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Industrial Co-operation:

THE STORY OF A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION.

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CHAPTER XII.

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Government, Administration, and Position
of Employees in Retail Societies.

MEETINGS.

THE government of a cooperative society is in the hands of the members assembled in general meeting at times fixed by the rules.  The larger proportion of societies hold meetings quarterly, others half-yearly.  Many societies hold in addition monthly meetings of members which have no executive power except such as may be delegated to them from time to time by the general meeting, but are generally useful in giving members an opportunity for discussing details, points of management, or the principles and rules of the society; of making suggestions for the consideration of the committee; and of recommending persons suitable for election as officers of the society.

The functions of ordinary business meetings [1] include the admission of new members; the election of committees and other responsible officers; the consideration of the reports upon the society’s business affairs presented by the committee and officers; and the transaction of any general business of the society.

Special General Meetings may be called for any special purpose — such as alteration of rules — but a special meeting cannot transact any business not specified in the notice convening it, nor unless the notice convening it has been given according to the rules.  But an ordinary business meeting may be made special for any purpose of which notice has been given, provided that such business is not brought on until the ordinary business is concluded.

VOTING POWER.

The democratic rule of “one member, one vote” is in practice in all distributive societies, but unless exercised by ballot — as is sometimes the practice in the election of committees — a member can only exercise his power by attending and voting at meetings of the society.  It is therefore counted the duty of every member to attend the meetings and take part in the government of his or her society, and in a few of the older societies a fine is inflicted upon members absenting themselves from the general meeting without good cause.

COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT.

The management of a society is vested in an elected committee of members, who may perform their work entirely without fee, or receive only a small attendance fee; “but it is most desirable, in fixing the scale of payment, to avoid the likelihood of men trying to get on to the committee simply for for the sake of the fees.  This is a danger to be carefully watched in the co-operative movement.”[2]  On the other hand, it can probably be claimed that no movement has evoked more devoted and unremitting service from its volunteer workers than has the co-operative movement.

In the choice of the committee [3] probity and sound common-sense are of even greater value than brilliance, but men possessing a good grasp of finance, the technique of business affairs, tact and fair judgement of character, are invaluable representatives to choose, and are worthy of all confidence.

METHODS OF ELECTION.

Various methods of election are practised, the most general being nomination and election by open vote in general meetings, but this system has been found to have many disadvantages.  The Congress at Doncaster, 1903, passed a resolution advocating the use of the ballot in electing committees, declaring that “the practice in many societies of nominating and electing at the same meeting committees of management by open vote is not calculated to promote wide selection, representative appointments, free choice, and the best results generally.”  The Congress therefore recommended —

That elections be conducted in the interval between ordinary business meetings, by means of nomination papers, bearing the assent of the candidates, and voting by ballot, for which ample facilities should be given.

In the case of large societies, and those having a number of branches, it was further recommended —

That a system of district representation be adopted as most likely to promote greater interest and equity, better knowledge of candidates’ qualifications, and a fuller supervision of the society’s business.

It frequently happens that where the general committee is elected by ballot, the educational committee is still elected by vote at meetings, with the result that the status of the educational committee is depreciated to some extent and less interest is shown in the selection of the right kind of representatives.  The Chairman or President of a society is sometimes elected by the members, sometimes chosen by the committee from amongst themselves.

In most societies committee members are eligible for re-election annually, a certain number retiring in rotation at each general business meeting.  In a number of societies a definite period of service is fixed by rule — two or three years — after which the member must retire for one year before again becoming eligible for election.  It is moot point, however, whether this system is advantageous to the best interests of the society.

Members are disqualified for election to committees in many societies upon any or all of the following grounds:— By being under the age of twenty-one years; by holding office or place of profit under the society; by holding less than a specified number of shares, or having been a member less than a specified time; by having relatives employed by the society; or by failing to purchase a specified amount of goods from the society.  Bankruptcy is always held to disqualify a committee-man from continuing in office, and in many societies, if a member or his wife carries on any business similar to that of the society he is held to be disqualified for office.

POWERS OF COMMITTEE.

Subject to the approval or authorisation of a general meeting the committee is empowered to control all business of the society, receive and give receipts for all moneys due to it, determine all purchases or sales, and the prices to be paid or charged for the same, and make all contracts entered into by or on behalf of the society for any of the objects for which it is formed, including all purchases and contracts relating to land.  The committee should engage or discharge, and fix the duties and salaries of all employees.  In brief, the committee acts for the society in all things within the scope of its objects, and such acts are binding on every member of the society as if they had been the acts of a majority of the members of the society at a general meeting, with the exception of certain acts which, under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, can only be performed by the members. [4]

In addition to the committee, the responsible officers of a society are the secretary, the auditor or auditors, and, in some cases, the treasurer.

THE RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS.

The Secretary is sometimes elected from and by the members, especially in the early years of a society, when wholly or partly gratuitous services are required.  This method of selecting a paid officer virtually removes him from the control of the committee, whose duty it is to oversee and direct his actions, and is considered by many co-operators to be unwise, because, in the event of his work proving unsatisfactory, a secretary so elected can rarely be removed at the instigation of the committee without disruption and party feeling amongst the members. [5]  The secretary is responsible for keeping the minutes and records of the society, and in small societies he is also responsible for keeping the books and preparing accounts.  The election or appointment of officers, otherwise earnest and honest, but deficient in knowledge of accounts and business procedure, is the most fruitful source of failure of societies.  Fortunately lukewarm co-operative secretaries are rare, and dishonest ones rarer still.  In large societies accountants and cashiers are always appointed by the committee.

A Treasurer may be chosen either by the members or by the committee, but this officer is now generally considered unnecessary, owing to the facilities for banking and the increased use of banks. [6]

AUDITORS.

The Industrial and Provident Societies Act requires that the accounts of a society shall be audited at least once a year.  The usual practice in the movement is to do this half-yearly or quarterly.  Auditors may be chosen from among the members, and in that case two members must be elected, to retire alternately.  The office is extremely responsible, and should never be entrusted to incompetent or unprincipled persons; careless and incompetent auditing has resulted in the downfall of so many societies that Congress has from time to time drawn the attention of societies to the danger of employing any but certificated auditors. [7]  Audit certificates are granted by the Co-operative Union upon examination to persons who, having passed the Co-operative Officials Examination, desire to become auditors.  The Co-operative Wholesale Society has instituted an audit department, the staff of which includes a number of registered auditors who are competent to act for societies, and a large number of societies now avail themselves of these certificated and registered auditors.  The Treasury has also appointed a number of thoroughly qualified men — many of whom are co-operators — to act as Public Auditors.  Societies appointing a registered “Public Auditor” need not appoint a second, as in the case of certificated or uncertificated auditors.

An auditor is essentially the representative of the shareholders, and his duty is to ascertain that the balance sheet presented to the shareholders is a bona fide and correct statement of the affairs of the society.  It is no part of an auditor’s duty to take the stocks — this duty belonging to the committee or to stocktakers elected by the members or the committee; but he must assure himself that they have been properly taken.  Neither is it his business to prepare the books or the balance sheet — this duty belongs to the secretary or the accountant.  The auditor’s duty is to check every item of receipt and expenditure; to satisfy himself that all debts owing by or to the society are properly accounted for; that the rules regarding depreciation are duly carried out; that the members’ pass books tally with the share ledger; that all other funds, such as penny bank funds, reserve funds, &c., are accurately rendered; that all deeds are in perfect order, and that the banking account is correct.  He must also satisfy himself that the profit declared for the period covered by the balance sheet to be submitted to the members has been legitimately made, and is recommended for division strictly in accordance with rule.  He is further required by the Act to verify and sign the Annual Return to the Registrar.  He is likewise bound by the Act to sign a certificate at the foot of the balance sheet stating that he has examined the books and vouchers of the society, and has found them correct or otherwise.  In signing this certificate, an auditor does more than give the members a comfortable assurance that all is going well; he pledges his personal honour and probity, and any wilful departure from strict accuracy in the statement so signed is an offence under the Act, and renders the auditor liable to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

THE GENERAL MANAGER.

Except where the offices of secretary and general manager are combined in one person elected by the members, as is sometimes the case, the general manager is appointed and governed entirely by the committee.  The success or failure of a society depends enormously upon the character and capacity of the manager, and the extent of his influence with the members — with whom he is necessarily brought into closer contact than is the committee.  At the same time the committee’s responsibility is not lessened even when the manager proves himself to be the “strong man” of the society.  The committee, and not the manager or other paid officials, is legally responsible to the members for the proper conduct of the business of the society, for the amount of gross “profit” fixed, for the regulation of expenses, for keeping sufficient but not excessive stocks, and for maintaining the staff and appearance of the shops at a high level of efficiency.  In many of the larger societies, departmental managers, and branch managers are appointed who act under the direct supervision of the committee.  The committee should beware of the temptations to dishonesty placed in the way of managers and buyers by means of bribes offered by unscrupulous merchants, and of other fraudulent methods by which a dishonest manager can cheat the society; and it should never relax close and detailed supervision over the management.  On the other hand, the importance of giving to responsible managers an adequate, and even liberal remuneration, should be fully realised. [8]

BONDS AND SECURITY GUARANTEES.

To guard against lax or fraudulent misuse of the society by responsible officials, it is a general practice to require from all officials or employees in charge of moneys a deposit or a fidelity guarantee of a fixed amount, which is liable to be forfeited in case of proved discrepancy.  These may take the form of shares or a loan deposited with the society under a special agreement, or of a Fidelity Policy taken up with some insurance company. [9]

It is general also to require from the manager or shopman a leakage bond, an instrument under which a certain specified sum is forfeited to the society in the event of the leakage on goods exceeding a stipulated amount. [10]

CHECKS.

The method of employing open tills for cash takings is rapidly dying out, and some system of dealing with cash which shall remove temptation to peculation is substituted in all large and many small societies.  It may be accepted that some check is necessary to restrain dishonest employees and to protect honest ones, but the systems in use vary so greatly that they cannot be usefully discussed here. [11]

Some method of checking the individual purchases of members in order to apportion the dividend is also necessary: of these the old-fashioned metal checks, stamped with various money values and presented to the customer in amount according to his purchases, are still in use, but are rapidly being superseded by paper systems, which serve the double purpose of showing the members’ purchases and checking the amount of each employees’ sales.

THE CHIEF CAUSE OF FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY.

“It may be useful to some co-operative societies and cannot do harm to any, if we try to point out some of the causes which bring a few societies into financial difficulties,” [12] wrote William Cooper, the first cashier, and afterwards secretary of the Rochdale Pioneers’ Society, and probably the movement has possessed few wiser advisers than he upon the principles of sound co-operative business.  These causes of difficulty Mr. Cooper enumerated thus:—

lst, The desire of directors to appear before the members with a favourable report showing large gains;

2nd, members of young societies expecting that their society should pay as great a dividend as is paid by older and well-established societies; and

3rd, the want of practical experience and knowledge which would enable the directors, secretary, and auditors to make out a reliable statement, in which there can be no doubt that the dividend declared is bona fide profit.

Among the methods essential to financial soundness he enumerates as of chief importance, “stocks taken at cost price, or present purchaseable market value, and all other stock, whether fixed or otherwise, in the same way, that is, rather under than over their real value.”

I think that if secretaries and officers keep clearly before their minds which items stand in favour of their society, and which stand against it, they will experience little difficulty in making out a true and reliable report.  Young societies miss their way, if they do miss it at all, chiefly in the stocks or debts.  Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that they make sure that no stocks are over-valued, and they should make themselves equally certain that any goods sold or taken in stock, which are not paid for at the time, must be set down against the society as debts owing.

This sage advice may be applied with equal force to-day, and it cannot do harm to any to bear it constantly in mind.

METHODS OF BOOKEEPING.

Nowadays, any person aspiring to be a responsible officer of a society may acquaint himself with the approved methods of co-operative bookkeeping by attending one of the classes held under the auspices of the Co-operative Union, and studying the manuals provided by the Union. [13]  There is still great diversity in the methods of presenting the accounts, and it does not come within the province of this book either to illustrate the variety or to lay down precise rules for making up a balance sheet.  It may, however, be accepted as a desirable ideal that the form should be as simple as possible, consistently with a clear statement of the main accounts, namely, (1) the Cash Account; (2) Profit and Loss Account; (3) Capital Account (Funds and Effects).

In addition to these it is desirable to show (4) a Trade Account, and (5) an Expenses Account, these exhibiting in a fair amount of detail the exact position of the various departments and branches of the society.  The education committee should render a separate account of the expenditure of the educational grant; and if a building department is in operation a separate account should also be given for this.

The members should be able to put their finger on any weak spot, and also to know in what direction the strength of the society lies.  This is possible only when the form of the balance sheet is easily understood by persons of ordinary intelligence.  Many societies’ balance sheets exhibit a mysterious confusion of figures, bewildering to the expert and utterly incomprehensible to the average member.

OTHER CAUSES OF WEAKNESS.

Financial difficulties are not, however, the only pitfalls into which a society can stumble.  Many others are indicated in various chapters of this book.  Each phase of the movement has its peculiar susceptibilities to certain weaknesses, and some of those to which distributive Co-operation is most liable may be touched upon here, while others, such as the danger of credit, are sufficiently serious to require treatment amongst the problems of Co-operation. [14]

Schism of any sort is a weakness to be constantly guarded against.  It may arise at any time and from any cause, such as the dismissal of a popular employee, contentions between the management committee and the educational committee, or party intrigues to secure the election of certain committee-men.  Over-building, or the starting of new departments or branches before the society is firmly established, render a society liable to times of great difliculty.  Overlapping amongst societies is a fruitful source of unhealthy competition and consequent weakening of principle, if not actually detrimental to material progress.  Congress has from time to time condemned this practice and urged arbitration, and the adoption of a fixed boundary lined. [15]

EXTERNAL SOURCES OF WEAKNESS.

Apart from causes which operate within the movement itself, and tend to restrict its growth and full development, and in some cases to cause partial or permanent local failure, there are certain external forces which also limit and hamper its expansion.  These need be only briefly indicated here.  Mrs. Sidney Webb, in the concluding chapter of The Co-operative Movement, points out certain limitations imposed by the social and economic conditions which prevail in the kingdom, and which the most enthusiastic co-operator realises can be overcome, if overcome at all, only by an extremely gradual process of leavening.

These, roughly enumerated, include, amongst others —

(1) The class divisions of society, which give us on either hand extremes of poverty and of wealth.  Poverty and irregular habits form a lower limit to the growth of co-operation.  Fastidiousness and indifference bred of luxury constitute a higher limit to the desire or capacity for democratic self-government. [16]

(2) The administrative limits imposed by national and municipal enterprises, unsuited to the control of a purely industrial democracy — means of transit, and the provision of commodities of compulsory consumption, such as water, light, and sanitary safeguards.

(3) The limitations of international interchange of commodities. [17]

(4) The restrictions imposed by ancient systems of land tenure.


In addition to these larger causes it may be observed that the success of Co-operation is much less marked in large centres of population such as London, than in industrial towns or districts having a settled staple industry.  Efforts to overcome the difficulties arising from the migratory habits of urban populations have engaged the attention of the movement for many years.

THE PEOPLES SOCIETY.

The most notable effort to adapt Co-operation to London conditions was the establishment, in 1895, of “The People’s Society.”  This society was the outcome of an inquiry set on foot by the joint action of the Co-operative Union, and the Co-operative Wholesale Society, to ascertain the causes of failure of Co-operation in London. [18]  The committee appointed by them to consider the subject, reported that some modification of the Rochdale system seemed advisable in order to encourage the growth of Co-operation in the unfriendly soil of London.

It was therefore proposed to establish a society upon the following lines:—

(1) That a fund should be created for special propaganda in selected neighbourhoods.

(2) That a society should be registered, with rules giving the Co-operative Wholesale Society control, and, so long as such control lasted, the Wholesale should guarantee the security of moneys invested therein by the public.

(3) That stores should be opened in suitable neighbourhoods, the general management of which should be in the hands of a central representative committee, with local supervisory and educational committees.

(4) That it should be possible for a store desirous of becoming independent to take over its share capital and become a separate society.

The chief advantages of the scheme were thought to be: greater permanence in management; uniform dividend over the whole of the stores, irrespective of their several savings, and the opportunity for a member moving from one part of London to another, to continue his membership and dealings wherever a store was situated.

The scheme made considerable headway at first, over 3,000 members being enrolled, and twelve branches opened in as many districts; the total annual trade reached by the People’s Society was between £20,000 and £25,000.  The experiment was watched with close and critical interest, but failed to attain sufficient success to warrant its continuance, and in 1900 the society was formally wound up.  Of the twelve stores established, eight were closed and four continued as independent societies.  One of these, Willesden and District, is doing well, with a trade of over £300 per week (1903); the other three struggled on for some months and were then liquidated.

The main causes of the failure of the “People’s” appear to have been a certain lack of elasticity on the part of the Wholesale Society — its chief promoters — and a considerable amount of local disunion on the part of members and committees, some of whom obtained positions of prominence without learning the first lessons of co-operation and democratic self-government — the lesson that “the common good of each must be the common good of all.”

It may be said, however, that in spite of the failure of the People’s Society, Co-operation in London gained from the experiment an impetus from which it is now receiving benefit in renewed activity and enthusiasm on the part of the older existing societies.

POSITION OF EMPLOYEES.

From time to time the attention of the movement has been drawn to the position of the employees of distributive societies, and some severe strictures have been passed upon what is undoubtedly a weak spot in co-operative organisation — not necessarily an inherent weakness perhaps, but one requiring a far closer supervision and more corrective measures than the movement at present seems ready to give or to apply.

Information regarding the conditions of employment within the movement is not abundant, and as a subject of study has never received an adequate share of practical attention.

The total number of persons employed in distributive Co-operation was 52,470 [19] at the end of 1902, and these have been grouped and described as follows:— [20]

(a) Secretaries, who “must understand the principles of Co-operation.”

(b) Managers and Sub-Managers

On whose faithful services the material progress of the movement principally rests, and from whose unfaithful services the movement experiences its greatest drawbacks.

We find this group subdivided into a large number of clever workmen, who are at the same time most devoted and enlightened Co-operators, made so by an inherent natural quality of mind and heart in most cases — by long service in the movement in others; a still larger number of clever workmen and good servants, but perfectly ignorant or indifferent Co-operators; and a certain number who are neither clever workmen nor good Co-operators.


(c) Shop assistants and Clerks.

This group includes the class from whom the movement should look to draw its future chiefs of departments, secretaries and managers, and how do we find it constituted?  Chiefly of young men and women, who have spent from a few months to a number of years in the service.  Young people of ordinary intelligence (the movement gives but little scope as yet for more than ordinary intelligence), headless of anything beyond the present advantage of shorter hours, etc., and having ever before their eyes the possibility of having to sever their connection with the co-operative movement at a week’s notice.

(d) Junior Shop and Office Hands.

Everyone knows what these young people are lads and lasses of all degrees of tractability and all shades of character, all of them much more ready to laugh than to think, and hating dry facts like poison.  Embryo general managers . . . . plastic material, out of which the co-operative movement may shape what it will.

With the exception of secretaries, and some managers, these all serve upon the short tenure of a week’s notice, and —

The movement says in effect, we desire our employees to be honest, capable, and civil; to be at the beck and call of a dozen or so direct masters, and a few hundreds, or perhaps thousands, indirect masters and mistresses; to accept with astonished and profound gratitude the concessions of half-holidays and shorter hours of labour we make to them; to take oftentimes small pay for drudging service under incompetent committees, and to go elsewhere if these conditions are not to their liking; [21]

In the main, employees are recruited from the ranks of store members’ sons and daughters, but a proportion, more particularly of trained workers, are constantly being recruited from the outside competitive trade.  Others are ex-committee-men who have often no technical knowledge of the business of buying and selling, but whose trustworthiness has frequently proved the salvation of many distressed societies.  It is frequently charged against the co-operative employee that the service rendered is not so smart and attentive as it is customary to find in competitive shops.  Mr. Thomas Wood notes, in a paper read at a conference of secretaries, [22] “a lack of earnestness on the part of employees in their work,” and affirms that —

A sense of honesty in this direction requires to be inculcated if we wish to secure economy and efficiency and to improve personal character and integrity . . . . Laxity of attention to time and duty will not be tolerated in private commercial firms because personal interest is alive to economy, and therefore causes strict supervision over all the staff. With co-operative societies, because of their representative organisation and control, the direct incentive to the supervision mentioned does not exist, and therefore it is not usually so strict, consequently it behoves us to create an esprit de corps, if I may so term it, a voluntary individual integrity, rather than a forced one derived from having to be continually watched.  In the one case there is the tendency to servility, in the other to true manliness.

Mr. William Maxwell, in a paper read at Bristol Congress, 1893, [23] dealt with salutary candour with the hours, wages, status, and conditions of service then prevailing in co-operative societies, and brought out clearly the weak points on both sides, usefully epitomising the dangers most to be guarded against —

“My original idea,” he says, “when promising to write this paper, was to advocate profit-sharing to all our employees as a means to induce them to take a greater interest in our work.  While of opinion it would have a splendid effect in this direction, still it would be a mockery to talk to many of them of profit-sharing till they have shorter hours and better remuneration.  I do not forget that the average hours set down for co-operative employees are four or five less per week than the employees of private traders, and for this many of our storemen are truly grateful.  Nor am I unmindful of the fact that in many stores (not in all) they get a week’s annual holiday, exclusive of local holidays.  I also cheerfully admit that very many employees I have spoken to are happy and contented with the conditions of their position.  But, even with this class, you will rarely find interest or enthusiasm for co-operation.  The young men say that the chances of promotion, unless in a quickly developing society, are few . . . . The practice of bringing in managers and chiefs of departments from the outside has a most discouraging, if not demoralising, effect upon our employees.  Our stores should now be able to train a body of men that in time would be able to fill any position in the movement.  If this idea was more closely kept to, we would not only have able practical men, but under better conditions enthusiastic co-operative managers and shopmen.  It must not be forgotten either that as our movement spreads out the chances of our shopmen starting in business for themselves are getting gradually less.  It is also a fact that our success has embittered the merchants against us to such an extent, that many of them refuse to employ anyone who has served in our stores.  Thus the prospects of our employees are not getting brighter in proportion to the success of our cause.

“It is clear that the yearning of many of our storemen for the open market arises largely from the want of the co-operative idea, and possibly in some cases of an over-estimate of their own ability.  This class of storemen are always certain that their knowledge and administrative powers are not getting free play, under the guidance of a committee who desire that all goods shall come through co-operative sources.  Such men frequently cause infinite trouble to committee and membership.  Cases are not infrequent where they have defied a portion of the committee, the membership taking sides for and against the storeman, the society being rent in twain; and all because the employee had never been impressed with the true meaning of co-operation.  Nor are committees entirely free from blame in connection with the difficulties in which the storeman sometimes finds himself involved.  Some gentlemen on the evening of their election to committee become full-fledged drapers, grocers, bakers, and financiers.  Experience does not count for much with this (happily small) class of administrators.  If it were not so serious, it would be amusing to watch them taking the role of the merchant without a single rehearsal.”
 
Mr. A. Hewitt, secretary to the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Employés, [24] writing in 1903, bears testimony to the fact that these outspoken words “did much to arouse committees to a sense of their duty towards the servants of their societies,” and there appears to have been going on since a gradual reduction in working hours, a general extension of weekly half-holidays and summer holidays, and some appreciable raising of wages.

Particulars supplied by Mr. Hewitt as to the minimum and maximum rates of wages paid to employees, in certain positions, over 21 years of age [25] show that in 159 societies, with a total membership of about 640,000, and employing nearly 15,000 persons, the mean minimum wage paid to carters and vanmen was 25s. 2d., and the mean maximum 29s. 8d. per week. For countermen, the average minimum was 23s. 5d., and the average maximum 29s. 9d., while for branch managers the average minimum was 30s. and the average maximum 37s.

The highest rates of wages paid to all three classes of employees was in the northern counties, where too the average working hours are shortest. The lowest rates for branch managers were paid in the north — west midland counties, for countermen in Yorkshire, and for carters and vanmen in the southern and south-western counties.

Sixteen societies, of which thirteen are in the northern counties, have adopted a minimum rate of wages for employees over 21 years of age, ranging from 25s. to 29s. per week, while 64. other societies have adopted a minimum rate of 24s. per week.

Mr. Hewitt also notes that some 514 distributive societies now give the whole or some of their employees a week’s holiday in the year without loss of wages.  The practice of closing early on one half-day in the week has been general throughout the movement for many years.

An illiberal attitude towards the employees reacts upon a society to a serious extent in the direction of lowering the standard of efficiency, and inducing indifference and discontent, even where it does not tend to foster sharp practices or downright dishonesty.  The undoubted evils thus brought about require more robust tonics than sentimental appeals to the employee’s loyalty and instinct for self-sacrifice, although these are not necessarily ineffectual.  The gradual adoption of such remedies as a minimum standard of wages, (b) the shortest possible hours of labour, (c) some definite and practical method of training young employees, both in the technique of their trade and in the principles of Co-operation, (d) an increased desire to find and keep within the movement men and women of ability, and (e) the encouragement of a better understanding between committees and employees, should be looked upon as parts of the forward programme of the movement.

Such are the main lines along which Retail Co-operation has moved since 1844.  Statistics regarding the number of members, capital, and trade will be found in the general tables and charts given in the Appendix.

In Table (1) it will be seen that the proportion of co-operators to the population of the United Kingdom has steadily increased from 1.8 in 1883 to 4.7 in 1902.  Although it is reasonable to take the number of individuals affected as four times greater than the actual number of members there registered, the proportion of co-operators to the population is still small, and leaves much room for growth.

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NOTES

1. Model Rules of Co-operative Union.

2. Working-Men Co-operators. Acland and Jones. Chapter III., revised edition.

3. In a large majority of societies women as well as men members are eligible for committee.


4. E.g., Amendment of rules, or dissolution of the society.

5. Working-Men Co-operators, Chapter III., page 52, revised edition.

6. See Chapter XX., page 168.

7. Congress Report, 1903, page 338.

8. See page 104.

9. The Co-operative Insurance Society Limited undertakes this branch of insurance, and is much used in the movement. For forms of bonds see Industrial and Provident Societies Act.

10. See page 82, footnote “Leakage.”

11. See the Manual on Systems of Check, published by the Co-operative Union. Price 4d

12. The Co-operator, November, 1862.

13. See Chapter XXIII., page 208.

14. See Chapter XXV., page 232.

15. Congress Report, 1904.

16. The Co-operative Movement. Beatrice Potter. Page 226.

17. See also Chapter XVII., page 141.

18. From 1881 to 1892, 78 societies started in London failed during the same period.

19. See Appendix, Table (2).

20. Should Co-operative Employés Understand the Principle of the Movement? Co-operative Union Pamphlet, by Catherine Webb.

21. Ibid.

22. April, 1904: Expenses and Depreciation, and their Application to Co-operative Societies, by Mr. Thomas Wood, F.C.A. Co-operative Union Pamphlet.

23. The Relation of Empleyés to the Co-operative Movement. Co-operative Union Pamphlet.

24. See Chapter XXI., page 181.

25. See Appendix, Table (4).