Minister of Labour
F. Nicholls, Esq.,
Vice-president, Dom. I. & S. C.,
To this the following answer was received:
14-16 King St., East,
- Toronto, Canada June 3rd 1904.
Sir William Muloclc, K.C.M.G..
Minister of Labour,
Dear sir,-I beg to acknowledge, receipt of your letter of the 2nd inst., and may say I share your regret at the existence of differences between the Dominion Iron and Steel Company and their employees. At the time of reorganization of the company's affairs last December, the position of the company was fully explained to the representatives of the men and also to members of the town council and Board of Trade of Sydney, and there has been no change for the better in the iron and steel market since that date. The trend of prices has been steadily downward, and ironmasters have in some cases shut down their works and in others reduced their staff of employees and also their wages. We have made a determined effort under discouraging circumstances to keep the various mills in operation and afford continued employment to our workmen. A short time since they made a demand for increased pay, which, under the circumstances, it is impossible to concede, but as with this demand was coupled the statement that they were receiving less than the standard rate of wages in similar industries, our directors in their reply offered to submit this claim to arbitration, and I inclose a copy of the resolution adopted unanimously by the directors at a special meeting called to consider the situation.
As the men have voluntarily quit work, the company has decided to suspend operations until the iron and steel trade is in a more satisfactory condition, but with a sincere desire to alleviate any possible suffering, arrangements have been made to, so far as possible, give work to any of our late employees w'ho may desire It.
(Sgd.) FREDERIC NICHOLLS,
Vice-president Dominion Iron and Steel Co.
He inclosed in that letter the following-copy of the resolution referred to :
Copy of a resolution unanimously passed by the directors of the Dominion Iron and Steel Company :
At a meeting of the board held on Monday, May 30th, 1904, it was resolved that the director of w-orks be authorized to ask the officers
of the P. W. Association and a committee of the employees of the company to meet the president and himself on Thursday, the 16th day of June next, and to say to them that the directors of this company are of opinion that they are now paying the current rate of wages beyond what it at present is and that in event of the P, W. Association and the committee of the employees disputing the correctness of this statement as to the rate of wages, that the company will consent to a decision thereon by a board of arbitrators to be chosen, one by the company, one by the employees, and an umpire to be chosen by these two, and failing the choice, that he be a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia named by the lieutenant governor.
I also sent tlie following telegram to Mi Moffatt :
Toronto, 3rd June, 1904.
Grand Secretary, P.W.A.,
Sydney Board of Trade has telegraphed government suggesting its intervention with view to removal of present troubles between Dominion Iron and Steel Company and its employees. Government greatly regrets existence of these differences, and hope that without jlelay satisfactory solution may be found, and if desired will be pleased to lend its friendly services towards removing grounds of friction and reestablishing friendly relations between both sides. Kindly telegraph me whether intervention by government agreeable to employees, directing answer after to-day to me at Ottawa.