Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I.: COST AND CONSEQUENCES OF STRIKES. - The Tyranny of Socialism
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CHAPTER I.: COST AND CONSEQUENCES OF STRIKES. - Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism 
The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).
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COST AND CONSEQUENCES OF STRIKES.
Strikes in France in 1890 and 1891—Cost of Strikes—Strikes in England in 1892—Statistics relating to Arbitration—Losses resulting from Strikes—Displacement of Trade—Trades Unions and Strikes—Mistrust.
According to the information given by the Labour Department, 313 strikes, involving 118,000 workmen, took place in France in 1890; and 267 strikes, involving 108,000 strikers, in 1891. The Departments which have had the most strikes are the Nord, with 61 in 1890, and 68 in 1891; the Loire, with 29 in 1890; the Ardennes, with 28 in 1890; and the Rhone, with 28 in 1890, and 20 in 1891. Only 52 Departments were affected by strikes in 1890, and 54 in 1891.
The results of these strikes were as follows:—
The 91 successful strikes affected 22,400 workmen; the 67 that were partially successful affected 54,200 workmen; those which miscarried affected 32,200 workmen.
The principal causes of these strikes were demands for increased wages, the shortening of the hours of work, and reduction of salaries effected by employers.
One third of the successful strikes lasted for less than one week. When a strike lasted more than a fortnight it seemed to be doomed to failure.
These figures give a very poor idea as to the importance of strikes. The sacrifices which they have cost, both to employers and to men, the value of the advantages gained, and also the pecuniary and mercantile consequences which may have resulted from them, are unknown.
At Anzin, in 1884, it is calculated that the strike cost the workmen 1,135,000 francs (£45,000), and the company 600,000 francs (£24,000), that is, 1,735,000 francs, without counting the damage caused by the stopping of the works.
In England, the total number of strikes and lockouts for the year 1891, was 893, affecting 295,000 persons, either voluntarily or otherwise; for the striking of certain workmen caused a stoppage of work to others. These strikes had an average duration of twenty-four days.
Most of them were caused by questions of wages. In 1890, there were 59 caused by the question of employment of non-unionists, and in 1891, 47. Fifty-one per cent. were checked; 36 per cent. proved successful; the result of the others is unknown. Four hundred and sixty-eight strikes out of 824, in which 120,579 people were implicated out of 263,507, were terminated by compromise, and only 12, affecting 12,100 workmen were settled by arbitration. It is useful to quote these figures in order to destroy the illusion so wide-spread in France, that it is enough to pronounce the word “arbitration” and to pass a law concerning arbitration, to put an end to all these disputes.
The losses to the workmen who were forced by the strikes to abstain from labour for four weeks, are calculated at £1,500,000.
The cost of the Hull strike in 1892, which lasted for eight weeks, is calculated at £9,000 for the town, and £60,004 in loss of wages.
Mr. Bevan, calculating the loss of wages as at 4s. 2d. per day, for five days a week, for 110 strikes in England, from 1870 to 1879, arrives at a figure of £4,468,000. The strike of the Clyde ship-builders cost 7,500,000 francs (£300,000) in 1877; that of the Durham miners in 1879, 6 millions of francs (£240,000).
The Labour Bureau, in the United States, reckoned that the strikes of 1881 to 1887 cost the workmen 260 millions of francs or 50 million dollars. These are only figures to some people; but the consequences to women, to children, and to the health of the workmen themselves, are terrible. Moreover, the position of the employers has been attacked and weakened; funds destined for improvements have disappeared, and the powers of production in an industry that has undergone a strike are restricted. Sometimes a strike suffices even to ruin a trade.
These examples have made Trades Unions prudent as to striking. In 1888, out of 104 Unions, only 39 subsidised strikes; and a certain number of Trades Unions have specified in their statutes, that the vote on this subject shall not be taken according to the majority, but according to a certain quorum. At the Brussels Congress of 1892, an English Delegate was indignant that the Engineers’ Union (the strongest and wealthiest of all), had, in 1889, spent over £100,000 on sickness, funerals, retiring pensions, accidents, etc., as against about £1,800 on strikes and the costs of the struggles.
This powerful and wealthy association seems to mistrust the results of strikes.