 1939. The memorable crisis of September last fortunately passed without the outbreak of war, and it is the sincere hope of everybody that no great national emergency will disturb this year, But if the need should arise, the A.R.O. is ready, as has been ready for the past three years or more, to co-operate to the fullest possible extent with the Ministry. The unique national organization of the A.R.O. should he of immense value in this respect. We ask only that the essential preparations should be made immediately, so that, at least so far as road transport is concerned, the country will not be found unready, as it was in 1938, The A.R.O. will continue, as it has always done, to fight for its members in the Traffic Courts, before the Appeal Tribunal, and if necessary (through the Road Group) in the House of Commons. ihe cause célèbre of 1938 was the Blyth Appeal, just as the Ball Appeal was in 1937, and in many other cases as well as these the Association has spared no efforts to obtain a fair deal for road transport.
The Goods Vehicles (Duration of Carriers' Licences) Provisional Regulations were introduced during 1938, and, while they lay on the table of the House of Commons, the A.R.O. . not only approached the Minister of Transport, but also arranged for individual M.P.s to be made acquainted with road transport's point of view, for questions to be asked in the House, and so on.
Under the threat of a strike in March last year, the A.R.O. iemained firm hut reasonable. Now, under the Road Haulage Wages Act, Area Wages Boards are in process of being set up. The A.R.O. is well represented on all of these, as becomes its national im
portance. This year should see employers and workers striving together to obtain wages and conditions which will be satisfactory to both.
S.T.R.'s Work on Rates Structure.
With regard to rates, the A.R.O. nas had an expert, Mr. H. Scott Hall (or S.T.R. of Tits Commercial Motor), working on a preliminary classification, and in addition, through the Liaison Committee, has been co-operating with other organizations with a view to establishing a uniform rates structure
The activities of this Association, then, are likely to be many and varied during 1939. The usual services to members will he maintained. A constant eye will be kept on negotiations with regard_ to wages and rates. We must keep up the close connection with the Parliamentary Road Group, and tee that no opportunity is lost of putting the industry's case before the two Houses.