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CHAPTER VII.: REGISTRY OFFICES. - Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism 
The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).
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Labour Monopolies—The Professional Employment-Registrar—The Formula of Free Wages—The Monopoly of Registration—The Syndicates.
The whole policy of labour syndicates is to obtain the monopoly of labour. When they obtain this, all working-men will be compelled to belong to them. One way which they have discovered of securing this monopoly to themselves, is the suppression of Registry Offices. The Commission appointed by the Chamber of Deputies to examine the suggestions made by Messrs. Mesureur and Millerand, Dumay and Joffrin, adopted this system in a report drawn up by M. Dubois. This Bill prohibits, under the most severe penalties, all registration made in consideration of a fee. It reserves all registration to the Municipalities, and, in fact, to the syndicates, which are to be exempted from all supervision.
The question came before the chamber of Deputies on May 8th. I reminded the Chamber of the functions of the registrar, and pointed out his economic utility:—
“The work of the mediator between the demand for and supply of employment is service which, like any other, is worthy of remuneration. And it is precisely because it is remunerated, because it secures a fee, that people engage in this business. They make application for the employees, the employers answer their application, and they thus act as the pinion of a wheel, between the two. Their utility is such that, in spite of the number of competing institutions, they have retained on their books more than four-fifths of the situations actually obtained for workmen and employees.”
I sketched the employment registrar, armed with personal descriptions of the qualifications of his clients, and striving to satisfy them—stimulated thereto by his own interests and the competition of rival agencies.
The Reporter had laid down the principle, “that wages should be free from all fines, and Section 1. of the Bill stated that: “The registration of workmen is free and gratuitous.”
The formula proves the influence of a word like “gratuitous.” I hereupon made the following remarks:—
You have laid down the principle that wages should be free from all fines. But do you believe that it is not frequently subject to past debts, to cost of technical education, apprenticeship, debts to relatives who have given the workman the chance of learning a trade, until such time as, for example, as a printer or fitter, he may be in a position to repay them? Are you going to absolve him from these debts? To wipe them all out would be the consequence of the principle which you lay down.
But there are others! Much is said of insurance against accidents—even compulsory insurance is claimed. Some demand that the workmen shall deduct part of his wages for the pension fund, etc. All this is in contradiction to your declared principle: “The entrance into a school is gratuitous, why should not that into a workshop be so too? Wages should be free of all fine.”
M. FrÉdÉricGrousset.—And the contributions to the syndicates?
M. YvesGuyot.—Certainly; I am coming to that. If someone wishes to insure his life, and gives his wages as security for his insurance, are you going to forbid it? I imagine not. Finally, you talk about gratuitous registration of employment. Does it so happen that syndicates are providentially supplied? Or are not their funds, on the contrary, drawn from the contributions of the members of the syndicate? (Very good! Very good! from the Centre.)
While the workmen who have found situations through the syndicates to which they belong, commence by paying their contributions to the syndicate, I imagine that the imperative formula proclaimed by M. Arnault Dubois will not have been entirely respected!
With regard to the object of the law, these are the terms in which I characterised it:—
M. YvesGuyot. — What you intend to do, is to give the workmen’s syndicates a monopoly in registration.
M. FrancoisDeloncle.—That is so!
M. YvesGuyot.—Here are the words of Section 8: “Registry Offices, with the exception of those acting by virtue of the law of March 21st, will be inspected by an officer of the ‘Labour Department,’ and subject to police regulations.” Allow me to tell you, Mr. Reporter, that the wording of this section of the Bill is not sufficiently clear and frank. (Exclamations on the Extreme Left.)
M. Montaut.—That is an unhappy expression!
M. YvesGuyot.—Not at all; it is intentional.
M. LucienMillevoye.—Then it was premeditated!
M. YvesGuyot. — Yes, it would have been more straightforward to say that the registry offices belonging to syndicates are exempt from every kind of control. That should have been the wording of the Bill. Change your negation into the corresponding affirmation.
M. Lavy.—Do you complain of there not being enough police supervision?
M. YvesGuyot.—What you want is to give a monopoly to workmen’s syndicates, and that free from any kind of supervision or control.
Very well! If we admit that in the very best registry offices everything is not quite perfect, do you really and truly believe that, when you have given the monopoly of registration over to the workmen’s syndicates, everything will be as it should be? Do you really believe that workmen’s syndicates are a kind of Bétique,1 in which all the members weave idylls? Do you really believe that in them there will be no competition, rivalry, or jealously? Do you think that in syndicates there are no majorities and minorities? Will not the majority of the day be able to oppress the minority? Do you imagine that the syndicate will find a situation for the workman who is disliked because he would not agree to the election of this or that president?
And you remove all kind of control! You do away with all inspection! And then when, by your Section 7, you declare that there shall be no situations negotiated for except through the medium of the syndicates, you at the same time release these syndicates which you found from all responsibility. . . . (Applause.)
If I ask the Chamber not to pass on to the discussion of the sections,1 it is because I wish it to place itself in opposition to one of those measures which, under a more or less generous appearance—as I do not wish to cast doubt on the good faith of the Reporter—tend to nothing less than the creation of a monopoly, unfavourable to the great mass of the working population—for I must insist that the syndicates, regular and irregular, taken together, only number 208,000 members, that is to say, less than 2 per cent. of the working and industrial population of France—the simple creation of a monopoly in favour of, and for the benefit of, a certain number of those ringleaders who hope to take advantage of the credulity and good faith of French working men. (Applause from many benches. The speaker, in returning to his seat, was congratulated.)
The discussion of the Bill was adjourned, but the Government did not venture to oppose its being taken into consideration.
A part of ancient Spain, said to be of marvellous fertility. Fénelon speaks of it, in his Télémaque, in hyperbolical terms.—Ed.
That is, go into the Committee on the Bill, in British phrase.—Ed.